Of Passing Interest Only

As one who quit watching network TV shows in about 1990 and has barely watched anything since, I’m not really qualified to pass comment on many of the shows that have been renewed / canceled for the upcoming season. Nevertheless, while The Mrs. was going through her invalid stage she did watch some shows, and as I was generally in the room with her, some stray bits of video have stuck in my brain and allowed me to make at least a few superficial judgments on the ones of which I do remember seeing the occasional snippet. In no specific order, here they are.

Grey’s Anatomy lost my interest in about the third episode of its first season, when it became clear that it was a combination of Black- and female wet dreams (unsurprisingly, as the show’s writer is — ta-da! — a Black woman). I know that most entertainment requires a suspension of disbelief, but seriously? A hospital in Seattle with a Black chief surgeon (as opposed to Jewish or, even more likely, Chinese)? Ha ha ha ha… considering that in just about every hospital in the United States, the highest Black executive is generally someone like the Benefits Administrator, HR Director or some similar bureaucratic fonctionnaire, the Anatomy Hospital is such an unrealistic construct that it might as well be on Mars. Ditto the various couplings and characters: McSteamy and McDreamy? One can only imagine the furor had the main female characters been nicknamed McTitty and McVaggie by the male cast. What a load of shit. And a final comment: in the episode where a disgruntled man takes a gun and starts systematically shooting doctors, was I the only one who made a mental promise never to go unarmed into a hospital again? (On a personal note: Ellen Pompeo is a dead ringer for one of my long-ago girlfriends — coincidentally, a nurse — which made watching the show an interesting experience for me, to say the least.)

Bones: I think Emily Deschanel is one of the most beautiful women ever to be on TV (despite being a liberal vegan nutcase in real life), and her character was wonderful: the outspoken and nearly autistic brilliant forensic scientist whose unbending logic made her paradoxically all the more human. Also, the same logic made her a gun owner — I have no idea how that little quirk made it through the network’s GFW (gun-fearing wussy, for my New Readers) editorial committees. The real mistake came when the male and female stars got married — the same mistake made in Castle and Moonlighting — which took away all the sexual tension of the show.

Grimm remains the only modern TV show I’ve ever stayed home to watch. As any fule kno, I detest the fantasy genre whether books, movies or whatever, but the premise of Grimm, plus its brilliant cinematography completely captured me. I did lose interest when the show created a grand story arc involving Austrian princes and such — the weekly episodes of catching various (and wonderfully-named) monsters was more than enough for me — so I lost interest after about the third season, something which I find myself doing for just about every TV show, incidentally, when the show’s premise is generally fulfilled and the writers have to jump the shark to keep it interesting.

I’m glad that Blue Bloods has been renewed, even though I don’t watch it anymore (another casualty of Kim’s Season Three syndrome). The conservative, religious and pro-law enforcement slant of the show makes a refreshing change from the usual liberal crap.

The renewal of Law & Order: SVU keeps the exquisite Mariska Hargitay on TV (she’s Emily Deschanel’s only real competition, beauty-wise), which is just fine by me even though I haven’t watched the show in years. The only other Law & Order show I watched — and that, compulsively — was the series which featured the brilliant Vincent D’Onofrio as the tortured, driven detective who eventually falls apart because of the continuous horrors of his job. Absolute genius, both the writing and D’Onofrio’s performance.

Finally, just to prove how irredeemably out-of-touch I am with modern culture as it pertains to TV: I’ve never watched a single episode of The Simpsons all the way through, ditto South Park (the latter because I can’t understand a single word the characters say).

I have watched every episode of the espionage satire Archer, however, because I love all the characters, and especially Sterling Archer himself. Archer‘s very first episode nearly caused me to pee my pants, I was laughing so hard, and the shows since have seldom faltered in that regard. No other TV cartoon show has ever featured characters and scenes such as the samples below:

,..and let it henceforth be known that I have a massive crush on Sterling’s mother, Mallory Archer:

One last thought: please don’t recommend any of your favorite TV shows to me: watching TV is so peripheral and inconsequential an activity in my life that I probably won’t take you up on it. If I’m going to watch any TV at all, it’ll be Formula 1 Grand Prix, English football (Chelsea wins the league!), international cricket and the occasional major golf tournament. Oh, and the Men’s Championship match at Wimbledon. Other than those, you’re more likely catch me at the range instead.


  1. I usually can’t make it through a full first season of most new shows, let alone third season. Just no interest. The wife and I generally watch 10 year old sitcoms on Netflix or investigation discovery channel stuff instead. She’s really into the “true crime” type stuff and I pay just enough attention that I shouldn’t make any obvious mistakes if I decide to live outside the law.

    Also love Archer, but wife thinks it is trash so I have to sneak in episodes on the side and then try not to laugh out loud.

  2. Also, Mallory Archer is voiced by Jessica Walter, who was absolutely smoking hot in 1966 Grand Prix. Which was a great movie and worth watching again.

    1. Ah, Don… a fellow aficionado of Jessica Walter’s movies. You may stay.

  3. I’m a new reader and commenter. Thank You for the opportunity.

    I also have stopped watching television. I remember it was an inane and silly episode of Star Trek, promoting a social order that I didn’t agree with, that triggered my anger. It opened my eyes to what a powerful propaganda tool the airwaves were. We no longer even have a TV in the house, although the computer is equally as bad. The downside is, I don’t know anything about certain references in popular culture. Someone might make a comment, I have no idea what they are talking about. I missed the joke.

    The one single show I miss is “Hockey Night in Canada”, specifically the “Coaches Corner” segment with Don Cherry and Ron Maclean. Now that was good (and truthful) entertainment.

    1. Ig, welcome to my back porch. Grab a drink at the bar, smoke ’em if you got ’em, and enjoy the show… which may be better than most TV shows anyway.

  4. A bit of a spoiler on Grimm:

    The Eurotrash “royals”, as well as the council, start getting offed by a new radical Wessen movement. Things get even more violent.

  5. I’ve not watched network shows in a very long time. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen an episode of the Cosby Show. Like Amos above, I don’t get the jokes around the water cooler. Suits me just fine, thanks very much.

  6. I just don’t watch TV. My knowledge of pretty much every show available comes because my spouse watches it, and follows several shows. This gives me a passing acquaintance with Grimm, Supernatural, NCIS, and a few others that aren’t worth the trouble to remember right now. But if she’s not home (and since she works nights, that’s usually the case during prime time), the TV isn’t on.

    I may have to check out Archer, though.

  7. If not for news networks, we would have cut the cord long ago. Even now, I mostly watch things that I have pirated. (Hollywood is communist from top to bottom — if they want to redistribute property from the rich to the poor, we’ll start out with redistributing their intellectual property to me, and see how that goes.) The list of things that I am willing to watch keeps getting shorter and shorter.

    The only thing that I can regularly be counted on to catch now are radio programs (specifically the Cajun show and the Rockabilly Review on KNON.)

    ob: Just the tip?

  8. I did away with broadcast TV over a year ago, stopped watching news shows about five years ago since they are mostly editorials of sound bites of if it bleeds it leads. I do on line for my news which is just a little bit better but not much.

    There are some TV series that are kind of fun, crime shows and a little bit of comedy, but the writers make such stupid mistakes with guns and forensics that I drive my wife nuts yelling at the screen. I like the beautiful women in some of the shows mentioned above, Castle, Bones, etc. but the real life part of the smart lady cop in high heels, tight pants impeccably tailored, never unkempt who can solve difficult cases in about three days with all of the evidence people standing by for each new case. I am good for about a season and then the plots become to thin and stupid.

    My wife likes to watch her shows, we use Netflix reruns with no commercials, while she knits and I usually end doing other stuff. I also gave up on sports years ago when I had to pay to watch teams that interest me and I can’t stand the sportscasters and their never ending drivel commentary.

  9. I find myself watching Fox News, the occasional history program or old movie…and damned near no broadcast TV at all.

  10. Archer is great! My wife discovered it and we have been watching it since day one. This latest season is a little sub par but still entertaining.

    1. I agree that the latest season has not been as good as others so far – but still better than most everything else on TV.

  11. I watch Archer too (on Netflix). I’m up to Season Five.

    As to L&O:CI: I watched all the L&O shows for a while, including CI. Then they did an episode which was in essence a blood libel on American soldiers. It wasn’t just the improbable crime, it was the wholly implausible backstory too. There was a fig-leaf of “understandable” motivation, but it failed to conceal the writers’ obvious dismissive contempt for soldiers.

    I don’t know which is worse: when someone hates enough to do Bad Things to some class of victim, or when they have such contempt and indifference for the target that they do the Bad Things quite casually.

  12. Do you want to get tv show recommendations? Because this is how you get tv show recommendations!

    And like a lot of folks here, I’m pretty burned out on most television. I’m pretty much just watching Food Network, How Its Made, and MST 3k for the most part.

  13. I’m not so much a fan of any current shows that I’ll clear my schedule for them, except for rugby and Aussie football (the latter still looks like an indecipherable Calvin-ball, but either way, it’s not US football, taking 2-3 hrs for only 60 minutes on the clock). I’ve got several Dvds in the library of older series and movies, including “El Cid,” which I feel compelled to watch again, in memory of my old Spanish III teacher who passed away this weekend, at the age of 98 (and just because it’s an incredible movie).

    My wife enjoys a bit too much of the quasi-reality shows, which I’m sure the producers are encouraging the insane behavior (i.e. Dance Moms, Bring It, Live PD), and the police detective dramas (NCIS-LA,-NO, original), so I tolerate it, to not be anti-social.

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