I don't care for television, but I want to stay current on cultural memes.
October 24, 2007 1:47 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep up with television spread memes without watching (much) tv?

I don't watch much tv. Some people reference tv shows, ads, and widely broadcast news in conversation, and some movies also make use of these cultural touchstones that are familiar to most people in the United States. The Simpsons, a show I do watch occasionally, uses a lot of these. I'd like to watch a short video summary of these sorts of things every week or two to keep current on this.

It's tough for me to come up with current examples of the sort of thing looking for, since I don't watch tv at home. One example would be the original vonage (?) ad, which had a jingle I noticed people whistling periodically. News events with video components would also qualify. Suzie Starlet loosing a shoe on the red carpet doesn't qualify, but Suzie Starlet saying something that generates a lot of controversy might.

My perfect solution to this would be video clips on a site with text that provides any further explanation needed (such as: this is Janet Jackson playing halftime at the Super Bowl), rather forcing me to sit through talking heads explaining the clips. Some voiceovers would be ok if it's the visual portion of the clip that's important.

Where can I find a current, periodically updated summary of US-based tv?

I don't consider "start watching tv everyday" to be a good answer to this question. I'm sure some of you out there in metafilterland feel that I should buy a tv -- fret not! I've got one. It's in the closet.
posted by yohko to Society & Culture (18 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
What you want is Best Week Ever.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:51 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

or The Soup. Although The Soup only does TV.
posted by drezdn at 1:54 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, both the Soup and Best Week Ever are great for this. I feel like I've watched all the currently popular shows for weeks, just by catching up on those two shows. Sometimes, my brain is ashamed of this. But those guys are gosh darn funny.
posted by sweetkid at 2:04 PM on October 24, 2007

Best answer: TV Squad.
Television Without Pity.
Ad Rants.
posted by brownpau at 2:05 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

I also seem to recall that BWE has a video podcast...not sure if anyone else can confirm.
posted by AngerBoy at 2:06 PM on October 24, 2007

Yeah, I don't watch Best Week Ever, the show, I just read the blog, and I'm pretty "up" on tv pop culture. I don't know of any better repository for that sort of meme, but I'll be checking back here for one!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:18 PM on October 24, 2007

I have the same issue, except I just listen quietly when these things come up. People are more interested in retelling the parts they liked than whether you mutually enjoyed it.

A lot of the shows that my friends talk about have clips going up on youboob or on the show's website. That is a natural process of selecting out only the best parts for discussion.
posted by caddis at 2:20 PM on October 24, 2007

The Superficial.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 2:21 PM on October 24, 2007

Best answer: I also seem to recall that BWE has a video podcast...not sure if anyone else can confirm.

What you probably want is [self-link] Best Night Ever.
posted by dhammond at 2:35 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Best Week Ever is it.

(Although I love Television Without Pity, I don't think it's what this person wants. It's an overwhelming amount of information. A single recap can take probably 10 minutes to read, so catching up on all the major shows could take all day. TWOP is heaven for TV obsessives, or if you miss your show and need to know exactly precisely what happened. But it would be a pretty inefficient way to get your memes down.)
posted by Mavri at 2:37 PM on October 24, 2007

Yeah, I sympathize.

I can only say that I find Wikipedia very useful in these cases.
posted by koeselitz at 2:37 PM on October 24, 2007

Response by poster: Television Without Pity and TV Squad are the closest to what I'm looking for so far. I'd like to see some video summaries of the actual shows, but I suppose there are some copyright issues there and I'd have to just search on youtube if there's something that I want to see.

Best Week Ever seems to be full of celebrity snark, which doesn't quite hit it for me, as I don't come across anyone in my personal or professional life that talks about this. I wasn't very clear in my question, but as far as news about celebrities generating controversy at a very, very high level -- OJ's murder trial, Dixie Chicks political controversy, Janet Jackson's Super Bowl performance that set off a lot of censorship discussions. Things that become more general current events than celebrity news.
posted by yohko at 2:46 PM on October 24, 2007

Response by poster: Mavri, I like the main page for TWOP, and I might read a bit more if I'm going to talk to someone who particularly likes a certain show. But yes, it's not quite exactly what I want here, for the reasons you outlined.
posted by yohko at 2:53 PM on October 24, 2007

Response by poster: Wikipedia and youtube are very useful for finding out more about a specific thing. They are less useful for getting a handle on people making references to shows I've never heard of, or ads I haven't seen.

I guess what I'm looking for is the sort of thing where "everyone's seen that already", not the little gems that a daily tv watcher would be unlikely to come across.
posted by yohko at 2:58 PM on October 24, 2007

TVGuide Talk is a weekly podcast. It's pretty fun to listen to, and they recap the week's TV shows in about 30-40 minutes (the end of the show is spent on the week's movies). Also the TV Guide editors write some blogs which discuss the different shows/trends. I find TWOP a little too much information; I usually only read the parts pertaining to the one show I actually watch. The recaps are pretty long to read just casually.
posted by bluefly at 2:59 PM on October 24, 2007

I'm a big fan of Entertainment Weekly's Pop Watch and TV watch blogs. The Pop Watch blog has both TV and movie/pop culture news and commentary while the TV watch blog has mostly shortish (compared to TWoP) but high quality recaps of several shows.
posted by raxast at 5:45 PM on October 24, 2007

Best answer: This would be an amazing idea for a subscription service.

TV Watching People: I will pay $1/week for this info: a digested meme email, 2 pages long. Get 1000 people to do the same and you have your annual income!
posted by lalochezia at 7:29 PM on November 1, 2007

Response by poster: I've discovered that Google News has video clips. Most of the clips are things that I find are better digested in text form, but that's what I'll be checking next time there's some sort of news whose understanding would benefit from a video format.
posted by yohko at 7:02 PM on November 8, 2007

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