Dear TV, part 1

October 4, 2010

I watch a lot of TV. Or, more accurately, I listen to a lot of TV when I’m at the penciling/inking stages of work because there’s only so much NPR a person can suffer through in one day. I watch scripted shows so I like to fancy that I have a keen ear for script bumbles and fumbles and repeat jokes. If you’d kindly give me a moment, TV, I think I can help you see the error of your ways. Here are a few things I would like to see banned from all future pilots and return shows (and movies, while we’re at it)

1) The phrases, “I don’t know what that means,” and “that doesn’t make any sense.” Has anyone done a youtube mash-up of these overused phrases? It was funny when it first rolled onto the scene circa the British “Office” (possibly earlier but lets consider my age and the fact that I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV growing up) but now it’s said so often in films and TV that it ruins the joke it proceeded. It’s a catchphrase black hole.

2) Addressing the fact that this is a TV show. This is a popular gimmick this season. It was funny at first when it was kind of meta, but now its like the bad joke your uncle tells at every Thanksgiving and you give an obligatory laugh but really you’re like “hop off it already, old man.” Even 30 Rock annoyed me by acknowledging that they were trudging into Season 5. I’d like to see a show that runs for 10 seasons and the finale is revealing to all the characters that they’re on a TV show, like the Truman show, and their reaction is to stop everything and rip each others’ limbs off and roll in the carnage, like the end of the book The Beach. Haha ruined that ending for you!

3) Kissing a lover’s scars. Ooooh someone likes someone else enough to put their lips on their hideously deformed body and by doing so, helps that person overcome their insecurities and/or traumatic event that lead to the scar. Aaaaw! But you know what else? BARF.

4) NA, AA, OA, SLA, DA, GA, etc…. Please understand that I am not disparaging of self help groups of any kind. I know they do wonderful things for many people and I happen to belong to some of them myself. What I’m sick of is how frequently and inaccurately they’re portrayed. Just, enough already. But the most cringe worthy depiction is that of group therapy and its predictable members. Junkie with a heart of gold! Fat Girl with attitude that serves as overcompensation for her insecurities but ends up making her look like a total cunt! Skinny Girl who thinks she’s fat and has no redeeming qualities! (Tv is unkind to body dysmorphic characters and tends to make them really vapid.) Old, sad guy who lives with his mom, etc, etc. Speaking as someone who has sat through many a group therapy session in real life, I have never seen one accurately portrayed. And you know why? Because they’re either insanely boring, or just so horrendous/embarrassing that it would make for ridiculous, and rather dubious, television. And those are two of the reasons group therapy works. People identify with the mundane and the familiar and are humbled by the outlandish. But the way its portrayed on TV kinda makes it look like a good time, which makes me resent real life but then again, isn’t that what TV and movies are all about anyways?

5) Nerds. I am so sick of NERDS. But you know what is so aggravating about nerds on TV? They’re always HOT. This is an injustice to all the ugly nerds of the world, and let’s be honest, no matter what kind of nerd you are -bespeckeled, IT tech, literary , LARPer, comic book, music, etc- if you are attractive, you are NOT a nerd. (What, you know you’ve secretly always thought that.) Unfair, I know, but I don’t make the rules! With the exception of Bill/Martin Starr on Freaks and Geeks, TV hasn’t had an honest nerd on it since the episode where Urkle appeared as himself and everyone realized Jaleel White was alright looking and the hopeful dreams of nerds around the world died with a sad, post-inhaler wheeze.

(more to come later after I finish watching the premier of Bones. Yeah, that’s right, I watch Bones and I love it. It’s the perfect typical “murder/mystery/how dem bones git dere?” kinda show with a lead character who is emotionally constipated so my past self identifies with her while my current self is like “Jesus Christ woman, solve the mystery and get your life together already!” nnng I’ve said too much.)