Why you can’t watch The Office re-runs in order on TV

I’ve certainly enjoyed watching many a favorite show in syndicated re-runs through the years.  I seem to recall good ‘ol WDCA 20 in Washington, DC, running the Star Trek episodes in order when I was a kid (I would know, I do own the Star Trek Compendium), but generally speaking, you might see a 2nd season Seinfeld one night followed by a 5th season episode the next.  Slate’s explainer explains why.  Not surprisingly, it pretty much comes down to the economics:

But why do stations program shows out of sequence?

It's more economical. Certain episodes are more popular than others, so it's in a station's best interest to play them more often. These episodes can command higher ad rates and can serve as attractive lead-ins to other network shows. During the holidays, it's more important to air thematically appropriate episodes than adhere to strict series chronology. And certain guest stars, in the limelight for one reason or another, can make episodes newly relevant. Furthermore, stations don't always purchase an entire series. Rather than license the entire 11-year, 251-episode run of M*A*S*H, for example, a station may cherry-pick a few seasons (the early, McLean Stevenson years, perhaps) and create a subcycle out of the larger whole.

It's only in recent years that viewers expect to see nonserialized shows presented chronologically. Those who watch TV shows on DVD or Hulu can track a series by season and episode number, but such habits run counter to the original conception of these shows as stand-alone entertainments—precisely what makes them ideal syndication commodities. For syndicators and advertisers, there's a direct correlation between programming flexibility and market value.

There you have it—just get used to watching them out of order.  I do feel better knowing why. 

Karl Rove and the sanctity of marriage

Of course it is nothing new to note that so many of the supporters of “traditional marriage” seem to be so bad at “traditional marriage.”  It is just especially rich when it is Karl Rove now on his 2nd divorce.  Glenn Greenwald makes the excellent point that Texas’ no-fault divorce law is just as inimical to “traditional” conceptions of marriage as is same-sex marriage:

Rove obtained his divorce under Texas' "no-fault" divorce law, one of the most permissive in the nation.  That law basically allows any married couple to simply end their marriage because they feel like it.  Texas, needless to say, is one of the states which has constitutionally barred same-sex marriages, and has a Governor who explicitly cites Christian dogma as the reason to support that provision, yet the overwhelming majority of Texan citizens make sure that there's nothing in the law making their own marriages binding or permanent — i.e., traditional.  They're willing to limit other people's marriage choices on moral grounds, but not their own, and thus have a law that lets them divorce whenever the mood strikes.  That's the very permissive, untraditional and un-Christian law that Rove just exploited in order to obtain his divorce.

There's debate and dispute among various Christian theologians and sects over whether divorce and re-marriage are permissible and, if so, under what circumstances.  But what is clear is that the attribute of permanence is every bit as much of a part of "traditional marriage" as the need for a man and a women — hence, the vow before God of "till death do us part" and "that which God has brought together, let no man put asunder."  The concept of "no-fault" divorce is certainly repugnant to most Christian and traditional understandings of marriage.  

It’s a pretty solid argument I had not thought about before.  And, as for Karl Rove’s moral hypocrisy, that has long spoken for itself.  

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