April 11, 2008

Why TV Might Put Me in Cardiac Arrest

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The writers’ strike has been over for some time now, but its aftermath is stronger than ever. All of America’s favorite shows have announced their dates of return, and many of these are much later than anticipated. This sucks, I agree; but perhaps this brief hiatus from the television’s warm glow can give us some time to analyze what we love and hate about the programs we watch religiously. I’ve given this some thought and realized that there are some characters I truly despise and that they all have one thing in common-– they’re just no fun.

I detest E from Entourage…hear me out. The show won’t be back until September, according to the writers, and I’ve kind of enjoyed this break from his guardian-angel, holier-than -thou philosophy on life. The guy makes his money essentially by getting an allowance for doing Vince a favor- – being his manager. What right, then, does he have to tell Vince what he should and should not spend his money on? Vince is lazy when it comes to script-reading, so he depends on E to do this job for him; but when it comes to living in the proverbial lap of luxury, E should take a step back, realize that the life he leads is not in fact his own, and quit telling people how to spend (and in this show’s case, smoke) their green.

If I had to make a list of my top ten most hated characters in television, Preston Burke from Grey’s Anatomy would be my Number Nine, right behind The O.C.’s Ryan Atwood, and right before Mayor White from Nickelodeon’s Doug. (He’s that guy that always said, “I’m the mayor, vote for me.”) Moving on, I know Burke is off the show and has been for quite some time, but I certainly have not missed the relentless references to his existence in the ORs of Seattle Grace Hospital. I get it. He “[had] a tremor (how many times did we hear that sentence?).” Christina Yang pushed him too hard, and he just couldn’t force her into a marriage she wasn’t all that into. Great. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s boring and puts a damper on Shepherd’s “cowboy of the cerebellum” routine or the Chief’s long-term plans to make Bailey– everyone’s favorite mini mushroom– the new Chief one day. Mark my words; that will happen.

Finally, there are some shows that are notorious for having irregular seasons, the poster child being Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David has not confirmed a seventh season, but has mentioned hypothetically that he’d like to do the show for “two or three more years.” Since the end of season six this past fall, though, I’ve finally admitted to myself that sometimes, even characters I like fall victim to Wet Blanket Syndrome. Cheryl David (Cheryl Hines), for instance, clearly never got the recommended vaccine. I like Cheryl, I really do, but sometimes her uber-sensitivity to social norms gets a little sickening. Larry has no social graces, and usually, we can admit that. But there are other times, namely when Larry tries to qualify the true definition of a Kamikaze pilot by mentioning that one must actually die to be worthy of the name, Cheryl flips out. She, too, needs to relax and enjoy human nature, which she clearly did at some point, because she married the guy (and yes, I’m aware that they separated in season six).

I can’t wait for my shows to come back, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this little break a tiny bit. I mostly hated it, of course, but since the strike my TV viewing has been a little more laid back, a little more settling, and a little less anger- inducing. So, E, Preston, and Cheryl, it might behoove you to take my advice and take it down a notch— for both my blood pressure and yours.