Friday, March 15

Nuclear (Nielsen) Family - Part 5.

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SATURDAY.

Saturday began early (10am!) with a knock on the door. My family had arrived to help clean the house, and fortunately for my regular TV viewing habits, my 6-year-old nephew came along for the ride. I had a couple of shows I wanted to share with him.

12:30-1:00 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DVR – NICK)

1:00-1:30 – WWE Saturday Morning Slam (DVR – CW)


The TMNT reboot is fantastic, with Nickelodeon already ordering a ton of new episodes to meet fan demand. I’m also doing my best to introduce Evan to pro wrestling early by watching the (kid-friendly) Saturday Morning Slam with him. You may be thinking I was just doing this to take a well-deserved break from cleaning, and…well, you’d also be right.

A handful of hours later, and my house was spotless; as clean as it ever was in advance of our refinancing. My only goal between now and appraisal day was to not touch anything. As far as I was concerned, my house was a museum exhibit. The Missus and I purposely made sure that our evening was completely free so we could relax, grab some dinner and bask in a job well done.


4:00-4:30 – Degrassi (DVR – TeenNick)

Degrassi is Celia’s jam, and quite an important TV show in the grand scheme of things. After over 350 episodes spanning nearly 20 years, this Canadian melodrama seems to be as popular as ever (at least in my house it is). I’ve never seen another human being, myself included, blaze through so many episodes of television in a futile attempt to catch up than Celia has with the Degrassi universe. She’s been watching for at least three months straight, and I think she’s only up to 2001.


4:30-5:30 – Kentucky at Arkansas (Live – CBS)


A lot of my most treasured TV moments revolve around sports, no more so than in 1996 and 1998, when my beloved Kentucky Wildcats won the NCAA Basketball Championship. However, the Wildcats were also in attendance to the single most heartbreaking sports loss of my entire life; a loss that created a lifelong hatred of the consensus most-hated franchise in all of collegiate sports: The Duke Blue Devils.

Saturday, March 28, 1992. The East Regional Final between Kentucky and Duke. Sports Illustrated would go on to proclaim this the greatest college basketball game of all-time. It probably was, because as a 10-year-old, I had never experienced such a profound feeling of loss from something as insignificant to my life as an Elite Eight game.

You know what happened. With 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime and Duke trailing 103-102, Grant Hill threw a pass the entire length of the court to a waiting Christian Laettner, who dribbled once, turned and hit a perfect jumper as time expired. Duke won 104-103, and went on to win the championship that year. Even as a kid, I knew how big this game was. My cousin and I were screaming at every point; it was back-and-forth for the entire contest. If you’ve never seen the finish of this game, I promise, PROMISE you that you will if you watch even an hour of March Madness footage over the next month. CBS seems to love nothing more than to show that shot in every package they edit.

I still love KU, even though their tournament hopes are looking quite grim (they are, however, the defending champs). Duke continues to be my most-hated sports franchise, a deep-seeded loathing that was set into motion nearly 21 years ago on that fateful Saturday.


5:30-7:40 – UFC: Barao vs. McDonald (Live – FuelTV)

I watched this while Celia was catching up on Degrassi. Having 'DirecTV Anywhere' on your phone is a godsend.


7:40-8:00 – Cops (DVR – FOX)

There are a few ‘sure things’ I love about TV. Saturday Night Live. The Simpsons. America's Funniest Home Videos. Cops. I wonder where we would be, culturally, without even one of these three shows. I’m not arguing that they are equal in terms of goodness (or even if they’re good); but they’re American classics, like it or not.

8:00-9:00 – Woodstock (DVR – Palladia)



A lot of people claim to have been born in the wrong generation. Usually this drivel comes from the mouth of a girl in a vintage clothing store when she finds a dress that fits, not taking into consideration war and civil rights and…I digress. Not me; I'm definitely a product of my era. I really quite like the fact that I was an 80’s kid, a 90’s teen and an 00’s adult. I can’t speak for the future (the cure of AIDS and/or sex robot integration will be welcome technological advances), but I probably would have been miserable in the 60’s and 70’s.

Those decades in particular seemed to be horrible in their own unique way. Case in point: Woodstock. I understand the significance and adore most of the music to this day, but it really looked like a disaster. In fact, I’m glad I watched the (four hour) documentary, because it reminded me that the problems Woodstock had in 1994 and 1999 were the exact same they had in 1969, problems that seem to get glossed over with time and revisionist history.

Faulty plumbing, mud, no food/water, and claims of violence were there from the beginning, which sort of made me happy. In 1994 and 1999, I was convinced that my generation had ruined everything for everybody. Turns out it sort of sucked ass from the get-go, and I’m fine with that.

9:00-9:30 – UFC Prefight Show (DVR – FuelTV)

9:30-12:00 – UFC: Silva vs Stann (DVR/Live – FuelTV)

Silva vs. Stann was a war. A great fight between two fearless athletes, made even more impressive when you realize that the fights were live from Japan. I’m not great with time zones, but I think that means those guys were fighting at 10 in the morning, which has to go against a lot of warrior instincts. I’m sometimes too lazy to make coffee at 10 in the morning, let alone attempt to knock another co-worker unconscious.

(EARLY) SUNDAY.

12:00-12:30 – UFC Postfight Show (Live – FuelTV)

12:30-12:55 – Bleach (DVR – Adult Swim)

12:55-1:20 – Naruto (DVR – Adult Swim)

1:20-1:45 – Soul Eater (DVR – Adult Swim)

While I admire the philosophy and risk-taking of Adult Swim, I usually don’t watch a lot of their programming. Shows like Metalocalypse, Tim and Eric, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Off The Air have made their way to my DVR from time to time, but I more like the idea of Adult Swim than their actual execution. Enter Toonami.

Toonami is an Anime/Action Animation block that enjoyed immense popularity for over a decade on the Cartoon Network, only to be cancelled in 2008. However, after a one-off return as part of an April Fool’s stunt, the fans came back in droves, giving Toonami another shot on the Adult Swim airwaves. Airing newer shows like Bleach, Deadman Wonderland and Soul Eater, next to classics like Cowboy Bebop, Ghost In The Shell and Naruto, there’s nothing else like it on American television.

Like I’ve discussed on here before, I’m a sucker for a good programming block, and Toonami presents itself as more of a test of attrition than anything: Six hours, 12 shows, midnight to 6am on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Each week I proclaim that I will watch the entire block in one sitting, and each week I’m asleep on the couch by 2am, which is exactly what happened tonight. Hey, I had a long day.

SUNDAY (FOR REALSIES).

10:00-10:20 – Thundercats (DVR – Adult Swim)

10:20-10:45 – Symbionic Titan (DVR – Adult Swim)

10:45-11:05 – Eureka 7 (DVR – Adult Swim)

11:05-11:45 – 120 Minutes (DVR – VH1 Classic)
11:45-12:45 – Saturday Night Live (DVR – NBC)

12:45-1:05 – Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood (DVR – Adult Swim)

1:05-1:25 – Tenchi Muyo GXP (DVR – Adult Swim)

1:25-2:30 – Badgers at Purdue (DVR/Live – ESPN2)

2:30-5:00 – Thunder/Clippers (Live – TNT)

5:00-6:00 – Nashville (DVR – ABC)

6:00-7:00 – America’s Funniest Home Videos (Live – ABC)

7:00-8:00 – Once Upon A Time (Live – ABC)

8:00-9:00 – The Walking Dead (Live – AMC)

9:00-10:00 – Talking Dead (Live – AMC)

10:00-10:30 – The Simpsons (DVR – FOX)

10:30-11:00 – Bob's Burgers (DVR – FOX)


I know. This was sort of an atypically lazy Sunday, but I’m not making excuses. I needed it. The Walking Dead is Appointment Television at my place; we have friends over and stuff, so we always make sure to watch that live, but everything else was a hodgepodge of anything we didn’t have time for throughout the week (mostly Saturday stuff).

11:15-12:30 – Ren and Stimpy (DVR – TeenNick)

I remember seeing Ren and Stimpy for the first time when I was 9 years old in 1991. It was one of the first shows I ever remember seeing on cable, as my only early exposure to cable TV was when I got to stay at my cousin’s house. Needless to say, it blew my mind. I remember the night clearly, because I also saw MST3K for the first time that following morning, and my life hasn't been the same since. It was a pretty good weekend for me. This wasn't too bad of a weekend, either.

Time for some math.

Over the course of the week, a typical television-watching week, mind you, I somehow crammed over 90 shows and over 90 real time hours of programming into my brainball, all while writing 20 pages about it and preparing my house for an appraisal. It's personal data I don't know what to do with, quite frankly.

I wasn't planning on doing this experiment with the overall goal to gain any sort of insight into why I like television so much. I just thought it would be interesting (although I didn't know in what way). I do know this, though. If more than a few hours of television a day will rot your brain, I should have been nothing more than a gooey husk years ago.

And the appraisal was successful. Thank goodness, because I heard a rumor they're bringing DirecTV Titanium back and really need to scrape together that $7,500.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

Comments:
TMNT...Thundercats....Ren & Stimpy...MST3K!!! I feel like a kid again. :o)
 
I was at that UW-Purdue game. It was excruciating. But then my friend and I went to Steve's and bought a shitload of IPAs then watched a Danish WWII movie about the Resistance, so you could say things picked up from there.
 
JESS - What's cool is that the Thundercats & TMNT reboots are both pretty good in their own right. Ren & Stimpy doesn't hold up as much as I thought it would (but it's still fun), and of course I think MST3K is one of the greatest TV shows ever made. :)
 
WALLROCK - That...that actually sounds like a lot of fun.
 

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