Zach Simons has a theory that we consume TV the way previous generations consumed literature. Tune in (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) to hear more about his crazy theory and our favorite TV shows ever. We’ll try to avoid spoilers!
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Pod Pourri 05:52
Admit it: TV is awesome. And is it me, or is it just getting better and better? Netflix, Hulu, Amazon… watch out, cable. We’re coming for you.
Facebook Says 46:48
You guys love TV, too! SHOCKER. What are your favorite shows EVARRR? Impossible to answer, but that didn’t stop y’all from trying.
Games People Play 01:02:06
Questions based on the forty-some Facebook Says responses we got! Zach didn’t even know what hit him.
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Of course I have reactions.
1) I’m totally, 100% on board about despicable characters. I’m very open about my disdain for Seinfeld and Curb, but I would also add Eastbound and Down and It’s Always Sunny in that category. I love Arrested Development, which I think I forgive largely because only a *few* of the characters are truly despicable. Each one of them has selfish moments and some are sort of stupid, but there’s also a lot of “best intentions” going around. And Michael started off very sweet and earnest. It wasn’t until later in the series that you see what a selfish dick he can be, too.
2) Ugh, Doctor Who. Here’s the thing for me: I had a fondness for the classic series because it aired on PBS when I was a kid. As an adult, I enjoyed the Eccleston season and most of the Tennant run, but my interest waned and I eventually just gave up. Partly *because* they kept trying to raise the stakes on the show but it’s a kids show. They upped the effects and the budget but with something so low-stakes I actually found the increased budget distracting. And the character gets out of every jam with what I see as frankly bullshit writing. What’s funny about the classic series is that it sort of winks and nods about how much the sonic screwdriver can do. You get a little of that in NuWho but not nearly enough for my taste. I feel like NuWho is a lot of people with a fondness for the classic trying to crowbar in adult sensibilities and for me it just stopped working. To be honest I probably would’ve stopped after Rose left since that’s where my interest in the show itself started to fall off, but then she was replaced with Freema and… I mean…. c’mon. Freema is fucking GORGEOUS.
3) I’m gonna be all sorts of contentious. I really, REALLY dislike Aaron Sorkin as a writer. I respect what he does and I understand the appeal, but for me Aaron Sorkin is like Quentin Tarantino: YEAH, I GET IT! I get that you have a certain way you like characters to talk! Can one or two characters please NOT talk like that? Almost all of his dialogue is this hyperactive, hyperclever patter and while that’s fun to listen to once in a while or from a particularly smart character, it’s fucking CONSTANT in his work, to the extent that everyone starts to sound the fucking same. I watched the Social Network and while some people I’m sure were like, “Oh yeah, that’s totally Aaron Sorkin!”, I was like, “sssiiiiggghhhh. Fuuuuuck, that’s…. ugh. That’s totally goddammit Aaron shitting Sorkin.” Less is more, dude. Less. Is. More.
4) Regarding Game of Thrones: It gets better. There will be more fucked-up moments, but nothing as demoralizing as The Red Wedding. At least not in my opinion. Take it or leave it.
5) You should totally hate-watch Hemlock Grove. It starts out kinda cool, then gets campier and stupider as the season goes on. I kind of loved hate-watching it. There’s fun stuff outside of the hate, but man there’s so much unintentionally hilarious WTFery going on in that show…
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Blink is the best episode to watch stand-alone. It is also the scariest episode of television I think I have ever watched.
I have an uproarious love/hate relationship with Aaron Sorkin. The West Wing is like, my favorite thing ever. Just…ever. But he is terrible at including female characters and when he does, he has such trouble writing 3-dimensional women. I also cannot handle watching Sorkin have therapy session after therapy session on national television. A quirky blonde girl broke your heart once. You have issues with cocaine. No one understands you. Being a brilliant young man is SO HARD. Ok. OKAY WE GET IT. Like, I understand that people work their shit out through art. But uh, 4 television series later, you are still working the same shit out, so get an actual therapists and write something new. Everyone plagiarizes themselves. But do it LESS.
Studio 60 had SO much potential, but it was so deeply flawed. I do think if it had gotten a second season, it might have been able to get it together. Rule 1: Don’t show the sketches. Just don’t. Don’t do it. If you absolutely must show the sketches, hire sketch writers. And even then, don’t build up a mythical sketch as amazingly hilarious and ground breaking, and then SHOW IT. Rule 2: This television show is not your soapbox. Rule 3: If you are going to tout a character as the funniest woman of all time, please hire a comedic actress.
That said, I really liked a lot of the characters, and I always thought I hated Amanda Peet until that show (I have no idea why) but I discovered that she’s actually incredibly charming.
The Newsroom makes me completely insane, but I keep watching it.
Your brother should also watch Supernatural. It has the same absurdity of Charmed, but with more hot dudes and it’s a little bit smarter.
I also don’t follow shows where all of the characters are dicks. I will see them and think, “man, that is FUNNY” but I have no investment in it, so I never follow it. However, I love the people on Modern Family! They love each other so much!
Also, M*A*S*H. I listed West Wing as my favorite, but that is a close second. It is one of the best shows of all time.
-i’ve had to explain to people my whole “not watching TV” thing, because i DO watch TV, i just don’t watch regular TV. that is: if a show is on every thursday, chances are i’ll watch it that sat or sun, usually on-demand (remember Milt-on Demand? that never caught on; bummer). i don’t currently own a TV, but it’s not for any status/cool-guy reason. i literally just don’t own one. i watch a lot of stuff on my computer or at the GF’s house. my roommate owns a TV which is in our living room but he pretty much just plays PS3 and watches youtube videos all the time. so that’s that. i think cracked.com had a “no one cares if you don’t own a TV” thing, and it’s true.
– is TV getting better, or are there better shows? i think the latter, and i feel they are the exceptions which prove the rule. 99% of TV is GARBAGE. sorry, but it’s true. if you can name 10 awesome shows, that doesn’t negate the thousands of shows that are awful. THAT SAID: i think we should focus on those good shows, and really just not worry about the bad, and i think that may play into the validity of your guys’ point about how we now watch “TV”, which half the time (or more) isn’t even TV.
-i can’t join in the dog-pile atop Aaron Sorkin, because frankly i can’t pick an Aaron Sorkin show out of a line up. i know he did West Wing; i’ve watched one whole episode of the show ever, and it featured the hot chick from Weeds throwing a snowball at the back of a dude’s head, which to me was some manic pixie shit and not particularly interesting. that’s just me, tho. my favorite TV writer is Dan Harmon. i think that Mindy Kaling is pretty darn alright, tho admittedly i’ve only actually watched one episode of her show.
-The IT Crowd is the shit, i agree. easily one of the best Television shows of all time. Doctor Who is awesome, both the original and the reboot, and Newt is wrong. j/k it’s his opinion. production value means very little to me, i dunno, i feel like imagination can kick in a lot. Newt IS right that Martha is pretty hot, but i think the new companion is HELLA FINE. sadly, i’m not caught up, so i’m not there yet. so sad 🙁 if i was watching that show when I was 10, i’d be like “my mind is blown and life is awesome!” creatures aren’t real, so that shit doesn’t bother me.
-Reading is awesome. Jim Gaffigan is a funny dude, but on the converse side of that, the Oompa Loompas once said “why don’t you try simply reading a book…YOU GET NO COMMER-ER-CIAAAAAAAALSSSS!” those orange fucks know what’s up. this thing about consuming TV as past generations consumed literature… no comment.
current shows i recommend are: Veep, Adventure Time, Bob’s Burgers, Orphan Black (looks dumb at first, but catches on), Vice, i actually really like the new season of Arrested Development.
best past shows: i agree with Liz on MASH, Roseanne, Cheers, Simpsons is still good even if people think it’s not (they’re wrong), Seinfeld is amazing, The Cosby Show, SNL ebbs and flows, Downton Abbey, and of course “Punky!”
I’mma let you finish, but you call “manic pixie shit” on an episode of West Wing and Dan Harmon is your favorite TV writer? Everything that dude writes is manic pixie shit. LET’S FIGHT!!!
point out some Dan Harmon manic pixie shit. also, before you do, i’d like to point out: your not agreeing with/liking a convention or device or trope a writer uses does not make it manic pixie.
second, a grown woman throwing a snowball at the back of someone’s head to make them have some kind of realization that they’re too serious or life’s too short or etc etc etc = manic pixie dream girl shit.
love you, mean it! 😉
The entire Community character of Abed. He’s quirky for no good reason that I can see other than “isn’t it funny to have this weirdo do weird things?” Sarah Silverman was also a bit of a manic pixie dream girl, though that seemed to be on purpose to undercut the trope. But I don’t know how much of that undercutting was Harmon and how much was SS herself. The point is the guy loves to write weirdos that don’t seem to come from any place of real motivation. They don’t really exist except as some kind of foil to a main character/mainstream comedy. Sounds like manic pixie to me.
i’m willing to meet you half-way (across the sky) on Abed. Sarah Silverman, i’m not so sure, but i’m willing to see your reasoning.
i’m also willing to hold you. because, hey, life’s too short.
I cannot believe that your blog will not let me reply to Milton and Newt’s weird and awesome homoerotic argument. But basically my reply is that I hope it never ends.
Ha! This is my favorite comment, only because I agree 100%!