Monday, 23 November 2009

Why on earth did we watch Oceans 11 on TV?

A couple of weeks ago, my flatmates and I watched Ocean's Eleven when it was on ITV1 (or whatever that channel is called these days. We noticed it was on later that night, decided we were going to watch it when it was on, and then sat through the whole film adverts and all. This was exceptionally bizarre behaviour, not because we didn't like the film (as far as I'm aware, we all do) but because I have Ocean's Eleven on DVD! As far as I can tell, watching a film on DVD is strictly preferable to watching it on TV - no adverts, you can pause it whenever you want, you get to decide the start time, you can always just come back to it later, etc. etc. I've genuinely been struggling to come up with a sensible explanation for our behaviour.

One possible idea is something about the power of trivial inconveniences - maybe it's just too much effort to go into my room, open the DVD box, switch the TV source to the X-box and press play. I'm not sure this holds much water though - we could easily have achieved all of these steps in the time it took for the first ad-break in the film. Although I guess that's what Yvain means by 'trivial' - the benefits of being able to pause a DVD are probably a lot smaller than the benefits of unrestricted access to google.

I don't really have any other explanations, apart from maybe some 'race memory' of when everyone used to watch TV at the same time, so we had something to talk about in the office (but people my age just don't do that - a significant fraction of us watch our favourite programmes online as soon as they've been shown in the US). So I'm still left with the puzzle. If watching Ocean's Eleven was the optimal use of our time that evening, and if watching a film on DVD is preferable to watching it on the TV, why on earth did we watch Oceans 11 on TV?

No comments: