Wednesday, May 23, 2012

guilty pleasure

i don't like tv.

rather, i don't like admitting that i watch tv. just saying it makes me feel ashamed. which is a little paradoxical (or hypocritical) since there are a number of shows i've heard a lot of good things about and the general quality of television seems to be getting better. a few weeks ago i had a discussion about tv vs. movies and a friend noted that a television series allows for much greater character development than any movie can.
yeah, he's got a point there.

but i'm not a big tv watcher, although in full disclosure, i think i've missed only one episode of the daily show in the past year.

reality tv is even worse. and it's running like a kudzu through the networks because it's so bloody cheap to produce that, even if the numbers are lower than sitcoms and dramas, the profit margins are still higher.
and i cringe whenever i hear friends talk about how much they love some trashy reality show and they feel guilty for watching it but it's just so amazing to watch these crazy people or they just can't help but wonder what's going to happen or it's just nice to have something mindless on to unwind at the end of the day. the networks don't care why you watch it and whether you love or detest the people on it; if you're watching it, they'll make more.

part of it, i think, is that i know a little bit more about "how the sausage is made," so to speak. sure, everyone says they know it's all fake anyway, but having worked around that industry enough (thankfully never actually on a reality show), the tricks and even the basic craft is a little more transparent to me. i can hear when the audio has been edited, i know that a cutaway from an interview shot is so that they can take out part of what they're saying. it's too easy to imagine the question the producer asked that lead to their on-camera answer. or, on the worse shows, to know that an awkward glance or an icy glare likely wasn't even happening at that event, but was cut in from an earlier, unrelated reaction. the list goes on.

that being said, i'm really hooked on pawn stars, one of the many (many!) offspring of the surprising success of antiques roadshow. the history channel seems to have begun running low on world war 2 topics and people with ph.ds talking about aliens in the bible and are now filling their time slots with either guys dealing with old junk or rednecks in the forest or swamps or wherever.

i started catching bits of pawn stars when i'd come home late and watch the daily show over dinner and it would be on after my recording had ended and soon got hooked. it's three generations of guys running a pawn shop in las vegas and dang, i love it all: seeing the different things come in, finding out how much they're worth (usually much less than the people think, occasionally more), and see how they can deduce all of this. it's gotten to the point where i watch it like we used to do with 24, namely me yelling at the tv about how much they're actually going to get for it, when someone's going to take it and when they're completely deluded. i've been known to lose whole saturday mornings to this show. and, after so many busy semesters, i don't feel the least bit bad about that.
the next time i'm in vegas, i'll probably have to go check out the pawn shop.

i still think swamp people is a really stupid show.


Mark A. said...

I seriously danged this post but I also wanted to say that I love the show, too, and being able to watch it with you in true 24 style with some in-n-out after snowboarding would be a dang good time :)

--jeff * said...

well now you're just teasing me...

LJ said...

Adam totally watches Swamp People. It's a guilty pleasure for him, in the same way as watching a train wreck happen.