Communitarianism

It’s no secret that I love Friday Night Lights, but one of my favorite things about the show is Slate’s TV Club coverage of it. Funnily enough, I often find myself disagreeing with the writers, wishing they’d let me into the club to voice my take on it.

For instance, they’re often talking about how bad they feel for poor Tim Riggins and his inability to get out of Dillon. I want to call them up and point out that Tim loves Dillon. Not everyone is looking to get away from the place they grew up, nor should they. Tim knows what kind of life he wants, he just doesn’t know how to get it. I want to shake them for not realizing this.

But an episode or two ago, the writers started discussing the “politics” of FNL and they decided it’s “communitarian.” This seems kind of obvious. After all, it’s a show about families, teams, and the community they all exist in. The characters that don’t think about other people often find themselves cast out. Today, though, as I was watching one of my other favorite shows on DVD, I realized that I just might be a “communitarian” — not to be confused with communist. Continue reading

Bad TV!

I’ve often admitted to liking bad television, but not having cable is teaching me something about myself. It’s not that I liked bad TV, it was simply that I was conditioned to it.

I started pondering this while listening to the commentary on “Freaks and Geeks” and hearing one of the writers talking about how after he left “Dawson’s Creek” determined to never work in television again, he saw the “Freaks and Geeks” pilot and was lured back in. The conversation went on to discuss how the network didn’t understand character development, and that they like shows that allow viewers to tune in one week and know what’s happening without needing to have seen the previous show. This reminded me of the commentary on “The Wire” (yes, I’ve gotten in the habit of listening to the commentary, mostly while doing something else that doesn’t hold my full attention) where the creators talk about how they really require viewers to tune in week after week — to pick up a  thread from the beginning of the season and tie it in a knot at the end. Continue reading