Roundabout Avenues to Sixties Television

  • Jun. 8th, 2009 at 11:59 AM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (iconic)
So, as you all most likely know, my household is currently enthralled by TOS. (Current proof of utter ridiculousness: not only have I finally changed my layout to one from [ profile] thefulcrum, I altered the colors. Look closely.) What I could not recall was why, after years of Star Wars vs. Star Trek debates, we'd decided to watch TOS a few years ago.

Mr. Daroga remembered last night.

Apparently, we were actually brought to TOS fandom via William Shatner's music career. Mr. Daroga heard "It Hasn't Happened Yet" (ignore the images; bonus live version here) on the radio (npr?), got interested, bought the album, and that was it.

I am a Star Trek fan because of William Shatner's "singing." I'm fairly certain this is an uncommon phenomenon.

You know what else I'm a fan of? Batman. With Adam West. It's not available on DVD due to weird rights reasons, but we "found" some and we've been watching season 1.

The thing about Batman (the tv series--henceforth that's what I mean in this post when I say "Batman") is that when I was a kid, I remember seeing it on tv and wondering how everyone in the sixties could have been that stupid. I mean, it was so dumb! Did anyone actually think that was funny? I was a very serious child, I guess; later on, when I started watching the animated series and reading some comics I probably became even more offended by the campy excess of Adam West's Batman.

I was so wrong. Several years ago now, when I was momentarily in a house that actually had cable, I saw an episode on TV Land. Batman and Robin are chasing Kitt!Catwoman through a pageant or a fashion show or something and she goes into the dressing room, forcing them to a painful decision:

Can they, or can they not, enter a womens dressing room?

They finally determine they can, if they cover their eyes. That was it. I was done for. For some reason, this crap delights me. I know this is nothing new and I haven't discovered the moon or anything. But imagine the shock of realizing that I actually thought this was funny!

It hasn't stopped yet, either. I love how self-aware and absurdly meta it is. I love that Robin can't follow criminals into clubs because he's underage. And that Batman realizes he can't drive the Batmobile when he's been drugged because he's under the influence. And how he almost moves it when he realizes he's parked in a no-parking zone. And how Dick always hangs his head in shame after Bruce admonishes him about music or algebra or whatever being important to human culture, and says, "Gosh, Bruce, you're right." And how they both get the Riddler's totally stupid riddles as if they're totally obvious. Also the Riddler's hot in his unitard. And how Bruce and Dick keep going "fishing" and Alfred wonders what will happen if Aunt Harriet actually finds out what those boys are up to.

In short, I think I hated it when I was a kid because I didn't get the real joke. Which was that it was all a joke. I still don't know why I think this is so funny, but more than that I don't know why it's important to me to figure it out--I mean obviously lots of people found it hilarious, or it wouldn't be here. And lots of people still find it stupid. I have half a mind to do a post about the socio-cultural implications of this version of Batman vs. others.

One semi-serious thing this suggests to me is that it fits in with the increasing tolerance I have for multiple visions. It's more than just tolerance--I embrace it. I remember when I was a teenager, affronts to my vision of canon (for whatever value of fandom you want to discuss) were MORTAL. Canon--my interpretation of it--was absolute. Which was obviously hypocritical, since my canon probably involved Erik/Christine shipping, which is obviously not supported by actual canon. This is probably not a startling revelation, but it's interesting to me that not only do I love that there are different versions of things, and have a far greater tolerance for fanworks that support alternate interpretations/pairings/whatever, I watch everything with a greater eye to multiple visions within the text itself. Which is one reason I love watching TOS--there are so many places to diverge from each episode, I almost want to watch them again as soon as I'm done.

Maybe I'm just mellowing out in my old age.

Then again, there's this:


Which pretty much blows all pseudo-intellectual argument and soul-searching out of the water.


my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (Default)
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