Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Great NCIS Conditioning Experiment of 2009.

About two months ago I realized that I had run out of TV shows to watch. My love affair with Monk seemed to have run it's course, I was on a down cycle for the various Law & Order franchises and primetime television from the big four networks had absolutely no appeal for me. I had tried to watch the show NCIS a few times but for some reason it just didn't take. It felt trite and even silly at times even though it was supposed to be an action/drama. For some reason though, I kept going back to it and trying it over and over. I think the reason that I focused on NCIS is because it airs three times daily down here, and if I could tap into that resource of television viewing, simply by volume, I would be set for a very long time. So finally, with nothing to watch, I decided to try an experiment. Could a person, simply through subjecting themselves to a barrage of exposure to a TV program that they don't like, condition themselves to enjoy said program? Would it be possible for me to Stockholm Syndrome myself into liking NCIS? I didn't know, but I was determined to find out.

Now I want to be perfectly clear about this. I had no intention of subjecting myself to anything unpleasant ala Alex in A Clockwork Orange. What I decided to do was have NCIS on in the background at all times possible. I began by setting my TiVo to record any and all things NCIS. I even chose to record it over Pardon The Interruption a favorite program of mine which conflicts time wise with one of the three daily NCIS episodes (not that much a sacrifice really... the sports world is dead right now). Once I accumulated a few eps, I began playing them constantly. It would play while I would surf the web or make phone calls; I would pause the program when it was time to go out, and then when I returned it went right back on the tube. At first I didn't pay much attention to it, but every once in awhile I would hear a gunshot or some raised voices and I would glance up from the computer screen to see what all the hubbub was about.

After a few days of this I found my interest developing into more than just the occasional peek. The characters started to become more familiar. Instead of just a bunch of chatter and noise I started to single out specific people. There was the chatty one, the zippy goth, the dork from MIT and the Jewish killing machine. The triteness/silliness that once so annoyed me became somewhat endearing, and at times quite amusing. As time continued I found myself watching entire episodes, enjoying them, and even putting time lines together.

At this point I can safely conclude that the great NCIS conditioning experiment is a resounding success. NCIS is now my favorite show (I s*** you not), and I love the fact that I have three of them in my TiVo inbox at the end of the day. My friends Tony, McGee, Ziva, Ducky and Abby are all there waiting to entertain me and be my wonderful, dependable little companions. I am the Patty Hearst of mediocre television drama and I'm pleased as punch about it.


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