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Lucius
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 11:04 am:   

I leave the TV on all day long with the sound turned low. I find that murmur of voices cuts the eerie quiet of a writer's days and is not so distracting as music. Infrequently I turn the sound up and watch for a few minutes to effect a clearing of my mental pallette. Sometimes what I see frightens me. Even a glimpse of the idiocy with which Chairman Channel Twenty-Five is attempting to alter my brain waves can be horrifying. Today, for instance, I saw the actor Steven Collins. accompanying himself on guitar, singing Rickey Nelson's 50s hit, "Lonesome Town," while three middle-aged women sat on the couch beside him and gazed dotingly. This was followed by a screaming homosexual man, a caracature of a gay, critiquing the Emmys--he got the most laughs when he pretended to throw up and was particularly acerbix toward men he knew to be gay. When I turned off the sound, I felt vaguely uneasy but more certain of my story goals.

If you've had a scary daytime (or nighttime) TV experience, I'd love to hear about it.
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Deborah
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 11:30 am:   

You wouldn't have that problem if you stuck with ESPN Classic.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 11:40 am:   

That's too distracting. :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 12:09 pm:   

Although I did watch "Dancing With the Stars," I've always hated Tom Bergeron for something he did on an afternoon talkshow he did in Boston during the late 1980s. He was doing one of these very "controversial" shows about teenage rape of something of that nature that were just starting to come into vogue at the time, and he was soliciting viewer phone-in calls. This young guy, obviously nervous, calls in and starts confessing to Tom and his audience that he had engaged in an incestuous relationship with his little brother. I think that everyone was expecting that one of the insta-psychologists he had invited on the show would spend some time talking to the kid and trying to get him some help. But Bergeron just blurts out,"that is really disgusting. You are a sick person and need help. Please don't call us again," or words very much to that effect. I thought it was a real toolbox move. How do you invite people like that out of the woodwork only to slam them on television? I heard "Doctor" Drew Pinski do something very similar on the awful Lovelines show once.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 12:20 pm:   

Better the Pinski method than Doctor Phil. '

Were you frightened?
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 12:39 pm:   

Deborah, I went to ESPN classic and you were right.. They were showing classic bowling, :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 12:52 pm:   

Not frightened, just possessed by a desire to see these guys garotted.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 01:29 pm:   

Another scary daytime memory is the old Steampipe Alley show on WOR channel 9 in NYC. It was a kid's show hosted by Mario Cantone from Sex and the City. If you've ever seen his stand-up act, you know it's flaming and loud and about eight miles a minute and when he would start riffing with this room full of five-year olds, their faces would just sink into this mix of confusion and panic. Definitely funny.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 01:35 pm:   

I;m looking for those little existential moments that come to one....but yeah, on another level, that sounds scary.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 02:01 pm:   

I knew that America had lost step with the world when they tried to syndicate a kid's show in the middle 90s starring Brazilian sex bomb Xuxa. She would be hugging these kids and kissing them and the boys looked like their puberty had been jumpstarted six or seven years early. They were just completely flummoxed. I just knew that we had gone off the track. Americans weren't on top of things anymore. And sure enough...
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 02:25 pm:   

A Xuxa moment might qualify....but still too theoretical...
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 04:13 pm:   

One time I was watching the Oscars and I became convinced there were enormous telepathic lobsters hiding behind the shimmering curtains controlling events onstage, and using the actors like pedipalp-puppets to affect the minds of viewers. Currently I can't quite recreate my state of mind at the time, but I was very sure of it.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 04:16 pm:   

Bad TV was a major force behind my first book. I used to "look at" stuff like Dallas and Knot's Landing, and then it was pretty easy to get into the right frame of mind for writing sarcastic s.f.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 04:18 pm:   

It's interesting you can run the TV but not music. I can't have any music going when I write; I think it's partly because music is a verbal experience for me, and they're almost too similar. If there are lyrics involved, then forget it. But I can't concentrate on anything at all if the TV is on. There's this low hum that penetrates walls; I can hear it from the other side of the house, even if it's turned on low, and it just sucks away all my ability to concentrate.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 04:23 pm:   

Sometimes I can write to dub, but the Tv doesn't bother me. Go figure.

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