“Don’t Save jPod” or “Only millennial hippies, bored college students, poser activists, and whiny fanboys join Facebook groups as a show of solidarity.”

June 28, 2009

Dear Coupland-aholics (and Douglas Coupland, if you’re listening),

If you’ve had a conversation with me that’s lasted longer than 36 seconds in the last two weeks, you’ve probably heard me mention jPod, a doomed early-2008 Canadian television show based on my second-to-least favorite book written by my favorite author (Girlfriend in a Coma FTW!). I love my favorite Douglas Coupland books about as much as I despise television, which may explain my conflicting emotions when I not only discovered fairly recently that the show was made, but realized that it’s the one of the worst shows ever mistakingly syndicated onto the idiot box we call television…and I couldn’t stop watching it.

The Podsters

The Podsters

After four drafts of this post, I’ve yet to find the right words to properly describe the hearty plot casserole that jPod serves up in every episode, or how prime-time buzzword “edgy” translates to “brutal” in Coupland’s screenwriting hands. I love senseless violence as much as the next person (…), but to see characters fall victim to kidnapping, detonation, murder-suicide pacts, electrocution, assault with a deadly weapon, vehicular homicide (x2), heroin addiction, and assault with a cuddly weapon was a bit much for one season!!! Fortunately the super-saturation of plot actually made me feel like I got a twelve-hour jPod movie rather than one season of a TV show, which I kind of dug in a weird way.

Critics (read: myself and other people vaguely referenced on Wikipedia) chided Coupland for inserting himself into the jPod novel as an insufferably dickish character. In the series, Coupland merely cameos as a character dead in an elevator (woo hoo for gore!), but drops enough references to his books hat he may as well have written himself into the series. The Gum Thief got a few nods through the appearances of Glove Pond, while the series ends with a humorously literal nod to Girlfriend in a Coma. All Families are Psychotic could have been a working title for the series, and Microserfs is basically the show played backwards. He’s even nice enough to foreshadow his next book through a documentary on bees which plays on television in the final episode. I love you Doug, but please get over yourself or get over pretending to be way into yourself, whichever applies.

In the end, Doug, I’m still watching the show, well, because I love it. Not because it’s particularly good, mind you. It’s a disaster in every way a tv show can be. In fact, it’s a microcosm of all the strengths and weaknesses of both jPod and what draws me to your books in the first place. Like Ethan, Cowboy, John Doe, Caitlin Kaitlin, and Brie, I always felt like a twisted spawn of Generations X, Y, and whatever the hell we’re in now, conceived by the overactive gland we call the information age. I can’t help but be drawn to the unwatchable mess that is jPod because, good or bad, it presents me with what I’m looking for when I pick up each of your books, an honest interpretation of what it means to exist as an individual in the 21st century.

Thank you, Mr. Coupland, for giving me that experience.

…and thank you, WB for cancelling that gruesome, mindless train-wreck.

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