The year in review, review

Soon, if they haven’t already, the networks will start blasting us with cheaply produced year-end specials (full of footage already bought and paid for) with titles like “Unforgettable Moments of 2006.” Isn’t the essence of an unforgettable moment that we haven’t forgotten it? If it happened earlier this year and we can’t remember it, it’s not very unforgettable – is it?

Think back. Try to remember the big stories of January this year. I’m sure there were plenty of them because I read the newspaper and watched the television almost every day last January. But unaided, absolutely nothing springs to mind. Well, one thing. I remember watching a show called “Unforgettable Moments of 2005.” But except for Hurricane Katrina, I’ve forgotten what those moments were.

What’s the point of remembering anything? Who won the Best Actor Oscar last year? Who knows – Google it. Oh, yeah, I remember something from this past year. Madonna adopted a baby, which just goes to show you what a horrible person she is. We know she’s a horrible person, because all the reporters on the Madonna beat (none of whom have ever adopted a baby) said so. So it must be true.

The year-end shows always remind me how fast the past year went by and how fast time is flying by. It’s not a feeling I enjoy. I hear time’s little nagging voice.

“Jim, did you know Shakespeare had written 42 plays by the time he was your age? What have you been doing?”

“Yeah, but he was a genius.”

“Funny, I’ve never heard of a lazy, TV watching genius.”

“I’m really starting to hate you.”

“Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.”

Soon, if not already, they’ll start holding all the award shows for the best of the year. Let’s see – you’re a rich, famous movie star. You have a beautiful house, a ridiculously easy job and beautiful lovers. Let’s give you a prize! Excuse me, but I think wealthy TV and movies stars have already been given their prize. It’s called money! Let’s let someone else get a prize for a change. Like a teacher. Or nurse. Or a social worker. Or a scientist. Who do the award givers think invented the movies and television? Actors? Most actors can’t turn on a DVD player much less invent one.

Between the “Unforgettable Moments” and all the Awards shows we’ll also be treated to “The Ten Best Lists of 2006.”

What were your top 10 recordings of 2006? Gnarls Barkley or Kanye West? Or do you only know the names because you hear them on the music awards show? Sting, the former frontman for The Police, has just come out with an album of 16th Century lute music. I’m sure it’s wonderful, but doesn’t anyone make new music for people in between 13 and death?

The ten best TV shows of the year? Are there ten “best” shows on all of television? I think a year-end show called “Ten TV Shows That Don’t Completely Suck” might be more accurate. They used to say that there were “Fifty-seven channels and nothing’s on,” now we can proudly say “Five hundred and 57 channels and nothing’s on.” Including the so-called “premium” movie channels that you pay extra for. Bad movies used to stay at the mall for a week and then die with dignity. Now they play on HBO and Showtime in an appalling, seemingly endless loop for years.

“The Ten Best Books of 2006.” There’s a year-end special you’ll never see on TV. But you’ll see a lot of it in newspapers and magazines. Do you know what it means if a book sells a million copies in this country? It means that 299 million people didn’t buy it. “Oh, well maybe another 10 million read it at the library.” Great, that means only 290 million people didn’t read it. Yet the funny thing is, everyone wants to write a book. You’re better off writing a TV show. A year-end show. An awards show. More people will see it.

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