It’s now been two months since I last watched TV from an actual TV screen. This is my version of a cleanse - the gradual departure of owning heavy bulky stuff to surround myself with. Easier to come and go that way, less that I forget, and less than what I need and would not remember if I lost.
Here’s to keeping this good habit up and kicking my TV to the curb by the end of 2013. All streamed laptop everything.
It’s only been a few weeks, but I’m currently on a mission to stop watching TV. And when I say “watching TV” I mean from the physical television screen, not Netflix or whatever you can stream online.
And the verdict thus far is that it’s going pretty well!
The way I feel about not watching TV directly from a television screen is like there’s a space in my mind that’s opening up. I have yet to fill it with anything, but it’s there. It was not there before or maybe it was and I just didn’t notice it but I am now. The more I consider the role of TV in my life, the more I realize it doesn’t do anything for me anymore. In a prior life, even a month ago, it did provide a comforting white noise at times when I felt anxious or something to listen to while I was eating. All of that has now been replaced by Pandora or the aforementioned Netflix.
It’s not an item I would save if the house was burning down either. I’d rather not make a TV something to carry around with me to the ends of the earth. My mental image for my dream home is Morroccan themed - pillows all over the place, gauzy drapes for the windows and this song playing in the background. Nothing solid, nothing concrete, nothing heavy or cumbersome. To paraphrase Tyler Durden, the only things I own that I want to end up owning me are the contents of my wardrobe. I would be absolutely devastated if something ever happened to a few of my staple pieces of clothing (the red trench coat, my Alice and Olivia floral dress, that one pair of black dress pants that really make my ass look awesome) but if something happened to the TV I mean that could never be on the same level. There’s just no sentiment in it. No pull. And really, no experience. Many great and thoughtful moments in my life have occurred within the threads of the clothes I wear. If you don’t have cable, you don’t get to watch TV and it becomes a box that sits in a room and fills a space. A space you may intend on filling later. A promise to yourself. I guess there’s an experience if you watch TV with a lot of people but I haven’t done that in a few years and even now, I’d be more likely to crowd around a laptop screen with another person than any other kind of screen.
Anyway. This post may be driven more on the happiness I feel to be cut from the oppressive cord of Time Warner Cable more than anything else. I haven’t quite Christopher McCandless’d myself through life just yet! It’s an experiment still for the time being and we’ll just see how long it lasts.
A Look at Season 6: Inside Mad Men
The beauty of Mad Men will always be its ability to surprise. It’s wholly unpredictable, unlike so many other TV shows where the script is either adapted from a book series or features characters given their Noah’s Ark counterparts that despite all obstacles wind up together in the end. There is absolutely no way to know just what will happen and in a world filled with readily accessible spoilers, I love that. I love going in to see every episode completely blind and an hour later sufficiently blown away by what just happened. I love that people come and people go whether it’s from the agency or within marriages because that’s what does happen in life and the fact that Matthew Weiner acknowledges and embraces is tremendous. Mad Men is not here to please you or make all of your dreams come true. But it is embracing the words that Don Draper said in the pilot episode, always, “I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one.”
Oh man, the pilot episode of HBO’s new Lena Dunham scripted series “Girls.” I like love it and hate it all at once. Every now and then a TV show will come along featuring a cast of twentysomething gal pals that is supposedly “groundbreaking” and “a revolutionary gem” but really dissolves quickly into all the girls moaning the lack of marriage, babies, and soulmates in their lives. Doesn’t matter what age they are either, it’s always the same goddamn thing: a group of WASPy young women who aren’t really thrilled with the people they grew up to become despite the overwhelming advantages they have, have a fractured relationship with at least one of their main parental units, and have huge loft apartments in the city with zero rodent issues.
They are also usually grouped in groups of three or four with at least one Super Pretty Girl You Will Never Look Like Ever™, a sexually adventurous one to keep it spicy in all the ways that are more than one, a prude (you can’t say it better!), and one who is kind of the voice of reason but is really more invested in herself and her own needs than anyone else because she’s the main character and she knows it.
Shows like this suck because I literally never, ever see myself in any of the characters (though I do see my own close friends A LOT MORE THAN I’D CARE TO) but damnit dude if I don’t love watching this shit because it’s so addictive. Particularly within certain relationship arcs which are scripted so carefully that everyone feels the compulsion to throw their pretzels at the TV screen screaming simultaneously “DUMP HIM! HE FORGOT YOUR BIRTHDAY THREE YEARS IN A ROW!!!”
Girls is kind of similar to this. I have no doubt in my mind that I won’t continue to keep watching the series to see how things pan out for our reluctant leading lady Hannah (played by Dunham) and her motley crue of girlfransssss Marnie (Allison Williams, the pretty rich one), Jessa (Jemima Kirke, the worldly globetrotter) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet, the kiddo who isn’t really a friend yet? I don’t think? None of that was explained clearly fyi.) How did the pilot pan out? I had my issues and not-issues as outlined below.
-In the pro corner, we’ve got yet another TV series set in New York City. This is a version of NYC that is in many ways different from the Carrie & Co. SATC version (the Bradshaw show is referenced in this episode which I’ll get to). I say it’s a pro because I like watching shows set in New York. The landscape is always changing which is a huge plus. What was popular in SATC's heyday won't be in the Girls world. Magnolia Cupcake? Nada. Hangin’ at The Strand? Totes.
-The episode opens with Hannah bitching to her parents that they need to keep giving her $1100 a month so she can keep working at a free internship heading nowhere and working on her memoir.
Already that sentence contains three things I hate:
1) Parents who fund 24-year-olds entirely.
2) 24-year-olds who don’t have actual paying jobs and live off the parental teat because they can (and the parents seemingly allow for the ragdoll treatment of their checking accounts.)
3) 24-year-olds writing memoirs. Shut up. Shut uppppp. What the fuck are you gonna write about, a traumatizing dodgeball gym class incident from the 4th grade? Been there, done that, totally got a pair of broken glasses to prove it.
Continuing on, Hannah’s parents lay down the law with their “adult” daughter: no more money because they are professors and can’t afford to fund her lavish (though not really) lifestyle. I’m amazed they kept it up for as long as they did tbh. If I ever asked my parents for eleven hundred a month for life purposes, they’d laugh me out of the house. I do have three brothers which financially pinches a lot of pursestrings but realistically speaking, even if I were an only child they still wouldn’t fund my world for me. Hannah IS an only child which she has the gall to bring up in the dinner with her parents as a point in her corner for why they should continue to give her money. It doesn’t work. Ahhh a backbone parentals! If only too little too late for your spoiled offspring.
-It strikes me as very, very questionable that Hannah has been working at her publication internship for an entire year and did not attempt to look for an actual full-time paid position on the side. Or attempt to learn more about certain areas that would benefit her “position” within the company and make her a more exciting candidate for possible full-time hiring like her annoying co-worker did with PhotoShop. Judging from what I’ve seen so far, Hannah appears to have accomplished the bare minimum of work expectancy and was kind of poking along hoping to land a fat salary for that alone. This is why I hate my own generation and am damn grateful I inherited my father side of the family work ethic in which we work ourselves to the bleeding, do all the things, bone.
-As Hannah tells her internship she can’t work there anymore and is dismissed almost instantly by her supervisor, co-worker who did do work and did get hired full-time asks Hannah to go grab her a Luna Bar and some Smart Water before she goes. Best don’t let the door hit ya on the way out ending remark I’ve ever seen.
-Let’s talk roomies and friends! Marnie is pretty but not “Victoria’s Secret Angel” worthy as Hannah describes her. She has a creepy boyfriend too, Charlie, whom I’m placing bets on for coming out of the closet soon.
-That, or keeping a big creeptastic collage of Marnie in his room under his bed.
-Across the way in Nolita, we have Jessa who is the definite of quirkyness with her big fedora and velvet coat and this combined with an accent and appetite for travel like, blows away her cousin Shoshanna whom she’s rooming with. Shoshanna, clad in a baby pink hoodie and sweatpants, talks Sex and the City with the very puzzled looking Jessa. Shoshanna is clearly the Charlotte of the group- she’s blown away when Shoshanna casually drops that she doesn’t have a Facebook. Sooooo kewl.
-Speaking of creepy dudes, we also have Hannah’s regular hookup partner Adam who instructs Hannah to never be beholden to the man right after mentioning that his grandmother gives him $800 every single month. Dude. Who are all these people casually flinging their offspring and relations all this dinero? Clearly I did not grow up in this kind of coddled environment and thanks to my student loan, I may never get the chance to benefactor anything ever for anyone ever. But I digress. Adam is amusing but I can already tell this will be ending in a poor shoulda seen it coming He’s Just Not That Into You way.
-Hannah and Adam have extremely awkward half-sex together. I’m never particularly thrilled that the girls who are bigger weight wise on TV always must be frustrated about sex. Can’t we just have a happy scene with this for once? Just once?
-For the record, Hannah makes several references to her not-hotness through the 22 minute episode. Christ. It’s gonna be one of dem shows where we’re hating on our figures all the damn time isn’t it? No offense to Dunham but if I ran the Girls world this would never happen.
-Hannah gets high on opium tea which is prepped for her to drink by an apartment dinner party visitor (I would like to invite that guest to my home for an impromptu din-din) all because she thought the dude said it would taste like “Twix” when he clearly said “twigs.”
-He clearly did say “twigs” btw.
-Just what kind of tea would ever taste like chocolate ‘n caramel candy?
-You know she wouldn’t drink it without including at least 3 references to her weight too.
-Hannah goes to visit her parents in their hotel room whilst high as a kite to beg for money. She passes out on the floor while they have a not-funny argument about what to do with their grown child. In the end, they decide to resort to babying and leave her money to continue funding her semi-boho lifestyle if but for 30 (31 tops) more days. Whatta charmed life.
Basically I’ll continue to watch this show simply because episode two is supposed to have an insanely awkward sex scene in it (I grew up with boys, what are you even expecting out of me at this point) but I don’t know how much I’ll grow to like it if I do at all. What I do like is the writing. It’s enjoyable and there are moments where it pokes fun at itself (not as many as I’d like but a couple is better than nothing.) Girls is not the most unique show on TV right now but HBO isn’t counting on uniqueness as much as they are on ratings.
SOMETHING has to tide people over till True Blood returns after all.
The last couple of days I’ve been watching a lot of old episodes of Sex and the City. Most of this has been because I’ve been incredibly sick and coughing and just a general hot mess of snot and exhaustion and sore throats. During times like these (which rarely happen to me, I don’t get sick often if ever) I turn to my ultimate comfort food source: Carrie Bradshaw and co. navigating the streets of early 2000’s New York City.
And true to Bradshaw form, recently I had a thought concerning the character Charlotte York. In a nutshell, Charlotte is the prim member of the group with believes in true love and has pretty strict rules she abides by when it comes to relationships. As with anyone who tries to lead their life based off of a perfect vision in their head, this blows up in her face. Charlotte is the first member of the group to get married and divorced from her hot, hot, hot husband Trey MacDougal and then falls in love with her not-hot lawyer Harry Goldenblatt who is also Jewish which forces her to kiss her WASP roots goodbye in favor of some newfound JAP ones.
Here’s what my thought was about her. As the child of any set of parents knows, eventually you get curious about how your parents met and fell in love. You tend to ask this question to your parents at various stages of your life too like when you’re in grade school and still aren’t sure of how love works or when you’re in your twenties and are already jaded by a shitload of terrible relationships with douchebag dudes.
What the hell would Charlotte tell her children? As we learn by the second SATC movie (don’t watch it, please don’t), Charlotte has two daughters, adopted Lily and naturally conceived Rose with Harry. The first time Charlotte and Harry meet is when Charlotte is finalizing her divorce. The attorney working with her is really attractive and she has a hard time focusing on anything beyond that fact. Then Harry comes running into the room with his bald head and being sweaty and yammering on about blueberry bagels being the bad bagel to eat. And because he’s not handsome, Charlotte asks to have him represent her so she can focus on being a hardass with her ex mother-in-law.
Then Harry and Charlotte wind up having sex at his friend’s place and she complains to her gay best friend Anthony that it was disgusting and sweaty and he just laughs and gets to use the great line “ugly sex is hot.” But seriously Charlotte? Is this what you’re going to tell your kids one day? “Well, I met your daddy because I was working with a lawyer who was really hot and couldn’t deal with the fact that I had to keep reapplying lip gloss all the time with him so I decided to settle with a baldie that I had to change everything about myself for while he stayed more or less the same but no longer teabags around the house and sits on the white couches with his bare ass. And I grew to love him! Over time! It was true love!”
I am totally alone in this respect but at least with Trey there was slightly more romance to open the story of how they met off with. Charlotte fell in the street trying to run away from a creepy guy friend and Trey jumped out of a taxi to help her up. Trey asked her to help him pick out a ring at Tiffany & Co.- an engagement ring.
Nevermind the whole “Schooner and Rebecca” thing. That kills the vibe (not to mention there might not have been any kids to tell said story to).
A look at my collective emotions Monday-Friday:
Monday: “Awesome day! I had a good weekend, got plenty of sleep last night and caught up on everything I needed to have done for Monday. I have a tasty coffee in my hand and I’m ready to take on the day! Gonna see my intern, gonna write a bunch, Family Guy marathon tonight on TBS. Bring it Monday, bring it!”
Tuesday: “I stayed up late last night still riding the weekend high and I’m exhausted. I have so much to do it scares me. Seriously though how do I have so much stuff? I could work all day on Monday and still not be done with Tuesday’s work! What am I gonna write about for the Forbes post??? I have Shine postings too- and I need to work on some articles. Hair is about to be ripped out. Coffee is gone and it’s only 8:15 AM. Is there time to troll through Tumblr quickly? No? Is there time for lunch? No. What about a bathroom break? … no? Halp. HELP MEEEEEEEEE. Also there’s nothing on TV tonight except for Glee and we all know that doesn’t count as actual TV.”
Wednesday: “Okay. We made it through the Tuesday wilderness and came out on the other side. It’s the middle of the week. Halfway there. Almost. There. The meetings today break up the day nicely. I love that. Still stayed up late though. Will I ever learn, internets, will I?”
Thursday: “Pretty sure my roommates haven’t seen me in 4 days now. I’m officially a hermit. But on Thursdays I have Parks and Rec to count on and Sunny. Why just last night, there was a Katt Williams stand-up on Comedy Central and that made my Thursday even more special! (“Crackheads in Cincinnati be working HARD!”). Newsletter lineup here we go! Articles here we go! Tweeting and Facebooking in three, two, one! Dancing in my chair from great emails. I do this on all days of the week though tbh.”
Friday: “Wild card!!! And Friday!! Bagels in the morning, newsletter work during lunch, writing and answering emails nonstop and at 5pm I get to go out with the besties! Or on a slow Friday go home and watch old Project Runway marathons! Austin Scarlett 4 lyfe. Good life. A+ week. We did it week. Best week eva.”
As you can see I live my life on a steady diet of comedy programming, writing, staying up all night, happy chair dances, and the occasional panic attack.
This is the first time in awhile that I’ve been so jazzed for a new season of TV shows. I used to be quite religious when it came to my TV schedule as a kid. Tuesdays were always Gilmore Girls, Thursdays were Friends, Sundays were HBO. I love TV. It’s the ultimate in entertainment, perfect background noise for work, and just general love for the characters on the shows. By writing that sentence, I doubt I eloquently enough conveyed exactly how much TV means to me. Let’s try again. Television has been my babysitter, my friend and foe, the reason why I focus on work and also for my procrastination. Sometimes it doesn’t understand me and my wants and needs. Sometimes I have to download it for free on the internet somewhere.
I’ve openly cried during the Sex and the City episode when Carrie turns 30, wanted to teleport inside of the episode of Oprah when she gave away the car, have behaved in a manner akin to a girl gone wild during spring break while watching Conan (laughing and yelling out inappropriate things), and drooling over Jon Hamm on every episode of Mad Men ever. Do not get me started on awards season, a general free for all bashing of designer gowns, laughing at the faces that Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Nicholson make, and screaming at the screen when my favorites lose. Sometimes I throw things. It gets weird.
This fall, I come with a game plan under my belt. We’re scheduling everything out. Most nights I spend writing, writing, writing anyway so why not have TV on in the background for breaks? I might even start writing my TV schedule on my calendar again. Blast from the past.
-2 Broke Girls
-The Playboy Club
I almost put HIMYM in this list too, but I am so far behind on that show it’s pitiful. Old repeats on FX are going to have to tide me over for now. I want to give Girls a shot even though I’m not completely into the premise (I’m almost certain that these “poor girls” will have a sweeping, unusually spacey Brooklyn NY apartment to live in). I’m definitely down with Playboy for sure. Since Mad Men won’t be back till next year, I need all of the ’60s era themed, gorgeously costumed shows I can get my hands on.
-The Rachel Zoe Project
RZ is a must. That’s my prime winding-down and getting ready for bed TV hour. New Girl I’ve already watched the pilot of and kinda sorta maybe liked it? It’s weird for me to write openly on the subject of Zooey Deschanel anymore because I started off being a gigantic fan of hers and then wound up writing for her co-owned website so to some degree now I guess you could kind of say she is my boss? To some degree? I still love that little lady, but obviously I won’t stick up 9.000 photos of her on my tumblr. She is far too quirky and adorable to portray a nerdy kind of girl. Even in her Lord of the Rings references, I can see the hipster boys quietly taking off their wire-rimmed glasses and setting down the PBR to get a closer look at her.
-Parks and Rec
-It’s Always Sunny
It’s the Ron Swanson-Troy ‘n Abed in the morning-Fat Mac power night and hot damn am I ready for it.
I am a simple girl who only ever wants my TV shows to be filled with impeccably dressed ladies and gents, lots of fantastic dialogue, a couple of murder scenes, characters that look stonily off into the distance when they’re upset, a Thomas Newman score, maybe some anti-government political undertones and if we can throw some period piece stuff in there, boom. Great TV. Boardwalk I worry not about since the first season was so damn good and Michael Pitt is incredibly gorgeous. Pan Am I feel very hopeful for since I have always had a soft spot for Ms. Ricci in my heart. If they follow the formula of excellent costumes and dialogue and acting, they could very well be the ABC version of Mad Men.
I’ll click my remote on to that,
Holy can openers!
Robin just likes to express himself.