digression – my dreams for the writers’ strike

November 2, 2007

  1. producers will find shapes to fill a lack, they will realize the value of “the hills” aesthetic, through which reality television can create the emotional bond and the sort of mouthfeel, to borrow a term from gastronomy, of scripted drama. in the spring 2008 season, there will be like 50 variations of “the hills.” for me, this will result in one of two things: either i will become disgusted with the form and stop watching television altogether or i will dive in further and become kind of that like that guy from “ain’t it cool news,” a jabba the hut presence on my couch, and i will choke to death on an extra-crispy kettle chip
  2. all the scripted shows that i love will continue, but without any dialogue or action. their visual styles will remain the same, they will be cut the same, the form will be indistinguishable, except nothing will ever happen. imagine an episode of “the office” that is completely those process shots of copiers and people staring at their computers. the clatter of keys, the sound of water filling paper cups and feet shuffling on carpet; like the mezzanine crossed with planet earth. remember how tim and dawn’s and jim and pam’s relationship for so long was predicated on a tiny shots of a look that said more, or the conversation with a meaning implied. this hyperminimalism will only accelerate that; peoples tivos’ will melt down as they try to catch important eye movement, there will be blow-ups and slow motion and annotations posted on youtube; there will be blog trackbacks about the significance of a cough or a muttered “thanks” or whether someone chose a snickers bar or a twix (you can share a twix). imagine a prime time line-up of ambient noise, the occasional mundane conversation, where for sweeps the big action is someone tripping and falling on their way to the copy machine (maybe they yell “fuck!” because of the pain. oh, the controversy, the fcc will get involved, there will be a roundtable on good morning america). it will be like collective zen meditation; america’s blood pressure will go down twenty points. when scripted television inevitably comes back after a few months of this, the revelation of plot will be shocking, powerful, like new.
  3. no writers will go hungry.
  4. i will please not lose my shit, as i did last night fast-forwarding back and forth and back and forth through my recordable DVD, agape, before coming to the chilling realization that “30 rock” was just not there.

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