JAMES WOODS DOES
Sully and his wife watch America's Funniest Home Videos, cracking up at even just the opening credits, with a dog on the bed. They love the shit out of it. Remember that, in the late '80s/early '90s when that was a thing people did? I always thought people probably still did, somewhere. I guess in Boston.
My favorite thing, this is a weird way to go out this week but I think about this a lot, is how straightforward the theme song is of that show. Like the whole point of the show was capturing that moment in our technological evolution when everybody had a video camera and things would happen during other things. Like we still have that on YouTube but it's memes, because the point is that it's all bite-sized moments.
Fast-forward twenty years, and even the debates we used to have -- "that one was obviously fake, he was just doing this to be on TV" -- don't make sense. Like when you're watching a YouTube of a talking baby or a goat that screams, does it cross your mind to think, "Oh my God, they just did that to be on YouTube." No, because we're past that now. The crazy idea of people sending in "art" tapes to that show. Think about it.
And then the self-obsession they're marketing to, not to make yet more fun of Baby Boomers but it's one of the funniest things about the song, my emphasis: "We've got laughs from coast to coast / To make you smile / A real-life look at each of you / To capture all that style / You're the red, white and blue / Oh, the funny things you do! / America, America / This is you ... You might be a star tonight / So let that camera roll!"
I mean, how fucking adorable is that. It's like the Flintstones song or something, just explaining exactly what they're selling you and how it's gonna taste. As if the self-involvement people complain about with Twitter or Facebook is any different from the cam -- ...what did they call them? -- camcorder boom of the 1980s. I just love it, un-ironically I have affection for it: "America! This is YOU! Watch yourself watching yourself watch yourself! All on TELEVISION! You get to be INSIDE IT! Watch!"
ANYWAY, NEXT WEEK
James Woods. The End.
JACOB CLIFTON is a freelance writer and critic based in Austin, Texas. He currently recaps The Killing, Pretty Little Liars, Ray Donovan, Mistresses, and True Blood for TWoP. Jacob can be found online at jacobclifton.com, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as a regular column for Tor.com, Geek Love.