A week or so ago in Salon Heather Havrilesky ripped TV a new one:
The golden age of television may be over just a few short years after it began. 2008 not only marked one of the worst years of TV in the last decade, but all of the momentum and promise of the past few years seemed to vanish in a haze of crappy, unoriginal new programming, lackluster sophomore shows, flaccid sitcoms and pointless cable comedies.
Deservedly so, too. Just months and years removed from the likes of The Wire, Six Feet Under and The Shield, we’re now faced with this harbinger of doom:
And has there ever been a more depressing sign of TV’s demise than the move by NBC to give Jay Leno, the epitome of a guy who’s flatly bad at his job but continues to be promoted for reasons utterly mysterious to mortal man, a whopping five hours of prime-time real estate, thereby saving themselves from the unpleasant work of finding worthwhile programming to fill their nightly 10 p.m. slot?
The Star also weighed in with a recap (less with the doomsday, more with the funny) of the past year’s horror show:
Herbie Hancock wins Album of the Year at the “Granny” Awards as music pundits slap their foreheads and check their calendars. Nope, it’s not 1983. Ratings plummet.
Cloris Leachman dresses like a rapper and asks, “What’s up, homeys?” in an old school hip-hop number on Dancing With the Stars. Viewers, horrified at the spectre of the 82-year-old Emmy winner in short shorts and rapper’s cap, vote her off the following week.
The concept of TV as art seems to be just about dead. Apart from the seven shows I actually care about — 30 Rock, Battlestar Galactica, The Daily Show, Friday Night Lights, Life, The Office and The Unit — I’m increasingly seeing the TV as nothing more than a sports & movie delivery device.
Just declare the 4 big American networks 24-hour reality TV channels and be done with it. HBO can buy Netflix and we’ll all be happy.
I like Life. Not just the state of being, mind you; the NBC show too. If you haven’t watched the first season, you should. Charlie Crews (played by the remarkable Damien Lewis) is one of the more interesting characters on TV. The second season has been okay too, but as with all shows based on the concept of a single season, it’s lost some steam. Still, I’ll keep watching on the strength of Lewis, the writing and Crews’ partner Dani Reese, played by my girlfriend du jour Sarah Shahi.
It’s Shahi that’s prompted me to write this actually. For those of you who actually watch the show but aren’t caught up, or plan to watch it some day, stop reading now: there be spoilers here. The rest of you, who saw the most recent episode, can join me in saying, “Dear NBC: what the hell ass balls would prompt a character played by Sarah Shahi, surely one of the most stunning women on the planet, to be attracted to — let alone kiss — a character played by Donal Logue, a nice guy and fine actor to be certain, but whose attractiveness maxes out around “shlubby” and who is regrettably done up here as a smarmy greaseball?” Please refer to the equation below for more detail:
Now, I know this isn’t NBC’s fault. This, and the dozens of situations like this we see on TV every day, is the chauvinistic byproduct of a male-dominated writers guild, but surely NBC has someone on staff who could call foul on the play when the imbalance is this silly. The lunacy used to be contained to sitcoms. Alas, the sickness has spread.
It’s warm outside. Crazy warm. July warm. Thanksgiving is supposed to be the start of sweater weather, but we’ve actually got the fan running right now. 32 degrees? That’s nutty.
I forgot to mention: yesterday, on our way to meet CBGB for breakfast before the ladies went shopping, Nellie and I saw a water bottle rolling around the floor of the subway. Except it wasn’t filled with water anymore. It was filled with something yellow. I double-checked the label (from a distance, naturally) and it wasn’t apple juice or ginger ale or anything else. The water had been replaced by…well, I guess someone just couldn’t hold it.
Today’s been a day of high-caliber relaxation. We slept until 10, and have spent the entire day catching up on our TV backlog. THE ENTIRE DAY. Oh, and I may have been too harsh in my indictment of the new TV shows…Dirty Sexy Money isn’t bad, and Life is actually pretty good so far. Anyway, today’s one of those great vacation days…no school, no work, no planning, no errands, no stress…just chilling and regeneration.
Yesterday — which wasn’t exactly stressful either — we watched Shut Up And Sing (imdb | rotten tomatoes), the documentary about the Dixie Chicks following Natalie Maines’ dig at President Bush just as the Iraq war kicked off. It was, as advertised, very good. There wasn’t much new information (to me, anyway) and the uproar wasn’t quite as intense as I had thought — or it wasn’t portrayed that way, at least — but there was lots of interesting subject matter: details of the backlash, their disgust with the country music establishment, and the recording of their most recent album. Bonus: Rich Rubin and his dreadlocked dog make an appearance! Oh, and Natalie Maines is my girlfriend du jour.
[tags]toronto weather, pee in a bottle, dirty sexy money, life, dixie chicks, shut up and sing, girlfriend du jour[/tags]