Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another harmless addition

Perhaps because my apartment has no hot water, the rain, and having my folded umbrella spontaneously and violently unfold as I got onto the bus, the open end in the face of the startled bus driver, and the handle in the chest of winded me, I am not in a very good mood. And so I will follow on from yesterday’s candy and candy blog post with another website recommendation that chronicles a (fairly) harmless indulgence: television.

When I left home in 1997 and the thinking-man’s sitcom was having a moment in the spotlight (I hear it’s having another one now—true?) Sports Night, News Radio, I heard Fraiser though I never watched that one. I didn’t limit myself to shows that require actual thought, either; I recall being quite a fan of Dharma and Greg for reasons that now escape me. And then there was the cultural heroin that was Friends.

When I moved to Montreal, I was probably seriously addicted to close to a dozen half-hour wonders. Um, I did actually go out of the house in high school, but mainly on weekends, when there was nothing good on.

Possibly because they were blinded by their grief that I was moving to another province, my parents agreed to a lunatic project: they would tape all the shows I would miss (except Friends—no one has ever wanted to endorse my theory that that show is funny) and I would watch them in an orgy of loserdom over Thanksgiving and winter break. This continued into spring term, when they *mailed* me tapes (and homemade brownies, which my brother had individually wrapped in plastic). I can’t remember where I found a VCR to watch them on.

Anyway, quite obviously, this arrangement couldn’t last, and second year or thereabouts, I was on my own. The “favourite shows” list whittled down fast, and I learned to rely on heresay and memory. I can’t remember quite when I discovered Mighty Big TV, but it was a happy day: a website of meticulous tv play-by-plays. I think a lot of people read shows they’ve actually already seen, just for the very funny, sarcastic recappers MBTV employed, but I eventually came to love it as a tv surrogate. I adored The West Wing for years having seen only a couple episodes—-17 pages of recap is just as good, I felt, except I often forgot what the characters looked like.

After I moved to TO, I gave up on tv in both forms, visual and written, until the day Studio 60 came to town (sidenote: are you noticing a certain shared element amongst my favourite shows? Of my favourite *writers* in the world, only Aaron Sorkin writes for a non-print medium) and then I realized my broken tv wasn’t up to the task. I went in search of my old reliable MBTV and found that it was new, bigger and better, and owned by NBC under a different name: Television Without Pity. Still great, still thorough, still snarky. There are no shows that I am addicted to these days, sadly: even ones I like, I just like when I see them, I’m not worried about Liz Lemon’s life falling into disrepair without me. But sometimes it’s just fun to read about tv. I really do love it, just from afar.

Wow, such happy memories of being well-entertained. I feel better. Thanks for reading!

No room at the Holiday Inn


frede said...

"Noooo, nooooo and it's beginning to snow."

Have you ever watched the American President or A few Good Men? both excellent examples of the Aaron Sorkin oeuvre?

I'm sad you don't have a TV. You are a good person to dissect TV shows with. But in the long run, I'm sure you're better off: TV has gotten crappy since the late 90s.

Would you ever write TV? I was supposed to take a screenwriting workshop (even though I haven't written anything other than memos and essays since OAC writer's craft) but it was cancelled for low participation. :(

Rebecca Rosenblum said...

I *am* writing a tv show, possibly the reason for tv currently being foremost in my brain. It's called "Good Eggs" and my bro and I are writing it together. We are going to finish episode one tonight!!!

I think you would make a great screenwriter--I would totally watch your show!

I heart the American President!!

Kerry said...

Oh me too re American President! And I think Friends is funny-- am I wrong?

frede said...

OMG. Good Eggs. Is it confidential, tell me more !!!