Originally posted on Bullets & Bloodshed May 19, 2015
written by Jimmy Weber
Think of your favorite current TV show, real quick. I’ll wait. Got it? Cool. Well, mine is Ink Master. That’s right! Ink Master. We live in the Golden Age of Television and my favorite program is that stupid show with Dave Navarro where tattoo artists permanently scar idiots who want a free $200 tattoo. How the hell is that possible?
Well, I don’t watch TV. Why? Because it’s saturated with amazing content. Too saturated. I don’t have time to watch all of this awesome shit. My time is occupied watching all of the amazing movies that come out every year. (How do you not re-watch The Guest four times?)
We live in a time where it’s becoming physically impossible to even “check out” all of the television content available. Between Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime, you have about 39 amazing original narrative series to occupy every last second of your life. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of Network TV, Cable TV and Premium TV. I won’t even mention late night variety shows, news comedy shows, sports, internet-only content, books, magazines, nature and god damned video games which are only becoming more cinematic, enthralling and time consuming.
Ever since The Sopranos fucked everything up and made the television medium a serious place to relay thoughts and ideas in a serious way, TV has never been better. Then we had Lost and Breaking Bad to consume our precious free time. But afterBreaking Bad, the floodgates seemed to open and that’s where I lost my grip. Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Homeland, The Walking Dead, and American Horror Storywere topics I couldn’t avoid at holiday gatherings. Getting asked “Do you watchHomeland?” became my new favorite reason to commit suicide. Every couple months there was a new show IT-show to watch. I just couldn’t keep up. And (I’m being totally serious) once Snooki & JWOWW signed off for the final time, I simply had no reason to re-invest in the medium.
I make horror movies so I watched the pilots for The Walking Dead and American Horror Story but wasn’t interested in either of them. I figured this would be my “out” when people asked if I watched either show. But instead, I was instructed to watch the first 16 seasons or something because that’s when the show gets really good. There was no escape.
So I pulled the plug. Not completely. I’m not a hippie who is turning off his TV and going outside to hike or read or some shit. I’m just no longer saying “That sounds really good! I’ll check it out!” Instead I’m saying “That sounds really cool. I don’t watch TV, though.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking. How can I go my entire life and never experience these amazing stories? Well, I’ve got a plan. You see, my girl and I plan on having kids one day. A lot of our friends, siblings and cousins are having kids and we’ve noticed a pattern: New parents spend a lot of time watching their little wiggle-worm spit on a blanket. When it’s our turn to stand guard and make sure our little creation doesn’t scratch his/her eyes out, that is when I’ll binge on all this shit.
That’s right my friends, I’ll finally be able to chat with you about Friday Night Lights, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, Freaks and Geeks, Deadwood, The Shield, Curb Your Enthusiasm and every other great show you watched years ago. But what’s even better, this will happen so far down the road, you won’t even care anymore. And then I can just enjoy the shows for myself. The spoilers have all been tweeted. Or if I don’t enjoy the shows, I can stop watching without getting roped into watching four more seasons because “that’s when it gets good.”
Here’s the other thing: As a filmmaker, I’m not really “interested” in television. That sounds way more bold than I mean for it to sound. Yes, I understand the world’s best filmmakers are flocking to TV and are putting out awesome content. I understand there has never been a better storytelling medium. These shows are closest thing we have to visual novels. But that’s not really my thing. Here’s a shocker: I don’t read many novels either.
I’m a lifelong movie nerd and my mind has grown accustomed to telling stories in 90-120 minute chunks. Not 3840 minute chunks. I love three acts. I like inciting incidents that call us to action and lead us on a grand journey with constant battles and moments of darkness and eventually returning home with the elixir. And I like doing all of that in a couple of hours. It’s a rollercoaster ride, not the scenic route.
I also like studying. I like watching as many new movies as I can. I love re-watching movies over and over to break them down. I like studying filmographies. I like kitschy movies and dance movies and 90s movies and movies, movies, movies, nah mean? And I try to read books and go to plays and look at paintings and listen to music, all to become a better filmmaker. But if I’m going to study a visual medium to become a better filmmaker, I’d prefer to watch feature films over narrative television. That’s just the facts, Jack!
So why is Ink Master my favorite show? Because when NBA basketball isn’t on and I don’t have time to watch a movie, I need something to watch. And I love trashy TV. It’s just the best. Ink Master, Wahlburgers, Flip or Flop…all those shitty shows are just the best. You know why? Because I don’t have to dedicate my life to them. I can hop in and out, enjoy the great parts, laugh at the shitty parts but always get my money’s worth. It’s just the best.
And frankly, I honestly don’t know of a more insane narrative to be told than the real-life fucking circus that is Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I love celebrities and pretty people so those girls won me over pretty quickly. But no one can deny the Shakespearean-level of drama within that household. Whether it all unfolded organically or was completely controlled by the hand of Kris Jenner from day one, that saga is so rich with the juiciest smut. Couple that with some legal green and Hulu Plus and you’ve got yourself a fucking kick ass weekend!
So until I start adding to our population problem, I’m going to stick with my movies, NBA Basketball, tattoo shows and the Kardashians. Next time I get asked about Homeland, I’ll just act like a real dick and text the person the link to this article. Probably not. I’ll just say “That sounds cool! I’ll check it out…” like I always do.