TIVO has fallen from grace in this country and is longer available this side of the pond. It was a clever little PVR (Personal Video Recorder) for its time but not without its foibles. The concept was simple: you told it what you liked in terms of programming by a) what you had previously watched and b) by pressing a thumbs up or thumbs down button whilst watching the TV. When it worked it was brilliant – seemingly having almost psychic abilities. The trouble was it didn’t really cope with the concept of two people living in the same house with wildly different tastes in programmes. When my ex moved out I went through a painful period where I had to “de-brainwash” it, somewhat like the process victims of cults have to undergo “I do not like “Friends” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was my mantra for several months afterwards.
Here’s a little piece I wrote to explain my plight. Warning: it’s full of swearing, that’s reality.
Rick: … so I came into the house the other day and I’ve got this stinking cold and I’ve been working my arse off at work trying to sort this project out so I’m pretty glad to be home and I see that the TIVO is recording something.
Rick: ..yeah TIVO, you know TIVO right?
Fred: No, what’s TIVO?
Rick: It records the TV for you, like a VCR only cleverer..
Fred: Cleverer how? Does it have sentient life?
Rick: Nah, You tell it what you like and it records stuff it thinks you’ll want to see, like having your own little guy sitting in the house checking out when all the good stuff is on see?
Fred: So it watches the TV for you, I think I follow, so you don’t have to watch it yourself?
Rick: You’re being facetious
Fred: No, I’m just trying to get my head around this TIVO thing. It watches the TV and records stuff it thinks you’ll like? Are you sure it’s not recording stuff it likes instead?
Rick: I’ll get to that part. So I come home from work you see and it’s happily recording, away so I stick the TV on to see what its recording thinking it’ll be one of those shitty Friends re-runs that my wife is always watching, it’s always recording fucking Friends re-runs, the whole thing is full of them
Fred: Perhaps the TIVO likes friends?
Rick: No, my wife likes friends,
Fred: Perhaps it’s lonely
Rick: Who my wife?
Fred: No, the TIVO stuck in the house all day on its own….wants to get out meet people…
Rick: What like Joey and fucking Chandler, are you shitting me? Anyway so I think it’s recording another episode of friends that my wife is always watching…
Fred: You mean the TIVO is always watching…
Rick: ..yeah, whatever, so I flick on the TV and it’s recording “a shot in the dark” you know the Peter Sellers pink panther movie?
Fred: No way, yeah, I love that movie, that’s the one where he ends up in the nudist colony.
Rick: Right, that’s the one, so I’m thinking that’s pretty cool, it’s recording something I want to watch for a change and not one of those shitty Friends repeats…
Fred: …yeah the ones you wife really likes….
Rick: …or the TIVO…
Fred: …yeah whatever…
Rick: So, I go out and something to eat thinking I can rewind to the start of the film and watch it from the beginning and you know what happens?
Fred: There’s no food in the fridge?
Rick: NO! With the fucking TIVO…
Fred: Go on…
Rick: The fucker stops recording the movie half way through and changes channel to record fucking friends
Fred:… for you wife…
Rick: …so why did it do that… unless…
Rick: It was watching the movie itself … and I caught it..
Fred: ….and it suddenly remember it was supposed to be recording friends…..
Rick: Exactly…I tell you it’s a fucking conspiracy.
Fred: So who makes the TIVO then?
Rick: What the fuck has that got to do with it?
Rick: I think it’s Thompson or something
Fred: There you go, Thompson’s an American company.
Fred: Well that explains why it like Friends so much.
Rick: So what you’re saying was if it was made by a British company it would endlessly start recording episodes of Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Coronation Street?
Fred: Watching episodes of Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Coronation street, Watching….
Rick: You know what I’m going to do…
Rick: Format the fuckers hard drive…
Fred: Careful… You’ve seen that Demon Seed movie, where the bird gets raped by the computer…
Rick: You’re not seriously suggesting that the TIVO is going to sneak up on me late at night and try and anally molest me??
Fred: No, but it might start fucking with you recordings…
Rick: It’s already DOING that….