I may have been watching too much television lately. HBO to be more specific.
The recent drab days of summer found me lazing on the couch in front of the TV, remote in one hand, bag of cheezies in the other, stretchy yoga pants on, cup of tea by my side, fluffy pillow under one elbow, hair firmly planted in a sloppy bun atop my head. I was ready to take on the PVR (personal video recorder).
For those of you without one of these revolutionary devices, may I say you are living in the dark ages, deprived of the ability to watch TV and movies at your leisure.
With a PVR there is no more missing a word of what “Erica” said to “Adam,” or missing the end of the Movie of the Week because you fell asleep in your chair before 11.
A world of mind-boggling “entertainment” awaits your command. Whenever you desire, your program of choice can be found, played, rewound and viewed again. It’s a bit too much, actually.
Round and round the dial you go (although in the new reality of TV viewing, there is no dial with which to go around) until you find the amusement of your choice. Mine was the demon HBO.
From funny to gory, that channel has it all, in starkly realistic terms. Well, maybe not quite so realistic. After a few episodes of Game of Thrones, I still couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Or, more accurately, who the fuss was about – there were kings and kids and kids of kings, knights and knaves and knaves with knives. But after a half-dozen episodes I was still trying to figure out who the real king was and why I should care.
So off I flicked to find Veep. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Emmy award winner for Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine, should be funny, I thought. And it was.
Veep follows Louis-Dreyfus as the vice-president of the United States, a hurried, harried, harassed character who buzzes through her days in sleek suits and Prada pumps. Her aides, communications people and assistants pop in and out, throwing verbal zingers and helping her put out political fires – most of which she starts herself.
Around the dial again and we come to Girls, the HBO version of the early days of Friends – but with a lot more sex. A lot more. A lot. Really.
If young 20-somethings are engaging in as much sex as this group of four friends, I don’t know how they manage to keep a job, let alone find time to grocery shop or pay the electric bill.
And again with the verbal sparring. One witty remark is returned with another and almost every other word is blue. Navy blue if you know what I mean: vulgar, naughty, dirty, filthy, coarse, x-rated, off-colour, profane … you name it, they say it.
On Veep too.
If you’re looking for funny Elaine from Seinfeld – you’re in for a shock.
In the new no-holds barred arena of subscription programming, there is plenty of nudity, sleazy talk and good old fashioned cursing.
Television has come a long way since Desi and Lucy slept in twin beds.
But it’s not the nature of the shows that stuck with me. It was the attitude they conveyed. These programs that are exclusive to the cable channels have the liberty to show life in a more realistic manner.
But how realistic is it?
Sure we swear occasionally, we use the bathroom, we take off our clothes and if we are lucky, we have sex too. But do we talk about it in the office afterward?
Do we share all the dirty details of our personal lives with our friends or co-workers?
I don’t remember ever doing that, let alone the last time I had a screaming match at work or ran down the hallway with my shoes in my hand to get to a meeting I was late for.
Watching the adrenaline rush of vice-president Selina Meyer’s office in Veep is addictive. Lines such as “I don’t have time to ignore you,” “Hey, hey it’s the flunkies,” and “OK kittens, time to get drowned,” leave my office feeling dull, flat and boring.
Just once I’d like to hear some snappy rejoinders or be witness to a nasty dust-up between co-workers. Just as long as they make up before the next episode. Or maybe I’ll just start watching The Newsroom.
Laura Lavin is the editor of the Oak Bay News.