TV Hangover

Waking up on the couch with an empty DVR & trying to understand what the hell we watched last night.
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Ugh. Last week, 6.1 million people tuned in for the series premiere of Work It. The only logical conclusion for how that happened is … at least 4 million of those people were kidding. Right? Not that it matters to ABC. Whether you’re watching or hate-watching, ABC still gets the ratings and the ad revenue. And while Work It was the lowest-rated show in its time slot, 6.1 million people is still a lot more than 3.6 million, the amount who watched a recent Parks and Recreation. My point: YOU DON’T NEED TO WATCH WORK IT AS A JOKE. I am doing that FOR YOU. The less you watch, the sooner this will all be over.

Jake Fogelnest has been hate-recapping Work It for Vulture and it’s fantastic. It’s always a good time when a funny writer cleverly takes down a deplorable show. He opens with a really good point, albeit one that I’m a total hypocrite for agreeing with considering approximately half of this website, and most of my life, revolves around terrible television. Of course, it’s easy to justify this because cable is expensive and therefore 99.9% of my television watching is done via the internet. Notable exceptions: Community and Parks & Recreation, though invading a friend’s living room every week hasn’t exactly doubled those ratings. But I did watch the premiere of Work It when it aired last week and I spent the entire time feeling like I was covered in a layer of grime. This wasn’t just because the show was absolutely vile (although it definitely was) but also because for thirty minutes, I was part of the problem; I was one of the millions of people choosing to watch an awful show — and I was doing it because I knew it would be awful. On the one hand, it’s fun to hate-watch shows! It’s curiosity, it’s boredom, it’s wanting to add to the vitriolic conversation happening in real time on the internet, and it’s reassurance that all of those shitty pilot scripts you secretly write are somehow better than something that’s actually on television. But on the other hand, networks don’t differentiate between hate-watching a show and sincerely watching a show. It’s weird to know that you’re essentially helping out the enemy — and there is no greater enemy than a television show centered around the term ”mancession” — but at the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter because a) have you ever met anyone with a Nielsen box? and b) despite this, we’re still going to watch NBC’s Happy Hour block tonight. So really this is just about thinking too much about nothing and also a long way to reiterate that Work It is the worst show currently on television and I’m totally on board with leaving the hate-watching solely to Fogelnest.

I feel like I’m on the most hilarious version of The Wire ever.
Adam Scott, on working on Parks and Recreation.

"What’s great about the geek spirit is that all of life’s obstacles never seem to stop us, and they never seem to kill our enthusiasm, our optimism and our hunger to experience the world. If the world knocks us down, we just get up (albeit slowly sometimes), brush ourselves off, regroup and try again. We keep our sense of humor, we protect our dignity, we talk to our friends about the experience and then we start again fresh the next day. And from this we grow and understand how the world works and eventually figure out how to find our place and our happiness. And even then, we never stop trying to make it all better. And that, my friends, is the Freaks and Geeks way.” - Paul Feig, creator.

It’s October and the weather on the East Coast is finally catching up. It’s a great month for hooded sweatshirts and reliable boots, for having fun outdoors without shivering or sweating excessively, and for enjoying the time before winter creeps up on you. But sometimes October is that month when you’re suddenly behind in your schoolwork, when you’re panicking about the SAT, and applying to colleges. October is when the end of your six-month deferment is nearing and you have to start paying off your student loan. It’s when you decide to start looking into graduate schools and when you’re working your first post-collegiate job and feeling nostalgic for dorm rooms and weekday drinking. It’s when you start feeling overwhelmed because life is kicking your ass and you’re exhausted and for some reason there are always wet leaves on your kitchen floor. In short? It’s a good time to slow down, watch every episode of Freaks and Geeks again, and remind yourself that if Sam can catch that dodgeball at least once, then so can you.

Tonight’s episode of Louie (according to the druid who writes the capsules for the Time Warner on-screen programming guide) is as follows: ‘Louie explores a lifelong habit.’ I have no idea what this means, and perhaps the episode will suck. Maybe that scene with Dane Cook was the apex, and — even though the rest of season will be totally watchable — nothing on Louie will blow my mind again. But I don’t think so. I really don’t. I’ve never had this much confidence in a TV show, ever. This is really happening.
The most popular sitcom on TV, Two and a Half Men, still uses a laugh track, as does the (slightly) more credible How I Met Your Mother and the (significantly) less credible The Big Bang Theory. Forced laughter is also central to the three live-action syndicated shows that are broadcast more than any other, Friends, Home Improvement, and Seinfeld. Cheers will be repeated forever, as will the unseen people guffawing at its barroom banter. And I will always notice this, and it will never become reassuring or nostalgic or quaint. It will always seem stupid, because canned laughter represents the worst qualities of insecure people.
Beyond that, the real goal of the show is the moral education of Kenneth Parcel, the eventual discovery that he is immortal and the center for a reason we can’t begin to understand.
Robert Carlock, on 30 Rock. These showrunner transcripts are happening all week and I’m very excited to read all of them.
We take people who are famous for being mentally ill or addicted to drugs, we parade them around, and then we roll our eyes at them. I find that very carnival-esque, and it’s really disrespectful to the customer. I wish that television would stop selling our hatred of ourselves, and start seducing us with our love of ourselves.
Dan Harmon, creator of Community.

In the home stretch now. Brielle Von Hugel gets in because her dad beat cancer.

A good male singer shows up. Travis Herlando’s story of living in the Bronx is accompanied by sad B-roll of open fire hydrants and hanging pay-phone receivers. He sings a peppy rendition of a Jason Mraz song and a Jason Mraz–y version of “Eleanor Rigby.” He’s in. I bet that hanging pay phone helped, though. Oh, I wish you’d seen it. It was just hanging there.

American Idol Recap: Paul F. Tompkins’s First Take on the New Season

I’ve been boycotting American Idol since Season 1 because well, I just really miss Brian Dunkleman, okay? But it’s good to know that people still go to Hollywood based on sob stories.