Thursday, March 2nd, 2006
You don’t have to do everything that’s out there. Seriously. You don’t have to sign up for every social network or inhale all online pop culture, all the time. Sometimes you can just bounce from one thing-about-the-thing to another, and emerge bruised but slightly enriched.There, I used ‘seriously’ in one of several ways that People Younger than Me (PYTM) use it, and I’m really only conscious of it because of a television show I don’t watch.That’d be Grey’s Anatomy. I have nothing really against it…I’m certainly not turned off of it the way I am, say, NBC’s Las Vegas or almost any sitcom on ABC. It’s just on at a semi-inconvenient time and the overlay story (young doctors) is just not that compelling to me the way that, say, young Holmesian doctors in New Jersey led by a grumpy guy affecting an American accent would be.But one weblog writer I read regularly (originally because of the novelty that she lived just up Lanier Boulevard from our house, now just because sometimes she talks about library science stuff that interests me) enthused about the show, and then mentioned that the writers for the show were blogging, and my ongoing interest in that (see Serenity’s Joss Whedon and Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore) got me over there to read their thoughts, which seemed to be expressed in the arch, apparent-insecurities-showing, twenty-come-thirtysomething way that so many folks online (therefore, people in general) do now.I was impressed by the strong voice of the show’s creator, someone named Shonda Rhimes. And I say “someone named” because, well, I don’t get out much and I hadn’t come across many earlier references to Ms. Rhimes and her work, but as I pagedowned my way through the blog and, for good measure, read a Writers Guild of America magazine piece about her, I found my self enthusiastic for her success, yet still without any great desire to watch the show itself. I was, it seems, impressed with her “offstage” writing skills, in the blog, in the stuff-about-the-stuff. Hey, I’m a meta-fan.One paragraph from the show’s Frequently Asked Questions is representative—it brings me a vivid sense of the ambiance around wherever in LA the Grey’s writers are.
Why do you and the characters say “seriously” all the time?Because Krista Vernoff, one of our valued writers, says it constantly in the Writers’ Room. CONSTANTLY. Like, four hundred and fifty times a day. And it is catching. Now we all say it. Seriously. Krista says she caught the “seriously” bug from one of her friends and brought it to work and spread it to all of us. It’s an awesome word. Said correctly, it can convey sarcasm, dismay, disbelief, a sense of moral and ethical superiority and gentle chastising punishment all at once. Seriously.
So there you are, yet another example (like “dude”, “awesome”, and “like” itself) of the economics of 21st century usage—why use specific words to convey all those different nuances when you can employ the blunt-force trauma of one oft-wielded adverb? “Said correctly?” Seriously.I include that chunk from the show’s FAQ here for you in part to spare you—when you go to that page on the ABC site this music starts playing, and I am in general, way opposed to sites that start blasting sounds at you before you have a chance to say “oh, no, I’d like my web reading in silence, thanks.” And it’s axiomatic: the more annoying the sound, the harder they’ll make it for you to turn it off.I, unwarned, went to that page and although the loud and sudden offering of the music was annoying, it did kind of have a nice tinkly melodic line and beat that reminded me, for reasons lost in the mist of television antiquity, of the old St. Elsewhere theme. So, okay, what was I hearing? If I actually watched the show, I would have known it’s the theme song, or what passes for the theme song, or what you hear during what passes for the opening credits, but I don’t, so, some Googling of the lyrics later, such as I could make them out, brought me to the British group Psapp (which has an intrusive yet helpful audio pronouncer of their name on their site) and to the song—the aforementioned song—called “Cosy in the Rocket”. And, for the same hard-to-define reasons that I enjoy Zero 7…well, 99 cents later(iTunes store link), it’s on my iPod.And on the way, I picked up yet another British spelling I wasn’t familiar with (I don’t drink much tea), so when I write to folks in Honduras about their new logo, I’ll be sure to spell it ‘cosy.’ Seriously! But what I didn’t pick up along the way (as of yet): another television show to watch. Ironically!