Scrolling through Twitter while half-watching Grey’s Anatomy, because Jackson and April are both annoying and I really don’t care about their doomed marriage finally falling apart. Sometimes this show is stupidly entertaining, other times it’s just stupid. (216/366)

The second funniest thing about watching Grey’s Anatomy (after the completely nonsensical geography) is how often the rain is accompanied by thunder. I’ve heard thunder more times in ten shows than I did in ten years of living in the Seattle area. (37/366)

Fall ’06 TV Plans

Shows that Prairie and I (either together or individually) plan on doing our best to keep up with this season (though, admittedly, our schedules will be busy enough that it may occasionally be difficult):

  • Sundays:
    • The Amazing Race 10 (CBS): Prairie’s been a fan of this one for a couple years now, and this is my first time actually watching it. Generally speaking, I’m no big fan of “reality” TV (most of what I’ve heard of and seen of “reality” programming has little or nothing to do with reality), but I’ve actually been enjoying this one so far. I’m a bit bummed that some of the more interesting teams were eliminated so soon (though, as some commenters have pointed out, my geopolitical placement skills leave something to be desired), and we’ve been surprised that so many teams have been eliminated so quickly — apparently there will be a few stretches later in the season where eliminations don’t come quite so fast and furious. At this point, our current favorites are Lyn and Karlyn and David and Mary.

    • Desperate Housewives (ABC): I missed the first year of broadcast (though Prairie often gleefully filled me in on some of the more outrageous moments over IM sessions before she and I moved in together) and had to catch up via DVD before season two started. Season two hooked me, and we thoroughly enjoy watching the weekly over-the-top shenanigans on Wisteria Lane (and I get to tease Prairie about being the perfect [i.e., non-psychotic] mix of Susan and Bree).

  • Mondays:

    • Heroes (NBC): This one’s just me, and I’m not entirely sure I’ll stick it, but I heard just enough to make me curious (a group of ordinary people suddenly discovering not-so-ordinary abilities) and snagged the first three episodes via BitTorrent. So far I’m not entirely hooked, but it’s caught enough of my interest to keep me checking it out for bit, at least. At this point, Hiro is by far my favorite character.
  • Thursdays:
    • Grey’s Anatomy (ABC): Originally, I just tuned into a couple episodes to laugh at the goofy Seattle geography and then shrugged it off. However, it was in a broadcast slot just after Desperate Housewives, and Prairie and I just kept getting sucked in when we didn’t turn the TV off fast enough. A few weeks of that, and we were hooked (it’s Prairie’s “new ER“). Unfortunately, with their move to Thursday nights, when I’m often working and Prairie teaches ’til late, we’re not able to keep up with it at broadcast, so we’ve been using BitTorrent to watch it on Wednesday evenings.
  • Fridays:
    • The Ghost Whisperer (CBS): This one’s all Prairie’s — her “silly ghost show”. I’ve not seen any of it yet, as I tend to be at work when it’s on.

    • Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi): I’ve babbled about it often enough that this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Still hands-down the best show around (admittedly, I pull from a very small pool, but it’s really good). Prairie and I are just about done watching Season Two on DVD (I’d already seen it via BitTorrent while it was broadcast, she waited for the DVDs to come out), and now I’m BitTorrenting Season Three as it appears (I know, I could get them legally via iTunes, but…[sigh]…the quality still just isn’t quite there). The season premiere? Oh, so very good.

So that’s the TV plan for the next few months. A lot more than I used to do, and all subject to being preempted by school, work, or other major life events…but it’s nice to have some downtime every so often.

iTunesAn American in Paris” by San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (Seiji Ozawa) from the album Panorama: George Gershwin (1977, 18:01).

On that whole TV thing…

Most people who’ve known me for a while are aware that I’m not much of a fan of television — and actually haven’t really watched television in a long, long time. Seeing as how a couple people commented on my watching Lost, I thought it might be worth addressing this. :)

I’m really not sure when exactly I got sick of TV, but my best guess would be sometime around 1992/1993 or so I decided that it just wasn’t worth my time. Most programs didn’t have enough intelligence to keep my interest, and even when I did sit down to watch something, the insipid and insultingly stupid commercials would drive me up the wall. So I quit.

In the intervening years I’ve seen bit and pieces of shows here and there, generally when I’ve been over at friends houses. For the most part, though, I’ve relied mostly on recommendations from friends as to what shows were actually worth watching…and then I’d wait for the DVDs to start coming out. Thanks to DVD, over the last few years I’ve seen (for the first time) all of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, the first four seasons of The X-Files, and the first four seasons of The West Wing.

More recently, adding BitTorrent to my repertoire has allowed me to keep up with more recent shows. I first saw Firefly this way, I’ve been keeping up with Battlestar Galactica, Gray’s Anatomy got a few trial weeks, and I’ll soon be watching the first three episodes of Surface to see if it’s worth keeping an eye on.

So I’m not really entirely against television as a whole — in a very general sort of way, yes, I think that TV is primarily a waste of time, and most people (especially children) would be far better off finding better ways to spend their time — but I’m not entirely opposed to finding specific shows that are better written, more intelligent and/or more entertaining than most.

I’d have been quite happy sticking with BitTorrent and watching things at least a day or two behind most of the rest of the world, too, except for two things: Prairie, and Lost.

Prairie, while sharing many of my views on the majority of the shows on TV these days, has never been quite as militant about her anti-TV views as I have been over the past few years. She’s had a few shows that she’s been enjoying keeping up with, with her top three being ER, Desperate Housewives, and Lost. All during last year, she’d occasionally drop tidbits of what was going on in that week’s episode of Lost to me…and then, after getting me to admit that it sounded interesting, and determined to get me hooked, she picked up the Season 1 DVD set when it came out.

We spent the next week powering our way through all of Season 1 — and she won. I’m hooked. So, Wednesday nights are now “Lost Night” for us. Admittedly, I still grit my teeth during most of the commercials (and even the ones that are cute once or twice get extremely grating the twentieth or fiftieth time they show up), but I’m quite enjoying watching the show itself.

So I’m still primarily anti-TV, and am far happier spending my free hours either fiddling with projects on my computer, wandering around town with my camera, or getting together with friends whenever possible. For one hour each Wednesday night, though, I’ll be joining the majority of America in setting back, grabbing some munchies, and keeping up with this week’s adventures on the boob tube.

(Oh, and while I’m just not interested enough in a hospital soap opera to get sucked into ER, she just might get me hooked on Desperate Housewives if I’m not careful. The last two episodes have been pretty entertaining, I must admit….)

But it’s funny because they’re gay!

For the past three weeks, I’ve been using bittorrent to watch Grey’s Anatomy, a new medical drama based here in Seattle. So far, it’s struck me as fairly average-but-watchable television — nothing groundbreaking or award winning, but not horrid.

Gray's GeographyMuch of the fun for me (and many others, see Seattlest’s week one, two, and three wrapups; Metroblogging Seattle’s week one, two and three wrapups, for example) has been laughing at the bizarrely twisted geography of this alternate universe Seattle, where the main character can live on Queen Anne, drive north to work along the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and work in a hospital practically underneath the Space Needle that has a picturesque bay window view of the Pike Place Market sign, and yet has South Seattle’s distinct lack of high-rises in any exterior shots.

One thing about this week’s episode really bothered me, though. There were two subplots in the episode that both dealt with essentially the same situation, but they were played in very different ways. On the one hand, we had Meredith dealing with the overly aggressive attentions of a fellow intern, a bike messenger, and a doctor (the last being her primary love interest on the show); on the other, we had George’s discomfort at being under the very appreciative eye of an obviously gay patient.

What got to me was that each situation was dealing with unwanted sexual advances, yet where Meredith’s were played more seriously (complete with Dr. Yum coming to her rescue), George’s scenes with the gay patient were played very much for laughs. I’ve seen this type of double standard a lot, too — if a man harasses a woman it’s a Serious Matter that Must be Dealt With; if a man hits on a man, it’s Comic Relief.

It’s an attitude that has always bugged me. Sure, we’ve come a long way over the years, in that the humor of the situation these days is more often expressed through the straight man’s discomfort, rather than the gay man’s homosexuality, but it still strikes me as just another side of the same coin. It’s still homosexuality being used as a comic foil.

In this particular instance, toward the end of the show the gay character brushed his advances aside as “just flirting”, but he was still doing the same thing that the straight male characters were doing with Meredith — pressing their advances onto an obviously unwilling and discomforted victim. If his lines had been coming from a straight man talking to a straight woman, they would be seen as rude, aggressive, and creepy.

It’s rather sad — though not entirely unexpected — that we still can’t seem to seem to treat homosexuality as anything other than weird, threatening, freakish behavior, something to be laughed at. Maybe the laughter is a little kinder, a little less malicious than it used to be — but it’s still laughter.

iTunesTo the Mountain Top” by Edelweiss from the album Wonderful World of Edelweiss (1992, 4:43).