Posts Tagged ‘That 70s Show’

Making Love to the Pooch

March 27, 2010

I am happy to report that Parks and Recreation has reclaimed its rightful place as foremost in my affections with this week’s episode. When this show began it seemed like Leslie was just going to be lady Michael Scott, but thankfully that has not turned out to be the case. Leslie and Michael both love their jobs an unreasonable amount, but Leslie is actually competent. Even though it didn’t work out, Leslie’s concept for the Parks Department magazine was sound, she just counted on people who turned out to be hateful cynics (and Ron, who is a cynic, but not particularly hateful).

The open was really funny: Tom borrows Ron’s coonskin cap for the purpose of peacocking and just succeeds in scaring the ladies off with lines like “Daaaaaamn girl, your hotness killed my raccoon!” He probably should have tried Donna’s contribution: “Yes I am a hunter– and it’s you season.”

The A plot is Leslie’s attempt to put together the summer Parks catalog, which she compares to Vogue’s September Issue. In an odd coincidence, I had just watched The September Issue mere hours before P&R. It definitely troubled my mind-grapes, since I am obviously in favor of smart women in positions of power and I really don’t think every woman has a responsibility to be warm just because men feel more comfortable imagining everyone woman is their mom but DAMN does Anna Wintour go to the other extreme. I kind of wanted to curl up and die when she told the photographer he’d better hit the gym. He’s a photographer! As Grace Coddington said: “Not everyone has to be perfect, it’s enough that the models are perfect.”

Leslie has some sexists of her own to deal with, notably former Parks Director James Watson. (Okay, that’s not really his name, but I am still, and always will be, pissed at James Watson for being a grade A douchebag to Rosalind Franklin.) James Watson tells Leslie that back in his day women weren’t allowed to teach and she’s all “Really? I thought there were women teachers way before then.” And he’s all “Not in my department. Women need a lot of blood to flow through to their baby centers which leaves less for the brain. I’d stay away from leadership roles for your own safety.” Then he’s all, “You really shouldn’t be leading us, if you’re menstruating you could attract bears.”

Holy God. My favorite thing about this show is that it’s overtly feminist in a way that’s just a premise of the show, it reminds me of Donna on That 70s Show in a way. Leslie has to deal with sexist assholes at work ALL the time, and it bugs her, but she just keeps doing her job and kicking butt. We don’t have to learn a little lesson about how these guys aren’t really sexist or sometimes ladies really are bad at their jobs (for an offender on this front, Grey’s Anatomy).

Ron’s immediate predecessor was apparently afflicted with reefer madness, and was a savant of bongs, once crafting one out of a taxidermied raccoon (Ron’s hat?). He makes good (and funny) points when Ron brings up his smoking at work: “In fairness to me, it was a different time, it was the early nineties. But also it’s ridiculous that marijuana is illegal. Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. Alcohol is legal and pot isn’t? That makes sense to you, Ron?”
Ron: I’m sorry, I don’t hear hippies.

Director Stoner suggests everyone smoke another j and calm down, but the person with the real solution is April who photoshops a spread with the directors all– well there’s no delicate phrasing (except “going to Bologna,” but that’s only comprehensible to people who, god bless us every one, watch SLAT)– blowing each other. “What, look how generous they’re being with each other!”

April and Andy almost make progress in their cute crush when April offers to help Andy write the song “Life is a Picnic With You,” but when April is carded at the bar it seems to make Andy think (hard to believe, but true!) about how young she really is, so that might be on hold.

Anne and Mark’s relationship seems not long for this world with Tom’s photographs revealing Anne’s secret unhappiness or, as Tom puts it “sad wife”-ness.

Tom: What are we doing, Maxim or Good Housekeeping?
Anne: I’m not sure which one is the insult….
Tom: Hey, if there’s anyone out there that wants to do a photo shoot on the dangers of eating undercooked chicken I can give you Anne’s phone number.

I don’t really know why they’re ending that relationship, although I mostly don’t care, which I guess might be the problem. I love Anne and Leslie’s friendship, but they need to do a better job of integrating Anne into the show since she seems to show up at the department for increasingly contrived reasons week after week. Although I love most of the direction of the show I do kind of miss the clarity of purpose in the first season: a department of people and concerned citizens working hard to get a pit filled in.

The episode ends sweetly with Ron and Leslie getting breakfast-for-dinner at a diner and promising they won’t start to hate one another. Leslie admits that despite her efforts, things did not go as planned in the greatest line in the history of ever: “Oh Ron, I really made love to the pooch on this one.”

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10 Things I Love About 10 Things I Hate About You

July 18, 2009

10. The Dad from the movie is the dad on the series. He had the second best line in the movie:* “What’s normal? Those damn Dawson’s river kids sleeping in each others’ beds and what not? I’ve got news for you. I’m down, I’ve got the 411, and you are not going out and getting jiggy with some boy, I don’t care how dope his ride is. Mama didn’t raise no fool.”

9. Shakespeare is name-checked at minute one and 35 seconds. (“Beguile… big word, Shakespeare.”)

8. Kat has the smart mudflap girl hanging from her rearview. I’m in favor feminist protagonists, although you know, it is Taming of the Shrew, and Kat can be mean for real. (She mocks some girls to their faces for needing male attention. Uh, why wouldn’t they? Misogyny is real. Don’t blame the victims of sexism for sexism.) And no, not all feminists are super-nice or patient and kind, but it’s hardly like we have a plethora of small screen heroines. TV characters who use the F word are… Donna from that 70s Show and… um… yeah. Even Buffy doesn’t call herself a feminist.

7. So many spectacular one-liners like: “Your booty needs to pop like that whitehead on your chin!”

6. Ethan Peck, who plays Patrick Verona, also played young Kelso on That 70s Show (they grow up so fast!) Anything that reminds me of Kelso is all right by me.

5. Nicholas Braun, who plays Cameron (who loves Bianca), played Randy on Secret Life of the American Teenager, the manager of the Hot Dog Hut of Minorities Propping up White Ladies, the one who hit on Anne by asking if she’s a natural redhead. It’s my list, SLAT can come before That 70s Show if I want it that way.

4. “I’m not skipping home to scribble in my journal that maybe you’re a vampire.” Ha! FACED Edward Cullen!

3. The game Rock Band as a seduction technique. Friends, I have tried to use this, I have high hopes it can be deployed well, but neither I, nor the mailwoman managed it.

2. Kat and Bianca Stratford are originally from Ohio in this version, which is mostly just great to Doostyn and me. Like we always say, “Great Lake, Great Time.”

1. Kat’s new best friend, Mandella, seems to have a big ol’ lesbian crush on Kat. I love this development! It is so rare for a character on a teen show to just be straight (heh) out lesbian, not experimenting after and before being “really” into dudes or, worse, girl-on-girl-to-turn-on-dudes. I think this is TVs way of denying that lesbians really exist, it’s either all for the guys or a short detour from the guys. It’s the chaste bro hug for the ladies.

And 4 Things I Hate About 10 Things I Hate About You:

4. Kat is getting the ugly makeover. The actress is clearly a pretty girl, but they are making her look tv ugly (probably for a later makeover, natch). This is so unnecessary! In the movie, Julia Stiles as Kat was smoking hot. But I guess we’re learning a valuable lesson about how feminists are ugly. (I say, while sporting a veritable thicket of leg hair. Believe me, I’m in favor of women not having to be hawt all the time, but somehow I don’t think that’s the egalitarian ideal the show is going for.)

3. As usual, the show promotes the poisonous idea of the Nice Guy. You know, he just loves the girl, and is dorky yet devoted. He deserves to win her, as a prize for his goodness! Unlike that mean jock who loves her for shallow reasons of status. (The nice guy usually (and definitely in this case) falls for her instantly based on, you guessed it, looks. Nice guys= patriarchal douches who think they’ve mastered their sexism.)

2. The “disgusting perv” who has a note from his parents saying he has gender confusion so he can use the ladies’ room. Kat asks: “Are you confused?” Disgusting Perv: “I’m confused about how to get into your pants.” Ugh. Bathroom panic is simultaneously so 80s and so last year. Neither Feminism nor widespread understanding of transgender issues will lead inexorably to straight, cisgender male pervs in the bathroom. God.

1. The head cheerleader is a black girl, which would be encouraging (I think modeling what you’d like to see in society on tv is a great way to get people used to ideas) since I love the idea that the most socially prized position needn’t go to the usual thin blonde white girl. But Chastity seems to be set up to take a fall so that Bianca (thin blonde white girl) can rightfully usurp her. And the idea that the already privileged are the only ones who deserve leadership positions is a lesson no one needs.

*The best line, of course, is the late great Heath Ledger’s “What is it with this girl? Does she have beer flavored nipples?” No joke, I quote this line ALL the time.