I haven't really been watching TV much. I'm paying a stinking fortune to those bastards at Comcast for internet and HBO, Skinemax, Starz, Showtime, Encore and The Movie Channel. I don't watch much. Usually if I get that kind of time I fall asleep. I'm still working more 36 hour days then I should. Last week I fell asleep behind the wheel twice. Both times I woke up inches away from side swiping a parked car.
I got a full nights sleep two nights in a row this weekend yet tonight I fell asleep during The Simpsons. I think it was because they've become quite boring. I don't expect The Simpsons to ever be as funny as the Connan O'Brian years but lately they haven't been funny at all. One thing I have been watching lately has been foreign horror
I have to blame the writers for this. If I remember correctly, The Simpsons is the one show that the writers have control over. Producers aren't allowed to bring "notes" or screw with scripts that have passed "standards". It's uncharacteristically un-republican of me to say this but I support the writers decision to strike. I hope they get fair treatment. I'm sorry the grips, gaffers and other crew are feeling collateral damages but they wouldn't have a job in the first place if the writers didn't camp out at 18th Street Coffee House in front of their laptop. The make-up girl is still going to collect a paycheck regardless of whether I watch "The Office" through my cable connection to the TV set or watch "The Office" through my cable connection to my PowerBook. However, only one path between the writers fingers to my eyeball compensates the writer. That's what this is about.
That's why the writers have their own union in the first place. They were smart enough to know that the Teamsters weren't going to get them a better deal. If the Best Boy wants a residual check maybe he needs to join a union that fights for a better cut of the paycheck. I hear the crew complaining about the writers but what they really need might not be a union that fights for the right to stand around doing nothing but keep the clock running while the director waits for magic hour. I don't blame the studio for layoffs. If you want residual payments too you should elect union reps who are, you know, smart. Maybe Joe Bob was great at swinging a hammer and did great at woodshop in high school but he's out gunned in the frontal lobes when negotiating with front office management that requires an Ivy League degree to be the mail clerk.
No one complained when musicians demanded the same royalty for CD's that they used to get for VINYL platters. Name the last 12 inch diameter black disk you purchased. Admit it, you paused for more then a second. You paused two seconds if you thought that 'S' was a 'C'. It's been that long since records were sold that way. I'll bet you a copy of "Little Miss Sunshine" on VHS that you can't find it.
Writers aren't stupid. They have enough vision to see what's coming around the bend. They have to be smart or they don't get paid. This strike isn't about their greed today it's about knowing when one medium is dead and acknowledging when new technology is taking over.
So maybe American TV isn't worth watching. It's been that way since Philo T Farnsworth first shot electrons through a tube. I've been watching season 6 of The Simpsons in my classroom after school. Listening really, as I set up for labs. I'm thinking of having my Netflixs
sent to the school. Maybe abandoning the airwaves will be a good thing. Without the FCC and "Standards & Practice" telling writers what they can write they might have something worthwhile to say. I'd actually miss TV. In the mean time, does anyone remember the '88 writers strike? I vaguely remember that episode of Moonlighting where they ran short so Bruce Willis just sang to Cybil Shepard for 10 minutes?
Labels: Cite Your Source, Happy Endings Are Sappy, Movies, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish