Things I Hate About TV
Take Smith. The network (and more than a few TV critics and fans) kept saying it looked like watching a movie only on our TV sets. Um, yeah, only I think what people meant by this is that the cinematography in the pilot was good and it had some good explosions. Not a terrible show, but really, that's what it came down to.
I'd imagine that, for most of you, I don't even really need to go into details on this one. Just reading the phrase 'video on the web' probably conjures plenty of your own experiences fighting with technology to get your dander up. Why? Why does it have to be so damned complicated to put a video file on the internet?
Now, part of my frustration with this comes from the fact that I'm one of 'those guys.' I loathe Windows. I could go on and on about the evils of Bill and the Gang, but that is probably a post for another site. It does bring up one of the most frustrating things we run into when we link to content from the various networks. Requirements to play. You need Windows XP, or Media Player 10, or Flash 6, or IE, or Quicktime, or to stand on your head and chant the namshub of Enki. Good grief, it doesn't need to be that hard.
The infotainment shows (The Insider, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, etc) are all moronic. Studies have shown that you actually lose brain cells when you watch them. That's no secret. But do they have to be so outrageously moronic?
I'm watching a repeat of yesterday's The Insider this morning, and they kept teasing an upcoming story about "Doctor McDreamy." They must have said the name at least five times, before the damn story even ran, later in the show.
Whaaa? What happened to all the homers and RBIs he had with the Phillies?
Well, they're still there. But, because Abreu went from the National League to the American League, the channel that you're watching has decided that the stats he compiled in "the other league" don't apply anymore, and just showed his stats since the switch. It's something they've been doing since baseball's been on television, when the two leagues were distinct and the players from each never played each other outside the World Series and the All-Star Game.
But it doesn't make any sense anymore.
Maybe they did an excellent video editing job and stuck Meredith's head on Katie's body, and this is an old goofy video they're using. And even then, when I say the promo's goofy, I mean GOOFY. I'm trying to imagine what the director was saying while trying to get the team to feel all chummy together, as if we're supposed to believe they're really that pally with Meredith: "OK now Al, you do a little hop and shuffle, then eat a beignet. Matt, you stick out your tongue, slap Ann on the ass and dip Meredith. No, on the ass, Matt. Meredith, you flex your biceps while Ann laughs hysterically in the background. No Ann, laugh. Like this 'hahaha.' There you go."
So why, why, WHY do celebrities whosse star power has fallen a little bit keep thinking they can forge a second career as a talk show host? And who are these studio execs who think creating these shows is a good idea? That's what I thought when I read that Vivica A. Fox is now talking to studios about hosting a daytime talk show. Sigh. I mean, Vivica's a nice actress. But what insight can she give to a daytime talk show, especially one that isn't celebrity-driven? We already have Tyra Banks talking about her dolphin phobia; do we need another beautiful celebrity trying to relate to everyday folks?
They've decided to stick a "Heat Alert" box in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, showing the current temperature. So, just in case you don't realize that it's already in the 90s, you can be told while watching the latest episode of The People's Court. Jeez. Look, it's 91! Oh, wait, wait... it's 92! Woweee, it's 97! No, wait... 95! Note to WCBS: we know it's hot out there. We've taken two showers already, and earlier today we let a lawn sprinkler spray us while we were in our work clothes. We don't need the reminder. You're just making us feel hotter with that damned box.
I wrote about a few of these commercials over at Adjab recently, but I have to mention more of them here because they are really starting to get to me.
Have you ever noticed that TV commercials that run during the summer are particularly annoying? It's not just the actual content of the ads (though that can be quite irritating), it's the number of times that a commercial is repeated during June, July, and August. Toyota can't just have a one or two week sale, they have to have a damn Toyotathon that lasts all summer, so we have to hear that "Let's go for a ride, feel the sunshine, let's go for a ride in the summertime" song 300 times a day. Dunkin' Donuts doesn't just have a few summer drinks, they now have summer drinks for every situation and personality, and America runs because of them, so these ads run 200 times a day.
Now, some of this might be because I get paid to watch TV for a living and watch a lot more of it than most people, but I think that even the most casual TV viewer sees these ads over and over and over again, to the point that they want to change the channel. Have you noticed that summertime ads run a gazillion times a day?
God, that was confusing.
Here's an example from tonight, a Will and Grace repeat. Will sells the car that Grace's uncle used to own, and he tells her he sold it to someone who has a farm in the country. Then they have to get the car back, so they go to the home of the buyer. The very next scene is Will and Grace standing in a convent in Queens, and Grace says to Will something like "this isn't the country, this is Queens!" But wouldn't they have talked about that BEFORE they even got inside the convent? Wouldn't Will have to explain why they were taking a subway to Queens instead of driving out to a home in the country? Yeah, I know, I know, they do this for the funny and they do it because that's how the staging and the setup has to be, but it doesn't make any sense! What, did they not talk on the whole ride down there? Was Grace blindfolded the whole time?
And it happens all the time, usually on sitcoms. Can you imagine, say, getting into a car accident, you're there at the scene, giving the police info, driving or walking all the way home with the person who was with you in the car, and then you get home and say "that was some car accident we were just in, huh?"
I'll often be watching a show and a character will just hang up the phone without saying goodbye and I'll make the joke in my head, "um, goodbye?"
This blogger agrees, and uses 24 as an example.
Time was, when you tuned into the local TV coverage of your favorite team's games, there were two, maybe three, announcers, shuffling in and out to accomodate bathroom and hot dog breaks. Many times, the displaced announcer would work the radio side for a few innings. Either way, the team remained stable and familiar, like the warm summer days that are perfect for watching baseball.
But the YES Network doesn't seem to realize people like stability in the booth. Today, former Yankee backup catcher John Flaherty makes his debut in the YES booth, making him the (pauses to count on fingers and toes) eighth booth announcer the network has used this year.
During a particularly bad spate of thunderstorms blanketing the Delaware Valley last week I switched on The Weather Channel thinking I would see some reports about the severe weather that was crossing the region. However, after my local forecast ended I was treated to a special which featured team coverage about the official start of the 2006 hurricane season.
Well, I looked outside, switched around to the other news networks, went on the Internet (until the thunderstorms knocked out my access), then rocketed into space in my personal spacecraft to see if any hurricanes were making landfall on the United States' coastline. I couldn't find any. So, why the heck did they have all of this team coverage when all I wanted to find out is if my house would be flooded by torrential rains or stuck several times by lightning?
I don't envy the network programming executives. Their task is to use prognostication to determine what shows will be picked up for the new season and where they'll go in the schedule to please not only audiences but advertisers as well. Sometimes they hit the jackpot ("Must See TV" Thursday's on NBC, "TGIF" Fridays on ABC, "Animation Domination" Sundays on Fox) and sometimes they go down in flames (Cop Rock . . . need I say more). However, when they go ahead and take a good thing and mess around with it due to fear it really ticks me off.
Case in point: the new NBC fall schedule. Personally, I felt that after years of mediocrity on Thursday nights the programming executives were about to revive "Must See TV". There were no more subpar sitcoms and reality shows to fill the blank 8:30-10:00 spot that had been the bane of the network for several seasons. Instead, each hour was filled with strong shows. My Name is Earl and The Office were moved up one hour to the 8:00-9:00 PM slot. Following would be the brand new Aaron Sorkin drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which featured the return of Matthew Perry to the NBC schedule. Closing would be the long-running ER, which is still a top twenty show that could have a new lease on life with the arrival of John Stamos. Three steady hours of TV.
And, out of fear, NBC programming executives blew it by moving the show to Mondays!