Friday, September 23, 2011

The Hypno-Toad Is Everywhere

It’s Friday night. I’ve got pizza in me. I’ve got Butter Pecan ice cream. That’s the kind of combination that makes a man think. Thinking about entertainment. The Wife’s downstairs watching dreck. I don’t know what it is, it’s all dreck. Either it’s a show that’s pretending to be smart, like CSI started out with all its beakers and people looking thoughtfully at dust motes; or it’s pretending to show that man’s inhumanity to man ultimately loses out to telegenic folk, ala standard cop shows; or it involves a doctor or a lawyeror a sexy woman pitted against something or other.

I think she’s watching something called “A Gifted Man” about a high-powered, driven doctor (gifted man, get it) who sees dead people (gifted man, get it) and likely solves crimes or mysteries or medical mysteries or helps the dead move on or somesuch dumbfuck drama. “Medium” plus “Ghost Whisperer.” Dreck.

I tried watching a few minutes of it but the epidemic of wino cameramen who can’t hold a shot steady and randomly zoom is too much for me. And the editors, my god, what happened to the editors? Is there a telethon or fund to donate to? Jump cuts. Jump cuts within jump cuts. It’s like the editors are caught in temporal displacement and screaming for assistance.

TV has always served advertisers. But weren’t there shows that wanted to do just a little more? Star Trek, the Twilight Zone, I Spy, The Prisoner, Dr. Who, Twin Peaks, In Living Color, Seinfeld, Chappelle’s Show, Kids in the Hall, The Storyteller, Homicide: Life on the Streets, MASH, The Wonder Years, Tribeca (a dollar to anybody who remembers that show), Mary Tyler Moore Show, Room 222 (swear to god if anybody mentions “Glee” in the same breath I’ll punch a hole in a squirrel), The Gary Shandler Show, Northern Exposure, Frank, Roc—it’s a proud list. There have been creators wishing to engage an audience as opposed to simply sitting them in front of the Hypno-Toad long enough for commercials to sink in. I’m not even going to explain what the Hypno-Toad is; look it up. Everything is online.

After I turn my TV off there’s nothing about “A Gifted Man” that’s going to stay with me. I won’t be able to discuss an idea, an image, a turn of phrase, insight or creative visual flair. It’ll just be over, flushed to make room for whatever show follows it. Maybe I’m trying to watch 21st century TV with obsolete eyes. But there hasn’t been a television show that excited me enough to want to give it an hour of my time on a regular basis for quite a while now.

Which is sad. I’d really like to get one of those cool, flat panel HDTVs, but there’s nothing on.

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