Why They Write

There’s just no getting around it: this strike sucks. It sucks for the writers, it sucks for the networks, it sucks for all the below-the-line workers, and it sucks for us, the loyal television viewers.

Now that I’ve finally burned through all those episodes of Heroes and Bionic Woman and My Name Is Earl that I’d stockpiled on the TiVo, my Now Playing List is a sad and barren place. A few episodes of Good Eats and Mythbusters, a lot of Ninja Warrior, and… that’s pretty much it. I don’t even have the heart to look at my To Do List because I’m afraid I might actually cry. Thank goodness for all those Doctor Who DVDs I got for Christmas, or else I might be sitting in a corner right now eating my own hair.

There is, however, one good thing to come out of the strike. Our favorite television writers are, for perhaps the first time in years, bored. And what do bored writers do? Apparently they take to the internet. To vent, to blog, to philosophize, and to just generally interact with their fans in a way that they don’t often have time to do.

One of my favorite blogs to come out of the strike so far is Why We Write, a series of essays by TV and film writers, talking about what inspired them to get into writing in the first place. Conceived by Charlie Craig and Thania St. John, the site has thus far treated us to stirring contributions from Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl), Steve Levitan (Back to You), Howard Gordon (24), and Carol Mendelsohn (CSI).

It’s a wonderful look into the hearts and minds of these writers. But more than that it reinforces the fact that there is one thing that binds us all together during these dark times: an abiding love of television.

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One thought on “Why They Write

  1. The television strike is allowing me to catch up on _The Wire_; I watched the fourth season in 2006, and now I’ve watched all fifty-some hours of it this month so that I can be ready for the fifth-season premiere when it comes up on HBO On Demand on New Year’s Eve.

    And hey, look, the first episodes of _Love American Style_ are out on DVD!!! So many of those Writers In The Sky, as Carol Mendelsohn put it, are available through Netflix.

    There’s easily a year’s worth of catching up on the history of our love that I can do. What’s really shameful, though, is that money spent on that catching up will get distributed to writers according to the stupid current DVD-residual provisions. So even my effort to tolerate the strike for the long haul ends up in effect supporting AMPTP. What am I supposed to do — read *books*???

    The only possible silver lining is that the dearth of new programming, or the abundance of crappy mid-season “My Cashmere Jungle Is Better Than Your Lipstick Mafia” programming, will bring more viewers to _The Wire_ than might have been the case otherwise…

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