Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Boob Tube

This summer, while my sistah bloggahs are being the Buddha and bringing bitchy back, respectively, I will be solely responsible for keeping a thumb on the pulse of pop culture. Those who know me will be shocked to learn that I have recently allowed my People subscription to lapse, but come on… a paper magazine? My free time is devoted to Me and You and Ellie, blog to the stars.

But without my weekly Peeps, the mission to stay abreast of real current events like who has gone meth to mommy and what a person close to George Clooney has to say about why he dumped his fear-factor motorcycle-crash girlfriend would require a new set of stealthy skills and a time commitment that I am not sure I want to undertake. I’d rather watch t.v.

I am a tv fan. Not as bad as that kid from willy wonka, but a fan for sure. I have a lot of shows that I watch regularly. With the dawn of the DVR (cue angel chorus), it is possible to watch every show you’ve ever heard of, whenever you feel like it. And get this – my DVR not only allows me to pause, rewind, fast forwardX3, and save it forever; it also shows me the ID of a person calling me, ON THE TV.

So I watch a lot of shows at night, but there are only a few that I really can not stand to miss. The crux of my tv habit is motivated by the mood of the evening. There are several possibilities for the accommodation of my viewing needs on any given night.

First, there is the thinking category. These are the shows that make me want to engage in discourse around the storyline. Usually, the conversation is between myself and the tv, but I like to think that my couchbuddyhusband also enjoys my witty repartee on occasion before his neck muscles give out on him and he has to apply a pillow. This category would include the late “newsy” shows like Dateline and 48 hours Mystery, as well as dramas like House, CSI and Law and Order (love the DUN dun. And the omnipresence). The thinking category can also include a heavy dose of Whaaaaaat? in the form of shows like Lost. But once you give up and turn the channel, it falls into the stupid fucking category, and we are not getting into that today.

The thinking show’s alterego and sometime nemesis is the smart category. Because the two are not mutually exclusive, a show can be smart but not thinking, or thinking but not smart. Does that make sense? I don’t know, ask my mojito. The smart shows are riveting, be they comedic or dramatic or whathaveyou-ic. Smart shows are subtle, they don’t have obnoxious laugh tracks to alert you to The Funny. The Office and 30-Rock are smart. My favorite recent moment from The Office was when Michael Scott threw up his hands in disgust at a job fair where he’d found the potential young interns wary of his lure and said: “thanks aLOT, Dateline.” Smart.

Another category of my television viewing whimsy is the “wash over me”. This is when I am done thinking; it’s been a long goddamn day. This is the time when it’s hard to click past Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and reruns of Will and Grace, Friends, Seinfeld, or Sex and the City.

The last category for now, although it’s clear to me that a sequel to this post could be imminent because Weeds returns next week, is the “Can’t help but watch”. This feeds my fixation with reality tv. This is embarrassing. I can own up to Survivor, I can justify American Idol just based on the sheer number of other fools watching, but how can I look you in the eye and tell you that I watched the season finale of Workout last night? Or that I know the first names of everyone who works at Charm City Cakes? Who can I talk to about how great it is that Paige Davis is back? Who understands why Andrew Dan Jumbo is on my “freebie” list? How irritating was the whole Power of Veto thing? As I write this, my mojito and I have half an eye on So You Think You Can Dance, which is on again tomorrow in a network throw-down with Last Comic Standing. Does this category include Weird Shows on Lifetime, like “The 85 Pound Tumor” or “Half a Woman”, or is this a separate phenomenon?

I don’t know, but I will tell you this: if it can’t be Antonia, I’m rooting for Stephanie.

(post script: yay!)


Anonymous said...

Shoof; that's a load off. I'm so relieved you're willing to man the pop culture front this summer because I just cancelled cable. Yes, it's true. The lights are off, and I even have to return the beloved DVR box within the next 8 days.

Anonymous said...

Well, while I'm being the Buddha, and Beth's being, well, you-know-what, YOU, my little feathered friend, can keep us apprised of all things Pop Culture.

The good news is I actually read the paper again, since the BAR I work at gets FIVE daily papers, so I'm doing better with world news and sports.

But I'm a pop culture moron. And multiply that by double infinity to get to my level of television moronness (moronity? moronitis?). Seeing as how I don't OWN one and all.

Not having had it for years (except when I'm at YOUR house, Jacquie), I don't miss it. But Beth? Hmmmmm. I'm thinking those girls of yours are going to rebel. There may be a mutiny. I just hope it doesn't happen to you on an empty stomach...

Tess said...


Whoa. This is an awesome tv post, and I love me some tv posts.

So true on the smart vs. thinking. When I mention how much I love The Office and 30 Rock, people either love or hate those shows, and those who hate are the types that aren't interested in bringing their BRAINS to a sit com. Which, fine, but don't call ME the dumb one for liking them.

I WATCH WORKOUT TOO. OMG, I do. I thought I was the only one. And Survivor (STILL!) and Last Comic Standing. And Ace of Cakes. And of COURSE, the best reality show EVER, SYTYCD.

Separated! At! Birth!

So awesome.

Anonymous said...

My kids have been TV-deprived for years -- ever since I thought Anneke had Tourette syndrome. So lucky for me, they will not even know.

Anonymous said...

So glad you and Jacquie have found eachother, Tessie. Your lives must have been so vacant before now.....

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on this site a few weeks ago and love it!
Laugh outloud funny. But no People? What will you do?

Anonymous said...

Jacquie, if you get desperate you can always go on It's guilt free since you don't have to pay for useless celebrity news. Yes, I confess. I waste 5 minutes per day looking at celebrity faces and reading about Jennifer Aniston cuddling up with John Mayer.
Beth, welcome to the no cable club. We thought by not having cable (it's been 12 years) we could escape the world of bad TV. The thing is, you can watch all the shows online. There is no escape. I've gotten addicted to shows that a year ago I only knew from reading People. Oh well....

KatBouska said...

I applaud your tv diversity. I find myself ONLY watching the mindless shows I should not be watching. Flava flav? Check. America's Next Top Model? Check. The Bachelorette? Check.

Need I go on?

Though lately I'm finding my new obsession with blogging is overriding my desire to watch tv. I know! Shocking to me too.