IPCS: Irritable Premium Channel Syndrome

Written By: Dawn - Aug• 10•14



Let’s get this out of the way first- yes, I understand that any possible problem I have with HBO is a First World problem.

However that doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem.

The other night I ran into the same issue I frequently encounter after 7 p.m. in the family room- The Better Half has the TV remote in his hand. Whether he’s conscious or not, once it’s in his hand it’s staying there. And despite the fact that our cable service includes Basic Plus, the HBO package, the sports package and whatever add-on gives me access to BBC America, we find ourselves all-to-frequently with no suitable viewing material if there isn’t a Pawn Stars marathon on The History Channel.

So on this particular evening, The Better Half began his channel surfing and when he landed on HBO he tried to stop at This is 40.

This Is 40 is a film about marriage, family and growing older with a sense of humor. There’s a delightful scene about butt crack hair.

It makes me want to scream. Not because it isn’t enjoyable, but because This Is 40 (and RED 2) are HBO’s summer movies we cannot seem to escape from. The Better Half loves both films and will watch them over and over again, their familiarity comforting him like a soft blanket until he enviably drifts to sleep in his LA-Z-Boy recliner, the remote clutched death-grip style in his hands.

It’s occurred to me now that this pattern repeats itself every eight weeks or so when HBO adds a new big movies to its lineup. It goes like this-

1. One movie you saw in the theater, enjoyed and look forward to revisiting. (That would be RED 2)

2. One movie you missed not only in the theater, but also every time you stood in front of a Redbox. (That would be This Is 40)

3. You watch both movies by choice and enjoy them.

4. Then, for the next few weeks, despite statistical improbability, every time you turn on the TV the only HBO movies worth watching are those movies. AND FURTHERMORE, despite an even greater statistical improbability, you will drop in on them in the exact same place in the film EVERY SINGLE TIME. (Like the butt crack hair scene.)

It reminds me, in a weird and TMI way, of how women who live together can have their periods become synced so that they all have them at the same time. It’s like HBO senses your favorite films of the month and offers them up in a seemingly random way, but it’s really far more sinister than it appears.

And why would HBO torture its costumers like this?

Because they know we only subscribe for Game of Thrones and HBO GO access.

Deep breathe.

I accept the things I cannot change. I have the courage to change the things I can.

My attempts to hide the remote from The Better Half  have failed because the TV remote appears to be the only object in the house he can find on a regular basis without my assistance.

The only civilized recourse left is to call Dibs on the TV before The Better Half seizes the remote. For those of you in need of a refresher, here are the basic rules. Most of the Dibs rules I found online are in reference to women, but clearly the rules listed here (curtesy of Call Dibs Now) have universal applications.

Article 1: In order to call Dibs, the caller must pronounce the word “Dibs,” verifiable by at least one other person. The caller must also identify the Target in a reasonable manner (i.e. “I got Dibs on the butterface in the yellow g-string”). In my case I would say, “Absolfuckinglutely not Red 2 again.” 

Article 2: Dibs may only be called if the enactor (”the Caller”) has seen the Target in person. (photographs, digital images, etc. do not count). Dibs can only be called when the Caller is in line-of-sight (LOS) of the Target; Dibs cannot not be made if the Caller has already departed the Target’s location. I would add that being asleep on the couch does not in any way confirm a visual of the Target.

Article 3: The Call guarantees that no other individual, other than the Caller, may make any effort at hooking up with (seducing, courting, etc.) the Target for 30 days. I think this section is intended for anyone interested in watching HBO’s Real Sex. 

Article 4: Anyone disrespecting a legitimate Dibs call may be proclaimed a jackass by the community, and forfeits all honour. The Community may henceforth actively seek to destroy any sort of relationship the disrespecting citizen attempts with the Target, and may be attacked on sight. This is the no-whining clause. 

Look, we don’t have to be HBOwned! Take back your entrainment viewing power and control content as best you can!

For those of you frightened of confrontation or who haven’t figured out the channel guide yet, I suggest TV Switzerland-

Binge-watch The Office on Netflix and everyone is happy.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Comment

  1. BFF says:

    There is a caveat to Article 2. I have frequently called Dibs on the restroom while still in the car. I gave birth to that man’s children and doing so wreaked havoc on my already tiny bladder. I get the toilet first anytime I want for the rest of our lives.

    In addition – I have been known to call Dibs on the shower when coming home from camping. If I agree to go get filthy for 3 days for his pleasure – then I get the hot shower first.

    Thems the rules.

Leave a Reply