Thursday, July 06, 2006
In My Day We Blogged Through Three Feet Of Snow, Uphill, Both Ways
When it comes to ignoring my children, I really do have a lot of options. This blog-writing thing that I'm doing right now, for instance, is but one of them. I admit, it's a good one, though. The thing about sitting here and typing is that--especially to the young and impressionable--it looks suspiciously like work. All requests for snacks or basic affectionate attention or to reattach severed fingers can be met with a curt, earnest "In a minute. Daddy's working" when I'm on the blog. Of course being all seven years old and younger and having no more wisdom about the world than what I provide, "work" can be anything I make it. Reading Us Weekly, downloading music TOTALLY LEGALLY, sleeping on the couch, etc. "Not now. Daddy's working."
It's not a total lie because I am "working" on something, only it's usually adding 5-10 pounds to my frame from inactivity, further diluting my once-impressive intellect with printed conjecture about Keira Knightley's eating habits or enough artery blockage to kill me by age 40. I don't get paid for any of this, but I should. I don't want to brag or anything, but I'm something of an expert in all these fields.
Being an expert, I can tell you that television is a wondrous device. TV-watching combines just about all my areas of personal excellence--trivial information, couch-denting, nourishment-free snacking, long periods of immobility--in one fabulous, electric-light package. So many pretty colors...
As the pinnacle, the highest expression of what it is to be Pops, I take television quite seriously. More than one producer or network executive has been on the wrong end of a Pops-crafted strongly worded letter when my stories have been hard-done-by either by alteration of the central cast dynamic (a precocious "Cousin Oliver" addition, say, or allowing one of your cast members to be murdered in real life, which is almost always a mistake), schedule alteration without EXPRESS written permission from me or an unjust cancellation. Arrested Development is dead, yet Two and a Half Men lives on. I can assure you I was not consulted in either of these decisions.
It turns out that both those shows--one great, one starring Charlie Sheen--have been nominated for Emmy awards this year for Best Comedy.
Now, I know industry awards are masturbatory self-congratulation, a business celebrating itself with tacky displays of excess and misplaced earnestness. Would it be better to spend time and money focusing on third-world debt relief or starving Haitian refugees? Sure. But if you bring it up at an awards show, you're Susan Sarandon and NOBODY invites her to any parties any more. Bo-ring. If there's anything America hates, it's a goddamn Hollywood liberal bringing up rickets or polio in between a filmed tribute to The Pie Fight As A Comedic Device Through History and Megan Mullaly's acceptance speech.
I take the Emmys very seriously since they give me an opportunity to dress up something snobs and ivory-tower people with "jobs" generally scoff at as a subject for contentious, pseudo-intellectual debate.
Like this year, no Best Drama nomination for Lost. Not even nominated! Can you believe that? Last year it wins, this year... not even nominated. Makes no logical sense. I would run out and kill myself, but then I wouldn't be around for the Lost season premiere in September. Oh, and because of my wife and kids and blah blah blah.
The most nominations this year went to 24, a show that once again proved that if you have a strong enough central gimmick, you can keep spinning out the same tired-ass plot year after year and people will keep insisting that it's "brilliant" just because it's hard to do. I thought this season was repetitive and dull and yet somehow the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has gone completely overboard. Three of the five Best Supporting Actor in a Drama nominations went to some of Kiefer Sutherland's tattoos. I'm serious. You can look it up. It's completely out of control.
I guess the lesson we can take from this year's nominees is this: have been a fringe member of the "Brat Pack." That seems like the best way to go in terms of TV success. Actual members of the Brat Pack--your Judd Nelsons, your Anthony Michael Halls, your Molly Ringwalds--are nowhere to be seen. But the ones who kind of floated in and out--Kiefer in Young Guns, Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller for like a minute, "Ducky" himself Jon Cryer--are at the forefront of the most immediate and wide-ranging of media, the television.
And where, I ask you, is Andrew McCarthy these days? He's holed up in a filthy old Beverly Hills bungalow somewhere, selling Ally Sheedy's ass for cigarette money and working on a spec script for Weekend at Bernie's III. It's a political thriller wherein he and Jonathan Silverman get their dead boss elected to Congress and end up embroiled in a plot to smuggle nerve gas to Russian terrorists. The string of lies and deception lead them all the way to the President of the United States who, as it turns out (and this is the big twist) is also totally dead! He's hoping to get Shelley Winters for the role of the President.
OK, now my kids are all upstairs not making any noise. I can safely stop typing now and get some serious Nazi-shooting gaming time in before they discover me. Limited as their life-experience is, even they don't buy that as "work."
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.8