TV critics no longer actually watch television (EXCLUSIVE)

This satirical, fictional story is part of the April 1, 2012, edition of reality blurred. Happy April Fool’s Day.

Television watching is a thing of the past for the nation’s TV critics, according to a new study.

Actual TV watching among critics and entertainment writers declined significantly once live tweeting during shows took off, and now, it has been completely replaced by other, more important work.

Critics now spend their time podcasting, obsessively tracking ratings for shows they don’t watch, browsing seasons of missed shows on Netflix, checking Google Analytics, copying and pasting press releases, pressing the caps lock key to declare those press releases are exclusives, attending Comic-Con, being outraged when someone holds them accountable for a post they wrote while in their pajamas, starting feuds with other critics on Twitter by predicting what those other critics will think about something inflammatory, constructing SEO-friendly headlines, trying to log on to ABC MediaNet, and writing self-serving, allegedly satirical posts because you’ve run out of other ideas.

“Recapping every moment of every show takes so much time I don’t have time to actually watch the show,” said one TV critic. “I also don’t have time to think about why I’m doing this and what value it adds to the world, unless I’m arguing with other TV critics about recapping, which is pretty interesting, actually. #winning”

The study was done using data published by Google and Facebook, which have secretly been monitoring television watching via covertly implanted implants allowed under their terms of service.

To compensate for the new reality of TV critics’ lives, networks and studios have started to send mirrors instead of DVDs. “We found that some reviews were actually just about the critic and the screener itself,” said a publicist, “so we decided to help them make their jobs easier and just combined the two.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.