Posts filed under ‘TV’
Ok, so I totally dropped the ball on the whole Louisa May Alcott live blogging thing. Liveblogs always seem better in theory than they are in real life. I always think they’ll be a great tool to record my impressions (i.e blog without really having to blog about something so my readers won’t lose interest in my writing and abandon me). In reality, there I am, halfway into a bottle of red wine trying to learn about someone I’m deeply interested in while also trying to construct something witty and insightful to say about what I’m watching and doing a piss poor job of it.
Really it would be better if I just shut my damn laptop and tried to appreciate something without having to deconstruct it, right? That and the formatting. Do I do it in one stream of consciousness post? Do I do it in lots of mini-posts that the reader has to go back and decipher? What do I do about it all going up in reverse chronological order? That has to be a pain in the ass to read, right? I have to figure out how to do this while I’m drinking and trying to watch something? Psssh! What do you take me for, a rocket scientist?
It is in this spirit that I am not even going to attempt to liveblog the PBS airing of Dreams of Life, the Patti Smith bio-documentary. But you can bet your sweet ass I’ll be watching. Smith is not only an incredible artist, but one of my personal heroes as well, somebody who really did (and I don’t care if this will sound corny) change my life when I saw her live in the summer of 2000. As all the calls in to her NPR interview today attest, countless other fans feel just the same way about her. Her bravery, honesty and fearlessness has made her an inspiration to generations.
And it’s her birthday today! keep on rockin’ Patti!
If you’ve ever been curious about her music, you owe it to yourself to watch tonight or at least TiVo it. As I saw her almost 10 years ago when I was a much different person than I am today, it is a fitting thing to do to close out the year, and the oughties.
People, I have been remiss. In my post highlighting my Favorite Scottish things I forgot the most awesome thing Scotland has ever produced… David Tennant. Check out this clip featuring Tennant opposite Catherine Tate as a petulant English schoolgirl. This sketch really highlights Tate’s comic virtuosity (she’s totes my idol!) but there’s plenty of the Tennant Mystique (The goofiness! The smolder! The goofiness! The smolder!) to go around. It almost makes me forgive him for this year’s un-season of Dr. Who. Almost. Tennant, you are a cruel master.
Growing up I wasn’t allowed to watch very much television. My parents gave me the familiar spiel about how TV rots your brain and how I’d be better off reading a book or playing outside. However as an adult who has done more than her fair share of child-care for somebody that doesn’t actually have kids of her own I have realized that half the reason had to have been because most children’s programing is really effing annoying. I mean, have you ever seen Sponge Bob!? Some people love it, to me watching that show is like having a bad acid trip while locked in a room with a bunch of hyenas hell bent on clawing the flesh off your bones.
All those years that I thought my parent were being strict, loving, compassionate people who valued my intellectual curiosity and development so deeply that they didn’t want my childhood marred by advertising and junk culture, but in reality they probably just wanted my sister and I to turn off the tube so they could get some damn peace and quiet.
The moral of the story is that Kid Sister and I didn’t get to watch much TV so what we did get to watch we really had to make count. Although I probably only watched about an hour of TV a week as a kid, the shows I grew up on really did influence me. So here we go kids, the top TV shows that made little Fever who she is today:
Clarissa Explains It All
Oh how I shamelessly ripped off Clarissa’s fashion sense as a pre-teen. I remember watching the premiere and going straight up to my room to desperately try and reconstruct my unfortunate mid-90s wardrobe of over-sized flowered palazzo pants and puffy poet blouses into something cooler.
Clarissa’s life was everything a young Sassy reader like myself could possibly covet. She was an aspiring journalist (I soon after published “zines” with my friends that were xeroxed off of notebook paper and sent around via the mail. Back in the days of dial-up before every teen with an opinion had a blog with which to broadcast her every inner desire this was how we rolled, biotches!), with a hip, floppy haired best guy friend (OK, so at that age I made fun of any boy who approached me until he rolled up crying in an emasculated ball which is probably why I didn’t date much as a teen, but a girl could dream), and an awesomely decorated room (that boys were allowed in!) with a real life giant Swatch watch hanging on the wall. (Only the coolest of the cool kids had those giant Swatch watches, and I could never convince my parents to get me one.) What more could a child of the 90s ask for?
Sense of the Bizzare:
Just listening to the theme music on my shitty computer speakers makes my stomach churn deliciously in horror. It’s Friday night, circa 1997. My parent are out of town. What are my sister and I doing? We’re not hosting a kegger or sneaking boys into the house, we’re curled up in the dark in our suburban living room under grandma’s afghan watching the X Files and scaring the ever loving shit out of ourselves.
The Adventures of Pete & Pete
Most people’s first exposure to Godfather of Punk Iggy Pop might have been through a mix tape or a local college radio station. Mine was because of The Adventures of Pete and Pete, where he played Nona’s dad.
There were a million great cameos on Pete & Pete; Luscious Jackson played the school dance, Michael Stipe guest-starred as an ennui-ridden Popsicle man (let me know if I’m missing any others) but to me the real beauty of this show was it’s spot on portrayal of sibling relationships, first love, and the simple joys of growing up in the burbs.
Sick Sense of Humor:
Ren & Stimpy
When my sister was little I remember her kindergarten teacher telling my mom that bathroom humor was only a passing phase. Oh, how I know my mom wishes that were true. To this day I still can’t resist a good fart joke. I have no idea how such a demure woman gave birth to two such twisted individuals. Perhaps we were irrevocably warped by watching a show with a character called “Powdered Toast Man” who entreated his subjects to “cling tenaciously to his buttocks”. And of course, who could forget log?
Propensity for Loving Doomed Cult TV Shows:
Remember Eerie Indiana? Neither do most people. It was like a kiddie X-Files with a little Twilight Zone thrown in there for good measure. My sister and I couldn’t get enough of it which means of course it got cancelled after like two episodes. Fortunately, the show’s creators don’t seem too worried about copyright infringement, as there are plenty of full episodes up on You Tube.
Budding Liberal Idealist:
The Wonder Years
Is it just me, or is there very little the Baby Boomer generation loves more than reflecting back on itself? This might explain why The Wonder Years was one of the few shows my family watched together, even my relentlessly channel surfing dad was transfixed.
Aging hippies love regaling their punk ass kids with how tough ‘Nam really was and how groovy that Jefferson Airplane concert was. The Wonder Years gave the ‘rents a chance to re-live those times without my sister and I stomping off to our rooms, slamming the doors and blasting Pearl Jam.
The ironic thing was that as I followed Fred Savage’s character throughout that series I actually felt like I grew up with him, losing a bit of my innocence along the way. For those of us who grew up in the gay 90s when the future was bright and the culture wars of our parent’s time seemed archaic, The Wonder Years was eerily prophetic of the times to come. Just like Kevin Arnold, we watched our parents behave like hypocrites, screwed up our first real relationships and lost faith in our government. I don’t think our parents ever dreamed that we would inherit a world that would become just as tumultuous as it was in the 1960′s but here we are, arguably worse off than we were a generation ago. It’s enough to make a person want to protest. Or grow their hair real long, or quit their job and travel the country in a VW Bus. Except these days we’re getting fired from our jobs, everybody’s way too freaked out about the economy to notice that we’re losing a war and gas is too damn expensive to facilitate any epic road trip/life altering experiences. Thanks George Bush!
So there you have it, my top handful of influential programming. It’s not a bad lot, if I do say so myself. Maybe it’s even a good thing that I drew so much inspiration from TV instead of all the books I read. After all, it could have been worse. Thank Maude I never went through a Little House on the Prarie fashion phase.
If you couldn’t get enough of the Lonely Island parody Jizz in My Pants:
(If you can’t tell by the title…seriously NSFW)
You’ll spazz out with your vag out over Ms. Taken’s answer to it:
On one hand, I’m happy that there are women in comedy out there making wickedly hilarious videos like this in the first place and I’m seriously jealous that I didn’t think of think of this particular parody myself.
On the other hand, check out Ms. Taken’s website and you’ll see it hawks a fake wedding ring that you can put on to ward off skeezers when you’re out at clubs. I fail to see how pretending to be some dude’s property (that is the whole point, right? That a potential sleazoid will see that you “belong” to some other dude and back off?) is an at all empowering answer to male douchebaggery. I’d rather see a world where firmly telling a guy to back off when he tries to make his uninvited hard-on cozy between your ass cheeks is the socially acceptable thing to do. The fact that you aren’t interested in that particular person’s attention should be a good enough reason for them to sod off, no faux-rock required. Another thing– how am I supposed to “work the room” like Ms. Taken’s web site suggests, if I’m wearing a wedding ring? Won’t that ward off the socially well adjusted men I’d like to hit on in the first place?
I’m just so tired of reinforcing the idea that the only way a woman can navigate uncomfortable situations, even when those uncomfortable situations boarder on harassment (as I feel some of the worst club behavior does) is by being nicey-nicey and non-confrontational and invoking the all powerful specter of the other penis.
OK, I’m pretty sure that the Ms. Taken ring is a novelty item that is supposed to be a great gag gift for bachelorette parties and not an actual self-defense tool, but the idea of it somehow takes the punch out of the video for me. I wanted to believe that I was discovering a rad female driven comedy troupe and instead it turned out to be just a lame advertising tool for a gimicky novelty item. What a way to kill my feminist comedy she-rection.
Oh come on kids, you knew that pun was coming. Just let me have it, m’kay?
I’m sorry if I ever implied Mike Huckabee was a more acceptable candidate than (Lying Sack O) Shit Romney. Clearly, my comments were meant to be humorous in the first place as I don’t believe that a guy who doesn’t believe in evolution has any place being the leader of our country.
And for real, he also believes that women should submit to their husbands.
People, you can’t make this shit up. Just in case you think crazy liberals are taking this out of context, here is the original statement:
I feel like this needs to be widely publicized because no matter how far right our fair nation has veered in the last eight years, I simply can’t accept the idea that over half our nation would accept as their leader a guy who believes a woman should submit to her husband. Huckabee has painted himself as the warm and fuzzy Evangelist, but clearly he is anything but when he apologetically harbors such extremist views. Why is this being swept under the rug? Why aren’t people talking about it? For the love of all that is free (and we’re talkin’ real freedom here, peeps…like the right to free speech and a fair trial, not the right to $2 a gallon gas), talk about this, blog about it, write your newspaper, chat with your co- workers but don’t let these extreme views go unnoticed and unanswered for.
In other news, I always thought of McCain as a lesser evil when compared with Huckabee and Sack O’ Mitt but as I have recently been informed via my weekly email from Nancy Keenan of NARL Pro-Choice America (me and Nance go way back, y’see), McCain is as anti-choice as Bush. Not sure where she gets her sources on that one from, but it’s disappointing. Hold on to your wombs ladies because we are nowhere near out of the woods as far as fearing for our reproductive freedoms goes.
Why is a blue blooded Demorcrat from (as Mitten is wont to say), “The Bluest State In The Union”, wasting all her time blogging about the Republicans? In short, I’m a cynic. The last eight years have made me view the political process as voting my ideals but knowing my voice will go unheard and hoping for the lesser evil to prevail, which is why I tend to tune into Republican candidates so keenly. As far as I’m concerned we’ve got three great candidates on the Democratic side. I know it is way uncool in the 18-35 crowd these days to say this, but I’d be happy seeing either Hillary or Barack in the white house and Edwards ain’t half bad either. Therefor, I’ll be pleased to vote for whomever ends up to be the Democratic nominee. I know however that on a national scale, both are a long shot and therefor I end up turning my attention toward the most likely scenario, a Republican in the White House again.
Dare I dream that America’s gonna wake up and smell the coffee this time? Dare I dream that we’re all tired of voting with fear and ready to vote our ideals? Is it even possible that there won’t be wide spread election fraud this time?
I’m not going to give up voting my ideals, but I am much more cautious with my optimism now than I was in 2004. I only hope the next few months will prove me wrong…
Who was standing right behind Mike Huckabee during his speech at the Iowa caucuses last night with a big, shit eatin’ grin on his bearded face? Chuck freakin’ Norris!
Oh, I so heart the democratic process.
For those of you who have been living under an NPR-less rock for the last 18 hours, the winners of the Iowa caucuses are Barack Obama for the Democrats and Mike Huckabee for the Republicans.
I’m actually pretty psyched that Huckabee won for the Republicans. Why? Because even though his principals are the exact opposite of mine, I would still rather see him in office than Mitt Romney. I hate Romney the way only a true blue blooded Mass Hole can.
Those of you who have Republican leanings listen up, please for the love of Frankenstein, don’t vote Romney. He is a big sleazy liar, who wormed his way into office in MA by pretending to be more moderate than he really was and then proceeded to spend the next four years barely able to hide his disdain for the citizens of this great state and trying to weasel through legislation that directly opposes everything we hold dear. Not only did he try unsuccessfully to curtail gay marriage here in MA (which most of us supported or at least cared little enough about what “the gays” were doing to not make that big of a deal about it), he tried to pass a law that would deny access to emergency contraception in all MA hospitals, even in rape kits. Oh, and his budget also forced funding cuts for several shelters for battered women and children. I mean, with a record like that, what do you suppose this guy does for fun in his spare time? Drown homeless kittens and puppies!? I feared for my uterus the entire time Romney was in office here and I wrote many, many angry letters to capital hill during that time as well.
Huckabee may not believe in my right to have an abortion, or want to allow my gay friends to marry but at least he’s upfront about it for frack’s sake. He may be conservative, but at least he’s genuine. Unlike Romney, who’s up there sliming around on the podium with that fake smarmy smile when behind it I betcha he’s fantasizing about euthanizing the poor or something like that. Because I’m sure that euthanizing the poor is exactly the type of thing misogynistic, racist, sleazy, dishonest, power hungry fuckos like Mitt Romney jack off to every night.
The only thing I can stand less than a bigot is a lying bigot. One thing that I’m sure of after 8 years of Bush…I’m tired of all the thinly veiled lies, the flimsy excuses and the bait and switch.
Let’s hope this time the public isn’t as easily fooled by the next great boogyman the right wing cooks up to try and scare us into submission.
What do you get when you throw a director & producer with a penchant for the Twilight Zone, Dr. Strangelove, magical realism and smart, snarky, mildly neurotic women in a blender?
You get Wonderfalls. The best show that nobody ever watched.
Much to my chagrin, Wonderfalls was cancelled in 2004 after which it quickly assumed mild cult status on teh interweb. It came out on DVD a little over a year ago so that superfans could finally find out what happened to the girl who talks to toys in her trailer. (You just gotta see it, kay?)
I assumed this was the death knell for the thinking woman’s TV but thinking women (and men too!) were given hope a few months ago when the creators of Wonderfalls hatched a new creation, Pushing Daisies.
It has all the right elements; a surrealy beautiful imaginary world that looks like a color saturated clash between Amelie and Edward Scissorhands, a quirky premise, deliciously awkward main characters and geekily romantic moments like Episode 2′s body bag kiss.
Why isn’t it working for me?
Number 1) It relies two much on the narrator, who I find annoying at times.
Number 2) I think my friend Stephen was right when he said that you can’t do much with the idea of two main characters who are in love but can’t touch. If they keep with that convention and there’s no plot twist it’s going to get tired real fast. And what do we have without the no touching? Just some dopey puppy love between two affable co-stars. Romance on TV thrives on doubt and tension. How many times can we watch them kiss through saran wrap!? It’s the will they won’t they OH BUT THEY HAVE TO OR I’LL DIE! That keeps people watching week to week. Atchung! Wonderfalls writers, have you all but forgotten the lessons of Jaye and Eric?
Number 3) I like the characters. As in, they’re two nice, too perfect. Nobody wants to route for the perfect kid, we like our characters endearing, yet flawed… and not just in ways they can’t help.
Number 4) There has to be some over arcing story… some way it all gets connected. I’m not interested in seeing dead person gets woken up, adorable puppy eyed sleuths solve a new crime each week, I want mystery, suspense and a little human drama here!
Bottom line, it’s sweet, it’s pretty, it’s genuine, but it is, alas, trying too hard for my taste. If Wonderfalls had the time slot and advertising behind it the way Pushing Daisies does, it just may have survived. Unfortunately, PD has been veering into self-indulgent, Tim Burton’s remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory territory, from where it is difficult to recover for the TV goer who values quirky character driven drama over sheer spectacle.
Oh writers, please step it up! I want to love your show, really I do. Methinks you forgot the pinch of salt!
(Originally posted on 11/26/07)
Cue the getting to know you music…
Part The First, Wherin Our Heroine Has A Hair Emergency:
I’m having a quirky fictional character moment.
At the ripe age of almost 30 I should be having significantly fewer of these.
Anne Shirley was an adolescent when she accidentally dyed her hair green, much like I was too when I dyed my hair magenta for the first time and ended up dying my scalp my fingers and the back of my neck hi-liter pink in the process. I had an excuse then, I don’t now.
I got the idea in my head that I wanted to dye my hair bright red for the winter. I wear so much black once it gets cold out that I can’t stand the idea of my hair being black too. So I went out and found the brightest, “Don’t try this at home unless you are a trained professional”, red I could find and slathered it on my head tonight. And of course… I succeeded only in dying my roots bright, Raggedy Anne Crayola Red. The rest of my hair is still decidedly black.
So I did what any impulsive fictional character did, I decided to mitigate damages my giving myself a haircut. I figured the contrast would be less noticeable if there was less hair on my head.
Let’s deconstruct this sentence a little more.
I. gave. MYSELF. A haircut.
Now there is a reason why I never became a hairdresser and I’ve known it ever since I decided to give my Barbie her first haircut at the age of 5.
I suck at it, and my ability to deftly wield scissors has only marginally improved since I was wee.
I gave myself the most uneven haircut you can imagine. I had to actually force myself to stop trying to make it even because every snip was making me look more and more deranged.
The hair is in fact, reminiscent of Angela Chase nee Claire Danes in the My So Called Life episode when she dyes her hair that ubiquitous mid-nineties bright red that all rebellious teenage girls dyed their hair in those days.
I could try and rock this as if I am ironically bringing the 90s back in that self-conscious, self referential way that we Gen-Yers love to do. While I’m at it I’ll bust out dad’s old flannels too. Yet again, may I point out that it is not as attractive on me because I am not a slightly awkward yet poised beyond her years adolescent girl with an unnaturally attractive make out buddy. (God bless Jared Leto in those years before he got all bloaty and pouty!) Unlike Claire Daines, I have not blossomed into an articulate and well heeled ivy league graduate. I am a spastic perpetual student and sometimes teacher who often feels hardly more mature than her students and will look hardly more mature than her students with her hair this way.
This tragedy couldn’t have happened at a worse time. It is Thanksgiving. I have to see my parents the day after tomorrow. Surely this will not go unnoticed by my mom who last time we saw each other felt the need to point out that my pointed Bettie Page bangs were “uneven”. Like Ramona Quimby I informed her that my bangs weren’t uneven, it was a pixie cut. Unlike Ramona, I was not rewarded for being precocious. That doesn’t work for me any more.
So here I am, nearly ten years out of teenage-hood and still wanting to slump against my locker in a strop. Here I am practically old enough for wrinkles and yet still living in dread of parental digs about my hair of all things.
You know all that stuff they told you about becoming a grown up? I’m officially here to tell you that it’s all a lie…