Bad Television

I’ve been saving up the TV comments, so they’re all coming out in this entry. You will learn that I generally a) watch crap and b) am happy watching crap. OK, let’s begin.

American Idol

is now completely boring and lame. It was always boring once they got rid of all the bad people. Competent covers of pop tunes sung over a lethargic backing band just don’t excite me. I used to love all the bad people. But this year, it seems like they have completely overplayed their hand on the bad singers. Perhaps it’s in the wake of the success of William Hung, but it’s clear that they are just plain old trying too hard. Anyway, we watched the opener. Carrie might go back in a few weeks, but I’m out for the duration.

The Apprentice

is looking up. Sure, Donald Trump is an idiot windbag string of bankruptcies masquerading as a moneymaking businessman and sure the show is a series of product placements and lame scenarios which lead ambitious corporate climbers to bicker constantly and grovel at Trump’s feet, but there is still some appeal to it that I can’t quite place. I will, however, proudly announce myself as a class traitor. I started rooting against the “book smarts” team just as soon as the poseur Danny whipped out his acoustic guitar and they started doing their own mini-corporate pep rally. I realize that the end result of a “street smarts” blowout will be a bunch of unpalatable anti-intellectual crap, but I simply hate the educated people more. And they should know better than to allow cameras to film their pep rallies. The street smarts do.


is cool too. I have less to say about this show than to relate a story about it. At a dinner party Thursday night (and someday, I’ll write up a theory of dinner parties in this space) one of our hosts disparaged Lost along with its reality-TV cousins (for those not in the know, Lost is kind of inspired by Survivor but is fiction) in that classic high culture dismissal of low culture that happens sometimes among academics. Carrie then begins simply explaining why she likes it. She relates all the plots and subplots, and I’m involved in a different conversation at the other end of the table so I don’t really follow. But at one point I look up, and other than myself and like one or two others, the entire table is sitting there, riveted by Carrie’s account of the show. She actually made it sound good to people who don’t like television. I don’t know what she said, but the accomplishment is certainly worth noting. Me, I just cede the ground of edification to others. I’m all about debased cultural forms. Speaking of which . . .


I am so looking forward to this evening’s matchups. To use a Jewish metaphor, the Super Bowl is like the high holidays of football, but the championship weekend is more fun, like Purim (1). I know I have swooned over the Vikings all fall in this blog, but five years in Pittsburgh — a true football town — led to us adopting the Steelers as our second-favorite team. I’m not just saying this, either. We have been quietly enjoying them all year and their victory over New England (whose coach I have complained about in previous blog entries) was extremely sweet. I am hopeful to see a repeat performance. It was absolutely delightful when they got to the championship game in 2002 (at the end of the 2001 season) — the whole city of Pittsburgh was electric. I’m returning there for a dissertation defense in a week and a half, and I would love nothing more than to see what it’s like when the Steelers are in another Super Bowl. I wouldn’t expect another blowout, but I’d love to see one.

As for the Falcons and Eagles, I like both teams, and I will truly pity the Eagles if they lose again. But the AFC championship will determine my loyalties for the Super Bowl.

And a Lowbrow Movie to Boot

I forgot to mention we saw Elektra on movie nite and it was a decent combination of a superhero movie and a ninja movie. The plot and character development did not interfere with my enjoyment of the action scenes or special effects.

That is all for now.

1. Not like I’d know. I haven’t observed any of these holidays in years.

One reply on “Bad Television”

  1. If the Super Bowl is a holiday, today feels like election day: I\’m prepared to be completely emotionally distraught if my side (Pittsburgh) loses. It\’s the toughest thing about being a fan… I can\’t just relax and enjoy it. I\’m sure it\’s the same feeling for the Eagles fans. The state of Pennsylvania just might implode from all the pressure.

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