As you sink into your couch to watch a favorite TV show this holiday weekend, take comfort in the knowledge that you're not alone. Nationally speaking, at least. Unity within your own home is another matter entirely.
A majority of Americans got hooked on a TV show this year, an AP-AOL News poll shows. But some say they watch their favorite shows alone: Their spouse or partner is into much different fare.
Is it nature, or nurture? All Betty Cave knows is that while she's into those attractive young doctors on "Grey's Anatomy," with their interweaving social and professional lives, her husband likes "`Star Trek,' `Battlestar Galactica' and some other things that I've never heard tell of.'" She often watches her shows, which she TiVos, at 5 a.m.
The same goes for films. Cave, 43, a real estate agent in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and her husband go out to a movie four or five times a year. While he likes science fiction, she prefers romances like "Walk the Line," the Johnny Cash biopic.
"He's off in his own little world," Cave says with a laugh, tracing the divide to the time she took him to see the 1995 tearjerker "The Bridges of Madison County" with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. "That," she says, "was the breaking point!"
The poll found that 71 percent of American adults saw at least one movie in a theater this year, and the average was about five movies. Young adults went more often than older adults, and those in the West saw more movies on average _ seven _ than in other regions.
As for TV, most Americans felt there was nothing special about the shows out this year _ yet 58 percent said they got hooked on one. For women, the top show was "Grey's Anatomy," which often tops the weekly Nielsen ratings. For men, it was "House," with the curmudgeonly Hugh Laurie, on Fox. High on the overall list were "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "CSI: Miami."
That doesn't surprise Joe Vescera of San Francisco, a huge CSI fan _ "I've seen 'em all," he says. His wife, Monica, prefers comedies. He likes horror; she doesn't. "I tried getting her to watch 'Saw,'" he says. "She wouldn't." Instead, she watches ABC's "Ugly Betty," a hit of the new season. Vescera clearly doesn't love the show. "It's OK," he says, "but to me, it seems senseless, in a way." Luckily, he has a different work schedule from his wife, so their tastes can coexist easily.
That's not an issue for Deborah Martin, 23, of Lovingston, Va. and her partner, Joshua. "We like the same stuff," she says. After work, the two will often turn on "Heroes," NBC's new hit, or "Day Break," the Taye Diggs drama ABC has now pulled from its schedule. "We enjoy sitting down, eating together and watching," she says.
Tim Peterson, a chiropractor in Amarillo, Texas, is partial to serial suspense dramas _ especially Fox's "24" _ but, he says, "I have to pay attention to make sure it doesn't rule my life." Peterson, 37, also watches "Prison Break" and "Survivor," and tapes "The Office" and "My Name is Earl."
His wife, Shonda, doesn't watch a lot, he says, but when she does, it's not "24" _ "she's just not into that action and suspense at all." The couple has three children, so a movie outing is usually a family double-feature at the drive-in.
Most respondents interviewed said the differing tastes don't disturb the flow of the household _ it's just a matter of trading off. For Cave, the South Carolina real estate agent, it's also a matter of being generous.
"I pay more attention to his movies than he does to mine," she says.
The telephone poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Dec. 12-14 by Ipsos, an international polling firm. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
AP Manager of News Surveys Trevor Tompson contributed to this report.
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