Saturday, May 06, 2006

TV for Knitters

Ok, so I admit it, I watch a lot of TV My husband likes to watch TV so if I ever want to be in the same room with him, I have to watch what he’s watching.

But that’s just making excuses. I come from a long line of TV watchers, I think. I’m not the kind of person who likes to sit idly by and watch TV though. I have to be doing something else at the same time. That something else might be cross-stitching, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles.

Lately, though, it’s all knitting, all the time.

So I wanted to put together a Knitter’s Guide to Television. So what follows is my own personal guide to the best (5 needles) and worst (one needle) shows to watch while knitting. My criteria is based solely on how much visual commitment a given show requires to follow the plot. I have not really mastered the art of being able to knit without looking, so your own personal results may vary.

Please feel free to add your own reviews in the Comment sections.

1. Veronica Mars Four Needles Usually pretty easy to follow, and in my opinion, the best show on television. Intricate plots, yes, but each episode advances the overall plot only slightly, so if you pay attention to the Previouslys, you should be fine.

2. Survivor Three Needles Yes, an oldie but goodie. Pretty easy to watch while knitting, although I always take a break to watch the challenges, which is always my favorite part. Also have to pay attention to the vote reveals at the end, for those rare episodes when you can’t figure out who voted for whom.

3. The Office Three Needles Such an entertaining show, and fairly easy for a knitter to watch. Each episode contains several long, lingering looks that you miss if you’re not paying attention though, so having a DVR or TiVo is handy here.

4. America’s Next Top Model One Needle Pure candy here, and the lowest-rated show I watch. The most important aspects of the show are the challenges and the phot shoots. You just gotta watch the actual photo shoot, then pay attention to the end result, or else you won’t be able to say "What the hell is Tyra thinking?" Although this show has a low watchability rating for knitters, it is good for the ego. You can’t sit through an episode without thinking, "Well, she may be prettier than me, but at least I’m smarter!"

5. Lost Four Needles Lots of beach scenes, talking, flashbacks. Dedicated viewers have come to understand that the only thing you really need to see is the last two minutes of each episode.

6. American Idol Five Needles Very easy to watch while knitting, because, really, all you’re doing is listening. It is amazing though how much better some of them sound while watching, and vice versa.

7. The Amazing Race Four Needles Just requires some glancing-up to see a challenge. Such a great show, though, and knitters should forgive the occasional use of subtitles.

8. Grey’s Anatomy Three Needles It’s all about Meredith anyway, and her whiny voice-overs clue you in to the overall theme of each episode. Got to look up every once in a while to see cute George, and catch the long lingering looks between Meredith and Dr. McDreamy, although with the new level of hostility emerging between the two of them, those looks may be gone forever. Bonus: Meredith is knitting a sweater, but not very well, or realistically.

9. The Sopranos/Big Love Three Needles I think of these shows as a matched pair, just because they are on in succession. Lots of dialogue in both, which helps us out. Requires a periodic look up to see if someone’s getting whacked or someone’s getting exposed.

10. Real Time with Bill Maher Five Needles The best show for knitters. Liberal ones, anyway. Love this show for it’s comedic insights AND the fact that knitters can watch this mostly talk-filled show without dropping a stitch.

So please leave your own comments and thoughts on these and other TV shows. I’d love to hear them!

17 comments:

Joanne M said...

I'd give 5 needles to Grey's Anatomy (like the yummy addition of Chris O'Donnell) and I'd add Gilmore Girls (even though it has jumped the shark). I find it hard to knit through 24 (even when watched on DVD) because there are too many visual aspects of the show.... 5 needles to knitting during Red Sox games or hockey playoff games. :-)

YarnThrower said...

I had to laugh when I read your post! Very fun! We don't have cable tv at our house (cable computer, yes! cable tv, no...), so my viewing is limited to major broadcast networks. However, I find the Apprentice, Law & Order, ER, and just about any comedy to be a perfect companion to knitting. I've always thought that knitting and tv were meant for each other -- it makes me feel much less guilty for watching tv by giving me something to show for my "idle" time. I must add, however, that I still can't work on my "Summer in Kansas" shawl AND pay attention to the tube at the same time. Mr. Rogers works because I can ignore that; other shows just cause me to make mistakes...

Trixie said...

I concur with Grey's Anatomy (though you just have to sneak a peek at times to catch the drama). Others: Any of the comedies replaying on Nick at Night. I especially like Roseanne, but since I've seen all the episodes more than a few times, I don't need to look at the screen unless a scene I like is coming up (and I know where those are).
I work from home during the day so I can watch all of the Fox judge shows while I'm working or taking a knitting break. Not much requires looking at.

I think the lesson here is I watch too much TV!

I'm working on a lace pattern right now and it's complicated enough that I have to turn off the TV and concentrate on counting stitches.

Bridget said...

I'm so into Veronica Mars right now! I love that show. I started watching it not too long ago so I've gone back to the first season and am getting it from the begining from Netflicks. I'm going to have to catch Grey's Anatomy - never watched it - but keep hearing good things. I like The Office but love My Name is Earl more. Being a sci-fi fan I watch Stargate a lot. Since really getting into knitting I watch more tv than I use to and have been reading less than I use to. So I've taken to audio books on my ipod while I walk to kind of replace reading a little bit. Good topic!

Knit and Tink said...

This is soooo funny. I agree with 24, but I still try to knit through it. I need to start over on season 1 but the only way I CAN watch it is to knit! haha.
Love your Jaywalkers, what a cute way to give them! I am so sorry about the Potomamus socks, having struggled through the first part, I know it was a bit painful to frog them...but now they make more sense to me and I definitely will remember to shift the stitches after reading about your experience!

Sara said...

We seem to agree on the tv shows...I watch and knit during most of those...

I would add Commander-In-Chief...it is pretty easy to knit through...

Beth S. said...

I can't knit and watch anything that I care about (live, I mean) at the same time. I end up missing scenes and/or screwing up my knitting. But I love knitting to DVDs of films or shows I like, because I know just when I need to put the needles down and pay attention to the Really Good Scene (or rewind it if I was busy counting stitches when it happened.)

My very favorites, though, I don't knit to, I just watch. Like the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended versions, please.)

Fannie Pie said...

Hmmm... I always knit while I'm watching tv... but I watch alot of Turner classic movies, which are old and chances are I've seen them already so no worries there...

Oh.. almost forgot the Daily Show. If I lived closer I'd probably stalk Jon stewart... or maybe not, that requires effort but you know ...He's the best.

Stash Monkey said...

It's gotten so I feel like a slacker if I'm watching tv without knitting. Like I should be doing something. This makes it much harder to justify those intense shows that you just can't knit and watch at the same time, like 24. I watch anyway, but it's a little weird without the knitting. Hmm - sometimes I pick up some stockinette socks for these shows, so maybe I'd rank my favorite tv shows as lace knitting versus stockinette knitting. Something to think about anyway.

I also really like this new show on ABC, "What About Brian." Last night was the season finale, but look for reruns - it was a short first season, but a good show.

lexa said...

I don't watch any of those shows except for American Idol. I do watch the Sopranos, but not on a regular basis.

I'm like you - I can't just sit and watch TV. 99.9% of the time I knit! My husband can't understand why I can't just sit, cuddle, and watch a movie with him. Got to give me room for my needles! To me it's a waste of time to sit and stare at the boob tube when I could be doing something productive!

Kathy said...

My favorite TV knitting is a Harry Potter movie. Does a movie count as TV knitting? Anyway,my favorite HP to knit by is Chamber of Secrets. Maybe because of Mrs,Weasley's enchanted knitting needles but I love that whole magic household scene. 5 needles for certain!

Danielle said...

5 needles for Law and Order -- any of the L&O series. The plots are pretty formulaic and there is a lot of dialogue that doesn't require looking at the images too much.

Liz K. said...

There's little I won't knit and watch. I just watched the Elizabeth Miniseries on HBO, and I watch lots of old movies too. Only things with subtitles are non-knitting viewing for me!

Melissa said...

I also give Grey's 4 or 5 needles. Love it!!
I almost did a post just like this one last week.
I have the note pad on my office desk to prove it. LOL!!

neysa said...

Word up for Survivor. I often find myself putting the needles down during the actual vote - I get so sucked in.

West Wing and 6 Feet Under are absolutes on my list, although both require pausing the sticks to grasp what was just said or done.

katie said...

So funny! I don't even have a TV, but I hear other people talk about TV so much that I know most of the shows you mentioned. I must confess, thought, that I am ADDICTED to Lost (I watch the DVDs) and would never, never knit through it...especially the last two minutes!

Bonzairn said...

GREAT scoring. I have to disagree with you on LOST. LOST is more like 2 needles for me. I follow it intensely. There are way too many nuances and hints in each episode and now the fake commercials linked in....
ER - 5 needles DEFINITELY and Law and Order (Addicted I am) four needles