I’m thinking of quitting Netflix. And not because they have raised prices or offer a poor service. I’m considering canceling my subscription because Netflix’s streaming service has turned my otherwise semi-normal American sons into obnoxious British automotive journalists.
I kind of get it. As a young man I got excited about car shows on TV as well. All week, the excitement built until finally I perched in front of the tube to watch Hasselhof guide KITT through another episode of “Knight Rider” or the Duke boys jump through the windows of the General Lee. But then, it was over. The hour elapsed and the countdown clock reset for another 7 day countdown.
Not so for my sons and their “Top Gear” obsession. Our digital world makes instantly available to them ten years worth of the show — over 100 episodes — enough for a cataclysmic, personality warping binge on the politically incorrect, anti-American, paunchy, opinionated, blowhard Englishmen relentlessly peddling absurdly expensive mechanisms that will hasten the doom of the planet, all the while tossing off overcooked similes, as in, “The Porsche Cayenne is about as sexy as a camel.”
Which is to say, I love the show, too.
Or I did for the first fifty episodes anyway.
That was about the time my oldest began characterizing his “maths” homework as “rubbish” and my youngest started asking how many valves our minivan featured.
I started to wonder, what’s the real digital threat to parents? Cyberstalkers and perverts schooling through Facebook or these wonderfully snotty Brits and their seemingly endless availability? Finally, the plummy accents and the thousand clever ways of saying a car is awful got to me. I’m uncertain if understanding scarcity and anticipation will have much value in the future, but we’re going to watch “Top Gear” once a week. Thursdays, I think.
Of course, kids being kids, by next Thursday they’ll probably be on to a show all about macrame hosted by a hippy in Portland. Until then, I’ll buckle up and enjoy the ride.