The Other Guy … and Other TV Predictability

Watching the end of the Steelers / Ravens game, with the Steelers making yet another trip to the Super Bowl.  There are some obligatory things that television directors do.  One is to get the cutaway shot of the losing quarterback.

Joe Flacco had just thrown his second interception, this one with a minute and change left in the game.  It ended the game.  All Roethlisberger had to do was kneel down a couple of times to run out the clock.  There is a lot of back slapping and man-hugging going on on the Steelers sidelines.  Not pandemonium, particularly.  The Steelers have been there before, and their behavior on the sidelines was indicative of that.  They’re excited, sure.  Another chance to be “World Champions”,  there are major monetary rewards just for making it to the game, and I’d expect they’ll be heavily favored against the Arizona Cardinals.  But they’ve been there before.

But then, there’s the ubiquitous reaction shot of Joe Flacco.  Standing on the sidelines, helmet off, breathing hard, and looking like he’s smoking a cigar due to the cold frosting his breath.  He has that dazed “oh rats” (you know what I mean) look on his face.  Disbelieving, wising time back on the clock, knowing that his team will be watching the Super Bowl from a luxury skybox or the comfort of their palatial media rooms.

But it’s the predictability of it.  You just know it’s going to happen.

Lots of TV is like that.  We were watching “Planet Earth” which we’d recorded from The Discovery Channel last night, and I’d stepped into the kitchen to work on dinner.  The segment was about the arctic and the antarctic, and I heard Andie say “It’s a little bunny”.  My comment, without seeing the TV, was “where’s the wolf that’s going to eat it?”.  It turned out to be a fox, but as soon as there was a bunny in the snow, I knew something was going to eat it.  It’s what nature programs seem to be all about.  Animals eating one another, and reproducing.  I’ll grant you, on “Planet Earth”, the lions taking down a full-grown elephant were pretty impressive, and apparently very rare.  But still, you knew the elephant was going down.

I liked it when the polar bear was unable to eat the walrus … which sounds a little like an episode of “Celebrity Death Match”.  In the segment with the great white sharks, you knew the seals were going to be eaten.  It just has to be.

I stopped watching sitcoms a long time ago, when I could see the jokes coming from a mile away, and all the situations seemed the same.  The only comedy I’ve watched in the past several years is HBO’s “Entourage”, which had some predictable situations and dialog … but at least had very interesting characters.  But when you know the situation within the first 10 lines of dialog, and you’ve see it 100 times before, and you know how it’ll be resolved and it’s more than likely the dad will be portrayed as the dunce (unless you were watching the old Cosby Show), then what’s the point.  And dramas are almost as bad.  We just started watching “The Mentalist” tonight, and a couple was sneaking into the bosses office late at night for an assignation … and I said to Andie “and the boss is dead in the office”.  Turns out it wasn’t the boss, but yes, there was a body in the office.  *sigh*  Oh well.

I suppose that’s one reason I enjoy watching football.  At least I don’t know who’s going to win until close to the end of the game.  For some reason, I can’t get interested in basketball, baseball, or golf … but cooking shows like “Iron Chef” are fun.  You don’t know who’s going to win AND you can pick up some cooking tips along the way.

So, we know even before the hype for the Super Bowl begins that towards the end of the game, there will be the obligatory shot of either Ben Roethlisberger or Kurt Warner … standing on the sidelines, perhaps breathing hard, looking forlorn and wishing time back on the clock.  He won’t get it, of course.

And then there will be the inane and predictable question “how does this feel?”.


1 Comment

Filed under Sports, Television, Thoughts

One response to “The Other Guy … and Other TV Predictability

  1. Austin

    Agree 100% on sitcoms… I’m down to watching 1 or 2 and even those are wearing thin. I’ve gone mostly to Netflix and/or premium cable channels to fill the evening TV time.

    “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down” are worth checking out if you like unusual travel shows. English actors on motorcycles spend several months riding from London to New York, via Siberia. And later England to South Africa. Just finished “Long Way Down” and I’m hoping they do another one. Maybe Chile to Alaska.

    “Californication” and “Dexter” are remarkably good Showtime offerings available on DVD. Certainly not for everyone – you’ve got to be okay with some ‘adult’ content.

    Also been enjoying the British version of “Kitchen Nightmares” on BBC America as of late.

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