Saturday, June 23, 2007

What the Dr. ordered

I'm a bit of a TV addict. If I could, I'd have the thing on all day long. It's not that I sit down and veg in front of it, rather I go about my day, checking in now and then and distracting myself from the cooking and cleaning I'm doing by trying to figure out who done it. I watch a lot of syndicated shows--things like Without a Trace, Law & Order, Charmed and Lifetime Television for women. I'd say 75% of what I watch are shows I've seen before, which makes it easier for me to go about my day and check in at certain parts and still know what's happened.

However, I have kids, and they DON'T go about their day with the comforting voices of Jack Malone and Lutenint (It's words like this that make me wish we'd grown up speaking Latin--even spell check doesn't know how to spell it) anyway, Lutenant Brisco simply existing in the background. No, they instead go into TV-comas to the extent that they don't even laugh at the funny parts. It's weird. And so, I have to limit my TV time, because they seem to think that if I'm watching TV upstairs, they can watch TV downstairs. If only this theory worked with, say, making the bed, not leaving dirty underwear on the floor, and showering on a regular basis (okay, that one's not really fair--but I'm working on it. So far I'm up to twice a week.)

I also enjoy commercials. I know most people don't, but I find it fascinating that people can get a complete product tag and scenario laid (lye, lay, lieth) out in forty five seconds. Some make no sense at all (Perfume commercials mostly) and other's are just dumb (Pringles and Lagoon--dumbest commercials on the planet). But the other day I'm watching TV and a commercial comes on. I hear vague words like Prescription strength and strongest prescription. Medication, right? Wrong. Deodorant. They actually have an over the counter Deodorant that is touted as 'prescription strenght' which means there is actually a prescription deodorant available. And so I wonder, who gets a prescription for deodorant? "My pits are smelling bad, doc, and that stuff at the store, it just ain't cuttin it." Or are there conditions that make BO even worse than it usually is? Maybe someone needs to tell them to stop wearing synthetic fabrics, that's what gets me ( and my kids) smellin like road kill.

By the time the commercial ended I had created this entire character in my head, a man who has this outrageous body odor problem that keeps him from finding love. I titled it "One whiff at a Time" and I think it's gunna be huge. Stay tuned.

Yes, I do have a point with all this--and the point is . . . inspiration is everywhere. My second book Surrounded By Strangers was directly inspired by a TV movie. To Have or To Hold was directly inspired by a cliche and overdone story line used in Regency romances where two people marry for convenience. I've taken countless scene ideas from Law & Order episodes and I often find names, cities, and occupations from shows I watch as well.

So while I also advocate gardening and flossing, don't treat your TV as an evil brain sucker, rather consider it an idea manufacturing device that when properly used can lead you to story ideas that you may not have come up with otherwise. I mean, who knew there was prescription deodorant out there? And how can I introduce a few people I know to the idea that they might just need it.


Annette Lyon said...

Can I shout, "YES!" though cyber space? I've gotten plot ideas from TV too. A character came from a article. A storyline once came from a radio show. You never can tell where inspiration will strike from.

Unknown said...

Evil Brain Sucker. I love it. That will be my new name for my daughter's obsession: Dora the Explorer. :-)

Lucy Stern said...

My grandson could watch Noggin all day long if you let him.... I have to admit that he has learned a lot from the show on that channel.

Ice Cream said...

My cousin makes her Tongan husband watch T.V. commercials in English to help him understand English humor.

I am one of those awful zombie watchers. If the tube is on don't even bother trying to talk to me. That is why we do not get T.V. in our home.