The Miracle of Tivo
Yeah, I know. It's not a funny title at all. Not even obscure. I don't know what's up with me today. Frankly, you're lucky I could come up with a theme at all, even this old saw. Still, one must play the "my tens of readers will turn away in disgust if I don't update regularly, so it's OK to foist off some second-rate crap (as opposed to the usual first
-rate crap) on them, just to keep things fresh" game.
Girlygirl got me Tivo for Christmas. I hadn't really thought I wanted one, exactly, but I admit that the idea had crossed my mind a time or two. See, I love motorcycle roadracing, but thanks to the mouth-breathing NASCAR morons out there, it's only on a very few channels, and there's usually no set time for it to be on. It's just the situation for Tivo, since you can just ask it to go find the racing and record it, whenever it's on. So anyway, I thought one might be nice, and it made for a great surprise at Xmas.
Now, of course, we're Tivo junkies. Unlike other Tivo junkies, though, it's rare that we stray outside our chosen range of programming. We are weird people, and we record* the following: Southpark, Farscape, Good Eats, woodworking shows, motorcycle racing, rally car racing and bicycle racing. We occasionally go nuts and just go through the list of movies and record a few of those, most of which are accounted to be truly great movies, which we allow to languish on the drive, taking up space, until one or the other of us watches part of one, gets bored, and deletes it.
Otherwise, it's all fart jokes, tung oil and European racing, all the time**.
I'm pretty sure that other Tivo users record an entirely different range of things. Things on channels that have other programs on them you'd like to see, for instance. If you're recording Friends, you can be damn sure there are going to be ads for a bunch of other programs during the course of the show. When you record things off, say, the Speed Network, you (well, Girlygirl and I anyway) pretty much never
see anything else you're interested in on the promos. We spend a lot of time during the "fast forward time" remarking, "Why would anybody want to watch that
retarded show?" We are not NASCAR fans, and we already have the Tivo keeping an eye out for Rally and Motorbikes. There's pretty much nothing else on that channel. The same thing goes for DIY, Food Network and Sci-Fi. We watch what we watch, and hate everything else.
So anyway, somehow the freedom of Tivo has resulted mostly in us watching an ever-narrowing range of programming. We always have a Tivo item to watch instead of flipping channels (which destroyeth my soul), but Tivo never brings us anything new. We're totally insulated from anything but Tivo-recorded programs. It frees us from the already-limited tyranny and "you must watch" frenzy of network TV, but it's also turning us into racing weirdos. We like it, but since most people have no fucking idea what "rally" means (in a non-political sense), we can't really share too much with our friends and relatives. Check out Oinkment
(Girlygirl's vastly superior blog), a few entries ago to see what our Euro-oriented racing obsessions have wrought.
Last night, though, we watched something new!*** And I have this to say about that: If HBO goes any farther with naming shows for their true content, nobody's gonna want to watch any of their original programming. We taped Deadwood
, and as a show title, truer words were never spoken****.
I read something in the paper that complained that there was a lot of cursing. There certainly was. "Fuck" and its derivatives were used in pretty much every form I could think of (with the possible exception of calling some messed-up thing, "fucky"), and "cocksucker" came up every, oh, fifth word of so in the first 10 minutes of dialogue in the town of Deadwood. But I think the real reason it seemed like so much swearing was that there wasn't anything else to notice. I've watched a number of episodes of Sex in the City
, and there's often just as much swearing--especially if sailor-mouth Kim Catrall is on screen--but at least there's something more happening. Not this show. It's boring. Flat-out boring. I never thought murderousness, swearing and conniving could be so tired, but there you have it.
On top of its boringness, there were a number of things that just didn't make sense, and not in a Twin Peaks
kind of way. More in a "any comment from the White House these days" kind of way. One of the stars of the show, and the man most saddled with tired, even crippled lines to deliver, is Ian McShane. He's been in tons of UK programs, and is, I believe, Irish. At the very least, he has a British accent. In this show, he's completely dropped said accent. He sounds as American as anyone else on the show, if a bit more newscaster-y. I'm fine with that--it's set in the US, after all. But what troubled me was that early on, someone points out how he has an English accent. Weird, because he doesn't. It's as if McShane didn't cooperate with original plans to make his character British, and they didn't bother to re-write the script to accommodate his refusal to keep his accent. And it's not like they thought he wouldn't be understood with a proper accent--there's an Irish fellow in the show (who goes off to meet his maker, so he won't be back) whose Irish accent is nearly impenetrable. This was not the only thing that didn't really make sense, or that seemed stupid, but it's emblematic.
It was enough to make me glad that Tivo doesn't bring me new stuff like that too often. Knowing how crappy Deadwood
was made it much easier to preempt recording of it with more important and accustomed fare like The Road to the Tour
(about the lead-up to the Tour De France), and the Tour of Flanders. I think I heard the Tivo give a little sigh when I changed the recording lineup.
*I say "record," or even in my weaker moments, "tape." I categorically refuse to make a verb out of a noun and "tivo" things. I fucking hate the verbization of nouns. I don't Xerox things, I copy them. For that matter, I copy them using a copier, which may or may not be a Xerox. I am a pedant. We're like that.
**Southpark, woodworking and racing are by far the most commonly recorded things.
***Clumsy seques are us!
****Personally, and flying in the face of conventional wisdom, I also think that "Curb Your Enthusiasm" was meant as a warning to the first viewers, and as a continuing caveat to current fans of the show.