Regarding Tv

Going Without TV

Recorded on January 17th, 2017

I was looking for a previous post from last year, thinking that at some point I wrote about going without TV for a certain number of nights per week. I either didn’t write it or can’t find it. But we recently did it again, having relocated the Sony TV to the basement, covered by a plastic bag to keep out dust.

The first week is really hard. You don’t know what to do with the time while you get used to it. It’s like weaning yourself off sugar. But after a week, you look forward to and savor the quiet of the evening, and you realize that you have way more free time than you ever thought you did. Tonight we even found ourselves prepping our lunches for tomorrow. That 100% would not have happened if we still had the TV hooked up.

As I wrote the other night, our life preserver is Amazon Prime and a laptop, in case we go nuts and need to watch something. I mean, we’re not animals.

Horsehousing on The Simpsons

Recorded on December 10th, 2016

I have nothing else to share today except this badly needed bit of comic relief, pointed out to me by my brother. It makes no sense and it’s still funny the seventh time just to see the expression on the horse’s face.

Apologies for this being a video someone shot from their TV.

All the Color Drained Out

Recorded on August 20th, 2016

I don’t know whether everything new on TV looks like shit these days because it’s shot on digital or because some colorist turned the saturation way down or both. It’s depressing.

We were watching Stranger Things tonight, which is as great as everyone says it is, and it should be positively bursting with color. They did everything else right. The warm, pulsing synthesizers in the original background music evoke that time period perfectly, the opening credits are a masterpiece of old and new visual effects tech, and the makeup on the high school girls is all spot-on perfect. Stuff back then was shot on film, and they didn’t drain the color out. But on this show, the colors (except for some sunny outdoor shots) are this sort of puke beige. I know it’s supposed to be a dark, dreary show, but it’s like they’re pathologically afraid of color, or they want to look hip.

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My unscientific theory is that it’s because you still can’t get color right with digital. If you get the greens in the zone, then the magenta is off. Or the other way around. Sometimes you’ll see on Stranger Things that some weird blues pop out and clash with the rest of the frame. See how their skin just doesn’t look right against the other colors? (Except the girl on the right. She somehow looks normal.)

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Here’s what people/kids in movies looked like in 1983. Even in the drab NORAD command center in WarGames, there was still color!

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Sherlock is one of the worst offenders. Benedict Cumberbatch is pasty enough in real life. He doesn’t need to look any more like a vampire. The lack of color in most of the scenes in this show is a complete affectation and actually distracting.

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Come on!

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I don’t know what the solution is. Film is too expensive to shoot with these days, so I don’t expect it to come back, except for the fanatics, God bless them. Digital is bound to get better as the technology matures, someday. Until then, I guess we could just go outside.

Robert Mitchum on “The Dick Cavett Show”, 1971

Recorded on March 29th, 2016

Years ago, back when we still got Netflix DVDs in the mail, I got converted to the gospel of “The Dick Cavett Show”. Aside from George Harrison and Ingmar Bergman, Robert Mitchum was the guest whose interview stuck with me the longest. I remember when I first saw this episode, I realized I’d never witnessed someone make such a cool stage entrance. He looks like he could take or leave the whole engagement as long as he gets to keep his styrofoam cup of scotch. And those luxurious speech patterns, where every muscle in his face is relaxed. I don’t think he’s just drunk. His internal clock is synced to some other slower planetary orbit. You’ll wait for him and be glad to do it.

I felt validated when we recently watched Jonathan on “Bored to Death” study Mitchum on that same Cavett episode in preparation for his own upcoming interview. Nice to see my peers still go ape for someone with such a command of the room.