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Friday, July 22, 2011

Wipeout!

Writing is hard.

(As you could probably guess from my meager blog output.)

Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Community, The Wire, 30 Rock, The Simpsons - the reason shows like these are so rare is that it is difficult to write at a high level for a long period of time and maintain the quality that your dedicated viewers have come to expect. (And it is painful to watch a show you love slide into mediocrity. As a Simpsons fan from day 1, I cringe everytime that awful episode where Marge does steroids comes on.)

So I applaud ABC for not even trying.

They've won Emmys for the great Modern Family, but even writers need time off in the summer. So, ABC made a show that requires no writers, but simply an abundance of TV exhibitionists.

And I love it.

Man fall down! Go boing!

I fucking LOVE Wipeout. Love it love it love it. It is the perfect summer television. It combines my love of slapstick, physical comedy, and groaningly bad puns.

It takes a bit to admit this. I went to film school! I wrote papers about semiotics! I (seriously) have had papers accepted at conferences about horror films and national identity. I have argued with people about Altman and Barthes and oppositional readings of popular culture. I should be programmed to look down my nose at this.

But I love it!

Even my Dad, who introduced me to the Three Stooges, thinks this show is terrible.

Look, it is hot. It's 104 degrees today. It was the hottest day in 34 years in New York. (But, Al Gore is fat and it snowed in December, so global warming is a myth.) My poor air conditioner is doing its best, but our apartment still feels like it's full of warm soup. I really don't need my brain taxed by trying to figure out how the many warring families in Game of Thrones are related or how the cops are tracking the rival drug gangs in Baltimore in the Wire.

It's just fun to watch people get wacked in the head and dunked in the mud.

Ain't pretty no more.

One of my dearest friends writes a wonderful food blog called Cheese and Toast, which all tens of my readers should check out. For a while, she was live blogging Top Chef Canada. I would be tempted to do the same for Wipeout, but I fear it would get repetitive:

0:00 Here we go!
1:00 Oh, John Heffron Henson. I guess you should have stuck it out on Talk Soup, eh?
2:00 Here comes the over-enthusiastic contestant! Oooh! I didn't think the human body could bend like that.
4:00 Oh! Right in the face!
6:00 Oh! Right in the crotch!
8:00 Oh! I hope you have health insurance. 
9:00 I don't think she's getting up...

And so on. But with more laugh breaks.

At least the people are injuring themselves for the promise of $50K. What's really insane is that the Japanese show this is based on, Takeshi's Castle, offered no prizes. They were geting head trauma for the sheer thrill of it.

So, good on you, Wipeout! As I sink into my recliner with my iced tea and Doritos, my brain will enjoy a midsummer's nap.

I know I should be using it more, but it's just so much fun!


Ok, one more!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chase Bank

A short play:

ME: Hello, I am having a problem depositing a check using your mobile phone app.
CHASE "CUSTOMER SUPPORT": What seems to be the problem?
ME: Well, I'm following the instructions on the screen, but I get an error message that says "This account is not authorized for Quick Deposit."
C"CS": Yes. That is because the account is overdrawn.
ME: I know it's overdrawn. That's why I am trying to deposit money into it.
C"CS": Well, if the account is overdrawn you can't deposit money into it with the mobile app.
ME: .... What? How does that make sense? The only reason I am overdrawn is because your app isn't working and I haven't been able to deposit this check for three days.
C"CS": That's our policy.
ME: So how do I deposit a check?
C"CS": You'll have to deposit it in person at a branch.
ME: I got this app specifically to deposit checks. I am currently working 90 miles away from a Chase branch.
C"CS": Yes, I'm sorry for the inconvenience.
ME: A 180 mile round trip drive is not a minor inconvenience!
C"CS": Well, you could always mail it to us.
ME: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?

Scene

After another ten minutes of arguing, a supervisor was summoned. After another 10 minutes of arguing with her, it was determined that I could in fact deposit the check to my savings account with the mobile app and if the error message continued I should try uninstalling and reinstalling the app as that had been a glitch in the iPhone version.  All told, a half hour was spent on the phone with "customer support" to find out something that should have taken 2 minutes. "Oh, the deposit feature on the app isn't working? That's been a problem on the iPhone, so try deleting and reinstalling it."


It would be inaccurate to say that Chase has stopped trying. They have never started trying.

Me

Well, that was a bit of an unexpected break.

Due to some work committments which were a bit more involved than I anticipated, we went on blog silence last month. But, we're back! And ready to document more lazy failure.

And there's so much to get to!

So, let's get back to it!