Friday, September 23, 2011

Live-blogging the New Television Season

I don't know if you remember when Ziggy Stardust and his spiders arrived from Mars in the form of David Bowie, but I do. What made Bowie cool back then was his extraordinary otherness. A sort of detachment. As in: I'm gonna play this stuff and you can either like it or not--I don't give a shit. I'm not even from this planet.

Me? I liked it a lot.

Now fast forward to the recent past decade or so. If you have the misfortune of seeing David Bowie perform now, he's smiling at the audience and wrecking the whole thing. Who wants David Bowie smiling at you? I don't want a new drinking buddy; I want the Thin White Duke.

The whole thing reeks of desperation. Like Sally Field accepting her Oscar. It makes me want to puke.

And all of this, dear reader, brings us inexorably to The Playboy Club. Which also makes me want to puke.

You could argue that I've been waiting for this television show since I was fourteen. Smiley-face here. And what I got when it finally arrived is such an unmitigated piece of shit that I erased it after the third viewing. It, like the new Bowie, appears desperate to please. Desperate to hit all the right politically correct buttons. Bunnies are depicted as spiritually empowered women--role models for the future. They were, my guess is, really just cocktail waitresses in uncomfortably tight outfits. And since the 60s were a time of great change, the producers have devoted a portion of the show's storyline to emerging gay rights. Really? Gay rights? Lets not even start on the Chocolate-Bunny-as-a-symbol-of-the-Emancipated-Black-Woman business. The guess here is that some kind of pact was made with Playboy Enterprises (or whatever) to depict the whole enterprise as an engine for the social good. The whole thing stinks of desperation.

At least when Robert Johnson made his pact with the devil, the blues he started playing changed the world.

The thing about Mad Men (which is the reason shows like The Playboy Club and Pan Am even exist) is that it goes about the business of crafting immaculate television without caring whether you like it or not. And of course you do. The Playboy Club is so worried about being liked that it has the opposite effect. It makes you hate it.

Maybe "liked" is the wrong word. Maybe, conversely, it's the fear of being excoriated as manipulative sexist cheese-ball nonsense. Although when has that ever been a bad idea on television?

I have a passable ear for dialogue and I believe I could have written a better first draft of a pilot in less than a day.


Your time would be better spent watching 2 Broke Girls.



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