What do you think a younger version of Sex and the City produced by Judd Apatow would look like? Well for one, the annoying and boring Miranda wouldn't be one of the friends...
It's Friday the 13th, and things are amiss in television land. The TV gods are toiling with things that should be left alone, and John Harvard is rolling over in his nearly 400-year-old grave.
Like any good American and New Yorker, I watched last night's election coverage in a bar. The particular bar I was in had about 12 giant TV screens tuned to Fox, CNN and MSNBC, so I got a pretty well-rounded exposure to the coverage, and to several glasses of something called a "Blue State Shooter," which was in a pilsner glass, so it technically was not a shooter, but that's not the point of this post. My point is that CNN had the most entertaining coverage, for the following three reasons: 1) They had Anderson Cooper, who is America's sweetheart (also, it may have been the Blue State Shooters playing tricks on my eyes, but I swore I noticed for the first time that Andy is shorter than Wolf Blitzer, which just blew my mind all apart), 2) Paul Begala is the funniest man on television and I'm not exaggerating, and 3) THEY HAD HOLOGRAMS LIKE IN STAR WARS! I'm serious! It was like a less sad version of when Superman would get messages from his dead parents in the Fortress of Solitude! It was like if Kirk and Bones spontaneously started talking about the 2008 election when they came back from a mission!
Doesn't it seem like everything we've been hearing lately about the news business makes it seem really grim and depressing and makes you question the validity, accuracy, and straight-up newsworthiness of whatever stories actually do somehow trickle down to you? How budgets are being cut all over the place even as the sheer volume of coverage available just keeps going up? And how the internet keeps making inroads into what used to be the domain of real, trained journalists? Well, CNN just made things worse.
My least favorite story to come from the WGA strike so far is CNN's open forum on whether you could "survive without TV." Naturally, people who like TV in ordinary, healthy, normal ways aren't particularly drawn to the question of whether they could survive without it. First of all, this situation isn't about being without television, so it's a dumb question anyway. There will be television. There will be reruns, and there will be unscripted shows, and there will be game shows and sports shows, so if you're the kind of person who would actually tell CNN, "WITHOUT, TV, I WILL DIE!"? You have nothing to fear.
Who IS attracted to this kind of question is the sort of obnoxious lecturer who likes to explain that television is all terrible ANYWAY, and people who watch television don't have good conversations with other people, and people who don't watch television devote all of that time to reading great novels and doing volunteer work. People who don't have television actually talk to their families!
There is going to be a lot of this in the next however long, I sense. High-minded whoop-de-doo about how, without Prison Break, we will all have time for embroidery projects, marathon running, and becoming involved in charitable organizations. I fully anticipate an avalanche of stories like, "Now that there's not so much TV, here are ten great museums to go to!" "You know who hopes to benefit from the writers' strike? The local symphony!" You will be told by many people in the next few weeks/months that if you watch television, you should take this opportunity to become a living, breathing human being, and not the lifeless, thoughtless zombie you became when you started watching television. I hope you enjoy your personal Renaissance.