Part 1—Emily Gould is no snob: The waves of bunk from major news orgs were quite impressive this weekend.
We refer to work we saw at the new Salon and at Slate, at the New York Times and the Washington Post. In this morning’s early hours, the waves of piddle continued to crash on the shore.
That said, of all the piddle we scanned this weekend, one presentation has stuck in our head. We refer, of course, to Emily Gould’s review of The Big Bang Theory, the popular CBS sitcom.
Her piece appeared last Friday night at the new Salon:
FRIDAY, NOV 14, 2014 07:00 PM ESTAccording to the headline writer, Emily Gould was forced to admit it. She just doesn’t understand!
What’s so funny about “The Big Bang Theory”?
It's the most popular comedy on television—but I have to admit: I just don't understand what everyone's laughing at
Is that really was Gould was saying? Truthfully, we’d be inclined to say no. First, though, a sad admission about our own cluelessness:
Until this weekend, we don’t think we knew who Emily Gould is. For some reason, we read her peculiar TV review, and that got us wondering.
As it turns out, Gould is one of the stars of New York’s exciting new scene. She’s 33, and she started at Gawker. She has just published her first adult novel.
The full story can be found here.
Why was Gould reviewing a sitcom which is in its eighth season? As she started, Gould—who isn’t a snob—gave a quick explanation.
In our view, it largely failed to parse:
GOULD (11/14/14): “The Big Bang Theory” is the most popular TV show in America, consistently ranking in the top two or three TV comedies since its fourth season, and leading the ratings for syndicated content in the last two years, except last year when it was narrowly beaten out by “Judge Judy.” I had never seen it, and so I thought the eighth season might be a good opportunity to find out what all the fuss was about.That paragraph doesn’t exactly make sense.
According to Gould, The Big Bang Theory has “led the ratings for syndicated content in the last two years.” Except last year, when it didn’t!
Why does she say it’s the nation’s most popular TV show? Apparently, because it has “consistently ranked in the top two or three TV comedies since its fourth season.”
That doesn’t make obvious sense.
Whatever! For reasons which remain murky, Gould decided that this, the program’s eighth season, “might be a good opportunity to find out what all the fuss was about.” In this, the passage which followed, we discovered the roots of despair:
GOULD (continuing directly): I like TV. If it distracts me from my brain-noise without the added stimulus of an additional screen nearby, I’m in. “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” passes this test, as does “Chopped,” as do seasons of “30 Rock” that I’ve already seen up to four times. I have seen more episodes than I’d really care to admit of the Netflix horror-telenovela “Hemlock Grove,” which is about a town in Pennsylvania where some people are werewolves and other people are vampires and no one has ever noticed this or done anything about it, even though there are a ton of mysterious vampire/werewolf-related things happening all the time.One or two commenters recorded our own reaction to this passage:
I’ve seen every episode of “Don’t Trust the B (In Apt. 23)” and I cried when it was cancelled. When I see a headline along the lines of “Has this Episode of American Horror Story Finally Gone Too Far?” I already know that my answer will be ha-ha, no. I watch all the critically acclaimed usual suspects, too, usually gulping them down as soon as they start streaming. But that leaves a lot of time for trashier fare, even in this golden age of Quality Television. I’m not just making sure you know that I’m not a snob. I’m trying to say that it’s kind of a miracle that I’ve never dipped into the wealth of “Big Bang Theory” episodes available to me before now.
How could anyone, let alone a budding novelist, possibly spend so much time watching so much trashy TV? That’s what those commenters asked.
Gould, of course, not being a snob, was quick with her answer. These TV shows “distract [her] from [her] brain-noise without the added stimulus of an additional screen nearby.”
To us, that sounded like a way of suggesting that something is happening inside Gould’s brain which may not be happening inside yours. Meanwhile, do you believe she actually cried when that (misnamed) TV show was cancelled?
We can’t say we believe that either! Quickly, she reached her deep thought:
GOULD (continuing directly): Too bad it’s the millionth thing this week to make me do complicated mental gymnastics in order to avoid having the banal, snobby thought, “Are most Americans just plain dumb?” I don’t think people are stupid, really—I believe that some of us are ignorant, and many of us vote against our own interests. It’s a lot easier to understand why people do this in the realm of public policy, though, than to get why they do it in the realm of private entertainment.Please try to follow:
Gould clogs her days with every low-IQ show ever brought to the screen. But just last week, a million things made her wonder why so many other people are so dumb.
Indeed, she engages in “complicated mental gymnastics” to avoid that snobby thought! Do you find yourself doing that, the way this novelist does?
Gould is some sort of emerging star of the emerging New York scene. What can this fact possibly mean?
Tomorrow, on to those mountains of drivel, which seemed to emerge from all across the publishing world this weekend.
Tomorrow: Prime drivel, from every direction
For extra credit only: In the passage we’ve posted, did Gould say that Keeping Up with the Kardashians is a quality TV show?
We were struck by the number of Salonistas who seemed to think she had. What does it mean when so many readers stampede in that direction?