Maybe The Soviets Were on to Something (Sort of)
I went to dinner with several couples on Saturday night and I was bombarded with TV recommendations -- because we are living in the Platinum Age of Television -- and so apparently I need to watch Key and Peele and Vikings and Ray Donovan and Banshee and Spartacus and Downton Abbey and new episodes of Eastbound & Down and some other shows that I have forgotten (and this doesn't even include the shows that I'm trying to keep up with: Madmen and The Walking Dead and Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Homeland and Portlandia and American Horror Story and Justified and the first season of 24) and it's all too overwhelming for me, and so I think I'm going to have to take a sabbatical from television, but really what I think I want is a simpler time, when everybody watched the same thing; I recently listened to a 99% Invisible podcast called "Unsung Icons of Soviet Design" and while the Russians didn't have much choice -- everyone played the same arcade games, used the same cassette player, programmed the same awful personal computer and knew the same bedtime song . . . and they all knew this song because they all watched the same program every night at 8:00 PM, and saw the same puppets sing the same lullaby . . . and while I don't think it's necessary that we have a Soviet-style oppressive government that designs all culture and technology, it certainly was nice when you could rely on the fact that everyone you knew watched Seinfeld on Thursday night (and discussed it Friday at work).