Monday, August 08, 2011

People Are Strange

We didn't crowd in to see the latest "Planet of the Apes" movie that debuted this past weekend, but if the trailers on TV are any indication, I think the viewer will get more than his share of two things - bad science and tough (really tough) monkeys.

I knew getting cable would change things here, but I didn't know if it would be for the better or not. There's lots of tennis, sports highlights on the hour and movies around the clock, many of them shown (and I admit I don't know how they do this) commercial-free. I saw more gangsters traveling in more huge cars and carrying out more "whacks" last week than you could see on the average month of Sicilian TV news. One channel one day showed nothing but movies featuring the late John Garfield (whose original name was Garfinkel), all in glorious black and white.
The political guys go at it pretty hard and heavy, of course. They kind of show the news, but then quickly get down to business - making you hate the other side, even though you probably hate them already.
There are stations that feature Christianity, shopping for bargains, fighting crime, remodeling, business, the business of Congress, and a dozen or so other specialties, and that doesn't include the fifty or so music-only stations, the HD channels or the PPV outfits with two big draws - sex and violence.
So far, it seems to me the weirdest stuff involves people in strange occupations or with sad disabilities of one kind or another. There's the guys who go after antiques in old garages around the country looking for things to resell and turn a buck, the crab fishermen up in the Arctic Ocean, ice road truckers, wild boar hunters, snake chasers, and even a guy who travels the world throwing hooks out for very dangerous fish. There are the crazy moms trying to fulfill their own dreams by turning their little girls (babies, even!) into beauty queens. The girls struggle to keep up, not realizing that not everyone has to go through this before they turn six. Why do they all seem to live in Texas?
If I had to pick one show that seems the creepiest, it might be Hoarders, in which we meet people whose homes and lives have collapsed around them simply because they can't get themselves to throw anything away. It's pretty bizarre. All the accumulated stuff, which usually has no value of its own, chokes the life out of families and leaves people in grief when they realize that it's just a matter of chance that made their own lives so hellish. Cleaning things up, hard as it is, isn't even the whole solution, because the hoarders may just return to their old ways without some serious counseling, and so that's part of the show, too. No, the counseling isn't done in a nice, clean office, but in odd moments when the "customers" are surrounded by heaps of repellent garbage. You're going to turn around habits that have been there for decades, which the hoarders are usually perfectly comfortable with? Best of luck, because, as the song says, "people are strange".


Post a Comment

<< Home