Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Core Response #2: Watching the SNL 40 Year Reunion at a Suburban Bar, While Waiting

“The freeway and the mall provide the greatest evidence and manifestation of a homogenous, material culture, just as television is the main course of shared images (visual and acoustic).”
Margaret Morse, “An Ontology of Everyday Distraction (p. 200).

"To be sure, the waiting area is not the only place where we use TV sets to pass time. Default, time-passing viewing is an activity we can pursue anywhere-- we wile away hours at a time with TV, as much if not more than we find ourselves watching TV."
MCcarthy, "TV While You Wait," (p. 197).

Reading the Morse and McCarthy selections this weekend after watching a re-run of an appointment TV variety show was pretty insightful. 

I was a little unsure about what I could do for our class assignment this week to watch television in a public place. I initially thought to spend my Saturday lunch in a restaurant I knew has TV screens. But it was a lackluster experience that I was dreading writing about, TV was just in the background and nobody's focal point. 

The next day, my s.o. and I drove from LA to some friends’ who live in Torrance - we happened to take the freeway and went to a shopping mall, two things that signal our entrance into the suburbs. Interestingly enough, due to a sold out showing of The Kingsman, we ended up watching a repeat of the SNL 40 Year Reunion show at a bar of a suburban bowling alley, while waiting for our friends to finish their shifts of their service jobs. This act of watching TV while waiting, in a suburban daze and ultimate act of boredom, connected so much to what McCarthy touched on. "Often associated with wasting time, watching television is a way of passing time suddenly legitimized when it takes place in waiting environments" (p. 199). 

Like watching non-live sports, watching a recent repeat of the SNL 40 year reunion felt somewhat lackluster. My second screen livefeeds ruined the best bits that I could later watch online, and Twitter highlighted some of the best interactions, such as Kim Kardashian's photo that she took of husband Kanye West along with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in their original Wayne's World attire.

(As we sat at the bar, three TV screens around the bar area were all put on the reunion show, as were all the other smaller TVs within the lounge and booths section. The head bartender seemed intent on showing this reunion. One of the first skits or perhaps the first skit featured Dan Akroyd's Fishomatic, to which the bartender made a joke about the Mahi Mahi they offer. Jim Carrey as Matthew Mcconaghey in the Jeopardy skit was a huge hit. One guy ordered food and drink at the bar but had his headphones on. My boyfriend and I talked about the women of SNL who will be in The Ghostbusters, and I told him about how I loved Keenan Thompson when he was on Nickelodeon's sketch show Amanda Bynes. Robert DeNiro made a joke about how SNL premiered at a time when TV was still watched on TV.

"To think so deeply about television as an apparatus of waiting, and the waiting spectator as a subject position deeply imbricated in the social organizaton of public space, invites consideration of the possibility that waiting is an affective state bound up, on a deeper level, with teleivison viewiing in general " (McCarthy p. 218).

The SNL 40 reunion contributed to what Morse wrote happens in TV as well as “freeways and malls provide similar examples of multiple world condensed into one usual field.” p 206

It was also interesting to think about being in a suburb where the freeway, mall and television and its domesticity are all linked together. That area of the South Bay is so connected to its post WWII suburban prosperity and Googie architecture. Thinking about how I watched TV in a public space instead of film due to its popularity as a holiday weekend activity for the 18 and over set. 

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