May 26, 2004

Colonial Hell

I've only myself to blame. Why would I watch a PBS show and be surprised? A PBS reality show? Why didn't I just sign up for a dozen root canals?

But I got hooked on the first episode of "Colonial House." You take a couple dozen, whiny PBS liberals and have them re-enact a 1628 New England colony. It's an interesting premise ("My god, Jennifer! I do so miss our Volvo!")

Live there? I really couldn't bear to watch. I watched the first few and then tuned in last night to see them fail when the company assessor graded their viability as a colony. For those of you lucky enough to miss it, here's the greatest hits:

-- First, there is trouble because many of the people who've signed up to re-enact a puritan community refuse to attend church. I'm sure it was optional in 1628...

-- An endearing young African American leaves in the middle. He's not "quitting" mind you, he is just realizing how the hard work sets the stage for the introduction of slavery 50 years later. I guess this is personal and I should probably not comment, but I can't buy it. He was badly needed and let them down.

-- Now that I've lost any pc-cred, let's discuss the Native Americans. These guilt-ridden 21st Century honkies are so afraid of offending anybody, they trade 25 pounds of goods for six pounds of beaver pelts. Then come home to flagellate themselves for being white.

-- Another tribe arrives with a female leader (very 1628, I'm sure), and alas, our community has made a promise to the first tribe not to trade with another, so they are invited in, refuse to eat, hector the colonists about how evil Thanksgiving is, and there is no trade, just an extra heavy dose of self-flagellation committed silently and laconically in front of a community fire.

-- So I tuned into the last show to see how badly the assessors would beat them up: they lost buckets of money, authority was resisted. Nope, turns out the assessors were grading on a curve! Why yes, they lost a gob of our money and people don't go to church, but they've established friendly relations with the local indigenous population and have a great sense of "community."

I guess they had to give them the benefit of the doubt. These folks lived a pretty rough life for 119 days. The premise is flawed because everybody knows they can walk off the set and go back to their Cusinart any day.

Saw them go back to their regular lives: husband and wife college professors in California (can't make this stuff up!), another couple in Lowell MA, and young guy who goes to Thailand so "I can f***** drink all the f**** beer I want! No f*** Dominic rationin' my f*** one beer a day! I drink f*** eight or ten f*** beers a night!" One fellow decides to pursue a vocation in the clergy, I guess thatís two different spiritual revelations.

That's my rant. I won't watch any more shows like that. I'll go back to "Buffy," "Angel," and "Kudlow & Cramer." I promise.

Posted by jk at May 26, 2004 10:10 AM

I'm better, thanks. From Colonial Hell to 21st century nirvana. I got the Sixth Season of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" on DVD (released May 25). I thought that was my birthday present.

Then, watching it, my DVD player was (if I may use the technical term) blowing chunks. I went shopping for a replacement and sold myself up to a 5-disc DVD with built in home theatre audio.

I have never looked too closely at home theater, because I am more likely to watch "Dinner with Andre" than "Armageddon" I felt it would be lost on me.

After I plugged it in, I started up "Once More With Feeling," the musical episode of Buffy. Wow. First, it's a director's cut with several deleted scenes. It sounds good, it looks good. "The world is," as Mr. Steinbeck said, "once again spinning in greased grooves."

NED Bless Joss Whedon!

Posted by: jk at May 27, 2004 09:37 AM
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