Lately, this month and last, I have written about what I have watched on TV: My July 2012 Letter, The Stupider the Betterer, and The Black Spot. Continuing on with that theme, in reverse, allow me to expound on what I do not watch. There are three things I do not watch. I do not watch reality shows. I do not watch the modern versions of talent shows. Lastly, I totally do not watch nor do I understand the popularity of anything having to do with vampires.
I did try to watch a reality show a few times. Frankly, I found it boring. I could not watch the petty and idiotic comings and goings of another family simply because they are celebrities. I generally pay attention to what I see about me and therefore get large doses of reality from my own family, friends, and random people I see in public places. I would rather sit in a mall and watch people come and go. I would rather sit in a Starbucks, like I am now, sipping coffee, typing this drivel, and listening to other peoples' conversations in the background. Real life is fascinating enough. These interactions are not anymore intriguing just because the principals’ last names happen to be Kardashian or Osborne. I will lump in all of those bachelor, bachelorette, you're fired, and survival shows into this category: boring.
The last talent show I watched with any regularity and interest was The Gong Show. That was back in the late 1970s. I loved that show because the talent was so awful it was entertaining. That show definitely met one of my criteria for must see television: the stupider the betterer. The Gong Show was definitely stupider and therefore, to me, infinitely betterer. I loved it except the every once in a while when they actually had someone with talent as a contestant. I never understood how and why they got people to agree to be on the show. I loved it when the judges and the host, Chuck Berris, were so flabbergasted by contestants horrible performance that they were laughing so hard that they couldn't speak. I know that Dancing with the Stars and American Idol are immensely popular. They may not be as popular today, but in their heyday, people were talking about them all the time and were passionate about who should have won. I tried to get into them as my daughter and wife would sometimes watch them. I even tried to watch these shows with them. I simply could not get into them and consequently left the room in search of another TV where I could control the remote. I tried but just could not get engaged in these shows.
As for vampires, I am completely baffled here. I could see a surge in popularity for a brief period as is the recent flurry of penguin movies. Vampires, in books, movies, and television series, seems to have a run of several decades. Why? I do not know? People keep buying in and watching. That is the bottom line.
Certainly, there is a fascination with the undead. We all want to live forever and being vampire is way to do that. There are a few trade-offs like the pasty complexion and the inability tolerate even a speck of sunlight. (I am sorry for being old school here but whatever justification today's movies and TV shows use to allow vampires to walk around in broad daylight is... well... nonsense. I am not buying into any of that.) Besides eternal life, vampires have a sexy or erotic component to them. Sucking blood is very close to passionately kissing another's neck. The reaction of the victim is basically to swoon. I get this. I realized this back in the days when I watched Bela Lugosi movies on one of those shows with the tacky host. In my case I believe it was Dr. Graves Ghastly in Detroit.
Frankenstein comes and goes. There have been a series of Alien movies. Even though I cannot get enough of Mothra, this creature has never caught on with the general public. Sony Pictures tried to resurrect Godzilla and had a story line that opened the door for sequels. It just did not connect. Vampires? This is a genre with unbelievable staying power. Vampires adapt with the times. There are serious vampire dramas and hilarious comedies and parodies. Vampires can be sophisticated or ultra-cool to being vicious predators. Theoretically, vampires should take over the world. They, taking away the sunlight thing and stakes through the heart, can live forever given an ample supply of blood. Everyone they bite turns into a vampire. Actually, they should rapidly convert the entire population to vampires and then die out because they consumed all the living blood supply.
Hey Hollywood, this is an idea for yet another vampire saga. Consider doing a parody of a reality show involving a group of vampires and how they will survive given that the number of humans, and hence, the food supply is disappearing. We could call it Soylent Red: The Vampire Saga.
Not surprisingly the producers and network executives get plenty of viewers and ratings for the genres expressed in this posting. The fact that I do not watch them is not relevant. They simply do not need me and will continue to produce and market shows in these categories until the market wanes. Thankfully, I get hundreds of channels and have plenty of on-demand choices. That is my television reality. I do believe football season is upon us... yeah baby, that's what I'm talking about.