Tim Allen once said: “Fans used to come up to television stars and say how much they loved their show and the stars performance. Fans now come up to television stars with more knowledge about the business than the stars. They tell me what an excellent lead-in show I have, and how my show appearing on a Wednesday is better than Tuesday due to historical viewing habits.”
We’ve come a long way in this information age. We can now find almost as much information on Facts of Life star Mindy Cohn as we can on Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln. We can find information on a television star’s life, and we can find information on the infighting that occurs on these shows. More information usually means more intelligence, unless one squanders this opportunity for more information on trivial matters that will mean nothing to anyone at the end of the day.
William F. Buckley once said that the definition of intelligence has changed drastically in the space of a few generations. He said: “It used to be that an individual could define himself as intelligent based upon the books he read and understood. In today’s day and age, you are defined as intelligent if you can accurately list off Bruce Willis’ movies.” To my mind, and based on some of the quotes below, I’m thinking this has progressed to not only knowing the writers and directors of the shows, but knowing the infighting that occurs between them. People appear to even go to the lengths of memorizing ratings (as depicted below) to show that “their” favorite show is better than another. Why? Other than a certain degree of competitiveness that is odd in the grand scheme of things, what does a person have to gain from divulging in such minutiae? Is there an end game that these people see, or is there just so little for these people to do in their daily life, and so little for them to worry about, that they engage in learning these incredibly useless facts.
I’m reminded of a quote: “Those that don’t believe in God will believe in anything.” The theory behind this is that our minds are wired to believe in something, so if we find a belief in God to be irrational, we will replace it with anything. The mind is also wired for education or knowledge. We love to learn things in other words. In the same manner that our bodies seek food as sustenance, and our minds reward us for fulfilling that need, our minds reward us for fulfilling it’s need for information. The question is what is the information and how rewarding can it be to learn it?
Most people find politics boring, confusing, and frustrating. Most people find history boring, philosophy can be overwhelming, and sports can be disappointing, so what’s left?
The following is from a discussion board* of a number of fans of the short-lived, and much beloved by yours truly, television show Flash Forward. (Editors Note: These are not posts made by network insiders, journalists, or anyone that could benefit in any tangible way from the information they have uncovered.)
1) “Rather than simply passing on a writer he was pitched, Goyer personally made time to call this particular writer’s agent and DEMAND to know why he was repped by him — saying he felt the baby writer was no good.”
2) “For the past two development seasons new ABC dramas have all tanked (save for last’s season’s slow-but-steady Castle and this season’s declining-but-TBD V/FlashForward). NBC and Leno have given a gift to McPherson. Without that train wreck, we’d all be talking about how his drama slate has failed for two years in a row.”
3) “FF was never LOST’s heir apparent, despite what ABC hoped. Even at its best ratings, FF never came NEAR where Lost was in its first season, let alone Lost’s SIXTH. Lost preemed to a 6.6 in season 1 and preemed to a 5.5 is season 6. A remarkable run. FF was barely in the high 3’s when it was “hot”. It finished its run in the low 2s. With DVRs factored in generously, FF may hit a 3 while season 6 of lost will be pushing a 7.”
In the late 60’s, a television series called Star Trek was cancelled. Before that eventuality could occur, NBC was deluged with letters from fans asking the network to renew the show. This letter writing campaign was so historic, at one point, that NBC issued an announcement that the show would be renewed for a third season. This announcement followed the final episode of season two, and it basically asked fans to stop writing. As we all know, the show was cancelled after the third season, but the letter writing campaigns, coupled with the knowledge of the fan base was historic. The passion for the show, and the knowledge its adherents had, was so historic that it has become a long running joke about certain elements of our culture. One has to wonder if a Star Trek were on in 2017, if network execs would be as shocked. The culture has changed so dramatically that if a show received a million letters asking that the network save a show, most network execs would shrug it off as par for the course. They would also regard insider verbiage, such as that detailed above, endemic of the culture.
*This discussion board can be found at the following site: https://rilaly.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=284&message=1