CORE RESPONSE #1: JLO While You Wait
I spent this past Valentine’s Day at the recently opened Del Frisco’s Grille in Pasadena. The wait time was outrageous, leading many couples to pass their wait time in the restaurant’s bar area. As I sat there waiting for a table, the multiple screens (that amplified the bar but were completely hidden from view in the dining area) displayed two different shows; half of the screens showed a hockey game, while the others featured the Jennifer Lopez documentary Dance Again.
Del Frisco’s bar space itself raised an interesting question for me. Generally, bars are spaces in which communal enjoyment of televised events (sports in particular) is considered the norm. In other places, as McCarthy demonstrated in her research on Planet Hollywood, the television is a part of the overall experience. However, how does one classify a space such as this one? This bar, especially on Valentine’s Day, is, in a sense, a waiting room. Does that ultimately make the bar what McCarthy would classify as a “serialized environment” even if the next stop is the consumer’s ultimate destination (McCarthy 197)?
On another note, I also found myself fascinated by the juxtaposition of the two shows themselves within the space. The Lopez documentary is not something that one would generally find in a bar, to say the least. Based on the images displayed, it seems to fall more under the lines of a reality show as opposed to a documentary. Interestingly, the show was muted and did not include subtitles, whereas the hockey game was on full aural display. This seems to speak to McCarthy’s idea that television in the waiting room acts as “an environmental distraction that somehow changes the overall affective experience of being there” (McCarthy 197). Clearly, the restaurant attempted to promote the “sports experience” of the bar even though spectators were not expected to stay for the duration of the game. So, then, what was the point of displaying this other show? Perhaps, the space attempted to provide an “effective experience” based on gender. In a different direction, this choice in show may speak to McCarthy’s discussion of passing time. Showing this type of show as a “way of passing time suddenly legitimizes” the show itself. Thus, waiting spaces seem to not only legitimize the act of viewing itself, but also what may be viewed.
- Kelsey Moore