You Need to Watch More TVFeatured, Television, The Idiot Box — By Jordan Green on November 10, 2010 at 10:30 am
I posted this on Facebook the other night. It wasn’t exactly true, but I was amazed that the show had grown on me to any extent, seeing as I thought the first season was mediocre and overly dependent on ultra-shock value. I didn’t think I’d care after season one, but season two pulled me back into rooting for the despicably self-centered Kenny Powers.
Here’s what my friend posted in response:
“Do you ever think that you watch too much TV?”
And I thought about it, and yes I do. I watch way too much TV.
Here’s a list of shows airing right now that I love and prefer to watch on a weekly basis:
Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Friday Night Lights
Eastbound and Down
Bored to Death
The Walking Dead
Veronica Mars (season 2 on DVD)
Here’s a list of shows I can’t keep up with right now, but I probably will watch at a later date:
The Cleveland Show (better than Family Guy)
Saturday Night Live
Rubicon (I’m actually not even sure this is still going)
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
Here’s a list of shows on hiatus right now that I also love:
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Parks and Recreation
Here’s a list of shows that can bite me:
I mean, that’s a LOT of television. And that’s not counting shows I’d like to watch, like Battlestar Gallactica and…uh…Lost. I haven’t decided on that last one. Years of Facebook posts may have ruined it for me forever. It’s also not counting the three hours I spend every week watching the Oregon Ducks run all over the Pac-10, or the Blazer games I try and catch at night once the kid is asleep.
So when people make new suggestions, like Betsy Zabel’s recommendation of Parenthood to me a few weeks ago, I have to take stock. I wasn’t sure I could handle any more a few months ago, and yet I’ve added three hour-long shows since last year. It’s just way, way too much. I’m wasting my life, aren’t I?
But then look at those new shows! Boardwalk Empire is amazing, another contender for the best show on TV right now. I’m only one episode into The Walking Dead, but I’m in. I also added Veronica Mars, which is streaming on Netflix, but the wife and I are souring on the second run after an excellent first season.
So yes, I may be wasting my life to some extent. Perhaps I should be helping homeless teens, or selling healthy smoothies at farmers’ markets instead. I’m going to do some more soul-searching and get back to you.
In the meantime, here are some thoughts about some of the shows above!
It was jarring seeing the whole cast at church last week, right? What an odd episode. I know a lot of evangelicals have this distrust of how they’re represented in Hollywood, but it’s really more of a question of how they’re not represented at all…”The Christening” depicted Christians as service-oriented and happy people. Of course, the church had a woman pastor, so I’m sure that liberaled it up too much for some folks.
Is anyone else distracted by the use of Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen and Sarah Hyland (who plays Haley) as “subtle” sex symbols? The show is like, “Sure, these women are impossibly attractive, and we’re not opposed to showing you wall-to-wall cleavage (even if said cleavage is attached to someone portraying a minor), but this is a wholesome family show, dammit!”
I really like Modern Family, but I always get this vague sense I’m being pandered to because I’m male. I’m not dumb…I know this is something that happens in television…but I can’t help but notice it doesn’t happen as frequently on NBC, where even the hot characters (Pam and Kelly on The Office, Annie and Britta on Community) are toned down. Of course, maybe that’s why Modern Family is the number two most watched show in the country, and The Office is #14.
While AMC and HBO do battle over cable’s best network for hour-long drama, FX has taken slow ownership as the best comedy network on cable.
I shouldn’t say that…I don’t know what Comedy Central is doing outside South Park, Colbert/Stewart, and Daniel Tosh (who is very funny, but bizarrely overrated). But between Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, and Louie, FX has pulled in the three of the top five original comedies airing right now. The League is especially interesting for its depiction of life-long friends and the lives of people in their 30s. Sorry…that’s about the most boring way I could ever describe a show who’s Halloween episode had my wife and I laughing harder than we’ve laughed all year. For anyone scared off by the fantasy football aspect, don’t be…it’s a minor part of the show.
Friday Night Lights
Mindy and I started the final season last night (brought to you by Whataburger!), and it may or may not have been a little misty in our house. The scene where Julie left for college was a trademark moment, one of those times where FNL depicts the relationship between parents and children perfectly and poignantly. It was clear Julie understood her leaving for college was a big deal, but she was incapable of knowing it fully. “I don’t want that to happen,” I told Mindy after the scene. I mean, I want my daughter to go to college, but I don’t want to tell her goodbye.
And it has to be just a million times worse since the Taylors are now alone with Baby Gracie, who may just be Satan’s spawn. Seriously, she has the hairline of a 50 year old man. Thankfully, I’m not the only one on to her.
I’m sad this is the end of Friday Night Lights, a show that has survived against all odds, but I’m not that sad. Part of the reason we’re in the Golden Age of Television right now is shows are not pushed past their expiration date. FNL could go on, and I’d bet the writers have 1-2 good seasons left in them, but I think they’re bowing out at the right time. Any longer, and drastic changes would’ve been needed. The show handled transitioning from Dillon High to East Dillon, but a show can only change out all its high school-aged players so many times.
Eastbound and Down
I’m not telling you to watch this show, because sweet Moses is it foul. But it’s also really, really funny.
The Walking Dead
Typically, I avoid scary things. I’m a pansy. The other day, Burnsider Steve Simpson mentioned he loved Paranormal Activity, a movie that intrigues me which I will never, ever see, because I will have nightmares for weeks. Zombies are different. I don’t really get the whole zombie craze right now, but I’m okay with scary things that you can fight back against.
I digress. The Walking Dead, through two episodes, has been amazing. The first episode was a clinic in tension building and was shot gorgeously. The second episode had some hiccups (most notably the lack of any redeeming or realistic behavior from the racist character), but I think I’m hooked.
This is getting long. One more:
I really can’t put into words how little I care about House’s relationship with Cuddy. I realize how much this goes against everything I love about television right now, but when I watch House, I want formula. I want a mystery of a case, and I want House delivering great lines, conflicting with everyone around him, and eventually finding the fix through some abstract dot connection. I don’t care about anyone else on that show. There’s nothing wrong with formula if it’s done well and if you’ve got someone as charismatic as Hugh Laurie heading things up.