I’m beyond saturated to the gills with prestige TV and films – Game of Throne, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars – and the unending torrent of commentary, second thoughts, supposed conspiracies, plot theories and reconstructions and so-called “Easter Eggs.”1 Already drowning, streaming networks bowl me over with bingeable shows… only when do I think I’ve seen the last minute of them, I’m sucked out to sea again… a Tsunami of Hot Takes.2
The solution is boat that can sail straight and true and an EMP.
Do you remember when a fella could dip his toe in and out of a show, with no concern for “canon.” When a young man could come home, pick any channel on basic cable and watch a thoughtless, ultimately unsatisfying, but completely ephemeral 50 minutes of network television and not have to worry about what people were going to say about it on Twitter?
During my (First? Last?) visit home from college, I plonked deep down into my parent’s ridiculous leather sofa, it’s hide scared by their Yorkie’s razor claws, and put on the television. They saw me, together, and commented how much that scene – me, staring open mouthed, at an episode of Law and Order – reminded them of me at 16 or 14 or 12 or 8. I think about that every time I sit in my own overstuffed couch. Fight it, I may, but I’ll be stuck on a couch the day I die, remote control under my tongue like a binky, watching that same damn episode.
Prestige TV is certainly a reaction to that dominant format, the one that I grew up with. The writers/producers/directors are of my marketing cohort.3We were born in the same soup.
What damage has this television has done to me, absorbed in chunks over decades with no critical thought or analysis applied? Magnum, P.I., Knight Rider, A-Team, CHIPs, Dukes of Hazzard… these were some of my favorite shows. They don’t What do they have in common? Right off the bat, there are no woman characters of any depth or longevity. They’re full of violence and the belief that Reagan-style capitalism was the way, and that the police, the military, and Christianity were absolute, unequivocal goods4. Little to no gray in character development. 98% of the actors are white and only about 2 of the stars with regularly recurring. One show proudly presents a symbol of oppression and hostility to basic humanity as a point of cultural pride. I would not make a minutes time for any show like these today, but they occupied a surprising amount of my headspace for a good part of my life.
- The use of the phrase “Easter Eggs” in media commentary comes from Video Games. An “Easter Egg,” in that context, is an object in a game, that when opened, reveals a surprise, like a special power or a hidden level. When discussing TV/Film, however, online reviewers use this phrase differently, and I believe incorrectly. What they call “Easter Eggs” are allusions to other art or media. I know language changes but in this context, the metaphor “Easter Egg” fails. ↩
- My Hot Take: the end of Game of Thrones was excellent and that Daenerys’ fascism and bloodlust at the end WAS NOT out of character. It was always there and only held back by Jora and Missandei. When they were gone, she no longer had better angels to guide her in being a good leader. Her first instincts were *always* to burn her enemies to the ground and they convinced her build everyone up.
But you wanted Danaerys to burn the King’s Landing, and her citizens, to the ground because you hated Cersei. She killed Missandre and gambled the Walkers would rid her of Danaerys and the North first. Cersei and the people of King’s Landing needed to be purified by fire.
The business of slightly improving people’s lives, especially after catastrophe, is boring. Getting sewage to the sea is how the world functions, but it’s not hot cousins fucking. It’s what needs doing once megalomaniacs have stopped killing innocents to secure their place in glory. Warlords eliminate, they don’t manage. And that’s what Daenerys was. She was a fascist and she was your hero. That’s why you hated the ending: you rooted for the baddie. ↩
- GenX, if you really give a shit; truth be told I don’t ↩
- Or, a list of things that I’ve never believed ↩