Been thinking about vampires a bit. A while back I read this kfan post regarding Tru Blood and Mad Men, and it keeps coming back into my frontal brain, especially as the Mad Men hype machine goes into overload preparing for the upcoming season. I’ve seen only the smallest clip of Blood, but it made me feel odd, and I have no clue if I’d like it. And I do Like Mad Men, though I understand kfan’s ambivalence.
And then last night Maxine and I watched an episode of Intervention and it made me feel awful. I hated the thing, but I couldn’t quite figure out why. As Max pointed out, at its core it’s a show about people helping other people. Friends and relatives who so love someone that they go to this crazy length to help them. Which is true, but there’s something so voyeuristic and exploitative about it that I feel it kind of cancels out all the love. Like, if you’re doing this out of love, why on earth would you want the cameras there?! That’s not going to help.
I think A & E picked up Random 1 in part because of Intervention’s success, but I think Random 1 did it cleaner — when we appeared in someone’s life to help them, it felt like winning the lottery, like against all the odds here are these 2 guys who have shown up help! Amazing!
Then today seeing one of the Mad Men bus stop posters I started thinking about how advertising and junk tv sucks the life right out of you. How you feel awful after that stuff, how advertisers are trying so hard to get you to do things, buy things. An article in today’s NYT about Woodstock and how it was the last time that advertisers would miss out on opportunity like that to merchandise a movement, a demographic. I have a book called The Conquest of Cool that is all about that, about the machinations that inevitably transform the underground cool into the purchasable mainstream; it reads like a grad school text, so I’ve never gone truly deep into it, but maybe now’s the time.
In other words, it’s the advertising guys that are the true vampires here. The guys who spend their entire careers trying to get people to give their vital essences up to buy products, to watch shows. JG sent me a book that was about a 60-minutes style tv show where vampires start to take over the show. It was pretty good, kind of simple clean spooky fun, with a metaphor built into it about the camera and people’s relationship to it.
All I’m saying is that if you think of Mad Men as a vampire story, it has a true ring to it. It’ll be interesting to see if that bears out over season 3.