who's in the kitchen

A smart television needs smart humans


A few years ago, on Black Friday, my husband Jerry perused his beloved Amazon to find bargains that nobody else wanted. He searched category by category until he hit upon the perfect TV for our den. It had great reviews, and everything a TV aficionado, particularly a sports madman, can’t live without.

“A smart TV!” he gushed. “I really need this, it would operate like a driverless car.” He figured he would do nothing but tell the TV what he wanted to watch, and presto change-o, it would immediately provide him with the heartache of watching his beloved Giants’, Knicks’ and Rangers’ catastrophic performances. (He could always kvell over his Yankees, so all would not be lost.) A modern age 21st-century genie, matched with Jerry’s Stone Age technological incompetence. Jerry’s wish would be its command.

The TV arrived, and Jerry was determined to take it for a spin. We had our cable box hooked up to the other side of the den wall so we wouldn’t have wires hanging all over the place. Once it was all installed, Jerry was ready.

Much to his chagrin, he now had to get used to two remote controls instead of one. He didn’t realize that a smart TV is a traditional television set with integrated Internet and Web2.0 features, allowing you to stream music and videos, browse the Internet and view photos.

I watched him try to turn it on. It took him a while to figure out which remote had to be used first. Once the TV was on, he realized that he had to point to what he wanted. He hit every icon except the one he needed. He was almost defeated.

Jerry realized that the smart TV was plenty smart, but unfortunately it needed to be matched with a technologically smart human. He gave up, and would watch it when his son or daughter were over, or my kids were home. I am quite happy to watch my 19-inch not-so-smart TV in the kitchen, so I wasn’t very involved in the TV in the den.

Two years later, I thought it was ridiculous that we had this TV that was never really used. I picked up the remote, and it did not turn the TV on. I saw no batteries so I figured something was wrong. I called the technician. It was ridiculous, we barely used it at all and it was already not working. Something must be wrong with cable box in the garage.

The technician said he would be able to come over in a few days, but in the meantime he would try to walk me through it. So once again I picked up the remote and pointed it at the TV. Nothing happened. He asked me to confirm that it was the right remote.

“Of course it is,” I said. “It’s the one right here on the couch that my husband always used.”

Or so I thought. Turns out the remote was an old one that had nothing to do with this TV. I now had to find the remote that came with it, then charge it for 24 hours. Three days later I found it between the couch cushions and plugged it in. I cannot tell you the feeling of accomplishment when the TV went on. But now, I had to learn how to use it!

My first try, there was no Internet connection. I tried everything I could think of but no luck. I called my cable company. The agent on the phone said not to worry, I just had to put in my password. “No problem,” I said. Except I didn’t remember ever setting up a password. I realized it must have been one of the kids who did it for us. But nobody seemed to know what the password was, so now I had to change it.

An hour and a half later everything was cleared up, but at that point I literally wanted to rip the TV off the wall and throw it through the window. I took a deep breath, turned on the TV, managed to get to Amazon and find The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and then mastered Netflix.

Jerry may be the only one in the house who can do the heavy lifting, recite quotes from any of the classics or great philosophers, but the only time Jerry is able to watch TV is when I’m there to work my magic. I love how he watches me with great respect. “Ju,” he says, “you’re almost as smart as the smart TV!”

And speaking of smart … here is a healthy, easy frozen yogurt Popsicle recipe that is not difficult to make.

Fruit Froyo Smart Popsicles



2 cups yogurt (either fat free or regular, vanilla or plain)

2 cups fruit (either frozen or fresh)


Blend the two ingredients either in a food processor, blender or by hand. For chunky Popsicles, chop the fruit and mix by hand. Freeze for at least three hours. Run under hot water for up to 30 seconds to release the Popsicles.