Monday, March 5, 2012

Viewing Parties

     I went to my first viewing party this weekend. It was a great reminder as to what a communal experience TV can be. I rarely watch TV with other people in the room. Usually that's for good reason because other people like to talk over the TV or not pay attention and then spend time saying "what'd he say? who is that? what? I like her outfit" and then my head explodes. But when watching with a group of people who are just an invested as I am, it can be a nice experience.
     Paleyfest is happening right now in LA. There is also a Paley Center in NYC so the geniuses over there decided they could do a combined event between the two. So over here on the east coast, there was a Community viewing party in conjunction with the Community Paleyfest Panel. We watched a screen of a screen of a panel in LA. How exciting.
     That sounded sarcastic, but it was pretty cool. The Paleyfest in general is a really cool thing. People from our favorite shows come to sit down with some guy and just talk about their show. It's always a good time. I don't know who the guy asking the questions was, I wasn't paying attention to that part. I would guess he's from the Paley Center. That's fine. We're not really looking at him anyway.
     Since those of us in NYC are watching a screen of a screen, Paley Center tried to sweeten the deal a bit with cookies, fruit, and soda. That was nice. Also, there was a blanket fort. A few people were playing in it. I refrained because I'm either too cool or not cool enough. And they were strangers and if I learned anything when I was a kid it was do not get into a fort made of blankets with strangers. But still, it was fun. There was also a costume contest and a poster contest. (These things may have also existed in LA. I'm not sure.) The costume contest was a fun idea, but not wonderfully executed. There were only about 4 really inspired costumes--Professor Professorson, Pierce Hawthorne in his wizard robes, The Dean, and the dean's companion dalmatian--everyone else worse regular clothes and tried to be Jeff or Annie. But it was a nice idea.
     I assume because I am a nonmember, I was sent to the upstairs viewing room. This is where the screen of a screen thing comes in. There was a main auditorium downstairs where a host in NY had a podium and a screen was set up to livestream the event. Then in the small auditorium I was in, with about 50 of my new best friends, we were watching that other auditorium. There was discussion about whether or not we would be watching the screen of the screen, which was pretty small at that point. And for about 5 minutes we were, and the livestream buffered a lot. We grumbled. A lot. But then someone fixed it and we were able to settle in and enjoy it.
     We viewed the episode that will air on the 15th. It was great and everyone should watch it. People in groups really do laugh more! That was a nice communal experience, except of course for the few lines I missed because people were laughing too hard. But it seems silly to complain about people laughing too hard. The livestream of the panel was fun to watch too, even though some people yelled out during that too. It's probably available online now.
     Community is great so it was a worthwhile experience. (I will not be attending the Castle viewing party this coming Friday.) Of course actually being at Paleyfest would have been even better, but this was a close second. March 15th! Woo! Watch!

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