Monday, May 12, 2014

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

You guys, have I mentioned previously how much I love TV? I absolutely love it.

Partly because I have an addictive personality (Who watches all of season 1 and most of season 2 of Hannibal in one sitting? This girl!), particularly because I'm a multi-tasker (Cleaning is just more fun when you're doing it with Mad Men!), and partly just because I have no life (No whimsical explanation for this one), I watch a lot of TV.

I don't get people who claim they don't watch TV. Pardon me, but do you people have no imaginations? Do you not like books or movies either?

People who think that TV has nothing to offer them aren't trying hard enough to find good TV. Fortunately, if you have found this blog, I am here to help.

In the mood for a guilty pleasure?

Brief caveat: Personally, I find the term "guilty pleasure" a bit misleading. Am I embarrassed to admit that I watch Revenge? Not at all. Will I argue that it's storytelling gold? Nope. But it's too hard sometimes to explain, "It's a really good soap opera" without people getting confused. Instead I just say, "Oh, it's just a guilty pleasure," and suddenly we're all on the same page.

Guilty pleasures are just the TV shows you watch and know, intellectually, that they aren't "good," but that you like them anyway. You couch your affection with an air of, "I actually AM too smart for this, you know" and then get to feel intellectually superior about ... liking the thing you totally like?


On to the guilty pleasures!

Here's the thing about Revenge -- I think you have to embrace a certain mindset to like it. Diego and Hannah make fun of me non-stop for liking Revenge, but I don't mind. It's either your cup of tea, or it ain't.

If you're into clever morality tales where everyone gets their comeuppance (and the comeuppers find that vengeance comes at a certain ethical price), then you're going to like Revenge. If you love watching rich people behaving badly in some really lovely clothes, you're going to like Revenge. And if you  ever thought to yourself, "Man, that guy who flirted with Betty in Mad Men season 2 did a solid job with some seriously clunky lines, I wonder what he could do with puns?" then you're going to like Revenge.

Synopsis: Girl moves to the Hamptons with her billionaire genius best friend, determined to clear her father's name from terrorism charges and ruin the lives of all the people who framed him. Speaks fluent Japanese, skilled in martial arts, and delivers soft-spoken bitchiness with a perfectly neutral expression. Spirit animal of anyone who ever wanted to wear high heels on the beach AND zing the 1% at the same time.

Oh, Once Upon A Time. Your concept is so fun, your execution so ridiculous. Do any of your timelines make sense? No. Do I want to re-write many of your storylines? Absolutely. Do I wish that one of your main characters (cough, Henry, cough) would fall into a time portal and come out 10 years older so we could ditch the child actor already? ABSOLUTELY. Will I stop watching? Probably not.

Who loves Once Upon A Time? Anyone who was a little too into fairy tales as a kid. I mean, seriously, who didn't wonder what it would be like if the Big Bad Wolf were real? And then take it one step further and think, "Wouldn't it be delightful if the BBW was also secretly my Sunday School teacher?"

That being said, Once Upon A Time is best watched while doing something else. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, taxes. It's got some serious acting talent, but you don't want to pay it too much attention, otherwise you'll start to notice things like, "Holy crap, Ginnifer Goodwin's Snow White wig is bad," "So they're planning to do absolutely nothing with this whole Captain-Hook-redemption-storyline, right?" and "Is it just me, or is the Evil Queen's emotional arc all over the map?"

Also, the idea of putting Queen Elsa into the mix a year after she got her own movie is delightfully bonkers. Go catch up before Season 4 starts.

Synopsis: All fairytale characters are real and were transported to our world via a magic spell. Season 2 will be sort of dumb, but there will be a really attractive pirate, so.

Or, as we call it around my house, Nashvull. It's got great music and Connie Britton, so what more do you need? Yes, it's a soap opera. Yes, you will wish half the characters (Teddy, anyone Deacon dates who isn't Rayna, Rayna's sister, etc.) weren't in the show at all. Yes, you will only like Scarlett when she is addicted to drugs and you will be annoyed when she gets off the drugs because undrugged Scarlett has the personality of a homemade crocheted afghan, BUT STILL.

Connie Britton. I want to be her when I grow up.

Synopsis: A bunch of country musicians and aspiring country musicians live in Nashville and give viewers a really unrealistic idea of what it takes to break into the music industry. Songs are amazeballs, but someone needs to fire whoever is in charge of Hayden Panetierre's wigs -- I suspect it's the same wig-rangler as Snow White.

Friends, there was a time when this spot would have been taken by The Vampire Diaries. That time is over. Despite my addictive personality and refusal to give things up once I've begun (I mean, I am still watching GREY'S ANATOMY, people), I just can't with The Vampire Diaries anymore. There is nothing I hate more than a show I love becoming boring or too committed to its increasingly nonsensical mythology, which is why I pretend that Supernatural ended at season 5, Lost after season 1, and Under the Dome after the first episode, WHERE THEY SHOULD HAVE ENDED.


Anyway. The Vampire Diaries has committed both cardinal sins: it is boring and it has started making stuff up to continue making money. So I'm done with The Vampire Diaries (and PS, if you want to get into The Vampire Diaries, might I suggest that you pretend it ends in season 3, because the only point of watching season 4 at all is the flirtation between Caroline and Klaus and I'm pretty sure someone has compiled that on YouTube by now?) 

Fortunately for everyone who enjoys some urban fantasy, The Originals has come to save the day. The Originals takes the creep factor of The Vampire Diaries up a few notches and whittles down the mythology to something easily digestible. There are witches in New Orleans who are (mostly) bad who have cursed the werewolves (sorta good) out in the swamp so they are only human on the full moon. There are vampires who are oppressing the witches (so ... sort of good?) but are okay with the werewolf oppression (so ... bad?). Add some ghosts, corrupt human politicians, and some parties, and voila, you have The Originals.

Synopsis: The original vampire family helped found New Orleans hundreds of years ago, but were forced out by various enemies. They have come back to reclaim their home and, ideally, their moral footing. There will also be annoying conversations with a boring bartender named Cami, who is fortunately the only dud in the cast. Seriously, you will find yourself slipping into a coma whenever Cami is on screen. 

In the mood for something good? Like, legit, want-to-talk-about-this-and-dissect-it-in-detail GOOD? Check in later this week ...


  1. Once upon a time, Once Upon A Time was firmly in my "I know it's stupid but I love it anyway" category. Then halfway through season two they transitioned from writing dialogue that wasn't that great to dialogue that was truly cringe-worthy, and characters began multiplying at an exponential rate without any of them seeming to get a full character or storyline, so I gave up on it. It was quickly replaced by Scandal.

    1. Oh, yes, Scandal. That really should be on my "guilty pleasure" list, but I feel like it's just slightly too good for that designation.

      Yeah, OUAT needs a good streamlining of characters. They've really let character development go by the wayside for everyone except Regina as it becomes the "fairy tale character of the week" show.

  2. LOVE The Originals and have made my peace with OUAT, which really is all over the place but I can't seem to quit. I am a self professed TV Addict so I get where you are coming from. Love my shows, even if I have like fifty of them. BTW, have you watched Arrow, because that show is AWESOME. The first season was good, but this season has been insanely amazing.

    1. No! I will have to check out Arrow this summer. I tend to shotgun a lot of tv over the summer ...

  3. hi. I think we're in love. i don't get people who don't need tv as an emotional/imaginative outlet. You should use Sidereel.Com, if you're a junky like me you'll love it. Though i could do without knowing i follow 24 shows.... it's handy tool to keep Track of everything.

  4. I absolutely love Revenge and Once Upon a Time. They are just ridiculously fun.

    I can't get myself to like Nashville, though. I've tried, but it just isn't for me.

    1. That's fair -- Nashville definitely has its ups (songs! Rayna's hair! Juliette! Avery!) and downs (Teddy, every storyline involving Teddy)

  5. So after reading your part 2, I had to read part 1. I agree on OUAT. I seriously love that show despite the sometimes cheesy graphics (and her wig really is bad!). I wasn't as big into the Peter Pan storyline but I'm excited for Elsa, and of course my kids are too.
    I've never watched Nashville but I'm about to start season two of Friday Night Lights and Connie Britton is the best. Like, can I be the kind of mom she is, pretty please?
    I've gotta disagree on The Originals though. I gave it up because it wasn't interesting to me at all. I've clung to The Vampire Diaries, despite it's sometimes ridiculous plotlines, because well, Damon and Stefan. I said it.

    1. Seriously, Tami Taylor is the best mom EVER.

      I'd recommend giving The Originals another shot. I should have mentioned this before, but I was pretty "meh" on the first few episodes. If you can get into the Davina / Harvest Girl storyline, though (the witches are sacrificing 4 teen girls in exchange for more power -- the 4th girl was rescued by the vampires, and now the witches want to complete their sacrifice / the vampires want to protect Davina and stop the witches from becoming more powerful), then it's mostly good from there.

      Except Cami, who started terrible and stayed terrible.

  6. OK, The Vampire Diaries just needs to STAAAHP. I never thought that a spin off would be better than the actual show, but leave it to CW to ruin a good thing. The Originals had one of the most satisfying season finales I've ever seen, while the recent Vampire Diaries finale... My head almost exploded from all of the eye rolling >.<

    Also, I actually HAVE met a person who to my question "Do you watch ANYTHING?" (after I named about 10 films and TV shows that everyone and their mother has seen, like the LotR trilogy) responded with "I just don't spend my time on that". WHAT? I mean... what DO you spend your time on? I just can't...