It's been brought to my attention by my small but loyal and vocal band of readers that I have been remiss is not writing about the end of the writers' strike. And they are right: I have been remiss. So, here I am rectify the situation.
But in doing so, I have been examining the reasons behind my reaction to the end of the writers' strike, which has been largely ambivalence. Why do I feel so blase about the ending of a creative drought and the ostensible beginning of a new period of original programming? Why did the news that the strike was over hardly cause more than a small stir within me? Why can I not generate enough excitement even to read more about the terms of the deal than the nightly news can tell me? (And, while we are asking questions, why is Michael Douglas the new voice that introduces the NBC nightly news with Brian Williams???) What is going on??
I think I have had the reaction I have had for a few reasons. One, the strike was just entirely too long. I, like a lot of people, stopped caring after a month and yet it dragged on for two more. Strikes have to be concentrated to have an effect, and the length of time involved diffused all the issues for me and, I suspect, for many of my fellow Americans (okay, so one effect of the strike was to make me pay a lot more attention to politics than I am wont to do and apparently their awful rhetoric has infected me a little. Sorry!)
Two, the length of the strike has caused irreparable damage to the television season as we know it, making coming back to work now almost a moot point for most of the shows about which I care. For example, Heroes has already said it's not making any more new episodes; Lost is now making 12 of its already reduced 16 episode season. Many other dramas think they can squeeze out two or three more shows before May, perhaps premiering in April...maybe? So, in effect, for viewers like me, the strike is actually lasting several more months. I just can't be bothered to keep up with all this scheduling and rescheduling when Battlestar Galatica season 3 comes out on DVD next month and Fox's Damages is already out and I can watch what I want, when I want, as much as I want, something the writers and producers and everyone else involved clearly cannot promise me.
Three, and this is just personal, I have been pretty dang busy, you know, keeping a small child alive and the multi-media residual profit sharing issues have seemed sort of useless, you know? But I also think my personal issue links to a larger one: most people hardly understood what the strike was about, nor do/did they care. For all that writers were involved, there was not a very good PR campaign going on with this strike. As I have said, I am a fairly active television watcher and if my patience has worn thin, think about everyone else's.
[Aside: my child has an adventuresome streak: his "bouncy" chair that vibrates a little electronically may be fine for all the other babies on the block, but he is only happy in it when I bounce it forcefully with my foot, as I am doing now, as if it were an old-fashioned sewing machine pedal. And when I do so, he drifts of into contented sleep. And if I stop, he gets all fidgety and fussy and awake. Crazy kid!]
And finally, four, another personal issue: it feels like a personal affront that, after years of loyal viewership, just when I was pregnant and not working and then at home raising a small child and had lots and lots of time on my hands, the writers' chose THEN to go on strike and leave me with rehashed American Gladiators, infernal American Idol, and absolute wastes of time like Moment of Truth and Deal or No Deal.
So, yes, the strike is over. Hurrah. Or something....