Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dutch TV, Presumably Part I


You knew it was coming. I had to comment on TV. There is so much for you to know, so sit down and let's get cracking.

First, there is the scheduling. Dutch TV scheduling can best be characterized as anarchy. Friends starts at 8:05pm each night, Oprah at 11:45pm. Except Oprah also plays in the afternoon at 4:06pm, where it conflicts with the first half of Dr. Phil, which starts at 4:45pm. I believe this is a contractual violation, except that Dr. Phil also plays at 3:06 on Oprah's channel. The same exact episode. Why anyone watches the 4:45pm Dr. Phil is beyond me.

DVRs are unknown. Dutch people don't use TiVo as a noun, much less as a verb, so you have to know when things are on. I imagine that TV scheduling must be one of the major sections of the International Baccalaurete exam. Q: "You speak only German. Friends ends in 4 minutes, and Temptation Island II: Hamburg does not start until 9:53pm. What do you watch during the gap, and for how long?" The answer, of course, is Hotshots: WK Lingerie on the Veronica channel, where pretty people stand on stage and the audience votes who is more attractive.

The amount of time is trickier to calculate. Friends starts at 8:05pm, so you're thinking it ends at 8:35pm. Wrong! The commercials here are mostly on the ends, except for a massive intermission commercial long enough to induce suicidal thoughts. So the 8:05pm Friends ends at 8:31pm. Hotshots lasts for about 17 minutes, so your German speaker will be working or talking to other people or reading for an hour and nine minutes. Take that, Nazi scum!

Less well educated people simply pay for their ignorance for the rest of their lives, watching 14 minutes of Roseanne here, 23 minutes of Murder, She Wrote there. It's a completeist's nightmare.

Show selection leaves so much to be desired. Do you remember Mister Sterling, with Josh Brolin as a U.S. Senator who doesn't know how he's supposed to be addressed? It's here! How about Philly, with that chick from NYPD Blue, which lasted for at least three episodes? It's here! And The Simpsons, the best television show of all time? Hey, it's on twice -- on Fridays.

But why watch bad American TV, when you can watch bad TV from around the world? For example, it's Saturday morning here, so let's see what's on, shall we? Ah, there's Finola Hughes, who I remember from watching General Hospital in high school, until they killed her off. She's selling an ab thing. But it's all about What's New, Scooby-Doo?, kindly provided by BBC2. It has the best dialogue.

Hip Scrappy-Doo Replacement: "I'm going to keep my eye out for some wack stuff going on here."
Fred: "We'll keep our eyes out for wack stuff too."

Hip Scrappy-Doo Replacement: "What does he mean, stage?"
Velma: "He thinks we're members of his performance art troupe!"

So endless amusement is to be had, as long as you don't mind if your comedy is unintentional. I'd continue, but it's almost time for The Tribe, a show where New Zealanders tromp through the mountains and vote each other off.

It starts at 3:32pm.

3 Comments:

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Cindy Zmuda said...

Michael,
Just so you know, Anna is back. She never really died, as even those who seem to go through chippers on a soap are never really dead... Oh, and Robert Scorpio...he's alive too. Just found out a couple of months ago. He made Robin believe he was dead all those years...boy was she mad....See what you're missing on American TV? Don't you just regret going to Amsterdam???

 
At 1:34 PM, Blogger Mike said...

She was also the mom on Charmed, but that was too embarrassing to put on the main page.

I actually DO miss American TV. I download The Daily Show, Life on the D-List, So You Think You Can Dance, and Entourage. Oh, and the 4400. That's kind of embarrassing too.

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger Cindy Zmuda said...

We just found the 4400....it's an awesome premise...with very very bad acting...too bad

 

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