Crap and the City

by Crom

There’s a point that everyone eventually reaches where they’re sitting on the couch, watching television at 2 in the morning. Whether it be sleeplessness, night shifts, or perhaps you simply wish to defy the normal circadian exhibited by most people, there you are, watching the boob tube. The onslaught of garbage on at 2 a.m. is a graduate paper unto itself, and amidst this flow of electronic crappica resides the evil known as sitcoms.

The term sitcom is formed from the natural American inclination to take two words and smash them together, for lack of any normal vernacular to fit the situation. However, to examine the two words in question you find: Situation and Comedy. This makes sense, as it allows writers and producers to pull from a vast field of material to create television shows. And, in the tradition of Seinfeld and Friends the themes generally portrayed are those of everyday troubles that we all run into, with their own twisted take on it. And yet, consistent viewing of these programs (which I recommend against) begins to show a trend. 90% of the time the shows are dealing with some kind of male/female (or in the case of a few same sex) relationships and the various elements involved.

Naturally there is some kind of conflict that arises, “She has a big head” or “He’s a double dipper” or some other retarded social non-entity that is created by the sitcom itself to self-perpetuate its humor. However the main topic is the complicated play that takes place to win over the target of romantic interest. There is always some idiotic scene whereby the “successful” character tells the less fortunate characters about the necessary elements to coupling with the person they’re after. Or, in the case of certain shows they will intellectualize the entire process, simulate an outcome, and never really resolve any of the issues they purport to be addressing. The premise (generally flimsy) serves only to cater to the upcoming events, much like an essay question written to fit an already written essay. This Jeopardy style plot formation is used to placate the masses and leave you feeling like something was actually resolved both on the show and in your own life.

The best show to dissect is Sex in the City. The foundation of the show is build on its appeal to females ages 25-35, and that it addresses many of the same issues that said demographic encounters. It also manages to pull in viewers from the fringes and from the male population, who mostly watch to see the women in the show get naked. The character the show revolves around steps into the same problems that many of today’s women have to deal with. Am I dating the right guy? How do you find the right guy? Why do we need to go through so many games to date a guy? Blah, blah fucking blah. While the show unfolds, the Toast and Jam predictability of the plot is laid bare, all the while hooking the viewer in with it’s “just like my life” outcome. And, so many other shows have the same theme. Revolving around the mystique of relationships and the pitfalls inherent to.

Maybe there’s something that hasn’t been pointed out to people yet, but these shows do not help people resolve these issues, despite that being the self-proclaimed point of their existence. The advertising is delivered to you with the impression that once you watch this show all the questions you have will be answered and your life will be once and forever cured of the dangers of relationships that harm you and men/women who dump you. They in fact do more damage then good.

Premise: Television shows are designed to capture audience markets, and continue to hold their interest in order to increase popularity and cater to product placement.

Therefore it is natural to assume that the content of television shows must therefore be manipulated by its tendency to capture the audience, rather then to deliver information that will benefit the general public. Ergo, tv shows are not made to help you, but to keep your eyes glued to the cathode tube. Granted in some respects they make the effort to help you, but since they are only shoveling fuel onto the problem, and are just as confused as you, they cannot help you.

I find it difficult to believe that the best course of action for my failing social and romantic life, is to stare at my TV and hope that it will deliver me from destitution. Much like keeping your house from lighting on fire, by burning it down. This crap cannot make your life better. It can’t help you with the mortgage payments. It can’t tell you why the girl at the end of the bar didn’t phone you for 3 days, and when she did, she talked about her cat. We have ingrained so many pointless fail-safe devices into our psyches that in order to have a normal conversation with someone you’re physically or mentally interested in, you have to tote a lexicon of social statesmanship in order to maneuver yourself in to normal human interaction. If you think I’m going to go on a date with a girl and then not phone her for 5 days in order to not appear “eager” then you’re a fucking idiot. I’m going to phone her the next day, and if she thinks I’m too eager, well, maybe she’ll hire me to paint her porch. Either way I make a gain. But the fact that our societies need to create these idiot rituals in order to operate at a functional level in a social atmosphere makes me wanna fucking puke.

Jesus people, we’re supposed to be at the top of the food chain, and yet we actually created a system that hampers our ability to be normal people. The concept of a “pick up line” could only be made by a sick culture. Why do you need a pick up line? Are we trying to be stand up comedians to every person we meet? Granted there needs to be a social “resume” if you will, people want to know how you act. If you’re a goof, then they don’t want to have anything to do with you. But the number of things that need to happen in order for you to simply BEGIN a conversation with someone in a public place is fantastic. We’ve made it impossible for people with the slightest deficiency in the social area, in spite of being people of interest and taste, to interact, because they don’t meet the grade for non-relevant etiquette.

My point is that TV shows revealing the sides of interpersonal relationships are not going to make us function better. If anything they present an erroneous impression of what is expected of us when we do get into these situations. We need to establish the fact that we are going to have these things come up in the course of our lives. And , instead of creating some bizarre bureaucracy, you can just ask me who and what I am, and what I’m looking for, and we can cut the crap. Oh, and for those of you who are sitting going “TV is retarded, why are you even thinking about this” , you’re correct that television is the opiate for the masses, however I think I should start on weaning people off of taking advice from tv, before I tackle giving it up entirely.

PS. TV Guide is brainwashing your children, through YOU.

  • Crap and the City
  • by Crom
  • Published on February 1st, 2002

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