Went last night with Amy (an actual date!) to see NPR’s Ira Glass in conversation with comic artist Chris Ware (“Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth”), hosted by Orville Schell. Started with a 20 minute story drawn by Ware and narrated by Glass, followed by fascinating, funny general banter about life, hermitage, television, architecture, etc. Ware is inward to the point of awkwardness, completely out of place on stage (“Given the choice, I’d never leave my house.”)
Interesting thread on the current “media landscape” — Glass says we’re living in a new golden age of television, because producers have become so desperate to find the next big thing that they’re willing to try anything at all. As TV consumers, we benefit from the sheer range of content types this produces. And it’s true — as much as we lament the death of the sitcom, the variety we have to choose from now is deafening compared to what we had in, say, the 80s. And for shows that are scripted (as opposed to reality-based), the level of complexity just keeps rising (compare The Sopranos to Dragnet, c.f. Everything Bad is Good For You).
Glass also talked about how the fakeness of TV news drives him crazy. Stuffed shirts and talking heads all the way ’round. “Why can’t we just have real people talking about the news? The Daily Show has shown us how badly we crave someone real addressing the news. We need a show like that that isn’t comedy.”