14 May 2009

on my TV watching habits

So, I have FINALLY started watching the second season of The Wire. I know, I know, I am WAAAY behind the curve here. (As in, the curve left me a long time ago.) But I watched the first season more than a year ago and then never picked up momentum on it. It isn't because it isn't a great show. It's amazing. But, as I remembered while watching 2.1 and 2.2 yesterday, it is a program that requires that you actually watch it. You know, that you pay attention.

It may seem as if I watch a lot of TV, but the truth is, I don't watch it very carefully. The same set of circumstances that allows my mom to watch Lifetime movies again and again and not remember that she has already seen them also operates in my world. We are both people who have a hard time dedicating our attention to the talking box in the room. In my mom's case, folding laundry and doing crosswords keep her from getting engrossed. In mine, it is writing emails, and grading papers, and sometimes even reading. (Yes, occasionally I read while watching TV. I'm not suggesting this. It is a messed up habit.) I actually get pretty antsy when I have to devote myself to watching something, which is why I've gotten a lot less patient with live theatre and with seeing movies out.

The result is that I can watch A LOT of pretty crappy and lite (and I do mean "lite" and not "light", grammar police) television. This is why I can watch 2 series of The IT Crowd in a weekend, but can't seem to watch more than a season of The Wire every year and a half. My brother also sometimes blames my viewing habits when I don't like a particular movie (he claims, for example, that I don't like Wet Hot American Summer and The Big Lebowski because I haven't really "seen" either one of them). I don't know. Maybe. Or maybe I just don't give something my full attention when I don't feel like it warrants it. Good television--that deserves actual scheduling.


fsk said...

The Wire often even requires subtitles and multiple rewinding. I have two more episodes of the whole series left. I will soon be in withdrawl.

Old Man Duggan said...

The Wire - Awesome.

The IT Crowd - Awesome. "You there, computer man. Fix my pants."

I think your brother is right. Both films need to be watched carefully and repeatedly. There are little things that you miss if you don't. I honestly think that The Big Lebowski is the greatest comedy ever made, but so much of what makes it great are the little things inserted in there that you'll frankly miss without paying attention.

And Wet Hot is the bomb. Watch it for Paul Rudd at the very least. No distractions.

Marcus said...

Season two is the most polarizing.

I do the same thing with distracted viewing. It's hard for me to watch sitcoms without peering over my laptop. Drives Erin nuts when I rewind every time she laughs out loud.

jbro said...

Yeah I haven't been able to get past the 6th episode of the Wire for like five years, and I looove dude shows, hence my obsession with both Rescue Me, and Friday Night Lights. I don't know what it is about that show, maybe it's too good and it's not something you can sit and eat a sandwich to, or maybe there is not one character on that show that I want to do, that can be a determining factor also for me...Dude you know Wet Hot is funny, maybe it's like my problem with your brudder, it's because we told you it was good, and therefore you couldn't discover it on your own, maybe it raises too many expectation?? I agree with OMD, the movies require multiple viewings, the first time I rented Wet Hot I watched it 6 times in a span of one weekend. Christ they actually have a Lebowski convention, I mean it's funny, C'mon!!

Nikki said...

The Wire is hard for me, too. And not because it requires my attention, but because it's not simply "TV." It's sad/intense/emotional/real/depressing/political/recognizable all the time. I took a break from it for a while because it was just TOO MUCH. I just started season 4 yesterday and I'll say this: it's too smart not to watch. Of course, I needed to watch an ep of 30 Rock to recover....

Old Man Duggan said...

The Wire is by no means light viewing, but it can be very funny. McNulty undercover as the British business man? "Spot on"? Ziggy's drunk duck? Omar's tie? The tide and current fax? Comic gold.

The writing is spectacular, but it is definitely a slow burn. I wasn't obsessed until at least five or six episodes, but now I've seen the first four season three times a piece and all of season five twice. It is mandatory viewing.

KRD said...

First of all, I had totally forgotten that you blogged about the IT Crowd, Duggan. Richmond cracks me up. But I tend to like all TV goths.

Thank you all for your thoughts on the Wire, and I think that you are all absolutely right--it is a show that needs rewinding, that is awesome, that is not sandwich-watching tv, that is too much, that is funny--but not quite often enough. The tension is so great, and the humor so sporadic, that it doesn't cut the tension effectively enough (not like the humor in Deadwood which comes hard and fast and often enough to really help). Listen, I'm not planning on not finishing it, it just might take a long time to get through it.

By the way, I have had more thoughts about the Big Lebowski. Look for another post on that soon.

As always, thanks you guys for reading and for all of your thoughts. It's good to see you again, J-Bro and SUPER exciting to see you, Nikki. I feel honored.