Positive Cynicism – Summer viewing

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

We’re well into summer now, and that’s always meant one thing to me: even less interesting television programming than usual.

Now, granted, there’s no accounting for taste. We all like crap of some sort or another, and we all get precious about it on some level or another. Crap is fun to watch. It’s like White Castle: it goes down easily, it fills you up for a little while, it doesn’t tax your attention span and it’s even more awesome when you’re high. Crap is awesome.

(And so is White Castle.)

Coupled with that is the fact that, like people who eat White Castle, I get bored easily and need something to do. I’ve always been like that. When you were younger, did you ever get bored and end up, by default, just watch hours and hours and hours of daytime TV? You know how it is: you wake up in the morning, you think you’re going to get a ton of stuff done over the day and suddenly you get distracted and realize you’ve just watched three episodes of Jerry Springer in a row. Suddenly, a week later, you have no idea why but you’re really interested to find out where Erica Kane’s newest story arc is going. It just sort of … happens.

This is why, last summer, I suddenly found myself deeply involved in daytime reruns of Desperate Housewives, a show I never thought I’d watch in my life, but which I now watch for three hours a day in the summer.

Yeah, distractions will come.

There is some quality in the summer schedule, by which I pretty much exclusively mean Futurama’s triumphant return to Comedy Central. Unfortunately, I despise Comedy Central, so I can’t watch the show live. All of those loud, obnoxious commercials for cash-for-gold scams, Olive Garden and Comedy Central’s idiotic original programming screaming out at me in a cacophony that’s almost impossible to ignore … There are certain things I don’t need in my life, and those things include fake Italian restaurants, someone trying to underpay me for my gold and Jon Stewart mugging at the camera. The person who invented TiVo has my gratitude.

The other stuff I’m watching is crap, and I’m willing to admit that.

True Blood… the other day, someone asked me what my favorite episode of True Blood was, and I had no idea how to answer her. I finally had to say “I have no idea. True Blood isn’t a show I watch because it’s good, it’s really just a show I watch because it’s summer and there’s nothing on. It’s stupid and ridiculous, and sleazy and hilarious and it’s full of nudity and sex.”

“So, you watch it even though you think it’s dumb?” she asked.

To which I could only answer: “I watch it because the dumbness is hilariously entertaining.”

If that makes me shallow, hey, I don’t care.

It’s not like I don’t like good television, it’s just that there’s so little good television on in the summer. So instead I’ll watch Hell’s Kitchen and Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami and whatever the hell that thing is with Jillian Michaels because, you know, what else is on? Plus, you know, hot chicks.

Yes, I am this lazy.

About the only type of television I won’t watch—and which is becoming prevalent these days — are those weird macho shows my Dad likes. You know what I mean: Pawn Stars, Deadliest Catch, Ace of Cakes, etc. Shows where they either highlight how much machismo it takes to do a particular job, or where they take a job which is, I guess, stereotypically feminine and get a bunch of pissed-off alpha males to do it and whine about how manly it is.

This is a phenomenon I really don’t get. Is it just because I don’t think cooking is stereotypically feminine or masculine or made for any sort of person that I think Anthony Bourdain’s confrontational bullshit is silly, or is it just that he’s an ass hat?

Is it just that I’m comfortable with who I am and seeing other people risk their lives while I sit my fat ass down on the couch doesn’t give me a vicarious erection?

I don’t know, but I do think those shows are kind of ridiculous. They’re so formulaic. You can build one of these out of nothing.

Example: you want to do one of these slick reality shows for The Learning Channel, no matter how nonsensical that seems, since this channel used to actually carry programs about learning. You want to do a show about the work that goes into the fine craftsmanship of making dollhouse furniture. So, since no one in America is apparently going to watch a program like that without a by-now-very-clichéd hook, you need to find someone very manly, with big arms and tattoos, who got kicked out of the army for heroin or something and then dramatically kicked the habit, and who also happens to make dollhouse furniture.

And, of course, because alpha males apparently can’t make things a girl might play with, he’ll have to angrily, gruffly go on about how it’s carpentry and architectural design, but only on a much smaller scale, which is of course the challenge of the whole thing, and anyway, he likes the idea that something he does makes children happy DAMN IT TO HELL, I’M A TOUGH GUY AND I MAKE FURNITURE FOR DOLLS, SO WHAT?! He’ll have to get in your face with that ‘tude, and he’ll need younger guys with ‘tude of their own to get into confrontations over whether the bedspread should be made out of gingham or lace, because if shows that used to be about knowledge and the world have shown us anything, it’s that no one wants to watch a show where guys just build cars, they want guys to build cars while SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER!

And we can call it Doll Men! Or Toy Warriors! Or, I don’t know, something manlier. We’ll work out the fine details later. TLC, I expect you to call me on this.

Just don’t call me when Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami is on.

Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com.

  1. Darius Whiteplume June 29, 2010
  2. Joelle June 29, 2010
  3. James June 29, 2010
  4. Aaron R. Davis June 29, 2010

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