What Happens On the Plane Monitor, Stays on the Plane Monitor


Boarding my seven hour flight from Madrid to Qatar, with another seven hours from Qatar to Korea to follow, I was faced with a major dilemma: Should I watch a decent movie while flying, or should I stick to my purest beliefs and purposely watch something inferior instead. Growing up a film lover, it’s hard for me to believe that Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola would want me to view their latest works of art on a tiny screen located inside the back of a headrest, the airplane jiggling with turbulence and stewardesses giving me warm towels and peanuts as the film reaches its emotional apex. I remember reading an interview with David Lynch where he scoffed at the idea of watching a film on a computer screen. No, film purists, like whatever I’m supposed to be, believe that a film is to be watched on a BIG screen. And, believe it or not, eating popcorn during it, unless the film involves superheroes or Jason Statham, is not encouraged.

Of course, I veer from this all the time. Really, I can’t remember the last movie I didn’t watch on my computer screen. Still, the airplane headrest-monitor seemed wrong to me, kind of like listening to opera in a Convertible with the stereo cranked up and the top down. Flipping through the movie selection, I settled on Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love.

Penelope Cruz in a red dress brought the in-flight entertainment system to life!

This was middle-ground snobbery. I fully admit that I’m a total snob when it comes to entertainment; I can ramble on for hours about black and white films, bands that’ve sold less albums than Lady Gaga sells Halloween costumes, and books that most people use Sparknotes.com summaries to avoid reading. Then again, there can be cracks in the armor. I was, as tough as it is to admit, seriously addicted to the new 90210 at one point, and was called out once at a bar for knowing all the words to “Hit Me Baby One More Time.”

Sorry Chevy…I still loved you in Funny Farm.

After To Rome with Love (which I liked, if you’re curious), I slept. Then I read a little bit. Then, after that, I was bored. I scanned the selection of television shows. It’s been years since I had a television, so the names of the shows, while vaguely familiar, meant little to me. I watched one episode of a show called Parks and Recreation, and decided not to view another. Trying to kill time, I put on a show called Community. It lasted about ten minutes before I turned it off, despite it having Chevy Chase in it. Chevy or no Chevy, it was putrid.

And then, like a miracle, I found it, the show that I would go on to watch a whopping ten episodes of, counting both flights. What fine, erudite program was this, you ask. The Office? 30 Rock? Louie?

No, no, no. It wasn’t any of those.

I hereby confess, on my two plane rides, I watched almost an entire season of The Big Bang Theory…and I fucking loved it.


Yes, at first I rolled my eyes. After the second episode, I took a long break, not expecting to return. But return I did. To the glories of Sheldon being neurotic, Howard having problems with his mother, Raj experiencing sexual frustration, and Leonard, strangely, getting laid a lot. Around episode 4, I was hooked; at episode 6 or 7 I had lost all shame and was laughing audibly, slapping my knee with a huge grin spread across my face. When the plane finally landed, I almost begged the pilot to circle the airport for a bit so I could finish off the last remaining episodes. I had been sucked in.

In the days that followed, I had some trouble looking at myself in the mirror. I felt so dirty. I’d crouch down in the shower, shaking with shame while the water ran down my face. What had happened on that plane? I tried to block it out by reciting the standout films of the French New Wave and their directors. Still, there was a tiny voice inside me, the same voice a drug addict or a habitual wife beater must have, trying to direct me into further guilt.

“Go online,” it whispered. “It’s okay, just a couple episodes. See what’s happening with Sheldon and Blossom. Come on…you know you want to.”

“Shut up!” I screamed. “Stop it!” And I took my hands and pulled at the hair on my head.

Currently, it’s been about a week since my shameful Big Bang Theory digression. I would prefer to pretend it never happened, the same way Republicans refuse to believe George W. Bush ever existed. I’m doing okay, getting along well in my normal routine. Taking things one day at a time.

However, as nice as hiding the sad facts are, I chose to write this, in order to tell the world what horrible things happened up in the sky that day. As they say in AA, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”



19 thoughts on “What Happens On the Plane Monitor, Stays on the Plane Monitor

  1. Big Bang Theory grew on me in a similar way.

    Re: Community, I don’t know a lot of haters, but you know, there’s no accounting for taste 🙂

    An episode of Community is around 22 minutes. I’m going to present you with a serious challenge: watch eight episodes, and if you still don’t like the show by then I’ll give you 50,000 won. Not joking. Less than three hours of TV for 50,000 won. Unless you happen to like it, in which case, you owe me a beer. Do you accept the challenge?

    • Hahaha! I have a lot of time now, so what the heck. Plus, turns out my girlfriend watches it. So yes, I will take your challenge. And I likely won’t keep you to the 50,000 unless I really start going broke.

      Hope to hang out soon, guy!

      • Nah, it’s a point of honor — you have to keep me to the 50,000. I’m willing to contribute that to the field of entertainment science, if need be, with no regrets. And if it turns out I’ve coaxed you into a series you can actually enjoy, I know you won’t regret the beer 🙂

        I told TJ I’d hang with y’all tonight, but it turns out I have some serious allergies today and can’t stray too far from a box of tissues. I’m glad you’re back in the country, though — looking forward to hearing the details of that sometime..

      • I would like to update: I am currently six episodes into the first season of Community. The first four episodes were excellent, very funny. I almost teared up at Episode 3, where Abed makes a video about his father. Touching stuff. Then there seemed to be a shift in tone starting episode 5, and the last two have not been good. The show seems to have gotten a bit more self-conscious and cynical; I liked how the characters had emotions in the first four episodes, but the last two has just been Chevy Chase saying outrageous random things and everybody else being over the top. I also find it annoying when Abed says or does self-aware things, like when he comments on how his life is like a television show. Anyways, it still has a favorable 4-2 score, and I still like Talk Soup (I refuse to learn his name for unknown reasons) in the lead. My fingers are crossed for the rest of the season.

        Long and boring update over. haha

  2. I am liking your post despite the fact that you didn’t love Parks & Rec, which I would marry if I could ;D Seriously, though, what is it about watching Woody Allen movies on planes? I watched the one with Larry David on a plane once and it was great! If I’m ever back in ROK, we should get together and nerd-out on movies.

    • I must be a total Woody Allen geek, because I find myself liking most of his recent movies, even the ones that get bad reviews, like To Rome With Love. I thought it was hilarious! And I also really liked the one with Larry David (which is called Whatever Works).

      Perhaps I will give Parks and Rec another chance, just as I am apparently giving Community another go. I like the Aziz guy so at least it has that going for it.

      Haha – Yeah, move the fam back here! I can come over with some Cass and we can watch Woody Allen movies and pretend we’re on a plane. : D

  3. British Airways and American Airlines didn’t have Tv on our 12 hour flights/ I’m like , what , American and British ? Sadly yeah, and the service and food were atrocious and meager…. compared to Philippine Airlines, the national airline of a small 3rd world country.. PAL ‘s was quite amazing ! The food was gourmet, and lots of snacks in between, like, no kidding, again? Burgers from Jolibee, muffins, and drinks just kept coming. Amazing.

    • Hi Ren! Jolibee on the plane? Amazing! I have to say that Qatar Air was by far the best airline I’ve ever traveled on. No comparison. The food was actually really freaking good (tandori chicken and then lamb) and the inflight entertainment thing was the bomb. I recommend you travel to Qatar just so you can experience the excellence of the airline.

      Have a super weekend Ren! Go out to the club! : D

      • Yeah… my aunt took Qatar from the Philippines to London and yeah, she said it was excellent. By the way, the stewardesses… were they from the Philippines?

      • My stewardess was Japanese and the other one in the general vicinity was Korean. Which was interesting, I thought. Maybe they put the Filipina stewardesses on the flights to the Philippines. Interesting tactic. Hmm, I want to go to the Philippines. Just thinking out loud there. And I want Jolibee…

      • That was in 2010, the PAL thing . BA and AA were this summer when we went To Europe. No wonder AA is going bankrupt. What do you mean, go out to club? Ha ha ha….. I do go out ! lol Are you concerned about my lovelife or lack thereof? He he he Don’t worry…. I have no shortage of admirers, he he I even have stalkers, ha ha ha. You’re so sweet, big brother.

      • Hahaha. Yes, I was concerned! That’s funny about the stalkers – sometimes I read the comments on your blog or on some of the other blogs written by females, and I always love when a guy will leave a comment like, “Nice pictures. You look great in that dress” or something creepy along those lines. Must be hard being a female blogger – there’s a fine line between nice friendly blog follower and creepy creepster trying to hit on you. Anyways, would love to hear more about your stalkers. I’ll send you some pepper spray Lil’ Sis! Spray them!

    • Big Bang Theory was easy to dive into – it’s really simple and not having seen any back episodes didn’t hurt. I was confused during Community. I didn’t understand the relationships between the character or what was happening (why are they hanging out with old man Chevy Chase? Is he supposed to be the Talk Soup guy’s dad? things like that).

      Ok, I’m not talking about Big Bang Theory anymore. Have a good one Drew!

  4. allomontreal

    HA! Its funny I only watch certain types of shows and movies on board a plane because in my head that does not count, lol. Everytime I ve flown I watched the horrible Twilight saga, at least out of pop knowledge, though I tend no to reveal this to anyone I know.

    • LOL! Twilight would be PERFECT for a flight. I didn’t mention it in the blog post, but I also watched The Three Stooges on the plane, which I don’t believe I would’ve watched otherwise (and I enjoyed that, too). And I like your theory that it’s okay to watch something as long as it’s for “pop knowledge.” Totally agree with that, which is why I’ve downloaded 50 Shades of Grey to read. I won’t be reading it out of pleasure – just for frame of reference. : )

      • The Nobody

        Please do, I d do the same because I would be incredibly embarrassed to being seeing in public with that book.


      • Ha! Yes, sitting down somewhere and opening a copy of that would be kind of like discreetly sitting in a public place and pulling out Highlights for Children and becoming engrossed in the articles. Or maybe it would be more like pulling out a porno mag, I dunno.

        Thanks for swinging by, The Nobody. Now go tear the cover off an old Tolstoy novel so you can disguise your copy of the latest Mitch Albom book. : )

  5. There is no shame in liking Big Bang. Very funny show, great character…good lines. I only stopped watching it purely due to time constraints (limited TV time, and other shows just too prefered).
    But i was seriously going to chastize you for your hatred of Community. (but i’m glad you have decided to give it another try)
    That show is among the best comedies i have seen on TV…and sadly has struggled in ratings and is likely entering it’s final season (whenever it finally fuckin starts!)
    the showrunner (former, now) Dan Harmon is just a fucking genius (i recommend listening to his WTF interview with Marc Maron). That show has broken so many fucking walls, destroyed so many troupes while at the same time using and abusing them. the dialogue is quick and witty, the themes are emotional, the comedy is smart AND absurd.
    they did an entire episode in claymation and it killed.
    and they did an entire episide as an 8bit ninetendo game, and it was seriously one of the funnies 22min i have ever witnessed.
    it helps tremendously to watch numerous episodes, as much of the “magic” is learning and knowing the characters personalities and history…the jokes are magnified 100x when you do….but that is also it’s “weakness” in today’s TV scape.
    I implore you to get into it now, only because it will sadly be gone soon….cancelled because too many wanted a show that was far more accessible, less cerebral, and one they could just watch once in a while and not be lost. they want Big Bang and CSI.

    too bad. I’d much rather watch an absurdly whimsical comedy about a bunch of losers going to a community college to find themselves, while they have school-wide wars over pillow-forts and have to thwart the evil asian janitor when he takes over the school using 12yr olds because he got sick of living in the air vents with a monkey.

    Ps- the character of Dave in my blog is closely based on the Dean in Community (Jim Rash)

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