17 June 2009

Bryan Loves Televison Part 9: All That Other Shit

My friends and fiends, we arrive at last to the final entry in this inane and rambling series of mental jazzercising and fart jokes. I felt this was pretty necessary in addendum to the staples of Reality, Animation, Drama, and Comedy; the rest of the shit on TV. It's pretty good. In fact, I spend the vast majority of my TV watching time on Sports and Movies, both of which make turning on the television every day sublime.

Now, I've tried to uphold a self-conscious deprivation here, trying to be very self-aware of how extremely painful these must be to read, how specific my audience must be, at the same time trying to remain very unpretentious. Not pretentious at all. Clearly, this makes me better than all of you, absolutely zero pretension. This has been a fantastic experience for me, personally, even if it went completely unread. I appreciate your readership, hopefully you've been able to get something out of this.

For those of you who have been with me since the beginning, I want to thank you again, it's been a wonderful fortnight. For those who have not wasted their time, instead spending it making great strides against the African AIDS Crisis or something, well that's just super.

We end up taking for granted the unprecedented level of sports coverage on modern television. Not until the January 20, 1968 broadcast of the University of Houston Cougars and UCLA Bruins college basketball game were mid-season relatively low-level sports games proven to be viable to marketing. Now with the huge March Madness hype and the Super Bowl regularly being the annual tent-pole for television viewing worldwide, there is a gargantuan amount of media interest in sports events, athletes, and transactions.

Behold the shameless cheeky advertising
sharkstorm known only as...Mannings.

Furthermore, with the proper channels it is possible to absolutely love nearly any professional team and catch every single game, following the maximum amount of information output everyday for any team you could imagine. Even slightly more obscure sports like swimming and wrestling have their outlets, making it possible to follow at least the championships of your favourite sport no matter where you are. It's a fantastic opportunity to have a 24-hr connection to the sport and team of your choosing. Spectacular.

Now we move on to Movies on TV. I absolutely love movies on TV, which probably makes up at least 85% of my watching. I've tried to determine the reason for this insane love of movies on TV, and I've come up with the following:

A) Movies on TV eliminate the problem of choice. Oftentimes I'd go to Blockbuster, spend a half-hour looking for a good movie, end up making a terrible decision like Van Helsing or something, then drive back and be sorely disappointed. Most of this comes from my chronic inability to choose a good movie. I find I can keep myself much more open by letting TV choose for me, which also eliminates my own bias in choosing what I think will be good, instead laying myself at the mercy of an outside world. That's how you learn, baby. Also, I'm lazy; pressing a button is great compared to that long, miserable drive to the movie store. Of course, you could always download whatever, but again, I always make terrible choices when downloading. Ugh, for a while the only movie on my computer was Undercover Brother.

2) Movies on TV require minimum time commitments. Putting a flick into the DVD or VHS player even in this age of rapid pause, play, and skipping features still really feels like you have to sit through a whole two hours of something. What happens when someone calls to play disc outside? You're fucked, that's what. When watching a movie on TV, you've got no commitment, tied down to nothing, chances are you missed half of it anyway. You can leave at any time, which is great.

Anyone else remember the summer this
was on USA twice a week? That was last

B) By far the greatest benefit from a movie on television is the simple fact that you can watch 3 - 4 of them at one time. This weekend I watched five Star Wars movies and three Lord of the Rings movies simultaneously. Arguably, you could do this online, but again, time commitments would be huge to sit down for all that, and more importantly, on television someone else has already made the cuts and scene changes for optimum viewing. Great for the lazy American. I don't even mind some of the edits, I remember being thrown off the first time I saw Office Space on DVD because I was so accustomed to the Comedy Central censors! Now, you may feel like you could miss something or have a diluted film experience, but quite contrarily, this is not true. On any given night, you could be watching, say, Terminator 3 on AMC, the Mummy on TNT, and some Austin Powers movie on TBS. Now, this works for a number of reasons. All three of these movies, if you have never seen them before, are easy to jump into and follow along, regardless if you even remember the advertising when they first premiered. they also require little to no emotional investment or intelligence to follow the plot closely, and finally, are perfectly suitable to watch only one or two scenes that are actually enjoyable and let the rest fade away. It's the penultimate way to absorb and leech off American culture in the great ADD society we live in. Majestic!

Now, even if sports and movies or other fads of culture aren't your thing, there are so many other awesome reasons to turn on television. There are a shitload of 24-hr news networks to immediately satisfy eager young politicos on a constantly updated basis, most of them completely unbiased, like FOXNews. If the news coverage isn't your thing, then at least you have Stewart and Colbert to make fun of them. Everybody wins! This kind of immediate coverage, however, was not available even 15 years ago, it's really quite incredible.

Beyond this shit, almost anything else you could imagine is on the box. You like Food? We got it. Travel? Covered. Celebrity Gossip, we got VH1 and E! There's practically more channels than possible interests. Jesus? Hitler? Discoveries? Cockfighting? No problem, baby.

Besides what I pick up from TVs on
at the gym, this is my legitimate
#1 source for all news.

Television is the gateway to the world. It's a way of keeping up with our own culture, and also provides insight to the mindset of a generation. Hundreds of years from now, all alien cultures will be measured by their television output and viewership. It will be the only historical record. It's so beautiful in so many ways, even the crap on television can give you insight about the human mind in such a spectacular and deep way. I eat it up.

Our long, meaningless journey is finally at an end here. We are surely in an age of great television. Constant, immediate access to news and sports, plentiful movies, the single greatest era of comedy and animation of all time in terms of sheer quantity of excellent programs at once, unprecedented widespread quality in drama, and you know, even something for the vacuous morons out there, plenty of reality TV for everyone. It's the best. Ever. Ignore the sun and sit down. Be lazy. Be American, dammit. Know that you're not better than this. Become great at what you are. I'm a TV watcher. Trying to be great at it.

I love you.

Bryan Christiansen.

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