New Castle News

The Couch Potato

June 11, 2014

The Couch Potato: Who needs the Internet anyway?

NEW CASTLE — Well, if you happened to read last week’s blog, it ended pretty abruptly with Spuds McGillicutty insinuating that I was actually a potato.

I want you all to know that Spuds will be hearing from my attorney on that one.

But I also want you to know that Year 2 of the Couch Potato will be taken to a whole new level. I’m not sure exactly what that level is or how I will be accomplishing it, but onward and upward — onward and upward.

Anyway, I guess that means I should be coming up with something to write about this week. Did you know that a potato can power a lightbulb if you hook some electrode things into it? Yeah, that’s pretty boring and this is an entertainment blog, plus I need to start moving away from the potato stuff after last week.

Wait, why am I typing all this? When did this become an inner monologue blog anyway?

OK, OK, I got something.

The old Couch Potato stumbled upon a nice a little nugget the other day while I was perusing Netflix, searching for my next series to watch.

As you may remember, I recently finished “The Shield,” and was blown away by not only the chilling conclusion, but the quality work on the entire series. But its ending left a void, and I have been struggling to find the right show to fill it.

So let me set up my Netflix story with a little more background. As I may or may not have mentioned before in this space, we do not have the Internet at my house. It’s kind of a long and complicated story so, of course, I’ll tell it.

It all started about seven years ago with a certain cable company that serves our area, and I use the term “serves” lightly because that word implies that the provider of said cable actually gives a crap about its customers. Clearly they do not.

But anyway, when Mrs. Couch Potato and I bought our first house, we were flat broke and decided to order their cheapest cable TV package, which included about 25 channels and cost only about $15.

Great, right? Of course not.

After our first month of 25 channels, we got our initial bill in the mail and it came to the low, low price of $115. OK, so someone made a clerical error along the way.

“No big deal. I’ll just call and it get it rectified,” I naively said.

After about an hour of being on hold and explaining my story to just about every customer “care” assistant they employed, I was finally told that my bill was so high because I had added the premium channels to my TV package, exactly three days after I had initially ordered my original cheap-o package.

I calmly explained that I had not done such a thing since there was no way I could have afforded to do so, and also that my wife had not done that, either. The woman on the phone countered that perhaps one of my children had done it, to which I responded that it was unlikely that my 2- month-old French Fry had the wherewithal to accomplish such a task.

If she did, I wouldn’t even have been mad, just impressed. You know like Ron Burgundy and his cheese-wheel eating dog Baxter in the movie “Anchorman.”

So anyway, they never did really take the charges off my bill, and I resolved to never again give them another dime of my money — at least until I could afford to pay some other TV providing company.

That day came a few years later when I had the pleasure of dumping cable and adding Directv for my TV viewing needs. We had never added the Internet in an effort to save money, so Directv seemed logical since it was better, less expensive and NOT A CABLE COMPANY!

Fast-forward five years to today and Mrs. Couch Potato and I are in a new house, but still with Directv, which has been a godsend in terms of value, reliability and most importantly, customer service! The problem is, we still don’t have the Internet because Directv does not offer it in our area.

Truthfully, I don’t mind, because I think the Internet is nothing but a time and money waster, but Mrs. Couch Potato does want to strangle me often for our lack of connectivity to the outside world.

“We have the Internet on our cell phones,” I say. But to no avail.

So my overarching point is that my Netflix subscription is DVD only, with no streaming capabilities.

And now we are back to the start. I was perusing Netflix the other day, whimsically adding DVDs to my queue, when I saw something that caught my eye. The Netflix original shows, “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Arrested Development: Season 4,” which were at first only offered through streaming, are now available on DVD (or at least will be soon in “Arrested’s” case).

I can now watch these critically acclaimed shows on my TV, in my own home, without the Internet. It’s a summer miracle!

We watched the first episode of “House of Cards,” starring the wonderful Kevin Spacey, and me and the Mrs. will be running through both seasons pretty quickly. “Orange is the New Black” will be up next and we’re excited for that one, too.

So as long as Netflix is going to add original shows to DVD, it looks like Mrs. Couch Potato will be waiting a long time for the old Internet!

Right, honey? Honey, where’d you go?

(Questions, comments, ideas? Email at:

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