220-Off the Books

Well it finally got a little bit cold here in Florida today. I guess it probably dropped below freezing last night, and it’s supposedly going to hit sixteen degrees tonight. To my knowledge, this is the first below freezing weather we’ve had here this year. It’s good and bad really. Good because I love the cold weather (as infrequent as it is here) and bad because of what the writer’s strike has done to my television.

See, when it gets cold my favorite thing to do is to cuddle up with Lena on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket and topped with a dog, beside the fireplace in front of the TV. But now, with the strike, all of my new TV is being taken out of the picture. Now in the olden days, before Survivor, whenever there was a strike you would get reruns. But times have changed. Now, we have “reality” television, which suffers mightily from the same glaring flaw that makes it so popular with producers.

There are no writers.

It is interesting to me that the clear deficit of this genre of television is the very reason so many of them get made. (Look, this sucks! Let’s make more!) They are very cheap to make, (no writers, no actors, no scripts, no reshoots) so the money-people love them, but they are also very cheap visually, emotionally, and intellectually, so I hate to watch them. And any yahoo with a camcorder can do one. Just find a bunch of people who don’t get along, throw them in a room together and start taping. Hilarity ensues.

I thought for a while that there seemed to be a bit of a public backlash against this sort of thing. Even American Idol seemed on the wane. Then the writer’s strike happened and a bunch of projects that should have resulted in either firings or public executions got green-lighted and I turn on the TV to a show where teenaged beauty queens and their aging moms “desash” each other every week with a giant pair of bedazzled pinking shears. I wanted to poke my eyes out with the remote control.

Because I was obviously not suffering enough, TV producers have also brought back the game show as a form of distraction. (I was going to type “entertainment” there but I couldn’t make myself do it.) For me, game shows were something you got punished with when you were too sick to go to school. It was god’s way of saying “You’re can stay home, but you’re not going to enjoy it.” When it first started up, I watched one episode of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? I admit it, I was curious, and I’ve always thought Jeff Foxworthy was funny. By the end, I realized that the show had been misnamed. It should have been called Hey, Look at These People We Found Who Are Dumber Than a Fifth Grader! I steadfastly refuse to believe that the contestants for this show are a representative population for this country. I refuse… I refuse… I refuse…

In any case, there has been a silver lining to all of this, and that has been Netflix. Lena and I have been burning through Sex in the City, The Ghost Whisperer, and The Sopranos. After that I’ve got Connections and Nowhere Man lined up, plus I’ve been taking The Drew Carry Show over to Grandma’s house twice a week. (She loves her some sitcoms!) What’s more, I don’t have to feel guilty about it, because the writers already get a piece of the DVD sales.

Now I also have one other way to help out the poor, struggling, striking writers. As Lena and I sit huddled tonight on the sofa in front of the fireplace, wrapped in our blankets and topped with a dog while it is sixteen degrees outside, I would be happy to hire a some people from Lost, Heroes, and Charles in Charge to come and switch out the DVDs for me while they compete for the ultimate position of “guy who refills the tea.”

I even have a camcorder.

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There’s another new shirt in the HOLE store! Plus, anyone who votes for Heroes of Lesser Earth on Top Web Comics will get a sneak peek at a sketch from a comic that’s still several weeks away! Go take a look!

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