Thursday, February 09, 2006

TV Nation & Other Immoral Pursuits

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".


Mike said...

I worked with a guy for many years who proudly proclaimed that he never watched TV. While 90% of the time, I couldn't blame him, I did find that he was amazingly ill-informed about all things cultural and most up to the minute events in the world.

Other than cable news, which I am completely addicted to, I love the show "House" on Fox. I think I spend most of the rest of my time wtching the Discovery and History channels.

CKW said...

From 9am till 4pm the history channel had pretty much the whole history of guns, from Big guns, little guns, magnums, russian guns. 5 hours of guns. Mostly I didn't watch but the russian episode had the guy that invented the AK-47 and the guy that designed the M-16 both sitting at a park bench talking. I thought that was pretty cool. Some of these science type shows have really gotten into things that even Jeraldo would be thrilled to be a part of, like getting geek scientists to build pyramids according to their theories. I love it when they get all mad 'cause their theories don't work.

I used to be one of those that said I don't watch Tv which was before I got digital cable and laid off.
The final "modern marvels" episode for the day "bricks" not sure how that related to all those guns, but even still for 15 minutes I marvelled at what was essentially clay. Oh and this one brick collector, had probably 300 bricks in his basement.

Gimme a hockey game anyday and I'm happy.