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09 January 2012 @ 12:37 pm
The Real LJ Idol: "Magnetic South"  
Magnetic South
real lj idol | week nine| 440 words
Prompt: counter-intuitive

x-x-x-x-x

I always want the unloved thing.

I don't mean that in a Charlie Brown Christmas way, although that has also been true (and I see it happening all over again with my children and their choices).

I mean that I always love the unpopular thing. I am the barometer of cultural death, gravitating toward that which is fated to disappear.

Television comedies are my specialty. It wasn't always so—I followed M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore, and WKRP to success, although I was only twelve or thirteen at the time. Refining such an obstinate sense of inversion doesn't happen overnight!

In the last few decades, I've loved only two comedies that succeeded: Frasier and The Simpsons. I'm still not sure how the first survived (was it simply Niles' slapstick?). Of the many beloved shows that have died, I mourn Max Headroom, Arrested Development, Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, and Reaper. I like 30 Rock, but I love Community, and it, too, seems to be circling the drain.

Meanwhile, Two And a Half Men plays on and on…

I don't care for fashion or pop music, but my 'gift' keeps on giving: the things I like don't last, and the things I hate develop a shelf-life of their own. How else to explain mall hair and sagging pants and Madonna, or the resurgence of '70s fabric prints?

In car stereos, the hardest thing to find is systems with punchable buttons instead of touchscreen displays. You'd think the focus would be on creating products you can use without ever taking your eyes off the road, but electronics companies focus on ever-fancier displays instead.

My sense for what other people don't want is absolutely uncanny!

Today I went shopping for iPod earbuds, a seemingly simple task. I discovered that almost no one makes the kind that hook over your ears anymore. Earbuds so big they fall out of your ears were everywhere, along with color selections to match buds to pods, seemingly for an audience of none.

But wait, that's me!

I'm the one perpetually looking for the things no one sells, and loving the TV shows that swan-dive into dry seas during Nielsen rating periods.

I am the True South of the world in which cultural popularity pulls to the magnetic North.

I am the Anti-Trend, the Queen of Unloved Screenwriting, the Amazing De-Gadgetator.

I've also just realized that if I played the stock market, this dubious talent could make me rich

Please excuse me. I need to scour the Web for the most recent incarnation of whatever's passing as a cultural abstraction of The Pet Rock.

See you in Monaco next year!




 
 
 
Raoul Dukedrjeff on January 9th, 2012 09:13 pm (UTC)
Ugh, I can't believe that they're trying to make Community go away. I'll have to console myself with repeated plays of my Childish Gambino album.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 9th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
I don't understand it, either. Community covers a lot of levels of comedy, from satire and snark to just stupid-funny. I think I laughed myself to tears over Jeff and Britta trying to out-"DeDUH! Der!" a bunch of obnoxious high school kids in Season Two, and that's about as basic as comedy gets.

I also think it's funnier than Parks and Rec (though, again, see the part where I apparently am as unreliable as you can get on "popular" comedy). If Community gets cancelled, Parks and Rec will lose its lead-in, and I think it'll wind up eventually dying, too. But big-picture thinking is notoriously absent in TV programming these days. :0
(no subject) - drjeff on January 9th, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 9th, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - drjeff on January 9th, 2012 09:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 9th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - drjeff on January 9th, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tsuki_no_bara on January 10th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 04:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tsuki_no_bara on January 10th, 2012 05:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
the middle of the road's fine with no cars around: ADnoodledays on January 10th, 2012 02:30 am (UTC)
aww, I think a lot of us have moments or times we can feel like that. btw, BIG fellow AD fan here! :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 03:42 am (UTC)
I wonder if it's "more of us on LJ" who feel like that, because my f-list and many of the people I'm meeting through Real LJ Idol are much more intelligent and thoughtful than the general populace.

Arrested Development was lucky to get 3 seasons with those ratings, which was frustrating for its fans. I still love it to PIECES (and "Action" too, which is another Fox TV show that even its own network grew to hate).

I have the whole DVD set. But no icon. And I love yours-- it's a whole microcosm of the whole G.O.B.&Michael relationship, right there!
(no subject) - noodledays on January 10th, 2012 03:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lawchickylawchicky on January 10th, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
Hehehe- We were huge Arrested Development fans. Those episodes still make me laugh. The hubby just found community and said he loves it, but I haven't seen any of it yet. I don't get the Two and a Half Men thing.. not at all.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)
I have the DVD set, and sometimes watch them while biking in the garage (though 1-hour shows are better for that than 1/2 hour shoes, or you start to feel more ADD than AD before long).

We mainlined Community this summer, after Netflix kept pushing it, and loved it. If you liked Arrested Development, you'll probably love that too. And may I just put in a plug for the dearly-departed Better Off Ted? The overlap between AD fans and the potential fans for that show must be over 90%. Loved it. *sniffle*
(no subject) - lawchicky on January 10th, 2012 04:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 04:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
nodressrehersalnodressrehersal on January 10th, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
What a fun post to read - loved it. I'm one of those, "No, everybody DOESN'T love Raymond" viewers. I hated that show, and I think Two and a half Men is truly idiotic. But I LOVE Modern Family. And Raising Hope.

Thank you for confirming that I am not the only person flipping through the Sunday ads, muttering, "This look can't possibly be in style again - it was gawdawful the FIRST time around!"
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 06:03 pm (UTC)
I'm one of those, "No, everybody DOESN'T love Raymond" viewers. I hated that show, and I think Two and a half Men is truly idiotic. But I LOVE Modern Family. And Raising Hope.
I never liked Raymond either (I'm one of the few people who doesn't like "Seinfeld" or "The Office," either). I liked Modern Family, but am not hooked enough to truly commit (I'm usually not much of a sitcom person), but I love Raising Hope! It's bizarre, it has irony (my weakness) and moments of stupid-funniness, and yet it's kind of sweet at its core. The Season Finale for S1 was a real shocker-- the whole Draco phrase. Boy, I did not see that coming. Or Sabrina's unexpected crush on Draco, either.

"This look can't possibly be in style again - it was gawdawful the FIRST time around!"
Exactly. Ugly then, ugly now. I feel that way about earth tones, too-- especially the number of people in my neighborhood painting their homes in colors from what I call "The palette of gastric distress." I don't care if bile or diarrhea are "in" colors-- they're ugly and disgusting, and when those people have to repaint their homes in 4-5 years they'll be sorry. Ugh!

Thanks as always for reading and commenting!
(no subject) - nodressrehersal on January 10th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nodressrehersal on January 10th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
whipchickwhipchick on January 10th, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
This is terrific - I enjoyed your quirky perspective :) Now please try not to like The Daily Show, OK?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Birthdayhalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!

I'm afraid The Daily Show and The Colber(t) Repor(t) are both shows I love. BUT... they're on cable, so they're safe. It's only the vast morass of network television where my curse really seems to take hold. ;)

Happy belated birthday, BTW!
(no subject) - whipchick on January 12th, 2012 02:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 13th, 2012 05:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
Shadow Wolf Byrdshadowwolf13 on January 10th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
I love a lot of those shows that seem to never make it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: TVhalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
Someone mentioned, in another post on "Counterintuitive", that it's easy to agree on what's tragic, but agreeing on what's funny is hard. Sense of humor tend to be so individualized!

My love of snark and cleverness and irony and satire seem to really run against the mainstream love of slapstick, -isms, and the stoopid. And a lot of other LJers seem to prefer the more intellectual types of humor, too, so we're similar to each other... but not to mainstream audiences.

It's interesting that comedies I like "pretty well" (Monk, Leverage) often do better than ones I "love" (Arrested Development, Reaper). The stronger the appeal, the more doooooomed the show.

But the rest of my "curse" is similarly intact. I'm virtually the polar opposite in taste from every fashion or fad ever. Whee!

Though that does tend to keep me from buying a lot of random new stuff, so there's that. ;)

Thanks for reading and commenting!
(no subject) - shadowwolf13 on January 10th, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 11th, 2012 07:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
basric: Tiger gifbasric on January 10th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
I have the same jinx over TV shows but I found its ABC & NBC who don't give shows a chance to gather an audience.

I enjoyed reading about your dilemma perhaps because I can relate to it.(=
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2012 11:28 pm (UTC)
The idea of not giving shows time to gather an audience is such a prevalent thing in TV. We wound up watching "Wonderfalls" with the kids, who loved it, and they wondered why it hadn't done better? Well... start it on Friday night (kiss of death), skip a few weeks, move it to a different night and timeslot, and panic by five episodes and never even show the other episodes on TV.

Some shows get longer, but the "air when nobody's watching, or when everyone's watching one of the top shows already" plus "skip weeks, change timeslot" are the standard formula for killing shows.

I mentioned the car stereo thing (my husband put real effort into getting me a new one for Christmas that was pushbutton-based), and it's the same problem I have with the newer iPods. I want the Nano, with both the touchscreen AND the buttons. I don't want the shuffle, where you can't see any data, or the newer iPod where you have to look at the display (which I will not do while driving).

Basically, I want the version Apple will no longer make! And their decision to split the features across two different products makes no sense to me-- it's counterintuitive in every sense. Argh... :(

Off-topic, I think I really need to haunt your userpics. This one is as stunning as all the others I've boggled over. Gorgeous!
Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.n3m3sis42 on January 11th, 2012 01:00 am (UTC)
I tried to watch Two and a Half Men once because it's produced by the same person who does Big Bang Theory, which I loved. Boy, was that a disappointment. I don't understand why anyone would watch that show!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 11th, 2012 06:14 am (UTC)
I don't either-- I was shocked to see how popular it was, and how long it had been on the air!

There was more I could have thrown into this essay (a whole sidebar on disco music, for instance), and other things I couldn't. The Toyota Prius lever for "Forward/Reverse" works backwards, but it was too short a subject for an entire story, since I think just about _everyone_ finds that lever counterintuitive. I could swear that the annoying beeping is just to warn you that you're actually going backwards, when you least expect it! Wake uuuuppp!

And of course, who could really benefit from the beeping would be anyone outside the car, since the engine is whisper-quiet. But they're the ones who can't hear it. It just serves to distract the driver. ;)
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hairlilycobalt on January 11th, 2012 12:44 pm (UTC)
Hello from my corner where I am still sad about Pushing Daisies and anxious about Community! D:
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 11th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
Right there with you!

I sure hope Community survives, and how much would it kill them to finish the season anyway? Gah!
Elеna: Love Actually: whateverkehlen on January 11th, 2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
LOL

I half-understand the feeling. Every time I find a little shop selling whatever I like, it tends to promptly disappear within several month.

This sucks, huh?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 11th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
It sure does!

And yet somehow, there's always a proliferation of stores selling things that you have NO interest in.

I still have to buy a new pair of earbuds, too. Which apparently will not be as simple as going to Target. :(
rattsu on January 11th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
I love the term magnetic south! And once upon a time, there was a magnetic south, yay for magnetic fiend inversions. So maybe eventually you will be the leading trendsetter, can't be any weirder than the whole planet shifting poles, right?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 11th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
It seemed like the perfect term for this essay, because I orient that direction again and again...

So maybe eventually you will be the leading trendsetter, can't be any weirder than the whole planet shifting poles, right?

Ha-ha! I like your thinking!

Though I'm afraid even _I_ would have to bet on the planet before me. :D

Thanks for reading!
A Karmic Sandbox: Camo Teddykarmasoup on January 11th, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
I was a huge fan of Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies and Reaper, also, not to mention a little thing called Firefly. I can relate.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 12th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
I used to hope that a cable network would pick up Reaper, because the writing was SO good and the cast was wonderful. But once Sock and Demon Nina started having their own shows, and Sam started guest-starring on other shows, I was forced to admit it was over.

Much like seeing that River Glau was going to be on Dollhouse. But--but-- don't you want to change your mind on that stupid cancellation decision for Terminator:SCC?

It's not just TV, of course, where I'm out of the mainstream. God, the fashion industry alone...
(no subject) - karmasoup on January 12th, 2012 03:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 13th, 2012 05:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
Myrnamyrna_bird on January 11th, 2012 11:09 pm (UTC)
Neat piece!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 12th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!
Snarksnarkerdoodle on January 11th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)
I am the barometer of cultural death -- what an awesome, fantastic line, lol. Great piece throughout as well, but that line just grabbed me right in. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 12th, 2012 04:20 am (UTC)
Hee! It truly feels like my life, sometimes. I might be one of the greatest single predictors of product/music/TV dooooooom ever!

I'm afraid to like things too much, lest they die.
Kristenpixiebelle on January 12th, 2012 03:42 am (UTC)
Oh how I can relate! I feel the same way. I always like the TV shows that get taken off the air right away. Dead Like Me is one of my favorites. Also, most people seem to laugh when I say it, but I actually loved the Terminator TV series a lot. Gone.

Nice job!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 12th, 2012 04:24 am (UTC)
Oh, I really miss Terminator:SCC! I didn't mention that one, because it was more of a drama, but it got more and more intriguing as it went on, and all but one of the very few fanfics I wound up writing for it stemmed from things revealed in the finale. Questions were answered in the finale, but interesting new ones were raised, and I wanted to see where those went!

I wound up buying both years on Black Friday as my Christmas gift to myself. Previous years included Wonderfalls, both years of Dead Like Me, Arrested Development, Reaper, and Better Off Ted (and S2 is still unreleased on DVD).

And this year, also Action. That show was doomed a-borning. :)