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TV Man

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TV Man
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Director: Steve Kosareff
  • Producer: Steve Kosareff
  • Writer: Steve Kosareff
  • Official Site: TV Man Official Site

Television as the great Satan, a primary tool of dumbing-down America, and the evil vessel of capitalism are such well-worn conversation topics that it's something of a relief to come across an irony-free declaration of love for the medium. But for writer-director Steve Kosareff, that love morphed at a young age from enchantment with TV's content into intrigue with the mode of delivery. He loves actual televisions, and his film is a documentary road-trip up and down the West Coast to locate an old-school TV repairman/dealer who might be able to fix his 1965 Zenith Jet Light set, all the while offering viewers a history lesson on the creation and evolution of the TV industry (from engineers to factory workers to mom-and-pop dealers). But that promising premise soon gives way to lots of folksy interviews with the last remaining independent TV dealers and repairmen, their work crews, and families. While they all possess a low-key likability, Kosareff is too enamored of these subjects, and lets them meander. He backburners what's most fascinating (stories of former titans of the industry; segments discussing how shifting social mores impacted said industry, the key roles of women in the factories) and squanders a chance to discuss the larger implications of all this-- consumer acceptance of the built-in obsolescence of everything from cars to computers, and the Madison Avenue swindle of convincing us that we must possess the latest, shiniest incarnation of every gadget we already own.

Ernest Hardy

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