1. I was particularly annoyed at his asking, ‘Can I watch the TV?’

    My other thought was, only one TV in the house? That’s pretty unusual in this day ‘n’ age, isn’t it?

  2. The family might reasonably have a rule that whoever is using the TV gets to keep using it until they’re done, which Roger might not want to break arbitrarily. (Admittedly, this wouldn’t justify Roger’s decision to beg for the TV like a baby, which doesn’t seem quite dignified.)

  3. In 2010, 17% of households had only one TV. So not the most common situation, but not exactly unusual either.

  4. These strips are from the early 90s. A bit more believable that they’d only have the one.

    When I was a kid in the one TV days, there was never any questions about who controlled the TV. My Dad would say, “It’s my TV, get your own.”

  5. Well, Brian said these strips are from the early 90’s, so that makes the number 35%, rather than 17%.

  6. Last year (IIRC) there was a non-classic strip in which Paige wanted to use “the” computer, as if a family of 5 would have one computer and no tablets in 2019, with three kids in school (and a writer mom).

  7. Our kids have asked about getting a second TV, but I pointed out that if we installed another one, we would never get to see them (meaning the kids) in the living room ever again. It’s a little bothersome when they want to watch something inane(*), but it’s worth it to get everyone together more often(**).
    P.S. (*) – Such as “Alvin & the Chipmunks”, or 21st century “Tom & Jerry” cartoons, both of which are odious beyond belief (they make “SpongeBob” seem intellectual).
    P.P.S. (**) – It works exactly that way for “The Simpsons” and in “The Loud House” (both of which are not inane, meaning I like to watch them, too).

  8. Back in my childhood (with the parents who gave me a 10-cent per day allowance), secondary TVs only came about when the primary was replaced (for a bigger screen or–oh my!–colour). As such, the second TV was…not so good. It ran on antenna and not cable, so reception could be poor and not all channels received. Could be the case here.

    The funny thing is that this TV they’re squabbling over would now be the “old” TV, relegated to a basement, but it would be the one that a retro-gamer would want because they’re superior for those old games and consoles.

  9. Households might have multiple TVs, but it is possible that TV is the best in the house and the only one connected to whatever service Dad wants to watch.

    The pleading is over the top, but just because he is Dad doesn’t mean he should kick the kid off the TV. Being a kid doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be treated with respect and Dad gets to push him around for something as trivial as watching sports hype.

  10. TedD: Yeah, we have a computer in our house that we refer to as “the” computer, and while I would kick the kids off of it if I had some legitimate “grown-up/adult” need for it, I wouldn’t kick them off of it just to watch entertainment.

  11. Not that it is necessarily occurring here, but when these strips were released a two TV household may well have had a “good” TV in the living room, one that was large and connected to cable, and a “bad” TV which was smaller, still used rabbit ears, located in the parents bedroom, and may have some other deficiencies.

    This was the arrangement in my childhood home when I first had video games, and my parents did not let me use the big Zenith TV in the living room to play them. I had to use the old 14″ Hitachi in their bedroom, which was dying a slow death where the lines at the top of the picture would go black. My parents would watch the news every morning with the top of the anchors’ heads cut off! I had a basketball video game that I was particularly fond of where the gameplay never took place in the blacked out area, but score was always there. I never knew for sure how much I was winning by (it wasn’t a matter of if I was winning, the game was not terribly hard). Eventually I was allowed to play on the living room TV, and that Hitachi was replaced by a Quasar with a built-in VCR.

  12. Thank you, Bill! I’ve been asking my screen the same thing all week.

    I also ask Dustin’s parents why they don’t just throw him out, but they never pay any attention to me.

  13. Dustin’s parents don’t need to throw him out. Just present him with a dollar amount for rent, and a list of chores that the parents currently do and a value for each performance. Let him work out what he wants to pay or do. But no more lying about the house getting free meals and laundry service. He’d get a lot more serious about these jobs he gets or getting a real job.

    But, like with Foxtrot, reality isn’t all that funny.

  14. In our apartment in Brooklyn in the 1950s we had one TV – the big console with doors that closed in front of the screen and it was in the living room (which was my bedroom starting in 1957 or 8 until we moved in May 1959 – so if my parents wanted to watch Jack Parr – I got to watch it also).

    Sometime in the early 1960s after we moved into our house out here on LI my parents bought a much smaller (but still large by today’s standard) portable TV for the kitchen (the large on then residing in the downstairs den). We did not have TVs in the bedroom – on the day Kennedy was sworn in it had snowed a huge amount and dad was outside shoveling, while I got the portable TV in my room – as a treat because I was sick. Eventually more TVs were added to the household and our one and only color set – a portable – was added while I was in high school.

    So for most of my life I have lived in a multiple TV home (and even was able to see Bob and Ray do their show in visual stereo TV – 2 sets needed set up at the same height a certain distance apart with a different local channel on each set).

    Here we have lots of them – kitchen (watching now), bedroom, office, living room (the second least watched set – mostly watched while setting up “Lion in Winter” – both versions on DVDs and taking down the Christmas tree), and the teddy bears’ room (was intended as guest room – least watched TV other than by bears).

    We moved into the house with two computers – Atari 800 and Commodore 128. We recently got rid of most of the old computers that accumulated in the basement by taking them to townships “sanitation area” having followed the rules – van must have a back seat and no roof rack, had to show ID and get a pass (gee garbage must be worth a fortune with all the rules and protections for it) and then got to say goodbye to old friends – by throwing them into huge cardboard boxes. We had done this once before so the 286 and 386 were long gone. (The Atari and Commodore though we still have.)

    We each have a Win 7 desktop – he also has a Win XP desktop. I have 2 XP laptops – he has one, and we each have a Win 10 laptop – even a day trip out of the area involves bringing at least one laptop. Neither of us wants to switch our main computers to Win 10, but there are starting to be hardware problems – my tax software needs Win 10. He has a great idea. We will store away our oldest laser printer (only need is as it prints on thicker paper than the others and we are no longer printing the meeting postcards for our reenactment unit. Move the color laser printer to where that printer had been and set up a Win 10 computer where the color laser printer had been which either of us would be able to use when needed.


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