Sunday, March 1, 2015

Local TV

We have cable TV where I live. In a classic denial of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” the cable company fixed it: they “harmonized” the channel numbers across all their regions. Now people don’t know where their old programs have gone. The new channel numbers run up into the 1200s, but I don’t have access to most of them since I buy only the “basic” plan. The company nevertheless puts out the whole list in a nice glossy brochure,       I guess in the hope you’ll buy a more expensive package. 

That doesn’t work with me, though. I’m not an advocate of cheering for 5 or 9 or 11 millionaires on a playing field, so I can eliminate a large number of channels out of hand. I have never thought of cooking as a spectator sport either, so there goes another batch. Ditto for strangers in sunglasses playing poker.      I have never investigated my own genealogy; what makes programmers think I'd be interested in someone else’s?

Selling on screen could have been interesting, but it all seems to be clothing and jewelry, mostly women’s, and spray-on compounds that seal your windows against rain. I haven’t worn a necklace since the army, and we’re in a drought.

Sitcoms: there are only a few I watch, and I watch those because they have gentle humor and a collegiality among the characters; the people don’t continually try to score off each other. They rely on other techniques than sexual innuendo for their laughs; and they never forget the “com” part in the name stands for “comedy” and they don’t get heavy.

Local news is a farce. Someone pointed out a while back that many/most of the TV channels are owned by entertainment companies, so a regular feature of our “news” is what’s news to them:  the box office results for current movies. Do they really think the average listener cares if “Ghouls at the Gates” made more millions than “Dueling Chainsaws”?

And of course traffic and weather are standard news show items, traffic because we have a lot of it and weather in spite of our having hardly any here in Southern California. (Surprising how much anchor desk back-and-forth can be wrung out of a warming trend from 87 to 89 degrees.)

Those segments are the chance for well-coiffed aspiring actors and starlets to breathlessly give us “breaking” news “live” from the scene of the accident although no details are available yet, and to prance in front of electronically animated displays of weather fronts. There's information there, but it’s secondary to the "personalities" delivering it.

You’re not supposed to sound whiny or jaded in a blog; it puts people off.   I’ll try to think of some jokes, next time.