Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Colonated TV and plot twists, an exceptionally long and pointless rant about TV.

The Mrs. and I were discussing TV today.  It's just getting silly, all the various versions of the same show.  First, we Law and Order.  Then came L&O: SVU, L&O: Criminal Intent, L&O: Los Angeles, and now even L&O: UK.

The CSI franchise is jumping this particular shark, too.  CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: Florida, and coming this fall, CSI: Dogfart, NH. 

Oh, and I can't leave out the colon-ization of NCIS to NCIS:Los Angeles. (And NCIS: Hawaii, which is really Hawaii Five-O.) (Also called NCIS: with Asians.)
Then producers went ape-shit like Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen after day four of their rehab, with the "Real" housewives of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Orange County, Atlanta, New York, and New Jersey.  Still waiting for "Real" housewives who aren't married to millionaires, don't cheat, aren't catty and bitchy 24-7, actually raise children, (not just have them,) and can have an intelligent conversation about something besides plastic surgery, Botox, ass fat, and dildos.

Now, Criminal Minds is all set for getting its colon-puffed with CM:  Suspect Behavior. 
I guess what I am really carping at here is the lack of any newness on the TV.  It's like producers just say "Hey!  This show is kinda popular.  Let's just spin off the same format, put it in another city (pick from the list of five approved cities) and add a new cast, which looks mostly like the other cast.  Then we'll do a special two-part show, where the first cast meets, or otherwise has some tie-in, with the second cast.  Do you know the best part?  We don't even have to think of a name!"

It's frustrating, as when I do watch TV, I actually like to be entertained.  I don't always need to be engaged intelligently; there are days when I really get into Tosh.0 marathons.  But other times, I like watching shows that I can't figure out whodunit before the first break.  (For you fans of Bones, it's usually whomever they talk to first, but then disregard as an unlikely suspect.)  I will readily watch the implausible over the formulaic, too.  I would rather watch Psych, instead of any of the L&O clones... its written better, and is more the stories play out in a manner that is both interesting and engaging.  I’d rather watch a drunken Timothy Hutton mumble through Leverage instead of the same characters do the same shtick on NCIS.  Or most shows that aren't on the "Big Four."  For instance, I like (always have, actually) Dr. Who.  I like Leverage.  I like The Walking Dead.  I really like shows that tell a good tale, without seeing the exact same formula for every episode, and every time I see a re-run.

The Mrs. still clings to American Idol, and yes, she does get mad about the cruel comments I make about EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has "suffered such hardship" and "worked so hard" and needs their life played out like some kind of docudrama before they can sing crappy covers of bubblegum pop in front of The Perverted old man from Family Guy, Gigli, and The Village Idiot (Steve Tyler, Jell-O, and Randy Jackson for those of you who don't watch.)  I miss the foreign guy who used to excoriate people with the truth, hit on the coked-out porn star, while the Village Idiot tried to figure out how percentages work.  This year, the back-story on one wanna-be was that her house burned down.  Big, fat, hairy stinking deal.  Another was a guy who had Tourettes, Aspergers, and whose dad OD'd when he was eight.  Big, Fat, Hairy (Stupid Bitch!) Deal.  You were eight.  That was 12 years ago, get over it already.  You barely knew the guy, and he obviously loved the smack more than he loved you.  Your dad was a failure in life, and certainly as a father.  Good to see that you are now a father, and living in poverty, and have pinned your child's future hopes on your ability to convince enough Justin Bieberettes to text your number to AT&T every week.  Another chick's sad, sad tale of woe was how her parents had to leave their life of luxury in some banana republic and move to America when the revolutionaries came.  She was an infant then, is drop dead gorgeous now, and can sing, too.  It’s a hard-knock life, indeed.  One guy's sob story came from his fiancée who was in a car accident and is now a semi-functioning vegetable. None of it has to do with how well they can sing, on a show that is supposedly about a singing competition.  Do you know what I think is the worst part?  The "Please, I've worked so hard" whimpering when they get shit-canned.  I've had to learn how to walk again.  I’ve had to learn how to feed myself and put on clothes for myself again... and my recovery, compared to many, was easy.  Don't tell me how hard you've worked, or what you think you deserve.  Most of you ritards are still in your teens and very early twenties, (which is really the same thing) and you don't know the meaning of "hard work," or "deserve."

Finally, the other thing that pisses me off about TV, is that every single action-drama plot is either about jihadis stealing a nuke and threatening to set it off; or (and more commonly) evil guys stealing a nuke while pretending to be jihadis, so they can make a killing in the stock market.  Is that the best we can do?  Can we get a good plot that maybe revolves around jihadis actually being the bad guys, who actually do bad things?  Could we maybe see a plot that doesn't involve a nuclear option?  It just isn't scary like it used to be--maybe because we all saw "Threads" and "The Day After" back in the 80's and after that, came to accept that one nuke wouldn't be nearly as bad as ALL THE NUKES IN RUSSIA.   Maybe even consider a show where (gasp!) they actually manage to set off the nuke.  Or a dirty bomb.  Or a chemical weapon.  Or, and this would be REALLY SCARY, a biological weapon.  You know--those pesky things that the jihadis can actually grow in their bathtubs.  Once a city has had that exposed to it, how do you stop the spread?   Not something you can resolve neatly in an hour, or even a season.  Multiple plot lines and story arcs--the guys who go after the bad guys, the families and couples who lose, and survive, the devolution of society to anarchy, the reestablishment of society, the decontamination ,the whole nine yards.  Okay Hollyweird, there's your freebie.  Get cracking.


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