Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Commenting about commenting about TV

There's no shortage of people writing about and commenting on various television shows on the various media available these days*, and even limited only to the areas of "new media" (internet, podcasts, social media) there's many people who devote much more time and energy to the shows they review and/or follow than I spend thinking that critically about the shows I watch.

That admitted, let's also acknowledge that the beauty of this era is that anyone who has even the slightest inclination can get his/her thoughts out there without needing to put all of that effort into a massive production… like, say, a TV show on any network.

The way the commentary about an "old guard" media bulwark (television) is best served (and perhaps only possible) on the new school outlets (ones that allow for mixed metaphors like that) could be seen as incongruous, but obviously it's only those efforts by producers and writers and actors and directors to put out their episodic narratives and the more laborious pace that what is produced could be worthy of commentary (where even the lengthiest amount of time spent preparing it is dwarfed by the amount of time that went into making that which inspired the commentary.

You probably know the expression about the value of opinions, and so we have perspective about the nature of this commentary, but even conceding that some opinions are more considered and more informed than others, I'd say the only reason that anyone gives a crap about anyone else's opinion of a TV show is that we grasp that in the end the only way someone else would give a crap about our opinion is if we give a crap about theirs.

(That applies not only to opinions of TV shows but to opinions in general, of course, but let's pretend we're staying on topic.)

But these days there's so many opinions out there, it's nigh impossible to track all the other opinions about (in this case) a given TV show. The best that one can do is make at least a modest effort to find some other opinions and acknowledge them in some way.

Because, really, all we want is that validation of seeing that someone else agrees with us. Or the sense of individuality if no one else does. Or both, just at different times.

It's not a matter of insecurity; it's merely that we invest in these narratives, and develop opinions based on that, and don't want those thoughts to be wasted solely on ourselves. Whether one posts a comment on a website or show's Facebook page, or tweets with a specific hash tag identifying the show, or composes a lengthier post of one's own with a more thorough analysis, all of these are striving to participate in a conversation with others who have made the same investment. Really, it's more or less yelling out into the void, and occasionally having someone else yell back who also gives a crap about the show.

But it's more than previous generations in the TV era had (before the internet). They simply had to limit their opinions to (gasp!) those in their immediate physical vicinity (or get a job at a newspaper). What a barbaric means of discussing the noteworthy shows of the day.


What, you were expecting this would go into my opinions about TV shows? There's no room on the internet for those...


* The notable exception of places with something devoted to discussing TV would be television itself—I suppose a TV show focused on nothing more than criticism of TV shows would be too tricky to produce, given the nature of what it takes to get something prepared, recorded, and on the air in a timely manner; and would it not be biting the hand that feeds in many respects?

1 comment:

  1. What's sad is that there was more to talk about, back in the days when you couldn't reach anyone outside of the office water cooler vicinity. Now there's less to talk about, because TV is SUCH a vast wasteland, and yet we can make our thoughts about said TV known across the planet and beyond.


So, what do you think?