Archives for posts with tag: Television

Show I’ve Marathoned This Summer:

  1. Suits (Season 1)
  2. Bent
  3. Doctor Who
  4. Secret Diary of a Call Girl
  5. Awkward (Season 1/Beginning of season 2)
  6. Teen Wolf (Season 1/Beginning of season 2)
  7. Fringe (Season 3) – Rewatch
  8. Pushing Daisies (Season 2) – Rewatch

Show I’m Currently Watching (Airing Now):

  1. Suits
  2. White Collar
  3. Bunheads
  4. Saving Hope
  5. Teen Wolf
  6. Awkward
  7. True Blood

Show I Plan to Watch:

  • Sherlock

 

Suggestions?

and wrote a scene instead of an essay for part of my Pitzer application. The prompt was to explain my dream job. The screenplay format went to hell posting it here, but you’ll get the idea:

 

INT. LOUNG – SAN DIEGO COMIC CON – day

MICHAEL AUSIELLO, a television journalist, sits in a plush arm chair. Across from him sits CHELSEE BERGEN on a couch, examining throw pillows with the faces of actors on them.

CHELSEE
What do I have to do to get my face on one of these? I guess people would have to recognize my face in order to want me on their throw pillows.

MICHAEL
Some people know your face.

CHELSEE
Yeah. Hardcore fans. But I mean, those guys know like the address of the childhood home of our secondary characters. But I think even they wouldn’t want my face on a pillow.

Chelsee holds up a pillow with the face of a handsome young actor next to her own. She laughs.

MICHAEL
Maybe they’ll start a line of executive producer pillows.

CHELSEE
Can I get some of those? Like, is it creepy if I’m hoping that J.J. Abrams style brilliance will rub off on me from a pillow? Executive producer pillows- that would be great.

MICHAEL
So, for those people who aren’t familiar with you- who don’t have a pillow with your face on it- can you give us an introduction to you and your show?

CHELSEE
God, I probably should have started with that instead of the pillows.
(laughs)
I’m Chelsee Bergen, I’m the show runner for a show called POINT PERDIEM, which is something of a sci-fi drama about this strange little town where time becomes… ambiguous. The show is in its fourth season on HBO, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve just been renewed for our fifth and final season.

MICHAEL
What has your experience been like working on the show? I mean a few years ago it didn’t seem like the show was even going to be picked up, now you’re headed towards a fifth season with a huge fan following- looking back on these past few years, what’s that like?

CHELSEE
I’ve got the best job in the world, I really do. Five years ago I could not have even conceived of the wonderful experience that this show has been. I get to show up to work everyday and talk with the most creative, some of the coolest and smartest people I’ve ever met, about stories and weird stuff and magic and science and whatever we want. The show had kind of a shaky start, so it really was trial by fire, trying to get our footing, but I’m surrounded by talented people- actors and writers and crew- that I want to work with for the rest of my life, really. Like, when the wonderful ride that is Point Perdiem finally ends I know I’ll take a deep breath, maybe a nap, and then I’ll start calling these people up and asking ‘What have you got for me? What do you want to do? What can we make happen?’ Cause that’s really what gets me exciting, getting to work with people and create new and interesting stuff. There’s nothing better than that.

As any one who knows me knows, I really like television. I will watch it any way I can. Sometimes this means… getting a little creative with the venues through which I watch things. For a while I maintained that it is a network’s job to provide me with a means by which to watch their content, and if they’re not going to then they’re stupid because I’m going to watch it anyway and they should be catering to me because I am their source of profit. While on a certain level that is in fact true, it is also very problematic. It is especially problematic considering that I am someone who intends to, in the very near future, earn a living creating television.

When I can, I like best to watch television shows as they air on television. At school that’s a bit more difficult because I don’t have my own tv, but I still do my best to make it happen for the shows I really like. But for shows I’ve just started watching– ones that aren’t on the air any more, or that are several seasons in, watching when they air isn’t really an option (I will not watch a show that I haven’t seen from the beginning). Netflix has been incredibly helpful in that department, as has Hulu in some cases. But not everything streams through these venues, and most networks don’t keep earlier episodes on their own websites.

So what am I supposed to do when I want to watch Fringe and it’s not streaming anywhere!? Well, I could buy the DVD’s. Or, since I’m willing to watch on my computer, I could buy individual episodes or entire season passes through itunes or amazon. Season DVD’s are kind of expensive when they first come out, but when they’ve been out for a while you can usually get them between $12-25. Despite how reasonable this is, it makes my bank account cry. Also, while I like having DVD’s for shows that I know I like (Veronica Mars, Lost, one day Buffy e.t.c) because I can re-watch stuff and lend them out to people, I’m hesitant about paying for something I’m not sure I’ll like– that’s legitimate, right? As for downloading episodes to my computer- I once bought an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and thought about how terrible an idea it was for days because I didn’t really like the episode and never wanted to watch it again and I couldn’t figure out a way to watch it on my television so at least my family could watch it too. This is not really a good enough reason not to buy other shows, but still…

What’s a television-loving-someday-writer-currently-college-student to do? This is one of those theoretical questions where I already know the answer.

I’m trying to be less morally ambiguous.

I’m definitely buying season two of Fringe…

My latest television obsession is Misfits (only now I’m caught up so I have to wait for new episodes like every body else), and it’s got me thinking a lot about the way that I am, and what kind of super power I might have. I’ll explain why those two things go together.

See, the premise of Misfits is that a group of five teenagers (they’re really like early twenties but calling them young adults would be weird) are doing community service (they’re on probation for committing various crimes) when this freak storm happens, they’re all struck by lightning, and they end up with weird powers. At first the powers seem completely random, but really they’re all related in some way to the characters central feelings, actions, or wants.

For instance, one of them used to be a star runner but he was caught with drugs, so he was ban from competitive running for a year. Only time he had ever done anything wrong. He ends up with the power to rewind time (the caveat of course is that it only happens when he is deeply affected by something- and even then it can be hit or miss. Plus the whole changing the past consequences thing)

The shy, kind of weird kid who just wants to be accepted gets the ability to become invisible (at first it was involuntary and happened when he felt excluded or unseen)

There are also more weird powers- things that aren’t as run of the mill. One of the original five, a girl who oozed sex appeal and disinterest, makes people violently desperate to have sex with her whenever she touches them (yeah, it’s a problem).

The storm also affected other people in the area, including a dairy loving coffee shop worker who ends up with the ability to control dairy products with his mind (he calls it lactokenisis). It seems like a totally useless power until he starts killing people with the dairy products they’ve eaten– then it’s fucking scary.

So it makes me wonder, what kind of power would I end up with? I worry about the future a lot- would that perhaps result in psychic foresight? A long standing fear of mine, grown especially prominent lately, is that people don’t actually like me or want me around– superhuman charm, or maybe reading minds? In a discussion that I don’t entirely remember with Lipkin about super powers once he said something about my ability to generation images and ideas, so maybe I’d be able to project things from my head into reality? Obviously I’ll never know (unless we get a power granting freak snow storm here in Reno), but I still wonder. It says a lot about a person.

If Belen had a power, I think it would be some kind of superhuman luck. We joke that Belen “always wins. Even if it’s not a contest.” So maybe her power would make it impossible for her to lose. The catch of course would be that everyone around her could lose, so obviously friends and family would become big targets for mustache twirling villains.

If I come up with some other ones later I’ll add them. What would your power be?

In honor of my 100th post, I wanted to make a list of recommendations for books, movies, e.t.c. What I discovered is that when you make a list of recommendations that long, it really just becomes a list of things that you like (which is not always the same as a recommendations list).

At any rate, here it is (in no order other than the one I thought of them in. Since WordPress hates me, you’ll just have to take my word for it that there are 100) :

100 Recommendations (AKA Things I Like)

TV Shows:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Lost
  • Freaks and Geeks
  • Veronica Mars
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • Prime Suspect (US)
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Young Americans
  • Parks and Recreation
  •  White Collar
  •  Revenge
  •  New Girl
  •  Everwood
  •  The OC
  •  (Early) Grey’s Anatomy
  •  True Blood
  •  Firefly
  •  Psych
  •  Gilmore Girls
  •  Bones (The last season or so is iffy)
  •  Roswell (Seasons 1&2)
  •  Dead Like Me
  •  Dollhouse
  •  My So-Called Life
  •  Party Down
  •  Kitchen Confidential
  •  Pushing Daisies

Books

  •  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  •  The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  •  This is Where I Leave You
  •  The Abhorsen Trilogy (particularly Lirael)
  •  The Feminine Mystique
  •  The Road
  •  Good Omens
  •  The Crucible
  •  You Shall Know Our Velocity
  •  The Catcher in the Rye
  •  Fahrenheit 451
  •  Julius Caesar
  •  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
  •  Negotiating with the Dead
  •  Picnic Lightening

Movies

  •  The Dark Night
  •  Easy A
  •  Atonement
  •  An Education
  •  Serenity (after you watch Firefly)
  •  500 Days of Summer
  •  Citizen Kane
  •  Good Will Hunting
  •  TiMER
  •  The Life Before Her Eyes
  •  Moulin Rouge
  •  Exit Through the Gift Shop
  •  Elizabethtown
  •  Tales from the Script
  •  Momento

Musical Artists

  •  The Fray
  •  She Keeps Bees
  •  Young the Giant
  •  Gregory and the Hawk
  •  Rilo Kiley
  •  Neko Case
  •  Death Cab for Cutie
  •  Adele
  •  Ingrid Michaelson
  •  The Pierces
  •  The Hush Sound
  •  Stars
  •  Regina Spektor
  •  The Weekend
  •  Florence + The Machine
  •  The Morning Benders
  •  Sleigh Bells
  •  Girls
  •  Nada Surf
  •  Imogen Heap
  •  Sufjan Stevens

Foods

  •  German Potato Salad
  •  Cafe Rio Salad
  •  Cafe Rio Salad with Pork (Yes, it gets two numbers depending on if it has meat or not)
  •  Mediterranean Pizza
  •  Pasta Salad (My mother’s, obviously)
  •  Kidney Beans (in a dish of some kind)
  •  Chips & Salsa (so underrated)
  •  In’n’Out Fries
  •  Quiche
  •  Tatter Tots
  •  Hash browns
  •  Criss-Cross Fries (Do you have a problem with five of these items being potato products? Blame my mother- that and steak are all she ate when I was in the womb)
  •  Mango Spinach Salad with Tangerine Balsamic (a dish of my own creation)
  •  Artichoke Hearts
  •  Crunchy Rice and Red Beans
  •  Macaroni and Cheese
  •  Chicken Fingers (when I’m eating meat)
  •  Egg & Cheese Croissant Sandwiches
  •  Peanut Butter Cookies (best when made by Molly Rautenstrauch)
  •  Shrimp and Corn Salsa Quesadillas
  •  Hummus and crackers (or hummus and pretty much anything)
  •  Falafels

I had my journalism midterm yesterday and one of the questions was about recent trends that are changing television and what we think that will mean for tv in the future. Part of my answer was about increased viewer participation or involvement, and how we may one day see Choose Your Own Adventure style television. While it was mostly an off-handed comment, it got me thinking about getting what you want.

I bought my sister a modern Choose Your Own Adventure book for her birthday one year, in an attempt to get her to read more. The end result was her not reading it at all because she attempted to read through the entire thing rather than select and skip parts as directed. This was not because she didn’t understand the concept, but because she felt she might be missing the better story or missing something important- a girl after my own heart. (There is probably some philosophical insight to be had from that incident, but that’s for another time.

While getting what you want is immediately satisfying, how long that satisfaction stays is debatable– it can be pretty fleeting. When it comes to things like television, we all have the couple that we love or want to be together, the character we want to get what’s coming to them, the things we want to know more about and the things we are tired of hearing about. As a fan and a student of storytelling, I’m torn between wanting what I want and knowing that what I find really compelling is when I don’t get what I want- when I get a taste, but not the whole cake. This is two fold, firstly, no matter how much I love a show or its characters, I don’t always know best- somethings things just aren’t in the cards. Or at least, not yet- which brings me to the second part- wanting something and not getting it creates tension and anticipation. It wouldn’t be hard to argue that tension is the root of all story, and the more tension has led up to an event, the more satisfying it is when we get what we want.
Granted, there is the issue of dragging things out for too long, or trying to create tension where there naturally is none, but for now let’s just assume that the people in charge know about pacing and chemistry.
If we got what we wanted from the get go- let’s say a favorite couple united- the characters haven’t earned it and neither have we, the viewers. If you’re not willing to stick it out, do you really want it? Is it really worth it? Does it really mean anything?

Also, sometimes what we think we want is not really what we want, when all is said and done. And sometimes, not getting what we want means getting something even better that we didn’t even know we wanted.

The Practice of Watching

While reading David Foster Wallace’s essay “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction” I came across a section that struck me as both candid and affective:

Six hours a day is more time than most people (consciously) do any one thing. How people who absorb such doses [of television] understand themselves changes, becomes spectatorial, self conscious. Because the practice of watching is expansive. Exponential. We spend enough time watching, pretty soon we start watching ourselves watching. We start to “feel” ourselves feeling, yearn to experience “experiences.” (160)

The spectatorial self consciousness that Wallace describes is certainly something I recognize in myself and my peers, however, I would attribute this as much to television and its “almost … voyeurism” (Wallace 152), perhaps more so, to the prevalence of social networking where on a regular basis we exhibit pseudo-voyeurism. Indeed, one of the only thing that separates social networking from what Wallace describes as “classic voyeurism” is that rather than “watching people who don’t know you’re there” (Wallace 152), participants in social networking programs are aware that others can look in on them, they simply can’t know when, or how often.

Some might argue that by virtue of the fact that users control the content of their “profiles” and “pages” viewers of such digital avatars are only granted access to information that social networking participants would share openly, and voyeurism is therefore impossible, this is only partially true. For instance, one might post a picture of themselves on Facebook from a vacation for friends and family members to see. While this is a fairly innocuous activity, especially granted that people are usually quite happy to share the highlights of their outings and vacations, there is one marked difference between sharing a photo in the photo albums of old and the digital albums of today— in the past when you shared that vacation photo with a friend, it was shut up in the scrapbook when you were done with it; now that photo can be shared infinitely. Even with the available privacy settings, Suzy from your math class can still save that vacation photo and send it to her friend from another school entirely, to show her how “totally adorable” you are. Now imagine that this is not a friendly vacation photo being shared, but something more personal or serious instead.

Photo sharing is only one of the many features of social networking, which says nothing of status and location updates, education information, or likes and dislikes. It then seems that this innocuous sharing has the capability to resemble voyeurism, where people are privy to the “mundane but erotic businesses of private life” (Wallace 152). Rather than driving people away from the exposure of social networking, this phenomenon creates in many a kind of exhibitionism— full of over sharing and carefully constructed personas to garner attention, whether in mass quantities or from particular audiences. This relationship between voyeur and exhibitionist (roles which are played simultaneously) connects back to Wallace’s thoughts on “the practice of watching.” In order to “‘feel’ ourselves feeling” it must be documented so that others can share in not just the feeling, but our feeling of it (Wallace 160).

We are reaching an age where if you didn’t tweet it, it didn’t happen. While this certainly results in well cataloged lives, each moment available for reflection, there is never time to review these virally stored moments because we are constantly producing more, simultaneously viewing the lives and memories of others via proxy. Furthermore, no matter how many funny moments we share via status update or seminal photos we post on Flickr in an effort to connect with the people around us, ultimately these things only give people a window into our lives, without ever making them a true participant. It is interesting how close we can feel, no matter how far apart we may truly be.