Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Demographic Shift - 43

My friend Marcus, he who lives on the side of a hill in Stallingwalling, calls me out of the blue right at a crucial moment and I have to ask if I can call him back a little later. He demands to know what I'm doing that is so important and, to be honest, I'm really I'm a little embarrassed to admit it publicly.

"Er... I'm right in the middle of something."
"In the middle of something? Are you eating? It's 10 o'clock?"
"No not eating, exactly."
"OK not eating at all, I'm..."
"It's a little tricky."
"Tricky? Are you in the bathroom?"

In the bathroom? Is he insane? Maybe that's a Stallingwalling thing. Who takes the phone to the loo? Other than the people I see at work busy urinating away while blahing on their mobile phones while still firing on all cylinders, which is somehow faintly disgusting, but hey that's just me.

"Of course I'm not on the loo."
"So where are you?"
"Well, I'm just sitting on the couch?"
"You're watching TV aren't you? That's so lame."

Lame? OK, fair enough. It's true I was watching TV. How rude is that exactly? Blowing people off just to watch a show. Thing is I'm watching a programme that I have sadly become a little addicted to and really I wouldn't exactly go around telling everyone about it, but even the other day at an ad agency lunch we spent some time discussing the goings on in 'The OC'. There was much concern expressed for the future of Sandi and Kirsten's marriage.

I know, I'm very sad, but I'm upfront about this (that's a good thing right?). I have seen almost all of it -- what with Channel 4 running the show half a dozen times a week across E4 and E4+1, it's really hard to miss. Besides, in my defence (OK, I do somehow feel the need for defence) there is very little on that I bother to watch on a regular basis. Honest.

Let's see. 'Channel 4 News', bits of MTV2 and occasional slices of Channel 4's property programming strands: 'Grand Designs', 'Property Ladder' and 'Location Location Location' et al.

Besides, I'm expected to watch property programming and let's face it, really it's kind of educational. It offers us all the chance to laugh at occasional really stupid people and if you are inclined, as I seem to be, to shout at the TV screen something along the lines of "ARE YOU INSANE? WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ARE YOU PUTTING A TOILET IN YOUR KITCHEN?"

I digress, the show in question is 'The OC' It's not just me, it seems that quite a few other people watch this show and as someone at Channel 4 said to me "Don't feel too sad, anyone who is anyone is watching the show".

"What are you watching?"
"'The OC'?"
"The O what? Is that a spin-off from ER?"
"Not quite, 'The OC', you must have heard of it? It's like the big thing in youth and, well, not so youthy TV?"
"Youth TV are you mad? I have two children who have systematically removed all connections to anything vaguely youth-related."

Oh that sounds bad, really I'm not liking the sound of that at all, I'm sure he means that in a good way.

"But in a good way, right?"
"Are you mad? Of course not in a good way. What's 'The OC' about anyway?"

This is a good question. As I think this over I start to hum the theme tune by LA rockers Phantom Planet ("We've been on the run, driving in the sun... California, here we come").

Well, you see there's this kid from the wrong side the tracks (known as Chino, kind of like a pair of trousers, but not) who is adopted by this Jewish lawyer and his Waspy wife who have a geeky comic book kid and he ends up dating his sort of adopted mother's illegitimate half sister having previously dated the right side of the tracks school social chair who ends up getting drunk, sleeps with the gardener and is currently rebelling by falling for another girl... Wait a second, when you actually start to explain it like that it sounds absurd. Do you think... no, that can't possibly be the case.

"Er... it's kind of about dating, the evils of screwy relationships and not dating. Really there is a lot of not dating."
"What else?"
"Well it has a slight obsession with 'Star Wars' metaphors and..."
"You know you're not quite selling it."

Then I get it -- one of the most enjoyable things about 'The OC', other than rebelling lesbians and do-goody liberal Jewish lawyers saving the world, is the music.

In one episode alone this season (not yet aired in the UK), it featured five songs from the new Beck album.

I did a quick count of the first two seasons and found I owned at least 30 of the songs featured. If you were driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, it's the iPod 101 playlist you would be listening to.

The Killers, The Thrills, The Eels, Elliott Smith, Rilo Kiley, Pixies, Feeder, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers, Bright Eyes, Beth Orton, Damien Rice, Ryan Adams and Belle & Sebastian to name... er... just 14.

The music is outstanding, the show's creators are PLUs who play all the music they like. It's like someone took the best tunes around and created a rolling music video, but with amusing dialogue and a sunny backdrop and Star Wars gags.

"So really you're saying it's like 'Beverly Hills, 90210', but with better music"
"Er, you know really it's more like 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' but, you know, without the slayage or the vampires -- but still with the one liners and integral pop culture references and music."
"Buffy? You really do need to get out more and that's coming from someone who doesn't get out at all."

You know I'm sure he's right, but... did I mention it has Jim from 'Neighbours', who was for a brief '24' time Vice-President of the US, and he's evil and married to an equally evil gold digger?

OK, point taken, I'm going out.


Anonymous Rachel said...

Haha, I think my family live in Stallingwalling. It certainly sounds familiar.

4:11 PM  

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