Posts Tagged ‘TV’

h1

The History of Media – Visual Arts Edition Vol. 2

May 14, 2010
[Those of you following along will remember the cliffhanger ending of Volume 1, in which it was revealed that “something” would come along and destroy the movie industry with its tiny screen and tinny sound. In this followup, we reveal the true killer of the film industry, which is also one of the many pretenders to the throne. Enjoy.]

 

Early television prototypes often failed to include the only element that would differentiate them from a "really huge-ass radio."

A Disaster Called Television
Little did Roger Philco and Francois Magnavox know when they assembled the first “magic picture box” that it would change American society as we knew it, mostly for the worst. 

There was no indication during its early broadcasts of test patterns, puppet shows and white men in blackface that the daily life of Americans would soon revolve around it. Instead of gathering around the wireless to watch Dad get drunk and curse the Yankees, the whole family would gather around the tiny screen to watch Elvis from the waist up or catch breaking footage from the moon landing set. 

The movie industry understood how serious this new threat could be and stepped hastily over the still-cooling corpse of live theater to denounce the new “tele-vision,” which would surely destroy their precious industry. They lamented this turn of events, cursing every new box office record and crying into their stacks of $1000 bills. 

Representatives of the “dying” industry called on Congress to do “something” about the “talking picture-mabob.” How can we get people to sit in front of our 42-foot screens, enjoy our Technicolor and Sensurround when they have 3 inches of black and white power at home, all coming to them in deafening mono? 

Congress was too busy watching the National League Championship to be bothered by an outdated industry and their rhetorical questions, no matter how many bribes and high-dollar hookers they waved around. Another blow was struck when forward-thinking Dwight Eisenhower announced his bold plan for America: a television in every house, a car in every garage and an epidemic of childhood obesity. 

Still television's longest-running night time drama.

The movie industry was premature in its panic. Americans soon proved they had the leisure time for both activities, which could easily be squeezed in between backyard barbecues and conceiving the eventual bankrupters of Social Security. 

At this point, the average male enjoyed a 25-hour work week, divided between harassing the typing pool, pounding martinis and hitting the golf course. The remaining time they spent watering the lawn, washing the car, pounding martinis and pounding the wife (mostly in a sexual fashion, but often in a physical fashion). 

TV grew and grew, becoming the focal point of American family life. Television producers turned the mirror on the public, reflecting life as they knew it in the form of sitcoms, playing up spousal abuse (I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners) and sexless marriages (every other sitcom). They also went after more respected institutions with uncanny accuracy. (See The Andy Griffith Show and its devastating take on inept law enforcement and artistic whistling or Bewitched and its brilliant satire of the advertising world, long before Mad Men made it cool to be casually sexist again.) 

As its influence grew, television turned its unblinking eye on other “hot button” topics such as the Korean War (M*A*S*H*), teen hoodlums (Happy Days) and greed (every game show/reality show). TV devoured everything in its path over the next 50 years, before going all ouroboros and devouring itself, shitting out show after show containing no actors, no script and starring everyday people like Balloon Boy’s dad. 

As the airwaves were conquered by Joe Gloryhound and his occasionally-swapped wife, the film industry breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that TV’s “tapped-outness” would allow them to continue to collect billions of dollars a year cranking out sequel after sequel. Directors such as Michael Bay were allowed to continue trafficking in explosions and recycled punchlines. All was well in the word, until… 

-CLT 

Coming up next:
Post-ellipsis!

Advertisements
h1

This Week’s Featured Soap Operas

October 16, 2009

TV party tonight! TV party tonight! We’ve got nothing better to do, than watch TV all afternoon long with only our many cats and boxes of wine for company.

(Please note that this crass generalization was made for comic effect. I am only insinuating that soap opera fans are lonely people with several cats and a drinking problem.)

... have been written the fuck out of my will, the little shits.

... have been written the fuck out of my will, the little shits.

This week on the All My Children
Erica is traded to The Young and the Restless for $30,000 in cash and a player to be named later. Leo lights cigar, puts feet on desk and stares at the ceiling. Maggie is surprised to see the Dow is off in mixed trading. Leo’s evil twin surfaces; is dismissed as a tired plot device. Zach celebrates the Chinese New Year by ordering some takeout; blowing up several small office buildings. Kendall’s suicide attempt doesn’t “take,” leading to some uncomfortable conversations with those she singled out in her suicide note. Greenlee wins second prize in a beauty contest, which she immediately applies to her mortgage on Baltic Avenue.

Barely ahead of "One Life to Waste" in the ratings.

Barely ahead of "One Life to Waste" in the ratings.

This week on One Life to Live
Agnes’ decision to buy a new hat results in a domestic disturbance call. Amanda blames her latest affair on “gout complications.” Bo instigates a brawl with the phrase, “I’m all out of bubblegum;” spends the next 20 minutes getting the shit kicked out of him in the alley. Blair trips over some dialogue; accidentally breaks fourth wall. In a very special episode, Cole discovers it is better to give than to receive, especially in regards to “donkey punches.” Langston’s increasing friction with the writers results in him lapsing into an indefinite catatonic state. Charlie finally receives State Food Safety Certification; celebrates with a case of Old Milwaukee, salmonella. Natalie confronts her birth parents about their suddenly convoluted backstory.

-CLT