A quick collection of things that I’m finding fascinating, frustrating and fun on TV this past week.
Making the Audience Love the Winner
I know exactly who is going to win this season of Survivor. Well, I think that I know. He’s not the person that I like the best, hell, he’s not even the most deserving, but the way that this season has been edited has lead me to believe that ol’ Excitable Jon is taking home the million. Ol’ Excitable Jon that thinks he’s a wine connoisseur. Ol’ Excitable Jon, who will vote with whoever talked to him right before tribal. He just gets excited, that guy. He goes hard and falls hard. Ol’ Excitable Jon, whose girlfriend can’t bear children but “he will still love her anyway.”
He’s not the worst person to ever play the game, nor the best. He isn’t particularly annoying (he doesn’t spit and fart like Wes) and he isn’t socially clever (like Jeremy or Natalie or Reed) but he has been in the right place at the right time often enough to make it to the final seven. It helps that Jon and his girlfriend Jaclyn are playing together, and they often become the “swing vote.” It helped that Natalie told Jon to play his immunity idol on the vote that would have sent him home. (He wouldn’t have played it otherwise.) And yet, despite his mediocre gameplay and vanilla personality, Jon has had a ton of screen time this season. It’s what we Survivor fans (the type of fans that take to message boards of pop culture websites) call “the Winner’s Edit.”
What’s “the Winner’s Edit”? Well, it varies on every reality show. As the phrase “winner’s edit” suggests, the editors (and producers) of the TV show have cut the existing footage to favour the ultimate winner. Why do they do this? Because at the end of the season, the viewers need to be satisfied with the last episode. Can we believe X won Big Brother? If we can’t, the whole season seems like a waste of time. Continue reading
So, I have this anxiety disorder. I don’t really like going out these days. I’d rather be stuck by myself in an elevator with a full bladder than at a social event with a large group of people. However, the place I would most like to be when I’m not feeling like myself is in front of my television screen.
Maybe comfort characters is a more accurate title for this post. It’s the people in the shows that I love, that give me the most comfort. Watching these characters is more effective then any breathing technique or visualization exercise in my books. Being unemployed I have a lot more time to spend with my TV friends. Here are a few of my favorites. Continue reading
This blog has waxed poetic about TV cooking competitions, the granddaddy of them all being Top Chef. An effective milieu of sport, food, back stabbing, emotional dressing down, smack talk, and ridicule. If you add 1989 wrestling and loose-fitting cardigans it would have all of my favourite things. But it does well on its own. It’s one of the shows I still watch “live” and I have to cook along with it. As I have to eat when the judges are eating, watching it having already eaten, or to eat later in the day just seems wrong. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Toast will suffice. But you better finish in time. Continue reading
The leaves are brown and on the ground
The autumn air blows hair around
My brand new boots came in the mail
And new TV is on the dial
It’s my favourite time of year (for television): the return of new TV. Sure, we had Netflix and the occasional episode of Big Brother to keep us company this summer, but fall has returned, and with it, my stories. For you today, a wee review from the most recent episodes of my favourite returning shows. Continue reading
I had intended this week to write a post about my favorite comfort shows. However, not having a computer for the past few weeks, has left me with no shows to comfort me. I have to write something. I’m sure there is something on cable that will catch my eye. Continue reading
As much as I love television for the way it often allows you know shows intimately and characters inside and out, as I discussed a few weeks ago, I’ve also been known to become obsessed with the television oddity. Shows that are too strange, too complicated, too expensive or too under-loved to last. These shows are on the air for a season or maybe, if they’re lucky, two and live on via DVD or Netflix or YouTube. And they also live on in memory where they often turn into something more special, more exciting, more daring than they ever were to begin with. This happened to me with My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks, which I’ve talked about ad nauseam, in those early days before I could re-watch them on VHS or DVD. It happened more recently with the incredibly strange, indelible and wholly unique Magic City, which I can’t bring myself to re-watch yet, the death of the show too new and my memory of it, almost surely incorrectly, too glowing. Or, even Ebert Presents: At The Movies, a show that attempted and failed at bringing back duelling film critics to TV (although I loved it), and one that I was reminded of this past week when one of the reviewers, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, published an excellent and sad take on the demise of the show. But these shows, despite their one-hit wonder and cult status in the world of TV-lovers, are not true-blue oddities in the purest sense.
I always wanted to be on TV. Ever since I was the mere wisp of a boy TV was my friend and hero. I wanted it all. To host SNL, have my own talk show, game show, make out with Jennie Garth on 90210, ride shotgun with Bo and Luke on the Dukes of Hazard and eat the lobster tails on the Ron Popeil Showtime Rotisserie. Set and forget it. I achieved my goal in 2000 as I appeared as an audience member for a taping of pro wrestling for the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. If you look close during the epic struggle for the North American Championship between “Showtime” Robbie Royce vs “The King of Old School” Steve Corino, I’m in the background. I can be heard yelling “Ol’ school, daddy” and scurrying about in my raincoat and football jersey. As my life went on I thought I would be awesome as a Chunky Soup spokesdude finally answering the Fork vs Spoon debate. Spoon, obviously. Continue reading
I do miss it so. It was a weekly ritual. With appetites growing every week. I fully bought in. I would watch with a hearty high calorie meal. A dark whiskey to wash it all down. Mad Men in my bachelor apartment is not just a show but more of an event. We are making a meatloaf – that’s 2 hours towards the cause right there. Viewing the elite TV blogs they would have it be known that Mad Men has been on the slide for the past few years. Not to me. No siree jim bob dixie. Although to be fair to those with that opinion, I have fully bought into the sizzle. The style, the babes, the casual decadence of constant liquor and nicotine is pretty much all I need. They are like a sports team. Am I going to boo or not follow my teams just because they lose or play boring? Nuh uh. Go Joan Go! Sally Draper (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap-clap). So it really doesn’t matter much to me if the scripts are trite. I’m pretty pumped for Sunday’s season premiere. There will be a meal with gravy, there will be booing and hissing when Pete comes on-screen, and there will be bawdy locker room wisecracks when the lovely (and perhaps talented) Christina Hendricks bounces about as only her and perhaps the dark-haired Broke Girl can. Continue reading
‘Tis the season for watching re-runs, cooking shows, and Storage Wars marathons. This Canadian prairie winter has been especially bitter and depressing, so I’ve been revisiting shows that are guaranteed to make me laugh. Kenny vs. Spenny was a show that watched a lot in my late teens, so when I saw that the first three season are on Netflix, I found a warm blanket and queued up a couple of episodes. Continue reading