Monday, July 31, 2006

The Boob Tube

For a few years of my life, the boob tube was literally the boob tube as it was the only thing I could do while breastfeeding. Yeah breastfeeding is supposed to be this magical bonding thing between mother and child and it is for the first five minutes. However if you're fortunate and your child is healthy, your child then breastfeeds for another 15-20 minutes. There's only so long even the most adoring mother can stare at her baby's guzzling mouth and the back of her baby's head. My babies never let me read, so I turned to tv. Now I turn to tv at the end of a long day. I have talked to C. I'm tired. My brain is full. I'm still too keyed up to sleep. Here's six shows I watch.

  • Veronica Mars - If you're not watching this show, and love intelligent drama, you should be. It's hard to find strong female characters anywhere on the tv landscape. Well, here you have one in the title character. Film noir meets California high school drama. Veronica is a tiny blond bombshell who's not afraid to use her sex appeal or her smarts to solve mysteries or deal with jerks in high school. The disturbing and intricate mysteries involve murders embroiled with local town politics and teen angst. Veronica has a quirky offbeat sarcastic humour and so does the show. My main beef with the show is there are hardly any Asian Americans in Veronica's town, supposedly a rich town in Southern California, surely a mecca for certain types of Asian Americans. And pretty silly of the producers to miss a key demographic.

  • Six Feet Under (on DVD) - The only show I know that features a gay couple like any other couple with their problems and heartwarming moments, not as a joke or the stereotype. I fell further in love with the show when it had an episode with Susie Bright. Some folks criticize the show, because at the beginning of the show, someone always dies, sometimes in silly ways, sometimes banal, sometimes shocking. The writers research and draw these vignettes from actual deaths. People die every minute and in all sorts of ways. Life doesn't stop being weird and funny because death is involved. I discovered this show a year ago and I found myself watching this show when things were really bad. I found it comforting not in a schmaltzy tv sort of way, but because it's the only show I've seen that understands grief. How grief can make you laugh inappropriately, trust inappropriately. How you can go along seeming fine, but grief catches up with you later. It's not a linear process. This show even has an Asian character. Woo hoo!

  • House - The medical details on this show don't bear too close scrutiny, at least not the one time I looked, so pretend they don't matter. They're all supposed to be medical conundrums. I just accept them as given. Anyway it's not about that. It's about House, a misanthrope doctor who professes to hate patients but loves a good puzzle. He has one friend, an oncologist, but otherwise browbeats and insults the rest of his team who stay with him, because he's brilliant and right most of the time. He's so mean and unhappy, because he hates himself and self medicates with drugs. Because of his drug addiction, other doctors missed the fact that House's own leg had muscle death and he now walks with a pronounced limp. With a bad actor, this could be an awful show, but Hugh Laurie pulls it off. And you're sucked in wondering watching him take slow halting steps between self destruction and saving himself.

  • Jeeves and Wooster - Hugh Laurie used to play his complete opposite, Bertie Wooster, a English upper class twit with lots of friends who got in silly meaningless misunderstandings. Also utterly captivating and so is his very proper and very clever butler Jeeves who quotes Pope and gets Wooster and his friends out of their mad cap schemes with quiet efficiency. He also brews a good cup of tea and makes a wonderful cocktail for a hangover. Who wouldn't want a Jeeves in their life? Never mind he's a servant. In this show he loves it.

  • Daily Show with Jon Stewart - If you don't know about this show, I don't know which rock you've been hiding under.

  • The Simpsons - Somehow this show manages to be funny even how after all these years. Occasionally it misses, but I have to say I laugh almost every episode.

There's more, but my mind wandered off. I do like my tv, but in small doses unless I'm sick or I really really need to escape from real life.

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