Tuesday, October 6, 2009

WHAT DO I WATCH ON TV?

Life and death in real emergency rooms, in an unimportant town somewhere — that I'll watch, if there isn't an old or new movie that sounds interesting. Or the cable "Forensics" show -- I'll watch it. Not "Scrubs" or "Grey's Anatomy," but I'll sit and take in an old "ER" -- I've met most of the cast -- JC played the father of Dr. Greene, the main doctor.

The news -- the repetitious selling of the terrorism scares, scandals, murders, political-congressional wars -- though I like Maddow, Brokaw whenever he appears, and Anderson now and then, lately, it's not what I want to watch at the end of the day.

Sitcoms? "No, no no!" I moan, grabbing the remote the moment I hear a laugh track, or see a NCIS or CSI in the title. I do not want to see manufactured crimes --NOT with what's going on in the real world these days!

The acronym titles are a meaningless jumble so I Googled them. (I prefer to complain with a modicum of accuracy.) NCIS = Naval Crime Investigative Service, CSI = Crime Scene Investigations. TV's got CSI Las Vegas, CSI Miami, CSI N.Y., NCIS, and NCIS Los Angeles.

Their brilliant successful wealthy creators loom in my mind as foes -- the indefatigable Don Bellarsario, and Jerry Bruckheimer (See my post, "Off with his Head" 8/12). I've seen Bruckheimer's name on too many violent shows and megahit films. And though I've dined at Bellarsario's home and met his kids, I'm bored and repelled by what he loves to dramatize.

Sometimes I watch Dick Wolf's "Law and Order, Special Victims." Maybe because JC's been a lawyer, and a judge on SVU, I feel Wolf's shows occasionally ring with truth and are based on issues, not just shocking events.

"Forensics" is easier to take. Fingerprinting, DNA, tests, techniques relating to the investigation of a crime -- the plainer, duller, the less dramatically enhanced, the better. I can chat and watch -- cook/snack and watch -- or watch while I clear the table, run the dishwasher, set out the vitamins and coffee for tomorrow.

The dry narration of who-what-when-how facts ... yes, they're repeated too many times but the salient plot points stay with me. Instead of watching actors act/react to manufactured horror -- bang bang visions of cruelty, pain and blood hitting me -- I'm seeing a story unfold, as told by a police person, or an ordinary looking relative, who explains what happened sadly (but not yucky emotionally).

The actual forensics -- colors, tubes, droppers, flagons, DNA imprints, patterns of fingerprints -- it reminds me of OP art, POP art of the sixties, but isn't boring -- it's a kaleidoscope in motion.

Alas ... last night, making popcorn watching "Forensics ID" a new version of last season's show, a purring sympathetic voiced female narrator kept making comments ...

Is she where they're heading? I've noticed that quite a few new network shows are trauma-dramas, and they keep flashing that word -- "interactive."

Oh God, will it be like "Idol," or "Next top Model," "Biggest Loser," "Dancing with the Stars"? Will we be voting on guilty, not guilty? Live or die?

Gee, I've never really be able to sit and stare at a cartoon show ... gee, do they have p.m. re-runs? Maybe I'll be popcorning, dishwashing watching the "Simpsons," or "Family Guy?"

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