Taking It Slow

I’m finding the best way to remain sane around my friends is to talk less about TV. I find that when it comes to a bit of TV chat the hipsters out there proceed to bore me to death with their heavily ironic stances and so called cynical sophistication.  When you find yourself discussing the latest season of True Blood and your friend says to you in his out loud human voice, “Maybe I just expect more from episodic storytelling and what it can achieve” I find myself looking for the nearest ironic stake to ram through his ironic eye. Recently I had a couple of friends deride me for my decision to watch my favourite shows on a deliberate weekly basis.  Who would have thought watching TV in an “old skool, yih,” manner would be a reason to ostracise me from the cool group?  “I suppose you watch it on TV as well?” said one particular girl as she fingered her detached bangle with an air of superiority.  I thought about smothering her with my chicken schnitzel but thought better of it as I was quite hungry.

The reason I had reverted to watching my favourite shows on a weekly basis was a reaction to Mad Men season three.  Now I loved that show and I loved that season but I did watch it all in one day.  It was fun and daring, in a “things white people like” kinda way.  The only problem is by the following week I couldn’t really remember anything that had happened.  It was one big blur of scotch in the morning, cigarettes for lunch and Don Draper in the evening.  I put this down to too much information going in at once that didn’t allow me time to savour the brilliance of the production.  It was the equivalent of using a 1984 Grange Hermitage for a beer bong.

I realised that I had ruined a lot of TV experiences because of that desire for speed over savour.  There is a good reason I like the Shield more than The Wire.  I loved the Wire and figure it is pretty much perfect but I watched all five seasons over three weeks whereas I watched the Shield over a year.  I know I loved the Wire as a whole but I adored the Shield on a much more visceral level and remember key points so much clearer.  I think one of the reasons I loved Lost was because I watched it week to week and this allowed me to think long and hard about the mysteries, the characters and contemplate where the twists and turns were taking me.  (Lost is another show for hipsters who like to say, “Oh God, but you liked Lost” as a means to win an argument they have no hope of winning since they are devoid of articulate repartee or thoughtful opinions that are a product of deep thinking.  In other words, if you’re one of those people who do that, go fuck yourself until you die of death.)

So I decided I would take my time with my favourite shows and it has paid off.  I have completely loved Mad Men this year and have enjoyed having a week to think about every episode, especially “The Suitcase”. (One of the finest moments in TV history like, eva man, totally) On the other hand I enjoyed True Blood more this year because it was 40 minutes of pulp driven colour and movement in my week.  I am certain if I’d watched episodes back-to-back I would have become quite bored but dipping in every Thursday night was a delightful way to pass some time on the couch.  There are more examples:  Matt Smith as the new Doctor had time to bed himself in on a weekly basis and I loved him all the more for it.

Richard Watson in his book “Future Minds” talks about taking time out for quiet time.  I have inadvertently done just that by savouring the shows that I love and love for different reasons.  I can discern between my trash time and my intellectual time.  I have been able to articulate my thoughts and expressions with a lucidity that was missing for the most part in the last couple of years.  And since the hipster brigade is too busy being flippant and would rather roll their eyes with their cool smiles and accusing comments, I have no problem in not talking to them at all about anything I enjoy, even if they are supposed to be friends.

Justin Hamilton

West Hollywood

29th of November 2010