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.
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.