Back in the day, we had what we called Channel 6 boxes.
Channel 6 was WJAC-TV in Johnstown, and unless you were stealing cable, it generally was the only station you could receive at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
That made it easy to narrow down the choices: whatever might be airing on WJAC – be it “All in the Family,” “Mama’s Family” or “Family Feud” – or nothing.
My family has a bit of a tougher time figuring out what to watch together these days. Our Verizon FIOS package offers a seemingly endless array of channels, along with on-demand and pay-per-view options. The kids’ Xbox allows us to stream Netflix. And if we’re really ambitious, we can play DVDs.
But when we try to sit down and agree on something, forget it.
The boys enjoy the irreverent comedic stylings of the likes of “South Park,” “Family Guy” and George Carlin’s old standup routines. Mrs. Funk wants no parts of those, opting instead for TV series along the lines of “Psych,” “Monk” and “Mad Men.”
I’d just as soon watch concert videos, but no one else ever seems to be up for three hours’ worth of the Grateful Dead.
So we tend to argue. At least, the guys tend to argue with their mother, if for nothing else to get her goat.
She, in turn, complains because she’s the only female in the house, except for a couple of cats. And they don’t care what we watch. They just like to bat at the TV screen during baseball games.
Speaking of which, my attempt to watch the entirety of the Major League Baseball postseason didn’t go over too well with some of the other family members.
As with many families these days, we have TV sets strewn around the house in strategic locations. But only one of them is of the big-screen variety, in the living room, so that’s where everyone tends to congregate.
Sometimes trying to figure out what to watch there becomes moot: when I can’t find the necessary remote control(s), or the batteries are missing. At that point, I tend to give up and do something more constructive, like checking out what my “friends” are doing on Facebook.
During a TV impasse the other night, the two sides – I’m basically neutral – started naming what they’d like to watch. Each rejected the other’s suggestions until arriving at an old sitcom, the aptly titled “Malcolm in the Middle.”
The former Fox series has just enough of a bite for the boys while being tame enough for their mom. And I like it, too.
Still, I’m sure the magic of “Malcolm” will wear off, sooner rather than later. Then we’ll have to arrive some other compromise.
I vote for whatever’s on Channel 6.
Harry Funk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.