marathon with the archive
Wednesday, March 4 2009
Gretchen has launched into something of a The Wire marathon, starting with the first episode on our collection of pirated DVDs and watching one episode after the other. Normally I can go about my business as Gretchen launches into a teevee marathon (a recent one was for House), but The Wire is such good television that it constitutes something of a black hole whenever it is on. I've seen the whole series of course, but it was so twisted and complex and so little was explicitly spelled-out along the way that it's always good to see it a second time. For these early episodes, seeing it again is actually a third time. But I can't pull myself away. And as for Gretchen's watching of the episodes, they're a little like potato chips. I defy you to watch only one.
That's the great thing about television these days. Strains of it have been really good for eight years now, and a lot of that material is available on DVD. If you discover a great new television show, you can launch into a marathon with the archive of all its back episodes and have a multimedia experience far more engrossing than is possible with a movie or even a novel. At some point you reach the end of the final episode and emerge from it feeling let down that the relationship is over and now you must return to the things you used to do with your life.
This evening on American Idol one of my predictions came true: Tatiana, the most psychologically problematic contestant in this season, was brought back from the ranks of the rejected. This was part of American Idol's "wildcard" round, where the judges bring back some contestants who had been rejected by call-in voters. I'd viewed this phase of the competition to be something of a fraud, a way to maintain unpleasant contestants whose presence on the show made for "good television." With this in mind, I predicted the return of Tatiana, a young woman known more for her sobbing pleas to the judges as she is for her voice. Sure enough, tonight Tatiana was brought back as a wildcard. She promptly fulfilled her drama queen obligations, sobbing her thanks and making America wonder if it might be possible for anyone to be any more annoying.
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