August 5th, 2008
When you’re in a place where cable is lacking, money is tight and laziness is prevalent, sometimes you take different measures to get the things you used to get. Case in point: I don’t have cable TV right now.
Four months ago, I probably would have cried at the very thought of not having 24-hour news, sports, weather (aaand more!) let alone the ability to pause, rewind and record live television, all at the push of a button. (I wonder if that Comcast Twitter guy can read blogs, too.) But, over this summer, I’ve realized that cable isn’t an essential; rather, it’s a wonderful option that, if need be, can be replaced by ingenuity, a load of bookmarks, and Vuze.
However, when focusing on the internet for your television needs, you tend to be at the mercy of 1) whatever video sites haven’t been taken down due to the DMCA, 2) whatever episodes are still online, and 3) whatever Asian network server isn’t being pounded because it’s their peak hours and not ours. Luckily, with every major network having most of their shows online, I can keep track of shows that I may have missed due to night classes or other obligations (Lost, The Office and How I Met Your Mother, to name a few). The commercials that are interjected in between these shows are tolerable at best, annoyingly repetitive at worst, and overall, they pay the bills so I can keep laughing at Neil Patrick Harris for another 10 minutes.
There are, however, so many times you can watch the fourth season of the Office before Dwight and his crazy antics start to get old. Thus starts the “discovery” part of the internet, where I start to get addicted to new and exciting TV shows, even if those shows aren’t all that new. I’ve figured out that I actually enjoy House as much as I like Scrubs, as it were, and I’ve recapped myself on Rob and Big, but the one show that I’m absolutely loving is Arrested Development.
I’d been reluctant to watch Arrested Development, mainly due to people who kept asking me, “Hey, Cory, do you watch Arrested Development? Hahaha, that Tobias.” After a while, it just kind of became easier for me to say, “Oh yeah, I have. It’s got that kid from Juno in it!” instead of actually sitting down and watching the show. Thanks to Hulu, I’ve gotten through the first and second seasons of the show, and I didn’t realize how brilliant the show actually was.
If there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t watched the show (and I doubt there is, to be completely honest), this show is actually quite brilliant. There’s the initial layer of Tobias’ homosexuality (obvious to everyone but him, which adds about 10 minutes worth of jokes per episode anyway), the coping with the family’s lack of money, and George Michael’s romantic connection to his cousin. But there is subtle, underlying humor which require a couple viewings to catch, like the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) references to other works related to actors and actresses on the show, brilliant cameos (more than just Ben Stiller), and the foreshadowing (and whatever the opposite of foreshadowing is) that happens as the series progresses. It’s obvious the writers had a very clear idea of the show they were trying to create.
I once had a theory about the cyclical nature of TV and movie writing. The theory is this: the better movies are at the box office, the worse TV will be. After a while of riding this wave, ratings will dip and networks will start hiring better writers to start writing for TV, and the quality of TV shows will increase. Movies will then search for new scripts and court better writers, and the cycle starts again when movies get better and TV shows get worse. I think the cycle lasts about two years or so, but I don’t have any hard data to prove any of this. I’ll get cracking with the Numbers and the Keynote when I’m not in the middle of moving all my belonging to a new townhouse.
Anyway, I like Arrested Development. I think it’s a very clever, very funny show. It’s a DVD purchase just waiting to happen. If I can give Ron Howard just a few more dollars, then I think I’ll have done my job.