Cause I was both excited to watch the season finale of that awesome show , as well as point out how terrible the MTV movie awards are. In typical internet fashion when discussing ANYTHING TV related, I was met with agreement (which is nice), “Game of Thrones” hate (which is fine) and people who took time to respond so they could alert me (and whoever else is reading) that they are above watching tv. That last one has been a regular occurrence on my twitter feed as I often reference Tv characters and shows in general. Because of its regularity, I followed that tweet with this:
“That smug “Oh, I don’t even own a tv” attitude is the worst. i don’t wanna hear it. Trust me, Tv is way cooler than you are.”
Obviously, the response to that was pretty black and white. I mean, it was kinda baiting people to begin with. For as many people who “liked” and retweeted it, there were many people disagreeing. They came in all forms. From people who misunderstood my point completely (“I only watch TV shows on the internet!”) to people who got into some sort of “Let the corporations control your mind dewddddd” conspiracy bullshit. To be clear, my entire point was: hey, it’s 100% fine if you have no interest in television. But the second you think you’re smarter or above people who do watch TV you’re a smug prick.
I’ve actually harped on this topic before but I figured I’d get a little more in-depth about it as it seems all the reasoning I could muster in facebook comments won’t help. Lemme rattle off some bullet points with hopes of maybe explaining my position better.
1)Generalizing gone wrong
Much like every other form of entertainment, TV is 90% terrible. Same goes for music, books, movies, painting, sculpture ect…there are hacks in all walks of life and no more so than in the vast world of “art” and its many mediums. As there is no definitive “right or wrong” in art, it opens the door for pretty much anyone who can squeeze through. The sad truth of this is that the general public will usually eat what is served to them. Thus, we have highly popular things that are, in fact, completely worthless to anyone with a hair of self-worth and intelligence. I think this is where the initial confusion of the person who hates all things TV related. They assume ALL TV is as bad as what’s on display. If they don’t have cable, they’re subjected to the worst of it. With the exception of maybe three or four shows over the last decade, I find most non-cable TV unwatchable. However, these people are overlooking that cable exists. Say what you will, but HBO has made some undeniable shows. AMC has too. Even Showtime has some decent ones. And what about comedy central? Or the Travel Channel? That’s the thing..we’ve all got different tastes and interests but cable is so vast, there’s something for everyone. To look at TV , as a whole, and claim it’s beneath you cause it’s all crap is like listening to the radio and saying all Music is crap. you’re simply not looking in the right places. It’s there. If this means you only use netflix to watch certain shows? IT’S STILL A TV SHOW YOU’RE WATCHING. So , unless you’re happier sitting in a candlelit room reading 24 hours a day or you’re climbing mountains 6 days a week, shut the fuck up. You’re not “above” TV. You’re simply not interested in what it has to offer. If that’s the case, go watch a theater troop in the park or something. Bring wine and crackers. Go nuts.
The only difference is the commercials. And, yes, commercials are annoying. Thank god for on demand, tivo and DVR. With those you can just skip over the shit you don’t wanna watch and enjoy the show.
I mentioned this in a response to my second tweet and someone wrote this:
“Films, have creative integrity a real script. Narrative, cinema is a highly important element that is crucial to the survival of the collective that is the arts. Don’t compare that legacy to dumbass tv advertising and propaganda messaging, brain washing society’s over and over to push agendas. Far from it. “
First off, this dude is acting like “earnest goes to camp” and “Battlefield earth” never existed. I don’t know what bubble one would have to live in to miss the similarities between bad film and bad TV but it’s a thick one.
Now, obviously, this dude has never seen any of the great shows of our generation. I’d pretty much bet my life on it cause this opinion is so fucking extreme you’d think TV killed his parents. But had he actually seen these greats shows (The wire, breaking bad, Sopranos, Mad men, louie, south park, Deadwood ect…) he’d probably realize they’re no different from movies. You know why? Cause they’re the same exact thing, in different formats. The same way a GOOD film is conceived, written, produced, filmed and executed is not that different from a GOOD tv show. Sure, there is no equivalent in film to your typical 3 camera sitcom. But there are movies just as bad as those with no redeeming artistic value whatsoever. The only difference is that the movie wraps up a story in 2 hours while a tv show can linger a little and tell something far more sprawling. I’ve been just as captivated by certain TV shows as I have any movie. And I love movies. I watch movies all the time. Speaking of movies, you know where they show a lot of those? ON YOUR TV. It’s crazy dewdz! THis new thing called “cable” has like 80 channels that only show films. Weird, right? But , yeah, fuck TV. It’s the devil…Totally.
But beyond that, my movies=TV point is really just saying it’s a form of entertainment that we watch. I’m sure there are people out there who only watch black and white foreign films and secretly jack off in the mirror to how deep they are ,but some of us actually are entertained by a wide range of things. If the “brain washing” and “propaganda” is effecting you, you’re probably too dumb to realize it anyway so it’s really neither here nor there. And , people in that lane are probably long gone anyway. It’s really shouldn’t be a concern for anyone even in this conversation.
I like all sorts of TV. From high-end heady shit to low brow moronic shit. The thing is, everyone watches things differently. If you hear me speaking highly of some shit like “The real world”, it’s because it’s ridiculous. Not cause it’s high art. And not everything HAS to be deep. Perhaps I get a kick out of watching dumb people act stupidly, either from a strictly sociological perspective or in a mindless “look at the clowns dance” type of way. I’m fascinated by people and how they act. Especially people who are seemingly from another planet as I am. I could not be less like a Jersey Shore guy…but to see them go about their daily lives is entertaining to me (albeit fairly depressing at times). Sometimes, reality TV is a window into a world I’d otherwise never knew existed and would, in most cases, never want to be near first hand.
I mean, to be fair, even I draw a line. I can’t watch any real housewives shit cause it makes me angry and I start hating women too much. I understand everyone has those boundaries. I’m sure plenty of you draw the line at any reality TV in general. That’s fine. Just understand that some people who watch that kinda stuff aren’t always doing it mindlessly. And if they are? What’s the problem? Maybe they had a rough week at work and just want to vegetate over some other people’s problems.
My point is , Mr. “I don’t even own a tv cause I’m too busy with life” , you’re really in no place to judge anyone. As much as you hate TV and everything it stands for, I may feel the same way about your crystal collection. Or your religion. It doesn’t make one better or worse…I’m a fairly judgmental guy who loves a nice generalization but even I know better than to categorically claim an entire medium is terrible. It’s different if it’s a genre within that medium but a WHOLE medium? That’s crazy talk.
4)You’re not special
I think the thing that rubs me the wrong way the most about this entire thing is the smugness. That “looking down your nose” attitude that the people who are to good for TV seem to have. The funny thing is, in my experience, you put them in front of a TV, they will zone out. It’s kinda the best cause they’ll end up watching like 8 episodes of “Bad girls club” on your couch and then a week later be preaching that same old “Tv is the devil” shit. Probably cause they watched “bad girls club” for 8 hours. They also tend to harp on things like having better things to do with their time…but I’m pretty sure most people have some downtime. If you wanna read books during that time, good for you. If you wanna surf the internet, go for it. If you wanna have meaningful discussions over bottles of wine with friends, by all means, do it (just don’t invite me). But If a person wants to watch one of their shows, there’s nothing wrong with that. They’re not dumber because of it. They’re not under the spell of some huge corporate propaganda machine. They’re simply just watching some tv.
So, yeah, get off your high horse. You’re fighting a battle that you have no insight on.If you really wanna sharpen your debate sword on this topic, try watching some TV. Start with some of those shows I listed above. Then come holler at me about how terrible they were. Though, if you do, I’ll just know your issue isn’t that you dislike TV as much as you just have shitty taste.