Channel Surfing – My Week in TV

A quick collection of things that I’m finding fascinating, frustrating and fun on TV this past week. 

Remember music videos? 

When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do was watching The MuchMusic Top 30 Countdown on the weekends. I wasn’t always all that interested in the music but I loved music videos. The 3-minute short films set to a pop song was a perfect venue for me to see some weird and beautiful filmmaking. Since MuchMusic has since gone the MTV route into perma-reality programming there is no longer a place that exists on TV where I can watch music videos on a regular basis (although apparently the Countdown still exists). But that doesn’t mean they have disappeared. The best place to find music videos now is on the internet and, in fact, that’s where they seem to be flourishing.

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Email Roundtable #16 – Family Time

It was Louis Riel Day in Manitoba and Family Day in other parts of Canada on Monday. On that note, we thought we’d have a potluck-style Roundtable and discuss the shows we remember watching with our family.

Family and Car

Jane: Watching TV with my Grandparents created some of my favorite memories as a child and as a grownup. As a child there were strict TV rules. Bedtime was directly after Cheers and there was to be no talking during the final segment of Wheel of Fortune. My Grandpa had a thing for Vanna White and that was the only time she got to speak. Later in life my Grandpa’s favorite show was “the written news” aka The Weather Channel. My Grandma and I would patiently watch with him, until it was time for his nap, when we would flip to that crazy Hyacinth Bucket on Keeping Up Appearances. If I didn’t laugh at the funny parts my Grandma would explain them to me.

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Email Roundtable #11 – Television New Year’s Resolutions

In this edition of the Roundtable we share some television New Year’s Resolutions with you. Happy 2013, everyone!

Katie’s Resolutions: 

3. I, Walter White, will remove myself from the drug game. Otherwise, I will surely die.

2. We, the writers of Parks and Recreation, will stop using Ann Perkins as whatever plot device we require. We will either take the time to develop her properly, or use her less frequently.

1. I, Katie Man, will never again watch an episode of Mad Men on my iPhone. No matter how much I want to watch the new episode over my lunch break, I will wait until I can watch it on a proper sized screen. Gotta respect good product.

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Sticking up for Stick in the Muds

In sitcoms populated by large casts of diverse characters everyone is on screen at any given time to perform a specific function. The job the characters perform is to A.) Move the plot along in (hopefully) an organic, character driven way and B.) To be funny. Usually, there is a character in these sitcoms (sometimes more than one) that serves as the moral epicenter for the rest of the characters. Without these “Stick in the Muds” (or S.I.T.M’s as they will be known through the rest of this post) these worlds would function without boundaries or, at the very least, without the reminder that boundaries exist. How would Homer know that stealing cable was wrong without Lisa protesting outside the house? How would Jenna and Tracy ever get anything done without the guiding hand of Liz Lemon? Would the town of Pawnee function without Leslie Knope? S.I.T.M.’s are usually women who act as the moral center of the show; they are sometimes motherly figures, while the world around them functions solely on the id.

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