Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Ask a TV Expert
On public radio, a talk show host once interviewed a cultural critic who knew everything about what makes good television. He was contemplating the question of how to make the college loan issue everyone was ignoring into a television drama that Americans would want to watch, one that would receive high ratings because for the networks it’s all about the ratings. The talk show host speculated that such a show should start with a dead body of a college loan officer, then an over-achieving and anti-social student, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, would be charged with the crime followed by a courtroom drama and then revelation that the murderer was actually a girlfriend of the loan officer who had been sleeping with the guy in order to get a sweet deal on student loans. The cultural critic added, “And there should be an explosion during the last episode of the drama; it should always end with an explosion.” Cheryl—a bald, bohemian city girl—was listening to this radio show because she didn’t own a television but liked hearing radio chatter while alone and eating her potato pancakes for dinner; when she heard about the loan officer saga, she thought to herself, ‘that’s funny; that TV synopsis is exactly like my real life story in a nutshell; she shrugged and thought ‘Never figured my life would make good television drama.’ Cheryl lived out the rest of her life—into her early nineties—always refusing, or forgetting, to buy a television and always fearing that at any moment she was going to be the victim of some gruesome explosion. Fortunately, she never had to worry over going gray.