Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A New Family Video...

More G-TV... summer edition this time. Much love to N for slaving over Final Cut for hours to make this episode.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It wasn't the last time I saw him on TV...

...but it was, perhaps, one of the most memorable. I was in a hotel room in Boston and desperate to go to bed, but the Indiana precincts were not sending in their vote totals in a timely way. Still, when Tim came on and announced, "We now know the nominee," I went to sleep with a smile on my face, certain that Tim wouldn't say it with such confidence if it weren't true. Rest in Peace. I'll miss you -- especially as I watch the race from here to November. I might even cheer for the Bills for you, just once . . .

From Here It Gets Happier, Right?

So there have been two new episodes of Army Wives this season and both have caused my cheeks to be covered in tears from the cold open through the final credits. At the end of last season there was a bombing in the local bar and we eventually learned over the course of that first episode this season that Amanda Holden had died. She was the eighteen-year-old daughter of Claudia Joy Holden -- the general's wife. And now she's gone. And watching that sort of grief grabs me some place down way too deep. Tonight, I even thought about turning the TV off. Here's why: I cannot think of a single thing in the world that I fear more than losing my child. And watching that on TV is really hard.

With Canterbury's Law, the grief began with the first episode of the show and turned me off immediately. With Army Wives, on the other hand, I already care about the characters and so I am compelled to keep watching. Just promise me, please, that it gets a little happier from here on out.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

From the "How'd I Miss This?" File: Weeds

Sometimes, friends, this blog really is just about tv.

This weekend's new discovery: Weeds. This show is fantastic. It is sharp, witty, and biting. Mary Louise Parker is masterful (but, then again, she always has been). And the show is both dark and hilarious. On the surface, it is a satire about life in suburbia. But it is not mere farce. It is also a family drama with well developed characters that are worth caring about. Think American Beauty meets Brothers & Sisters with a little of the irreverent silliness of Ugly Betty thrown in for good measure.

The answer to the question "how'd I miss this?" is actually fairly obvious. Weeds is on Showtime. I do not subscribe to Showtime (although I'm thinking I may need to start!). But the beauty of watching tv made for a premium movie channel is immediately obvious from the first episode of season 1 of Weeds. There is no concern for the FCC here. The language is raunchy (and, therefore, sounds real), the sex is graphic, and the drugs are on full display. But the show also tackles every other sacred cow left on TV -- from teenagers having abortions to fifth graders wacking off and uncles finding ways to avoid being sent to Iraq by enrolling in religious seminary. (Not to mention the drugs themselves... could you really have a show where the hero is a pot-dealing-soccer-mom on NBC? Um... no.) And it works. It just works.

It's late and I've watched two seasons of Weeds on DVD in the past three days, so I can't explain it any better than that.

Simply put, you need to drive to the video store, or put this show on your Netflix cue, or download it from Itunes. Now.

Next week (June 3) you can add season 3 to your list. And in the middle of June, season 4 premieres on Showtime.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Derek & Meredith (or, A Meditation on Timing)

It's hardly a secret that Meredith and Derek will finally ride away into the sunset together (or something like that) on Thursday's two-hour finale of Grey's Anatomy. It's got me thinking about timing.

In the beginning, Derek was ready and Meredith clearly was not. Then Addison came back and Derek thought he'd try to salvage his marriage. Then that didn't work, but Meredith was working on drowning herself and things. Then Meredith thought she was ready but Derek had just started moving on, ever so slightly. It's the classic game that the writers play with us. The male and female romantic leads can't just find each other and fall in love and live happily ever after. Then what would the show be about? I get that. It keeps us coming back for more.

And yet, at some point, the writers realize that the game can't be played forever. At some point, the characters have to either admit that they're in love and no matter how hard it is, it's worth it... or they have to move on. (And maybe start their own spin-offs, like Addison.) Sometimes the writers get the timing right on this. And other times they miss their critical window -- the missed connections and the gnashing of teeth take over the aura of the show and the magic is lost.

This scenario has played itself out on every show I've ever watched. And I get sucked in every time. And I cheer for the relationships right from the start, even though I could predict that it will be three or four seasons before the writers acquiesce and let them live happily ever after. So I guess I'm a sucker, but I will nonetheless watch with a little glee on Thursday night. 'Cuz sometimes, even if it takes years, the timing does eventually work out.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Grown-ups Dating (or, Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned Watching TV)

A Sunday morning romp through YouTube...

Dating has been the theme around here lately. Some of it my own -- with N, my husband of 8 years -- some of it related to others. Here's what I know:

1) Grand romantic gestures are good. Making grand romantic gestures in public is even better. Pacey bought Joey a wall for her to paint. Seth climbed on top of a coffee cart and declared his love for Summer. Danny showed up, dressed as Santa and gave CJ a goldfish pin in front of the entire press corps. Works every time.

2) There is a fine line between nervous, anxious smiling and happy, excited grinning; and the former often leads to the latter. See, e.g., this scene with Addison and Pete in a "not horny elevator."

3) Sometimes the guy who is not "boyfriend material" turns out to have surprising potential. Logan was a wild-child with a zero kScale (tm) score. And then along came Rory and they -- almost -- lived happily ever after. We'll call it the L-corollary.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Where you been? (or, How to survive the winter without TV)

Ok, so to be fair, I *have* been watching TV over the past few months. I just haven't been blogging about it. With the dearth of new, quality* TV for the past months, there hasn't been much to say. Here's an update, quick-hits-style:

-- Army Wives is being re-run on Lifetime, Sunday nights, leading up to the second season premier in June. If you didn't catch this series last summer, you really should catch up on it now. It is, as I have said before, compelling, well-written, and timely. The acting is superb and the stories will make you cry every week. My favorite kind of TV.

-- Canterbury's Law, though still sitting on my TiVo, is too grim for me. I absolutely love Julianna Margulies, who played Carol on ER back in the day. And, I generally love TV shows that make me cry (see, e.g., Army Wives). But, there's a difference between making my cry and giving me nightmares. You see, the central plot of Canterbury's Law revolves around how Margulies's character deals with the loss of her beautiful four-year-old boy who was apparently abducted from a playground while Margulies took a work call on her cell. Nope. Can't do it. Sorry, Julianna. I'll catch you on the next show.

-- My So-Called Life is running on abc.com, with one new episode being added each week. I've been watching these on Saturday afternoons after skiing. They are good enough to keep me watching but I think I'm keeping myself from getting to invested in the characters, knowing that the show lasted only one season -- and ended ten or so years ago! Also, the parental characters are abnoxious and stupid.

-- One Tree Hill's new season has been pretty good. The plot leapt forward four and a half years from last year, so we've missed the college years. That was a good thing. Anyway, this show is never going to win any Emmys but it's fun to watch the melodrama unfold every week. OTH has been on hiatus for a few weeks but will return in a couple weeks on Mondays, paired up with Gossip Girl, the CW's new hit.

-- This season of Survivor has also been fun to watch. It's the "fans" versus the "favorites" with superstar Ozzie back for a second try at dominating the challenges all the way to the million dollars. I'm looking forward to the season resuming after the madness of March releases its grip on CBS's schedule.

-- Other than that, I've mostly been filling my TiVo with re-runs of Gilmore Girls. I fast-forward through all of the scenes that involve Kirk and Michel and Luke's stupid sister and brother-in-law. But it's fun to watch Rory's relationship with Logan unfold.

*Please note: I have my own definition of "quality"... but if you read this blog, you already know that.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Eli Stone: Pilot

There's not much TV left to keep me happy for the next 8 months. Accordingly, I've been watching each of the major network mid-season replacement shows with piqued interest... Cashmere Mafia has me entertained and Lipstick Jungle is coming along next week. This week it was time for Eli Stone.

Eli is a senior associate at a BigLaw firm and a former Ginsburg clerk. He also has a brain aneurysm and reason to think he might be a prophet. It's kind of an odd premise, but the writing -- by Greg Berlanti, one of my favorites (Dawson's Creek, Everwood, Brothers & Sisters) -- was compelling and the actors are solid. Loretta Devine (Adele from Grey's Anatomy) is simply fantastic as Eli's legal secretary. I'm looking forward to a few more episodes. I think this one will be basically a law procedural with a twist. In Berlanti's talented hands, that could be a great thing. Set your sad little empty TiVos to catch it or stream it on abc.com.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bad Medicine

I am not a huge fan of going to the doctor. And so I procrastinate and never make appointments. Same goes for the eye doctor and the dentist. Today was my day to stop procrastinating. I have decent health insurance for which I am charged every week in my paycheck and I never use it. So today was the day to make the appointments.

Step one: call doctor recommended by my mom. "It has been six years since you've been to see this doctor, so we have to treat you as a new patient. It will be 14 weeks before the intake people will call you schedule an appointment." You think I'm kidding -- or perhaps exaggerating. Nope. Not even a little. 14 weeks. Goody.

Step two: call the eye doctor as I seem to have lost my most recent pair of glasses (circa 2003, so not a huge loss other than that I don't own another pair) and I think I'm down to one spare pair of contact lenses... "She is booking for May . . . nope actually I'm seeing mid-June . . . How's mid-June?" Just peachy. I'll just squint until then.

Step three: call the dentist. Now I really hate dentists, but I figured ok, well, I'll just make the appointment now and I won't have to actually go for six months so no big deal. "I just had a cancellation. How's tomorrow at 9:20?" Super.