Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lex Dexter Thinks the Teevee's Funny Horn

Just cuz you don't understand what I'm saying, 'doesn't mean I'm cool, okay? For example, I'm right now wearing a button-down blue oxford shirt - symbol of everything unholy to me throughout my entire life - and laughing, enjoying the sight of my uncool, workaday dork-self (note: not enjoying face, teeth, bag-of-baloons torso.) To further this thesis of mine - Lex as big old dork - I would like to riff semi-endlessly and nerdily about the television, which all you mountain biking Ben Harper fans know to be the least cool medium in the world. I watch television every day.
  1. Last night was "put up or shut up" time for Bored to Death AND the Cleveland Show. BTD is just a little bit too "2008" for me to handle, notwithstanding the always soothing presence of Zack Galifianakis....It's cool that they've got Ted Danson/"Sam Malone" experimenting with male prostitutes, and it's cool that Zack G's tummy is broader and denser than mine, but I'm not sure I care enough to regularly turn off Sunday nite Tortoise records in order to watch this thing seriously. Also, the show suffers from its lack of significant female characters. (No -- I'm not filthily calling for landscapes of ironically-lingerie-d Chloe Sevignys: I'm dead serious here.) Also, I should acknowledge a latent bias against Jason Schwartzman, who instantly reminds me of Rushmore and Wes Anderson. (Let me speak for the culture-at-large when I say, we've all had enough of Rushmore and Wes Anderson: it's "too much of a good thing," just like Portland and Brooklyn seem sometimes. See what I mean when I say "2008"? Here we are in Brooklyn, with Schwartzman as a witty, white wine-drinking, pomo private eye.)
  2. Like Family Guy, The Cleveland Show foists all sorts of non sequitur side-bits onto hollow plot points, but has a very high slugging average when it comes to taking half-verboten topics or unexamined media worship and "hitting 'em outta the park." If I see the reruns on the Cartoon Network some night, or if I never see these Cleveland episodes ever at all....well, that's fine. Again, my Sunday nights are trending in the "listen to records" direction. And that's, well, fine.
  3. Cult Month on MSNBC Did I ever tell y'all how I took a class on the Millennium in the Fall of 1999? It was a blast, and the place I learned about cargo cults, Derrida, eschatology, etc., for the first time. Last night I tuned in to Witness to Waco mostly because it reminded me of hanging out with my girlfriend the previous weekend with the tv in the background. But, as was the case last week with Witness to Jonestown, I was impressed by the reporting and filmmaking going on. (When I say "impressed," I am talking about impressions relative to lowered expectations we all no doubt bring to cable broadcasts.) Despite MSNBC's predilection for "true crime" blah-blah-blah, "Cult Month" has so far featured both specific authors and more generally academic documentary viewpoints than I first encountered in that Millennium class from oh-so-many knife hits and milkshakes ago.
  4. Vincent D'Onofrio exiting 'Criminal Intent' Law and Order: CI is my favorite of the Law and Order franchise and, since we lost the superior (in every way) Wire, my favorite police-ish thing on tv. At this point, D'Onofrio has employed every affect possible to make his reoccurring Sherlock Holmes qua Joe Friday character interesting, and for the last coupla seasons has been wandering around in a late-period-Orson-Welles kinda stupor. Thus his leaving is probably for the best, although the departures of the show's two supporting actresses, Kathryn Erbe and Julianne Nicholson, is more disappointing, because they both could have enjoyed the foregrounding that coulda/shoulda come after D'Onofrio's exit. [And alas, we're losing Eric Bogosian, too?!? I appreciated having one person on the cast with whom we could play "6 degrees of Sonic Youth."] Only now does the Jeff Goldblum era begin in full swing, I suppose.
  5. Over the course of a very transgressive Thursday nite, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation treated us to two timely, topical, satirical episodes involving labor unrest on one hand, and Chavez/Venezuela on the other. I am a sucker for Parks and Recreation -- not just because it's funny, not just because it has Aziz Ansari from the funny/not funny Funny People, and not just because it involves at least a coupla public employee gags per episode. I'm also a sucker because I am biased towards Amy Poehler and the Upright Citizens Brigade crowd as I am biased away from Wes Anderson.
  6. 30 Rock Review: "Season 4" (Episode 4.1) :In what way is Tina Fey not an icon for our times? Everybody watches this show, right?
  7. As I've mentioned so often on le twtr, Sons of Anarchy is probably the worst program that I find it in my heart to watch on a weekly basis. It is professional wrestling-style dude-writing with Hamlet pretensions, and features regular gun battles, and now, this season, white supremacists. Season 2 got off to a "why the fuck am I watching this?" start when Katey Segal/"Peg Bundy"/"Gertrude" was raped by Henry Rollins, who wore a Micheal Meyers mask. Thank you, FX network, for helping me remind myself that in addition to being an uncool dork, I still appreciate "hard R" renditions of Die Hard 2 played out with motorbikes and leather. Help me!
  8. I also watch political news programming on cable. Have I mentioned that before?
  9. I also watch television programmes on digital video disc. Most recently, I have been speeding through the first two seasons of Weeds, which remind me a lot of what it's like to be a solipsistic but well-meaning young grownup beset by the slings and arrows of family life. (The show is about marijuana sometimes, blah-blah-blah.) Way more than the shitty-shitty-shitty American Beauty, Weeds talks about exurban anomie in a non-judgmental way that is comic but not unserious. I am a Mary-Louise Parker fan since seeing her in Proof on Broadway, and her unassumingly great performance here underscores her being not just a great actress but most likely a cool dorky person to know.
  10. Of course, the only reason I need fill myself with all of this other television programming is because the DVD gods have yet to release Dynasty Season 5 for my home library. It is the pinnacle of something, who cares what.
  11. What kind of television do you watch on tv?


yerobain said...

Angela and I had a rental blitzkrieg through "The Tudors", which fizzled out in the second season, around the beginning of disc two. Before that it was entertaining, oh and sexy too.

lex dexter said...


Was it the sex on "The Tudors" that you found sexy -- or the goblets? I'm assuming there were a lotta goblet-drinking scenes?

dave3544 said...

You liked the Parks and Rec episode? I was actually kind of pissed off by it. I'm no Chavez lover, but I thought the writers/however really wussed out on the Venezuela thing.

First, we learned that Venezuela is the bomb because they have oil and the state owns it and everyone has all the beautiful parks that they could want, because, you know, Venezuela is a socialist country where the interests of the people, not corporations, are paramount.

Great! But the show could only let the idea that socialism is cool stand for about 5 minutes before we learn that anyone who protests the government is thrown in jail. Ha, ha, socialism = totalitarianism. I know I'd rather live in a country that has no public spaces than to lose my freedom to protest the way the government spends very little of my money on public parks!

I was very frustrated, as Ginger could attest, as she missed the next ten minutes of the show as I ranted about why it is the good people of Venezuela with the beautiful parks would show up to a public hearing to protest the parks and be arrested. What are they protesting? Their lack of choice to not have nice parks?

Agreed on the Cleveland show. I just can't get down with the non-sequitur humor. I'm old. But why a bear? Why is one of the main characters a bear? Does this character's bearness somehow shed some light on the condition of the protagonist? Does the bear's position outside of humanity allow him a place on which to comment about humanity from a perspective that the humans can't be expected to have? Not that I can see. It does open up the possibility of hilarious bear penis jokes though. /rant.

yerobain said...

sex with goblets

lex dexter said...

Nice to see you writing on the OG, momentarily!

Of course Parks & Rec shit the bed re: Venezuela, but I expect that (and worse) from far better-informed US liberals (even you, for example!) at this point. Given these lowered expectations, I was just happy to see Venezuela get 5 minutes of semi-positive recognition before the perfunctory "socialism = totalitarianism" two-step kicked in.

And yes, the bear (and bear penis) gags left a bit to be desired on the Cleveland Show. All signs point to me keeping the tube turned off on Sunday nights from now on -- at least, until the Dynsasty dvds show up.

gabbagabbahey said...

maybe everybody should watch 30 Rock. but its relentless satire of Republicanism (is that a word in the States?) would make that situation a little odd, voter-demographics-wise.

excellent show.

bagman said...

DVD stands for digital versatile disc.

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