Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Can't Take My Eyes off of You: 1 Man, 7 Days, 12 Televisions

2000, first edition, from Crown Publishers
Jack Lechner
Can't Take My Eyes off of You: 1 Man, 7 Days, 12 Televisions
Original price $23.95, purchase price $8.00
Hardcover in good condition

While this book is a fun look at late '90s TV (the last week of September, 1999), it never reaches the heights of its inspiration: Sopkin's Seven Glorious Days, Seven Fun-Filled Nights (1968).  It's more of a LOL than a ROTFL book.  I do appreciate that Lechner is less racist, sexist, and homophobic than Sopkin, while never too P.C. to be snarky.  Like me, he grew up reading Sopkin's book (he's about six years older than I am), and decided to replicate the experiment, but with double the TV sets, to include cable.  He is somewhat like Sopkin in that he's married and (then) childless.  (Sopkin's son was born after that book came out.)  They both lived in New York and (if I recall correctly about Sopkin) were Jewish.  But Sopkin never had much to do with the mass media, while Lechner worked for Miramax.

By the time this book came out, I wasn't watching much TV, although oddly enough the one Teletubbies episode I'd then seen is the same one that Lechner saw (he about six months after I), and the same things baffled us.  He speculates, as did Capsuto, on the future of "television," and what effect the Internet would have on it.  In my case, and of course for many others, the Internet would replace television.  (When I watch "television" this century, it's VHS and DVDs of TV shows and movies, the former seldom after the '90s.)  

I suppose every time is transitional, but this very-turn-of-the-millennium book captures an especially transitional time.  Even with the shows he writes about that I've never seen, I've at least heard of them, unlike 99% of the programs of this century.  Ironically, between Lechner's viewing marathon and the publication of this book, he won $125,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

This finishes off another bookshelf, although of course things may be redistributed later.

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