Monday, June 27, 2016

"And Coming Up Next..."

Just so you know ahead of time, this doesn’t end well for the Big Bad Wolf.  He ends up in an iron cooking pot, getting seriously if not fatally burned.  Don't go away!

I was watching an early episode of "Undercover Boss" on Netflix the other night, and I noticed that even in 2010 when the show began, they were already doing the reality show format where at the end of each segment they stated, “And Coming Up Next…” and they showed a few scenes from upcoming segments.  They do this with virtually every reality show and then some.  I don’t watch a large number of reality TV shows, but my spouse likes “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” a lot, so I tend to see almost all of them.  The formulaic singular evil competitor is getting old by the way, but my lady still watches all episodes.  And I watch a few unscripted shows now and then on streaming media.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to experience my stories in a linear format.  That is not to say that I don’t enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s literary style of jumping ahead and back a bit, or showing the same action from differing characters’ viewpoints. In the film, “Jackie Brown,” Quentin shows an apex scene in two or three differing ways from varying angles and perspectives, which I think was fascinating and dynamic to watch.  “I put a cherry on top.  Booh yah!”  It had been done before by previous filmmakers, but it was great to see a modern day virtuosic director implementing something like that.  But the point is, I don’t like to see the exact same thing twice, especially when it’s a spoiler. 

When you’re watching a show, and they print on the screen, “And Coming Up Next…” and they show you upcoming scenes, they are essentially saying to you, “We know that you have the patience of gnat, and because of your high likelihood of having attention deficit disorder, we will now try to keep you from flipping the channel by showing you some upcoming chaos.”  And I really believe that they have a majority of the audience pegged having three hundred and some odd channels available, and the viewing body totally conditioned by interacting social media.  But to me, that’s like telling the Three Little Pigs story by reading:

“Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One pig built a house of straw while the second pig built his house with sticks. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks. A big bad wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played and thought, ‘What juicy tender meals they will make!’

“And Coming Up Next…The Big Bad Wolf annihilates two of the pigs’ homes
(a wide shot of the Big Bad Wolf confidently eviscerating two single wide trailers and then laughing so hard and excitedly that he displays some loud and concerning lung-wheezing exhales in the process).  But then, the tables are turned on him when he confronts the largest obstacle he will ever face…a brick house (zoom from a medium shot to a close up of Big Bad Wolf’s face as his momentary confusion turns into the look of a wolf whose parents really never equipped him for periodic failure or problem-solving whatsoever).  And then…the Big Bad Wolf, IS NO MORE!  (shot of what might look like the silhouette of a wolf flailing down the inside of a chimney towards camera accompanied by a concussive, backwards sounding symbol crash…’Sheewoooop!’) …when we return right after this break.”

Really?  Thanks for telling me the entire story ahead of getting through to the actual story (I used that word twice in the same sentence on purpose).  You just managed to take the last bit of pleasure I could have gotten out of my frustrating and lackluster day by removing me from my semi-delightful escape of being engrossed inside a grade C+, transparently edited, makeshift story, to seeing it all as a money motivated enterprise. 

I love the DVR and streaming technology for that reason.  As soon as I see that the segment is closing, I blast through the, “And Coming Up Next…” as well as through the commercials.  In fact, with the exception of just a few news type events, I never watch live broadcast television.  If I see that “60 Minutes” has just started at 7:00pm, I watch "TMZ Live" that I already DVR’d on Friday.  And if  “NCIS” has begun to tape, I pull up my DVR’d “Big Bang Theory” or my recently captured “UFC Fight.”

The only exceptions to this pattern of mine are live news events.  The sporadic and meth induced car chase across the 210 freeway, or the flighty old Dow Jones momentarily free falling because Great Britain finally decided to self determine their own sovereignty with regard to trading rules and immigration quotas again, or the arson ignited brush fire that is rampaging through Lake Isabella.  Otherwise, it’s either, I jam through the DVR’d programs for only their somewhat stale-dated meaty content, or I read a good book. 

“And Coming Up Next….yet another mindless and rambling blog of mine…after we return from this short break… 

Do you have erectile dysfunction and incontinence? (a drone mounted truck-in on a forcibly happy and mismatched in age couple seeming unlikely to be on the Sea Doo that they are riding.  Her arms wrap around his 'skinny enough to get a few auditions' waist while he forces out a smirky smile from under his overly manicured beard. The bottoms of her white button-up cotton top flap in the wind along her sides as the drone camera shot pulls back out and the water glimmers lens flares within the golden sunset) "Oh, life is so wonderful with these big pharma drugs permeating our biologies!"

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