If you can't, it's for good reason: classic movies and their stars are the antidote to the poison of reality television. And if you don't know who Hitchcock, Temple, Garland or Gable are, your case is much more serious than you may realize, but Turner Classic Movie Channel can help.
A hundred years after the first film showing in New York City, TCM launched on April 18, 1994. Ever since then, the Turner empire has brought the silver screen to our little screens, and now, even our mobile devices turn silver with the TCM apps.
At any given moment, TCM is broadcasting a full-length, commercial free movie from its archives that will make you feel like the cultured consumer you always knew you could be. Turner Classic Movie Channel turns 20 this year, however, unlike most 20-year-olds, TCM will be celebrating its birthday with its usual host of reputable guests and all the class of old Hollywood.
We need TCM's culturally rich programming today, more than ever, because 2014 may be the year television comes with a Surgeon General's warning. Many of us have partaken of reality television in all its noxious splendor, fully conscious of its brain numbing effects, but before the shame and self-loathing set in, consider flipping to TCM.
When the incessant chatter of television commercials and programming become indistinguishable from each other, there's no better cure than an old timey Trans-Atlantic accent or even a hokey silent film. And while most channel surfers will find films from the 1930s through the 1960s on TCM, the channel also regularly screens films from the 1970s to the early 2000s.
For a quick film education, cut to The Essentials, presented by film historian Robert Osborne and actress Drew Barrymore every Saturday at 5pm Pacific Time. I plan to catch His Girl Friday on March 29 for the second time, because I want to be ace reporter, Hildy Johnson, when I grow up.
And even if "the classics" are not always politically correct by modern standards, Osborne and other film experts provide critical context before and after film screenings. If only modern producers were qualified to examine the sexism, racism and homophobia of their shows with such acuity.
Unlike most television, TCM is at its best in the wee hours when mainstream audiences are asleep and programmers can plumb the depths of the Turner Entertainment archive for hidden treasures. On Friday evenings, TCM Underground takes over with offbeat cult classics starting Fridays at 11pm PST. Don't miss Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film on March 29.
In the month of March, TCM will air interviews from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson every Tuesday at 5pm PST, present movies featuring silent film star, Mary Astor, on Wednesdays, and spotlight "Food in the Movies" with chef Anthony Bourdain on Fridays.
And if you still need help weaning yourself off reality television, the winner of TCM's Ultimate Fan Contest, New Yorker Tiffany Vazques, and 19 other super fans are up for the challenge as April's guest programmers during the week of April 7.
For TCM's full schedule and access to bonus material, visitTCM.com.