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Sleep Watching


Help, help! I’ve been betrayed. I’ve just caught the first couple of episodes of the new season of Boston Legal, my former favorite TV show, and in my considered opinion – blech.

I guess betrayed isn’t the word. If I had been paying attention to TV workings, apparently I should have known that producer/writer David E. Kelley’s shows eventually sink. The Practice is the only other one I watched regularly, a classic example of painful decay as well as parent to Boston Legal, which should have tipped me off. But I just loved watching leads William Shatner and James Spader together. They portrayed such a charming friendship. But now, they just seem marooned in this bad show, with the occasional self-parodying line, or rather parody of self-parody, because the parody used to be funny so it’s whatever’s one step beyond, which isn’t funny.

Boston Legal

Season One

The problem is, bad shows stay with you as much as or more than the good stuff. And what if we only have a limited memory capacity, and one day I’m trying to remember something important like my password for the New York Times online and instead a cringe-worthy scene acted by Candice Bergen flashes into my head and I never find out whether the upper class mommy is supposed to be dropping out or connecting back in these days and I miss a whole trend?

Actually, the real problem is a bad show keeps you awake just as long as a good show. Unless of course you fall asleep watching it, but even so it kept you from turning in properly and maybe getting a nice early rest one night instead of staying up watching stupid shows in the hopes that they won’t be that stupid.

Boston Legal

Season Two

Sleep has kept my mental movie listings from changing too. When I first saw Revenge many years ago, the gang I was watching it with labeled it the Worst Movie Ever Made. (Kevin Costner is a Navy pilot, pisses off rich Mexican bad guy Anthony Quinn by sleeping with his wife Madeleine Stowe, gets beat up and has to rescue the wife from a whorehouse.) Not so-bad-it’s-good, a la Plan 9 from Outer Space, simply bad. And yet, since then I’ve seen many a movie that I’m sure is as bad, or maybe even worse. But because I refuse to voluntarily seek out and watch Revenge again, and every time it happens to cross a screen I’m near (e.g., late night TV) I fall asleep, I’ll never know. So Revenge keeps the title. (Not one you’d compete for.)

Sleep is a hot health item these days, but it’s pretty hard to figure out ways to sell it. Sleeping pills? Comfy mattresses? Because sleep could definitely be a status symbol. Maybe if Boston Legal could change from painful-bad to boring-bad it could capture a whole new audience.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 10:31 AM | Permalink

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