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ventboys
(@ventboy)
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Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 169
12/12/2018 10:06 am  

dont trust in b apartment 231

I've never been a massive television watcher, but over the years I’ve accumulated an extensive list of favorite television shows. With the advent of binging, I’ve managed to watch every episode of several series without all that much effort. Before binging there were DVRs, and before that VCRs, but I go back even further than that.

Plus I never learned how to use a VCR, beyond hitting play. My VCRs always blinked midnight.

In the fall of 1993 I spent weekdays before work in front of the tube, binging all 93 episodes of the series Soap, with Kathryn Helmond and Billy Chrystal, on Comedy Central. I couldn’t miss a day; this was years before anyone had heard of a DVR, and I had no idea how to work the VCR. If I missed a day, I would have to wait 93 weekdays for it to come back around, and if they didn’t repeat the series I’d be out of luck.

In the late 1980s, while my ship (USS Camden AOE 2) was stationed at Todd Shipyard at Harbor Island, just south of downtown Seattle, I was part of a small crew stationed at Naval Base Bremerton, working on the new Shipboard COSAL, the parts list for the new equipment being installed in Seattle.

We were billeted two per room, and my roommate happened to be the biggest M*A*S*H fan this side of Kimchi Palace. We had the TBS, TNT and USA networks; they all played the show several times a day. So M*A*S*H was on Alda time (sorry). By the end of the assignment, I am sure I watched every episode of the series at least once, and most of them several times. I can still quote lines from just about every episode.

But all that trivial memorization came at a price. I used to think the show was funny, especially before Henry and Trapper left. Now it would take a feather and a sledge hammer to get me to laugh at a M*A*S*H joke. I used to think Alan Alda was the greatest actor in the world. I still like him, but I have to remind myself that it wasn’t his fault that I had to watch that f-ing show so many times, or I find myself hating him and liking Frank Burns.

Law and Order … I preferred the original, but I eventually learned to enjoy the spinoffs, even the overwrought Los Angeles spin-off that they smothered with a pillow after a single season and the underrated Trial by Jury that I wish they had kept.

There came a point with the original, during one of their frequent all day marathons, when I noticed that I had seen most of them before. Early in the day there were new ones, but by the last few I had seen them all. Strangely, from that point on I never saw another episode where  I didn’t feel like I’d seen it before.

That’s when I started watching the other versions. I eventually came to enjoy the Bobby character from Criminal Intent, but I never warmed up to SVU’s self-righteous tone. I suspect sex crimes are just about impossible to portray on the screen without pissing someone off. If you show it accurately you are insensitive; if you pull punches you are mealy mouthed; and if you try to strike a balance you have an agenda.

Since the advent of streaming video, I’ve binged several shows:

  • The Drew Carey Show (twice)
  • Frasier (several times, but I always skipped the episodes where Frasier dated. I hate the born loser mentality, and that was the producer’s main move when Frasier was dating)
  • West Wing (three times, and I will do it again before the 2020 election cycle. My all-time favorite show)
  • Big Bang Theory (I’m collecting season 12 so I can binge it at the end. I suspect I’m going to have to hide after the final episode to not find out what happened before I watch it)
  • How I Met Your Mother (I actually binged this one more the old fashioned way, watching repeats ad infinitum until I’d seen them all. I didn’t start watching the show until season five, so it took a while)
  • Mike and Molly
  • Two Broke Girls (This may be the only show I’ve ever watched stem to stern as it happened that lasted more than 2-3 seasons)
  • Raising Hope (several times, it’s only four seasons)
  • Don’t Trust the B* in Apartment 23 (only two seasons, so I can binge in in a couple of days. Way underrated show, genuinely clever and spontaneous, and very, very funny)
  • The Good Place (They had me at Kristen Bell. It’s a hokey show, honestly, but I am such a sitcom junky that I’ll stick to the end anyway)
  • Bret Maverick (I also binged all the original Mavericks I could find, but I missed several and I mostly liked the ones with James Garner. The reboot was fantastic, but it only lasted one season. I really wish they had kept it going)
  • Luck (another great show that ended after a single season, this one because too many people think horses are cute and should never die, no matter what. And they don’t understand reality)
  • Ground Floor (I am a sitcom junky plus the lead actress had massive knockers. Sue me. The show itself was really good in year one, but sucked in year two and got cancelled)
  • Scrubs (I switched from Grey’s Anatomy when that show jumped the shark in season six, and grew to love it after a slow start. John C. McGinley – also in Ground Floor – is sort of a one-trick pony, but it’s a great trick. Incidentally, the one-trick pony did not die on the set of )
  • Grey’s Anatomy until the shooter episode (It was a spectacular show for about five years, but the producer eventually lost control of all the killing, and it leapt the shark and went straight to self-parody. The shark-jumping moment was in the episode where little Grey’s mother, played by Mare Winningham, came into the hospital with the hiccups. I knew as I watched them joke about her hiccups that she’d be dead by the end of the episode. And, of course, she was. By the hospital shooter episode, the shark was dead and even Fonzie had stopped watching. The audience – still watching the show ten years later – became middle aged women and other reality show fans)
  • Mock the Week (British Panel show featuring Irish standup superstar Dara O’Briain, Hugh Dennis and five other UK standup comedians making fun of whatever happened the previous week. They mostly talk about Parliament, the Queen and the big stories that come out of the US political arena. It’s side-splittingly funny, if sometimes a little biting and self-righteous)
  • Eight out of Ten Cats (I bogged down on this one, switching to Mock the Week after watching about 12 series [series are seasons in the UK]. It features Jimmy Carr and two 3-member teams with a regular standup comedian as the captain, but they get a lot of reality show ‘celebrities’ to fill the teams and it gets tedious, because they are usually really dumb and the shows devolve into a game where the captains and Carr see how far they can go before the morons noticed that they are the butt of all the jokes)
  • Cheers

My binge watching shows are mostly sitcoms, for two reasons. First, I relax by watching comedy more than anything else. Second, the shows are shorter – usually about 20 minutes – and that allows me to relax without feeling like I am drowning in a serious time commitment. As I get older, that sense gets stronger; I can binge six hours of short shows, but I can’t commit to a single two hour movie. I always feel like I don’t have time.

After all that, my question: Which shows have you binged (that’s the short question), and which shows would you like to binge if you had the time?

Curmudgeon would be a great name for a newly discovered species of crab.


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Gary Fletcher
(@gary)
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Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 162
12/12/2018 1:18 pm  

I haven't watched very many of these shows, never mind binged. 

I agree about MASH. The whole 'we're so smart and hip and caring and the organization especially the armed forces is run by morons and we are transplanting hippie era intellectualism to the years of the Korean War' vibe really wore thin after awhile. The humour was basically Groucho Marx wisecrack style (indeed, the Hawkeye character would sometimes emulate him). 

Frasier was really great. Oddly enough, I hardly ever watched Cheers, and the odd time I saw it, it didn't work for me. So here's an odd case where the spin-off was better than the original show (at least it was for me).

I liked Law and Order, but not the spin offs much. Especially did not like the SVU thing; as you say, too preachy and self righteous.

We've been binging 'Better Call Saul' and 'Grace and Frankie' as the seasons roll out. Enjoyed 'House of Cards' but gave up on their post-Kevin Spacey wrap-up season. Honestly, we watched about three episodes and packed it in. The problem is that they kept introducing possible conspiracies but never resolved any of the threads.

I recommend 'Norsemen,' which is just around 6 episodes per season, and only two seasons, but apparently renewed for a third. Anybody, if you've watched them, please comment. I love it. It's funny, but oddly realistic rather than romantic (romantic in the sense of a historical drama, say), and extremely relevant to our current politics, too. 

He walks without purpose to an uncertain fate


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ventboys
(@ventboy)
Member Admin
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 169
12/12/2018 4:22 pm  

I'll tell ya one thing, Gary. It's a different world when you are binging with a partner. Not better or worse, but definitely different. Bob's wife Mindy used to comment on American Idol once in a while, and Bob would forward it to me. I enjoyed the additional opinion. 

 

Curmudgeon would be a great name for a newly discovered species of crab.


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Gary Fletcher
(@gary)
Member Moderator
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 162
12/12/2018 4:37 pm  
Posted by: ventboys

I'll tell ya one thing, Gary. It's a different world when you are binging with a partner. Not better or worse, but definitely different. Bob's wife Mindy used to comment on American Idol once in a while, and Bob would forward it to me. I enjoyed the additional opinion. 

 

My wife's opinions on these shows influence me to some extent, probably anywhere from 0 to 15%. So, there's that. I should quote her once in awhile...maybe. 🤨 

He walks without purpose to an uncertain fate


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ventboys
(@ventboy)
Member Admin
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 169
12/12/2018 6:48 pm  

Well, you know how she rolls, so that's up to you. I'd love to see more opinion. Right now I'm trying to figure out how I can navigate my semi-regular facebook friends who read my stuff to this site. 

Curmudgeon would be a great name for a newly discovered species of crab.


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