For years outraged adults have rallied in the cry against sex and violence on TV, lambasting that the corruption of youth runs solely from the all-encompassing media conglomerates and not possibly from any other influential figure in a child's life. On the opposite side of this decades old debate resounds the level-headed free-thinkers, academics and young adults who grew up through the tyrannical reign of the all mind-wiping late night TV to become fully functional members of society, well almost.
As an independent adult and very much my own man, I have happily indulged in my love of wide-scale genre TV unaware that its subliminal messages were actually whistling through my cerebral cortex like the piped piper leading rats to water. Only the water I was usually looking at was the Atlantic Ocean, peering via satellite (TV) at the brilliance of certain HBO shows. Though in doing so I couldn't help feeling that I was being coerced, cajoled or convinced if you will into a new way of thinking.
Take the brilliant Boardwalk Empire on HBO for example, a master class in suspense, set design and drama. Though this prohibition set tale of tommy guns and two-timing booze runners doesn't make me want to spray the nearest gin joint with bullets, but rather, get dapper.
I can't seem to help it, I see these fine gentlemen in waistcoats and brogues and I want to get down to the nearest 1920s tailor and get fully kitted out and hemmed in. But it doesn't stop there, I'm not content with one look as my mind wonders as quick as the channel changes. Look only to the BBC and it's own superb production of Sherlock whose enigmatic enigma-breaking leading man, Benedict Cumberbatch, is so suave in his smug deduction it immediately makes me pine to emulate the worlds only consulting detective. I want the fitted suit, the long coat and that gainfully applied scarf, both practical and stylish. Maybe then, with that look, I will become a genius too.
But just when I reach for the beard trimmers and pick up the phone to my hairdresser, another primetime show obsessions repeats for my viewing pleasure. Sons of Anarchy, the teeth-grindingly tense tales of a leather-clad biker gang so badass they make Sherlock look like Basil the Great Mouse Detective. Immediately I am grooming a big biker beard of fluff, looking for everything black in my wardrobe and wondering how much motorcycles lessons cost and could I get in riding a Vespa?
It appears I am not alone in this as the style on the screen (big and small) seeps onto the high street, as in late 2011 H&M added a line of clothing based on the grungy look of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We all want that look, and there in usually lies the problem. A dozen men in Deerstalker hats just look like 12 cold blokes, staving off chilly ears and, lets face it, you can't really go to the office in full leather biker gear. Still the infection of ones own imagination is surely the sign of a quality production and that in itself should be the pay off, a character you want to be is a character you will want to see again, and again. Though there is comfort in that thought my only problem now is what happens when I watch Game of Thrones, chainmail anyone? Well overdue for a comeback.