Every evening when we clear the dinner table, Isaac plunks down on the living room couch to watch America’s Funniest Videos, otherwise known as AFV. What started as a Sunday evening event has morphed into a nightly, obsessive ritual.
“Cloudy and snowy,” Isaac will say, as he looks at the temperatures and the days of the week. I think the broadcast is much like his opening at school, where his teacher and classmates discuss weather and write it on a paper he brings home daily.
If anyone in the family tries to watch a TV show or a sporting event, Isaac protests by yelling, “Elf!” (He loves that movie but won’t sit down to watch it.) Then he shuts off the TV. Needless to say, we bought TiVo several years ago to record our favorite TV shows and watch them at our convenience after he’s in bed. It’s the only way we can watch TV at our house.
I decided to program AFV on our TiVo season pass, which means it’s recorded each time it airs.
Every week I look to see which episodes of AFV will be recorded. If there is more than one recording of AFV per day, Isaac will want to watch all of them before he goes to bed, no exceptions. (Horrors!) I make sure the following is recorded:
a) one episode of the local news AND
b) one episode (and only one!) of AFV, which should air before 8:00 p.m.
It requires a lot of deleting. The Sunday AFV on ABC is almost always a new one, and those shown on WGN are generally reruns. How to tell what is old and what is new? Henry said if the host Tom Bergeron has dark hair, the episode is an old one. If he has gray hair, it's a new one.
There are not many things we all can do together, but we can gather in the living room each night to watch AFV. Isaac loves it when I scream. I can’t help it – when someone balances on a fence post and falls head first onto the concrete, my whole body aches. I admit I can’t watch a lot of the time, but Isaac’s reactions are priceless. Occasionally he says, “Oh, man!” and claps along with the audience members. As Noah said, “There are some really dumb people out there, which is good for AFV.”
During a snow day yesterday he watched and re-watched a video of two little kids exercising in front of the TV. The little sister became angry with her big brother and picked up a toy (it looked like a Fisher-Price See ‘N Say) and chucked it at her brother, who ducked. The dad is heard in the background yelling, “No, no, no . . . “ After a crash, the dad screams, “She wrecked the TV!” and he kicks his foot in the air. I was laughing, too, only because it didn’t happen to me. The silver lining? They won $10,000. Isaac clapped for them.
Perhaps that’s the draw of AFV? Laughing at other people makes it easier for us to laugh at ourselves. Let’s not take life too seriously – that’s the lesson, I think. Isaac already has it figured out.