Old joke: Do you remember the episode of Gilligan’s Island where the castaways figure out a way to get off the island, but at the last minute Gilligan does something stupid and causes everything to go wrong and their plan fails?
There’s no punchline. Everybody — well, everybody from my generation anyway — knows that is the plot to pretty much every episode of Gilligan’s Island. And when I was a kid, I loved it.
As an adult, I have found formulaic and repetitive programming begins to grate on me. I used to like to watch those home improvement/remodeling/flipping programs, but a while back I realized I was no longer just enjoying the design process, and maybe learning a little something on the construction side. I found myself anticipating the moment, about halfway through every program, when some unexpected expense pops up that threatens to blow up the budget for the whole project. I was waiting for the fuckup. And it happened every time. Every. Single. Time.
Once you know the formula, you can’t help but watch for when some “drama” gets inserted into “reality” teevee. The point where viewers are expected to believe that a guy who has supposedly remodeled dozens of houses suddenly realizes the furnace on his latest flip is bad. Waiting for the fuckup has really ruined those programs for me.
Until about a year ago, I thought pretty much everyone knew that “reality” teevee was really mostly contrived bullshit like that, about as far away from actual reality as Gilligan’s Island, but then about 60 million of my fellow Amurkins elected a fictional character preznit. I’m still just dumbfounded that I didn’t see that fuckup coming.