Justin Wehr on how Community is awesome and so is TV but…
I don’t mean to be another pretentious I’m-above-TV guy, because I’m not. TV is above me. It dominates me, it makes me want to do nothing but sit in front of its glowing glory. In a real way, it scares me, because it shows me how powerless I am. […] The danger of TV and of passive entertainment more generally is not just that it takes time away from better things. The real danger is that it makes better things seem harder.
A couple months ago I set aside Sunday mornings as a sacred, no-interference-allowed time for books and nerdery. It’s a guaranteed 3-5 hours of learning. No regrets whatsoever. And then on Sunday afternoons I watch/play sports because that’s what you do.
Wehr in the World: 30+ hours of TV later…
A TV episode produced inexpensively and restricted in scope to use as few non-regular cast members, effects, and sets as possible. Most bottle episodes are shot on sets already built for other episodes, frequently the main interior sets for a series, and consist largely of dialogue or scenes for which no special preparations are needed.
Bottle episode – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The old cop who chafed at institutional limits has undergone a neoliberal transformation: The result is a new kind of series that we might call the consultant procedural. A derivative of the cop and private investigator procedurals, the consultant procedural starts with some sort of institutional disqualification and follows the central character as he or she ports unmatched professional skills from job to job.
The consultant procedural! This is brilliant.
Upping the Antihero – The New Inquiry
Extreme couponers, if you count the value of their time, basically make a modest living doing below-minimum-wage marketing work for the coupon-based marketing universe that welcomes them as raving fans.
From the point of view of the stores, far from being hostile opponents in some asymmetric game of chess, these are merely cheap and committed marketers. They are encouraged to model, in extreme ways, the very couponing behaviors that the marketing machine wants others to emulate in less extreme ways.
Which is exactly what happens. So long as you and I casually clip and use coupons, inspired by the extreme couponers in our midst, the grocery stores still comes out on top. If the extreme couponers’ leadership behavior were to actually lead to large-scale loss-driving sedition by too many customers, the store could easily staunch the losses overnight, by making minor changes to coupon-redemption rules.
I hadn’t thought about it this way.
The Gollum Effect
Although I can’t vouch for anything beyond the second season, Mendelsohn’s critique seems fair. (via)
Worst of all—in a drama with aspirations to treating social and historical “issues”—the show is melodramatic rather than dramatic. By this I mean that it proceeds, for the most part, like a soap opera, serially (and often unbelievably) generating, and then resolving, successive personal crises (adulteries, abortions, premarital pregnancies, interracial affairs, alcoholism and drug addiction, etc.), rather than exploring, by means of believable conflicts between personality and situation, the contemporary social and cultural phenomena it regards with such fascination: sexism, misogyny, social hypocrisy, racism, the counterculture, and so forth.
A few years ago, I read a collection of Mendelsohn’s criticism, most of it anyway, and found it quite enjoyable.
The Mad Men Account by Daniel Mendelsohn | The New York Review of Books
A soccer game is a Wagner opera. The narrative sets up, the tension builds, the music ebbs and flows, the strings, the horns, more tension, and suddenly a moment of pure bliss, trumpet-tongued Gabriel sings, and gods descend from Olympus to dance—this peak of ecstasy. During these moments, I no longer am my usual self, no longer human. I am connected to life. Call it bliss, call it ecstasy, call it what you will. In that moment, I not only see God, I am God. I am not only connected to life, I am connected to my TV!
Explaining Wagner’s Relevance To Soccer | The New Republic
“At the most basic level, I stopped following sports because being a sports fan took too much time.” That’s pretty much my main reason for half-hearted fandom. (via)
Why I stopped being a sports fan – John Swansburg – Slate Magazine
MAD MEN – “Have you ever been hunting?” I’m a latecomer to the best television show I’ve ever seen, only about 75% through with the first season. This is the best scene so far.
“If you pan & scan Lawrence of Arabia, you lose the desert.” (via kottke)
Nothing happened today. Sometimes I wish news were like that every day.
Nick Hornby interviews David Simon, of The Wire fame:
There are two ways of traveling. One is with a tour guide, who takes you to the crap everyone sees. You take a snapshot and move on, experiencing nothing beyond a crude visual and the retention of a few facts. The other way to travel requires more timeÄîhence the need for this kind of viewing to be a long-form series or miniseries, in this bad metaphorÄîbut if you stay in one place, say, if you put up your bag and go down to the local pub or shebeen and you play the fool a bit and make some friends and open yourself up to a new place and new time and new people, soon you have a sense of another world entirely. WeÄôre after this: Making television into that kind of travel, intellectually.
A video montage of almost all the uses of Turbo Boost in the Knight Rider television show. I used to watch Knight Rider religiously. [via waxy]
Allsimps.com links to streaming video of all the Simpsons episodes. Has it really been 18 seasons already??