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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Laughter

For at least the past year, maybe more, I have been obsessed with watching Criminal Minds. I discovered it after I got TV transmission after about 4 years without. In case you are not aware, the series deals with many horrendous serial murders, accompanied by graphic scenes, grisly crimes, and people, usually women, being tortured and dismembered. There is lots of blood!

To make matters worse, every Tuesday it plays one episode after another for at least twelve hours. It is like a marathon that I cannot turn away from. So, oftentimes Tuesday is a do-nothing day. It leaves me numb.

Other days I watch Law and Order Without a Trace, Cold Case as often as it plays.

I had already written this post about laughter and then saw the news that laughter lowers high blood pressure. Was that not news several years ago?

My usual fare when it was on TV or in syndication was: Alf, Third Rock from the Sun, M*A*S*H, Frazier, Cheers, Monk, Friends, Andy Griffith, Laverne and Shirley, and probably a few more I cannot remember.

I cannot watch Chicago Fire  because I witnessed my house burn to the ground when I was four. I was sleepless after an episode. Grimm just terrifies me. I hate Office. Sorry, don't think it is remotely funny.

Reader's Digest has a feature--Laughter is the Best Medicine. It turns out this is true. I am not talking about laughter that makes fun of people is cruel or harsh.

The Mayo Clinic tells us how laughter is good for health.  A few ways: relieves stress, lowers blood pressure and more, improves immune system, relieves depression, etc. The Discovery Channel discusses laughter Here.  My last blood pressure reading was 145/57, but I want to keep it low, if not lower my blood pressure. Who could not benefit from these results of laughter?

Usually, there are people in my life, friends and acquaintances, mostly friends, who say that they laugh more with me than anyone else they know, that they feel better even though exhausted when we finally calm down because of hours of laughter.

My mother was a master of telling jokes and funny stories, only good, clean jokes or stories. My father was not a joke or funny story teller, well not like my mother. He might tell a funny story but not a joke that I ever remember. Maybe I got her gift. Right now, I feel I have not been so funny or had good laughs with others. Or, that I need to watch more laughter...something.

My mother and we three girls would close the kitchen door and dissolve in laughter over just about anything. The four of us would be in tears usually from ribbing each other or from scenarios we would imagine for whatever we were discussing.  So, I do have a great capacity for laughter and finding anything funny.

Two of my friends with whom I laughed died. Another two have been cruel about my disability. Others moved.

I am going to limit my viewing of Criminal Minds and try to focus on TV viewing that is more about laughter than angst.

My DVD player has lost its cord or something, so I cannot play funny things on it. I can only afford limited TV, so there are few choices for me.

Your turn
What place in your life does laughter have? Do you ever get too much seriously grave TV?  What comedy do you watch on TV?

21 comments:

  1. I LOVE Criminal Minds as well. On network tv, my favorite comedy is Big Bang Theory. I also like Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls, & New Girl. My BF loves comedy, currently watching The Drew Carey show again while I work through Gilmore Girls. Do you have Netflix? Not too expensive and will give you more options.

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    1. New girl? Where? That has Zooey Daschenel or however you spell it. I would like that. Some of your funnies are horrid to me. I have never seen Gilmore girls. No, Netflix is too expensive for me. I will have to find 2 Broke Girls and try that. Thanks for the suggestions.

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  2. I watched a few episodes. After that, and I realized the dark subjects made me very uncomfortable, I stopped watching.

    We need more completion, happiness and an avoidance of the things that darken our moods. Life's tough enough without adding them to the burden.

    I wish "The Carol Burnett Show" was still on the air. I really liked the impromptu comedy, when the skits fell apart.

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    1. Jess,
      I have no trouble with the dark side, but I am getting to much to be physically or mentally healthy. I don't to just stop, I want to replace it with more lightness and laughter.

      You are certainly right about life being tough. Those programs were not an escape in such huge doses. I watched Highway Patrol and realized how there can still be tension with being gory and just plain sick.

      Lots of great comedy is not on anymore. I miss it.

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  3. Without laughter I would drown. My humour is often on the black side, but it is there, it is strong, and I am grateful to it. Laughter and silliness are essential in my world. Though I rarely find it on TV. One show which always made me laugh (and of course is no longer showing) was Waiting for God.

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    1. EC,
      Laughter and a sense of humor are what attracts me to many people. A sense of humor is the first requirement for a bf. I do feel like I am drowning with all this heavy programming. I never heard of Waiting for God. Is that just in AU? I assume it is not religious.

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    2. Definitely not religious. People in a retirement village, giving the officious management rather a lot of grief, continuing to live life to the full. An English program originally.

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    3. EC, Thanks. It does sound like I might be funny and worth the watching.

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  4. I totally get this -- and I rely on The Big Bang Theory myself!

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    1. Alex,
      I watched that once and really enjoyed it. It may conflict with a favorite. I will look for it. Thanks.

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  5. I pretty much stay away from depressing TV, I am not much of a television watcher. I am more of a television listener. I often have it on as I go about my day. It is rare for me to sit and actually use my eyes to see a show.

    I tape Saturday Night Live. I still like Seinfeld. I watch Modern Family and The Middle. You can't go wrong with the ELLEN show. Ellen is such a nice generous and funny gal. The closest I get to a crime show is I sometimes watch Judge Judy. I think she is so smart and funny too! I do watch a soap opera "Days of our Lives". I probably see it 3 out of 5 days. We have Netflix but rarely use it. Of course now that Football season is coming to a close that may change.

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  6. Janet,
    When I could be up and about, I did not sit either. Ellen is not on at times I need entertaining. Soap operas and courtroom shows are NOT on my radar, ever. I hate having this problem. Thanks.

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  7. If you do Amazon Prime you can get a tremendous number of free programs/movies. I keep a big list on my Watchlist and use it almost daily. Some networks also have their shows on their websites. Does your local library rent movies or participate in Hoopla (free internet rentals of movies/audiobooks/music)? We have given up Direct TV and use the internet and an antenna - most TV does nothing to improve my mind or mood these days.

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    1. Bellen,
      I cannot subscribe to anything that will increase my monthly expenses. I live too far for most antennas to work. That would be a $200 outlay if the antenna would even get what is out there. I so agree with the quality of most tv that I can get.

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  8. I don't have even network T.V. hooked up and seldom use my set for anything, since my laptop has a fairly big screen. I watch the Big Bang Theory on the CBS website. I also watch an occasional episode of the Late Late Show on their site--Craig Ferguson almost always make laugh.

    When I really need a laugh because I'm close to going nuts, though, it's Conan O'Brien (either his latest shows on his website or old monologues on Youtube) or the Monkees. (I have both seasons on DVD.)

    Besides T.V., I also read two regularly updated webcomics for laughs: Something Positive, which, despite its name, is very dark humor and the much lighter Girls with Slingshots. Both prominently feature characters of alternative lifestyles and are definitely not for the easily offended or very religious (especially S*P) but they almost always crack me up. Lots of filthy language and sex jokes in both, though.

    I'm very easily amused--I laugh at stuff ranging from Jane Austen to Beavis and Butthead.

    At work, if I need a laugh break, I'll play some of Straight No Chaser's funny songs on YouTube--they do family and work friendly material. Again, not T.V., but an instant giggle.

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    1. I am totally on board with Craig Ferguson ... He is actually on my boyfriend list!

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  9. My DVD player does not work, but I do own funny DVDs. I get really tired of talkshows. I am not easily offended by alternative lifestyles... webcomics, where? Thanks.

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    1. The homepage for Girls With Slingshots is here: http://www.girlswithslingshots.com/ but I would recommend starting with the first comic in the archives here: http://www.girlswithslingshots.com/comic/gws1/

      Same with Something Positive--the homepage is here: http://somethingpositive.net/, but it will make sense if you start at the beginning here: http://somethingpositive.net/sp12192001.shtml

      Both strips have been going for a really long time, so there's lots of back story, and you can see their art and style mature over the years.

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  10. I don't have TV, but I watch Netflix. British period dramas are my favourite. Not a lot a humour there, but I just finished the 2nd season of Downton Abby and there are some funny spots. The series Community made me laugh out loud when I watched it.

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    1. I have already watched the coming/newest season of Downton. I use Graboid. It is free!

      This year I received two lovely Downton Abbey Christmas ornaments. I will treasure them.

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  11. It seems to me that in the 1970s, I enjoyed TV. I liked Airwolf, the Bionic Woman and many other programs. I hated the days when I had to work in the evenings when in high school because I would miss TV In the eighties, as a young married, there were fewer shows I liked and during a pregnancy where I was on bedrest, I had cable for a time. Since then I have never had cable and while raising our family, we have only had what comes via the airwaves. As a family, we don't watch a lot of television. Since the flurry of reality shows, we watch even less. I watch MHz worldview which gives me foreign news from the UK, Ireland, Israel, Germany, Russia, China, France etc., which means I am finally getting world news rather than the contrived trash US news thinks is world news. I also watch a few episodes of Downton Abbey because the creator and writer Julian Fellowes, was in my favorite program of all time, "Monarch of the Glen". I actually have his autograph ! I like Nova, and some PBS.
    It just seems that as time has gone on, there aren't any programs for people other than serial killers looking for new methodologies or those with terminal ADHD. So many programs cater to the absolute lowest common denominator societally.

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