Monday, March 5, 2007

How I’m Gonna “Carry On” and “Make it Work”

You’re probably expecting me to launch into a commentary on the genius of Tim Gunn right about now, hence your confusion over my selected image of Bill Murray and Carol Kane. Well, there will be no Tim Gunn discussion this evening (oh, but wait until he comes to Seattle in April on his book tour—there will be discussion indeed!). No, tonight is about concept, about procedure, and about the importance of television. And it is, by way of reference, a little bit about Scrooged, the world’s most underrated Christmas movie EVER.

Just shy of its two week birthday, TV ON A SCHOOL NIGHT is in its nascent stages, finding its way into the world, post by post, baby step by baby step (for those of you who are really with me on the Bill Murray thing). Despite not having written since last week’s Top Model episode, I have absorbed plenty of television, but a question has been plaguing me: how to broach it all? How to convey that I do watch TV every single day, come hell or high water, even if what I’m watching isn’t current or new? I’ve been in a quandary, wondering exactly what approach to take with this blog. Do I commit myself to every episode of Dancing with the Stars merely because it’s premiering next week (which would cause husband Stu no small amount of pain, misery, heartache, and anguish)? Or, as I’ve been thinking for the past couple of hours since Stu and I had a tiff regarding my possibly watching hours heaped on top of hours of reality programming merely to have material for witty commentary, do I continue my TV watching life as I always have: a Friends rerun here, an E! True Hollywood Story there, here an Oprah, there a Firefly, everywhere a Project Runway.

Here’s where we come to the Scrooged part. Like Bill Murray’s Frank Cross, sad as it may seem to others although bringing nothing but great joy to me, if I think back, many of my favorite memories are founded in reminiscences of television shows: entire chunks of my life gauged by what series I watched religiously, the progression of my life based on what characters I thought I most wanted to be like. Unlike Frank Cross, I need no ghosts to smack me around, tickle me silly, or drive me recklessly through my past to show me how wonderful the life I haven’t paid attention to is and how much I’ve missed. I haven’t missed a single beat. But, every beat has a TV series, movie of the week, breaking news brief, or special Sunday night presentation to go along with it.

I realized the magnitude of this the other day when I was pondering television’s role in my life. This is where I bring the room down for a moment: my father passed away when I was twenty-two and while now, fourteen years later, much of my memory of the days surrounding his death are a bit blurry, one thing is not. On the day of his funeral, devastated as I was (and make no mistake, I was devastated) I still thought to myself that it was a Wednesday and I wished that everyone would leave our house in time for me to watch Beverly Hills 90210. When no one had left by 8pm, Eastern Standard Time, I hid myself away in my parents’ bedroom to spend some time with the Walshes. Was I so shallow and callous and unfeeling that television was more important than mourning my father’s death? No, but my need for it ran deeper than anything else I was feeling by the end of that day. I didn’t want to be with anyone but Brandon, Brenda, Kelly, Dylan, Donna and David (I’d mention Andrea, but did anyone really want to be with her?). Sometimes watching television feels to me like the relief a cutter must feel when the blade finally penetrates the skin. There’s a rush of relief, a calm that only certain things can bring. For some, it's a knife, or heroin, or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (yeah, that one’s pretty good too).

For me, it’s TV. I need it every day. I don’t care if it’s a morning talk show; I don’t care if it’s a drama on a DVD that just arrived from Netflix; I don’t care if it’s a ten day old sitcom episode in danger of being deleted by TIVO; I don't care if it's a show I'm watching cuz I can't find anything else to watch. I have to watch something every day and I have to watch television all week long and what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t necessarily watch the same thing on the same day at the same time. It’s a bit random, and until I decide that doesn’t work, that’s how this blog will work. I’m gonna watch something every day, and I’m gonna write about it almost every day, cuz as my sister asked recently after she read the last of my rather lengthy posts, “don’t you have a day job?” Yeah, I do, and I’m gonna attempt not to get fired from it.

But I’m also gonna try to write about as much television as possible.

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