The Walking Dead: the Joy of Negan

 

As a culture, we love our bad guys.

We claim to be hero-worshippers who cheer when the good guys beat all odds… But the awful truth is we can’t wait to see what the bad guy is going to do first. We get off on both the thrill of fantastical violence, and the thought that it “wasn’t us.” We love to see adversary overcome, but first we want to see the adversary. Whether they’re diabolical, scary, terrorizing, or just plain evil, we love our villains just as much as we love the heroes we call on to vanquish them.

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This Sunday night, on AMC’s mega-hit show The Walking Dead, one of fiction’s best bad guys will make his screen debut… and to quote the late, great Ben Kenobi, “I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced…” I fear something terrible is about to happen.

I have no idea how they are going to get away with this, but I’m keeping an open mind.

Since the beginning of the show, there has always been some terrible threat just around the next corner. Whether it’s the flesh-eating hordes of the undead that walk the Earth, or the savages that have been made of the men who once called this place home… A staple of The Walking Dead has always been death. As sheriff Rick Grimes and family struggle to survive in an insane world, multiple members of the main cast and countless red shirts have lost their lives since they first left Atlanta. From Andrea’s sister Amy to Carol’s daughter Sophia, Lori, Dale, even Andrea… One by one, the “core group” has dropped away over the years. Almost no one is safe in The Walking Dead.

So far, the show has done a great job of setting up Negan’s arrival. They’ve put our heroes in a particularly vulnerable position thinking that they’ve got it all figured out. I’ll tell you this right now, if you’re not prepared for a core-group member to die this Sunday, you’ve got about a day to let it sink in.

In the books, the Alexandrians meet the Hilltoppers much like they do in the show, via a bearded mystery ninja named Jesus. They agree to take care of Negan and the Saviors, who have been running a local protection racket with the communities around Washington D.C. because they are who they are. Apparently not many other groups have had the same experiences and self-training that our heroes have, and in order to secure enough food to survive, Rick agrees to do what they do best because confrontation is not something they’ve ever had a problem with. Plus, life in the new world is tough enough with flesh-eating zombies everywhere… Rick is too much of a good ol boy sheriff to let these assholes go on exploiting everyone else.

t8JuQKBAs a Walking Dead comic reader, hindsight is 20/20, and it’s their arrogance that blinds them to what they can’t see coming. There was no “midnight raid” on the savior outpost in the books, but again, the build up to the fall is what this has all been about. Our team of murdering heroes have crossed over into the “we don’t take chances” realm… And they are about to get a wake up call regarding their REAL position in the new world.

So what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? In the books it was a blood-soaked multi-issue arc called All Out War… If that gives you a clue.

This Sunday night is the main event as far as The Walking Dead goes. All of this misery, torment, and death has led us on a bloody road to this moment. I don’t know WHO is going to die… But I have my suspicions. And know this: you might as well call in sick for Monday now. It’s going to get REAL nasty, and I mean… Nasty… As in, bring a bucket and the Kleenex, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

You see, as bad as the Governor was, and as bad as the other Human Bad Guys our heroes have dealt with were, Negan is something else. Negan is insanity, brilliance, and cruelty wrapped in a generous code of ethics and an endearing flair of colorful language.

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Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Watchmen, The Salvation) is set to bring Negan to life on the small screen, and while the AMC executives are cringing, those of us who get physically ill when crazy shit goes down on Sunday nights are about to have the ride of our lives. In the books, Negan’s arrival is like a nuclear bomb going off, destroying everything we thought we had known about how comics work as stories and as character-driven pieces. I will always remember reading that book, feeling my hands sweat and my pulse pound, feeling my jaw hit the floor as tears welled in my eyes.

Even though I have STRONG suspicions that the show is going to switch up the batting order, all I will say is that no one should ever go out like that. See you Monday morning for the reactions. The season 6 finale of The Walking Dead airs this Sunday night on AMC.

 

 

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The Walking Dead is Back With a Bang For Season 5

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Zombies haven’t always terrified me. In the sense that being bitten to death by disgusting, smelly, dead things while having my intestines pulled out through my body cavity, scary… It’s not like a zombie is really that threatening, after all. They shuffle, they move slowly, and they can’t out think you. But I have always considered zombies scary, plural, as in a you’re never safe, no matter how many you kill, how many walls you put up, or how far you run. You’re surrounded at all times by a shifting, shapeless horde of teeth, just waiting to bite and rip. IMG_0436The way they just pop up everywhere, overwhelming everything, and that horrifying sound that they make!!

Now that’s scary.

When I was younger and obsessed with Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, I often thought of the cultural satire that was woven into the story line. How the zombies come back to the mall, get caught on escalators, stuck in fountains. It all had this air of camp. When a zombie tore into another character you cheered, it was about the awesome special effects not the walking corpses. Back before zombies were a cultural phenomenon, when they were still used as symbols for our consumer culture. Back before Robert Kirkman wrote a little comic called The Walking Dead… and LONG before the great Frank Darabont had the guts to turn that book into one of the best shows on television.

There isn’t much room for camp on The Walking Dead, however. Much to its credit, the show chooses to follow human reactions to a zombie apocalypse instead of just staging the zombie apocalypse as a disaster-piece.

IMG_0414Tonight’s season five premier proved to us that this show is a balls-out, neck-biting, suspense-filled, thrill-ride with cannibalistic humanoids and all. It is a show at the top of its game, and running on all cylinders. I was literally on the edge of the couch the entire 40+ minutes.

I’m assuming that no spoiler tag is needed?

Season four ended with small-town-sheriff-turned-Zombie-apocalypse-savior-of-mankind Rick Grimes finally being reunited with the rest of the group from the prison. Yes, it was while trapped in a train car by cannibals parading as sanctuary, but that’s not the REAL point. As we see so well in the season five opener. There’s no sitting around and lamenting, there’s no crying in the corner like the original Terminus-ites do in the flashbacks that bookend the episode. There’s only the loose nail in the floorboard, or the crumbling-but-sharp wood in the walls… Season five starts with our group going all Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and prepping to fight their way out of the fix they’re in while snipets of dialogue show how they all catch each other up on what’s happened to them since the Governor brought a tank to a sword fight. As the guards come to take them, Rick tells the group to steady themselves.

IMG_0420“You all know what to do… Go for the eyes first, then their throats…”

No truer words were ever spoken.

Too bad the Termites (sounds better, right?) “flip the script,” so Eugene says, and drop a gas grenade in through the ceiling. Cut to the scariest room ever filmed: the slaughterhouse at Terminus. As Rick is dragged through the doors he sees a body on a table being broken down but two men in coveralls, and three big bins marked BURN, FEED, WASH. Through the center of the room there’s a long, shiny metal trough that Rick, Bob, Glen, and Daryl are lined up in front of. This gleaming, obviously polished trough that sits there like a cold, hard truth. This trough is where our survivors’ lives will drain out in a single stroke. Lined up, coincidentally, next to four random red-shirts all Star Trek style, the butchers start on the other end of the trough from Rick. Just as the horror begins, we get a glimpse of the blonde guy on the end, and if it isn’t the hippie kid from last season (played by none other than The Penguin on FOX’s new drama Gotham)! Remember when Rick kicked Carol out of the group and they ran into those kids hiding in the house? We only ever got to see what happened to her. (it looks like things didn’t fare too well for him either). One at a time smack the hog-tied survivors in the back of the head with a baseball bat, then slit their throats, and let them drain into the trough.

You can almost see the steam coming from the blood as it hits the cold metal. It’s a disturbing scene.

IMG_0426Before long, Bob tries to talk an uncaring Garreth, the leader of the Termites, into sparing them. He quickly talks about the Cure and Eugene and starting the world over… But he’s not remembering who he’s talking to. This is a man who has crossed a line in his mind that he can’t come back from. In a show all about skirting the line and coming back from it, we know when Garreth says, “Can’t go back, Bob…” and slides the gag back on, that appeals will not be considered. Soon we learn that this smack-and-slice show is all for Rick’s benefit. To scare him into telling Garreth what was in the big bag they buried in the woods before coming to Terminus.

IMG_0432Rick never breaks his stare. Like a vicious animal that has locked onto its prey, Rick is only thinking one thing: “The sharp piece of train car in my hand isn’t sawing this zip-tie fast enough.” But when Garreth begins to take Bob’s eye out, Rick tells him. “Guns. AK-47, .44 Magnum, automatic weapons, night scope… There’s a compound bow and a machete with a red handle. That’s what I’m going to use to kill you.”

And we know that Rick will get to do just that because Garreth only chuckles at him smugly, like a true hipster-turned-cannibal-leader, Garreth is too detached to feel the fear he should while staring into those eyes. Hell, I feel it, and I know it’s just a tv show. (keep telling yourself, it’s only a tv show, it’s only a tv show)

IMG_0429When gunfire erupts, there is a smile behind Rick’s murderous eyes when he hears it. We already know who and what it is, there’s only one group of survivors outside the gates. It’s Carol, of course, come seeking both her friends and redemption. Like a total boss she deftly maneuvers into the horde of walkers all Old School, covered in zombie Guts. (Season one shout out!) Using the distraction, Rick frees himself and runs through the two butchers like a hot train-car piece through butter, and it’s ON.

I almost didn’t think Carol was going to find the others… The way the episode tracks her progress through discovering what Terminus is for herself the same way the survivors did last episode… But the end of this roller-coaster ride is a deftly constructed emotional climax. I had tears falling pretty freely by the time Daryl sees her for the first time, running and taking her up in his arms… And then when Rick and Carl see Judith… Oh man, just thinking about it gets me a little misty. I applaud the show for keeping Judith alive long after she’d perished in the comic… It was a wise choice, and one that provides ample opportunity for the show going forward.Lauren-Cohan-in-The-Walking-Dead-Season-5

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see at LEAST another five seasons, and somewhere in there we need some time-jumps. I still think the ultimate way to end the series is to show a flash-forward of a time in the future where the world looks more like The Last of Us. Where nature has reclaimed the Earth and while the Walkers are still out there, really only in scattered hordes that are easily tracked or diverted. I see a network of communities, thriving, starting the world over, and I see the finale being all about having Judith’s wedding. Where we see Rick, while I’m sure crippled in some way (ahem, hand… kneecap), he frets about things like not knowing how to dance with his daughter with a busted old zombie-killing knee. A whole episode where no one gets their neck ripped out or cut up by cannibals… Where our survivors get to once again taste that normal life… And it will be oh so sweet because of everything we’ve gone through with them.

IMG_0442But I digress… There is literally too much going on in this episode to cover in one post, from Eugene’s disclosure about what sounds like an actual plan (as opposed to the books), to Tyrese’s extremely troubling conversation with a Termite who threatens Baby Judith, to the Terminus flashbacks where we see how a group of people trying to be human chose to be butchers instead of cattle… But most importantly is the stinger at the end, and its troubling implications. Just as the credits roll on one of the best episodes yet, we see a masked stranger walking the tracks our group just finally left toward the NO Sanctuary sign Rick left behind… The camera tightens in and the mask comes off, and as our brains quickly think back, “No, Shane’s twice dead, Dale is too, Hershel’s decapitated, Amy’s shot, Andrea’s gone, Lori’s dead, and now Nelson Van Alden and Chalky White?!!” (oh crap, wrong recap, sorry…)

IMG_0445But no, it’s a very mean-looking Morgan. The man from the beginning of the show, who Rick promised to radio every day and come back to find… Who we last saw shit-house-rat crazy and blaming Rick for his son’s death. While he seemed to have gotten over it and accepted his part, the look on Morgan’s face and the strange tree-carving Hobo-code symbols he’s following through the woods…? What are they? Who carved them there? They look fresh… And they don’t seem to be the markers Daryl left where they buried the big bag o’ guns… I’m curious, and while the episode’s plot and Morgan’s appearance seem a bit contrived, I remember that this is a juicy zombie show, and I should let certain plot devices just lay as they are.

Can I say, that I was VERY happy to see Walkers playing such a pivotal part in tonight’s episode? It seemed at times that they were just window dressing last season, only popping up at the right time to chomp. That explosion was KILLER.

The Walking Dead is back. Steady yourself. It think it’s going to get worse before it gets… Well, even worse.

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Sometimes writers are just too clever…

The Fall of Don Draper

 

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Of all the decades in the history of this country, no time period receives more attention than the 1960s. After World War II, it was easy to see America as the nation of heroes, cowboys, and soldiers that earned its place in history alongside the nations of the world… A beacon of industrialized light in the post-war haze… Guided by the manufacturing boom and the concept of the suburbs in the 1950s, the 60s were the true beginning of the modern era, when television brought the world into our homes, fracturing our own concept of self forever.

By 1969, the country was reeling. JFK, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were all killed by assassins’ bullets… Political tension rose to a height not seen in 100 years, and the United States struggled to survive itself as the younger generation threw off the yoke of the old. When the US began sending troops to fight for someone else’s government on the other side of the world, more than one person questioned why their boys were going to get shot over a jungle half a world away. Meanwhile marches and protests were erupting all over the country, with African-Americans fighting for their right to exist in a nation that told them they were second-class citizens. Coupled with a rising number of women in the workplace, the onset of the peace movement, and the emotionally rebellious nature of rock n roll, the country watched on TV as America limped its way into the last year of the decade like it had been beat one too many times with a rolled-up newspaper.

poayfzetwoSomewhere, in all the concrete and glass of New York City, Donald Draper is curled up on the couch in his high-rise apartment feeling much the same way.

After six seasons of watching the star of AMC’s Mad Men dodge one bullet after another, whether it be his cheating, drinking, or his descent into professional purgatory, Don Draper has always been able to flash a smile, turn on the Draper, and the rye-soaked cocktail napkins would practically fill themselves with award-winning campaign ideas.

Just like Mad Men itself, all good things must come to an end…

99115Born Dick Whitman, he was raised in a whore house by a cruel, abusive step-mother before he jumped at the chance to join the Army. In Korea, Dick soon realized that all the adolescent zeal in the world wasn’t going to save his ass from a bullet. So he swapped dog tags with a deceased lieutenant, one Donald Draper, and Dick Whitman, the young boy who was nursed back to life from the brink of death by a kind prostitute (before she scarred him for life by giving him his first handy), started his life over again as Donald Draper, decorated war hero. He worked as a salesman before cornering a young Roger Sterling and charming (aka Drapering) his way into one of the most prestigious advertising firms on Madison Avenue. The rest as they say, is history.

Flash forward a decade or so, and Don Draper was on top of the world. His second wife, Megan, a younger, vivacious late-twenties French-Canadian girl now stars in a popular daytime soap opera. His ex-wife has remarried and moved the Draper children into a castle with an up-and-coming politician. Life as a wealthy, powerful, and most importantly needed ad man is good.

Mad Men (Season 5)Last season we saw Don return to his philandering ways after his marital bliss subsided from season 5… Once his version of what he thought his wife should be doing didn’t mesh with what she actually wanted, well, it was inevitable. From artist progressives in Greenwich Village to countless secretaries, Don’s mistresses have always played a specific role for him, like everyone else. When you grow up abused by the one person who is supposed to love you unconditionally, you tend to have glaring emotional and psychological problems.

Don’s problem is a simple one. His gauge is broken. He confuses intimacy with love.

The Former Mrs. Draper said it best, as they lay in the glow of their post-tryst/ex-sex while on a trip to visit their son’s summer camp last year, talking about Don’s current wife-

“That poor woman. She has no idea that loving you is the worst way to get close to you.”

As Megan’s career took off, Don’s focus turned to his neighbor’s wife Sylvia, brilliantly played by Linda Cardellini. It was fascinating to watch the two dance around their ignorant spouses during dinner parties and elevator rides, through dimly-lit restaurants and bright lobbies. However, as things grew serious, and Don sought more and more out of the relationship… Naturally things took a nose-dive.

don_sylviaAs Don and his partners sought to bait and hook the big fish, Chevy Motors, the agency started a “working weekend” at the same time that Don’s mistress told him it was over. To make things even more interesting, everyone in the office got “energy serum” shots and was tweaked out of their minds on speed all weekend as well. Chevy means a whole new level of business for the people at Sterling Cooper & Partners, especially Don, who we realize hasn’t been working on Chevy at all by the end of the episode. Instead he pours all his talent and effort into some sort of super-pitch to get his mistress back. In the time span of 45 minutes we watch a man on top of the world, spin out of control… And it’s frightening to no end. Don spends the entire time out of his mind, trying to nail down the philosophical nature of love and human connection into a couple of sentences that he can spout before she slams the door in his face… He knows she doesn’t want to talk to him, he knows he only has a few seconds at best to get his message across and try to save whatever his idea of the affair is… Does he realize that he’s also describing advertising?

don-sylviaIn the end, after spending 72 hours awake, spun out of his mind, trying to find the right words to say to his now ex-mistress to convince her to listen to him… She gets in the elevator while he’s riding down for work Monday morning and the two ride down in complete silence. It’s a heartbreaking and disturbing scene as Sylvia holds back the tears and Don just stares into space… As if nothing ever happened.

But something did. Something inside Don Draper broke last season… Or maybe the break was always there, and he simply couldn’t run from it any more.

As one thing leads to another, Don breaks down in a meeting with Hershey’s Chocolate, recounting a story about his childhood in a brothel where a Hershey Bar was the only connection to a real childhood he had… Needless to say it doesn’t go well, and soon Sterling Cooper & Partners gives Don a mandatory suspension, to which he tells no one. Instead he lets his wife move out to LA to pursue her acting career, stringing her along, telling her he wants to move to the new west coast office. Instead of letting anyone know he’s been suspended, Don keeps up the facade. Of course Sally, his teenage daughter, comes into the city for a funeral/shopping trip and discovers his secret when she shows up at the office.

140421_TVC_MME2donsally.jpg.CROP_.promovar-mediumlarge“I told the truth about myself… And it wasn’t the right time.” He later tells his daughter Sally when she discovers he has been lying… Spouting one of the best lines a parent could ever say to their child, “How could you let me lie to you like that?”

“It’s more embarrassing for me to catch you in a lie than it is for you to be lying,” She replies.

As the final season of Mad Men cruises through its initial seven-episode run on AMC Sunday nights, the changes are coming fast, and they’re coming hard. Don Draper’s life is upside-down, and for a man like him who must have control at all times, things should get very interesting. He has already fessed up to his wife about his job, but only after she kicks him out for flying all the way to LA just to correct her behavior regarding her career. As of last week’s episode he’s also back to work, with a contract designed to make him fail and lose his partnership. If we’ve seen anything these first three episodes it’s how “well” SC&P is running without Don, who was once the center of the agency… So it was a huge surprise to me when he accepted the terms of the return contract. No drinking, no schmoozing, no funny stuff… Oh and now he reports to Milquetoast McBlandy, Lou, Don’s replacement… I expected him to tear it up and give them the finger. I wanted him to pack his bags and move to LA to join co-worker Pete in his idea to start a new agency. I want him to surprise us all and not do the same thing he’s always done.

But then I realized, that’s what he would’ve always done before… The old Don Draper would have never taken that deal. This new Don Draper, we don’t know much about him.

Like the opening credits of Mad Men, we’ve watched little Dick Whitman rise to the top of Madison Avenue before falling through the cracks in his own life… With only a handful of episodes left in the series, it’s anyone’s guess where he goes from here.Don-Draper-on-plane-Mad-Men-season-7

 

 

 

Side note: AMC, you really screwed up the last season of Breaking Bad with the split-season-make-us-wait-another-year-for-the-ending, and now you’re doing it again. I hate you, so very, very much…

 

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It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Men World

250px-The_Bob_Newhart_ShowWhen I was a kid I grew up watching the Bob Newhart Show, and I don’t mean the one that took place in a hotel. I mean the old school show where Bob was the psychologist in the big city. I remember watching that show and dreaming of New York (I had no idea the exterior shots of the buildings used in the show were from Chicago), over the years I’ve always had a huge place in my heart for the Big Apple. Whether it was being saved by Spiderman, slammed by Seinfeld, blown up by aliens, backdrop for my favorite Woody Allen movies, or my favorite action movies, New York is my “dream city,” as much as I’d love to live in San Francisco, if I was rich I’d spend a few years living in New York before I die. Heck… I even watch the Today Show most mornings mainly because it’s such a New York show.

story_xlimage_2010_12_R4653_Times_Square_Photo_Contest_123010It’s the New York from the 60s and 70s that I remember from my childhood, the one from French Connection, Midnight Cowboy, Annie Hall, Muppets Take Manhattan… You know the classics. I’m fascinated by the idea of a completely man-made place where endless concrete and steel serves as the doorway to America. That from one side of Manhattan to the other it’s completely covered with streets, buildings, shops, houses… No rolling hills or tree lines like we have here.

Enter AMC’s critically acclaimed drama, Mad Men which returns for its sixth season this Sunday, the latest chapter in the fictional history of New York. It’s the story of Don Draper and his struggles as he becomes one of Madison Avenue’s most celebrated ad men. The most compelling part of Mad Men is that Don is literally not who he seems to be. Spoilers aren’t needed, because it’s well known Don is really Dick Whitman, and has been hiding his identity ever since the real Don Draper was blown to bits in front of him in Korea. don-draperThe ol dog-tag switcheroo and Dick becomes Don, and gets a ride home from the war with a Purple Heart. Don came back from the war and started writing copy for Sterling Cooper, a prestigious New York ad company that was wrangling huge 1960s companies such as Lucky Strikes and Kodiak. Years of lying about his identity and acting as Don Draper have turned this man into a brilliant schmoozer, the king of the board room. Seriously, Don Draper could sell cigarettes in a iron lung.

Mad Men is set in 1960 in the first season, and has subsequently moved forward in time over the tumultuous decade. Mad_Men_Season_6,_Promotional_PosterOften the date is relayed through the events in the show, the Kennedy Assassination in the early seasons, and now the Civil Rights struggles has quickly become a hugely compelling storyline. It’s always done with genius and an eye for detail. Why do you think Mad Men won the Best Drama Emmy 4 years straight? I’ll tell you right now, it’s not because this is some stuffy intellectual show. This is the essence of the human condition, reflected through the lens of one of the most important times in history… And it’s SO New York. It’s got beatniks and junkies and smoke-filled offices filled with drunken sex and infidelity. It’s got smokey bars and taxi rides, high-rise apartments and back-alley infidelity… And I’ll tell you what else Mad Men‘s got. Joanie.

joanLike I said, season 6 of Mad Men starts this Sunday night, and season 5 was just put on Netflix today, so if you need to catch up, now is the time. I’ve got it queued up and ready to go. While I’ll admit the show has lost a bit of what made it great in the beginning, the pitches, the products, the Draper… I absolutely love how the story has evolved, things change, people die, while Don gets even more rich and powerful, his inability to keep his “Dick his pants” so to speak gets harder and harder. I guess that joke does work both ways.

If you look hard, you’ll even notice a similarity between the Bob Newhart Show and Mad Men, and that’s the AWESOME sunken floor in the Drapers’ new house. It’s a gorgeous house that we get a good tour of in the opening shots of season 5… Right before Sally (Don’s teenage daughter) goes all creepy-sexual over daddy’s new 20-something wife half-naked in bed. This show is SO good. I’m tired of pleading with people that haven’t watched it yet. Your loss! I’ll see you all Sunday night when we’re all glued to the TV.

And yes, I’ll be watching it without cable.

Cutting the Cable Cord: Day 1

cable_cord_byAlyson_Hurt_flickrccHow much is your cable bill? How about when you let it slide for a few weeks? Ever pick it apart and read the fine print? Now let me ask you this: Do you know what Stockholm Syndrome is?

You know, the one where the hostages lose their minds and start to feel a bond with the kidnappers? It’s like the story of the frog in the pot. The water’s warm, it keeps getting warmer, it feels great and relaxing, and then it’s frog soup.

Well this analogy can be used for anything in our society today, from the inability of our government to function on even the basest levels, to the Doritos Cool Ranch Taco at Taco Bell, the water is boiling… and we’re too relaxed to notice we’re about to be soup… But I’m talking about cable television.

infographic-cutting-the-cableWho knows this game? Your bill is too high so you call up Comcast and say you need to cut back some services and possibly switch to Dish… The representative pretends he or she hasn’t played this game every 5 minutes for the last 5 years  and gives you free HBO for six months and a boost on your internet speed… and maybe if you’re lucky will cut your bill down enough to make you feel like you’re empowered, like Comcast really cares about your business and wants to keep you as a customer.

I played this game for over 10 years and I can’t do it anymore. So as of today, as painful as it might be, my family has “cut the cord.” I turned in all of our cable boxes and gave up the charade of cable television. After literally months of back and forth, pros and cons, and swearing “this’ll be the week…”, tonight we are free. We can watch whatever we want without the constraints of “the guide.”

Let’s face it Comcast, “the guide” is the same crappy blue boxes you implemented 20 years ago. I’ve been staring at the same unresponsive menus and horrible interface for the better part of my adult life. Well, all of it actually… And yes I know that says something about my lifestyle, but I assure you, I do all things in moderation… ESPECIALLY moderation. While they might have added HDTV programming and On Demand (which now completely sucks because there and commercials and you can’t fast forward) to the mix, it’s still the same 25-year-old technology they’re selling us as next year’s model.

the-cable-guy-tbi-1Our last bill from Comcast was $601.00. That’s six hundred dollars, and that’s not a typo. That was also the last straw. Yes, it is three months worth of bills cause of their stupid bill-in-advance system, but still… $600??!! We had an HD-DVR in the living room, an HD box collecting dust, and an old black Motorola doing the same… Plus HBO (half price) and Showtime (half price) and a myriad of shit channels we don’t EVER watch. So I packed them in the trunk, went down and took a number in line, and stood there watching Netflix on my iPhone just to say “F you Comcast.” It would have been a much more satisfying experience if the dude at the counter hadn’t been so damn cool. So that plus internet works out to $200 a month. That’s $2400 a year. Are you beginning to see the water bubbling?

We’ve got 2 PS3s, 1 Sony BluRay, a Wii, a half dozen i-devices, and an HDTV antennae. We’ve also ordered the Boxee, which will be here Tuesday. It uses an internal HDTV antennae to record live TV, DVR-style, and stores it on a server without a limit to how much you store. Did you say no-limit cloud storage? We’ve got Amazon Prime, we’ve got Netflix, and we’ve got resourcefulness.

photo_610x357I’ll admit, it was a little overwhelming. Simply because cable has been such a part of my life, especially HBO and lately AMC, but now I can just BUY those episodes when the day they air anyway. Then I’ll own it! In the next month, two of my favorite shows return, and even if I have to pay $40 for an HD season of Game of Thrones, $40 for Mad Men, $40 for True Blood, etc… That’s still less than one goddamn Comcast payment! And it’s a cost that’s spread out over a few months, and lets me add my favorite shows to my video library!

cord-cutting-cableIt’s time to change the channel from cable television… To boldly go where no one has gone before and all that… Huzzah!

To be continued…