The New York Times Arts and Leisure section can go and fuck itself. Every day I scan for something that is not Covid related—something to bring me a little lift or a clue about some art moment or movement I might read about or watch or discover. Some new artist I would never have come across whose point of view of life is unique and fresh and shocking and something I need to know. So today, the Times ran an article: The best new shows coming to Netflix and Amazon and STAN. Stan? What is Stan? So—I get into the article and discover that Stan is a streaming service from Australia. Come on! In the paragraphs right before I met Stan there was a block of the new programming coming to Netflix in September that was six inches thick—single-spaced—and these were just the names of shows coming to Netflix that they didn’t “step out” in the featured section above that paragraph. I guess these shows weren’t deemed “special” enough to get a few solo lines about them. No, these shows were just all piled up in a big traffic jam of new shows—you might also see—you know, if you ran out of other things to watch on Netflix. And there—under this Netflix car cash of titles and before you got to the more minimal Amazon selections—comes Stan. Who invited Stan? What—I’m going to need more shows to watch? And these show should come from Stan who I’ve never even heard of ’til this moment. And get this—Stan isn’t free. When I clicked on the Stan link to see what I was missing, I discovered I could see old seasons of Cheers and the new James Comey biopic with Jeff Daniels for ten “something’s” a month. And I say ten “something’s” because I have no idea what the money in Australia is called, as I’ve never been there and I’ll be damned if the first Australian interaction I’m going to have is through Stan. And they never even mentioned what STAN stands for? Of course it’s an acronym but for what? Is it say: South Australian Interesting Nothings? Okay, it’s obviously not that but I don’t know what else it might be because I’ve never been Down Under. Wait—is it: Sidney Television And—something? I’m definitely onto something now. Well, whatever the N stands for (I’ll be damned if I Google Stan— I’ve already spent too much of my day thinking about him) whatever it stands for, one thing is for sure: The people in Sidney or Melbourne (only cities I know because—never been) who came up with that name for their network picked it because they thought it was cute. No two ways about it. It’s just something “cute” they decided to name it and I don’t need that kind of cute bullshit in my life. I’m fighting Trump and Covid and the apparent death of my own industry—the American television industry— which is being slowly killed because The New York Times is choosing to highlight old Cheers episodes on Stan rather than using that valuable space to maybe—select one of the zillions of shows in that six inch block that a writer from THIS hemisphere killed themself to dream up and then write and then sell and then film—devoting maybe three years of their life to—ignoring their loved ones and their personal health and fitness in favor of the pursuit of their passion for this idea they needed to share with the world, only to have the show tossed away in a six word mention in The Times’ autumn television listings and all because some bored Arts writer thinks it’ll be fresh and cute to suddenly pull a Stan on everyone. I don’t know who this arts writer is but whoever he is: Fuck him or her or them and above all—fuck Stan. (And maybe the most upsetting thing about writing this piece is discovering that Netflix is in spell check.) ❏
Michael Patrick King is a television writer. The few TV series that he is responsible for all (ironically) air in Australia.