This is going to sound very curmudgeonly and old-school and luddite-istic and all those words that indicate someone is cranky toward progress -- not so much out of the loop as stuck in it, and maybe also in the mud, and wanting things to be the way they were in the good ol' days. I'm shaking my fist in the air, cranking up my Victrola and cursing progress as we speak.
But I don't care if I sound mud-stuck. There are some things I liked in the before time, and I'm not afraid to admit it. Like dinosaurs. I liked dinosaurs. So there.
Also, I enjoyed some aspects of TV the way they used to be. Here's an unnecessarily lengthy example: The "final-final" episode of "Futurama" was on last Wednesday night. My husband is a big fan, and I really like it too -- it's been better than "The Simpsons" in recent years as far as consistent storylines go, even though it's consistently involving time/space travel, cigar-smoking robots and soda pop made from the secretions of giant Slurm worms.
So we were kind of bummed that the show was ending, again, because there are so few things we like on broadcast TV anymore. I mean, "Duck Dynasty?" Really? I have not watched it, but I can only assume it's about a reigning class of waterfowl in China in a fleeting moment of power sometime between the rule of the Xia and the Shang, circa 1600 B.C., and stars Joan Collins as the emperor's jealous ex-wife.
Anyway, "Futurama" was scheduled to come on at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central. We'd both had long days and were feeling kind of sleepy as the hour approached. We don't have a DVR or TiVo, but we knew the episode would be on again and again in the next few days because that's how all the young people do it these days (shaking fist in the air) so we could easily watch it later if we wanted to. Plus, it would no doubt be streaming online to view at our leisure. But no, we chose to watch it when it was aired, or cabled as the case may be.
Why? Because it's special-er that way. We assumed there were at least some other fans out there also watching at the same time. And there's something cool about that.
When I was a kid, back in the Paleozoic period, you couldn't stream a movie to your smartphone when you were waiting for the bus because phones were dumb back then. The only "on demand" was your dad demanding that your mom turn on "The Rockford Files" instead of "The Facts of Life."
So it was a huge deal when something like "The Wizard of Oz" came on. The TV lords and masters would show it only once a year, sometime around Easter, I think, and everyone -- everyone! -- would watch it. Except maybe my dad.
(My mom's favorite moment was when Dorothy was opening the door from her sepia-toned reality to the Technicolor wonderland -- although it would often be ruined because they'd go to commercial right then, and instead of viewers stepping with Dorothy and Toto into Munchkinland, we'd suddenly enter the magical world of a tabby cat singing about Meow Mix. My mom would groan in agony at this sheer cinematic blasphemy but would recover her delight when the flying monkeys were gleefully stamping the stuffing out of Scarecrow.)
I can't really explain why it's better to watch something simultaneously with everyone else. I mean, it's not like you're inviting them all over to watch "Futurama" with you in your living room. There just isn't enough Slurm to go around. It's not even because of a "water cooler" moment the next day, talking about it with friends. I don't need to talk about it with anybody. It's just some kind of unspoken, perhaps telepathic, bond.
It's like Christmas. Do we want to start having an on-demand Christmas? If you were celebrating Christmas on, say, Dec. 25, and I decided to do it on, say, June 13, and somebody else did it on, oh, maybe May 19, it just wouldn't be the same. It wouldn't be Christmas.
Not that I'm comparing "Futurama" to Christmas, but still. I'm shaking my fist, revving up my Edsel and looking toward the past.
Contact Angela Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @giveemhill.