Sunday, September 21, 2008

Love TV, Fear the Internet

I just watched the Emmy awards for the first time in a long while and was struck... well, maybe struck isn't the best word seeing as that it implies a sense of surprise. I guess I noticed that TV is still largely homogeneous. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, and I can't say that I am, but I am just wondering at how showbiz, for all its self-proclaimed progressiveness, can remain so... predictable and boring. Except Ricky Gervaise. He was hilarious!

But what about all that craziness with Heidi playing the complete airhead. I know she is a smart woman and I am not saying that she should have pulled out a dissertation but seriously, the stripper bit was ridiculous. And to think that I was so excited when she walked out in a suit - I should have known! But I guess Tina Fey evened it out by kicking serious butt. And I was happy that Glen Close gave a shout out to the "older" women in the biz. I love Glen Close. And Sandra Oh.

Oprah looked good. I could go into a whole pro/con on Oprah and I am still not really sure about how I feel about her and her book club, but at least it exposes her audience to books that they otherwise would probably not be reading.

And I have decided I do not like Mad Men. I think it's beautifully shot and the costumes/sets are breathtaking. But really, I do not know about the writing. It just sounds so contrived and stylized and it bothers me when they all take themselves so seriously. Maybe it would have worked 40 years ago but I don't think it has been properly reinterpreted for a modern audience. This is not to say that they need to dumb it down, but that they do not seem to acknowledge that the audience today is savvy to all the tensions and complexities of the corporate world. And while they every so often reexamine and distort the status quo of a bygone society (rich, all white, heteronormative) they don't quite follow through with the promise for a deconstruction I am so cruelly teased with every time they run their opening. As far as I can tell, the show seems more like a glorified fantasy of what TV used to be. But that's a whole nother post. And winning the Emmy award does not validate it, it just further taints the silly award.

It is of no surprise then that the internet is the place to find innovative and daring entertainment. My newest find comes via WWTD and features a mostly unknown cast - with the exception of Tatyana Ali (formerly of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) and Ernest Waddell (The Wire). The show is Buppies and I don't know how realistic it is, but it certainly does not keep to the trite narratives I am tired of seeing on the Emmy-nominated shows. Granted it looks low-budget, but that's a small price to pay (ha! a pun, I never make those!) considering that it seems to engage some complex issues, the most interesting (to me at least) being black (male) sexuality.

No comments: