We watch... so you don't have to.

Good God, there's a PTC membership in my future

Because I am one of those dreadful, self-centered childless adults who replies "because I like to sleep late on Saturday" and means it whenever someone asks me why I don't have kids, I don't really spend too much time caring about what other people's children are watching on TV, or when they watch. TVs come with off buttons, children come with bedtimes, and the judicious application of both should guarantee that I am able to enjoy FX's prime-time dramas.

Thus convinced that this reasonable strategy should render the pearl-clutching defenders of America's moral faith irrelevant for now and forever, amen, I sat down tonight at 7 p.m. and flicked on the TV. EPSN was showing Tilt. And at about the 7:50 mark, ESPN was showing the wooden puppet they're calling "Eddie" getting into bed with two other women. They were not settling down for a group reading of Goodnight, Moon.

And that's when I turned to my cats and asked, "Don't they realize children could be watching this?"

I realize that on the East Coast, it was 10:50 when the party started. And I realize that, like many other cable channels, ESPN may broadcast on an East Coast feed and account for us left-coasters by repeating its programming slate every few hours. But here's what I'm thinking: ESPN's not known for its gritty dramas. Even after this, it's unlikely to stand out on the dial for the strength of its fictional program. ESPN is audiovisual wallpaper for the sports-fixated, and sports are one type of programming that has cross-generational appeal. ESPN is, in a lot of ways, a family channel. And the kids may be in bed in New Jersey, but they're probably watching TV after dinner out here. Someone's mom is probably trying to explain that not every boy grows up and trades in the teddy bear for two teddy-clad women. Would it have killed the channel to have set East Coast and West Coast feeds at some point?

But bringing this back around me, dreadful, self-centered childless adult that I am, I have to say I honestly don't know what's more surprising: that nobody at ESPN thought showing Tilt during the family hour was an issue, or that I'm actually thinking of the children when it comes to TV programming.


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