Cue TV addiction

My mind is still spinning. I can´t believe that I didn´t find this out 6 months ago when I first arrived in Colombia.

Whilst I´m not much of a TV watcher – perhaps a product of not converting to digital TV when they turned off the analogue signal in my hometown a few years ago because I had already stopped watching due to sucky reception and didn´t think it was a priority to upgrade my antenna – television in your native language  is oh so very comforting when you live in another.

I don´t mind watching programs or movies filmed in Spanish and I do have a favourite telenovela (the Colombian soapie Amo de Casa), but I abhor anything dubbed from English into Spanish. Urrrgh! I refuse to watch dubbed movies at the cinema, only going to the sessions in English with Spanish subtitles. I cannot stand the horrible voices that don´t match the characters, the actors or the mouth movements.

So whilst it´s much easier to find English language programs in Colombia than it is to find Spanish language programs in Australia, it´s mostly dominated by the Kardashians, celebrity rehab programs or other trashy reality TV shows. When I´m desperate, they suit just fine for a fix.

The other day when refusing to watch a movie with its non-original language, I had to explain to D what doblada (dubbed) means. He was confused because in Spanish, doblada also means folded. While I was at it, I also had to explain subtitulada, which hopefully you´ve already guessed means subtitled. I told him that it is very hard for me to watch something in Spanish when it was originally filmed in English and proceeded to explain that the TV show he watches Mi niñera es una vampira (My Babysitter´s a Vampire) was filmed in English and that someone else says the words in Spanish. D then said to me something which has changed my world.

You can change the language on the TV to watch it in English.


He proceeded to casually demonstrate with an expert flick of the remote control how he could select to watch a show in Spanish or English. Oh. My. Gosh. Upon seeing my astounded but gleeful face he asked if they were speaking English, to which I practically sobbed, yes! I didn´t realise the TV cable box was so smart. Far smarter than me if it´s taken over six months to discover this functionality that the nine year old has known about forever.

He told me (and showed by way of more flicks of the remote control) that it doesn´t work on every program, which is a given if it wasn´t actually filmed in English, but I love that the original version is available as an option. I think my sanity is one step closer to being kept!

Suddenly a whole new range of entertainment options has been opened up to me. I can watch a movie in English instead of Spanish. I can watch TV shows and documentaries in English. I can vegetate in front the TV instead of in front of my computer. Only one thing stands in my way, the non-English speakers in my household who have preferences for watching telenovelas and cartoons in Spanish.

Do you prefer watching foreign language programs dubbed into your native language, or with the original sound and subtitles?

Televised public comment

Channel surfing the cable tv tonight, I turned over to the Los Angeles City Council Public Comment and caught a fabulous piece.

During my stint in local government, it was my dream to get Council meetings podcasted. That way it would make Council and their decisions more accessible to those spread out across our large municipality. In California, they’ve taken that to a whole new level and televise it, and it really is another form of entertainment.

Each member of the public is given 2 minutes to address the Council when it opens for comment and in the few minutes I’ve been watching, I’ve seen some doozies.

1. A guy in a grey hoodie stated that his concern was with the prevailing winds. He painted a picture of WWII and Japanese hydrogen bombs setting fire to California’s countryside. He then said that he was concerned with radiation contamination coming from Japan and specifically for the 25,000 runners in this weekend’s LA Marathon. He wanted the runners to be informed that they could be exposed to radiation falling from the sky and that they could make their minds up whether to participate or pull out. According to this guy, going from your car to the shopping mall doesn’t pose as much risk as “2 – 4 hours” running.

2. A woman came up to the lectern and started on a tirade about the derogatory portrayal and stereo-typing of Latinas. She had a brain and wanted “to use every morsel of it”. She also had bleached blonde hair and was wearing a sequined tiger-striped cap. She then thanked the navy and all the pilots for being upstanding humans.

Thankfully, the Council isn’t obliged to respond at that point in time, and the next person in line is called to the microphone.

Just some fun Friday night watching and another thing that makes me feel relieved to be out of local government.