Deal With It: Kid Nation and the Strange Case of the Television Oddity


Kid-Nation

As much as I love television for the way it often allows you know shows intimately and characters inside and out, as I discussed a few weeks ago, I’ve also been known to become obsessed with the television oddity. Shows that are too strange, too complicated, too expensive or too under-loved to last. These shows are on the air for a season or maybe, if they’re lucky, two and live on via DVD or Netflix or YouTube. And they also live on in memory where they often turn into something more special, more exciting, more daring than they ever were to begin with. This happened to me with My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks, which I’ve talked about ad nauseam, in those early days before I could re-watch them on VHS or DVD. It happened more recently with the incredibly strange, indelible and wholly unique Magic City, which I can’t bring myself to re-watch yet, the death of the show too new and my memory of it, almost surely incorrectly, too glowing. Or, even Ebert Presents: At The Movies, a show that attempted and failed at bringing back duelling film critics to TV (although I loved it), and one that I was reminded of this past week when one of the reviewers, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, published an excellent and sad take on the demise of the show. But these shows, despite their one-hit wonder and cult status in the world of TV-lovers, are not true-blue oddities in the purest sense.

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You Are Better Than Me If You Are On TV

I always wanted to be on TV. Ever since I was the mere wisp of a boy TV was my friend and hero. I wanted it all. To host SNL, have my own talk show, game show, make out with Jennie Garth on 90210, ride shotgun with Bo and Luke on the Dukes of Hazard and eat the lobster tails on the Ron Popeil Showtime Rotisserie. Set and forget it. I achieved my goal in 2000 as I appeared as an audience member for a taping of pro wrestling for the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. If you look close during the epic struggle for the North American Championship between “Showtime” Robbie Royce vs “The King of Old School” Steve Corino, I’m in the background. I can be heard yelling “Ol’ school, daddy” and scurrying about in my raincoat and football jersey. As my life went on I thought I would be awesome as a Chunky Soup spokesdude finally answering the Fork vs Spoon debate. Spoon, obviously. Continue reading

I used to hate Nathan For You, but now I think about it daily

To my fellow bloggers, Kerri and Graeme, you were right. Nathan For You is brilliant TV.

If you haven’t seen Nathan For You, it’s a half-hour comedy show on Comedy Central, where comedian and business school graduate, Nathan Fielder offers advice to business owners. The advice is always unique (unorthodox… silly… dumb… negligent…) and it always leads to awkward and funny results as the owners gamely try to follow Fielder’s suggestions. The first episode of season one features a segment where Fielder suggests that a yogurt shop introduce poo-flavoured yogurt to bring in curious clientele.  Continue reading

Email Roundtable #43 Borgen

birgitte-kasper-borgen-series-2

This week Simon and Jane attempt to discuss the Danish political drama Borgen.

Jane: Simon, I’m thrilled that you recommended this incredible show to me. I devoured the first two seasons in a week and a half. That being said I was skeptical about my response to a show about Danish politics. Borgen is about so much more than that though (although the politics are fascinating). How would you describe what is at work in the series?

Simon: Hi Jane! I’m thrilled you love Borgen as much as I do. Your first question alludes to what has intrigued me so much about the show… how it works, and why it works. I’ll start simply with what Borgen definitely isn’t, namely a capital P Political Drama. Continue reading

A Very Special Episode: TV Tonal Shifts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Louie

At their best and luckiest, television shows can do something that other most other art forms cannot: allow us to spend hours, days, weeks, months, sometimes years with our favourite characters, watching them grow, learning intricacies and patterns about them and the show itself that we often don’t even know about the people in our real lives. Television has the luxury of time. We learn shows rather quickly, we fall into the unique rhythms and patterns of these shows, we know how they should look and sound and feel and over time this solidifies and crystallizes our viewing experience. We find friends with these characters, we know their worlds, we begin to understand what makes them tick.  Continue reading

There are Bugs and People Out There

The spring has brought with it summery weather and with the end of the endless winter comes cries of celebrating the outdoors. But why would I go outside? Is there TV outside? Nope. No TV at the “lake”. No TV at the worthy causes walk-a-thon or worse yet marathon. So, I stay inside to honour (if not worship) my 22 inch Sanyo sanctuary. So let’s see what I have been up to as you have been getting skin cancer and adding to the weather beating of your decks. Continue reading

Worker Bees

I started a new job last week. To celebrate other women in the workplace, here are five amusing/impressive/strange TV scenes/episodes/moments that involve women and working, listed in order of when I last watched them, because damn it, I’m busy! There’s no time to be creative - I just started a new job!

Buffy

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