Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Like sand through the hourglass . . .

Annie Hall: It's so clean out here.
Alvy Singer: That's because they don't throw their garbage away, they turn it into television shows.

As I've written before, I haven't had cable TV installed in my place of residence since '02. Even after all these years, I like not having the temptation to endlessly channel-hop. The amount of time that frees up to read a book, surf the Internet, watch a DVD and exercise is immense. And I'd like to keep it that way.

While there is plenty of great stuff on TV, so much else is -- not necessarily terrible, but -- easy to get hooked into. And that's where things really touch on a weakness I have.

Nevermind all the hours I spent watching cartoons as a kid or MTV as a teenager, but I distinctly remember watching USA one summer almost every single weekday. What was the hook in their mid-morning? Superior Court, Divorce Court and a similar-themed show whose name eludes me now.

Unlike The People's Court, these shows did not pretend to be real, although they positioned themselves as inspired by true events. Divorce Court even had a real-life judge named William B. Keene, so there was some sense of real justice being at work. I knew these shows were not the most enlightening, but hey, they were on. And they were very easy to watch and mock.

Much like watching Days of Our Lives while Marlena was possessed, the hook was it was so bad, but funny and hard to stop watching. Very similar to how I feel about most "reality" shows today, there's a reason why I don't watch this kind of stuff. I care more about John Belushi's career while reading Belushi or David Lynch's career in Lynch On Lynch than wondering which girl will win Rock of Love. Besides, that form of presentation often creates a false sense of caring. Frankly, that's not something I can fathom spending much time, energy and money for.

Am I missing something or are my views sounding more like Woody Allen's views on TV circa Annie Hall?


the secret knitter said...

There's plenty of quality TV out there, and of course there is an overwhelming amount of dreck. I guess it depends if you hold the worst of the medium against it. Does the existence of trash romance novels or lowest common denominator movies detract from your enjoyment of good books and films?

Eric Grubbs said...

No, they don't. It's all because of how I access books and movies. It's different than watching TV.

If I had to dig through shelves of terrible books and movies in order to find good books and movies every single time I went to the book/DVD store, I might have a different perspective.