Thursday, December 23, 2004

Laugh tracks and appointment TV

I generally have stopped noticing whether a show has a
laugh track or not. I suspect the perpetrators have got
better at it, but more to the point I don't watch sitcoms
because I can't stand the inane premises, or the inept
characters. What's the point of watching shallow
characters do stupid things?

My appointment TV includes "West Wing", although I think
the writing has deteriorated since Aaron Sorkin left, "NYPD
Blue" which also has it's ups and downs, and, perhaps
surprisingly, "Joan of Arcadia." Having a high school
senior in the family perhaps makes it close to home. While
it is somewhat formulaic, it's usually thought-provoking,
and almost always good for a few tears.

We are antenna bound, so we don't get the cable or
satellite programs. I enjoyed "Band of Brothers" when it
was on the Toronto broadcast station, and I recently
borrowed "Angels in America" from the library. I give the
latter kudos for high production values married to good
writing. (I guess I'm in agreement with the "experts" on
that ...)

The CSI / Law'n Order dramas are not my cup of tea at all.
I think CSI stretches the boundaries of what is possible
while making it seem too real. It bothers me that many
viewers probably believe that the investigative techniques
they use are real. I doubt they all are. Unlike, say,
Star Trek, or X-files, where you know they're making it up,
the devices and technical terms have a misleading
contemporary (false) reality to them. It legitimizes the
concept that forensics is a science, while it is more of an
art that uses scientific methods. As such, errors creep in,
or worse, deception. These shows would not be a problem if
they did not pose the danger of spilling fiction over into
reality, say, for example, in a real jury trial.

If I really have NOTHING else to do, I'll watch Fear Factor
until they start eating bugs or worms, or Maximum Exposure
to see grainy video of REAL characters doing stupid things.


Post a Comment

<< Home