Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Six Hours Of My Life - Wasted

Did anyone else make the mistake of watching AMC's The Prisoner?

After night one, I honestly can't tell you why we continued watching except I think we both thought/hoped that there was going to be some kind of resolution/explanation that would validate the truly horrible plot development.

We were wrong.

Since I'm sure most of you didn't see it, I'm not going to bore you with my list of complaints (truth be told, I liked none of it; I cannot think of a single redeeming moment), instead I'd like a moment to discuss why we are so so so much stupider than we used to be.

Much like I'm sure you thought my elevation of Genesis to Band of a Generation status was hyperbole, I am confident you are going to think my declaration that Zoolander was a highly prescient film is so much making a point. But I am constantly reminded of a line that Owen Wilson says when told where to find the secret files: "they're IN the computer?" TV and film are making me feel like that all the time.

I'll elaborate. CSI is a show we used to watch until the creepy people started mating with one another. The pre-opening credits bit would always have William Petersen making some sort of pun or on-the-nose observation. But it was always spelled out - think Austin Powers, "I guess he'll never be the HEAD of a major corporation." Except where Austin Powers was making a joke, Petersen's character was being serious. It seems that we, as a society, are no longer able to connect the dots so our characters spell everything out for us. It's in the computer indeed.

I know that there are pockets of light amid the endless aaargh, 30 Rock stands out especially, but if you'll remember, the show was a critic's darling and a commercial failure at first. See also Arrested Development. I'm devoted to my television. Endlessly devoted. It's what I have on while I'm knitting. Or eating. Or doing my nails. And while, as a secondary entertainment perhaps you feel I shouldn't be so picky, I just need more than I'm getting. We stopped recording new V because it just didn't have the juice. A former fave, Nip/Tuck, is now a withered husk of itself. There are only so many times I can rewatch seasons 1-4 of The West Wing and the I Claudius miniseries.

And the future is not that bleak. Just the other day I sat opposite a high school student on the train. And he was reading! A book. Yes, it was for school, but the book was The Odyssey. This gives me hope as I thought Dalton was the only school that still made its high schoolers read this. Any generation of kids who can get through The Odyssey can make it through a television show that is more challenging than watching the clothes in the dryer.

I can tell you're bored of me. Fine. Go stand in line for your tickets to see a movie about teen vampires. Me and my soapbox will keep each other company.

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