Flipping

It’s Saturday night and my husband is scrolling through the Netflix and Amazon Prime options looking for something to watch. (The Good Place didn’t stick.) He’s been scrolling for about 10 minutes now and I fully expect him to go another 20. Do you know someone who does the endless scroll? Or is it you?

When I’m watching by myself I go directly to the show I’m in the middle of (currently Bunheads for something light and Stranger Things season one for something less light). If I’m not in the middle of a show, I’m usually about to start a new one from the seemingly endless list of shows I don’t have time to watch. So I almost never scroll and browse. Back in the days of regular TV, I was never a channel flipper, either. Not even during commercials. I hated the thought that I might get distracted, linger too long on another channel, and not get back to my show in time. Channel flipping caused too much anxiety. Frankly, so does scrolling.

Sometimes, mid-scroll, CW asks me to pick something but then comes up with a reason why he’s not in the mood to watch it. Sometimes the Rotten Tomatoes score is too low. He’s impossible to watch TV with. We do watch the Great British Bake-Off together and Game of Thrones, but that’s about it. This is one of my life’s greatest tribulations: not having a show to watch with my husband.

He just paused for a while hovering over a movie starring Jean Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman. Things are dire. Send whiskey.

Gilmore Girls & Guys

I am super hip and with it and have my finger on the pulse of the pop-culture world, so I heard about the Gilmore Guys podcast approximately two years after the rest of the world. Have you heard of it? (Probably.) Are you into it? GET INTO IT. IT IS GREAT.

(If you’re not familiar, it’s a fun podcast that discusses Gilmore Girls episode by episode, and there’s so much more than that. It’s its own fantastic Thing. Kevin and Demi, the hosts, just seem to be super sweet and thoughtful and funny and smart. They’re generally fun and pleasant to listen to.)

Even though I had recently re-watched the series during my maternity leave, I decided it was worth another re-watch so I could follow along with each episode of the podcast. As of last week, I just finished Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and the accompanying Gilmore Guys discussions, which concluded my massive watch-and-listen. I’d watched and re-watched the original 7 seasons several times, but this was only my second time watching the revival. The podcast episodes are significantly longer than the TV episodes — sometimes insanely so, like the 722 episode that was released in two parts totaling over 6 hours. I know what you’re thinking, but they’re mostly awesome and worth it. But what this means is that over the last several months, I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours either watching or thinking about Gilmore Girls.

Here are some thoughts, in no particular order:

Emily Gilmore is the fucking shit. She is the best (and sometimes also the worst, but in the best way) and I’ve been saying this for years and will keep saying it: Kelly Bishop IS IMPECCABLE. Her story was by far the best in the revival, and that scene at the whaling museum alone is worth the trouble of watching the whole series. But wait, maybe the scene at night with the glass of wine and the ocean is the best in the revival? Hard to say; they’re both amazing. The Clamshack? (“I guess The Vagina House was taken.”) And let me not forget the amazing fanfare with which she left the D.A.R. “BULLSHIT!” Boils down to one thing: Bishop is Queen.

I need to be IRL BFFs with Aisha Muharrar and Sarah Heyward, my two all-time favorite podcast guests. They are the best and I know we would hit it off and could discuss TV and writing and just, like, hang out in our pajamas and stuff. Maybe Aisha could introduce me to Leslie Knope Amy Poehler? I am even willing to forgive the fact that Sarah Heyward writes for Girls. (Sorry, Girls fans; I respect it but it is super not for me.)

Jason Mantzoukas. Who knew? I assumed he was a d-bag because he is on The League, which is a d-bag show if I ever saw one. (Sorry not sorry, League fans.) Also he plays a d-bag on Parks. Turns out he is also sensitive and smart and …stuff. He is an amazing an hilarious guest on the podcast and is super vulgar and inappropriate and I LOVE HIM. I feel like no one else understands my extreme hatred of Logan Huntzburger and the Life and Death Brigade the way Jason does. Jason, call me.

Logan Huntzburger and the Life and Death Brigade: STILL FUCKING AWFUL. These are not good people. These are bad people. I mean, I could list some reasons for this claim (the rich white guy money and privilege and smugness and the firmly classist and paternalistic belief that their own antics are the most amusing and charming thing they could bestow on the hapless bystander victims in their vicinity — the tango club Robert buys?! The old lady filing clerk at the Stars Hollow Gazette whom they probably pay to stand there with a flashlight in her face intoning “in omnia paratus“?! The AWFULNESS.) but how about just this:

Or this:

The Rory storyline in the revival was a bummer. What had she been doing for the past 8 years? Why was she so terrible at her job and networking and talking to people and finding a story? At least we got to enjoy Alex Kingston as Naomi Shropshire, which was a fun element. As to why Rory was cheating on her boyfriend with Logan, who was cheating on his fiancée with Rory? Logan is awful and the people around him sink to his level.

Lorelai and Luke — it was so sweet to see their wedding finally (and to hear Sam Phillips’ “Reflecting Light” as the soundtrack!), though some of that storyline was a bit of a bummer, too. Had they really not talked about kids!? Enh. Fine.

Well! You’d think I’d have more refined thoughts than that to share, but this is NaBloPoMo and I owe the internet a daily post, so there’s no time to refine. Take what you get and don’t get upset!

In my TV life, I’m moving on to Bunheads next, which I watched when it originally aired, but haven’t seen since. I know I’m going to enjoy the rewatch, but even moreso because I’ll be able to listen to Kevin and Demi’s Bunhead Bros!

 

Yoga and the Hellmouth

I am sitting at Starbucks drinking iced coffee after my yoga class because I figured if I’m starting the day with yoga class, I may as well go all-in on the bourgeois white lady stereotypes. I am still wearing my leggings and everything.

I hardly ever attend yoga classes in an actual studio because it’s not typically in my budget, but we have a newer studio in town that I’ve never visited before, so I’m eligible for the 30-days of unlimited yoga for $30 new member special and here we are. I think I’ll try attending as many classes as I can this month and just really soak it up while my schedule is relatively flexible.

And now allow me a brief moment of woo-woo: isn’t it incredible how when everyone in the room joins together in a collective “om” at the beginning and end of class, the way we all naturally fall into a beautifully harmonious chord? At the same time, it seems both imposible and inevitable. Collective human goodness.

On a very different note: my husband and I have finally started watching The Handmaid’s Tale. I’d been avoiding it for a long time because I’ve been feeling such a deep desire for my entertainment choices to offer me a ticket out of Cheeto Mussolini’s anti-American hellmouth. In the interest of escapism, I’ve been looking for far more soothing ways to spend my limited TV and reading time (Great British Bake-Off, Harry Potter, etc.). But CW and I were looking for a captivating show to watch together and we just decided to dive in and — man oh man — it is really gripping and wonderful storytelling but it is also terrifying. We’ve seen the first 6 episodes so far and will be caught up in time for the finale next week (I think that’s right?), so I look forward to talking about it with you, if you’re also watching, soon!

Namaste.

TV Guilty Pleasure Confessions: I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

The time has come for me to confess all the terrible television I have been watching lately. With the return of cable to my life, this was bound to happen. Are you watching any of these shows, too? Will you commiserate?

At least two of these people are not smug a-holes -- an unprecedented ratio on reality TV.
At least two of these people are not smug a-holes -- an unprecedented ratio on reality TV.

Taking the Stage

I have a great excuse for watching this MTV reality show about kids in a performing-arts high school – a truly great excuse, just wait for it. I, you see, am a patron of the arts. Just try to impugn me for that, bitches!

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SOMEONE in this picture should have taken a job in Paris is all I am saying.
SOMEONE in this picture should have taken a job in Paris is all I am saying.

The Hills & The City

I have been meaning to write a “Guilty Pleasure Confessions” post about The Hills for so long. I have such a post saved in my drafts, in fact, and it has been there for, like, three seasons. I watched Laguna Beach back in the day, I’ve been watching The Hills since Season 1 (How could L.C. not take the job in Paris, HOW I ASK YOU), and now I am even watching The City. Yes, I am the specific kind of jackass who watches all of these shows.

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"Twelve beatiful girls stand before me, but I only have eleven pictures in my hands."
"Twelve beatiful girls stand before me, but I only have eleven pictures in my hands."

America’s Next Top Model

I have one thing to say about this show: TYRA.

Wait, let me add another thing: NIGEL.

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Every single person depicted here: utterly useless.
Every single person depicted here: utterly useless.

Make Me a Supermodel

This is absolutely the poor man’s ANTM – it’s a little glossier and a little more inscrutable, but the awesomeness of Tyra, Nigel, and Miss J is only sadly mimicked by the less-than-awesomeness of Tyson (boring), Nicole (totally luuded out), and the posse of ridiculous judges. The only one I don’t want to kill is Catherine Malandrino, who is wonderful in all respects. As for the models? I don’t even remember who any of them are from one week to the next. Why am I watching this again? Oh right. I will watch basically any of these Bravo reality shows. I am the one person in America who watched Top Design.

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"Not at the Cancer Society!"
"Not at the Cancer Society!"

The Real Housewives of New York City

Oh my dog, you guys, this show is great! I didn’t catch on to the Housewives phenomenon in time to board the train to the O.C.; the Atlanta show aired while I was without cable; but the N.Y.C. show, in all its awesomeness, makes up for all that I’ve missed in the other franchises. Jill Zarin is probably my favorite, but Bethenny and the Countess LuAnn DeLesseps come in a close second/third. Oh, and if you are watching this, could you please just back me up on one thing: Kelly Bensimon. Is she evil incarnate, or what? A CASH BAR at her own party! THE HELL.

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I don't know.  I'm sorry. There is just no excuse for this.
I don't know. I'm sorry. There is just no excuse for this. They don't even have a decent promotional picture.

Harper’s Island

Exhibit A toward proving that I will watch absolutely any mystery or detective show no matter how bad it is. This is a truly terrible show: gruesome and violent and illogical in its storytelling, peopled with ridiculously inconsistent characters played by mostly terrible actors. This show has exactly two redeeming factors: Christopher Gorham and scenery of the Pacific Northwest.

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"The hammer is my penis."
"The hammer is my penis."

Castle

Exhibit B toward proving my love for and determination in watching all manner of terrible detective shows. This particular gem is based on a ridiculous premise (no police department would ever allow a crime novelist with no police training to basically be partners with a homicide detective; I’M SORRY). Like Harper’s Island, the storytelling is embarrassingly bad: don’t even bother trying to follow the thread of an episode’s plot or of the murder investigation itself. No such thread will ever be found. Each episode is like a collage of ostensibly related scenes that basically either do nothing to move the plot forward or do too much too fast. The one beautifully consistent unifying factor? Nathan Fillion is in every scene. And there you go.

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Your turn. Confess! I know you’re watching some terrible TV out there, people. Help me feel less alone.

BSG: "Daybreak" Part II (The Last Battlestar Recap EVER!)

This post recaps, with pictures, the series finale.  Dude, if you have not seen it yet, a) what are you waiting for?  and b) do not read this, and c) DO NOT EVEN SCROLL DOWN because you will see some REVEALING SHIT HERE, okay? Okay.

First of all let me just say that this entire season of Battlestar Galactica has been incredible, and the series finale is no exception.  I’m glad they aired Part I of “Daybreak” before the finale last night, because I really appreciated getting to watch all three hours of it together.  That first hour seemed so much more purposeful and cohesive in close connection with hours two and three.  The things we learned about the past actually turned out to carry some weight here, as I was worried they might not.  WHEW.

Moving on then: I got pretty snap-happy, as you can imagine, when I was gathering the screen shots for this recap.  Hence there are forty-some photos here.  I’ve divided them into sections and I will provide some thoughts for each section, but otherwise the captions will have to suffice.  Let’s go then, shall we?

Things That Happened in the Past:

In the final two hours of “Daybreak,” the scenes from the past began to take on deeper significance.  While last week they seemed largely irrelevant, this week they seemed more tightly woven into the show.  I appreciated, but did not really love this aspect.

Adama puked all over himself this one time outside a strip club.
Adama puked all over himself this one time outside a strip club.
Boomer was a bad pilot and owed Adama a favor.
Boomer was a bad pilot and owed Adama a favor.
Kara double-dog-dared Lee to do her; said she didn't fear death and didn't want to be forgotten
Kara double-dog-dared Lee to do her; said she didn't fear death and didn't want to be forgotten
Laura had a blind date with a former student and slept with him; kicked him out of bed; joined a presidential campaign.
Laura had a blind date with a former student and slept with him; kicked him out of bed; joined a presidential campaign.

Shit Gets Difficult for Our Guys for a While:

During the battle, the temporary detente, and the ensuing mayhem, I was once again on the edge of my seat every single second.  I even made an effort to pay attention to the usually inscrutable-to-me SPACEBATTLES so I could observe what was happening to which ship at what time.  Among the highlights for me was seeing Six, Baltar, Imagination Six, and Imagination Baltar all together in the same scene.  While I’m kind of grumpy about the direction the show has decided to take with the Imagination Team (angels, higher powers, “divine hands” at work – gag me please), I still loved this moment.  I also found myself excitedly jumping around and screaming at the TV during the scene when Starbuck has to jump the ship but she doesn’t have the rendez-vous coordinates.  Holy frak that was an incredible moment.

It's Admiral Hoshi and President Crazy-Ass Romo Lampkin - This doesn't bode well.
It's Admiral Hoshi and President Crazy-Ass Romo Lampkin - This doesn't bode well.
Even Caprica Six and Baltar have to fight to protect the ship. Baltar looks mighty ridiculous in that get up.
Even Caprica Six and Baltar have to fight to protect the ship. Baltar looks mighty ridiculous in that get up.
Galactica jumps right into the metaphorical crotch of the Colony and faces attack immediately, a.k.a. SPACEBATTLE.
Galactica jumps right into the metaphorical crotch of the Colony and faces attack immediately, a.k.a. SPACEBATTLE.
Lee leads the team into the Colony.
Lee leads the team into the Colony.
Starbuck has a gun and she's not afraid to use it!
Starbuck has a gun and she's not afraid to use it!
In the meanwhile, Simon is poking a tube into Hera's ear. OH WOE.
In the meanwhile, Simon is poking a tube into Hera's ear. OH WOE. Oh, no, wait, I don't care.
Centurion against Centurion - this toaster battle was clangy and frakking intense!
Centurion against Centurion - this toaster battle was clangy and frakking intense!
Six and Baltar see Imagination Six and Imagination Baltar, and each ne learns that the other one can see the Imagination Angels. One of my favorite scenes!
Six and Baltar see Imagination Six and Imagination Baltar, and each one learns that the other one can see the Imagination Angel Team. One of my favorite scenes!
Boomer pays back that favor, gets all shot up.  RIP, Boomer, you inscrutable Cylon Lady.
Boomer pays back that favor, gets all shot up. RIP, Boomer, you inscrutable Cylon Lady.
OH NOES, MY BOYFRIEND HELO IS HURT!!!
OH NOES, MY BOYFRIEND HELO IS HURT!!!
Baltar, Athena, Six, and Roslin collectively hallucinate that whole Opera House thing again, leading them to the CIC with Hera.
Baltar, Athena, Six, and Roslin collectively hallucinate that whole Opera House thing again, leading them to the CIC with Hera.
In case we forgot, here are the faceless final five as imagined in the past.
In case we forgot, here are the faceless final five as imagined in the past.
And here are the final five, revealed and arranged around and in the Bathtub of Mystery.
And here are the final five, revealed and arranged around and in the Bathtub of Mystery.
Baltar pontificates annoyingly, yet poignantly, about a higher power.  I grumble.
Baltar pontificates annoyingly, yet poignantly, about a higher power. I grumble.
HOT DOG!
HOT DOG!
Bathtime is for sharing - sharing information about Cylon resurrection, that is.  At least until something goes horribly wrong.
Bathtime is for sharing - sharing information about Cylon resurrection, that is. At least until something goes horribly wrong.
Well, Frak. Something went horribly wrong and now Galactica is under sustained fire again.
Well, Frak. Something went horribly wrong and now Galactica is under sustained fire again.
"There must be some kind of way out of here," said the pilot to the FTL drive.
"There must be some kind of way out of here," said the pilot to the FTL drive.
In the most frakking awesome scene ever on BSG, Starbuck uses her crazy music math to jump the ship to Bob Dylan's magical coordinates. HOLY FRAK.
In the most frakking awesome scene ever on BSG, Starbuck uses her crazy music math to jump the ship to Bob Dylan's magical coordinates. HOLY FRAK.
Galactica survives the jump, but is so broken apart she'll never jump again.  It's a good thing they made it to ... wait, where are they exactly?
Galactica survives the jump, but is so broken apart she'll never jump again. It's a good thing they made it to ... wait, where are they exactly?

Holy Frak, It’s Motherfrakking EARTH:

I really, really did not think this was going to happen.  Really.

HOLY FRAK. IT'S MOTHERFRAKKING EARTH.
HOLY FRAK. IT'S MOTHERFRAKKING EARTH.

But What Does this Mean?

For one thing, we find out that Earth is a frakking breathtakingly gorgeous place.  In almost every scene on the planet, the camera pulls back to give us rich, majestic views of the landscape.  The beauty of these scenes is almost a bit hard to take.  We learn what will become of the fleet, the Centurions, and the other Cylons, and shit starts to feel all poignant and ending-like here, but the goodbyes will continue for a nice long while even after the fleet flies into the sun.

The guys investigate an existing civilization they found on the planet.
The guys investigate an existing civilization they found on the planet.
They may be pre-verbal but Baltar has some plans for them already. No verbalizing necessary.
They may be pre-verbal but Baltar has some plans for them already. No verbalizing necessary.
The Centurions will finally be free.
The Centurions will finally be free.
Adama pilots the last viper out of Galactica, like we knew he would. Flight suit looks good on you, dude.
Adama pilots the last viper out of Galactica, like we knew he would. Flight suit looks good on you, dude.
Sam Anders pilots the rest of the fleet into the sun, in a moment pf physical perfection. I sniffle.
Sam Anders pilots the rest of the fleet into the sun, in a moment pf physical perfection. I sniffle.

Goodbyes, Try Not to Cries:

More wide shots of velvety grassland, rugged hills and mountains, and a perfectly blue sky. In so many of these scenes, though, it seems as  if everyone is destined to be utterly alone.  Tyrol, Lee Adama, Bill Adama – they all wind up facing the future completely alone.  Just as I was feeling a little despair over that, we saw groups of settlers heading off into the future together.  Anonymous civilians, the Tighs, the Agathons – they all walk off toward their futures together.  That’s nice. If you watched these scenes and didn’t find need of a tissue, I don’t know who you are.

Tyrol says goodbye to Tigh and Ellen before jetting off to Scotland, Iceland, Labrador, or some other cold island.
Tyrol says goodbye to Tigh and Ellen before jetting off to Scotland, Iceland, Labrador, or some other cold island. Alone.
Lee and Kara wave goodbye as Adama and Roslin take flight.
Lee and Kara wave goodbye as Adama and Roslin take flight.
Lee and Kara discuss their plans for the future, except SOMEBODY doesn't seem to have any.
Lee and Kara discuss their plans for the future, except SOMEBODY doesn't seem to have any.
And now Lee is alone.
And now Lee is alone.
Adama takes Roslin flying over the continent looking for a place to build that cabin.
Adama takes Roslin flying over the continent looking for a place to build that cabin, only he'll have to do all the building ALONE because she frakking dies in the Raptor. Sheesh.
Tigh and Ellen walk off toward their future.
Tigh and Ellen walk off toward their future.
Karl, Sharon, and Hera walk off toward their future.
Karl, Sharon, and Hera walk off toward their future.
Oh hey, it's the Imagination Team come to say goodbye to the real SIx and Baltar.
Oh hey, it's the Imagination Team come to say goodbye to the real Six and Baltar.
Baltar knows a lot about farming.
Baltar knows a lot about farming.
Six and Baltar walk off toward their future.
Six and Baltar walk off toward their future.
And now Adama is alone.
And now Adama is alone.
Hera. Still anoying.
Hera. Still annoying.

The Part I Would Happily Pretend Never Happened:

All right.  Now we have come to the last five minutes of the show, a.k.a. the part I wish my DVR had failed to record.  Let me say that I do think the implications and the ideas behind this ending are solid.  After all, the notion that this has all happened before and will all happen again has been emphasized so strongly all season (and throughout the show).  We know this.  There was also always the thought that our Galacticans would possibly find their way to Earth — our Earth — and somehow connect with our society here.  Nothing really came out of the blue with this ending.  What I didn’t like about it was the quality I always call “too explainy.” I just don’t like it when movies and television take ideas that should best remain in the realm of implications and shared understandings and instead of implying them they spell them out directly in BOLD ALL CAPS BLINKING NEON. Give the viewer a little credit, please!

So while it was mainly the element of blatant explainyness that turned me off about the last five minutes here, I was also (only mildly) disgruntled with the whole worlds-colliding quality that occurs when characters from a fictional television show appear in the non-fictional world we viewers inhabit.  It renders everything that was acceptable in the Reality-of-the-Show Fictional Realm into something that is, for me, unacceptable in the Reality-of-Life Nonfictional Realm.  I can accept all the angels and higher power bullshit in the realm of fiction, but I find the assertion (and it really was an assertion) that there is a higher power designing our universe to be pretty distasteful. Well, mildly.  I loved the show too much to get all het up about it.

Honestly, I would have been fine with this being the last shot of the series. But, sigh, it wasn't.
Honestly, I would have been fine with this being the last shot of the series. But, sigh, it wasn't.
Oh look, it's Ron Moore.  How frakking clever.
Oh look, it's Ron Moore. How frakking clever.

On the whole, though, I really, really loved this series finale.  It certainly cemented Battlestar Galactica‘s place in my all-time top-five list of television shows.  I have now begun collecting the DVDs (as some of you know I am obsessed with waiting until I can buy them at a low, low price from Amazon Used) and I plan to start re-watching the entire series sometime soon.  And oh yeah! We have both Caprica and BSG: The Plan to look forward to as well.  So I suppose it isn’t really truly over, yet.

What did you think? Favorite moments? What about the last five minutes? Am I crazy here?