I grew up aware of M*A*S*H. I was just over a year old when the show ended on February 28, 1983. Thirty years ago. But it wasn’t until I was in high school that I fell in love with M*A*S*H. I honestly cannot remember what happened – in retrospect it feels like one day I didn’t really care about it and then out of nowhere I was obsessed with the show and was taping episodes off of TV. I know that this must have happened around 1998 because one of the things that drove my family crazy was that I would spend hours copying the M*A*S*H episodes off of VHS, onto the computer, edit out the commercials, and then copy the episodes back onto the tapes. This allowed me to fit 5 episodes onto a tape instead of 4. And it removed the commercials. In any case, I only figured out how to use the Avid Cinema software that allowed that to happen in 1998. By the time I graduated high school and was leaving for college, I had over 30 VHS tapes full of episodes of M*A*S*H. This was a few years before DVDs of TV shows became a thing. Continue reading
I’ve pretty much always been an atheist; when I was very small, I asked my mom what religion we were, and she just said “Christian” without really clarifying which franchise (as Emo Philips calls them), and I just sort of identified as that. Being “Christian” basically meant that we didn’t go to church or worship or believe in pretty much anything, but we did celebrate Christmas and Easter, since, hey, presents and candy!
I think when I was in 4th or 5th grade, there was a local-news fallout about someone being kicked out of the Boy Scouts because he wouldn’t say the pledge because it included the word “God” — it seemed to make sense to me, but I wasn’t sure about the particulars. My dad said that that was “atheism”, and that it was a type of religion that said there wasn’t a god, and they couldn’t even say “god”. I thought that was kinda funny (Even then, I loved saying “God!” My favorite curse today is “Goddammit!”; then, I knew that the “damn” part wasn’t good for little kids to say, so everything would be “God darn it!”, which I suppose is kinda funny, since I figure to most people that’d be just as offensive as “goddamn”…), but didn’t think anything of it.
Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via Flickr
While I know that the idea of “Appointment TV” is dying with the advent of Hulu (and BitTorrent), and a lot of folks don’t even have a TV anymore, just watching everything online, I still like the idea of actually watching TV. I don’t do it as often as I used to, as there’s just not a lot on that I like anymore. Pretty much just Simpsons and Family Guy reruns, along with Futurama and Adventure Time for new stuff so far — I just don’t watch as much as I used to. But I do like the idea of flipping through the channels and it’s always great when you can stumble across something.
Cover of Screen Burn
Charlie Brooker‘s often been sort of on my periphery; he’s worked with Chris Morris before, and I’d seen the TV Go Home site of course, but what made me really like him (aside from Nathan Barley, of course) was his Screenwipe series, an amusing and analytical look at how television works. I’d also known he’d written for The Guardian, but I hadn’t read a lot of those articles.
Y’know what I like? I mean, aside from watching TV and all that stuff, but y’know, big and in general?
I like ladies with glasses.
Glasses are like, lady-enhancers.
Like, y’know who I thought was really, really cool? Bailey Quarters from WKRP. She was wonderful. She was pretty, and she was nice, and she was smart, and she was fresh out of journalism school and got a job at a radio station. She was awesome. I felt bad for her because she was really nervous and sometimes Herb’d try to bring her down, and then sometimes Les would sorta join in a little bit, or sometimes a lot, and she’d want to cry a little, and I just wanted to reach into the TV and give her a big ol’ hug and let her know everything’d be all right. I wonder why Andy didn’t do that more often. Or Venus, but he wasn’t around as much, cause he was the night DJ, and Bailey usually worked during the day, but sometimes Venus’d just come down to the station to hang out or work on show prep or something. But then, he was usually with Dr. Johnny Fever, or Andy. But, anyway, though, I thought Bailey was awesome. She was probably my favorite, not to slight Jennifer, who was pretty cool too, or any of the rest of them really.
I’m big into film, and so I sort of have to think this is neat. But even if I wasn’t, I’d still think it’s pretty cool, since it’s your brain putting together a series of stills together and presenting it to you as motion and you don’t even know! Or, well, you know, but you can’t tell unless you actually take a look at each individual image. Which is pretty cool. I mean, I suppose this could probably go under the persistence of vision is so neat it deserves credit on its own.section since TV’s got the same principle going on but
Sometimes, people take for granted a lot of things; they’ve been around them so much they’re used to them and don’t see the magic in them and may even grow to hate them; TV seems to be square in this category. But think about it for a bit; TV’s grandfather, radio, is a box that pulls signal out of the air and converts it into sound. Sound that was sent to you from a long ways away! Stuff you couldn’t just hear without it; stuff that you wouldn’t even be able to hear even faintly without any sort of receiver. Like, if it was just some guy yelling where the transmitter is, you wouldn’t have any idea what he was yelling about, or that he was even yelling — but with a radio, you can find out that he’s there, he’s yelling, and what exactly he’s yelling about.
Jeff Kisseloff’s The Box: An Oral History Of Television 1929-1961 is an interesting read on the early days of everyone’s favorite box with pictures — or at least, everyone’s favorite for a while. Kisseloff goes from the early experiments with TV and the invention of — not to mention RCA’s attempts to squash Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor, since they’d been working on a version too. In these early chapters, Kisseloff strikes a good balance between giving the proper scientific background of how the various attempts at television worked without being too dry and technical that it sails over people’s heads.
A while ago, I dreamt that I was talking to a cute sort of indie-rock type girl on a bus, and she was working on a game show. I didn’t actually get to see any of the game show — it was just told to me, and I pieced together the rules from her conversation. Basically, it was a version of The Dating Game, only a bit different. In this version, basically, as normal, the guy would ask the 3 women questions about whatnot, and would choose one for a “date” and go off on a trip, etc. In this one, however, the bachelor was guaranteed the prize (considering how in the original the Bachelor couldn’t just go “thanks but no thanks, I’m leaving”, and walk out with nothing. Nor, would he probably want to, since a trip with a loathsome person is still a trip, and presumably you wouldn’t have to spend all your time with them and go off and do cool things while the other person stayed inside or did other cool things separate from you or whatever.); in this show, he had an extra option — if he didn’t like any of the women, he could choose to go with his sister. In this eventuality, though, the Bachelorettes would win, say, 5000 dollars (in the dream, the trip was worth $20,000). But if the guy chose one of the non-sister ladies, the un-chosen ones would get Zippo. Or, rather, a lifetime supply of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.