Issue 023—My Dream Is On The Screen—Staff Picks: Supernatural, TV Ad Tropes, Canadian Public TV Idents; Features: My Little Pony, Mad Men, South Park, Deadwood, Days Of Our Lives vs. EastEnders, Lace, Wallace and Ladmo, You Can’t Do That On Television, The Crystal Maze, Go Ask Alice, When “Based On The Movie” Goes Wrong, Daytime Talk Shows, Aeon Flux, The Rock Band Sitcom, SCTV.
“There are only two things I love in this world: everybody, and television.”
—Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock
“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
—The Bhagavad Gita, as quoted by J. Robert Oppenheimer
TV is bad for you, right?
By Lisa Anderson
Here’s a drinking game for you fans of Supernatural! Perfect for a DVD marathon or one of the new episodes coming out this Fall. Because it is Supernatural, after all, I decided to go for 13.
By Jesse Roth
Television, for better or worse, has always played a significant role in my life. Its influence, however, did not stop when my favorite shows would “take five” for the benefit of their sponsors. A good portion of my TV-related memories seem to involve the various ads clogging the airwaves, some of which were far more memorable than the shows they were sponsoring. Though I was rarely motivated enough to buy the products they were promoting, the following commercials have found a permanent home in my mind, no matter how hard I try to forget them.
By Emily Carney
Many television-philes like myself are obsessed with classic station identifications, or idents, from our childhood years. Whenever I hear the old PBS ident music from the 1980s, immediately I hearken back to the days when I used to watch Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood before taking my Dukes of Hazzard Big Wheel out for a leisurely spin.
In the last few years, I’ve familiarized myself with some Canadian TV idents which are as cool, diverse, and strangely comforting as their American counterpart’s idents. Here’s a small list of the very best Canadian idents from the past few decades.
By Matt Keeley
The Hub’s My Little Pony is one of the the best shows on television. I came to it rather late, despite having friends who were already fans, mainly because, well . . . who would ever think that statement could ever be true? But it is. And it’s all thanks to Lauren Faust.
By Chelsea Spear
Hey Mad Men fans, let’s play a word association game. When I say to you “Peggy Olson,” what comes to mind? Of course you’d think of the plucky, ambitious copywriter of Sterling Cooper, a Cinderella out of nowhere who’s made a name for herself both through her skill with words and her dogged pursuit of every opportunity that comes her way. Thoughts of Peggy’s unfortunate wardrobe might also cross your mind, as you think about her fondness for mustard yellow and those ridiculous fluffy bangs she rocked in the early episodes.
Okay, so let’s try this again, this time with “Joan Holloway.” Two words might pop into your head: Hotchie and/or motchie! Yes, Joan is the series’ breakout character, beloved by voluptuous women and drag queens everywhere for her jewel-toned wiggle dresses, her red hair, and her way with a bon mot. True, she’s saved the bacon at SC and assisted in building the new ad firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, but who are we kidding? She’s as well known for her sex appeal as she is for her efficiency and professionalism.
By Ben Sullivan
Few serialized forms of entertainment—let alone television shows—have been so defined by an overt enthusiasm to piss off all elements of their viewing audience as South Park. Presaging the Adult Swim grotesque and Seth McFarland’s ribald flippancy, South Park tossed its cavalier line into every cultural imbroglio, national hypocrisy, or simple question of taste at hand. From paparazzi to PETA to NAMBLA, from hybrid drivers to iPad users to country music listeners, from liberals to conservatives to just about any A, B, or C-list celeb caught in the compromises of fame and exposure, South Park‘s defamatory fangs have never wanted for fresh meat.
By Paul Casey
Deadwood ran for three seasons on HBO before it was cancelled. It did not have the longevity or the success of The Sopranos or The Wire, yet its vision of the Modern Western stays with us, and reminds us of the potential of the television series to surpass even the greatest cinematic efforts.
The journey of the Western is a long and strange one, and Deadwood stands as the end result of decades of progression from the seemingly superficial adventure picture to a genre which can deal with the darkest themes and stories. I believe it to be the greatest Western of its kind.
By AJ Wood
Like so many who get involved in soap operas, my introduction to Days Of Our Lives circa 1994 was quite innocent and totally unintentional. Coming home from summer school, I would walk in just in time for my sister to be sitting down to lunch in front of the TV. Being tired, bored, and overheated from the bus ride home, I’d join her in the living room and idly watch Days, a.k.a. DOOL, with her. Then, after a few days, a week or two maybe, I made the mistake all unintentional soap opera watchers have made at some point: I asked, “Why’s she so mad at her?”