Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bad television...truly bad television...

One of the things that's nice about not having a day job--actually, everything is nice about having a day job, except for the lack of money part--but I digress...

Anyway, I have more time to devote to writing, and with getting my book ready for publication, I've needed it. But it's not like I'm taking all of this additional time and being productive with it. I find my lack of productivity frustrating at times, to be honest. Sure, I've been able to do some things more quickly-- I just finished a screenplay draft in pretty much record time (and had a blast doing it). But back when I worked full-time and was really in a rhythm, I used to crank out hour-long teleplays in a couple of weeks--at night, after work. I'm not making any claims that they were brilliant, and it's not like I made money on them, but I sure was able to put out the pages.

Now? I mainly feel like everything...has...slowed...down....And I like it.

I like having time to walk everywhere instead of driving. I like being able to have dinner and drinks with friends and not worry so much about all the work I need to do before I fall asleep. I like being able to sleep and not have to drag myself out of bed the next day feeling like cat-food. I like being able to mindlessly surf the interwebz and only feel somewhat guilty about the time suck.

And you know what I really like? Watching television.

Oh, man, I have been watching a lot of television. Lots of football (both pro and college). And...just bad television.

I mean, it's one thing to spend your time watching MAD MEN and BREAKING BAD. These are genuinely good shows. No, I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about "My Secret Shame" level of stuff.

THE BACHELOR. And THE BACHELORETTE. Oh yes. And AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL. And BIGGEST LOSER. Though I can tell myself that the last one is about, I don't know, personal transformation, the Bachelor/Bachelorette is all about the train-wreck, baby! Don't look! Cover your eyes!

Hah. Made you look.

Then there is the world of Bad Hour Long Dramas. Now, some stuff I just cannot watch. All of those CSI/LAW & ORDER shows? Not interested. Medical shows, I want to like, but when they are bad, they are so bad. This new one, THREE RIVERS? Unwatchable. Even with former Vampire Detective from MOONLIGHT and hot-regardless-of-your-sexual-orientation former lesbian hairdresser from THE L WORD--which, by the way, is a candidate for my own personal Hall of Camp Fame. Wow. The one where Cybill Sheppherd comes out...dreadful. Classic.

See, it can't just be bad. It has to be fun bad. I'm not really sure what the line of demarcation is, but I know it when I see it.

Do I watch a double-bill of GHOST WHISPERER and MEDIUM on Friday nights? Why, yes, I do! Are either of these shows good? Well, I'd argue that MEDIUM is better quality -- Roseanna Arquette is great, and she might actually be in double-digits, size-wise. It's refreshing -- but MAD MEN good? Not really.

(and by the way, last week's episode of MAD MEN -- "The Gypsy and the Hobo" -- that had to be one of the most riveting episodes of the series thus far. Sooo tense! I was freaking out -- "she's in the car! She's in the car!" If you saw it, you know what I mean)

Do I actually focus my full attention on these shows? Nope. I use them as backdrop for cooking, laundry, proofing, surfing...I don't even have a TiVo, so it's live or nothing.

And then there's my latest, "Wow, I can't believe I'm watching this!" candidate -- EASTWICK.

Let me just say, EASTWICK is not a "good" show. It's been described as DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES meets BEWITCHED, which kind of covers it. The first episode was...pretty bad (and not good bad). I will say that it's improving. And EASTWICK has one thing that makes it a must-watch for me: Paul Gross.

Oh. My. God. What is it about these Canadians? Paul Gross plays the Devil, or something. It's not clear, and I don't care. He is hilarious. Smarmy-licious. Practically Shatnerian in his self-aware, nudge-wink side-of-ham performance. I'm considering a TiVo just to fast-forward through all the parts he's not in.

Yes, I am a fan.

I expect this period of television immersion is not indefinite. I'll probably get tired of it pretty soon. Maybe even tonight. I have a stack of books to read, and you know...

I just can't get into GREY'S ANATOMY...

UPDATE: THE MENTALIST? Not feeling it...

SECOND UPDATE: Several readers have left comments naming their own Television Secret Shames. I'd like to propose that those prepared to confess their embarrassing TV habits do the same. Who knows, we might get enough for a poll!

Okay, this is Paul Gross in SLINGS AND ARROWS (a show set backstage at a more than usually dysfunctional theater company), which I think I need to Netflix. Which means I need to get Netflix...

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