When we are young, we are foolish. As we grow old, we become more wise. Allegedly that’s the case anyway. Frankly, I’m not so sure that it’s the reality.
Several months ago, I lamented the idea that I was going to try to watch six-and-a-half hours of television on Monday nights. It was certainly achievable (sort of anyway, and only because the gods have created TiVo), but seemed like Monday night already had more than its fair share of shows to interest me. See, that’s the foolishness of youth. Right now, I look back on those days and think that six-and-a-half hours is far less than what I’m currently trying to accomplish. That’s the foolishness of (slightly) older age at work.
Last night I sat down and attempted to watch House, 24, Top Gear, Heroes, Chuck, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Trust Me, and How I Met Your Mother. That’s a whole extra hour of television. What in God’s name am I thinking? What in God’s name are the television programmers thinking?
At this point, I have no choice but to believe that the programmers at the cable and broadcast networks have sat down and purposely tried to make my life slightly more difficult than it actually has to be. Oh, I can see them right now, with their assistants all scurrying out for bagels and coffee (“two tall lattes, each with two-and-a-half Sweet-n-Lows placed into the cups prior to the latte being made. Don’t just get a venti or a grande, the proportions are wrong, and I’ll know if the Sweet-n-Low went in after not before, believe you me.”), they sit down at their big conference table overlooking Burbank or Century City or some neutral ground. Bagels and coffee arrived, assistants properly chided, the lights dim, and a shadowy figure at the head of the table queries “what, precisely, can we do to make Josh’s life more difficult today?” At that point the maniacal laughter begins, and that, ever so slowly dissipates, miraculously turning into the Stonecutters’ song. Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star, indeed.
A tad colorful of a notion? Possibly. Maybe they’re not specifically mentioning my name, but I simply can’t fathom why all those shows need to be on one night of the week. And, if you look at that list, you’ll notice that I’m not even watching some of the more popular Monday shows (Two and a Half Men and CSI: Miami just to name two). To me, it’s just odd. Is there, perhaps, some sort of notion at play that if the networks get us to tune in at the beginning of the week we’ll end up losing our remote and consequently stay tuned throughout the whole week, never changing the channel. Is there an argument that people are so foolish that if you promote a Monday night show on Thursday folks won’t remember over the weekend, but if you promote a Friday night show on Monday people will?
I haven’t actually seen any such promos, but it seems to me that there has to be a televisual “flow” argument being put into practice here. Essentially, “flow” is the notion that everything that airs on a single channel is made to work together, to move fluidly from one thing to the next, be it scene to scene, scene to commercial, or show to show. So, an expanded view might suggest that it now goes night to night as well, hence the idea of programming a strong Monday evening.
Of course, it could just be that shows that I like are randomly put on Monday evenings and that no greater conspiracy or notion of flow is at work at all. Honestly, I’d rather think that people are out to get me.
Remember – it’s only paranoia if they’re NOT actually out to get you, if they are, it’s just being smart.