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dvr hoarding & political animals

Hi, I’m Ash and I’m a DVR hoarder.

For as long as I’ve had access to a DVR (years and years, now) I’ve saved shows and movies like they might later save my life. Half hour comedies, one hour dramas, whatever movies happened to interest me on all those expensive premium movie channels. All of it. I save and I save and I save and I watch that available storage space bar disappear and I get more and more tense, awaiting the day that I’ll have to cull the herd in order to let my recording habit survive.

The culling isn’t hard, not at all really. By the time it arrives, I’m so disconnected from the things I’ve recorded that I no longer have any real need to keep them around. The movies and special recordings go first, then anything canceled, then anything that might constitute a mini-series type situation. There’s a thrill to deleting, a cleansing rush. “I am no longer obligated to watch or care about that thing,” I think. “I’m free.”

But then the potential regret. “I really wanted to see that movie, didn’t I?” and “A lot of people said John Carter was really good!” and “But you really do want to watch The Newsroom!”

I struggle with my hoarding because the line between save and delete is fine, baby’s hair fine, finer than, like, the breath of a ghost. There’s no rhyme or reason to it and I probably couldn’t explain it if asked. “That show feels better than that show.” or “I’ll feel bad for that one if I delete it.” My decisions are irrational and meaningless, but I am capable of making them swiftly.

The other day, in a preventative move against a future shouting match over the lack of disk space on the communal DVR, I went to work. I got rid of the awards shows that my dad neither watches nor cares about, but somehow always sets to record. “Peace out, Grammys,” I said. “Smell ya later, Golden Globes.” I cleaned off a couple dumb things I’d recorded to show my girlfriend and then forgotten to delete because no, I don’t need to keep an episode of House Hunters that I recorded in November. Then I got to USA’s show from last summer Political Animals.

I thought, “Meh, I’ll delete that one. It’s just a mini-series!”

But I was feeling lazy and I didn’t particularly want to get off the couch, so instead of deleting those last four episodes, I sat there and watched them all. And how glad am I that I did?!

What a good show! What a good thing! Even with all of its issues — it’s lacking in characters of color (Though there are some present, none are really leads, and Brittany Ishibashi is severely underutilized.) and it has a particularly difficult time dealing with women which is frustrating because it’s a show about an incredibly smart, powerful woman featuring several smart, powerful, engaging female characters and yet there are still heinously catty interactions between female characters, poor handling of complicated relationships (Carla Gugino’s relationship with her boss/boyfriend could’ve been great, but they fumbled her terribly.) and women insulting men by comparing them to women/girls — it was a fun, engaging, and emotional experience!

It’s got all kinds of smart people talking quickly and authoritatively about politics and journalism and it’s got that sort of fun and witty political drama element and it’s got good looking people and likable people and beautiful, heartbreaking family relationships and it was just super satisfying.

It’s got a seriously compelling, evolving relationship between Sigourney Weaver’s Secretary of State and Carla Gugino’s DC Journalist.

It’s got (G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S) fraternal twin brothers (James Wolk and Sebastian Stan) where one is the fuck-up and one can do no wrong but they love each other anyway!

It’s got Ellen Burstyn as the feisty drunk grandma who is the constant, sassy voice of reason and support! (And a WONDERFUL relationship between her and Sebastian Stan’s character, oh man.)

It’s got a womanizing, cheating former president dad who, despite his massive failures as a human, really loves his family and his ex-wife.

It’s got the sassy grandmother and the perfect brother’s uptight fiancee smoking pot in the Secretary of State’s kitchen and bonding!

It’s got an impromptu elopement which the entire overbearing (WITH LOVE) family manages to crash during the single most dramatic/shocking event of the presidential term. An event that made me sob! But I won’t spoil because it was so much better not knowing it was going to happen.

And it’s got Sigourney Weaver playing a Hillary Clinton-esque badass and playing her with wit and humanity and tenderness and palpable concern for her family. If there’s one thing I left this show with it’s that Elaine Barrish is not to be fucked with.

Sadly, USA pulled their full episodes from their video hub and OnDemand, so the only place to watch the show legally is by buying episodes through Amazon but, you know, if you’ve got a space twelve bucks sitting around, I don’t think it’d be poorly spent.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn from me and try to be just a tiny bit less arbitrary when you’re trying to free up space on your DVR. I think I will.