austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Though this concrete blocks my view

So back to my father and I trying to get to Late Night: we had our tickets, and our wristbands, and about an hour to fill before coming back to the mezzanine level for the line which would actually put us in the studio. We figured this time would be a convenient one to check the NBC Studio store, even though I only actually watch one and a half NBC shows (now that Conan O'Brien's off Late Night) and my father just sighs wearily when the suggestion of not watching every home repair show ever during prime time comes up.

My father was surprised there wasn't any Late Night merchandise on sale. I kept pointing out that it's a much bigger store than he seems to think it is, but he kept insisting there wasn't anything, including when we went past the table selling Late Night T-shirts, mugs, pins, keychains, and Masturbating Bear-related merchandise. This selection was smaller than I expected, though, even though they did have replicas of the desk mug with many weird cryptic messages written on it that Conan drinks his water from during the show.

What did surprise me was the abundance of merchandise connected to either Seinfeld or Friends, shows which if I'm not mistaken went off the air when the current crop of high school graduates were still in elementary school. This doesn't speak well of the modern crop of NBC shows, but I do understand why someone might like a Seinfeld T-shirt more than a Kath and Kim one.

What astounded my father was the range of House merchandise. I don't think he cares about House in any way except that he knows Plainsboro, New Jersey, fairly well. (My father knows every street between northern Virginia and New Hampshire.) But he knows that my mother likes watching the show, so he went carefully through every single T-shirt, mug, button, and poster, suggesting we buy it for my mother. My mother has never hinted that her liking a show has extended to wanting any merchandise connected to these shows, including videotape or DVD sets.

I resisted all the buying efforts because I didn't want to carry anything through the rest of the day including the show. So on verifying that the store closes at 7 pm --- a half-hour after the scheduled end of taping --- I was able to stand on the ``we'll buy stuff later'', assuming the show ends on time, principle. This was a great improvement over the way the old NBC Store used to run things when I went to tapings in the 1990s: they used to close for the night at 6 pm, midway through Late Night. Why a 7:30 closing time wouldn't make more sense is one of the many things which I think of and which the outstanding team which runs General Electric doesn't.

Trivia: Henry Sewall, with the University of Michigan, successfully immunized pigeons against rattlesnake poison in 1887. Source: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, John M Barry.

Currently Reading: The Last Editor: How I Saved The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times from Dullness And Complacency, Jim Bellows.


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