Saturday, July 19, 2008

Trash on TV and Annoyances in Alton

I didn't even realize how well that alliteration would line up until after I typed it.

I was about to remark a couple of weeks ago that I turned on MTV and couldn't find any trash. Forget one world government or the conversion of Israel into a giant garden, there would be no surer sign of the apocalypse. Now, I'm not saying there wasn't anything trashy on MTV at all. There was plenty of the Real World, which you could argue was in fact the original "trash on MTV" show. And "America's Best Dance Crew" is less trashy than just irritating, maybe a dumbed-down version of American Idol. (I really don't understand "dance" as a culture at all. It would never occur to me to want to watch people dancing in the same way that I might want to watch people acting or playing music. And I have to confess to having no idea what a "master mix" is.)

I wanted to find something entertainingly trashy, though, something along the lines of "A Shot at Love", which is Tila Tequila's bisexual dating show. Or "The X Effect". So I was pleasantly surprised to find "Parental Control" and "Next" shown right after one another. The former is a show where two parents hate the guy or girl that their child is dating, and fix her or him up on two blind dates in an attempt to rectify that. And the latter is the sleaziest speed-dating situation ever devised: when a guy or girl doesn't like a potential suitor for whatever reason, he or she can yell "next" and another douchebag emerges from the bus without fail.

"Douchebag" is the operative word here too. I have a theory that you can tell exactly how much of a douche a guy is by the angle of his hat. Forward is not inherently douche--it might be baseball player or white trash or old-school rapper. Backwards is not inherently douche either--maybe frat boy (which indirectly might imply douche) or gangster-era rapper. Even sideways might or might not be. When you can spot a clear sign is when the hat is slightly oversized, slightly cocked to either the right or the left, maybe plus or minus fifteen or twenty degrees. I'd estimate that a third of all the males on these two shows have this douche giveaway. (The rest of them have other tells.)

As always, when I'm watching trashy shows, two things amaze me. The first is the contestants'/actors' vocabularies. Every time I hear a white kid saying something is "real" or "tight", I shake my head--and I end up shaking my head a lot. Every time a guy describes a girl as "totally hot", you'd think there was no other adjective in the English language to describe attractiveness. The second is the fact that these people are evidently doing nothing with their lives. These people are my age, give or take maybe three years, and I swear the most ambitious thing I've heard is "I'm going to college for TV marketing." I'm not expecting everyone to be a doctor or architect or businessman, but honestly? "I work at an In-n-Out Burger"?

And MTV... it doesn't matter how many times you play that "Corona and Lime" song by Shwayze. It does not make it any more listenable.

One thing that I really miss about Atlanta is Publix. It's no secret that I kind of like grocery shopping, and I've gotten comfortable doing it at Publix. They're always clean. Well-lit (heck, the Spring Street location even has windows, one of the only grocery stores I know to include such amenities). High-quality produce and store brands. Fine selection of anything from wine to deli. And the local stores just don't compare. I've grown to prefer Shop-n-Save over Schnuck's, for no good reason other than the layout is better and the volume is more impressive. But the environment is just not as accommodating in either store as I've grown to expect.

Another thing is the roads. "You have to be crazy. You miss driving in Atlanta?" Well, no, not really. But the roads here have their own special character to them. There are way too many motorcycles, like packs of a dozen of them that just show up on your street every Saturday and Sunday, making it impossible go go faster than 30. Worse, stop signs predominate. I'm not talking, there's the occasional stop sign that you might inadvertently miss. I mean practically every intersection, from the seemingly inconsequential one of two residential streets, to what actually turns out to be a major one of multi-lane commercial highways, are regulated by stop signs. And it serves as a reminder about why the stop light is superior. Specifically, people do not know how to navigate stop signs. They don't like to take turns, and they sure as hell don't find it necessary to stop for pedestrians.

Currently listening: Coming to Terms, Carolina Liar

No comments: