Hail Unto Caesar(‘s Meme) 6

So Dave has challenged me to take a Caesar’s Bath:

Behold, the Caesar’s Bath meme! List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can’t really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), “Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice.”

So, here’s my list (which is a bit heavy on TV things, but bear in mind that I both work in television and also watch way, way too much of it):

1. American Idol
People at my office are obsessed with this show, as are several other people I know. Somehow, though I do not actually watch, I still know the names of most of the contestants, and can judge their singing ability.

This season’s a bit less of an offender than previous seasons, but my main problem is that they’re not looking for The Best Singer. They’re looking for the best singer of a certain sort.

They’re looking for belters. People who just sing the shit out of anything, even when restraint is called for or even demanded. The mocking “Loud is the New Good” shirts that the folks at Television Without Pity made up are pretty much right on.

And really, pretty much anyone who knows squat about the music business is not going to audition for this show for two reasons:

First, they make you sign an absolutely draconian contract when you even audition so that 19 entertainment owns your ass for quite some time, even if you don’t get picked.

Second, coming in fourth on American Idol is a great way to get some exposure, but when you’re voted off, you might as well be dead. Nobody gives a fuck about who came in third or lower. Anyone who’s tried to make a career after that vote has been utterly fucked, even if they’re good.

So they’re only looking for singers of a certain type who are dumb enough to sign away their lives. And to me, that’s just sad to watch.

And those who say they only watch the auditions to watch the bad singers make even less sense to me. Bad singing is just so, so painful, and anyone who’d eagerly submit themselves to that should be immediately involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.

2. Law School
TONS of my friends are either in, going to, or thinking about applying to law school right now. Most claim it’s because their current jobs lack intellectual stimulation, but lack of compensation also seems to be a motivating factor.

I can sort of see the appeal. Being a lawyer has all the moneymaking appeal of being a doctor, but (usually) without all the blood.

But this has had an unintended, unbelievably annoying side effect: You’re all making my dad start harassing me about going to law school again.

PEOPLE! It took me 22 goddamn years to get him to stop bugging me to go to law school and convince him that I didn’t want to. And now he’s started up again, you fuckers!

3. The O.C.
People I know that liked this show last year are starting to turn on it, but I never liked it in the first place.

I just find soapy shit like this so boring. And I’m not going to say that it’s because the plotlines are ridiculously implausible. If that were a problem for me, I wouldn’t be a huge fan of 24.

These people are obsessed with problems that are either a) stupid or b) could be solved with ONE FUCKING CONVERSATION. I realize this is a reflection of the real world, but I don’t have to watch TV for that.

4. Texting
People keep sending me text messages. The question that always comes to mind when I hear the distinctive “You’ve got a text” ring is, why the fuck didn’t they just call me?

It takes fucking forever to type anything out, and it’s a pain in the ass to read texts on my non-SMS compatible phone.

I realize that’s because I have Sprint, and Sprint’s texting capabilites are awful. That still doesn’t change the fact that it takes way, way longer to compose something than it does to just fucking call someone.

Just call me, goddamn it. If I can’t take your call, I won’t pick up the phone, and you can just leave me a voicemail. And it will always take me way less time to respond to that than it will to respond to a text.

5. Procedural Crime Dramas
Yes, I’m looking at you, all 800 CSIs and Law & Orders and Without A Traces and assorted other rip-offs.

What’s interesting about hating these is that the reason I can’t stand them is the same reason most people watch them: These are stand-alone shows.

You can miss an episode or three or even an entire season, and you’d barely even notice, except for the odd cast member who’s randomly come out as a lesbian while being fired.

Most people find that helpful, since it means they don’t have to watch every episode. I say it’s obnoxious and insulting to the intelligence of the viewing public.

Having the same goddamn thing over and over and over again with different crimes makes for a boring, stupid show that refuses to reward viewers who actually pay attention.

The reason ER used to be so good (seasons 1-whenever Hathaway left…7?) was that while there was the Medical Drama of the Day, there was also a hell of a lot more character development than there is on any episode of CSI.

You could still pop in and out a bit, but it made drama much more compelling when you actually knew something about the characters.

Now it’s devolved quite a bit into “LOOK HOW THIS TRADGEDY MIRRORS [character]’S LIFE!”, but it showed that with good writing, you could do procedural stuff and still have a solid character background.

And that idea has now been almost completely abandoned to blocks of procedural crime dramas that you don’t even remember the next day. Gah.

And that’s it. So since I have to pick three people to pass this onto…let’s see: Coop, Laz, and Jack.

6 thoughts on “Hail Unto Caesar(‘s Meme)

  1. Reply Kim Apr 28,2005 12:14 am

    Well, I wasn’t challenged, but here are mine anyway:

    1. 24
    2. The new wave of new wave or whatever: Franz, Killers, etc.
    3. Fantasy sports leagues
    4. The Cubs
    5. iPods

  2. Reply Ellen Apr 28,2005 2:23 am

    Ooh, fantasy sports would likely be my 6th. I’ve never understood how people can spend that much time with it.

    And you’ll see the big deal about iPods/digital music players once you get one. If you’re talking specifically about the iPod, the hype is getting beyond ridiculous. But it’s pretty goddamn awesome to have every CD you own at your fingertips. Especially if you have a whole, whole lot of them.

  3. Reply Laz Apr 28,2005 7:16 am

    Hmmm… off the top of my head, therefore not complete:

    1. Texting. Definitely. FUCKING CALL ME. What the hell?

    2. The University of Chicago. Seriously. Has anyone from Northwestern NOT gone here in the last four years?

    3. Racin’! This is just my work circle of friends. Thankfully, none of my longtime friends like this shit. But my Hoosier friends are all about the racin’. NASCAR is the worst thing to ever happen to humanity. Open-wheel, Karting, Drag racing, it’s all crap.


  4. Reply Laz Apr 28,2005 7:16 am

    4. Reading. But seriously, many of my friends read several books a WEEK. That’s insane. I read single digits in the course of a year. That doesn’t make me feel stupid or less educated. As Ellen has pointed out to us all via the New York Times, the TV I watch is actually quite intelligent.

    5. Thai food. Just doesn’t do it for me. Portions too small, vegetables too plentiful.

  5. Reply Mark Apr 28,2005 2:06 pm

    Why do I text you? Because I need to impart knowledge and not talk to you to do so.

    That, and I–for the 1000th time–don’t want to commute through LA rush hour.

  6. Reply Ellen Apr 28,2005 5:16 pm

    I’ll have to defend Mark’s use of texts, since he uses them a lot more judiciously than most people i know: He sends them when he thinks I might be asleep and/or watching 24, and most of the time either sends me an email or calls me.

    That makes sense. Sending me a text in response to a voicemail message does not.

    And come on, Mark, you know you love it when my commute arbitrarily cuts our conversations short because there’s no reception where I park my car. :)

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