I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
When I watch television, I do so in my lounge room, in front of a television set. The television programming I access is either free-to-air broadcast picked up by an antenna on top of my house, or DVD box sets that I purchase at my local suburban shopping centre.
I – like the vast majority of Australians – do not have Foxtel. I do not illegally download or stream content. If a television program hasn’t aired on Australian non-subscription television, or been packaged up onto discs and sold at JB Hi-Fi, I haven’t watched it.
So, I became a little bit confused when the series final of How I Met Your Mother became Australia’s top entertainment story this week. Because… we’re kind of not up to it yet. Nowhere near. Channel Seven actually can’t give the media a date for when it will air, that is how far away it is.
Whether a television program has aired in Australia has sort of become irrelevant to our cultural dialogue surrounding it. We talk about an episode when it is available to torrent, not when it appears on our screens.
Last year, the Mamamia office was wrapped up in intense discussion about a certain episode of Girls. I watched it over the January break, after tracking down the DVD. I thought it was interesting but, alas, the conversation had come and gone.
My decision to resist the world of online streaming is a basic and moralistic one: Things are illegal for a reason, so we shouldn’t do illegal things. While Neil Patrick Harris might not need your dollars, the person operating camera four on the HIMYM set does, so we should pay for the entertainment content we consume, be it through watching advertising or buying DVDs.
My decision to resist the world of Foxtel is also basic, although perhaps less moralistic: that shit is expensive.
I refuse to believe that I am alone in my state of by-the-book television consumption. So, if you wish to join my club of legal – and frugal – television consumers, here are our membership requirements: