... there are some TV shows that I genuinely enjoy.
I know, I know. That makes me a lousy leftist. And a less interesting person. But at least I'm honest.
One of the shows I like is this new, slightly overweening drama "Kings." Big budget, good acting, interesting characters, insightful writing with keen social commentary, blah blah blah. It doesn't hurt that the lighting, cinematography, sets and locations are all gorgeous either, with many of the exteriors and even many interiors shot in NYC, to great effect. I recognized the auditorium of the New York Times HQ building in a recent episode. It looked better in the show than it did in person.
The most recent episode was kind of a metaphor for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, centering on a land-for-peace deal, bitterly opposed by the people living in the area that would be given back to the enemy in exchange for an end to the violence. Except in this case, the land in question is, like, Seattle.
The other show I like is one that, by rights, I should loathe. Or at least seriously resent. It is a middle-brow work-place comedy, stupidly entitled "Better Off Ted." The first mildly irritating thing about the show is that its logo uses the exact same font as the TED conference organization, a truly important cultural force which no mere TV show would ever deserve to be associated with. But then, it's just a logo font and I should probably let it go.
The show is about a guy (obviously named 'Ted') who runs the research and development efforts of an amoral mega-corporation portrayed as something like GE and Monsanto combined. They make everything from light bulbs to genetically modified food crops to advanced weapons systems. Each episode begins with a promotional spot for this fictitious company complete with mellifluous female voice-over and slick production quality. The main character is a likable everyman, aware of the absurdities of his job while struggling to live up to the fairly basic moral code which he has instilled in his own 7-year-old (?) daughter. The other characters are all quirky and likable too and include an obligatory cute love-interest woman, two obligatory nerdy/zany lab-coated scientists who argue a lot despite being best friends, and then there's Ted's boss. She is the second thing about the show that mildly irritates me.
Ted's boss is basically (exactly!) a character I wrote as the boss of a giant cosmetics company in a zombie screenplay I've been working on (on and off) for, um, wow, a few years now, crap. Some of you might be familiar with it. Anyway, seeing what pretty well amounts to a character I created some years ago, fully realized in a mainstream network TV show today is... I gotta say... pretty fucking strange. I feel like I should be really pissed off, but Portia de Rossi does such a good job with the character (playing her as the single most comically icy and heartless person you've ever begrudgingly liked) that I can't really complain. If anything, it makes me want to submit scripts and force my way onto the show's writing staff.
The satire varies from pretty dead-on sharp, to not-edgy-or-scathing-enough, to satirizing something which is even more absurd/horrible in real life so you can't count it as satire. Obviously, I'd like to see the show take a meaner, darker approach, but even in its currently tame and whimsical state, I have to admit... it does kinda tickle me. Pretty consistently too. And yeah, if I wrote for it, it would be much harder to find sponsors and it would have to be on late at night (much less "family friendly") and would probably piss off a lot of decent salt-of-the-earth types. Oh well. I guess I'll have to be satisfied with it the way it is. For better or worse, it definitely reminds me of some of the actual jobs I've had over the years. Well right, I guess that would have to go in the "worse" column.
Of course, it is also possible that this piece of toothless fluff is completely lame, I'm losing my mind in my old age and am now way too easily amused. I really don't know.
PS: Sorry I've dropped off the face of the earth lately. I'll try to pay more attention to this here word thing again. I'm leaving for Peru on the 16th, staying in the jungle for a couple weeks, and may have some fun things to write about upon my return, so there's that.