We’re checking in from Boston, where the WGA strike doesn’t really seem to have affected people much. Admittedly, I watch a lot of TV, so I knew it was coming, and I’ve seen coverage on the news and followed it online, and I think I saw a picketing Tina Fey on the cover of a free Metro paper someone had discarded on the T the other night.
But if viewers are not seeking it out, it is entirely possible to miss it. Of course, that will all change once the networks run out of shows already in the can. But for now, if you’re not living in LA or NY, it’s entirely possible to have blithely gone about your business all week and not have heard one word about the strike.
Unless you’re friends with me, of course, and then you’ve been quizzed on your exposure to strike coverage.
Case in point: Last night, I met up with a friend to split a bottle of wine and watch America’s Next Top Model and Gossip Girl, as we are wont to do on Wednesdays, being the classy gals we are. I had listened to talk of the strike on the radio on my drive in, read about it online on my lunch break, and, when I got home, fast forwarded through a commercial break running strike footage while catching up on Reaper–all before prime time.
My friend had gone to work, not bothering to pick up a free paper as she made her way to the train, gone about her day without once checking broadcastingcable.com (the nerve!), gone to a class, come home, and ordered takeout – again, all before the 8 o’clock hour.
I have no idea if the strike was mentioned during the news teasers during ANTM or GG, because when you watch TV with your friends, you talk over the commercials. She had gone the entire day without hearing one mention of the WGA, or how it would affect her viewing, or who deserves to get residuals. Right up until I asked her about it.
And I don’t think this is an isolated case. If you’re not a late-night viewer and you’re not employed by the entertainment industry, if you don’t see writers striking as you walk past them on your lunch break, the strike perhaps has very little meaning for you. It may not have meaning for a large section of the population until it interrupts regularly scheduled primetime viewing.
And then, well, God help us all.