Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Nice Guys, Crybabies, and Wannabe Models: The Cornerstones of the TV Experience

For my very first post here at Chaos in General, I’ve been kicking around a number of topics. None of them felt particularly relevant in these strike-addled times, when discussing most shows means talking about episodes from four months ago. So I decided to go another way.

When you watch as much TV as we do here and spend as much time thinking about it, your patterns of behavior become pretty obvious. In the spirit of introduction, I offer up some of the guidelines that have shaped my fandom tendencies and maybe give a glimpse into what I'll be writing about later.

Just a few of my many, many rules to live by:

1. When a love triangle pits a “bad boy” against a “best friend,” I side with the best friend. Like everyone else on this blog, I’m a big ol’ ‘shipper. I’m a fan of adoring gazes and unrequited love. The best friend, the partner in crime, the nice guy – these are my men. I have no use for their flashier competition. (See: Carter/Abby/Luka, Jack/Kate/Sawyer, Noel/Felicity/Ben).

Strictly speaking, Luka and Ben are not really bad boys. They’re just broody and moody and, in Ben’s case, not that bright. They’re the ‘unattainable’ guys that keep our girls from seeing what’s right in front of them.

There are exceptions to my bad boy rule, certainly. Veronica MarsLogan might be the only bad boy to ever win me over in a triangle. And then there’s the situation on House, though I don’t know if Chase/Cameron/House could really be classified as a triangle. Keep your nice guys here, I vote HouseCam.

2. I love everything Aaron Sorkin has ever done and will ever do. My love started with six hundred viewings of The American President on cable and snowballed from there. I got hooked on The West Wing in season two and bought the Sports Night DVD set sight unseen. It was one of my all-time best purchases. I’m one of the few who will defend Studio 60 to the death, despite its many faults and disappointments. And there were many. Someday, I’ll write a depressingly long post about them all.

Sorkin’s out of the TV game right now (and given the hoopla surrounding Studio 60, who can blame him?), but I can only hope that someday he’ll bring the walk-and-talk back to my television.

3. I’m a sucker the Herskovitz/Zwick model of television. By this I mean the painfully earnest, introspective type. Maybe a little melodramatic. Herskovitz and Zwick have been making news lately for the failure of their latest show, Quarterlife, the pilot episode of which is still waiting to be watched on my DVR. I consider them masters of this genre (My So-Called Life, Once and Again, etc.), but their philosophy applies to plenty of shows from other producers. I’m talking about your Party of Fives, your Felicitys, most of what Greg Berlanti did before this season (Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, the brief, forgotten Jack & Bobby). Haters are quick to write all these shows off for their gloomy yuppie whining. I don’t care. Go ahead – fight and cry and be a little self-centered; I’m along for the ride.

4. I am not above girly trash TV. I try to keep things a little higher-brow. But I won’t be a snob. Well, okay, I draw the line at most reality shows, especially ones that involve dating or washed-up former celebrities. Especially ones about dating washed-up former celebrities. But I’m shamefully addicted to shows like The Hills, America’s Next Top Model (I’m on my way to kicking this one), even last summer’s horrendous Fashionista Diaries. The Hills is a love-hate relationship if ever there were one. Those girls are everything I hate in life – they’re rich, spoiled brats who are famous for nothing, get great opportunities they don’t deserve and can barely string together a coherent sentence. I know the show is totally fake and staged and yet I CAN’T STOP WATCHING! I need help - a world without MTV and its weekend marathons of ANTM and My Super-Sweet Sixteen.

5. I get fandom tunnel vision. I can’t juggle my obsessions. I can only manage one hardcore ‘ship at a time. Periods of my life are absolutely defined by my fandoms. My tween years were all about Friends and Ross/Rachel. In junior high, I was really into Buffy. 2001 was the year of The Practice and Bobby/Lindsay. My first few years of college? ER and Carby.

Sadly, there are times like right now, where I lack an all-consuming fandom. Lost is doing a pretty good job of monopolizing my interest, but the internet is also keeping House alive for me, maybe more than the show itself. These things are cyclical and I’m sure there will come a time when I eat, sleep, and breathe only one show. To the point of embarrassment.

Alrighty then. I look forward to rambling on about all manner of TV here in the future and I can only try to measure up to the wonderful work that Mae and Caroline have done already.

3 Responses to “Nice Guys, Crybabies, and Wannabe Models: The Cornerstones of the TV Experience”

Anonymous said...

1. Totally disagree with you here. I always go for the flashier bad boy! But I also love the "adoring gazes and unrequited love." Haha, I don't know. I guess I just see a lot of that on Sawyer's side. Oh, and I think part of it is that I like the vulnerable guys, like Chase, on House ... with the whole, "It's Tuesday" thing. That slayed me.

5. Yes, totally agreed about the fandom tunnel vision! I had my Friends phase, my Lost phase (that one's still going on ...), my Harry Potter phase, the Grey's phase and the House phase ... oh man, it goes on and on. :)

Mae Vaughan said...

I realize you're commenting to Sophie here, but I just had to say... the whole thing with Chase and "It's Tuesday"? Kill me now, for that was right up there with absolute perfection.

And I'm loving disagreeable readers who are still fabulous to talk with! Plus, you can disagree with Sophie (well, all of us really) about the whole Skate/Jate issue but now I know I can count on you to take my side when we're up against Soph and her House/Cam love, lol.

Tunnel vision is so prominent for fangirls. I, like Sophie, am also defined by my 'ships over the years. Only recently (since the loss of Alias) have I started to figure out the balancing act of loving more than one OTP at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, yea, I'll definitely take your side on the Chase/Cam vs House/Cam debate. Chase won me over last year - he was so adorable and so in love with her - and Cam was both endearing and frustrating as she denied her feelings for him.

I do love House, but I prefer him with Cuddy. I'm a sucker for witty banter and snarkyness.

One day I'll take on all four of you in the Skate/Jate debate! I'm not sure if I'm up for it yet, though, haha.