If TV is a Reflection of Real Life, the World Sucks Right Now

Yes, Johnny, that man is in a lower socio-economic class than us, which makes it entertaining.


All I can say about TV right now is that if aliens are picking up our signals, we’re screwed.

Have you done the Alien Test lately? Where you pretend that aliens pick up TV shows and draw conclusions about the human race based on what programs are dominating the Nielsen ratings? If that ever happens for real, and if it happens now, we’re in big trouble, my friends. We’ll all be laser-blasted to oblivion without a second thought in those oversized green heads, but not before some nasty medical experiments are done on our brains. Figuring out why so-called intelligent life on earth would use its leisure time watching Storage Wars and My Super Sweet 16 would surely become a celestial priority.

American TV, which has always been the younger, retarded midget brother of British TV anyway, is really at a low point right now. If you thought national politics was polarized, consider the current reality shows: We’re either a bunch of rednecks with bunny teeth, meth addictions, tacky tattoos, daughters dressed as hookers, sons with mullets, houses bulging with crap, and storage units filled with more crap and paint-on-velvet pitkchurs . . . or . . . we’re spoiled rotten rich bitches with oversized sunglasses, Jags and lips that are just seriously way too shiny. Seriously.

Back to Storage Wars, every time I’m flipping through the channels and I see someone open a storage locker, I marvel at the thought that someone somewhere is watching a show about storage lockers. I have a storage unit and I gotta tell ya, there is nothing that ever happens there that’s even remotely interesting enough to be on a TV show. It’s always completely empty and quiet, and the contents are boring in a way that only useless junk can be. If you got trapped in there you’d probably go a little bit insane from sensory deprivation. Yet there’s a TV show about a storage unit in which that bald guy with the big gut that’s barely contained by his wife-beater still can’t believe his luck. I’d like to know what karma he got into in a past life in which his life is the basis of a reality show. Whatever he did, I want to do that.

I understand there are also shows about those half-cops who issue parking tickets for expired meters, movers, crab fishermen, truck drivers who drive on ice, people who work in pawn shops, auctioneers, and an exterminator. Like, every shit job you ever didn’t want is now cool.

And those people are in a class warfare with the housewives of one state or another, rich girls turning 16 and not all that sweet, and Kardashians and their whipped, pretty-boy, dumber-than-a-sack-of-hair boyfriends. The women are bad enough on these shows, but the men? Good grief, it’s embarrassing to watch them. Who are you? I’m the boytoy of a Kardashian. Can you say grow a pair?

Occasionally, a rebel sparrow flies out of the flock and tries like hell to speed toward the Emmys to make a name for itself. Out of the Toddlers & Tiaras / Hoarders / Ice Road Truckers / Osbournes hot mess, there will emerge a show like The Killing.

The Killing is a smooth, smart who-done-it that is several levels above all other shows on TV. I know this because a) the actors don’t wear makeup, b) it’s based on a Danish show and we all know the Danes are intellectually superior to the rest of the world, and c) the setting is perpetually overcast Seattle; it’s dreary and mostly cloudy to the point where you forget you’re watching color TV and you could imagine that you’re screening an Ingmar Bergman film.

The producers of The Killing are apparently quirky artist types, because they put together a stunning first season, creating a layered plot about a murdered girl, city politics, cop-shop angst, and parental guilt which ended with about three cliffhangers last year. And then they forgot to follow up with a second season.

I have a theory about how this was allowed to happen. The first season was full of intrigue, conflicted flawed characters, the good cop might be a bad cop, the grieving father is a little bit of an asshole, the mom is guilty about something and not just because she doesn’t make dinner every night for the family. The season ends with everyone in an impossible jam, making you go, “How are they ever going to explain this without a dream sequence?”

I’m picturing the writers sitting around a table:

“OK, so now what do we do? Who wrote us into this corner?”

“It’s Jason’s fault. He’s the one who had the bright idea to give every possible character an ironclad alibi.”

“Is there anyone left who could have killed her? Maybe someone from a different show? Those guys on Mad Men would be good.”

“Maybe we could just continue to create Facebook fan pages and take polls and be all interactive on our website and everyone will forget that it was ever a TV show at all.”

“Wait! I got it! It was all just a dream!”

While waiting for The Killing team to get their shit together, I’m forced to sit through impossibly young couples buying vacation homes in Belize on HGTV (Oh, cry me a river, there’s no granite in the servants’ kitchen), Dance Moms and Swamp Loggers. It’s all very confusing.

I have some great ideas for the next season of all of those shows: They’re all knocked off by the frustrated actors from The Killing.

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