We Don’t Watch TV

I catch a lot of grief for this. Probably because I go around and in my best hipster tone say, whenever anyone mentions anything that they have seen on TV, “Oh, we don’t watch TV at our house.” It absolutely drives people insane, which is probably the main reason that I do it. But there is also some merit to the statement. You will notice, however, that my last post was about Downton Abbey, so you’re probably wondering “Hmm, Nathan… How is it that you don’t watch any TV, and yet you have just said you watch a TV show.”

Well, it is simple. Here is how I justify it in my head.

1) It is okay to watch TV Shows. One of my favorite things in the world is Community. And now Downton Abbey. And numerous other shows. Doctor Who. Arrested Development. But the key here, is that I don’t watch them on TV. I’ll watch them on Netflix. Or I’ll download them some other way. And I’ll even watch them on a Television set, but not over the air, or through the cable line.

2) It is okay to watch sports on TV. I watch the Rams every week, and I watch a ton of baseball games over the summer. Those are okay.

So I guess basically it comes down to this. We don’t really sit down and just watch TV for hours on end. And we don’t channel surf. And we really don’t even have any shows that we sit down at a certain time each week to watch.

That’s when I mean when I say “We don’t watch TV.” And I will admit, that is a pretty strange and limited definition, but it is the one that I’m going with for now.

Downton Abbey (sigh…)

I don’t like period dramas. My wife has been known to watch Pride and Prejudice three or four times in a row during the course of one day. I am not known to do that. I am known to play Starcraft for 3 or 4 hours in a row. That is my vice.

On a recent trip to visit some friends, Kelly started watching Downton Abbey, a show that she has been meaning to watch for a while, and I have been meaning to avoid for a while. In fact, she started watching it with her friend, while I took the friend’s husband and boys to a basketball game. Manly stuff. I was continuing my success at avoiding it.

But then this thing happened. We got back from the game, and it was still on, and I started watching it. This also goes against my rule of “Nathan doesn’t watch any television.” (Which should be discussed in another post.) And the more I watched it, the more I was getting into it. Like, really getting into it.

So over the next couple of days we watched a few more episodes, and then we got home, and watched a few more. I guess I’m a fan. And the thing is, that’s okay, because it is really good. The stories are all really riveting, and the cast is really good, and it has a surprising amount of humor in it.

We have just started watching Season 2, and some of the scenes from WW1 really hit you with how intense they are. In fact, the whole show is really well shot, with an amazing attention to detail. It is like watching little mini movies, which is maybe why I let it slip through my “No TV rule.”

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to go home and start watching a bunch of Jane Austin movies, though. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Knit and Crochet Today

A short post. We have this channel here in St. Louis that is called Create-TV. It is a digital channel that is served up by our local PBS affiliate, and they have shows about cooking, travelling, painting, crafts, home improvement, and then for some reason, a show about knitting and crocheting. And it is seriously the most impossible show to understand I’ve ever seen.

The basic gist of the show is that this lady stands around where other people take yarn, wiggle their hands, and make a sweater happen. But any attempt to understand this process in any greater deal just makes my brain hurt. Literally. It is the same feeling that I got back in high school trying to understand Calculus.

I watch, and I really (and this is pretty embarrassing) try to understand what is happening. But it just doesn’t make any sense. And the host lady makes absolutely no attempt to explain any of the concepts that these yarn wizards are employing. They definitely assume a much higher level of knitting knowledge than I process. I have no clue what a “single crochet” is, so I’m lost basically from step one. And then they go so fast. Literally faster than the eye can follow, which makes for some really especially awful television.

So basically what PBS is doing is putting on 30 minutes of insanely complicated, completely unwatchable television. And what do I do? I watch it. Why? Well, it is on right after Katie Brown Workshop, which is my absolute favorite Create-TV show (even though the stuff she does is completely insane. I am drawn to it for some unknown reason) and seriously, what else are you going to do on a Sunday night.

Also, I feel I should make it clear that I don’t really have much desire to learn anything about knitting. I have like 50,000 other skills that I would like to acquire first. So really my complaints about this show don’t matter much, since I’m clearly not the target audience. But it does drive me insane at some deep level that someone out there is creating a TV show that is so completely unwatchable.

Movies Make Me Nervous

I might be the only person in the world who suffers from this affliction, but movies make me horribly, horribly nervous and uneasy. It is so bad that I rarely watch movies because I know that most likely, it is going to be an unpleasant experience. And now, if you didn’t already, you probably think that I am certifiably insane. But let me explain.

It seems that the whole purpose of a movie is that you don’t know how it ends. In fact, most times, you don’t really know the middle bit or the start either. Because if you did, then why would you waste your time and money seeing the movie. But what if you are the kind of person who gets horribly, horribly anxious about the unknown, even the fictional unknown? Well then not knowing how something is going to end is a terrible thing.

So what does a person who suffers from that do? Well, if they are like me, they look up the plot of the movie before they see it. But here is the thing about that. It sort of ruins the whole movie experience. Because a big part of seeing a movie is seeing how the plot unfolds. If you already know how it unfolds, then it is just kind of a big waste of time.

This leaves me in quite the predicament. If I don’t look up the plot, then I’m going to be nervous and freaking out the whole movie. If I do look up the plot, I’m going to be bored and not care. So what do I do? Well, in most cases, I just avoid movies all together. But that is kind of boring, really.

And just for the record, I feel the same way about TV shows. But since they are shorter than movies, I can usually tough it out. But I still end up looking up the plots to the show that I’m about to watch a fair amount of the time.

Quick Post

If you aren’t watching “Modern Family” on ABC then you need to. It is hilarious and witty. Wednesday nights on ABC as well as on Hulu. Some people call it the new “Arrested Development”, but I don’t agree with that. It isn’t nearly as weird and crazy as “Arrested Development”. It is much more down to Earth, and heartfelt, honestly. But hilarious in it’s own right, and you need to be watching.

In other TV news, I watched “V” the other night, and it was completely disappointing. I thought that it was slow and it felt way too much like the writers and producers were trying to made a sloppy critique of the current administration. Not that they don’t deserve critique, but they need it from the other side, not the tea party crackpot side.

Also, The Office has gotten pretty terrible. It is kind of like a joke of what it used to be. Community, however, is an amazing show, and has saved Thursday nights on NBC from being really sucky.

Okay, that’s about it. I just realized that I’ve been watching way too much TV and need to do something else. Like skate more or something.

Wednesday

All day I have been thinking that today is Wednesday. All day. Until just now, when I realized that no, it is actually Tuesday.

Now, this development in itself is pretty sad. And it is really depressing, because when you think it is supposed to be a certain day, and you feel like it is that certain day, well then when you find out that it isn’t, that’s like “WHAM!”, right into a brick wall.

But that’s not really the sad part. No, the sad part here would be that what I’m really sad about is that this means I have to wait 24 more hours to watch America’s Next Top Model! How embarrassing is that?! How sad is it that I actually care if this is the week when Allison gets sent home?

I feel like I should have kept these thoughts inside my head.

2 Shows

Okay, so remember a while ago I was talking about how I wonder if there are shows out there that are awesome and I miss them until it is too late? Well I’ve discovered 2 new ones, and I’m pretty sure I’m early on the bandwagon with them. So early, in fact, that I’m afraid they will be canceled. What I’m hoping is that maybe, if I post here, everyone will realize that they are good shows, and watch them, and then the shows will keep going instead of going away. I mean, maybe, right?

Show #1 – Dollhouse
Dollhouse is written by Josh Whedon, the guy who brought us Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I never watched it UPDATE: Started watching it and I love it), Firefly (watched it after the fact and loved it), and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog (watched it while it was happening and loved it). His new show, Dollhouse, follows people who chose to have their own memories wiped, and then have the memories of others, or composites of others implanted into their brain so that they can acquire new skills and then be sent out on various jobs. Of course, things start to go wrong with this, and various shenanigans occur because of that, but you get the basic idea.

Anyway, I’m not going to lie and say that this show is amazing. It has faults, like the problem of identifying with a main character who is a different person every week. But the premise and the writing are good enough to keep me coming back. Oh, also, Helo from Battlestar Galactica (which, btw, has its series finale this Friday and I can’t frakkin’ wait) plays the lone FBI agent who is trying to uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse, so that makes it even better.

Show #2 – Kings
This one I’m really on the forefront of, because it only had the series premier Sunday. And it got really bad ratings, so I’m one of the very few who has seen it. Which is a tragedy. The premise for this one is that there is a country, very similar to the US, that is ruled by a King. But there is more to it than that.

See, this country is at war with a neighbor, Goliath, and an unknown soldier, David, stands up to Goliath and in the process rescues the King’s son, thrusting him into a world of politics and intrigue. I think there are some Biblical references there, or something, but I’m not really a Biblical scholar.

Anyway, this show is extremely well written, and downright bizarre. But it really draws you in. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for well crafted fantasy worlds, and the premise of a modern country actually ruled by a King who behaves like he is in the middle ages (he has a “historian” who follows him around documenting what he does in extravagant and untrue ways) is enough to keep me watching.

But for everyone else, even in the 2 hour premier, there is enough mystery, and romance, and violence, and intrigue, and pure strangeness to keep you watching.

Now, I’m telling you to go watch these shows, but honestly, I’m not sure what networks they are on, or what time they are on. And that is because both of these shows are on Hulu.com. So I suggest doing what I do. Go to Hulu.com, find both of these shows, and WATCH THEM. You will not be wasting your time.

The Office

I mentioned back in my post about 30 Rock that the office has been letting me down lately. Well, after finally catching up on all of the episodes that I missed due to not caring and being busy I have come to an even more forceful conclusion. The Office is finished. Over. Dead. Past it’s prime.

Let me explain, because clearly it isn’t dead in the same way that Arrested Development is dead. Although, I think it would have been better off if it were. Sure, they are still making new episodes, but those new episodes have lost something. I think it is possible to argue that what they have lost is “humor”, but there is more to it than that.

The first 3 seasons of the show were amazing. They were funny, and clever, and sweet too. But the show was doomed from the start. It was doomed before it was even started. And that is because it was based on a British show that only lasted for about 15 episodes. And those 15 episodes centered on a romance between two people who work in an office, and their crazy coworkers and lunatic boss. But the key is that it only lasted about 15 episodes.

Now take the American one. They have been forced to drag this whole Jim and Pam thing out way longer than it is possible to. But they have also focused on it too much. So we have a situation where the focus of the show has worn out it’s welcome, but also the zaniness of the office has been lost in place of this weird romantic “dramady”. And then they decided to try to throw in all of these other weird romance “things”, and it has just ruined the whole feel of the show.

On top of it, the characters themselves have become bland. Michael really isn’t that zany or bad of a boss anymore, Dwight isn’t that creepy, Jim and Pam aren’t cute. They are all just sorta the same. And that isn’t fun or funny.

So back to Arrested Development. I believe that Arrested Development ended before it’s time. But having seen what is slowly happening to The Office, which I can best describe as a long slow death to unfunny hell, I’m not so sad. Maybe show’s don’t need to last for years and years here. Maybe it is okay to tell a story really well, and then end it.

If I were in charge, this is what would happen. The last episode of the Office would be the post Superbowl 1 hour special. Jim and Pam could get married, other crazy shit could happen. Michael would fail at something spectacularly. Whatever. It almost doesn’t matter. But then it would end. The credits would roll, and the show would be over. Is there anything wrong with that?

30 Rock

I have discovered a new show, and is normal to me, it has been out for several years. Usually I don’t pick up on a show until it is in the 2nd or 3rd year of existence, and this time I got it right at the start of the 3rd year. So I went back on Netflix, watched the back episodes, and now I’m caught up.

Anyway, 30 Rock is a great show. The writing is hilarious and completely absurd and self referential and the cast is great, especially Alec Baldwin. Tracy Morgan, who I’ve never liked in anything else he’s done, is also really good, in a completely insane way that really makes you question what he is like in person.

I’ve always wondered why this show was beating out The Office for all of those Emmy’s over the last couple of years, and honestly, I always felt angry about it. Now I can say, however, that 30 Rock has taken the place of The Office as my favorite show currently on TV. But I don’t know if that is because of things that 30 Rock has done right, or that The Office has done wrong. Probably a little bit of both, although the amount of stuff that I’m unhappy about this season of The Office is growing and growing.

So anyway, if you haven’t seen 30 Rock, I definitely recommend checking it out ASAP. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Then again, my favorite show of all time is Arrested Development, which practically screams disappointment…