Over on the Biblio list they got into a discussion this morning about "what do booksellers watch on tv?" Predictably, there were half a dozen posts from the folks who declared "I don't have a tv" or "I haven't watched in years". Well, ok, good. I'm proud of you. The question, however, obviously does not apply to you, so why chime in, except to impress us with your upstanding tv-less morality?
Television and movies are a lot like books- there's a lot a dross and a few gems. I'm not sure why folks feel so proud declaring "I never watch" -if you never watch, how the fuck do you know there's nothing on? It's like declaring you never read any modern fiction because there are no good modern novelists; well, how do you know?
But the question got me to make a list, which Joyce posted on Bibliophile Bullpen this afternoon, and which I will now expand on a bit-
The Office. If you enjoy reading Evelyn Waugh for his subtle but deadly satire then you will enjoy The Office. It is well written and superbly cast. It's like a chapter of Waugh a week, but brought up to date and set in a modern corporate office. Great fun. Why not just read Waugh, I hear you ask? Well, I've read all of them. Twice.
My Name is Earl. A wonderfully quirky show, which reminds me a bit of a Vladimir Voinovich novel, and which definitely draws on the influence of Magnus Mills' "The Restraint of Beasts" and "All Quiet on the Orient Express".
Project Runway. Good [fill in name of your favorite trash novelist here]-type fun. And, as I said here last week, what's not to like about a show where most of the women are hot and only partially clothed?
Desperate Housewives. OK, no good excuse. The moral equivalent of reading 'People' magazine. Sue me. Marcia Cross is a babe. And it's always interesting (in a creepy way) to see how thin poor Terry Hatcher can get. The woman needs to start eating again, this month, if possible. And this season we get to watch Alfre Woodard look devious, which she is really good at.
History Channel. Last night they had an interesting show on building demolition. You can read all the history and tech you want, sometimes it just pays to have moving pictures to go along with the story. I mean c'mon, when things go Boom, that calls for video and sound.
Arrested Development. What do you get when you combine elements of Fernando Arrabal's "The Compass Stone", William Monahan's "Lighthouse", Evelyn Waugh's "The Loved One", along with a pinch of Edgar Allan Poe, and make a television series out of it? That's right- something quirky, confusing and brilliant which very few people care to watch.
Boston Red Sox - anyone who follows their seasons on tv often finds themselves descending into something resembling a Kafka novel along about mid-August/early September.
Oops. Gotta go. It's almost time for "The Simpsons".