June 27, 2005
A chronicle of that most co-dependent of relationships: a girl and her TiVoBride of TiVo
Reality on Fast Forward
I honestly don't know how people can watch reality TV without TiVo.
I mean, I've seen it happen — hell, I've even done it myself. But the amount of repetition, the embarrassment, the bad jokes make the easy skip provided by the TiVo remote a godsend. Don't believe me?
|Hopefully, via this demonstration, the casual viewer will see how the TiVo makes the process of reality TV viewing much less tedious, and perhaps will even learn some helpful tips in maximizing their own enjoyment of such programming.|
Via a process of random selection, the program in question was Hit Me Baby One More Time, NBC's minor summer hit. Because of the nature of this sort of programming, please forgive any digressions. Such as squealing over outfits.
0:00: We kick off with a recap of last week's episode. If I regularly watched this show, I'd definitely fast forward though this part. But I missed the Vanilla Ice episode, and so watching him ascend from beneath the stage is true joy.
0:01: The host has entered. After that first season of Seacrest, I've become horribly scarred by reality show hosts, preening for the camera and punning like mad, desperately hoping that one day Ax Body Spray will come a'calling for an endorsement. So if this host guy pisses me off once in this opening bit, I reserve the right to blast through any moment featuring him speaking words.
0:02: His hair totally sucks. But he's British. And there have been no puns so far. He may stay.
0:03: Wow. I totally don't care about this opening bio thing for Wang Chung. TiVoing forward.
0:04: So Wang Chung's lead singer seems to have improved vocally. Nice hair, too. But the black guy singing back-up is more into it than the main duo. They look sad. They make me sad. I'm fast-forwarding.
0:06: I nearly skip all the way past the post-performance interview, which means that I nearly miss the sweet sweet promise of Wang Chung performing Nelly's "Hot in Herrre." This is not happening now, though. Instead, I am watching the Sophie B. Hawkins bio and listening to that damn Sophie B. Hawkins song — the one she's just going to sing again in ONE MINUTE. A poor choice, producers. A poor choice.
0:07: Well, at least it's not "Lay Me Down to Sleep." Or any of the other songs on that album...
Not that I owned that album or anything.
Sophie B. Hawkins ascends from beneath the stage with a bongo clenched between her thighs. That RULES.
Oh, Sophie. Taking off the button-down shirt is cute. Wearing a tank top with the name of your song on it? Not so much. Still, I watch the whole thing. She's spritely.
0:10: Host Dude begins giving the pre-commercial wrap-up, which usually adds about a minute to the commercials. BOO-BEEP.
0:15: Wow, that's a lot of commercials. Do I even know who Cameo is? I'll let their music speak for them. Skipping past the bio again. Not fast enough to miss the fiberglass codpieces.
0:16: Just for us TiVo viewers, the fiberglass codpiece are cameoing on the body of Cameo himself.
Ooh, synchronized dance routines! And funny hats! This is art, right here. Though I don't know why I'm surprised. It is re-airing on Bravo, after all.
0:18: A fun number. And a close-up on the codpiece. Excellent. Didn't use my remote once.
0:19: Howard Jones? I bet my dad knows who he is — but my dad's a synthesizer nerd. Takes him way too long to walk to his piano. I actually TiVo through it.
0:20: Oh, hey, it's that song that I never really liked, even though it isn't terribly offensive. Too slow. Thirty seconds and I'm ready to skip forward.
0:22: I was all prepared to skip past some commercials, but then Bravo was sneaky and edited together two segments. Irene Cara ho!
That came out wrong.
I do skip past the Irene Cara bio, figuring that her life story isn't nearly as interesting as the guy who played Leroy in Fame, and is now a stripper in Germany. Seriously. VH1 told me so.
0:24: Age has not cured Irene Cara's squintiness. But she's so sassy! Certainly giving Sophie B. a run for her money — especially since both have not been at their vocal prime today. But...
0:25: Irene Cara is adorable! She's tossing her hair! She's dancing at the front of the stage! She really will live forever! She's gonna learn how to fly!
0:30: Commercials are done. This British lad has really been so courteous about not being obnoxious.
0:31: I catch up on some typing while Wang Chung tells me that they really like their families. It's nice that that's been able to keep them busy since 1986.
Oh, no. They really are going to rap, aren't they. Oh, no.
0:32: Actually, I've seen worse kareoke. I've done worse kareoke. And they don't have the benefit of a TV monitor — at least an obvious one. Long-haired Wang Chung guitarist (I'll call him Chung) seems to be having a ball singing the chorus. I can dig it.
0:34: I continue to like Sophie B. Hawkins. And not just because she's performing a Five For Fighting song in a sparkly black evening gown.
0:35: I'm about to fast-forward. But the sparkly black evening gown has me in its thrall. And she's kissing the hand of a fan! That was fun.
0:38: So many commercials!
0:43: Once again, Cameo has a dance routine. And this cover of "1985" isn't half bad. Though the codpiece is distracting me again. And I think I've gotten a good sense of this cover, so I...
0:46: Blast straight from the end of Cameo's set, through Piano Man's "What Dumpster Did NBC Find Me Behind?" recap, and onto the actual performance. Do not feel bad in the slightest.
0:47: Oh, I know I know this song... How do I know this song?
And why is Piano Man wearing a hoodie?
0:48: Oh. Dido. This is kinda cute. But, you know, kinda exactly like the original. And the hoodie continues to make no sense. Bored now. Onto Irene.
0:49: I'm so happy that Irene gets a hat. I just hope it doesn't keep her from tossing her hair.
0:50: This is that song that plays on the radio station that I totally don't admit that I listen to occasionally, isn't it?
|0:51: The suit-with-miniskirt outfit looks awesome, Irene. In fact, I've been known to favor it myself. But I think those heels are holding you back a bit. Where's the wiggling? Where's the hair flip? I've come to expect things from you!|
0:52: Ah, there we go. A nice little spin. Super-cute!
0:53: Oh, sweet blessed TiVo. I can skip past the recap of the episode, the build-up to the winner, the cut to commercial to continue the suspense, the commercials, the continued build-up to the winner, the annoying tease, all that crap. That's ten extra minutes of my life I can spend reading Joyce's Ulysses — or at least ten extra minutes I can spend pretending to have read it.
0:57: If you're watching this show at three times normal speed, Irene just pops up from the stage. The winner! Yay Irene!
0:59: Irene sings "Flashdance" again. And I don't have the heart to skip past anything. My cold heart and quick trigger finger? Totally paralyzed for this last minute.
If I hadn't been taking notes, watching Hit Me Baby One More Time probably wouldn't have taken me longer than thirty-five minutes. I don't recommend the blast-through approach for scripted programming — too much potential for surprise — but the lack of subtlety that gives reality its occasional bread-and-circuses glint makes the non-scripted genre ideally suited for this process.
Cost of TiVo subscription: $12 a month.
Having time to do things like pretend to have read great work of literature? Priceless
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