South Royalton, Vermont, 2011
anri sala: french pavilion at the 2013 venice art biennale - ravel ravel
Robert Rauschenberg - Erased De Kooning
This. Is. Genius.
"There’s no wrong way to paint a feeling."
Stop what you’re doing and watch this.
Over the past few months, I’ve slowly been working my way through Cheers. Usually I’ll watch an episode before I go to bed, and if I can put off whatever I should be working on until the next day and sneak my way into bed before 11:00pm, all the better. “Cheers and an early bedtime” has become the description of a perfect weekday gift to myself. Not very exciting, I know, but that’s the life I’ve chosen.
This whole process has been enjoyable for many reasons, but my favorite aspect of it is the pacing. Cheers is the perfect antidote to the contemporary mania for binge-watching television shows, because Cheers is completely binge-proof. The human body cannot physically absorb more than one episode of Cheers in a sitting. It’s not built to be consumed sequentially in short order — the plot arcs, such as they are, unfold so slowly as to be barely perceptible. Every episode is essentially identical to every other one, because Cheers is, at its core, about going to a certain place once a day and knowing exactly what you’ll get every time. Watching one before going to bed versus trying to pound down six in a row is the difference between dropping by a bar for one beer and drinking yourself into a complete stupor. I have never once been tempted to hit the “Next episode” button in a panic after one ended and thought, “Oh, shit, just one more episode! What’s going to happen to Woody?” There are safeguards in place for that sort of unhealthy behavior. You know what’s going to happen to Woody. He is going to show up for work the next day. And if he doesn’t, well, that will make for a pretty good episode of Cheers.
Watching one episode of Cheers at a time is sublime. Watching two in a row is squirmy. Watching three or more episodes of Cheers in one sitting is like being forced to sit in a bar and see Diane Chambers and Andy Andy perform Shakespeare.
Cheers has 11 seasons. I’m now at the end of season 4. At this pace, it’ll be a few years before I finish all of it. And then, after that, there’s eleven years of Frasier waiting for me. I guess this sounds like I’m trying to make this modest practice out to be some grand repudiation of contemporary television programming, habits, and culture. That’s probably the slightest bit true, but mostly I just really, really like watching Cheers and going to bed early.