Another one bites the dust

15 03 2014

I am an extremely lazy television viewer.

Not in the sense of not moving from the t.v. my external monitor, but in that I’d rather watch old shows over and over again than deal with the uncertainty of new shows. I watch to unwind, not get wound up.

There’s nothing wrong with such inertial sensibilities, at least as regards t.v. (and, it must be said, movies), but it does tend toward staleness. Thus, the only way to expand the comfortable old choices is to watch some new stuff.

Eureka worked out; Fringe did not. I’ve liked most of Waking the Dead, at least what’s available on Netflix, but it does seem like it headed toward MI-5 kill-everyone melodramatic cynicism. (Wallender is all right, tho’ a bit predictably dreary; don’t know that I’ll be revisiting that one, tho’ I may watch new episodes.)  And I’ve got some ‘new’ shows in my queue— Battlestar Galatica, Orange is the New Black, Top of the Lake, and a coupla’ other Brit-drams—which I’ll get to. Eventually.

Oh, and Leverage? Big enthusiastic fist-bumps for Leverage! Yes, formulaic and cartoonish, plot-wise, but since the show doesn’t take itself too seriously and the characters are witty and human and weird, well, big enthusiastic fist-bumps for Leverage!

So, anyway, another new show I was watching was Agents of SHIELD. I thought Thor was dumb, haven’t been interested in Iron Man/Captain America/The Hulk, zipped through an awful lot of the Avengers, and I have never been nor am I now a Marvel or DC Comic geek. (I only know about that distinction because of what I’ve read on TNC’s blog.) Still, sci-fi, strange tech: I could be up for it.

And so I watched. Some episodes I liked, some I didn’t, but I wasn’t so bothered as to stop watching. It was kind of mediocre, but I wasn’t so invested in the Marvel world that any plot problems really bothered me. It was slow in bringing everything together, but what the hell.

Well now I’m at to-hell-with-it. No, it wasn’t the poisonously oblique plot lines or the rushed intensity of the characters relationships to one another.

It was the beatings. The torture.

I’m not generally bothered by onscreen violence, and there isn’t overly-much in AoS—the expected battles of good-vs-bad guys—nor its it terribly graphic. That’s fine.

What’s not fine is the good guys beating the shit out of people they have in custody and having that be okay.

A few episodes ago Good-Guy Ward got the information he needed from a perp by threatening to have him sucked out of the plane.

This was not a problem for any of the other Good Guys.

In a more recent episode, another suspect was beaten (the Good Gal beating him was only stopped because she was needed elsewhere), then threatened with having his tongue pulled out and sundry other torments by yet more Good Guys.

Again, not a problem for the Good Guys. Which pretty much makes them not-Good Guys.

(I keep hitting the wrong key and typing “Good Goys”. Which, I guess, most of them are. Goys, I mean. Definitely not Good.)

This wouldn’t be a problem for me if this were all somehow to demonstrate the shadiness of the Good Guys and the moral peril involved in trying to be Good while sometimes doing not-Good. But that’s not how it’s set up: we’re supposed to cheer how bad-ass our Good Guys are.

Fuck that.

The Clairvoyant is bad because she (and, c’mon, she’s gotta be a she) engages in the crudest form of ends-justifying-the-means consequentialism. SHIELD has put the earth in danger and thus can’t be relied upon; someone else is gonna do what’s gotta be done to protect the joint.

Which makes her different how, exactly, from the Good Guys? Why shouldn’t I take her side?

Screw ’em all; I’m done.

So now I have space for another show. Maybe Friday Night Lights? Or how about Breaking Bad? At least we know (almost) everyone on that show is bad, right?





Better run run, run run run away

20 10 2013

Pelant is dead. Finally.

The ending was, I dunno, anti-climactic? thin? underdeveloped and over-determined? Yeah, all of those—but at least it’s an end.

I was going to skip this episode of Bones, then decided just to skip ahead to see if Pelant got his or got away yet again. Only after I saw that he’d been shot dead did I go back and watch the entire mediocre episode.

Should I rant yet again on what a bullshit bad guy Pelant was? That turning him into the man who was both nowhere and everywhere, a super-evil super-genius was mechanistic and boring? Oh, and turning him into yet another Brennan-obsessive (in an attempt to add psychological depth to his non-character?) just made me miss the far more human, and humanly terrible, Howard Epps?

Maybe not, tho’ I will offer a mini-bitch of “enough with the geniuses”—they’ve been on my bad side all week.

The plot, such as it was, did introduce the possibility of a New Bad Guy, or, as Pelant suggested, Bad Broad. What a breakthrough: from mastermind male serial killer to master (or mistress?) -mind female serial killer!

Whatever. However it plays out, it’d be nice if the producers don’t cock it up the way they did with Pelant.





There is more than one of everything

3 08 2013

Two things.

1. I not only don’t mind spoilers, I kinda prefer them.

I don’t know when this happened, when I began to prefer to know how things work out rather than just waiting to find out, but now I do.

There’s more to this than that, but, for now, this’ll do.

2. I’ve been watching and more-or-less-enjoying Fringe.

I got interested in Fringe maybe a year ago, when I’d see teasers for the latest episode on Hulu. At first, I ignored it, then I thought, Huh, that might be interesting, as I flicked past, then thought, Huh, if that shows up on Netflix, I think I’ll give ‘er a go.

It showed up on Netflix.  I’m giving ‘er a go.

And while I did do a bit of skim-spoiling of the show on Wikipedia, I decided to, y’know, actually watch the show to find out what happens.

There are some things I like about it and some things which are quite ridiculous (even for the grim sci-fi/conspiracy subgenre in which it exists), but I mostly like it. I liked X-Files before it went off the rails, and Fringe clearly owes a great deal to pre-derailed X.

I also thought, prior to tonight, that while it is in many ways a more sophisticated show than X-Files, it is a lesser one.

And then the last scene of the episode. I was not expecting it. I think I stopped breathing for a moment or two.

I don’t know why, I can think of so many reasons why it shouldn’t have stopped me, but stop me it did.

I won’t spoil it for you; I was glad I hadn’t spoiled it for myself.





Lou Grant on Hulu!

2 09 2009

Okay, so it’s probably not new, but hey, it’s new to (inattentive) me.

Lou Grant: Oh, the wonders of late-Seventies t.v. See Lou come to terms with female reporters! Watch as the difficulties of Vietnam veterans are confronted! Racism! Censorship! DES! Nuclear bombs in L.A. (from a Croatian independence group, no less)!

Can I tell you I loved it? That I watched the terrorist-nuke episode the other night?

If only Fame were on Hulu. . . but it is coming out on DVD. Might have to get Netflix, just for that fine Eighties fare.

Upshot? If you didn’t already know, as a kid I was a) a news-loving liberal geek; and b) a wanna-be writer/actress/singer who wanted more than anything to attend the High School of Performing Arts in Newwwww York City (that A Chorus Line song be damned!).

And today? Oh, just. . . just. . . shut up.





Thinking like a mountain and wishing like the sea

22 03 2009

My t.v. sits there, mute and uncomplaining. Or mute and seething. If a t.v. could, you know, uncomplain or seethe.

Do I liberate it?

I’ve watched t.v. twice since I’ve moved in, and both times it was chore: I don’t have cable, so the reception was more snow than picture. I’ve thought about getting the Roku box and streaming movies through Netflix, but beyond my initial research, I’ve done nothing about it.

So do I sell or give away the t.v.?

It’s in decent shape, but it’s also a few years old, and the big ol’ console type—not a sleek, new flatscreen.

I dunno. If someone would offer me 25 bucks, I’d probably unload it.

A plant would fit nicely in its spot.

____

On my continuing inability to write that elegant piece on abortion, or to patch together anything coherent on Israel and Palestine: why oh why?

It’s not as if I don’t have well-formed ideas on either issue. On abortion, for example, I think that it’s a no-brainer that it remain legal, but that morally, it’s murky. And that it’s murky means that, for some people, it’s not a no-brainer that it remain legal. I think it’s silly to expect all women to feel guilt or shame or regret for terminating a pregnancy, and silly to expect that no woman would feel guilt or shame or regret for terminating a pregnancy.

But wait! There’s more! There’s freedom and equality and sex and contraception and men and motherhood and meaning and. . . all that.

So much to write.

Similarly with Israel and Palestine. Why should I take side other than that of peace and pluralism? Why would I support a two-state solution, one which implies—no, practically requires—a single-identity set of states, which in turns would necessarily involve some version of ‘transfer.’

As in ‘ethnic cleansing’. As in a crime against humanity.

Hannah Arendt (who was and is not beloved in Israel) made the argument in favor of a Jewish homeland—but not a Jewish state. Edward Said (who has his own unbeloveds) ended up supporting the goal of a single state as the most just solution.

The current situation is unjust. A two-state solution would simply reify this injustice, and in so doing, make such reification irresistible. In other words, the injustice involved in bringing reality to the two states would itself become an argument in favor of the process of states-making itself.

Perversity. The entire damned situation abounds in perversity. Again, so much to say.

Too much to say, perhaps. Perhaps that’s why I am unable to say it.

____

I am temporarily working three jobs again, but the third job will soon go away for the spring and probably the summer.

The second job (teaching) is secure through December, and probably the following spring.

Job1 is the current angst-generator. It’s a retail position, not difficult, but low-paying and irritating in the usual way of retail positions. It sucks up time, both on the job and in travel. And did I mention the customers?

But it has had one great benefit, however: benefits. Most part-time jobs do not offer health or other benefits, but this one does.

This has kept me working there even when I thought AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH! That, and the need to pay rent.

But I now qualify for health care through Job2, and am in the process of switching my coverage. Wrinkle one.

Wrinkle two: My store is in the midst of a shake-up, and not all of us currently employed will be offered jobs past June. I went through the process to keep my job, but I’m not at all sure that I do want to continue working there.

This is different from the AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH reaction. I’m getting more courses, and while the pay for adjunct teaching is lousy compared to a tenure-track job, it’s great compared to retail. And there’s a good chance I’ll be able to continue working off-and-on at Job3—a job which also pays more than Job1, and is closer to home.

The big reason to leave, however, is that I have no damned time to write. I wrecked my life to leave academia, and wrecked my finances to move to New York to write—which I have, in my first two years here, managed to do. In the midst of my third year, however, I haven’t been able to grab those chunks of time necessary for writing.

Yeah, I have time to blog and to web-surf and to play spider solitaire, but none of these activities requires the particular kind of concentration I engage in while writing. These are filler activities, wind-downs—only now I’m winding down from my commute or course prep, not from cranking out a crucial scene.

And I have a new idea. I have characters and a rough sense of where I want to begin. I want to find out what happens. And I don’t have time to write to find out what happens.

The economy? Oh, yeah, that. How could I give up a job in this economy? Is wanting or needing to write enough? Yeah, the check’s small, but it’s not nothing; how could I give that up?

Perhaps I won’t make the cut, which means the decision is out of my hands. But this is my life, and it should be in my hands. I should have to figure out what to do.

Should. Not that I have, yet.