Things I learnt from last week’s television

It’s a new thing, this. I should have started it yesterday, but I was a bit busy. And I forgot.

Anyway, the general idea is it gives me a way to talk about last week’s US and British TV without spoiling anyone on the other side of the Atlantic who hasn’t seen it yet. It’ll probably evolve over time as I get the hang of it. Let’s see how it goes.

  • Scrubs: I really, really hate musicals. I feel like one of the Martians in Invaders from Mars by the end of them.

    What I learnt: I still really, really hate musicals. Musicals are dull.

  • Battlestar Galactica: Still a million leagues ahead of most shows, but getting a bit wearisome at times.

    What I learnt: Sooner or later even the best shows start to get weighed down by their own mythology. Standalone episodes are not the work of the Devil and arcs need to be drip-fed into shows, not dumped onto your plate like a load of creamed potatoes in a school canteen.

  • The Unit: If you’re not careful, even shows that try to be hard-hitting and realistic start to succumb to “fictionitis”. This is a disease in which writers, instead of looking to reality for inspiration, look to other TV shows and everything starts to become just that whole lot less likely.

    What I learnt: If you’re going to base a crack army unit on Delta Force, make sure you call it Delta Force or else writers will start to get imaginative.

  • Celebrity Big Brother: My wife loves the ice-skating reality show, too, so we’ve been watching that instead of CBB for the most part. However, when we have tuned in, we’ve not felt particularly edified by the whole thing.

    What I learnt: Americans and Indians are far better mannered, smarter and gracious than most Britons; it’s possible to call an Indian poppadom, think she should “f— off home”, take the piss out of her accent and still think you’re not a racist.

  • My Name is Earl: The last four or five episodes have been absolute crackers, particularly the Cops one. So tune in now if you haven’t already.
    What I learnt: Rednecks – or is Earl technically not a redneck but white trash? – apparently can’t use computers. I’m not sure this is true, though. Maybe there’ll be something in Wikipedia about it.
  • 30 Rock: I’d already learned in a previous week that Alec Baldwin is a comedy god.
    What I learnt: Tina Fey is a comedy goddess. This, I had not suspected previously.