I guess it’s no secret to you that I watch tv. And contrary to what the I-never-watch-tv contingent may say about me (you know them, the folks who are all “who is Scooby Doo? Never heard of him”), I am not a person whose mind is made into a lump of gelantinous mush by my tv intake. My mind is a gelatinous mush for other reasons, like staring at taillights on the freeway for an hour of my day every day, but not because of the evil tube de la boob. On the contrary, I would argue that I am more of a critical thinker because of my tv-watching. I can break down the pre-feminist tropes layered with hegemonic displays of the dysfunctional american work ethic on top of christian litotes with a side of classist paradox that underlies almost any episode of Little House on the Prairie you care to throw at me. It’s all in there, and I see it just fine.
In fact, most of the time I think I go too far in the opposite direction- like I am so critical of the stuff I see on tv that I don’t believe any of it may actually reflect reality. My first inclination is to think that the crazy marketing people are trying to sell me an idea of what life is like and that that totally doesn’t exist. For example, I don’t think that most men really find bony ladies attractive. I don’t care how many times I see Keira Knightly’s skeleton poking through her skin. I am just not buying it. I might be wrong about this, I can admit that. Perhaps there is a whole army of dudes out there that want to feel a nice set of brittle ribs jabbing them when they go in for a little action and I am deluding myself to think otherwise. But I can’t help it. It’s on tv so it must not be true.
Here’s another thing that I find hard to believe that I learned from tv. I had to be proven wrong to make my mind wrap around it. Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers go buck wild at Big Box stores? I didn’t believe in that, for the most part. I mean, I know that that is a Very Busy Day in retail world. I have worked retail during the holidays, so I know. But people getting up at the crack of ass and camping out all night in order to get a deal on a HD tv set? Really? Come on. No way. Don’t believe the hype!
Except then I read this account of just such a crazy happening on a blog friend’s blog. And I was shown that what I had learned on tv was TRUE. Say what? Next thing you’ll be telling me is that the ladies on the Bachelor really ARE in love with Random Dude of the Season, and that Charlie Rose is as stoned on the chronic as he appears.
The other night, when Bio-Girl was here visiting, we were watching Chuck. (Stop making fun of us for watching Chuck. You are talking to someone who watched Dance Fever right up through the Adrian Zmed years so Chuck is small potatoes in my book). And there was this scene, where Chuck (he’s supposed to be a geek but in that cute Jimmy Fallon sort of way) is alone in his apartment and his love interest (who is so totally a Marcia Brady/Christine Taylor copy) knocks on the door. As he answers the door, there is Christmas music playing in his apartment. I am talking grandma style, choral, churchy pew Christmas music. The kind where it’s all falsetto and you can just see the choir robes and giant hymn books and all the words are sung with a really dropped jaw. So instead of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” it’s “Awww Cahhhhm All Yeh Fethhh foool, jawwwfool ahnd try-uhhhhm-phuuuunt…”
Me: Oh come ON. Look at this marketing of Christmas! Who hangs out at home and listens to granny Christmas music, especially if you’re in your 20s, cute, hip, trendy? Who’s going to buy that Chuck and the Marcia look-alike are rocking out to this?
Bio-Girl: (Chagrined silence.)
Me: I mean just LISTEN TO THAT. It’s totally unbelievable. WHO DOES THAT?
Bio-Girl: Um. I do.
Me: (back pedal, back pedal!) Oh, I mean, hey, you know, I get it. You’re a Christmas celebrator person and that’s cool. You probably listen to some Nat King Cole or a little Dean Martin, or Burl Ives. I’ll even give you Perry Como or Funky Funky Christmas by New Kids on the Block. But I’m talking about that style!! Come ON. “Haaawk the Herrold Ain-jells Si-hing!”
Bio-Girl: Yeah. I know. I listen to that.
Well I’ll be a monkey’s ball sack. Honestly. I didn’t know. I thought this was all bullshittery that the evil tv makers want us to believe in, because it makes us buy more tinsel covered dental floss and stuff.
That’s it. TV reflects reality. Lifeguards really do run in slow motion like on Baywatch and Cops really do break out into musical numbers like Cop Rock. It’s all happening, people. To see what life is really like, watch the teevee.
And to all you hipster hotties out there who are rocking out to the Grandmaw Tabernacle Choir, I salute you. And I apologize.
Awww tahh-nenbahhhm awww tahh-nenbahhhm….