THE MORNING BUZZ: Gotta Have It!10 Jun, 2002 By: Jessica Wolf
I can't wait until they release The Osbournes: Season One. I want to see every episode of this series available in a set ASAP.
Please (Paramount?). Because I don't have cable.
Yes, that's right. I don't have cable. Get over it. But I know all about Ozzy and crew and their antics. I actually first heard about it from our executive editor Stephanie Prange, who quickly became addicted to the show after it first started airing. Then, at my sister's house a few months ago, I managed to catch about five episodes and became hooked myself. (What is it that's so funny about an aging, brain-damaged rock star trying to take out the garbage?) I saw the little pink-haired daughter on Good Morning America yesterday and it got me thinking about all the good old family swearing I am missing out on until this thing hits video. (Oh wait, one question. So what, she's a singer now too? How appropriate that she chose “Papa Don't Preach” as her first cover.)
Anyway, I've always wondered what kind of people need to rush out and buy a “complete set” of a TV series on DVD. And now I know there must be a few kinds, and I'm one of them.
I've always maintained that DVD buyers are the most prolific kinds of “havers.” They like to have stuff, just to have it, like all consumers pretty much do to some extent. But even if “The Sopranos” is your favorite show ever, how many times are you really going to watch those complete seasons? People like me with no cable and my brother-in-law who relies on complete-season sets because he works retail and never knows when he'll be able to watch a show he likes, we get at least one good original viewing out of this stuff. As for all the rest of the havers who are jonesing for the latest complete-season release, do they ever even watch them? Do they watch them a little bit at a time like reruns? Or, do they have their own little “marathons” at home and watch every episode back-to-back? Anyone?
I was reading the other day about this new book called Why People Buy Things They Don't Need, and it seems to me that every aspect of video could fall into the category of “things you don't need.” And complete sets of TV shows seem like they would be just about rock bottom of the necessity list. But we are eating them up because we want them. And that's what this book's author, Pam Danziger, says drives 40 percent of consumer spending – desire – to the tune of about $3 trillion a year. People are spending proportionately more on discretionary purchases vs. basic necessities than they did 25, 35 or even 50 years ago, she says.
I honestly hope that no one is putting back the diapers at Target and reaching for a complete season of “The Simpsons,” but the fact is, your average consumer only has so much money to spend in a given moment and if they're shelling out $30 to $50 on a complete set of TV shows, something else is most definitely getting pushed aside.
Heck, I've already started buying generic toilet paper and stockpiling the difference for when “Trading Spaces” makes it onto DVD. (OK, I admit “The Osbournes” isn't the only cable show I feel like I'm missing out on.)
What's disconcerting to me is the fact that my livelihood and probably yours too, to some extent if you're reading this, depends on this totally unessential form of entertainment. We have to get up every day and care passionately about and do business around a product is not only rather superfluous in the bigger picture, but has already been out there in some capacity, either on the big screen or television.
It's mind boggling when you think about it. But, luckily for all of us, there are plently of people like me out there….just waiting for our boxed sets.