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Nerd Spot

A shout out to the nerdy and proud.

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Location: Massachusetts, United States

Lifelong nerd, shameless Constitution-hugger, unreconstructed Democrat and thoroughgoing misanthrope

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Next Stop Hermit Junction

So i found a valediction encouraging mourning of the loss of Arrested Development by a writer who appears to be even more bitter and wrathful than i am. the most amazing part is that someone is willing to publish the venting of this guy's inner Howard Beale. Kudos to The East Carolinian for allowing a fellow fruitcake a public forum. Be sure to check out some of the entertaining feedback from the paper's eloquent readership (Aristotle, zen therapist/tv historian, Mr. Hyde/Dr. Jekyll, Walter Winchell).

OPINION

Stupid people watch stupid television shows

I hope you're happy watching "According to Jim"


Gary McCabe, Staff Writer

November 17, 2005

I hate the Midwest. I hate the South. I hate anyone who doesn't watch Arrested Development. What? You've never seen Arrested Development? Then I hate you, too. You're the reason the best television program since Seinfeld was given the axe last week. Well, it wasn't exactly axed... yet. The writing is on the wall. Nonetheless, you've let me down and I'll never forgive you for it.

I apologize - maybe that's a tad too far. It's just that I'm going through a rough time right now. Here's what's going on: The major networks are going through their "sweeps" period. Basically, the point of these periods is to determine how much the networks can charge advertised based on the ratings during the months of November and May. Did I lose you? Even more basically: the higher the ratings, the higher the price.

So it's during these two months that networks pull out all the stops during their primetime lineup. Cliffhanger endings, marriages, deaths, plot twists - get ready for a ton of them in the coming weeks. In fact, I read somewhere that the big twist on "Desperate Housewives" is that the Marcia Cross character is actually a tranny. Shocker.

On Nov. 7, "Arrested Development" came back after a short hiatus with back-to-back episodes. To call these episodes great would be an insult to the show. They were nothing short of sheer brilliance.

There is a scene in the second episode of that night is quite possibly the funniest thing that I have ever seen: Tobias, dressed as a giant mole, fights George-Michael, who was equipped with a jet pack for some reason, over a miniature town in front of a group of frightened Japanese businessmen - a magnificent Godzilla parody.

Of course, it makes no sense to most readers. You didn't watch "Arrested Development" and you didn't catch that episode. Don't worry, though, apparently nobody else watched it either. Only 4 million people watched "Arrested Development" that night - a paltry sum of people for a major network show let alone a major network show that has won the Emmy for "Best Comedy" and a slew of other important awards. It's sad.

It's sad that people are completely ignorant to this amazing show but, even worse, it's even sadder when you look at what they're watching instead. More people watch "That 70s Show" than "Arrested Development." I had no idea "That 70s Show" was still on television. What year is it on that show now? It has to be at least 1991 by now.

"According to Jim," "Still Standing" and "King of Queens" - more people watch all of these shows and they're all the same show! It's the misadventures at home of a homely, fat husband and his super-hot wife.

In the real world, the only way these guys would ever interact with these women is when he lecherously slips dollar bills in their G-string while "Girls, Girls, Girls" blares in the background. And don't get me started on Jim "my brother's death is the greatest thing to happen to my career" Belushi. What a hack.

"Num3ers" is a show so pretentious that it uses a "3" in place of the "b." I've got a different name for it: "CSI with Math." You can even replace the "i's" with "1's" if you really have to. It's such a stupid concept. The characters are like, "Someone killed Mr. Weathers - get me my calculator."

But the worst abomination on television, and I'm not the first or the last to say so, is reality TV. People go out of their way to watch shows about people that they wouldn't find interesting enough to hang out with in real life. All of the sudden Donald Trump s a reality star? There's nothing real about him. Look at his hair. It looks like he ran over some sort of furry animal with his Bentley and instead of burying it, he just put it on top of his head.

Now I understand that "Arrested Development" isn't the most accessible show. It's filled with inside jokes and callbacks that will go over your head if you haven't been with the show since the beginning. But the show goes out of its way to keep newcomers up to speed with narrator Ron Howard constantly giving the back-story and hand-feeding them explanations to the jokes.

And the jokes come at you pretty fast and furiously. I think that's the problem. "Arrested Development" is not a typical show. It has all sorts of humor. A lot of it is overt, popcorn movie jokes like the Godzilla parody. But most of it is very subtle, intelligent humor that you'll miss if you don't pay attention. And the show doesn't have a laugh track so it doesn't have the crutch of telling people when something funny happened. If it did, the track would never stop running.

I just think we're becoming too lazy and - okay, I'll say it - stupid. Every journalist in the country seems to love the show. Everybody in the industry loves the show. But because it doesn't appeal to the "common man" in the Midwest and the South, the show has been cut to 13 episodes and will surely never be seen again on network television.

I don't want to get to stereotypical but now I understand why those shows about fat guys who live normal, boring lives do so well. Eh, who cares? They like those shows because they can relate. And they don't have to think too hard watching them. It's like the presidential election last year - the ignorant masses always outnumber the enlightened few. So we'll never win.

I'm glad I don't watch those shows and I'm glad I'm not one of those people. I hate the Midwest and I hate the South. I've got to get out of here.

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