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Is That A Flux Capacitor in Your Pocket or Are You Happy to TV? January 19, 2007

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants, TV.

Science has not yet invented a time machine. No Delorean powered by a life preserver wearing Michael J. Fox. No phone booth inhabited by two stoner rock stars who will someday become our world saviors. No big microwave thing like in that movie Primer (Yeah, I know, I’m one of like six people who actually saw and understood that movie, but it was late, it was Cinemax and I was really drunk.) Time travel is one of those pipe dreams we’ve long been promised, like the flying car, the robot butler and Universal Healthcare. But I have a secret for all of you. It’s here…it works…though it only goes back about ten years.

Some folks down there in what the kids call the ATL or Hotlanta or the place where drunken depressed debutantes wear curtains, they’ve invented it. Granted, it doesn’t actually go all that far back (Ten years, max) and it doesn’t actually give you a chance to actually go there physically and it’s not really a time machine in the accepted Webster definition of the word (C’mon, you think if they’d invented a real one, you wouldn’t have heard about…This is comedic satire Mr. Literal, Jeez!), it is still a heck of a chance to relive the nineties. That’s right. The closest we as a culture have to a working time machine is that little thing they call TBS.

(That’s the network, Turner Broadcasting System. Not to be confused with TBS, the affliction known as Tom Berenger Syndrome, which is defined as “a one time leading man, forced to take roles as either a soldier, sniper or man of military rank, who uncovers a conspiracy and dates the wrong woman, all in a movie so bad, it goes straight to Cinemax since video tape alone could not stand it’s sheer craptacularness. Current sufferers include Casper Van Dien, Michael T. Weiss, and Sinbad.)

Why would you want to go only ten years back? Surely, your memories are still relatively fresh from those days (unless you were a fan of Phish, lived near a coal mine or dated Lindsay Lohan). Because the nineties were a simpler time. No war. No secretive presidencies. Cheap gas. And most of all, a time when entertainment was base and simple.

Take today’s television. All episodic series. If you miss one episode of any show nowadays, like 24, you spend the first half hour trying to figure out what you missed last week that you miss what’s going on this week (Wait, they killed that guy? Wait, what did he say? Where is the missile? Where is Keifer’s hairline? This sucks. Turn on Skinemax.) And comedies have become so full of themselves you can simply wait until the pop culture reference (Ooh, they just made fun of Nicole Richie’s anorexia…that’s right, they went there) and move on.

But nineties TV was simple. Complete half hours that tie up loose ends. Simple straightforward story lines. (Sure, you may miss have missed a major moment in the Ross and Rachel relationship, but they’ll make sure to recap you for the next six years, at least three times every episode.  Side note, the phrase “We Were on a Break” needs to be retired from the vernacular, joining “mint,” “rad,” and “Britney Spears’ career longevity.”) Seinfeld was all pop culture reference and self referential but never tried to be anything else. You can’t tell me the Two and a Half Men of the world, with their lame attempts at making the now funny are content with not also trying to be a straight forward sitcom. Even Everybody Loves Raymond, though really taking off in our own decade, still followed the core values of simple TV trying to not be more than itself. Simple, funny, fart jokes, repeat. (Forgive them, though, they were on CBS and they were always a little slow on the uptake…Murder She Wrote must have infected them all). TV had lost that and every once in a while, it helps to hop in a machine and go back.

But is that all? I mean, some “time machine,” you say? (And seriously, you’re gonna have to stop with that attitude..here, have some Snickers and sing a folk song…you’re really tensing me out over here.) But if TV’s not your bag, they give us a chance to look back on nineties movies as well. They take us back to a simpler Schwarzenegger, not distracted by politics or, far worse, becoming a comedic leading man. Kindergarten Cop was the high point. Perfect combination of the action and the comic. It’s been all down hill for the Governator and most action movies, possibly all movies, since then. But TBS can take you back. To a time when films had all the action but lacked the plot holes large enough for a Mack Truck, the USC marching band and the entire cast of Mo’Nique’s Phat Girls to waltz right through. There’s a nineties movie on TBS every night. And if you miss it, they give you one, two, hell, even three chances to catch it.

Let’s say you don’t like movies and TV, what use is the time machine for you? Well, the folks at TBS also provide a little look back on the nineties in sports. That’s right. The nineties were before the steroids, right before the sudden uptick in home runs and assault on every record known to man. That’s right: it’s the home of the Atlanta Braves. Dang, they were great back in the day. And they did it right. Instead of throwing their money at every problem like the Yankees (Heck, we need a pitcher…buy everyone…) they promoted from within and taught them their system. Never flashy. Boring old Atlanta Braves. And they’re still doing it today. Promoting the youngins and making them part of the team. Sure, they’re not the team of the nineties they once were, but nothing lasts forever. So, thank god for TBS.

TBS is a time machine. To a place where our morals were easier and our entertainment was better for the soul. So when the weight of the world has got you down, you can always go down south. And they’ll be right plum glad to have ya. Just leave the machine the way you find it. Now if you’ll excuse me,  Blank Check is on. Love me some Sinbad, before he got on and caught the TBS.



1. Ratboy - January 29, 2007

Blame Jane Fonda…. The bitch left my credit card at the Hanoi Hotel!

-Teddy ‘Can I Colorize That For Ya?’ Turner

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