The Facts Were These...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I despise television.

Or, more accurately, television programming. Obviously, I am okay with watching movies on a television. The reasons are:

  1. I get to choose the movie ahead of time, and will (hopefully) have done at least a bit of research into whether or not it is content I want my brain to ingest.
  2. The time the movie starts is up to me. The time it ends is also up to me. If I want to stop it in the middle and talk on the phone to a friend, or take 30 pee breaks because I'm eight-and-a-half-months pregnant, I can. And, I don't have to rush the friend to get off the phone, or miss any important plot points in the movie. There is none of this "refusing-social-engagements-to-watch-my-show" thing. (I have actually been told: "No I can't come that night. Survivor is on." Say wha'?! Nice to know where I stand in the priority list.)
  3. A movie is finite. You know going in that your total emotional commitment will be over in 1 1/2 to 3 hours. At most, there may be a sequel or a trilogy that you may want to follow up with. Then, that's it! You can move on. With a television series, if you get involved with the characters (and this is just something women do), you suddenly feel obligated to watch it again the next week, and the week after that. Most of the characters are petty, selfish and immoral in many popular shows nowadays. And the week-long pause in the storyline is something akin to torture, as well.
  4. This is more like a sub-point to number 3: When I'm watching a movie, that is only one evening, and usually more like "night", a week, at most, that I am sitting not accomplishing anything. Well, I knit. (This is actually when and why I knit--I just can't NOT do anything. Is that what you call a "Type A Personality?") With a T.V. show, you finish watching your hour-long show, and before the credits are even over, they start teasing you with shows that will be on before, after, and on every other night of the week surrounding "your show." Through laziness or piqued curiosity, you suddenly find yourself sitting in front of the boob tube for hours every week, every night even, without really knowing why, or really realizing that your most productive hours--and years--will have slipped away before you muster up the last vestiges of your will-power and turn it off!
  5. A movie does not have commercials. Yes, I realize that companies pay big bucks to advertise their stuff in movies. But a billboard in the background of a scene broadcasting Coca-Cola is a lot less intrusive and deceitful than a handsome, thirty-something woman telling you that if you ask your doctor for _________ pharmaceutical drug for whatever "condition" the company has invented to make money of off you that you will have a life as fulfilling and happy as hers is. Commercials are probably the single biggest reason I hate television.

It drives me crazy when I go to someone's house and the television is on. No one is watching it, it is just muttering in the background, trying to arrest your attention from whatever conversation you might be trying to hold, and subliminally programming your brain to try myriads of products you don't need.

All that being said...

I have, for the first time in my adult life, found a show that I actually want to watch every single week. I think I was folding laundry in the family room when the premier for Pushing Daisies was airing and Jason had the T.V. on. (My husband, unfortunately, does not subscribe to the same philosophy as I do regarding television.) I was caught off-guard with how refreshingly sweet and innocent the whole thing felt. I fell in love with the super-saturated colours that made it feel like a page out of Edward Scissorhands, without the Tim Burton-esque strangeness. It was whimsical, with enough of an "edge" to keep it from being sickly sweet. I also love that it is narrated by a voice whose British accident, pitch and demeanor make it feel like you've just been read to by your grandfather or sweet elderly neighbour for an hour when the show is over.*

Ned, the hero of the story, has a special gift--or curse, as the case may be--that he discovered in a most unfortunate way when he was ten or eleven years old. He can bring dead things back to life at a single touch. He found this out when his mother died after hitting her head on the floor and he revived her by touching her. Unfortunately, he soon found out the "dark side" of this gift: if he touches the revived person/creature again they die permanently. This was discovered when his mother went to kiss him goodnight. Also, if he leaves the person alive for longer than a minute, someone else in random proximity dies instead. This he found out after reviving his mother, and his neighbour died--the father of his childhood sweetheart. Thus, ever since his dog died and Ned revived him, he has pet the dog with a wooden hand on a pole. The poor dog is a little attention-deprived.

As an adult, Ned runs a pie shop, but also makes extra cash by working with Emerson, a local detective who uses Ned's ability to talk to murdered corpses about their cause of death and collect the rewards attached to information about the same. In the pilot, Ned knowingly revives his childhood sweetheart, Chuck, and leaves her alive because, well, he loves her. (And also, he feels responsible for her father's death, after which she was raised by a couple of sweet but creepy maiden aunts.)

The show centers around Ned's and Chuck's relationship (which, by it's very non-physical nature, is extremely "clean!"), but each episode has a bizarre murder to solve, as well as some very sweet perspective about love of one type or another. Plots are complicated by the fact that Ned's employee at the Pie Hole, Olive, is in love with him, Emerson can't stand Chuck, and Ned still has not revealed the whole truth to Chuck about his reasons for keeping her alive. All of this combines with some fantastic writing, costumes, directing, and cinematography to make a show that is laugh-out-loud funny, sweet, and uplifting.

The worst part is if I don't manage to turn off the switch before the dreadfully depressing teaser for the show after it comes on. (And also that by the third commercial break, my right eye starts to twitch uncontrollably. At that point Jason gets the hint and starts muting the blasted things.)

Oh, and also? You can still invite me out on Tuesday nights. I mean, c'mon. It's just a T.V. show!

(Which I'm sure will be out on DVD in about a year. Then I can call it a "movie" and watch it anytime I want!)

*Neither of my grandfathers had/have British accents, but it still feels like that.

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  1. That's exactly what Mark and I do - rent the DVDs. It's like a big long movie that you love and can watch whenever you'd like. The perfect answer. :)

  2. I actually love TV shows. Especially the good ones. But I am not so into them that I would put off a social thingy. Just find them just the right kind of mindless entertainment I need after an exhausting me. - shallow me!

  3. I really like Pushing Daisies. I usually miss the first airing of it because Robynn has cheer/pom class on Wednesdays. So I have taken to just watching it on the internet at abc.com. I also really like Chuck

  4. Colleen - I know! I only wish that Pushing Daisies were already on DVD, so I could go on a week-long blitz, instead of having to wait that torturous week between episodes.

    Rohini - Whew! I'll know it's safe to invite you out for coffee on Survivor night, then! Do you have a free evening coming up? :-)

    Sarah - See, this is how little I want to watch television. I was about to go on and on about how much I like Chuck, too, and if Ned weren't so hot in a "lost puppy" kind of way she would definitely be my favourite character, when I popped over to your blog and saw that you meant a whole 'nother show called Chuck.


  5. It's my fault I should have made that more clear that I didn't mean Chuck, I meant Chuck. I didn't even think about how confusing that could be. :)

  6. A free evening - yes. Within a 100 miles of you - no. :)

  7. Sarah - Well so long as we have cleared that up! :-)

    Rohini - Maybe we could have cybertea. Is that possible? :-)

  8. We have a DVR...so I CAN watch my tv shows whenever I want and skip all the commercials and everything!

    Plus, Thursday night (being Grey's Anatomy Night) I have a good friend who pops over to watch with me. It's so much more fun to be able to talk to the tv together and chat about what is going on and laugh together over the stupid things the characters do.

    Last night I introduced her to PD and she loved it!

    I also have a Monday night tv friend for Chuck (love that show too!)...sharing tv makes it a social event rather than just vegging out on the couch.


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