Friday, October 07, 2005

What's 'What's Alan Watching?'

Like the description says, I get paid to watch TV, which is quite possibly the sweetest gig known to Western civilization. As a sports fan, I would've thought that being a sportswriter might equal it, but my experience is that the job ruins your love of the game. I've been watching TV professionally for almost a decade, and what's my favorite leisure activity? Watching more TV. (Sad but true.)

I have a daily column in The Star-Ledger, New Jersey's biggest newspaper and the one I grew up reading. In the column I split with my friend and fellow critic Matt Zoller Seitz, I have an outlet of about 800-1000 words a day to write whatever I want about TV: reviews, news, rants, jokes, whatever.

So why do I need a blog to write more about TV? Because sometimes, 800-1000 words a day just ain't enough. Because before I was a professional TV critic, I was writing web reviews of "NYPD Blue," and I miss the immediacy of that. Because my editors frown on me writing about the same shows over and over again, and if I want to weigh in on every single episode of "Arrested Development" (two words: Bob Loblaw), then I'm going to find a way to do it.

I'm still figuring out exactly what I'm going to do with this space, but here are things you'll definitely find:

  • Direct links to every column I write for the Ledger, since I know our website's difficult to navigate. (And on the days when my column doesn't get posted, I may temporarily put it up here.)
  • Links to other critics' columns that I enjoy.
  • Next-day impressions of whatever I watched on TV the night before.
  • Short takes on any review screeners I've watched for work, some of which I'm sure will read like rough drafts of the eventual reviews.
  • Occasional comments on the books I'm reading or movies I've seen (TV's my vocation, but I'm an all-around pop culture fiend).
  • Personal life anecdotes if they're relevant (i.e., I won't discuss my daughter's eating habits, but I might talk about her reaction to "Sesame Street").
I had planned on including a Crash Davis-style manifesto on Things I Believe for this first post, but I've already put off getting this puppy on-line for three days now, and since I'm skipping ABC's Sunday night shows to watch baseball, I can do that on Monday. (Along with comments on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Extras," which I got to see a few weeks back.)

Oh, and if anyone's actually reading this and can identify the origin of the blog's name without a Google search (you're on the honors system), I'll mail you one of the many network promotional tchotchkes cluttering my desk (Donald Trump bobblehead doll, perhaps?).

(NOTE: Not that anyone has responded yet, but a cursory glance at the Superfund site that is my desk makes me believe I tossed the Trump bobblehead a while back. Can I interest anyone in a "Lucky" deck of playing cards? An "American Dad" plastic cup?)


Anonymous said...

Parker Lewis watched TV! What do I win?

OnFireForKnowlege said...

It wasn't Parker Lewis. I know what it was..... And Alan will know that I know when I say "FREE JAMES BROWN."

Or if I mention that the PJs wasn't someone's first foray into producing a sitcom.

Unknown said...

What! I know I'm right here Alan. What gives. What did I win?

Unknown said...

Man - no one ever comes down this corner of the internet anymore! Anyways, I'll come right out and say it: "What's Alan Watching?" was a show that ran one episode in the 80s? It was a hilarious combo of Eddie Murphy's sketch comedy and a sitcom about a teen who watches altogether too much TV. Think 'Dream On' meets 70s-80s SNL. Great show.