Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Five Random 4th of July TV Marathons That Have Very Little to Do With The 4th of July

Is it safe?

So I've finally returned from my Central American odyssey and what could be a more welcoming return to the country I love than a good old fashion Independence Day celebration complete with dozens of cable TV marathons? The 4th of July, more than Thanksgiving, Christmas, even New Years is the undisputed king of cable marathons. I guess in comparison it's the most sedentary of holidays, traditionally its barbecues at home rather than going out. For me since I've never had a job in the summer it has historically been the point where I really hit my stride in terms of summer vegetating and really decompress (or perhaps decompose) from a year of school and work.

Now I find myself on this particular 4th of July with the cable landscape as wide and varied as it has ever been, including marathons. This sort of proliferation in specific channels though has made it a bit trickier to follow the general spirit of the holiday; it's gone beyond just the slightly out of place Twilight Zone marathon on Sci-Fi (which has so ingrained itself with the 4th that I consider it just as important as fireworks and town parades). I'm not going to play Sam Eagle and say whether these five random marathons are right or wrong or throughly un-American or not, it's just something to consider. Who knows, perhaps in a decade they'll weave themselves in the red, white, and blue fiber of the 4th as well?

Discovery Channel - Mythbusters
This follows the usual plan of channels picking their most popular show to run continuously. It's like the Monk marathon on USA (which they'll break out for Secretaries Day). I'm not a big fan of that sort of thinking, if it's the most popular show it's overplayed enough already. I think the marathon platform should be used to help give a leg up on a show that has a lot of potential but never got enough exposure. We're better than cable Darwinism, let's share the wealth. Is this not the land of opportunities?

Possible Spin for the 4th: I guess Adam and Jamie demonstrate the epitome of the bold spirit of curiosity and Yankee ingenuity that helped make this country the superpower it is today.

HBO - Back to The Future Trilogy
This might be a tricky issue since as we all know that according to the network, HBO is not actually TV but some sort of transcendent independent entity altogether, but for the sake of argument let's assume it's TV. With that being said, I found this to be a welcome surprise. I have the DVD's but there's really something special about watching it on I can never gauge HBO's selection of movies, they'll play some big blockbuster one minute, Casablanca the next, and then like Blue Chips right afterwards. It's like they just blindly dig into a Walmart 9.99 DVD bin and see what happens.

Possible Spin for the 4th: Good old fashion American nostalgia? It's nostalgia for the 50s, but then there's nostalgia for the 80s, and then by the last one it's a like a classic western. That and I challenge anyone in America to not like a single movie in this trilogy.

BET - The Wayans Bros.
I guess it's a better choice than Moesha or Girlfriends? I actually watched this show a great deal when the WB premiered and the world seemed brimming with possibilities. This and Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher, we thought they'd be the future of television comedy. Actually though the Wayans Bros. was a pretty good show and it apparently ran I lot longer then I remember. I'm thinking it's the most high profile show for BET based on the current level of fame of the Wayans. It could have easily been Moesha if Brandy was a better driver.

Possible Spin for the 4th: At it's core it can be seen as a story about the American Dream. Two young brothers and their pop making it on their own. I think by the third season they end up buying their own business or something like that.

Bravo - Project Runway
This is another classic example of going with the superstar. It's also a reality series which is tailor made for the medium of marathons. I'm all about the instant gratification so that's one of the reasons (among many) that I've never been drawn into reality programming. However, if you're shooting them at me one after the other while I passively sit on my couch like a beached whale, I can't get enough. I think that's how I ended up seeing like two seasons of the Surreal Life last year.

Possible Spin for the 4th: Fame, glamor, cut throat competition, these consummate American values weren't just big in the 80s, they're timeless.

Boomerang - The Flintstones
I'm actually more of a Jetsons man myself. The Flintstones are about a handful of cartoons shows that have actually lasted long enough to sustain a proper marathon (sadly I think there are enough Scooby Doo episodes to do the same). I never realized how much of a standard sitcom this show was and how eerie and out of place a laugh track sounds in a cartoon. This could have easily been made live, but then they couldn't have had all those scenes where the living "appliances" complain about their lives. I miss the June Bugs marathon.

Possible Spin for the 4th: They're the modern stone age family aren't they? Also I think Midwestern fundamentalist conservative audiences might dig the strong creationism message of the show. It's a place right out of American history.


  1. The BTTF trilogy is cool. They also played all six star wars movies. I mean, yeah, they're summer movie and all, and there are fireworks at the end of Jedi, but really...Ewoks?

    Possible Spin: Americans love revisionist history. The original three are George Lucas' attempt to re-write and unfairly flaunt the grandeur and military might of the New Republic (i.e. Dewbacks in Mos Eisley, Jabba's swingin new lounge act).

  2. Total whitewashing of galactic history.

    When is Howard Zinn gonna finish his much delayed "A People's History of the Star Wars Galaxy"?