November 6, 2007

...and the Writers went on strike, and I saw that it was good...

It is 11:40. Letterman is on, and it's a rerun.

Why is it a rerun? Because the writers are on strike. All of the television and movie writers are (I think).

Why are they on strike? Well, I have never taken the side of a union before, as I usually take a hard-line union-crushing stance, but this time I see where they're coming from. Television writers are very accomplished and powerful people: They get the majority of Americans to spend their evenings accomplishing nothing. The Canadians are hunting seals and building cabins, the Japanese are building robots, the Russians are trying to go forth and multiply, the Germans are probably drinking, and we're sitting on couches watching crime dramas in between Bud Light and unseasonably early Christmas commercials.

Writers create plot lines, put them in working order, and feed dialog to actors. Then, their ideas get put on TV, advertisers buy commercials, and eventually their shows go to DVD so people can inexplicably buy bad TV series and watch reruns over and over again. But the people who cranked out the script don't see royalties from them.

The people who made your shoes aren't getting any royalties, but the designers probably are. Lots of companies have profit sharing, and when the employees improve the company, they get a piece of it. It might be another 12 cents in their paycheck, but it's a piece. So, too, should television writers get a little extra money for their creations. Besides, a few months off should give them time to get out of their little storyboarding meetings and think up some fresh ideas.

All social justice for TV writers aside (They still make way more money than you), the strike creates more opportunities for reality television. And by that, I mean, it creates the opportunity for us to turn our televisions off for a few more hours each week. I heard American Idol might go to three hours a week. The only way I would approve this is if that additional hour is 60 minutes of crazy and delusional people getting famous the wrong way. Then I would approve.

But imagine, if you will, a world where people shut off their televisions for a few extra hours a week, uninterested in reruns of Ghost Whisperer and CSI:Spinoff, instead opting to read a book, have a conversation, or build robots to keep up with the Japanese. Think of the economic impact!

Of course, I'm a big hypocrite. I watch as much TV as anyone (and it tears me up inside!) and I'll be first in line when TV returns from its rerun hiatus, presumably to watch shows that I have no interest in, about people I don't identify with that hold worldviews I don't understand.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

The tragedy of it all is that there will only be 2 more episodes of the Office until the strike ends.

I couldn't care less about the rest.