April 13, 2010

The New Chardonnay Aesthetic of TV Viewers


One outcome of the Writers Strike will be the change in the TV viewing public's ability to professionally judge the strength and weaknesses of new shows. We expect they'll become as perceptive and as discriminating as Ben Brantley, the chief theater critic for The New York Times!

The writers strike's impact on America has already transformed how we view TV. Fewer of us are watching and some may never come back. This kind of paradigm-changing event has had the same level of impact in popular culture as Jasper Johns' series, titled, "Flags" did in the art world. "Flags" helped derail second and third-generation "Abstract Expressionism." You remember, right?


The TV strike has scuttled the old "Married with Children" ways of program selection. As a result, writers and producers should prepare to receive feedback that would devastate even J.D. Salinger. It's going to be much more sophisticated. Prepare to confront a whole new level of scrutiny normally found at downtown art galleries, where everyone smokes cloves and wears black... before breakfast!

Discussions around the proverbial water cooler on the previous evening's episode of Dirty Sexy Money will take on a much more cerebral and chardonnay-aesthetic quality.

So many of our normal evening TV habits were tossed willy-nilly out the window beginning from last November until now. During this time, we were put into the cruel and mentally damaging positions of actually having to converse with other family members. Now with things getting back to normal, it's only natural that viewers will critique the quality of new programs through the lens of, "Was it worth all the pain I suffered?"

Jasper Johns once told an interviewer, "I started drawing when I was 3, and I've never stopped." Isn't the age 3 when we all first learned that Twinky-Winky had something odd about him? Or that the remote control was more than just something to chew on while teething. Like Jasper's drawing, most of us began watching TV at age 3 and none of us has ever stopped since.


Mr. John's desire to become an artist helped him survive a lonely childhood shaped by the abandonment by his parents. Ironically, the TV Writers Strike had an equally distressing experience on American's kids. With no TV to watch, parents began scrutinizing what their children were up to, and thus began to inquire what they were watching on YouTube and/or if their homework was done. American families are all soon going to need their time on the couch, though not the one in the living room. Rather, the one in the psychiatrist's office.

Be that as it may, here are some things that average Americans might be overheard saying when they talk about what they watched last night from the people in the office, or at the coffee shop, or at the hospital, or on the construction site or in the restaurant kitchen, among other places:

"CSI doesn't really address the theoretical underpinnings of the existentialism to the social conditions of our time." Is there any more Velveeta?

"As you watch Everyone Hates Chris, one cannot imagine a stronger advocate for the "intentional fallacy" that's so deplored in the twentieth century." Are we having chicken pot pies tonight?


"Desperate Housewives explores the theory of realism without the added burden of carving a space for the programs to come." Gimme a beer while you're up.

"The soul of ER is its action, so the question is why does it describe those things which are not accessory to the action?" Don't forget to take the garbage out.

"The true measure of the Simpsons should be whether it is "genuine," "sincere," and "the result of some direct impression or perception of life". Where's the dustbuster? I just stepped on a hair ball.

"Ugly Betty examines her maturation from a brilliant and methodical young artist to a deeper more lyrical and less predictable office worker." Hey, who's the guy over there with the cute jeans?

The last episode of Cashmere Mafia was so "derivative of Kant"! Who cut the cheese?


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