Tag Archives: Television

The Studio Boss’s Advice

“Thank you all for coming to this important meeting on such short notice, but this is extremely important after all the allegations of sexual misconduct. I’d like to correct it, but since this is Hollywood, we’re going to make people feel—almost believe—we corrected it. Hey, perception is reality, we’re going to give people the perception that we’ve corrected it.

“How? First, we all know that there are only a handful of plots that we keep recycling. A few of them are going to have to be put into suspended animation, at least for a while. ‘Boy meets girl’—forget it. It’s poison and no venture capitalist would touch it with a ten-foot pole. I spoke with Art Stanslawski—the former basketball legend—well, he’s a 7 foot 1 ½ inch Pole, and he said he wouldn’t touch it either. It’s going to be a hell of a long time before Harry meets Sally again.

“Next standard plot, at least for the 21st century, ‘Boy meets boy?’ Trust me, it’s just as dead after some of the big name actors who say they were molested.

“Boy doesn’t meet girl?” There might be a few possibilities, but the planned sequel to Sleepless in Seattle with a female playing the Tom Hanks’s role and a male playing Meg Ryan’s? That’s deader than another remake of Baywatch or The Dukes of Hazzard.

“And as far as I’m concerned, if you want to do ‘reality TV,’ more power to you. Me? I’m going to wait and do real reality TV It will feature the exposes about the shenanigans that went on behind the scenes on reality TV. I can cover the allegations, arbitrations, trials, and appeals. I’ll make a ton of money from the shows AND even more from the lawsuits.

“So, where does that leave us? Anything with lots of explosions, computer-generated effects, car chases, and spaceships. We might want to bring back Westerns.

“If we can’t computer generate actors who aren’t real people, we can always use puppets or maybe we can hire some Jesuits. Can Jesuits join the Screen Actors Guild? Maybe not a good idea because of some of he Church scandals. Scratch that.

“Anyone with a better idea, let me know. Don’t come to my office—we’ll meet in some heavily trafficked public place that’s loaded with security cameras. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but one can’t be too safe, you know.”

Light Bulbury 2014

xtal

Crystal AM Radio
(During the Second World War, Prisoners of War used a razor blade and a pencil lead in place of the crystal to make secret  radios.)

Along with the demise of the incandescent light bulb (as mentioned yesterday) there have been other fundamental changes in technology. A century ago a radio receiver could be assembled by virtually anyone using items such as a galena crystal, and some wire wrapped around a toilet paper (or similar) tube. The only component you really needed to purchase was a set of headphones.

A transmitter required a bit more – an ignition coil from a car, a tuning coil wrapped around an oatmeal box. The telegraph key was the main purchase item. Incidentally, the construction was called “breadboarding” since the parts were mounted on a piece of wood, such as the board used to cut bread.

Fifty years ago you could tune your car with a set of basic tools usually twice a year. Oil and filter, set of sparkplugs and ignition points, and every so often a new set of sparkplug wires.

Today most people don’t work on their own cars; they take it to a shop where (for $79) the mechanic hooks a device to the car’s computer and the computer reports what the car needs. If that clunking noise isn’t something that the computer tracks, it must not be important.

Electronics – the same way. As a kid if the television wasn’t working right, I’d take the tubes out, ride my bicycle to the Rexall Drugstore, use their tube tester and purchase a replacement tube right there.

Today’s devices aren’t home-repair or experimenter friendly. First, the manufacturers glue everything shut; second, there’s very little in the way of documentation.

I guess I’d like to point to today’s kids and complain that they spend all their time playing video games and texting, but can’t. If there’s no 21st century equivalent of a mechanical alarm clock begging to be taken apart, just to see how it works, how can we get them excited? Kids are still naturally curious – now we have to figure out how to feed their curiosity.

New Awards Show – Don’t Miss It!

Gold-Toilet

“Tonight! The Loo Awards – another in a seemingly endless series of awards programs where rich Hollywood stars get to have attention lavished on them just like what happens to them every other day of the year! And don’t forget that they’ll get swag bags filled with free goodies that YOU can’t even afford!”

I muted the television. My first thought was that this gave me the perfect excuse to go to bed early, since I really don’t care about who wins what, what they said, what they said wrong, what they wore and what wardrobe malfunctions occurred. But it got me thinking.

Of course there’s the Academy of Motion Pictures’ Awards – the “Oscars.” They give so many awards that half of them are given outside of the televised extravaganza. These tend to be technical in nature, so the team that invented a new computer to make special effects seem real – something that takes brains, talent and education – get their statuette mailed to them or something. On the other hand, the “star” who doesn’t know what to say when the phone rings until the third rewrite gets a lot of attention.

Then there’s the Emmys, awarded by the Academy of Television Arts and Science. They not only have separate sessions for primetime and daytime awards, but they also have regional awards, meaning that even if you were awarded an Emmy, the entire event could be kept totally secret – not that anyone in the entertainment business would be interested in that.

Next you’ve got the “People’s Choice Awards,” the “Golden Globes” and the “Screen Actors Guild Awards.” Oh, and don’t forget the “Tonys” for live theater. It’s kind of like kids’ soccer were everybody who showed up at least once gets a trophy at the end of the year.

I unmuted the television.

“Tonight, live from Flushing, New York, the Loo Awards, where we recognize the cream of the crap. Annnd here’s your hosts for tonight, Jerry Springer and Maury Povich!”

I muted the TV again. I did turn on the captioning. It was an education.

There was an award for “Trailer Trash Television.” There was another for “Faked Finds,” where the decision was a tossup between a second hand store show and “Ghosts are Really Real! Really!” There was an award for program that demonstrated the best exploitation of a child by their parents. There was something about the Kardashians, but thankfully I missed most of it to take a bathroom break. When they got to “Most Obnoxious Model Wannabes.” I turned it off.

I’m not going to watch television tonight.

There’s a really ugly hole in the wall where my flat screen television used to hang and it needs repairing.