So for some unknown reason I woke up very early this Saturday morning. I didn’t have anything else to do so I went down and watched some TV. I saw Revenge of the Nerds on Jack TV and proceeded to laugh and slap my knee at the antics of the Tri Lambs. For a couple of hours, everything was all right with the world as I was transported back to a simpler time when men could wear very short shorts and get away with it. A time when typing away on a computer keyboard resulted in animated caricatures appearing on the monitor for no discernible reason. A time when hair pies were still in vogue and it was acceptable to make jokes about it. A time called the 80s.
After finishing the movie, I channel-surfed trying to find a program that would freak out my zonked-out mind as it was still early in the morning. Let me digress for a (lengthy) moment to relate a tale about me and early-morning television.
A couple of years ago I went through the same ordeal of waking up for no good reason very early in the morning. It was around five in the morning. With nothing better to do and being not able to fall back to sleep, I went down and watched television. I settled on CSI: Miami, a show I wasn’t familiar with but which I knew was from the CSI franchise, probably because it had the acronym CSI on its name. Like most people who are roused from sleep very early in the morning, my mind was somewhere else. But something compelled me to keep watching. Like most cop shows, CSI: Miami had a cold open, where the show drops in immediately to start the plot. There was a dead body inside a house and after a flash onscreen, there were photographers and forensic technicians all over the place indicating to us viewers that the crime was already being investigated. A big, balding man in a suit comes over and looks at the body. It was Sgt. Frank Tripp (but I didn’t know his name back then). I noticed that there was a weird glow over the set. There were also times when the camera cut to another angle of Tripp and the body or to another part of the house for no apparent reason. All of a sudden Tripp starts talking. I thought it was weird he was talking to himself. It turns out he was talking to Lt. Horatio Caine who just popped out of nowhere and to further confound me, it seemed that there was a halo of light surrounding him. To reiterate, it was early in the morning, my mind was semi-conscious, there was dark and ominous music permeating the scene I was watching, weird lighting and quick cutting of the camera, and then Horatio spoke. I don’t remember the line but it was pithy enough for Roger Daltrey to yell “Yeeeaaaahh!” as “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who provided the music for the opening credits. My mind exploded.
For the next hour, I experienced the most mind-shattering television I have ever seen. This particular episode featured a case where the victim might have been the target of a Santeria curse. I made a note to myself to tell the guys about this. Later that day, I ended up talking with AG and Joao about the show at the old Tibu’s joint. They too had seen the light. They had previously seen the episode. They were also in awe of the abilities of a man who can drive an SUV rigged with a time bomb with less than four minutes left from the crime lab to a conveniently empty beach. From that day on, I became a convert of the show. But like a lot of followers of any cause, the spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak. I was erratic in following the show, missing long stretches. The rational being in me justified it was okay. The show was and, unfortunately, still is formulaic and predictable. But there was a part of me that resided in the valley between consciousness and sub-consciousness that yearned to be mind-shattered again like the first time I saw CSI: Miami.
So we return to the present. Early Saturday morning. Fueled by nostalgia and fading consciousness, I thought that I could settle in for maybe just one more show after watching the movie before I try to go back to sleep. I thought that any show with a decent amount of coolness would be enough to send me back to sleep with a smile on my face. I flipped the channel to ETC when I spot Kim Gordon and the rest of Sonic Youth. Yes! It turned out to be an episode of Gossip Girl. And Sonic Youth was playing an acoustic cover of “Star Power”. But then all of a sudden, Nate just shambles across Sonic Youth while they were still performing. They also cut to some of the other characters talking while the band is playing. In no time at all, this annoyed me greatly. In my mind I was screaming, “Go back to Sonic Youth!” but my body was beginning to tire. They return to shots of Sonic Youth only to pull off another Nate-shamble in front of the band but this time with Blair and Dan. Again I am baffled. Is there an aura in front of Sonic Youth that magically enables Upper East Siders to present exposition and dialogue at the most annoying of times? I know that it’s part of the “price” of being in shows like these but they could have executed it better. It’s Sonic Youth for crying out loud.
And so my early morning TV fix ended with confusion, baffled as to why such an awesome band like Sonic Youth would be part of such an awful shtick. To be fair to Gossip Girl, I used to watch it as well. But things got weird in the second season. I think I began to lose interest in the show in the episode where Blair and Serena go to Yale to try to impress the dean of admissions. They fought and made up, changed their mind so many times it was like watching Brett Favreretire (sorry for the bad sports analogy). Then later on in the season, a teacher falls in love with the schlub Dan and there was that weird plotline about Chuck getting involved with a secret society. So I gave up on that season.
I also gave up trying to understand what just happened on a show about beautiful people needlessly destroying each others’ lives. I then thought of the speech of the nerds when they confronted the Alpha Betas at the end of the movie. I don’t know the exact words but it’s about being nerds and being proud of what you are. Yeah, I’m a nerd and I like to think I watch good television and I’m proud of that. But I’m not above watching campy, kitschy stuff if it appeals to me. So yes, I will continue to watch CSI: Miami. Especially, the early morning reruns. But maybe not Gossip Girl.
The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is a fictional weapon from the comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It bears a striking resemblance to the Sovereign’s Orb of the United Kingdom, and seems to draw some inspiration from the Holy Spear of Antioch. Although a minor gag in the film, the Holy Hand Grenade (as it is more popularly known) has gone on to be a frequently referred-to element of Monty Python humor.