Thursday, December 11, 2003

The Corsair's Remote Control Tour Diary

We have a few new visitors to The Corsair, so I'm going to repost this tv tour. If you have already peeped it, please scroll down for the new posts, sorry about that.

There are over 500 cable channels nowadays, so who better to give you a tour of some of the major ones?

Anyhoo: 500 channels means "niche marketing." And with all those niches, things can get confusing as to what is being marketed. So, The Corsair will help the viewer through the wonderful world of cable with these pithy explanations, In Media Res:

TNT: Lousy with Middle aged Testosterone. A musky-smelling channel. Bruce Willis and Steven Seagal action flics and basketball. Big in New Jersey.

CNN: Used to be a channel for Kings and Queens and heads of state, but of late it is the channel for cranky retired people with an angry opinion on everything political ("Those libs are holding up Medicaid!"). Poor CNN: They used to wine and dine with kings and queens, but now they are laying in the gutter eating pork and beans.

Lifetime: A channel earnestly devoted to the smouldering resentments of Midwestern housewives. Husbands are to blame in most of these story lines. Anger is the predominant emotion. Hollywood has not been kind to Nancy McKeon. Hell hath no fury like Joanna Kearns scorned!

Family Channel: The channel devoted to Christians in a nuclear family with a conviction that human history has a purpose beyond this world. Halleleuia. Lots of Mary Kate and Ashley films, which, ironically, attract a very different sort of crowd than the ones that these cats are aiming after.

CNBC: This channel serves as "White Noise" for the various strip joints in the Wall Street and financial district vicinity. As your Bud Fox-like trader with a "Lawng Island" accent sips a Stoli on the rocks on his lunchbreak, sniffing his "Bolivian white Powder" ("Vitamin C"), getting a "friction dance" from his favorite "dancer," he can look over her shoulder, casually, and catch a brief glance at just how the markets are doing, and get a gauge on when he should return to the office.

A&E: An elderly folks network with lots of Murder, She Wrote, and "original" films like "Horatio Hornblower," for viewers who can remember their glorious years of service in the British Imperial navy policing those hectic colonial ports.

History: This is the Hitler and Outlaw Biker channel. At any time of the day, there is a hilbilly bar with serious discussions going on as to Hitler's "tactical blunders" and what they would have done "different," with this channel serving as the background noise.

Discovery: This is the older, skeevier companion network to the already low rent History Channel, which means that it attracts a comparatively downscale sort of viewer than one would expect at History, which is not saying much at all. Seriously, though, This is the straight up serial killers network. No joking, yo. Somewhere in the Yosemite Valley there is a man, in a dungeon, sweating profusely, wearing clown makeup and laughing at the moon. He is surrounded by dog collars and he is described by co workers at the post office as "a solitary man."

Guess which channel this guy is watching to drown out the screams. That's right (sotto voce) Discovery. Homeland security must needs to monitor anyone who watches more than 3 hours a day of this shit.

VH1: Perhaps the coolest channel on basic cable or otherwise, my little pomegranates! Suffused with irony, snark and nostalgia, this channel supplies the basic components of the Gen X diet. Michael Hirschorn is our god; we are not worthy.

MTV: No longer cool: a little resentful of the joie de vivre its older, more successful brother, VH1. It will never be the 80s again and the blush has wore off that ordinary looking frat boy Carson Daly. No one over 16 should be watching this channel, even for the misguided purpose of irony.

E!: Creepy celebrity stalking and gossip. Everyone on this channel reeks of thwarted Hollywood ambitions and plastic surgery gone awry. This channel hasn't had a hit since Gregg Kinnear was up in this bitch, and Jules Asner snatched Steven Soderberg, using the Asner name (she divorced Ed Asner's son years ago).

ESPN: This is reality tv for the Maxim set. Faint but palpable homoerotic subtext via "hero worship" of alpha males, like, say, Shaq or Sprewell (but viewers call him Spree, cause, like, they know him personally in a Calvin Klein kind of way), although your average Joe Fratboy will never acknowledge that distrubing little truth.

Bravo: For the affluent gay man. Cultural programming(National Dog Show, Cirque du Soleil, Inside the Actors Studio) and Queer Eye For the Straight Guy rebroadcasts. If you go in for the National Dog Show, collect Lalique crystal ("Steuben Glass is for amateurs"), or the like, then this is your network.

BET: A seriously embarassing network marketed to the seedy stereotype of the urban underclass. Ghetto comedy skits told in unremarkable english with frequent reference to bodily functions; charmed, I'm sure. Snakeoil selling televangelists prevail over the airwaves on Sundays. And C-List Blaxploitations flix fill out the rest of any regrettable week spent watching this schedule. Can you fucking believe that Viacom paid three billion dollars for this channel?

Sci Fi: The repressed sexuality channel. Their niche is the grown man who has a crush on the X Man, Storm and dreams in full-on video games. Somehow the unresolved "sexual energy" gets worked out into a reverence for the "paranormal." B List hot chicks like Shannen Doherty and Tracy Lords end up here after Hollywood is through with them.

Fox: If you go in for Karl Rove's talking points, this is the channel for you. The Corsair has to admit that he watched it during the Second Gulf War. Fox routinely scooped the other networks because it sometimes seemed that Rummy gave them the inside scoop. For a "family values network," the women broadcasters have an oddly pornographic patina about them. Hmmm.

Showtime: Tries earnestly to out-extreme the original programming at HBO, who got there first. Dreams of getting recognized at events like the Golden Globes; not likely, however. This is the place to try to pitch your indie documentary on transexual underwater basket weavers in Micronesia.

Food: For people who's interest in food has transcended the purely phenomenal eating stage.

TLC: This channel is a bit of a mystery to me. It used to have a niche as a sort of Cliff Clavin channel: you know, for the general interest trivia mind-- programming on the imago stage of child development, poisonous reptiles, the Minoan civilization, Roman mosaics, classical biological warfare, the robber barons, volcanoes, that sort of thing. But now it has a lot of "fixing up the home" programming. Go figure what that means.

AMC: Kind of Cool. Old Hollywood glamour with some original programming and commentary on the Gilded Age of Hollywood. This is like a channel put together by the editors of Variety looking backward. Vanity Fair should do a show here. Old school.

FX: Not worth talking about. Maxim lite. Loads of testosterone.

We: Women's fantasy. Lots of Merchant-Ivory Brit productions of aristocrats who fall in love with common women, who are often middle aged American divorcees. Pure drivel.

C-Span: For the ultra political science geek. Viewers tend to look like Michael Barone, wait anxiously for their New Republic copies to arrive, and chuckle over Senate voting record statistics. Can rattle off the precise wording of the Republican Party platform of 1964.

Oxy: Very "sisterhood" oriented; Oprah and Gerry Laybourne's experiment has recently taken a sort of Sapphic detour of late with regard to their programming.

National Geographic: Interesting and kind of cool. This is a channel about animals and exotic cultures.

IFC: So earnest, so hip, so anti-Hollywood: yet as soon as Dinner for Five's indy star John Favreau gets to do a big shlocky Hollywood film like Elf, he jumps like a Cocker Spaniel being offered a dog yummy. Independent cinema is dead.

TCM: This is a less hip AMC. This is like AMC with a broken hip. Lots of old movies with no irony or relevant commentary.

Ovation: The Corsair has a theory that this is a piece of flotsam adrift on the vast media ocean that is digital television. They repeat the same ten or so programs ad nauseum. Is there anyone employed at Ovation? Did the programmer have a heart attack in the 80s? Did anyone notice? Is anyone watching?

ESPNClassic: Oh, dear lord help us. Old men with beer bellies reliving "classic sports moments." (At this point, Bruce Springsteen's Glory Days should be playing). This is the tv channel Al Bundy would most likely be watching on his day off from the shoe store.

TVLand: Tries to be all retro-ironical, but street cred will not be forthcoming by running repeats of Bewitched and Sanford and Son, alone. Poor saps. The other networks have bought all the good old tv shows, leaving TV Land to contemplate Mayberry.

Animal: Television for committed vegans and PETA members. What kind of ad revenue do these guys generate?

Sundance: An edgy IFC; very left wing political, but pure. Robert Redford's pet liberal project.

Trio: Perhaps the coolest channel of them all. What VH1 viewers will most likely watch once they quit being ironic, get real jobs in the media and participate in the economy. Used to be a Canadian station, believe it or not. Culture and media navel gazing.

NWI: A rap up of all the international anti-American news agencies. Al Gore wants to buy this station and kick things up a notch.

DiscoveryTimes: One of the strangest channels in the world. this is actually the New York Times' channel, but it is devoted to showing America militarized or in crisis, which, all told, are the moments when The Old Grey Lady was at its finest. Lots of Civil rights struggles, war footage, terrorism analysis, and --wierdest of all -- endless looks into our military academies. What the fuck?!

FUSE: MTV's unsuccessful competitor for the extreme generation low attention span kiddie market, which is not saying much.

VH1Classic: Could be interesting, as the X Generation is big on nostalgia, but right now this channel is not happening.

USA: This is the sybil channel. It is high testosterone most of the year, but come holiday time it is all about the holidays... kinda like our dads.

Style: If it is possible this is an even more shallow channel than E! Lots of B-List types talking about the beauty business.

That's all, I hope you liked my thoughts. If you did, bookmark this site.


Ron Mwangaguhunga

1 comment:

Allen said...

The writer is totally fair, and there is no question.
used furniture Toronto | how to lose fat | already