My mother had a lot of weird turns of phrase (‘doomaflatchie’ was her word of choice for a thing whose name she could not recall) but one of the most memorable was “video wallpaper”, her term for leaving the television on when no one is watching.  She used it to complain about a waste of electricity, but I have adopted it to describe when I turn on ‘How I Met Your Mother’ or ‘VicTORIous’ as background noise during other tasks. (Most of my work for Major Spoilers has had a vague Liz Gillies/Ashley Williams background radiation.)  One’s choice of video wallpaper can be difficult, as you don’t want something engrossing enough to draw you from the tasks you’re trying to complete, but it must be pleasant enough for those moments where you’re aware of it.  Syndicated shows like ‘Friends’, where most episodes follow the same pattern, are ideal, which leads us to today’s not paying attention query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has found that ‘Steven Universe’ is very bad for these purposes, as I sit and watch every second, but ‘Friends’ works out great, asking: What programs or music work best as background noise when you’re not paying attention?


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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Back when I had cable, it used to be Law & Order. There was always at least one station running it at any given hour of the day – usually USA, TNT or A&E

    Nowadays, I usually just put on the twitch stream of someone I follow.

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