My girlfriend is an incredible, beautiful, fantastic // person, who many wondrous qualities make me a very lucky man. One of these wonderful qualities is that she subscribes to HBO. I haven’t had access to HBO on a consistent basis since I was in high school, and they didn’t have awesome shows back then. It was basically a bunch of second tier movies and a brutal prison show. And HBO, while horrible at making their episodes available on iTunes or Netflix in a timely manner (or at all), they did do one smart thing to entice further viewership. They created HBO GO.
HBO GO is a service that allows anyone subscribed to HBO to log in to any computer or smart phone and watch all of their old shows online at any time. Or the XBox 360. Unfortunately, I broke mine about four years ago when the entertainment center I assembled with my own two hands collapsed upon itself like a building imploding. But that’s another story. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Stephen, why don’t you just illegally download it? Patience, dear friends, is a virtue. I will address that very soon. Because Lord knows I may have done something similar to that (NOTICE TO FBI THIS IS NOT AN ADMISSION OF GUILT AND WHY ARE YOU READING A TV BLOG ANYWAY GO DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE YOU GUYS).
I had the genius idea of just connecting my laptop to the television, and voila… I would have outsmarted HBO yet again (and legally this time).
*Side tangent*I feel like getting free cable or watching TV online for free, or downloading is very “I’m still in college or maybe the first few post-college years when I’m insanely broke.” Some would say I’m an adult… I prefer to refer to myself as creeping up the on-ramp to the highway of responsibility. I don’t necessarily want to pay for everything, but I’m at a point in my life where I want to keep it above board. *Tangent complete*
Every episode of every show ever created for HBO was at the tip of my fingers, and on the big screen, too. Not this on my phone or on my computer only bullshit. LIKE GOD MEANT FOR IT TO BE WHEN HE CREATED HBO.
I had to create a schedule as I had so much TV to watch. All of the shows I missed and all of the shows I had to watch again. The Wire, of course, was tops. My girlfriend has never experienced the um… experience that is the Wire. We paired that with Sopranos (A show I somehow missed, QUIT JUDGING ME WITH THOSE EYES), and that was our new Monday. One episode a week of each, and it was like it was 2004 all over again and this was still relevant
Tuesday was comedy night, with Bored to Death and Eastbound and Down (for her virgin eyes), and Summer Heights High and The Life and Times of Tim (for me). We hadn’t even scratched the surface with Deadwood, or Curb Your Enthusiasm, or JUST SO MANY SHOWS OHMYGOD…
But there’s an old saying about underestimating your opponent. And underestimate them I did. You see, the geniuses at HBO knew that there were assholes like me, leeching off of their girlfriend’s HBO free subscription. So they decided that they were going to put in a special programming code… A code where the website would only work four days a week. And of those four days, three of the days would run slow, or freeze at key moments. OR, even better, the picture would freeze but the audio would continue. OR EVEN BETTER, the picture would freeze and the audio would begin to loop the same 20 seconds over and over. And the fourth day the color would go back and forth between crystal clarity and 1980’s Zenith quality picture.
The first few days, we would laugh, or justify the extra effort to restart the website. “It’s free, so sometimes it takes a little extra work,” I would say as disappointment snuck into my girlfriend’s eyes. “But it’s totally worth it.” It’s not, though. It’s not worth it. I felt the sting of failure every time I queued it up and McNulty’s mischievous grin would freeze, a poetic moment of realization that I can’t beat the big corporation. Legally, anyway.
We gave up after the first week. Sure, we will occasionally try to hook it up for a night. Or if I have some time to kill, I’ll watch an episode or two… on the computer. PFFFT <-Fart noise with mouth. But now, when there’s a show we want to check out, we do it the old fashioned way, the way we used to do it when I was kid. I just borrow someone’s copy.