Television: 1600 Penn

I tried to watch this. I watched 1.5 episodes. It had some funny moments. The son—he's funny. Clearly from the Jonah Hill/Zach Galifianakis school of acting or whatever. And Marshall, the press secretary—he was good, too. But they weren't enough to keep me watching.

Because, see, the plots were facile, and the fact they expect me to care about these people without even properly introducing me to them? It doesn't work that way. There's in media res, and then there's why the fuck should I care? It's a fine line, and today's short attention spans do pretty much require things to happen right away. But you have to pick exactly the right moment in which to begin. Do I care that the first daughter is pregnant? No. I don't know her and her plight does not interest me. And this . . . What is she? Stepmother? ::shrug::

I think there are more kids, too, but there are so many people in the show no one gets any amount of screen time to let us get to know them. Did the one girl have a crush on another girl? That might have been kinda cool, something worth exploring, but it was tossed off at the end of the episode and left lying there, so whatever.

This might be one of those shows that, once it gets its legs under it, actually goes somewhere. There have been times when I've tried a show, dropped it after a few episodes, then been told I have to watch it. At which point I procrastinate (because I am contrary by nature) and then eventually give in (because I'm also afraid of missing out on something cool). And then one of two things happens: the show really is cool and becomes part of my regular viewing schedule (and, if it's very good, I even go back and make up what I've missed) OR the show actually sucks and I am reminded that what most people watch (or read or listen to) and enjoy is a lowest-common-denominator pile of crap with very little to recommend it.

That sounds prissy. I don't mean to sound prissy. It's just how I feel. So, okay, maybe I'm prissy. But my time is valuable, and I can't afford to waste it on bad* television (or books or movies or music). That's all. That's not unreasonable, is it?

So. For now I have suspended viewing of 1600 Penn. But if I hear later that it's worth another try, I remain flexible.

*And let's be clear, when I say "bad" I mean things I personally do not enjoy and in which I cannot find any value. These things are subjective. But no one wants to spend time on things they dislike.

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