THE SOCIOLOGY OF THE O.C.

Greetings,

Yes, yes, life in blogland is slowly picking up steam again for me. I guess this is what happens when I store up my writing energy. This, of course, is after playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (which I strongly suggest you pick up, provided you’ve got a PS/2), working on a couple web sites, researching some forthcoming articles, and watching Christmas episodes of South Park while running on a treadmill. Oh, and I did this all at once. Pretty amazing, no?

THE O.C. AND WHAT IT MEANS: Unless you’ve been living in Alert the past two years (Alert, for those who don’t know, is this very, very small relay station right at the top of the Arctic Circle – doesn’t really exist anymore, was an important Cold War-era early warning centre), there’s this little show called The O.C. that’s been making some pretty big news in TV Land. It’s considered a well-written descendent of Beverly Hills 90210, full of gorgeous young (and not-so-young) things. I’m not a regular viewer (yes, there are twentysomethings that don’t watch this show) but I’ve heard so many good things about it that I went onto BitTorrent and found some old episodes.

This show is perfectly timed for this era, mostly because it celebrates (and mocks, albeit with self-knowing irony) all the particulars of modern wealthly folks. In the immortal words of Peter Griffin, “it’s fun to watch rich people be naughty.”

The soapy elements of The O.C. are so over-the-top, so insane, that it’s hard to not laugh and enjoy all the sights and sounds of the show (in particular the sights – that actress who plays Summer, sweet lord have mercy).

Is this the future of television drama? Well, if they keep the writing quality up, sure. And you really have to be happy that network dramas (The O.C., Desperate Housewives, American Dreams, et al) are starting to make a serious comeback against the overwhelming sludge of reality T.V. So maybe T.V.’s future isn’t a sea of porn, violence and exploitation.

On a final note, I strongly suggest you check out Videodrome, a 1983-era sci-fi film about the future of television. Brilliant work by Cronenberg and a fascinating thesis about the merger of sex, technology and violence. Strangely apt for 2004.

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