Remember the (Awesome TV Day That Is) The Sabbath and Keep It Holy


Today, I’m going to give you all a little snapshot into my neuroses. It’s almost as neurotic as my theater ritual. You see, I punt away an entire day of my week, every week, no matter what month or year it is. I remember Sunday, and I keep it holy… because of television.

As long as I’ve been an adult, or at least been making half-assed overtures at being an adult in my early 20s, Sundays have been the day with a portion dedicated to television. It started late in the 90s when I was first out of college. I was living with my friend Jeff, who occasionally writes here. We were in Madison. In the late 90s for a 22-year old, Sunday was the one day of the week that The Simpsons came back after a six-day hiatus. Jeff and I were both poor, scrounging desperately to make any sort of living. I was making almost literally nothing while trying to create a career in baseball. But no matter what, when Sunday rolled around, it was party time.


A meal fit for a king… living from paycheck to paycheck.

We’d squirrel away what little cash we had for the best meal of our week. That meant buying a ring of sausage to put into our $3 box of Zatarains gumbo. The ritual started around 6:30 pm. We’d start drinking- either an awesome local Wisconsin beer or Canadian Mist- and try to time dinner exactly at 7:00, when The Simpsons came on. By  the time Homer and gang showed up, we’d be mid-meal, dribbling rice and boxed beans down our face as we cackled away at Matt Groening’s creation. Then came Futurama, which was a new show at the time. The nightcap to the whole evening happened around 8:30 when we’d head on down to the Muskie Lounge (yes, that was a real tavern in Madison at the time) to continue drinking and throw darts. Then the horrible work week would start the next morning and I’d start dreaming of the next Sunday.

Life changed. I moved to Duluth, then Sioux City, and finally St. Louis. I bounced in and out of relationships, Futurama ended, I approached my 30s at breakneck speed, and even gave up on my dream of working in professional baseball. The Sunday dart game also ended when I moved to Duluth but Sunday always remained holy. I watched The Simpsons and Futurama every Sunday (at least until Futurama died). I found new friends to watch with, but the programming didn’t change- at least not at first.


Thanks, guy who was babysat by the sister of the guy who played Nuclear Man in Superman IV.

Then I learned about The Sopranos thanks to my friend who once met Kevin Meany (and was babysat as a kid by the sister of Nuclear Man in Superman IV). That extended the holiness of Sunday a few years. From there, I’ve noticed that my Sunday TV obsession has become a national Sunday TV obsession. In fact, I’m sure that most networks follow the HBO model, choosing to show their tent-pole programming on Sundays. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Dexter, True Blood, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Boardwalk Empire have all become weekly Sunday viewing. Even Family Guy, King of the Hill, and now Bob’s Burgers have gotten into the action. The Simpsons are still right there.

Along the way, people in my life have noticed how ridiculous I am about the sanctity of my TV Sundays. Even now, Jeff- once my partner in crime for Sunday apathy- likes to joke that I “don’t roll on Shabbos.” That’s because I embraced Sunday’s TV laziness. It’s become my day to prep for my entire week. It’s when I do laundry, run errands, buy groceries for the week, and (as of the last three years) write a few articles for early in the week here at TDYLF. You might get me out and about and social the first six and a half days of the week, but come Sunday at 6 pm, I’m stationary.

Remember the Sabbath. Keep it holy. Maybe just don’t be such a  damned weirdo about it.


Filed under Television, TV Shows

16 responses to “Remember the (Awesome TV Day That Is) The Sabbath and Keep It Holy

  1. That’s a nice tradition John. Since I’ve been playing Hockey (garage league) on sunday nights for three years now, I have been missing those great TV programmings. However, I still remember almost religiously watching the new Simpsons, Futurama, King of the Hill, etc.

    • The funny thing is, I always dreaded King of the Hill as “that waste of air time between Simpsons and Futurama.” Then I started watching it much later and I honestly liked it. I had never given it much of a chance.

  2. jackdeth72

    Hi, all:

    Good stuff!

    Back in the early 1970s it was Saturday night on CBS. With ‘All in the Family’, ‘The Bob Newhart Show’ and ‘The Carol Burnett Show’. Though with the passage of time, Sunday has become the heavy hitter during the week.

    With ‘The Simpsons’ leading the charge (At least to watch the Couch Gag)
    before switching to either HBO or CBS.

    • Those are all great shows. I came upon them later, mostly in syndication, but I had no idea they were the same night.

      I remember Thursdays on NBC in the 80s- Cosby, Cheers, Night Court, and… maybe Family Ties? And I didn’t like Friends but Thursdays in the 90s on NBC had Friends and Seinfeld on the same night.

      • jackdeth72

        Hi, John:

        Cosby, Cheers, Night Court and Hill Street Blues. The best written ensemble cop show between ABC’s Barney Miller a decade earlier and HBO’s The Wire fifteen years later.

        • Even though I’ve never seen Hill Street Blues- not even one episode- I have a fond opinion of it because it features a character named John D. LaRue.

  3. Sundays always seem to by my main TV day too. Back when I had multiple jobs, I’d always end up working both of them on Sundays, and it would drive me nuts not to watch all of my shows right away.

  4. The guy who was babysat by the sister of the guy who played Nuclear Man in Superman IV

    Sunday is stacked with great shows…Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead. I’m glad I have a DVR. I’m glad I got credit for introducing someone to the Sopranos…proof that I have contributed to society.

    • It kicks ass that they stagger them, too. There’s always at least one awesome premium cable show worth watching on every Sunday throughout the year. Right now, it’s Game of Thrones and Mad Men. Come June, it’ll be True Blood (ok… not all of them are awesome). In August, it’s Breaking Bad. September is Boardwalk Empire and somewhere in that same time frame is Walking Dead. Then spring hits and it’s rinse/repeat with GoT all over again.

  5. You forgot the best part of 90’s TV on Fox. The Simpsons and Futurama were followed by new episodes of The X-Files (if my memory serves me right). It was indeed a holy Sabbath of TV. Great times, for sure.

    Thanks for this post; it brought back some great memories.

    • Ha… glad I could invoke those memories.

      I loved the X-Files… but I have to admit that I didn’t watch it until after it was off the air.

  6. I would have demanded Nuclear Man’s autograph if I were that kid.

    If I had cable, my story might be the same. Nowadays, I just wait for most shows to come to Netflix or Amazon streaming. But I do have fond memories of sitting down in front of the tv at certain times to watch my favorite shows. Of course, The Simpsons was a big one.

    • Regarding your NF/Amazon habits… do you binge on those shows once they’re available, watching several in one sitting? Or do you pace yourself?

      • I don’t think there’s really a set pattern I’ve fallen into. I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica for like 6 months now, but I watched Arrested Development in like 3 days. It just depends.

  7. Pingback: Reading Digest: Quantifying Zombie Simpsons Edition | Dead Homer Society

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