So there was a time that I was one of those people. Well, kind of. You know the people I’m talking about. The I’m-too-good-for-TV people. The ones who proudly tell you “I don’t own a TV.” Now I’m not gonna lie, there’s never been a time when I didn’t own a TV. But there was a time when I watched very little of it. I might watch a half hour here or there, but I remember saying that I didn’t have the time to dedicate an hour to a TV show. And I would proudly give off the impression that I was too good for TV. So because of that there are a lot of shows that I assume are really good that I never watched. Like all of the Star Trek series after the 60s.
So if it were say, the year 2000 right now, I would probably tell you that I might watch a half hour of Letterman here and there and the odd half hour show. I remember watching Family Guy back then, and the Simpsons was still at the top of its game, so I watched that pretty regularly. But I also had this weird habit of assuming everything was just stupid, or made for the lowest common denominator. That’s what I assumed South Park was until my then girlfriend (now my wife) made me watch the movie. After that I was a fan. Between Simpsons, Family Guy and South Park the early 2000s was a golden age for satire. Side note, yes, I actually do think Family Guy contains satire. It makes fun of men. Which is punching up, which many people insist satire must do. I should also mention British shows too like Blackadder and old episodes of the Good Life (known in North America as Good Neighbours) and quite a few others.
Anyway, I remember back in those early 2000s hearing my coworkers talking about a show called Lost. It sounded stupid to me, and to this day I’ve only ever seen the pilot. But nowadays I’m not so sure it’s stupid. In fact, I suspect it’s pretty good, in spite of that infamous finale that I’ve heard about. Maybe one day I’ll watch it, but there’s so damn much of it, so who knows?
Anyway, what changed my mind? Well, the second golden age of TV changed my mind, but I can imagine a scenario where I would’ve completely missed it. You see back in 2006, I started art school full time. I worked really hard so I truly did only have time for the odd half hour show, and usually my wife and I would watch a movie on Saturday nights. After I graduated in 2010, I moved across the country to Ottawa and started my MFA immediately. Again, no time for TV, other than at least the first half hour the last night’s Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson during dinner (Come back Craig! Y0u’re the GOAT!). Another side note–most MFAs are 2 year programs these days, but the one I took at the University of Ottawa was a three year program compressed into two years. So six straight semesters. The day after I presented my thesis defense I was pretty burnt out. I started watching Netflix. The first thing I watched was Arrested Development. It was as good as everyone said! Anyway what would have happened if I hadn’t quit my job in the printing industry and gone to art school? Would I still be a proud TV snob? Maybe!
So eight years on and I have to say I’ve watched a lot of TV. Too much, no doubt, but there is so much good stuff! I can’t list everything I’ve watched, but I can tell you some of my faves. Some are obvious and almost clichés at this point, like Breaking Bad and the Wire. I’m not caught up on it yet, but since I loved Breaking Bad I had to watch Better Call Saul, and it’s brilliant. More recently I highly recommend The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and (it doesn’t sound very good based on the title) but Patriot is incredible. If you’re looking for something to watch, I also recommend Rectify, though it’s a little depressing. And this past week my wife and I finished watching the Sopranos. Finally! It is also as good as they say, and some of you have seen my painting of Tony Soprano. So how ’bout comedies? Bojack Horseman. F is For Family. British shows? Luther (lots of fake violence)! Happy Valley (depressing but good). There are a lot more. I’ll have to do another post on this topic one day. I’ll ask this again, and get no answers since I still can’t allow comments, but any iconic TV characters you’d like to see painted in my inimitable style? Okay, maybe not completely inimitable, but still…