Friday, July 04, 2008

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

Is it safe?

It's another year and another candle on the cake for the old US of A. You have to admit, two hundred thirty one hasn't exactly been the best of years for the country with all the wars, floods, inflation, recession, and the cancellation of "Jericho." In fact, between all the raging California wildfires and foreign shipping delays putting a damper on fireworks and the mounting costs of food and fuel burdening the backyard barbecue, the only core 4th of July tradition that we can still all enjoy unhindered is watching all day cable TV marathons at home (unless of course you lost your home due to the recent housing loan crisis).

This year brings us another varied slate of marathon programming for us to enjoy while we let that third hot dog settle. Some are fairly appropriate for the occasion, while some are not quite. I for one am a bit conservative when it comes to 4th of July Marathons. This year, as it has been for the past few years, I am dividing my time up between my usual standby, "The Twilight Zone" marathon on SciFi and occasionally switching back towards the "King of the Hill" marathon on FX (the most appropriate show for a 4th of July marathon outside of History Channel's running of various documentary specials about the American Revolution). For those seeking more exotic Independence Day marathon fare, here are five I noticed while surfing through the channels.

The N - Degrassi: The Next Generation
The annoying tween older sibling of Nickelodeon and the child of Nike at Nite is running the throughly unrelated teen drama series "Degrassi: The Next Generation." Thus, The N, has another opportunity to run an "Adventures of Pete & Pete" marathon. If you're not going to air it anymore, why do you torture us all by holding onto the rights? At the very least, the marathon format is well suited for a series like "Degrassi: TNG", you can really follow the story developments from start to finish...if you actually are into Degrassi. The most egregious conflict with the 4th of July? It's Canadian to its maple syrup laden, hockey loving, icy core!

Possible Spin for the 4th: Self absorbed teenager dramas are as American as apple pie. Also I guess overdone, cliched, teen issues like drugs, pregnancy, or "fitting in" are transcontinental themes that resonate just as pertinently in the US. Let's just hope there aren't any metric system themed episodes.

AMC - Jaws
American Movie Classics is giving those worn out "Godfather" movie reels a rest and playing that other great American movie series, "Jaws". In the case of the original "Jaws", has there ever been another classic of this stature followed by so many sequels of such contrasting quality? Say what you will about the Star Wars prequels or Godfather III, but "Jaws: the Revenge" is a million miles away from the first film. Before Uwe Boll films started taking up all the real estate, "Jaws: the Revenge" used to be in the IMDB bottom 100, thus making Jaws the only series to have a movie in both the IMDB top 100 and the bottom 100.

Possible Spin for the 4th: The first one can at least claim relevance since it takes place around the 4th of July weekend and is forever associated with the holiday. The rest, not so much. I guess on a larger thematic level they can all be possibly seen as inspirational American victories of ingenuity and toughness over deadly foreign attacks from overseas.

TV One - Martin
I'm not even sure if most people even get this channel. It can basically be categorized as an upstart poor man's BET (sort of the Oxygen to BET's Lifetime). All I know is it's the only place to go in the cable landscape if you want re-runs of 227 (love that Jackée). I was definitely too young to actually get or enjoy "Martin". In fact, it used to be like a disappointing fake prize when I turned on to Fox expecting to see "Married with Children" or 'The Simpsons" and instead got "Martin". When I was a bit older I got into the Wayans Brothers on the WB; so who knows, maybe if I watch a full episode today I'll get hooked? In either case, that theme song was pretty awesome. I could totally get down to a remixed 12 inch of that.

Possible Spin for the 4th: It goes back to the whole American cultural melting pot thing. The multiculturalism that makes America so unique and great also makes it's television entertainment so unique and great. For every whitewashed "Friends" or "Growing Pains" or "Full House", there was a "Martin" or "Cosby Show"; and to a lesser extent "All American Girl".

MTV - America's Next Top Model
A long marathon of "Top Model" episodes on MTV? So it must be just another Friday afternoon. Seriously, this may just be a normal programming schedule. I can't ever be sure. They play the hell out of it and, if my sister is any indication, it just sucks in womens' attentions like moths to a flame. Aside from the fact that the show operates on some sort of accelerated dog year time that allow them to claim 11 seasons in 5 years, I'm not exactly sure which channel this actually airs original episodes from. VH1, MTV, and MTV2 play is round the clock but, I think it actually originates on the CW (formerly UPN). That's rivaling "Family Guy" levels of cross network whoredom. Fierce!

Possible Spin for the 4th: While women, free thinking artists/designers, and homosexuals haven't really been included in the tableau of the spirit of America, no one can deny the show's bold message of competition and personal endeavor. It's what drove this country into Independence and made it the power it is today. Like what Patton said: "America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser."

G4 - Cheaters
It's the most morally questionable television series since "Temptation Island". To watch "Cheaters" is to absolutely submit to your deepest, darkest, voyeuristic tendencies. There's absolutely no need to watch the ugly and scandalous private affairs of idiot strangers on television, but you can't turn away. It's, at the same time, the best and worst that reality television has to offer. A show of this caliber can only be hosted by the immortal Joey Greco, who has the overwhelming sleaziness of a Law and Order: SVU rapist suspect; a man so odious that he got stabbed by one his red handed cheaters.

Possible Spin for the 4th: I can't really think of anything too related. Flawed nature of the American Dream? Tenuous allegory about the deceit filled history of US - Indian relations? The declaration of personal independence by the spurned half of the couples being symbolic of the declaration of national independence by the US? I think sometimes you just want to watch thirty straight episodes of "Cheaters."

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