Reading Odyssean levels of meaning into every facial twitch is only possible when you already know the plot and you’ve turn on subtitles.
TV is fucking boring. How is it possible that humans made this thing, this goddamn miracle of a thing, that shows moving pictures and sounds and fantastically mediocre acting and plot lines and then made it boring?
By refusing to be fucking intelligent about it. You know that little button on your Netflix and HBO GO and whatever else your vector may be for watching reruns of every late ’90s and early ’00s TV? That little button that says “CC” or has some indecipherable little squiggly lines meant to represent human speech?
Press that shit.
Now hear me out.
It’s not censoring the show or movie; it’s livening it right up. Instead of sitting on the couch and watching Gilmore Girls reruns for hours at a time with your bestie and saying nothing for fear of missing what they’re saying, turn on the subtitles and read whatever the fuck they’re saying so you can talk at the same time.
“But those little white letters are covering up essential pixels on the screen!”
I’m sorry, is the bottom of the screen really vital to your life? Do you really need to see that eighth of an inch of Game of Thrones to know that at least one of the characters on screen is going to kill someone soon? You do? Well then spoiler, Tyrion leaves the hustle and bustle of big city life to become a beet farmer. There, I’ve saved you six seasons of misery.
“But where’s the mystery?”
Who the fuck are you? Sherlock Holmes? Mystery is overrated and so is Sherlock Holmes.
“But you’re missing the action!”
“But you’re missing the plot!”
Ah, yes the plot. Here is where things get sticky, I’ll admit. What makes the subtitles paradigm truly knock your moldy socks right off is knowing the plot. My solution is to read the plot summary beforehand. When I tell people this, they don’t just look confused or critical, they look fundamentally offended. To their very core, they look as though I’ve just told them their mother never loved them and “President Trump” sounds like a really good idea.
Which is fucking stupid. What the fuck difference does it make if you find out about the beet farming at the beginning or the end of the episode?
But okay, you want to “experience” the plot “as it happens,” as though TV is real. It’s quaint that you think that but sure, I’ll accept it. Let us therefore turn our attention to millennial nostalgia, the biggest driver for 20 and 30-somethings to do anything in life.
You already know the plot. Reruns of Friends are still insanely popular. The ’90s have come back with a Lisa Frank-covered vengeance. Gilmore Girls are gracing our screens once again and turned fans into oozing, dripping puddles of saliva in front of the TV, fiendishly devouring every episode to see if Luke’s bald spot will go away after the 10th rewatch, if not the 9th.
Shit man, I’m on board. I support the sticky messes of drool. I support such in-depth analysis of TV because what the fuck else do we have to distract ourselves from the flaming pile of diarrhea that is the state of our country? Nothing is what.
And do you know what might help with said analysis? With reading Odyssean levels of meaning into every facial twitch? Knowing the fucking plot so you can pay attention to other things. Time has already done it for us with shows we’re rewatching from over a decade ago. We already know the plot and the dialogue can be easily worked around with subtitles, leaving oceans of brain space for furious arguments about Jess versus Logan with our supposed best friends, though best friends who side #TeamJess should reconsider what they are doing with their lives. You know who you are.
In other words, subtitles and Wikipedia might be two of the only things preventing an entire generation from strolling right off a cliff.
Favorite films from the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Jacqueline Soller and J. McVay on ‘Tully.’ John Knefel on Michelle Wolf’s WHCD performance. A sneak preview from Holly Miranda’s BTR Live Studio session. | listen