drabbest, most unmemorable
Thursday, March 20 2008
Gretchen left for some left-leaning poetry thing in Washington, DC today, leaving me alone with lots of Tivo'd shows for my viewing pleasure. Due to the writers' strike, the television pipeline is pretty barren these days for Gretchen, but my shows must all be done overseas and in right-to-work states, because they're still flowing in abundance. By far the least impressive of these is Smash Lab, which I'd hoped would be a quality Mythbusters knockoff. Not so! The hosts on Mythbusters are complicated, nuanced, hip, and above all, delightfully goofy. They don't take themselves too seriously, and seem relaxed in their skin even when given horrible copy to read from the teleprompter. I feel like I know these people. They're smart, they're fun, and some of them are clearly neurotic in fascinating ways. By contrast, the hosts of Smash Lab are the drabbest, most unmemorable collection of white people this side of Sex and the City. The one woman among them, a purported "scientist," seems to have been chosen entirely for her looks. When not mouthing truisms like some sort of brunette Britney, she mumbles her lines and gives no sense that there's any person in there at all. Her cohosts are just as bad, to the point where I can hardly tell them apart.
I also saw the latest South Park, the one where Britney Spears ends up missing all of her head above the lower jaw. I've grown to love South Park, though I have to say that the "message" of the episodes tend to be formulaic and simple. This episode was far more nuanced (to the extent that Gretchen singled it out as special). While holding Spears up to ridicule, we're exposed to a more nuanced idea: perhaps our society builds up and destroys young women as part of an ancient tradition dating back to the primitive rituals of virgin sacrifice. It's the kind of idea that can send a shiver down your spine if you really stop to think about it. Of course, I'm a sucker for ideas stating that we're essentially unchanged from the days of cuneiform and cat domestication.
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