Wednesday, April 18, 2007

High Def Opiate

We have now had our new television for a month. It’s pretty bad ass. Now, bad ass isn’t a term I throw around often or loosely; typical adjectives of praise in my lexicon include brilliant, beautiful, delicious, funky. But our basement is now the site of 56 inches of high definition bad ass.

Let me explain this TV. Those of you who know me, know I am not what one would call a TV person. I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child. If it wasn’t on PBS or a movie we all watched together, forget it. (I managed to negotiate for Silver Spoons to avoid ostracization as the only girl in LBUSD not following the trials and tribulations of Ricky Schroder. [I cringe in retrospect; I never even thought he was cute, I was a blonde-loving lemming.] This privilege later morphed into 2 hours of TV per week. Of course, when my parents weren’t around I gulped down MTV and anything else with prurient content I could find, but we’ll discuss that another time.) In college I was too busy studying, working, practicing, acting and drinking to imbibe much pop culture – other than deconstructing Next Generation on Saturday afternoons with a ragtag group of English Ph.D. students I fell in with. There was a brief period of a few years when I lived with my then boyfriend and, courtesy of Nick at Night, caught up on an obscene amount of what I missed as a child and watched a tremendous number of British mysteries. When I moved out, no TV for 5 years.

During those 5 years I probably averaged 8-10 movies a month. I was within a 20 minute walk of both the Landmark and the Music Box, and would catch a Sunday classic matinee every week and just about every worthwhile new release or revival. When I moved in with Eli, my movie pace slowed down but it was still at a decent clip. We watched more movies at home and got sucked into a few shows. When we moved to our house, a dish wasn’t an option due to the massive silver maples and we opted not to get cable, using old fashioned bunny ears for the Oscars and the World Series.

I do hate TV. I hate commercials. I hate the way TV preys on the weak and exhausted and gobbles up evenings at a time so days become indistinguishable. Most of the stuff on TV is complete and utter crap. However, I am not one of those people who think TV is universally evil and movies virtuous. Amongst the muck there are a few gems. At its best, TV can be well-acted, well-written and thrilling. It is an actor’s dream. The potential for character development from show-to-show and season-to-season mirrors life much more than a 120 minute movie ever can. And with the beauty of Netflix or Tivo or whatever new fangled technology is out there, one can consciously and conscientiously choose one’s show and watch without the fucking commercials.

Going to dance class or the gym is pretty much the only time I get out of the house without Yelena. (We do take her with us to friends’ homes and out to dinner and have company over often, so I am only a partial lame ass social recluse.) I kept putting off Eli on the new TV purchase, not wanting to be one of those people with a gargantuan, always running TV as the centerpiece of their home, the locus of all family activity. I finally capitulated, realizing my movie going hiatus wasn't just a factor of Yelena's infancy. And I'm darned glad I did. There’s surround sound. I can read the credits. I can see the zits on actors' foreheads. (My God, don't they get paid enough to afford a dermatologist?) And no one’s cell phone is going off. It’s so bad ass.

Bad ass brings me to my Jack Bauer obsession. Watching 24 is like a bag of Chips Ahoy. You know you should be eating something nutritious. Heck, if it’s cookies you’re after it doesn’t take all that long to whip up a batch of home made or skedaddle to the bakery. Yet, you open that box and rip open that baggie with your teeth and can’t stop. You can eat them processed cookies with the skim milk of a few good performances, and that entire bag goes so yummy in the tummy and then you feel that slick coating of fat on your teeth and bloating in the gut and ask yourself, “How did I get here?.”

Some of the subplots are ludicrous. Some of the acting sucks. (Some of it is fabulous, but I am on a rampage here, don’t try to stop me.) Questions arise: how can someone as smart as Jack Bauer have a daughter that stupid? How the fuck did he get from one end of LA to the other in 10 minutes?! After school it would take me ½ an hour to get from one end of Long Beach to the other and that was the eighties. People do things totally out of character merely to service the plot. The body count is ridiculous, the torture gratuitous. And yet, and yet, I can’t stop. It’s got a hook. That whole real time thing sucks you in like an anteater’s shnoz. Dinner is eaten in front of the TV and all semblance of bedtime trodden.

We’ve only watched a couple seasons and I’ve enforced a temporary lock-down. We will watch the rest of them *sigh* but I need a break. I’ve started having Jack Bauer dreams. Now, I’ve always liked Kiefer Sutherland as an actor, but he never made my top 50 sexy list. See Ricky Shroder above: blondes rarely do it for me. Before 24, there was something about his menacing vampiric characters that I find attractive when I’m ovulating, but his lips are too thin and his nose too cropped for my taste – although the combination lends to making his angel’s kiss even more leonine than his father’s. Roar. If I didn’t know either of them and celebrity weren’t a factor, and I met Kiefer and Eli at a party I would probably hit on Eli. But the insidiousness of the show – and, frankly, his utter believability in implausible imaginary circumstance -- has made him into a towering figure of sexiness in my subconscious.

Last night I dreamt I was helping him out – along with the wire tapping help of my friend who, in real life, works for Mayor Daley – and made out with Jack Bauer at the end. About a week ago I dreamed I was having dinner with Sutherlands both Kiefer and Donald at Frenchy’s restaurant in Long Beach. Kiefer excused himself to the loo and Donald questioned my intentions toward his son. I told Donald that he needn’t worry, since I intended to marry a Jew and, if Kiefer were serious about me it would take him at least a year to convert, so I wouldn't let him rush into things. In the interstices of dream and awake I thought to myself, “Donald, I’d much rather have you!”


Blogger Tony said...

Jack Bauer dreams! Very funny. It's like when I was having all the Star Trek dreams, only I didn't make out with anyone. Anyway, I remember the feeling that if I was dreaming about it it was time to take a break.

8:19 PM  

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