Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Episode 401

Every year at the holidays, my family members buy each other books, pleasure reading about things they're interested in -- the Best Essays of 2009, books about people building orphanages in far off places, collections of stories about medical mysteries. And every year, the joke is that I don't get any books because I don't like to read. I like to watch TV. This year, my family tried to challenge the tradition and buy me a book about TV. It proved difficult. I have read one book about television that I have enjoyed -- it was more about television writing than television itself -- and the rest have fallen flat. It might just be that books are not the right format to talk about TV -- instead, television talk should just keep its rightful place in blogs and magazines. People who are interested enough in television to read a book about it would probably rather take the time to watch more television than to read the book about it. So that's that.

There are millions of blogs out there like this one, each with their own thoughts on the day's, week's, or year's television. For that reason, it's pretty difficult to have an original idea when talking about TV. Think about it this way. If you were, for example, studying female epistolary writing in late sixteenth- and early-seventeenth century Venice, there probably aren't that many other people waking up in the morning thinking about the subject, and therefore possibly scooping your ideas before they're published. On the other hand, how many people wake up each morning poring over last night's episode of Mad Men? How many people make it their goal to determine the winner of The Biggest Loser before the finale airs? Actually, I can sum up this argument in one word: Lostpedia. Everyone thinks about TV.

So as I start Season 4, I thank my audience for reading my blog that I've linked them to instead of taking the effort to find a better one.

If the attention span of TV viewers isn't long -- or consistent -- enough to follow a blog, they can move to even shorter commentary, like those found in the TV section of People magazine. My subscription to People definitely fills my "find out about the people on my fav TV shows" curiosities, but the "find out about the TV itself" curiosities weren't satisfied by the brief little reviews in their TV sections. So, for a holiday gift this year? You guessed it: Entertainment Weekly. It is reading after all.

And just in case even these brief TV magazine reviews that require no loyalty by the reader weren't enough, there's now TV commentary that even the most TV-addicted, short-attention-spanned non-reader can handle: the TV section of someecards. And since I can almost promise that I will never comment on Jersey Shore in my blog, this would be a good place to go if that's what you're looking for. Speaking of Jersey Shore (I hope never to utter those words again), I will actually end with a quote from a People Magazine review of the show that may get some of the strongest reactions of 2010: "This is too ridiculous to be culturally offensive." Agreed.

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