The burden of filling countless hours with TV programming has given rise to the annoying genre I disparage as “filler.” For example, every movie has its filler segments – those endless chase scenes or slow moving dialogues where nothing of substance is added to the overall production. But the uniqueness of each movie makes this filler tolerable. When it comes to the repetitive medium of the nightly news programs, I lose my patience with the verbal babble and visual clutter of the weatherman spot.
Let’s face it … we only endured the sappy human interest pieces and alarming health alerts to get to that portion of the 30 minute newscast that will directly impact our enjoyment of upcoming activities – the next day’s forecast and the five day educated guess. Anything beyond that only prolongs the waiting. I cannot get excited about the time machine projections of the blinking radar scopes… who cares where the clouds came from or are going? The plotting on the map of the specific temperatures for a representative smattering of 25 nearby suburbs of Baltimore (where the variance is only a couple of degrees) holds no special thrill either. We are only asking for weather that is “directionally correct” – we are not looking for Houston Mission Control Center sensitive data here.
The competition for dispensing weather information has intensified with the immediacy of internet sites. Remember the old days when we used to dial up the special weather telephone number to get the most current reading? Now we just check weather.com or turn the TV to the Weather Channel for the local on the eights.
Given that there are only so many variations to explaining “partly cloudy” or “partly sunny”, the TV prognisticators are forced to become some type of odd ball character to try to keep our attention and make their mark. You have a variety of different styles. There may be the female bimbo types who are hoping this profession is one step above cheerleading. Then there are the failed standup comics who either rely on their own personal delivery or on the interaction with their partners on the set. Fortunately there are still the consummate professionals who have been on the same channel for decades and bring that comfortable sense of familiarity to the nightly pre-bedtime ritual.