September 30, 2004

The B- List

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So, you think you know all there is to know about television, do you? That all those little comments you have to make are just so insightful and blow everyone else”s views out of the water? Are you on a first name basis with the cameraman who shoots all the intense scenes on The Real World? Do you feel that television is pretty much just superior to reality? When will I stop talking in questions and just get down to whatever the hell this article is about? Right now, as I introduce, a beautiful website devoted to, what else, television.

Operating under the motto ‘Spare the snark, spoil the networks,’ Television Without Pity is a smorgasbord for TV junkies everywhere. It”s full of forums in which TV addict can dissect their favorite shows without the inconvenience of having a job and discussing things over the out-dated water cooler. There”s also a store where you can buy shirts and buttons way cooler than anything possessed by lesser mortals. You too can be the person wearing a shirt no one understands but all still admire while totting around your messenger bag which is crumbling under the weight of tiny little sassy pins. You can even sign up to receive an e-mail synopses of your favorite show in case you might miss it one week. Or, more likely, you just want to see how other people have condensed the best show in the entire world (aka whatever show you”re crazy about) into a paragraph.

Since I”m an aspiring TV junkie myself (if only I didn”t nap as much, then I”d have the time), having my friend Eli point out this sight for me was like discovering gold. Well, more like iron pyrite, but it”s still really shiny and fun to play with! Here I can read all about other people”s obsessions with Smallville”s John Glover”s hair, read on as people refer to President Palmer from 24 as ‘Soul Patch,’ and really laugh when I see reference to Sark from Alias” supposed masturbation fantasies. This isn”t a site worried about political correctness or saving any actor”s ego — kicks way more ass than any of that crap.

You have a ton of personal jokes with friends about shows that you want to post on a web site, pretending that others will also find them amusing? Go for it. You adore your show while realizing it”s a horrible waste of programming space, but love it all the more for its suckiness? Tell us all why. Sick of networks trying to push their crappy shows down your throat, pretending that they”re good shows when we all know they blow? Vent here, my darling. The really surprising thing about this whole website is that there really isn”t all that much to it. Just posts by a lot of people who really enjoy their television. No professionals here to use inside lingo and make you feel like you don”t enjoy TV on their ‘level.’ This site is run by people who have way too much time on their hands and choose to spend it talking endlessly about TV. And in many ways, they have surpassed so-called ‘professional’ television reviewers in their expertise on television. No longer must we all be slaves to the reviewers at Entertainment Weekly, we can all post our comments about 7th Heaven and feel competent doing so! The revolution has begun!

This is the glorious realm you”ve only dreamt about, a place where you are no longer at the mercy of critics and everyone can be a pretentious ass when it comes to TV. But since it”s all online, you don”t have to ever deal with them! And that”s the thing: I adore reading all these self-righteous lampoons of all these shows, I even do a bit of it myself once in a while. Yet I know if I were to meet any of these people, I would most likely hate them all. Yeah, they”re awesome at poking fun at these shows, but there”s always that little voice inside of me that just wants to enjoy TV for it”s intrinsic value.

I mean, do you really need to dissect every little mistake that our favorite shows make? Tear to shreds all the ridiculous plot devices that are so obviously gimmicks we all want to puke? Lambast the writers who all apparently own the same book full of standard plot twists? If so, then check out this website, you will probably start drooling before you even get to the B”s. Or, if you”re a like me and sometimes all that criticism is a little too much, take the site in small doses — like therapy. After all, one doesn”t want to become a total pretentious twit, just the same way one shouldn”t ever be completely psychologically healthy and without neuroses. I mean, what fun would life be without a little bit of insanity and bad TV?

Archived article by Sue Karp