Archive for October, 2009

Push It

October 28, 2009

I am kind of in love with the big “On Demand” button on my remote control.

It’s by far the most ginormous of the buttons on the thing, but it speaks to me not just because of its hugeness.  It gives me what I want, and, I’ve said it before, but why do you dare me not to say it again:  I’m going to get what I want!

I have inherited via a new roommate and her existing cable the wonders of Showtime On Demand, which is affording me the privilege to watch United State of Tara which is just totally amazing, for serious you guys.  There’s a gay kid and Toni Colllete playing multiple personalities within a singular being with a perfect balance of camp and sincerity and John Corbett who is just ridick hot, and weirdly it’s all from Diablo Cody (with a little help from Steven Spielberg).  Normally this Diablo Cody business would be a turn off because I was not on the Juno bandwagon; didn’t hate it, but I found it gross cutesy and indulgently indie mostly with some genuine funny writing and performances scattered about.  But US of Tara is different business, and if weren’t for my “On My Demand” button and its hulking, pulsating desire to satiate my TV lust, I wouldn’t even know of its awesome-osity.  Demand satisfaction.  Hit some buttons on your remote or other make-tv-happen device and hopefully you can bring Toni College and John Corbett and a faggy teen into your life while you’re at it.

Parallel Histories

October 24, 2009

So I’ve been watching FlashForward, a show you might enjoy if you like Lost, but almost certainly won’t enjoy if you don’t, as it seems to be cobbled together out of similar concepts (the flashes, interconnectedness, predestination vs. free will) and many of the same actors. I like Lost, so I enjoy it.

In this week’s episode we had scenes with the President and Congress. The President is some old white dude, who, apparently, is in his second term, so reality on this show diverges from our own at least by 2004, we don’t know yet if he’s a Democrat or a Republican. 9/11 is referenced, so that has definitely happened too. Oddly, though, in playful lovers banter the two lesbian characters joke around a threesome with Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in space.

So apparently in the most recent election, Palin ran, not as this guy’s running mate. So he’s probably a Democrat. Did he run against Clinton in the primary?

I’m intrigued by Senator Clemente, who we are supposed to perceive as a bad guy, since she’s opposed to our established good guys. I think she’s a fictional stand-in for Clinton actually (which makes it weirder that they talk about Clinton’s actual existence. It’s a bit like in Jacqueline Susann’s book Dolores, which is thinly veiled novelization of Jackie Kennedy’s life (so thin as to barely be a veil) when they reference her new lover as being “as rich as Aristotle Onassis,” a) we get the point, and b) you already have an Aristotle Onassis in the book!). Clemente is a powerful lady Senator who believes she had had a good shot at the presidency if it weren’t for something the bureau chief did. He’s pretty disrespectful to her, actually, calling her by her first name (he says “Joyce,” but her name plate said “Jane.” Significant? Or mistake?) when she asks to be addressed as Senator, and snidely noting that he doubted she’d have a second term. (Implying perhaps that she ran in ’04?)

By the end of the episode she’s become Vice President, and she reveals that in her FF she was the President, following in the grand tradition of female Presidents on tv (cf Laura Roslin) that they only become president by succession, not by election.

It’s absurd to me that even when a writer can imagine a world where the whole planet blacks out at the same time for mysterious reasons, these same writers can’t imagine the US electing a woman president. I feel like, it’s “funny” because it’s true.

It’s that Darn Thong Song

October 23, 2009

I feel like this week’s Glee got the show back on track after a couple of boring episodes. I’m really not interested in the pregnancy storylines (particularly Will’s wife’s, Quinn’s is bearable), so even though it was no Kristin Chenoweth episode, I was pleased.

As time goes by I dislike Will more and more, which isn’t really a problem for me, I like plenty of shows with unsympathetic leads (Sean MacNamara and Christian Troy spring to mind for obvious reasons.) Will is basically a nightmare of a teacher who makes everything about him and his dreams of glory. Is there any reason he has to sing “The Thong Song” when teaching Emma how to dance? Not really, no, he’s not going to be there, singing, at Ken and Emma’s Hawaiian wedding. (That said, this show does provide the mental image of a mash-up of “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “The Thong Song” which is why I LOVE this show. Though I hate that it deprived us of seeing the Mash-Up.)

Similarly, when Will Busts a Move, as whenever Will raps, it’s embarrassing. It’s also unnerving to see a teacher grabbing and flirting with students, even as part of the choreography. At one point Will grabs Kurt and, perhaps as a stand-in for the audience, Kurt mouths “Oh my God” with a look of horror. (And what was with Will grabbing Artie’s wheelchair and spinning him around? RUDE.)

I was really into the Puck/Rachel relationship, and I wish they’d spun it out for a few more episodes. My dear co-blogger and I disagree on this point, but I find Puck to be ridiculously, smoking hot. I melt whenever I see him and flash back my own nerdy high school days and the hot good-but-bad-but-secretly-good boys who were exactly my type, and, as Puck notes, Rachel is a hot Jew and the good Lord wants him to get in her pants. I loved Puck’s cover of “Sweet Caroline*,” and, well, I don’t know how many different ways I can say that he makes me melt.

The line of the night for me was: “It reminded me of when our family ordered Chinese food and sat down together for our traditional Simchat Torah screening of Schindler’s List.” Funny and topical, since ST was just two weeks ago. It’s not a coincidence, I think, that the funniest line was from the narration. The same thing happened last week with Sue’s assessment of the fight. Narrators just make things really funny.

Over on Murphy’s other show, Nip/Tuck, they had a narrator for the first episode of the season, which was absolutely hilarious and much better than anything we’d seen all last season. (The gang makes an infomercial! Matt is a store-robbing mime!!) Unfortunately, stern British lady voice over seems to have been a one time thing, since this week’s episode was incredibly lackluster, save for Liz’s delicious ripping Kimber a new one, which was a long time coming and well deserved.

*Though this is on my list of songs that are secretly about pedophilia, along with “Brown Eyed Girl” and “My Sharona,” among many others. Once you start noticing these themes you can’t turn it off.

Churchill Rousing? Or Hitler Rousing?

October 20, 2009

This week’s Mad Men was awesome. So much plot development! Betty knows about Dick Whitman! Hurray!

But what I noticed most was teacher and Don’s stoner pillow talk. I always use “What if the color I see isn’t the color youuuuu see” when I’m making fun of stoned talk. I loved Don’s no nonsense response, which was basically, “No one cares! Let’s all make some money!”

It’s the new “I refute it thus.”

I still can’t believe what a diiiiiiiick Don is being at work this season, every time he talks to Peggy I get annoyed. And obviously the Sal stuff was disappointing, though, in retrospect, not surprising. Given that Don has never turned down tail in his life it’s shocking to him that Sal wouldn’t be the same way.

I’ve gotten used to Don’s affairs, but they’ve never stopped bugging me. I hate that he is in a full-on romance with the teacher, and not just a sex thing like with Bobbie. I don’t hate the teacher, but I am very wary of her interest in Don.

And who *did* call the Drapers that night?

The Greatest Dream Sequence of Our Time

October 13, 2009

Megan, in a blue satin bathrobe walks into a garden looking wondrously to and fro at the, I must say, rather unremarkable foliage. As if in Alice in Wonderland, a patio table appears. Seconds later, so does the ghost of Kimberly Shaw, looking totally fetch in a white skirt and purple tank top. Megan sports a look of comically exaggerated shock.

KS: Don’t be shy! Come join me! You can’t imagine how wonderful this is, ever since I passed through to the other side, I’m finally at peace.
Megan: Wait… I haven’t passed through too, have I?
KS: No, oh nonono you’re just dreaming, I thought it was a good place to talk.

Megan sits, sighing with relief.

KS: Now, Megan. I knew you wouldn’t want to stay at the beach house, but that’s just silliness, I want you to stay! And I promise not to show up, or linger there, even as memories. You have to understand that it’s a place that makes Michael happy. I don’t know how to explain it any better than that. He’s just… different when he’s there, he’s happier, more relaxed. And there’s still something you need to know about him, Megan, you have to be careful, he can be very tough on his wives.
Megan: You mean unfaithful?
KS: No! No, [but really yes, I mean, come on, it’s Michael Mancini] I’m talking about his ruthless ambition, it’s bottomless and never fulfilled, and he drags his wives into this dangerous morass, usually destroying them before he destroys himself. Jane went through it, Sydney twice, I’ve had to clean up.
Megan: What can I do?
KS: What I never could. Save him from himself and your reward will be a solid, happy marriage.
Megan: But I still don’t understand. If you’re so happy up here… why are you worried about my marriage?
KS: Well it isn’t exactly official yet, but I might be your guardian angel!!!! Right now, you have to go back to bed, because there is nothing Michael enjoys more than to be awakened in the middle of the night for looooove-making.
Megan nods, knowingly, then wakes up, and wakes Michael up for… look I’m not going to type it twice.

First, I love how in command of Michael’s new relationship Kimberly is even now that she’s dead. (And I had some doubts as to whether she was really toe-up, but the dream sequence seems to confirm it.) I love you, Lily Bass, but you are no Kimberly Shaw.

I personally hope that Kimberly is just fucking with Michael from beyond the grave. Find someone else to falsify documents for you!

To the Person who Found us by Googling “how do you apologize for a rape”

October 12, 2009

It’s not that fucking hard to apologize!

Be sorry. Tell her you’re sorry. Offer to make ammends in the way that she sees fit.

I think what you’re actually asking is “how do you apologize for a rape and not get charged?” And you know what? I’m not going to give you that advice, because if you commit a crime, fucking pay for it.

Jesus Christ.

Putting the booze back in booze tube*

October 8, 2009

I LOOOOve Gossip Girl, so it pains me to say this, but MAN waas it bad this week. And the badness could be laid at only one person’s feet: Tyra Banks.

I find that I have to defend my love of Gossip Girl again and again and I’m happy to do so here: the show is wittily written, well directed and, I’d usually add, well acted. While the problems of the upper side (who’s eating on The Met Steps where) are generally far from mine, the acting is usually good enough to transcend my suspension of disbelief, but Tyra Banks and Hillary Duff acting in an Oscar-bait serious film together? In which Tyra sings? Sorry but even my generous standards are tested.

The problem that Gossip Girl has set up, is that the celebrity world exists alongside our world and works by its rules, and Tyra, as supporting actress doesn’t quite work.

And the setup itself is annoying, we all know, as viewers, that the challenge for the producers of the series is to keep Serena out of Brown and in connection with her NYU friends. Dispensing with her PR job is like dispensing with Nate as Vanessa’s boyfriend. No one thought it would be longterm, so why put the rest of us through it?

*Because I’m drunk you see!

Answerability

October 6, 2009

In reflecting more about this week’s episode of Mad Men, I realized there was something else I overlooked with regard to Betty and Carla.

When Betty and Don returned home, as Carla was leaving she suggested that Betty talk to Sally about her behavior. Betty asked what Carla meant and Carla demurred and Betty said: “Carla, you brought it up.”

In the first place, it strikes me now that Betty was speaking to Carla the way she speaks to her children,and I’m not a fan of that, but also this was another example of a white person demanding that a black person furnish them with information even when the black person has made it clear they’d rather not. It’s upsetting because it prioritizes the white person’s momentary convenience over the black person’s comfort and right to keep their thoughts and opinions to themselves if they want to.

(The other two examples I’ve covered are Pete grilling Hollis about his tv and Don in the first episode with the busboy at the bar.)

I’m definitely interested in seeing more from Carla, particularly since 1963 was an interesting year for race and racism, and she’s probably the most prominent black character on Mad Men. It’s interesting how much Mad Men shies away from race even when there are obvious, plot important reasons to explore it. I don’t know if the writers have something planned or if they’re actually just nervous to tackle the issue, but it seems like sometimes the script just blurts out “Racism exists!” without going into it in the ways that say, gender issues are explored.

I suppose that’s better than having a very special episode or ignoring it altogether, but I hope for more.

Roman Holiday

October 5, 2009

When Betty and Don go to Rome it’s like opposites day in Mad Men land. Betty, it must be remembered, is from a much classier background, so she’s much more at ease on their Roman Holiday, particularly since she lived in Italy as a model and speaks Italian fluently. She’s also confident and flirty (and has an enormous hilarious hair sculpture), and it’s awesome.

She and Don play a love game where he picks her up at the bar as if they’re strangers and then they go back to his room and fuck. It’s amazing. The next morning Don says: “I like sleeping on this side of the bed.”

Oh Don, with feminism you can “sleep on that side of the bed” (have a confident wife who spends her days actually doing something and feeling fulfilled) every day! But nothing comes without its cost obviously. At the beginning of the episode Betty is all “I can’t leave our two month old!” But… she can, because she has Carla. In a very real way, Betty’s empowerment comes at the price of pushing off her maternal duties onto a black woman, a not uncommon critique of that other famous feminist Betty.

Provisionally awesome– the return of Joan. It was nice to see her, but I’m still anxious for her to actually return to the office.

Also!! Betty kissed the governor’s aide! I was spraying pizza out of my mouth hissing “Have SSSSSEX with him!!!!! Get what you want!” At this point I am still 100% behind Betty having an affair, although I really don’t want her to just turn into Lady Don even though, as Sally might point out, he started it. And then she would pummel you with her “little lesbian” fists after playing the saddest, most on point game of mom and dad ever.

I actually didn’t hate Betty’s “Cool it with the kissing” speech. I mean, I wasn’t crazy about “you don’t kiss boys, boys kiss you,” but I really liked “You’re going to have a lot of first kisses.” At least Betty’s not pressing an unrealistic expectation that Sally should wait until true love for her first kiss.

People who should no longer be having sex… Pete the rapist. I was incredibly disturbed by his coercion of the au pair and by her employer who was like, “When looking for a girl to rape, try the next building.” Also, Pete pulls into the lead ahead of Duck for the line: “You’re German, I could get us some beer… or Riesling… or schnapps!”