What’s on TV, or Who Stole the Remote?

Photo credit - CBS Television

For entertainment we turn to books first. I like mysteries. Florence prefers biographies. However, we can only pack so many books. And since neither of us is inclined to spend $10 or more for our eBooks, we turn on the television when the last paperback is finished.

Photo credit - CBS Television

Over the past two years we have become quite familiar with the prime time television shows from the U. S. that Latin Americans love the most. Number one on the list has to be Two and a Half Men. Latino men in particular love the sexual innuendos, especially the episodes with Charlie Sheen. Coming on strong in popularity is The Big Bang Theory. These two shows along with Friends are often shown in hours-long marathons.

We learned these popular sitcoms serve as a means for Latinos to learn English. We also found that studying the English lyrics of popular music has helped people become fluent in English, particularly with the student population, who view English fluency as an important step toward better job opportunities.

Photo credit - CBS Television

Given our level of Spanish comprehension, our television viewing usually comes down to what is being broadcast in English. In the past two years, I think we have watched every rerun ever made of Law and Order, Law and Order – SVU, House, CSI, CSI: NY and CSI: Miami.

We had some favorite TV shows before leaving the United States. Florence loves NCIS, which plays in Mexico about a month later than new episodes in the states. My favorites include Burn Notice, Justified, and The Closer, none of which are shown in first-run. I would have signed up for Hulu+ or Netflix except copyright laws prevent streaming outside the U. S. Fortunately, our cable service in Mexico airs a couple of old favorites in both Spanish and English under different names: Pawn Stars is El Precio de la Historia (The Price of History), and American Pickers is Cazadores de Tesoros (Treasure Hunters).

csiTelevision shows broadcast in English typically have Spanish subtitles, and since literal translation is not always possible, there are sometimes funny interpretations. For example, a character on one show said, “Liar, liar, pants on fire,” and the Spanish translation on the screen was, “Just like Pinocchio.” My favorite translation malapropism was when a character said, “It’s Greek to me,” and the subtitle read, “It’s Chinese to me.”

Warning to family and friends: If we visit and you think we are spending too much time in front of the television, it is only because we have a lot of catching up to do.

Photo credits – CBS Television


9 comments on “What’s on TV, or Who Stole the Remote?

  1. I never used to be a big TV watcher until I married my husband who has to watch TV every night as a way to wind down from the day. Now, I watch a good hour or so of TV with him most nights. Thankfully, we have a similar taste in shows. We especially like the nerdy guy type shows, like “The Big Bang Theory.” Have fun catching up on your missed TV shows Mike!! Celeste:)

    • Florence says she can download NCIS episodes, but only in the states. I hope I can get some back episodes of my shows, too. I would love to catch up with shows where I already am already sucked in. For example, I never learned what happened to Dexter. 🙂

  2. I am from Texas and by virtue of that fact have worked and been amigos with many Spanish-speaking people. On top the Spanish I learned over the course of 7 years in school, I learned more Espanol from my Latin American friends simply by working side by side with them. Also, watching Univision and Telemundo helped me learn even more. Thanks for bringing back some great memories.

    • Indeed, the Spanish language stations are great for improving one’s language skills. I forgot to mention that most of the NFL games we love to watch are with a Spanish speaking commentator. Our favorite come-from-behind play at the end of the game is the ‘Ave Maria’ pass! 🙂

  3. reocochran says:

    I am definitely a t.v. fanatic and agree with your commenter’s (Celeste’s) husband! I use it as escapism! I like so many of the same shows you watch, both the comedies and mysteries, crime solving shows, etc. I think that it was great to see the way our English gets translated! I am sure the situation is vice versa, for other countries’ translations from what they say and what we get told is the translation! Funny, malapropisms are what amuse me immensely!

    • Mike Lince says:

      So often television is just mindless escapism, and that’s okay. It’s like picking up a book and filling the space between darkness and sleep. With few exceptions (like when the Seahawks are playing) we do not watch TV during the day.
      I am surprised that I spend more time on my computer now than I did when I was working in an office. It is a creative tool now. And my wife, who spends more time on her computer than I do on mine, always seems to have a Honeydew List. I guess some things never change.

  4. I’ve watched a lot of (bad) TV lately… and I need to set the remote down and move on. I have heard that The Big Bang Theory is fabulous, so I would love to catch up and jump in. Looks clever and funny. I’d go nuts if I had to figure any of it out, in another language. Ugh. You guys are so amazing!

    • Thanks, Dawn. Fortunately, the only part of our shows not in English are the subtitles. I like the subtitles to help me with my Spanish, and that’s when I see the funny translations. – Mike

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