Life from an outsider's perspective…

Absolutely vital customs you need to know before for watching television in Spain:

The true reason why mountain goats live at high altitude!

  1. The default position for all spanish televisions is ON. Whether or not anybody actually watches the program broadcasted at the time is completely irrelevant.
  2. The only time the television is switched off is when EVERYONE in the house is asleep. No exceptions!
  3. The last person to switch off the television has two very special responsibilities: firstly- make sure everyone else is asleep; secondly- ensure that the remote control device is clearly visible in the morning (if you can’t afford a remote control TV, only then are you considered a poor family – that judgement is not something based on what car you drive).
  4. Television is watched from one of two positions, each with an equal proportion time: the sofa and/or the kitchen. Even if you’re a 3-year old kid, the floor is not an acceptable place from which to watch TV.
  5. The practise of renting a DVD is unheard of.
  6. Quality movies are almost never shown on national spanish television.
  7. Suprisingly, there are very few ad-breaks shown during movies and series. (read the next point before you get too excited)
  8. The length of a standard ad-break can be up to half an hour, in same cases more, always shown at the most inappropriate point of the main television program.
  9. The most common advertisements typically depict brand new vehicles on deserted spanish roads, women’s skin-care products, and cheap ever-lasting detergents -in that order.
  10. The standard quality-level of Spanish television commercials is “super cheap and nasty”. Upon creating a new advertisement, producers must ensure that they remain close to the following time-honoured ideal goal: an absolute minimum of effort is involved; a spanish voiceover is almost always present throughout the entire duration of the advertisement; comedy is almost never used to sell anything; neither imagination nor inspiration are permitted; sound dubbing is perfectly acceptable (in fact desirable, as it saves on hiring fake sub-standard actors and actresses). Yes, we’re talking very straightforward ads here.
  11. How Spanish television enthusiasts manage to cope with points 6-10 will never be known, not by anyone, including the Spanish.
  12. When movies are rarely shown, the end-credits are cut even before the first actor’s name scrolls to the mid-point of the screen. My personal theory is that if the first person to be credited reaches the top of the screen, the TV coordinator loses his job. Note that this only applies to foreign films, which in case you didn’t realise, means any movies filmed outside of Spain. On the other hand, whenever a local Spanish movie is aired on national television, the entire list of aknowledgements is then dutifully displayed in full.
  13. There are more missing people in Spain that missing remote controls (see next point)
  14. When the remote-control can’t be found, it’s a level 10 house-wide emergency. Everyone must assume “panic mode” until it is recovered. When it is found, that family member is denoted a hero for at least 5 minutes. The remote control is almost never lost behind the cushions, and almost never in another room (except of course the kitchen).
  15. By far the most famous spanish journalist is Mercedes Milá. This woman has got more balls than a billiard table.

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