Tuned In

Thanksgiving Aftermath: When Viewing Habits Collide

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Bravo Photo: Barbara Nitke

Family holidays are about bringing back together what has been torn asunder. Children are reunited with parents, brother with sister, young with old. By getting back together, of course, families also discover how their members have grown apart, or re-discover differences they always had to begin with. Generation gaps become manifest, culture clashes emerge from marriages and in-laws.

And is there any difference more likely to cause strife in a family than TV preferences? Well, OK, maybe religion or politics or sexual orientation. But this blog isn’t about those. Holidays bring families back together around the hearth, and when that hearth is your brother-in-law’s new 42-inch LCD, you find yourself suddenly battling over whether to watch HGTV or football, or convincing Mom and Dad to give up their CSI: NY ritual so you don’t miss the new Project Runway. (No one ever fought over a turkey drumstick as fiercely as they fight over a remote.) Or you find yourself settling into long-lost comforting routines, as when I take the family to visit my Mom and reliably find myself zoning out in front of Jeopardy! again, like when I was 12 years old.

So how was your TV holiday? Did you try to convert any of your relatives to Pushing Daisies? Did your 8-year-old niece introduce you to The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, or your Uncle Frank, to The Military Channel? Or did you and your relatives try to stick to relatively uncontroversial conflicts, like abortion or same-sex marriage?