Daily Archives: June 6th, 2010

Drop Dead Charter

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This is a post where you all get to point and laugh at me. Go ahead, bring it on. Make my day.

So, yeah. I went and did something stupid. I broke one of my cardinal rules and got interested in a television show. A TV SHOW!!!

I know! How dumb can I be?

I’m going to admit the ugly truth right up front. I cried in Titanic. I cried in Avatar. And now I find myself tearing up over a little show called “Drop Dead Diva.” And I’m going to admit one more thing: The only reason I was curious enough to check out this show is because Brooke Elliott is adorable.

So “Drop Dead Diva” is this show on the Lifetime network about a shallow model who dies because she’s too stupid to operate a motor vehicle safely. After a little mixup at the waypoint between heaven and hell she gets sent back to Earth and inhabits the body of someone who also just died. It’s all fairly formulaic in just the same way that Avatar was, and with the same result. Somehow it works on me. Ungh.

Yeah, the dead girl was about to get proposed to, yada yada yada. And, what a coincidence, the new body she gets just happens to be a nexus for everything from her old life: boyfriend, parents, etc. What are the odds of that? It also turns out the shallow model is now a giving, intelligent lawyer. (As if television hasn’t plumbed the legal genre enough already.) And, just for good measure, they throw in some chick stuff like fashion and body image issues. Every case this attorney gets involved with dovetails nicely to her unique situation in a touching and meaningful way. Her job becomes the vehicle for helping her with her transition and making her even better and more fantastic along the way. Then pop it on the Lifetime network. You got yourself a hit!

Gag me!

I’m still watching, though.

Spoiler: Margaret Cho plays her assistant and that woman is just covered in tattoos. I don’t recall actually seeing any of them in the show, though.

Here’s the rub. All 13 episodes of season one are available from the Lifetime network right now on Charter Communications “On Demand” service. They are available until Jun. 6th. The new second season of “Drop Dead Diva” premiers Jun. 6th at 9:00pm. So there is a bit of a deadline in play for those of us new to the series.

This is where Charter steps in. If you are a Charter customer, then you know one thing. Charter promotes the FUCKING HELL out of their “On Demand” service. They run commercials up the friggin’ ass about “why wait for movies in the mail” and that sort of thing.

What they don’t tell you…

Charter’s “On Demand” service is a steaming pile of poopy shit.

Honestly, it would be more fun to spend evenings in the living room sitting on the sofa trying to pick out your eyeballs with a fork than watch anything using Charter’s “On Demand.”

In theory “On Demand” is a great idea. Content producers make their programming available any time you want it (with a few commercials added, of course). It’s a win-win. Content producers get a little more ad space to sell and viewers can watch shows they’ve missed any time they want. Unfortunately the technology and prowess to pull off the feat is completely beyond Charter’s grasp. Charter is one of the worst companies in the history of technology and is also horrible at customer service and they are horribly overpriced. Charter sucks.

My wife and I spent the last three nights watching “Drop Dead Diva” (two episodes a night) using Charter’s “On Demand” service. We’ve now watched 6 out of 13 episodes of season one.

What we’ve seen so far from Charter’s “On Demand” service includes:

  • Random error messages rather than content
  • Non-stop visual glitches (when the service is running good) like little green squares that move around the screen
  • 1-2 second audio drop outs that occur about every 20 seconds or so
  • Visual glitches so bad it’s like trying to watch scrambled porn (when these happen you have to stop playback and restart because the never get better)

Through experience we have learned that if you stop playback then restart, you can buy yourself a little time to watch a few more minutes of programming before the problems begin anew and ramp back up. It almost feels like we’re being deliberately tortured as part of some sinister science experiment. And these problems have happened all three nights in all six episodes.

It’s actually one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.

The thing that gets me: The service is literally poop. Yet Charter is selling the fuck out of it as shit tartare on a silver platter. I guess we can add “baldfaced liars” to Charter’s list of accolades and achievements.

It almost makes me wish I could hire Jane Bingum to sue the bastards! All I have to do is figure out some special angle so my case can relate back to her unique situation in a compelling plot line sort of way.

Now someone please get me a new box of tissues. I’m out and it’s almost time to cry some more…