I don’t have cable. Why, asiangrrlMN, do you not have cable? I can hear you asking yourself that–and, even if you’re not, I’m going to make you ask yourself that because I am the writer. I can make you say or think anything I want. Anyway, I don’t have cable for a few reasons. One, I refuse to pay a hundred dollars a month to watch three channels–ESPN, the Food Network*, and Comedy Central. Nah. Ganna. Happen. Second, I would be watching said channels all the fucking time. Underwater basket-weaving? I’m there. Rachel Ray? I’m–not there, but tempted. South Park marathon? Totally there.
Sudden interjection. I am a cultural illiterate. I don’t like most things that are considered mainstream. Movies, books, TV–if it’s popular, it probably won’t appeal to me. Conversely, if I really like something, it’s gonna bomb. Last TV show I really liked? Miracles. Went down in flames. Favorite movies? Charlotte Sometimes, Japanese Story, Once, The Station Agent. Two of those were indie darlings, and two barely made a peep in the States. I don’t watch any network television, and I really don’t like reality shows. I am not a Beatles or Stones or Elvis gal. I hate rom-coms and most action flicks. Hollywood epics? Oh, hell no. I am still bitter about being made to watch Titanic. I knew I wouldn’t like it, but two male friends of mine insisted I had to see it. After an hour of watching people run hither and fro, I was ready to stand up and scream, “Just die already, damn it!” The only part of the movie I liked (besides a nude Kate Winslet) was at the end where Rose is clinging to the board and tells Jack that she will never let him go–and then she lets him go! I mean, biatch, please. Move your ass over and let the boy on the damn piece of wood with you. It was funny, though I don’t think it was supposed to be funny. As for junk popular culture, it’s a total turnoff for me. The only reason I know who Snooki is is because she was mentioned on Balloon Juice, of all places. Otherwise, I would be blissfully unaware of her existence.
A good friend of mine thinks all of this is because I’m a contrarian, and I will admit that there is some truth to that, but it’s not the whole story. I am a second-generation Asian American. My parents had a Tony Orlando and Dawn album for crying out loud. And, a James Galway album along with several classical albums. They didn’t watch television except for news, if I recall correctly. I didn’t hear pop music until I was in sixth grade. Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue (you’re welcome. And, yes, the story is apocryphal. So sue me!). Pop culture was alien to me, and I had no clue how to be a true American. So, I pretty much just liked whatever I wanted without caring if it was popular or trendy. We had cable for a hotflash, but all I watched was MTV (they actually had videos back then! Who knew?), so we got rid of it fairly quickly. This brings me back to cable and why I need an intervention.
I have, ahem, recently gotten access to cable. I still don’t watch very much (except when there are games on ESPN that I want to watch), but when I do, I have noticed a very big problem. I start out watching whatever game is on that I had planned on watching. Then, during the commercials, I flip over to the Food Network, and I get sucked into whatever show is on over there. Iron Chef America is nowhere near as good as the original, but it’s still fun to watch. I love Ace of Cakes. Man, I would love to have one of his cakes, but I’m not taking a loan out to buy a damn dessert. I used to not like Alton Brown, but he’s grown on me. I hate hate hate Guy what’s-his-face, so I won’t watch anything he’s on. Paula Dean fascinates/horrifies me with her stick of butter. I like Bobby Flay’s throwdowns, and Mike Simon’s Food Feuds has grown on me as well, so I will watch him, too.
But, do you know which show I cannot stop watching if it’s on? Which show I would watch 24/7 if I could? Chopped. I don’t like listening to the contestants talk because they sound like jackholes for the most part, but I am addicted to this show. For people who don’t watch it (and why the hell aren’t you watching it?), the premise is this. Four chefs compete for $10,000. They get very limited time to make their dishes. There is an appetizer round, an entrée round, and a dessert round. The twist, though, is that one chef is sent home after each round so there are only two chefs last for the last round. Brilliant! OK, not brilliant, but it greatly enhances the tension during the competition.
I love the handsome, knowledgeable, and charming Ted Allen as the host. I like most of the judges they have on the panel (rotating). I like that the contestants are presented with a basket of disparate ingredients, and they have to make a coherent dish out of said ingredients. I love the insanity that ensues, and the inevitable disasters that occur. I love rooting for the contestants I like and jeering at the contestants I dislike. In short, I love this show. I want to watch every episode ever made, and I want them to produce new ones every day so I can have them on tap. I would hook myself up to an IV of episodes if it meant I could just mainline them–even as I sleep. In other words, I need an intervention! Please help me.
*I love cooking shows even though I do not cook. My friends and family find this hilarious, but I don’t understand why.