Monday, July 09, 2007

Monkey diseases...

and other issues.

Those two guys are The Conchords. They have a new show on HBO you should watch. But more on that later.

Let's talk TV. I like TV. In the words of Chance Gardener, I like to watch.

When I hear someone say they don't I think they're:

1. Lying sacks of pretentious crap, or
2. Having a much more interesting social life than I am.

Because I like TV. Not network TV because, other thean The Office and a handful of others, the stuff that's cranked out for broadcast is one giant crapfest. Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those who will go on and on about The Golden Age because TV's almost always been a huge fetid landscape of ordure.

What is American Idol but Ted Mack's Amateur Hour with Vegas production values and a post-millennial mean streak? The game shows that are proliferating across the airwaves like bunnies are just the progeny of I've Got A Secret and Queen For A Day. Jesus, that was 30-minute exercise in national humiliation, all for a new fucking refrigerator.

Is Two and a Half Men any lamer than Three's Company or any other show Aaron Spelling squeezed out from between his withered old white buttocks? I don't think so.

The difference is now we have cable. And I, like everyone, have a few guilty pleasures. I can't pass by What Not to Wear without giving it at least a glance. I don't know why. And I've got stuck on those VH1 sarcasm festivals for hours on a drowsy afternoon when I could have been studying Italian or remodeling my kitchen.

I confess to loving the History Channel, although it sometimes feels like the Hitler Channel. Every time I stop on it I seem to catch that same D-Day clip with the GIs running up the beach and one man falls at the waterline, every damn time. I keep hoping that just once he'll duck the bullet and make it to the seawall, but no, he's destined to fall. And then I wonder who he was and where he was from and is there a family who still has his picture on the mantle and his Purple Heart in a drawer.

I'm also a sucker for the Military Channel, although they carry this warrior worship to almost obscene heights. They breathe just a little too heavily over weapons tech, too. Yes, I think the 1911 Colt and M-1 Garand are fine examples of industrial design, but I can't get all that worked up over the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. I can't.

Then there are the shows that reinforce my suspicion that our culture is in irreversible decline - Bridezilla, My Sweet Sixteen, Fox and Friends.

But the real reason I keep my TV is for HBO. While the networks churn out Big Brother, Dancing With The Stars and endless spin-offs of Law & Order and CSI, HBO is producing shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Deadwood, Six Feet Under and Band of Brothers.

Now that's some goddamn good TV. And here's a new show, Flight of the Conchords, one of the most inspired comedies I've seen in a long time. If you have HBO, check it out.

If you don't have HBO, what the hell are you watching?

Guilty pleasures, undiscovered treasures, shows you love to the amazement of everyone who knows you and shows you don't tell anyone you watch? Come on, confess.

It'll be just between us.


Anonymous said...

Book TV (Cspan 2 on weekends)
(Authors discussing their work)
Weather Channel - for brief updates
CNN - for brief updates (if Paris leads, things are okay)
Law and Order - always on - suitable backdrop for reading.
Fox News - always on - good for building tolerance and equanimity in the face of utter nonsense.
Whatever reality show my daughter watches on visits e.g. Dirty Jobs, Rob and Big, etc.

Anonymous said...

But admit it David, when Bridezilla is on, you just can't look away!

Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch, Mythbusters-my television pretty much hasn't moved from the Discovery Channel since HBO cancelled everything I liked watching. Bastards.

Jim Winter said...

You mean aside from BG, THE WIRE, and DEADWOOD?

Well, I've started watching JERICHO now that CBS has wised up and saved it. They say the show takes place in the present. Which means George Bush was vaporized in the first episode. It's already my favorite show on television just for that. (But Columbus, Ohio, as the new capital?)

I've also grown addicted to History's ICE ROAD TRUCKERS. It's, like, cold in Yellowknife, eh?

Anonymous said...

Two shows that I adore - Weeds and Friday Night Lights.

I, like Jim, am also strangely addicted to Ice Road Truckers. It's awesome.

Beneath the Carolina Moon said...

David Brinkley was the last newsman (that I could agree with). Northern Exposure was the last TV show for entertainment (at least it was a place I would have fit). What is that line about TV being the cause of outer space being a vacuum?

Marianne said...

What do I watch?

LOST when it's on,
Murder mysteries on PBS when they're on,
Reruns of CSI (original version only) 'cause I like puzzles,
Old movies on TCM, and modern classics for background noise,
Doctor Who!! 'Cause there is quality writing through most of it, and quality acting. :-D

Can't stand Rap music, and reality shows that mostly teach people to forget morals and manners, and backstab their way to the top or the winners circle. These shows and this music is reshaping society at fundamental levels and I don't like it.