Why, hello, hello. How have you been? It’s been a couple of weeks. I won’t even begin with the “Did you miss me?” talk, because I am sort of used to not being missed. Besides, I’m far too sensitive to stand a possible insulting answer to a mindless question anyways. So why even risk it, right? Right.
A lot has happened since we last rendezvoused, you know. And because I — the loving, caring blogtastic blogger that I am — love you — the fantastic, loyal, intelligent and attractive readers that you are — I thought I would take some time to hit on five points to catch us all up. That’s right. Five things that happened while I was gone.
Why do this, you ask? Two reasons. One, there are just way too many things I want to touch on after being out of the game for two weeks. And two, as we’ve discussed before, lists are simply much easier to read and/or navigate. I mean, goodness. This is a blog, not the latest issue ofThe New Yorker. So below are a few things to get us talking again. Because contrary to what you may already believe, I missed you dearly during my absence, and I want to make sure our time away from each other didn’t drive too much of a wedge between what I have always considered a very deep and fulfilling friendship that we share. But enough of me. Let’s get reacquainted, shall we?
1. Stumbling through Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport at about 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, having not slept a wink all day or night, I came across this headline: “With ‘Treme’ renewed for a third season, its writers focus on stories left to tell.” Because the paper was still in a box and I was unable (and, for that matter, way too incoherent) to read the full article, I saved it for a quick online search the next day (that article, for what it’s worth, can be found here). This is news, why? Well, as the read-out in the paper’s edition said, the show is one of HBO’s least-watched programs; out of the 103 Emmy nominations the network received some months back, the show garnered a grand total of zero slots; and, as you will find if you clicked on that above link, “Treme”‘s second season premiere attracted 600,000 viewers. What? You think that’s a lot? Well, when you compare that show’s number to, say, “True Blood,” which managed to pull in a whopping 5.4 million people during its most recent season premiere, 600,000 viewers is a little less than peanuts.
So why bring it back? Well, as HBO’s co-president Richard Plepler said, “There wasn’t any question from Michael (Lombardo, the network’s programming president) and me that we wanted David (Simon, one of the show’s creators) to continue his narrative, and we told him that. It really wasn’t, frankly, a decision for us. He wasn’t done telling the story, and we have such respect for him and regard for him, we want him to feel he’s expressed what he wants to express.” Well done, HBO.
The story’s most intriguing part? Much like Simon’s other fantastic television series, “The Wire,” the former Baltimore Sun reporter had originally alluded to “Treme” running five seasons. As the article points out, though, he may be looking to wrap the story after a mere three. As it goes, Simon reconsidered the length of the series after an evaluation of how much of the story has already been told compared to what’s left to tell. Still (and, of course, to tie all of this in with how watching television without cable is important), regardless of how long or short of a future the show may have, the writer offered the following comment recently: “If you want the show to survive, buy several copies of the DVD,” he said. “Shoplift several more. Use them as doorsteps. Use them to decorate your costumes for Mardi Gras.”
2. Big Brother is watching you. No, really. Big Brother is watching you. In maybe the most creepy development of them all over the past couple weeks, Flingo announced that their technology is currently being mass-produced by one of the top five television brands in the country. Oh, wait. You probably want to know what Flingo is, don’t you?
The company’s technology provides a new type of creepy, creepy, creepy Internet-connected television. Why so creepy? Well, it offers built-in software that sends data about whatever you are watching to an Internet server. As it goes, if you happen to be using the same Internet connection for your laptop, desktop or smartphone (which, presumably, you would be in this day and age), the technology can present relevant information about whatever show it is you are watching and — get this — manipulate which ads you will see, all based on whatever television show you happen to be viewing.
“For example, you could go to Google or IMDB and the page would already know what’s on the (television) screen,” David Harrison, cofounder and CTO of Flingo, told MIT’s Technology Review. “Retailers like amazon or Walmart might want to show you things to buy related to a show, like DVDs, or what people are wearing in it.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Facebook and Twitter will now be able to get in on the action as well, as both social mediums can use the service to connect viewers to a TV show’s original page or stream. The worst part of it all is seemingly a function that will allow pop-ups to appear on someone’s television to offer the viewer information taken from the wide world of the InterWebs. And finally, in addition to current-time television activity, all of this will allow sites to match a person’s television watching history with possible advertisements that may appear on one’s screen.
Yes. As I said, Big Brother is watching you.
3. We pause for a quick video. During my time away from you lovely people, I was able to catch up on the second season of Elvis Costello’s “Spectacle” via DVD, of course. The following is one of the three best moments the series will ever see …
4. OK. So does anybody know anything about “The Hour?” I’ve been trying desperately to find a destination online where I can watch the show for weeks. It’s on BBC America and I can’t stop reading about how great it is. Any pertinent information regarding how I could get such things to appear on my computer screen would be greatly appreciated. Just use the email address underneath my incessantly smirking head at the top of this page. I can’t keep reading about its greatness without actually ever seeing it. OK? OK. Thank you.
And finally …
5. For those who may be interested in such things (and honestly, I doubt there isn’t a single one of you who are), you can find pretty much everything I was doing while away from the fine Maryland area here. The only thing missing is a picture I took with the fabulous Mr. Kermit Ruffins, a picture from which I will spare you all. It was a much-needed distraction/getaway, however short it may have seemed. Naturally, I contracted some awful sickness on the flight home and nearly coughed up three lungs in the past five days, but alas, all is now well. Word of advice: Don’t book a flight out of New Orleans at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Trust me. It’s not an intelligent way of going about things.