Monday, February 9, 2009

Random Thoughts - Part 2 - "All Television Version"

Part 2 is here! I hope the weekend was long enough for you to digest the pointless blather from Part 1, because I have a whole new batch of drivel for you to waste your time ruminating over, and it’s all about television. If you are wondering why I chose to make an all-TV Random Thoughts post, it’s because television is the doorway to society, the entrance that we all share and that connects each of us to everyone else.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Internet is the stairwell to society, and music is the handrail. Umm…ok, enjoy.


I have yet to see a women’s fragrance or perfume commercial that I could even somewhat comprehend. They never make sense. Ever. One of them shows an umbrella just hovering in the air, following around Catherine Zeta Jones. What does that even mean? How is that about perfume? Or what about the one where Charlize Theron is speed walking and throwing all of her jewelry off, or where Keira Knightley is like riding a horse and running through a bunch of flowers? I don’t get it. How is that about perfume? Why should I buy it? Who puts on perfume and then rides horses and runs through a dewy meadow? It’s like these companies are trying to see how much worthless and confusing trash they can throw out there, while still getting you to pay $45 for a 4 oz. bottle of the stuff. We as a race of humans should be ashamed of ourselves.

Another thing I don’t understand is why television stations continue to show movies that are far too vulgar or dirty to put on regular television channels. Basic cable and even non-cable channels have this affinity for showing popular films, even if they are rated R or are unfit to be shown on TV without a ton of editing work. For example, stations are always showing Wedding Crashers, Training Day, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, despite the fact that all three of those movies are rated R and contain very, VERY mature content. Now, I think all of those movies are great films, but it pains me to watch them on television. Have you ever seen Training Day? They drop the “f-bomb” and the “n-word” about every .07 seconds. Wedding Crashers is littered with half-naked women and random expletives. The 40-Year-Old Virgin is so dirty, it could make George Carlin blush. So why show them on television? I mean, they have to either cut-out, bleep-out, or dub-over so many things (which just sounds and looks so real and natural) that half of the movie is altered before it can be shown. You can’t even understand half the things Denzel Washington says in Training Day, because every other word is getting bleeped-out. He sounds like R2-D2. And Wedding Crashers is like 45-minutes shorter on TV because half the scenes are cut out. They are all fantastic movies, and should be enjoyed by as many age-appropriate people as possible, but watching them on DVD or in the theater is the only way that makes sense. Otherwise, the movie is butchered, and it’s not fair to the film or the viewer. If you’re going to let your 8-year-old son watch an R rated film, either let him see the real deal, or make him wait until he’s old enough to see it on his own. Any other way, and the integrity of the picture just gets destroyed, and that is not what this country stands for.

One thing I do enjoy watching on television is the show Lost. Actually, enjoy is really not the best word. I have to watch Lost. Missing the show is not an option for me, not because it is so great, but because the show is so confusingly addictive, that I have to watch it to keep myself sane. I have been a viewer of the show for five seasons now, and after every episode, I just feel like I got beat in the face with a big sack of stupid for an hour straight. They keep introducing these ridiculous questions and concepts, but they never give any answers. They are constantly digging themselves deeper and deeper into an enchanting, spell-binding and utterly baffling labyrinth and I HAVE to find out what happens in the end. I’m like a crack head, and watching Lost once a week gives me my fix. I don’t want to watch it, but I need to see it in order to keep the bugs from crawling on my skin. I know it sounds messed up, but anybody that watches it understands exactly what I’m saying. I’ve written before that the title "Lost" has nothing to do with being stranded on a strange desert island; it is simply a description of how you feel after you watch it. I waste hours a week on random websites just trying to figure out what is going on in this show. When it ends in a couple years, I just know that I’m going to look back and realize how much of my life I wasted on an insane show that went nowhere. But I can’t stop now. I have to know how it ends. I’m going down with the ship.

A show that I actually enjoy watching is Friday Night Lights, and if you are not watching this show, then you need to start. The show is based on the popular book and subsequent blockbuster movie that follows a high school football team in the heart of Texas, examining the life and struggles of the players and coaches, as well as the life and struggles of their families and the town in which they live, and the role that football plays in all of it. The book was great, the movie was very good, and the show is fantastic. I’ll say it again; you NEED to start watching this show. If you like football, sports, or even just good television, then there is no way you will dislike this show. If you ever played a sport in high school, or even just went to high school, then there is no way you will dislike this show. If you ever lived in a small town, or know anyone that lived in a small town, or read a book about someone that lived in a small town, then there is no way you will dislike this show. So basically, you are going to like it…that’s the point I was trying to get across. It is currently on its third season and is on Friday nights at 9 (e.t.) on NBC. If you go out on Friday or play Mah-Jongg at your local retirement community (like I do) then you can watch the episodes online at NBC.com or Tivo them and watch them later. If you want to get caught up, you can watch the first two seasons at NBC.com or rent or buy the DVD’s. You will be amazed at how fast you will burn through them. The show has something for everyone. The football and the everyday workings of the team are very interesting. The relationships and actions between the characters in the show are unbelievably realistic and genuine; you will be able to identify every character with someone you went to high school with or someone you actually know. It has good-looking people in it, too. There isn’t an ugly actor or actress in the bunch. Minka Kelly (who plays Lyla Garrity) is a knock-out, and Taylor Kitsch (who plays Tim Riggins) is so man-pretty, he could turn Hugh Jackman into Liberace. I can say as a hetero-sexual, semi-manly guy, that Kitsch is one of the best looking men I have ever seen, and I am only mildly embarrassed to admit that. So even if you don’t like good television, you can just mute the sound and check out the good looking people. It will be worth it. I don’t care whether you are male or female, white or black, young or old; you should be watching this show. It is that good. And you can thank me later.

I mentioned Tivo earlier, and I have to say that the “DVR, home-digital recording” concept is becoming very popular. More and more people are starting to get some type of DVR device and using it to watch their favorite TV shows and programs at a time that is most convenient for them. However, people should not get too comfortable with the idea, because the television station Bravo is doing its best to give the DVR a slow and painful death. Bravo, which is a sister station of NBC, specializes in somewhat girly, reality television shows (which is of course, my specialty). However, Bravo has made it a purpose to destroy Tivo and everything it stands for. The station only has about 5 to 10 shows, so it constantly replays them over and over again throughout the week. Accidentally miss Top Chef at 10 on Wednesday? Well, luckily Bravo replays it for the next three hours after the show originally airs. And if you still haven’t seen it, they will show it again in a marathon of the entire season in about a day or two. And during any given week, you can see the entire season of The Real Housewives of Orange County recapped on about 3 or 4 different days. It’s astounding. There is absolutely no excuse for missing a show on Bravo that you want to see (unfortunately for Bravo, WANT is the key word there). Mark my words - in a few years, when Tivo slowly crashes and burns, Bravo will be there, high above the ruins, pointing and laughing. Or something like that. I’m just sure of it.



Seems like a good place to stop and let you collect your thoughts. I’m putting together my view on the recent Michael Phelps-bong outrage, and it should be up in a week or so.

Thanks for reading