Monthly Archives: July 2012

Some TV shows are like old friends. When you first met, it was magical. You couldn’t get enough of them. You had so much in common and they were so funny and quirky and interesting.

Over time, though, something changed. They changed, or maybe you did. What was once endearing became grating; what was once charming was now way too predictable. But you still make a lacklustre effort to hang out with them, out of habit or obligation or…whatever.

I’m pretty OK at cutting off contact with people I’ve grown apart from, but television is a different story. Even when a show I once liked becomes terrible, I can’t seem to let go. I watched V in its entirety. I watched Gossip Girl for four seasons, even after I realized every episode is structurally the same. The. Exact. Same. I’m still watching The Office for some unknown reason, even though the characters have basically become caricatures of themselves and I’ve had no interest in any of the plots since around the time Jim and Pam got married.

Weeds, however, is the absolute worst example of this kind of unhealthy relationship. (Yes, I have unhealthy relationships with TV shows. It’s fine.) The first four or five seasons were so great. I mean, come on, desperate suburban mom turns to dealing weed? That is a great premise. I was totally on board with the protagonist, Nancy Botwin, as she got caught up with gangs, married a DEA agent, burned her own house to the ground…hell, I was even into it that one time when a bunch of Mexicans almost killed her but then didn’t because she was pregnant with the mayor of Tijuana’s son. Phew.

The whole thing about Nancy is that she’s wildly self-absorbed, and manages to ruin the lives of pretty much everyone around her while getting caught up in a series of extremely close calls. She is this force who sets her eyes on something and is completely relentless until she achieves it. The lives of her brother-in-law, Andy, and her sons, Shane and Silas, have basically orbited around her for eight seasons. And while the people around her are in shambles (Andy’s in love with her, Shane briefly flirted with sociopathic tendencies and Silas seems to secretly crave her approval), Nancy carries on without many consequences. Even when she DOES come up across serious obstacles, she turns to selling weed as the solution. OK, she went to jail for three years, but the minute she got out, she started dealing again. Only now, in the eighth season, after LITERALLY GETTING SHOT IN THE HEAD has she started thinking maybe drug dealing isn’t for her.

That’s what’s become so annoying to me about the show, I think: Nancy Botwin is a terrible, terrible drug dealer. She has always set her sights too high, and things have gone atrociously wrong every time. After a decade of selling pot, she has nothing to show for it. Well, except a Mexican son. But seriously, she’s broke as shit. She’s lost everything she has over and over again, but it never occurs to her to try out a new career. There are only so many times you can watch someone smash their face into a brick wall before it gets old, you know?

Fortunately, this is the last season of Weeds, so my toxic relationship with it will be over soon. Do I really care what happens to anyone on this show? Um, no. But a small part of me hopes Nancy will at least go out without starting up another operation that’s sure to fail. That would at least give me lukewarm feelings about the series’ conclusion instead of rage-y feelings. But I mean, this is Weeds, so what are the chances Nancy will finally make a reasonable, well-thought-out decision? Unfortunately, slim to none.

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I actually watched most of the Westminster Dog Show this year for the first time ever. I was completely sober, and it was still a trippy experience. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at a whole bunch of obscure breeds of dogs all at once, but dogs can be really weird looking creatures; they’re all wrinkly in some places and hairless in others and I’m pretty sure at least some of them actually originate from another planet.

That’s why this reporter who took acid for the first time and went to the Westminster Dog Show is both totally brave and kind of stupid. This is basically my worst nightmare, and I have to say, his overall composure is impressive. I really like the part when he approaches that lady who’s asleep. And the part where he tells that one girl she’s the prettiest girl at the dog show. You should probably just watch this video.

And I can’t embed because I’m a dummy or whatever, so click the link above. Do it, you won’t regret it.

 


Some day in the not-so-distant future, people of my approximate age will sit their children down and tell them about a different time: a time when TLC stood for The Learning Channel. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still LEARN things when I watch it. I learn that pageant moms are nightmares and that little people are Just Like Us and um, people love baked goods? Also: mermaid-style wedding dresses are super gross. All important stuff.

Last night I saw The Virgin Diaries for the first time. I didn’t have cable when it first aired, which was devastating for me, because the Internet kept teasing me with clips like this:

So obviously I was desperate to watch it. Mostly it’s exactly what you’d expect: people who are either awkward or religious (or in some cases, both!) who are virgins past an age where it’s considered normal.

I wanted to watch it for the religious freaks, like the totally adorable couple above who had never even kissed until their wedding day. But what’s actually interesting about the show are the people who just never got around to having sex. I shouldn’t say everyone on the show is awkward; some of them just seemed pretty introverted. If it was a different, non-TLC show, I think the interviews with some of the people featured could have actually been kind of interesting, but it IS TLC, so they throw these awkward parties where they come out as virgins to all their friends, instead. Mostly their friends didn’t care, but it all felt forced and uncomfortable.

I don’t know. I’m sure there are all kinds of regular adults who are virgins and don’t feel defined by it, but probably those aren’t the kinds of people who are going to be on a show called The Virgin Diaries. It mostly feels pretty gross and exploitative. So I mean, obvs I’m going to keep watching it! Thanks, TLC, for continuing to teach me important self lessons about cheap reality TV. Speaking of which, I will be forever grateful if anyone can explain to me what a Honey Boo Boo is.


Mostly I started this blog so I could rant about how much I hate The Newsroom. I’m only sort of kidding. Not many of my friends have been watching it, so I’m kind of running out of people to vent to.

The thing about The Newsroom is, on paper, it sounds like it should be a good show. It has a fairly impressive cast and it’s written and created by Aaron Sorkin and clearly someone has done some research about big, nightly news shows and the way major networks covered major news stories in the past couple years and so on. This set up all sounds like it should make for a good show, and that’s why I was especially disappointed when I realized The Newsroom is TOTALLY NOT A GOOD SHOW.

I should probably note that I haven’t seen a lot of the work Sorkin is best known for. I’ve seen a few episodes of The West Wing and a few of Studio 60. I liked what I saw of The West Wing. Also, I loved The Social Network and I liked Moneyball a lot, too. And that was a movie about sports! I hate movies about sports.

One of the problems with The Newsroom is its central character, Will McAvoy (played by Jeff Daniels). I think he’s supposed to be some kind of loveable asshole, who might appear to be horrendously pompous and obnoxious, but deep down inside, he has a heart of gold. I think this is supposed to make him complicated and layered, but I don’t buy it. I wish he was just an asshole all the time, because when he does things like act surprised to learn people dislike him, it just comes across as disingenuous.

Also, his “inspiring” speeches are the worst thing ever. Can you imagine if you knew this guy and had to listen to him say this shit on a daily basis? He says a lot of junk about the importance of “true” journalists, out in the field, reporting on the real stories shaping the world. This doesn’t ring true because, supposedly, right before the show began, Will was pandering to advertisers and reporting whatever his bosses at the network wanted him to. Now that he’s randomly developed integrity, he feels inclined to lecture everyone around him about the ways in which they aren’t living up to his standards, and it’s totally annoying. In the most recent episode he took offence when some gossip mag lady called herself a journalist. After calling her out on it, he proceeded to say he could use his position as a news anchor to ruin her. Um, what? Oh, so that’s good journalism. OK.

The whole premise of the show is also just so obnoxious. Basically in every episode we go back in time a year or two ago, and Sorkin tells us how he would have reported the news. (He would have known everything! He definitely would have known which aspects of the story were the most important before the entire story had even unfolded! He would never have made a single mistake or gotten a single fact wrong ever!) I don’t even think I find this annoying as a journalist, I think I find this annoying as a television viewer. It’s basically the equivalent of looking back at any historical event and saying you would have handled it better, with the benefit of knowing exactly how everything is going to turn out. I mean, no one knew how serious something like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was going to be until more of the facts came out. They didn’t just know based on having two incredibly convenient sources, which is what happens in the pilot of The Newsroom. That’s stupid, and it feels like a cheap cop-out.

OK, there are way more things I hate about The Newsroom, but I think this is going to be a two-parter. Next time I’ll tell you why I hate the way women are portrayed on the show! I don’t think anyone else anywhere on the Internet has ever addressed that aspect, so you’re in for a treat.

 


Hi, I’m Kyle! I smile for miles!

JK, I’m not really Kyle from America’s Next Top Model Cycle 18. Wouldn’t it be weird if it turned out she was literate?

I’m Alex!

Not that one.

GOD, I WISH! This is me, for serious. I made an introductory gif of myself…is that normal?

Welcome to my new blog, Alex Gets Real. I couldn’t think of a blog name, so I went with a play on one of my favourite phrases, which as it turns out, originated from the film Bad Boys.

Classic. This blog probably isn’t going to get overly “real,” though. Mostly I’m starting it because I’m kind of sick of writing about all the inane details of my life, so instead, I’m going to write a LITTLE BIT about the inane details of my life, but I’m ALSO going to write about the inane details of fictional people’s lives. You know, the ones who are in TV shows and movies and maybe even books sometimes. But mostly TV and movies. I watch a lot of TV shows and movies, and this makes me an expert I have lots of opinions about them. Maybe I should be specific and rein it in and only write about media and junk, but honestly I’m probably going to write about nail art sometimes, too. I CAN’T BE TAMED!

I’m also apparently really into gifs tonight. Good for me! Enjoy my blog, hopefully, please?