Monday, July 6, 2009

Another List of My Favorite Things- TV Version!

I am a huge contradiction. I just wrote a post on how I didn't like Twitter because I'm against being all self-absorbed and tooting my horn and here I am scribbling about a couple of TV shows I like. Eh, it's summertime. That's my excuse until I think of something better.
Onward to the TV shows.
I used to be a heavy TV junkie when I was younger. I had like, a set schedule for my favorite shows. Every Tuesday night at 7pm, I would beg my parents to let me have the remote for the next hour and usually, because I lacked a TV of my own, they consented. And let me tell you, Tuesday nights used to be amazing. For several years, I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, idolizing Sarah Michelle Gellar with her amazing tai quan do moves. When that ended its run, Gilmore Girls was next in line. This show I watched with my Mom, creating some of that special "mother-daughter time" that we also had with Buffy. I liked the show and LOVED the dialogue because even though very few of my contemporaries spoke like that, that kind of pop culture encrusted language was what I loved to read and hear. I liked Rory but my Mom insisted I was Paris Gellar all the way. Paris was Rory's kinda-friend, an overly confident, driven trailblazer who only had to snap a single sentence at you to remind you that you sucked and were nowhere near her level.
Paris was the shit. Full on. Reminds me of another female TV heroine from Dead Like Me, that I'll get into on another post.
Gilmore finishes the run or namely, loses a bomb writer and gets a lousy three more seasons of crappy scripts. Where's a girl to go when she's been in Sunnydale and Stars Hollow for the better part of my tweenage/teenage life?
The OC (don't call it that),
Paddy's Pub in Philly.

1) Sex and the City
Oh man. I don't think there is enough room for the adoration I have for this show. I'll sum it up as the reasoning I had for it in high school when I was trying to explain why I liked it to the guy I sat next to in Yearbook meetings.
People have their comfort foods. Some like mashed potatoes, others are all about mac and cheese. I have Sex and the City.
The first episode I ever watched was An American Girl in Paris. Part Deux. As in, the very last episode of the final season in the series. So it did kind of ruin things slightly by knowing everything that was happening six years after the episodes occurred. But I watched them season by season, episode by episode, interested in the journey the girls went on to get to the people they were in the end.
Naturally there were plotlines I didn't care for (Samantha's brief fling with being a lesbian, Miranda and the very dorky, un-Miranda choice of Skipper, that one episode where Charlotte doesn't like Harry to sit on her white furniture naked) and I sat through these knowing there were good ones to come. And of course there were (both of Charlotte's marriages, Miranda kissing Steve in the rain outside of Denial, Samantha describing Richard's penis as "dickalicious" and pretty much every coffee shop scene).
Where, oh where, is Miss Carrie Bradshaw? As an aspiring writer yourself with a penchant for loving fashion, how she is not your Numba One reason for loving the show? Didn't you like her at all?
Sure I did. Just not at first. For the first two seasons, I really didn't like Carrie all that much. She had really bad taste in guys and even Mr. Big seemed like a cad. I was totally all about Charlotte York, having been described by some girls I vaguely knew as "you. you are totally Charlotte in SATC!"
Then the seasons progressed and Carrie was blessed with some very nice, strong relationships with guys who were her match, in varying degrees. Even then, I wound up liking her boyfriends better than her. Aiden was an absolute sweetheart, the very guy I know girls would kill to be with. I cried when they broke up for the second time because that was it, it was all over.
Fret not, for more guys were around the corner. I really liked Berger too. With his sense of humor, he definitely seemed like the kind of guy I would go on a date with. But after that breakup came the ultimate in too good to be trues.
Aleksandr Petrovsky.
I had this huge crush on Mikhail Baryshnikov because of this show. He was magnetic. The man was completely arrogant about his art installations and crumbled pretty fast if people thought his work was stupid. But he was confident and had an awesome Russian accent. Carrie fell for him and in doing so, kind of lost a part of herself in the process. When Alek waved the offer of living with him in Paris to her, she quit her job and left her apartment with the majority of her clothes and Manolos STILL INSIDE HER CLOSET.
I know he would buy her all the lovely pretty dresses she could ever need but you left the naked dress from the bus billboards! The Roberto Cavalli blouse that Aiden tried to get you to throw away! Even those damn silver Manolos that you had to take off at the party at Tatum O'Neal's home and made her go through high hell to get back for you after the shoes came up MIA! What sort of fashionista would do such a thing? It's Paris, France. It's across an ocean. Let me tell you, if somebody was going to take me to another country, I would pack EVERY SINGLE CLOTHING ITEM for fear I might not see it again. Expensive, yes. Memories associated with clothes and fantastic appearance while wearing them, priceless.
It was foreshadowing in its own quiet way, now that I reflect on it.
All the while, Mr. Big is still kind of quietly hovering over Carrie because she can't get him off of her mind and Paris turns out to be a mess for Carrie because she doesn't stick to learning the language and feels alienated and doesn't really try to make friends even though the few people who act nice to her, she rudely blows off to be with Alek. What a true New Yorker.
I won't ruin the ending for you. You can probably guess it by now. Carrie winds up very happy, as is the requisite for her.
SATC is still my comfort. When I'm not in the best of moods, I find myself feeding my DVD player or turning on my iPod to watch an episode or two. Nothing in the show is surprising because I've watched it so often but that is totally fine with me. It's familiar, safe and enjoyable.
Just how comfort food should be.

2) Arrested Development
I like to think of my senior year of high school as The Year of Good Humor. For you see, no one student in my grade was probably straining their cheek muscles more than I was. That was the year I started to read The Onion and actually laughed so hard, I was rolling around in the humor aisle of Borders on the carpet. All I can say is Jim Anchower is one funny columnist.
When I graduated, I spent the first few weeks of freedom working my two jobs and filling out this fatty crossword puzzle book I found on the steps of the cathedral on my ceremony day. Hands down, best grad present I received.
I still needed something else. Some funny I went to Blockbuster and rented Season One of AD, a show that had quietly been buzzed about at my high school.
They had me right at the part where Tobias broke the sternum of a man he thought needed CPR when he was really asleep. Gold.
Arrested Development is all about a man named Michael Bluth. He comes from a pretty colorful family. The reason I wound up loving AD to the degree that I did was because of his family. As I came from a big (ish) family of my own composed of a bunch of people with cool personalities, I always love watching shows about families who either by situation or dialogue, reflect my own. See Malcolm in the Middle or any Wes Anderson film for further detail.
In the pilot, the family is all on a boat anticipating father George Sr.'s upcoming announcement of who will partner with him in the Bluth company. Michael is pretty confident he's got it in the bag. Who else in the family would do it? We get a rundown of the family. Lucille is the mom, a little on the sloshed side from the neverending vodka martinis she swills. She's not particularly fond of her children, demanding that Michael constantly pacify Gob for whom she "doesn't care for", babying Buster by letting him, a thirty something man, still live with her and not giving her daughter Lindsay an elephant brooch to avoid a weight comparison.
Lindsay is Michael's twin sister, married to Tobias Funke who is a self-described "analrapist" (analyst/therapist) and even though she's all for causes like HOOP, still cares enough about her appearance to spend $65 dollars on a bottle of hair conditioner.
Gob (George Oscar Bluth) is Michael's older brother who loves to put on magic shows, has a puppet named Franklin and tries to win the affections of his distant father. C'mon!
Buster has studied virtually everything in college including cartography but still thinks the blue part of the globe is land. He winds up in a relationship with his mother's friend, Lucille II.
Michael has done everything right. He works hard, lives in the model home with his son George Michael (not since the use of Michael Bolton in Office Space has a pop star's name been so well used) who is in essence a mini-me of himself.
George Sr. gives the partner position to Lucille who is ecstatic. Michael pouts but not for long. Boat cops have arrived to arrest George Sr. for fraud. All of a sudden, dad's in jail and the family is broke and Michael escapes his family who is well on their way to crumbling with Lucille putting Buster in charge. But, as he's a good man, he comes back to help them after they beg him for it.
The dialogue and script is spot-on. There are a million jokes within jokes in this show and little things you may not have noticed early on come back to play pivotal roles as the series progresses.
Plus, I would have totally worked at the banana stand. Probably burned it too.
To go into a spiel on how FOX cancelled this after only three seasons is not worth the time nor effort. In the words of Gob, they made a huge mistake.

3) It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Are you there God? It's me, Heather. Where can I find a Paddy's Pub in real life? All the cool kids hang out there. Actually, they hang at Lemon Hill. I meant, the gang hangs out at Paddy's. Charlie and Mac and Dennis and Sweet Dee and Frank. Sometimes the McPoyles. And maybe one day the waitress might be there. Let me know if this bar ever exists.
Oh Sunny. Apple of my eye, savior to my first semester at the university. With you, nothing's off limits. Dumpster babies, the Mafia, crack and coke addictions, abortion, Nazis, pimping off your own kids.
Thanks for that.
If Seinfeld was a show about nothing, then Sunny is the show about next to nothing. You can jump in at any episode and not miss anything. Maybe Dee's reference to being addicted to crack might throw for a loop but head back to the episode "Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare" and your problem is solved.
I got onto this show because my friend Paul was really into it. He said it was really funny and because he has an excellent sense of humor, I took his word on it.
Smart move.
The characters are all self-centered and way into their interests over the interests of others. Mac and Dennis run a bar named Paddy's Pub. Mac has a father who is in prison and as a high schooler, he was popular only because he sold all the cool kids pot. Dennis thinks he is still quite attractive but was once mistaken for a sex offender that moved in the neighborhood. Sweet Dee, Dennis' twin sister, also believes she's really hot which the rest of the gang loves to tease to death and she once had a crack addiction. Frank is Dennis and Dee's father. Don't give him acid.
And finally there is Charlie.
I love Charlie Kelly, that kid is hilarious. He does the grunt work at the bar or "Charlie Work" as everyone calls it because it's pretty sick. He's madly in love with a coffee shop waitress who will never give him the time of day. He wrote a bomb song called "Day Man" and plays keyboards really well. He is the green man. You have to watch to find out what that means.
Please watch it. You really won't regret it. There's not a big goal that the characters all move to in each episode, it's just for shits and giggles.
FYI, I've been listening to some Information Society lately (love me some '80's music) and I happened to notice on the cover is a very similar green man to Charlie. Coincidence? Doubt it.

Love to you all,


Anonymous said...

Where to start. This blog literally hits all the marks for me. I either nodded my head, quietly reflected, or laughed out loud with practically every post.
Your blog is that good.

Arrested Development was brilliant and I could definitely go on a rant about the show only getting three seasons. Pacific Heights is a beautiful location, but to me North Beach is the best location in San Francisco. It's clean, safe, and literally near everything. Igby Goes Down. No one ever talks about Igby Goes Down and you had it as one of your favorite films. Remarkable.

Needless to say, I could have commented on at least twenty different posts in your blog. lol.
Again, the content is pitch perfect and I'm really looking forward to reading more.


Heather Taylor said...

Thanks Des! Seriously though, how can people not talk about Igby Goes Down? It's such an overlooked little gem of a film.
As for Arrested Development, they've been making movie noises for a little while now. I really hope that comes to light.

Children of the 90s said...

Arrested Development is one of my all-time favorites. I love how self-referential it is, it's almost existential.