The New Watercooler

Years ago, people would gather around the water cooler (or any other gathering place) and discuss the previous evening's episode of Dallas, Dynasty and later Seinfeld and Friends. But the new way to discuss your favorite shows and topics isn't face-to-face; it's on the internet with people you will never meet. Personally, I frequent Slate.com. I like their take on current events, but I really like their discussions of some of my favorite TV shows. In particular, Mad Men and Downton Abbey. I have found that reading the opinions of these shows has enhanced my enjoyment of them. I am now trying to watch with a more critical eye rather than passively sitting on the couch and zoning out.

I'm not sure I would have noticed all of the subtleties of Mad Men were it not for the regular column on Slate with John Swansburg, Julia Turner, and Patrick Radden Keefe. Each detail, from the color of the clothes to the song playing in the background, are examined for meaning. And with a show like Mad Men, most things mean something. I have to say that this is probably the most meticulously produced show I have ever seen. Each detail appears to have been rigorously researched for historical accuracy. I heard that they even pulled the Slinky from an episode after realizing that the toy was released later in that calendar year. I really like the attention to detail. I feel like I can actually experience the character's lives rather than being constantly distracted by inaccuracies. I find that I constantly have to "suspend my disbelief" with most other TV shows and films.

In the examination of Downton Abbey, historical inaccuracies abound. But that hasn't made it less enjoyable. And I look forward to Monday morning recaps with the Slate team. Quite often, I discover that I missed a detail or have a different conclusion regarding a scene. I find this extremely stimulating and takes TV viewing to another level.

Unfortunately, I no longer get to act out the entire episode for my friends that don't watch TV. I'm sure they are forever grateful that they don't have to endure it, but it sure was fun.

Thanks for stopping by and getting buzzed! Stay tuned. I'm reviewing some new music next!