Uh, no it hasn’t really, but look, I’m getting tired of only writing about TV and movies, so I started a new blog. I will be writing about TV and movies SOMETIMES (my latest post is about the Golden Globes!) but there will also be other stuff about my life or whatever. Check it out if you would like! You can find it right here.
So, obviously I’ve been failing pretty badly at blogging. Mostly this is because I’ve been out of town every weekend for the last month and a half, which has caused my life to feel like it’s in turmoil (it’s not really, but I start to get stressed when I don’t spend, like, 70 per cent of my time in my apartment). Anyway, excuses, excuses, blah blah boring.
Even though I haven’t been writing about it, I’ve at least been WATCHING television. A lot of my stories have started back up over the last few weeks. Because I watch way too many shows (seriously, it’s out of control) I’m going to do a few posts where I talk about blocks of shows that air on a certain network on a certain night.
CBS is not my favourite network. Mostly I feel like it specializes in old people dramas and pandering comedies with laugh tracks. Though supposedly The Good Wife is legitimately good, and it’s on my list of Shows I Should Probably Eventually Watch Some Day. Anyway, I do watch it on Mondays, though it’s starting to feel more like a chore than anything. The real problem is that I’ve invested way too much time in…
How I Met Your Mother
I completely admit that this show is generally bad, but I’ve been watching it for a few years and it seems like at the absolute MOST it has another two seasons left in it, so how can I stop now? Do I care who the mother is? No. Am I increasingly annoyed by the show’s generally misogynistic attitude? Kind of. Do I think Ted is the most boring, whiny, annoying lead character EVER? Hell yes. But I will not give up! I’m stubborn, OK?
It’s not all bad, though. I still really like Robin, and I mostly like Marshall and Lily and Barney are OK. I feel like there aren’t as many actually funny episodes as there used to be (see: Slapsgiving) but I’m still invested enough in the characters for whatever reason that I want to know what happens to them. Kind of. In a really passive, “meh” sort of way. Mostly I just try to ignore the gimmicks – the mother thing, the way they show misleading clips of the future, etc., and just enjoy it as mindless entertainment.
Oh CBS, you are so sneaky, putting this piece of crap between two more watchable shows. I’ve only seen two episodes of this so far, but since I’m compelled to watch 2 Broke Girls (more on that nonsense later) I suspect I’m going to see a lot more. And I can say with a reasonable amount of confidence that I won’t enjoy any of them. OK, I didn’t see the premiere, but the basic premise is, there are two friends – one is gay, one is straight – who work together as architects or some fake job that only people on TV have. The straight one is uptight or something and the gay one seems to be into meddling, because, you know, stereotypes. They get into wacky situations! In the latest episode, the straight one’s fiancee slept with Derek Jeter a long time ago, which made the straight guy mad, and the gay one was obsessed with the game Celebrity. THERE WERE MANY REFERENCES TO VARIOUS FAMOUS PEOPLE. I think they were meant to be funny?
Ugh, obviously this show is so terrible. Its selling point is that it was made by the creators of Will & Grace, but there is no Jack and Karen and everyone knows Will and Grace were the worst. It’s the kind of show that maybe would have seemed edgy in 1997, but even then only old people would have thought that. Now it just feels unfunny and the more I think about it, I might just have to take a TV break between my Monday night shows, because I’m not sure I can handle this schlock week after week.
2 Broke Girls
I have watched every episode of this show and I’m not really sure why. I just feel like if almost everything about it was different, it could be super good. Seriously! The thing that is good about it now is the relationship between the titular (hehe, titular) broke girls. One has always been broke, the other is a former rich girl, and all they want is to create a successful cupcake business. AWW! They have good banter and sometimes they’re funny and I kind of love Kat Dennings. Everything else, unfortunately, is not great. There is a horse that lives outside their Brooklyn apartment. Most of the cultural references are crazy outdated. Everyone else at the diner where they work is an offensive stereotype. So. Many. Vagina jokes. It tries so hard to be crude, which would be fine if it was funnier, but…last night’s episode was basically just all pee jokes. PEE JOKES!
Whatever though, I still think the girls feel like real friends, and there are moments when the plot is OK! Last season there was an excellent hoarder episode, which maybe I only liked because I am fascinated by hoarders, but still. I also liked when they met Caroline’s (the rich one) imprisoned father in the second season premiere. But the last couple episodes have been…not good, so the season is shaping up to be…not great.
I guess my verdict is that probably you shouldn’t watch CBS on Mondays if you’re looking for quality, intelligent television that’s in any way compelling or deep or particularly good. But Mondays are hard, man, so mindless junk is important too. And it’s not like I watch Mike & Molly or anything. I love Melissa McCarthy, but even I can’t handle a show that’s one giant fat joke.
So, Weeds ended, following a thoroughly lacklustre finale season. You know, I really wish it had ended with the sixth season. There were definitely some weak points before that (I didn’t really enjoy the fifth season, as I recall) but at least Nancy going to jail felt like a meaningful ending…as opposed to her getting out three years later and continuing to ruin the lives of everyone around her. Anyway, it was definitely better than the actual series finale, which transports us eight years or so into the future – a future where Shane has a moustache and a drinking problem and where Alexander Gould is just not a good actor, and where Doug’s storyline is still stupid (though it was nice to see Josh, his estranged gay son who disappeared after the pilot). In the future, Nancy is still needy and really, the only major character who experienced any meaningful growth was Silas. Of course, he also gets married to the girl he dated in high school who he once impregnated by poking holes in condoms without her knowledge, so…..that’s kind of messed up, probably. Anyway, I live tweeted the whole mess, so maybe you’ll enjoy this if you’re a masochist like me who watched this crap until the bitter end. Oh, and if you want to follow me on Twitter, it’s @alex_geedee. Like, 90 per cent of my tweets about TV, so, you know, be prepared for that.
Wait, did Stevie get less Mexican in the future?
Lol, future technology = keyboards in tables.
Nancy Botwin never ages, she just gets highlights.
In the future, everyone is stoned. That sounds right, actually.
Holy shit, is that Natasha Lyone?
Shane is grown up now because he has a moustache, obvs. Too bad he looks 12.
In the future, customer service still sucks.
Actually I kind of buy Doug as a cult leader.
Awwww so many blasts from the past taunting me, all like, remember when this was a good show?
Isabelle got a sex change, ok, sure.
Bath salts are still a thing in the future.
Ahahaha, gay Justin Chatwin. So old school.
Oh sweet, high carb diets are a thing in the future.
Can someone please reference Celia?
I wish this show would end with Nancy just leaving Andy alone at last. I feel like she can’t though.
Well. That is an oddly articulate 13-year-old.
Did those lesbians name their Chinese daughter China?
Nancy’s history is very confusing to us all, Stevie.
Oh god when Shane tries to act it’s sooooo awkward.
Aw, I love Andy, JUST LET HIM BE HAPPY, NANCY.
Hey, where is Jill in the future?
Ok, Rilo Kiley is always a good choice
Oh, Nancy smokes weed in the future.
The last scene was nice, but I’m mostly glad it’s over.
Pretty much every post on this blog so far is about things I don’t particularly like. That’s because I find it sooo much easier to write about things I hate rather than things I actually, you know, like. It’s easy for me to point out the flaws in things that suck (in my opinion). It’s fine, I thrive on complaining about junk. When it comes to things I LIKE though, well, sometimes I just want to enjoy them and not analyze them or try to explain what I enjoy about them. But this week I’m going to try to be positive and write a few posts about stuff that I actually think is good. That was an eloquent way of putting it. Good job, Alex. OK, let’s do this.
Obviously, because I am a human being who’s alive in 2012, I love Breaking Bad. It’s pretty much the perfect show. I love the way the plot is constantly building up to some explosive event, and just when you think the show has reached its limit, something more insane happens. But it’s also all believable, at least within the universe of the show. The characters are so well-developed; even though it’s impossible to predict what they’ll do, once they do it, it always somehow makes sense.
Now that this season (or this half of the season, or whatever they’re calling it) is more than halfway done, I have to say I’m really into Skyler. Skyler is interesting because, while the other characters at least have SOME options, she doesn’t really have any. Walt could have gotten out of the meth biz after killing Gus; there’s no real reason why Jesse couldn’t walk away. Mike is sort of stuck, since he owes his guys a lot of money to stop them from talking, but at least he’s resourceful, he’s seen some shit.
Skyler’s situation is different. She could try to run away, but she’s obviously not going to leave her children, and how could she explain the situation to her teenage son, or keep her baby safe on the run? She’s gotten too involved now to turn Walt in – she willingly agreed to launder his meth money! Last season, Skyler viewed herself as a partner. But now that she realizes some of what Walt is capable of, she sees that she’s a hostage.
One of my favourite moments in this ridiculously amazing season was the conversation Walt and Skyler had after she walked into the pool while Hank and Marie were at the house (which was a totally genius move, by the way). As Skyler shouts her increasingly desperate options, she quickly realizes that she’s backed into a corner, that she doesn’t know what to do. She admits that she isn’t like Walt, that she can’t justify or lie her way out of the situation. Then, in what I think was Anna Gunn’s best moment in the whole series, she tells him all she can do is wait…and hope his cancer comes back.
I think I’m intrigued by Skyler because of how my attitude toward her has changed so drastically since Breaking Bad began. At first, she seemed like this stifling force, who was trying to suffocate a man who just wanted to provide for his family. That isn’t really a fair assessment, since her husband was literally cooking meth, but she didn’t KNOW that at the time. Even taking meth out of the equation, it seemed like she was used to controlling every situation, to having everything go her way, and when that didn’t happen, she was kind of an asshole.
Now that she doesn’t have control over anything, I have no idea what Skyler’s going to do next. She’s gotten the kids out of the house temporarily, having sent them to stay with Hank and Marie after convincing them she’s in need of psychological help, but it’s not really a permanent solution. Of course I’m still invested in Walt and Jesse, but for the time in the series, I’m really intrigued to see what Skyler does, too.
Fortunately, no one on the internet has anything to say about the way women are portrayed on The Newsroom, so this is going to be a totally original and mind-blowing discussion. I can’t help it though! I can’t stop watching the show, and the women on it drive me insane, so I just have to talk about it.
Now, people who like this show have told me that yes, the women are flawed, but all the other characters are flawed, too. It’s true that the men on the show have various issues, and they certainly make mistakes. But while the men’s screw-ups tend to affect their personal lives, they’re still generally pretty great at their jobs. They’re often misogynistic as hell toward the women in their lives, but still, they are competent human beings.
The women, on the other hand…the only phrase I can think of to properly describe them is HOT MESSES. They are a bunch of hot messes who are totally, bizarrely incapable of handling anything in a remotely rational manner, from their love lives to their jobs (and most of the time, those two worlds are more or less interchangeable).
I’d also like to say that I really hate talking about feminism and junk, because I like to pretend that we live in a society where everyone believes that Everyone Is Equal. But, unfortunately, we totally don’t, because HELLO THE NEWSROOM IS A SHOW THAT’S ON HBO OF ALL CHANNELS AND PEOPLE WATCH AND ENJOY IT.
Anyway. I’m going to attempt to make my point by talking about how each main character is portrayed. Let’s start with the men!
Will. Will McAvoy is the deeply damaged anchor of News Night. A lot of the reason why he’s damaged is because his current executive producer, Mackenzie, cheated on him this one time when they were dating, like, four years ago, and it was the worst thing anyone has ever done to anyone ever. He didn’t see her for years after that, until she started working for his show again, but he’s still not over it, and she is a horrible person because she cheated on Will McAvoy, OK? Will is our hero, and we are supposed to like and admire him…I think. Sometimes I’m not sure if we’re supposed to like him (I certainly don’t) but I think we’re at least supposed to find him admirable.
Anyway, he likes going on dates with lots of vapid women with whom he has nothing in common and he likes to teach them why their interests are wrong and stupid, and he likes to parade these women in front of Mackenzie, because, did I mention she cheated on him? Despite the fact that Will is a total asshole in his personal life, he is a god when he’s on the air, because he is the Media Elite (because he said so one time I guess?) Sure he makes occasional mistakes, like that time when he gave Sarah Palin unnecessary coverage to improve ratings (but mostly to piss off Mackenzie), or the time when he stuttered a bit because he was unnerved by the fact that he was a bully on the air, but Will is also the kind of guy who can give a perfect report on the death of Osama Bin Laden, even though he’s so stoned he has forgotten how to tie a tie and has lost most of his motor skills.
Jim. Jim is Really Great at Journalism. We are told that in the first episode. He has many sources, and he knows all kinds of things about pretty much every topic without even having to use Google! He has a crush on his coworker, Maggie, because Mackenzie told him to in the first episode. But Jim is a Nice Guy, so he doesn’t pursue anything with Maggie, or tell her he has feelings for her, because she has this terrible boyfriend, Don. Instead, he lets Maggie bully him into continuing to date her roommate after Don sets the two up. Actually the roommate doesn’t seem that bad at all, but Jim can never love her because, you know, Maggie. Anyway, Jim is mostly just a well-meaning guy who gets caught up in drama because Maggie is insane, but is generally just really focused on doing well at his job. And also saving Maggie. He saves Maggie whenever he isn’t doing his job.
Don. Don is the worst. He is a producer who’s dating Maggie, and he mostly exists so Maggie and Jim can’t be together. He yells at people a lot and is arrogant as hell, and is basically a bad person. He breaks up with Maggie and gets back with her a bunch. He condescends to her (and everyone else). I think he’s about the same age as Maggie, but he takes it upon himself to instruct and correct her a bunch. Most recently he was a total asshole to a female flight attendant who was doing her job, but then immediately calmed down and got super respectful when a male pilot made an appearance. Yeah, Don sucks, but he’s way into his job. Most of his mistakes come from pushing people too hard, like when he encourages a reporter to go into the streets of Egypt to get a story, and the reporter is attacked. So you know, he does make professional missteps, but they’re errors of passion rather than incompetence.
Neal. OK, sure, Neal has a quirk: he’s kind of a conspiracy theorist, who insists Bigfoot is real, and wants to talk about aliens. He seems to legitimately think these things should be reported on the news. But fortunately, he’s very good at using the internet. He updates Will’s blog, and he even goes online to find reliable foreign correspondents! Generally, he’s just a loveable nerd who understands how to use basic technology.
Charlie. Charlie runs the channel’s news division. He drinks too much. He’s old school (check it out, he wears a bow tie!) and he believes in Doing the News Right, and presenting the facts rather than both sides of the story. Or maybe Will says that. Anyway, one time Charlie called Sloan, who is a grown up, female economics reporter “Girl” a bunch. That was weird. Then he tells her to lie and pretend to be an idiot to get her out of a jam she got herself into. That doesn’t seem like great advice, D.A. Jack McCoy! I mean, Charlie. In general, Charlie seems to be a pretty good guy, who is trying to protect Will and keep him out of the tabloids.
So, OK, those are the men of The Newsroom. Definitely flawed! Often dismissive of women. But still, they are like humans who are capable of functioning in society on a daily basis. Now, let’s talk about the women.
Sloan. Of the three main female characters, Sloan generally bothers me the least. She was chosen by Mackenzie to be on News Night in a nightly segment where she talks about the economy. She was chosen for a combination of her great legs, basic comprehension of grammar, and for her expertise on economics. But whatever, that’s not Sloan’s fault. Actually I thought she was mostly fine until last week, when it turned out she didn’t understand what off the record means. Now, Sloan is presented more as an economist than a reporter, but as a person who is making nightly appearances on the news, who is intelligent enough to have a PhD, and who is the one who told the person she was interviewing that he was off the record, the whole thing was inexcusable. Basically, she called this guy out ON THE AIR, bringing up an off the record conversation they’d had earlier to try to make him admit something. Also she screamed at him in Japanese. On the air. What? In the same episode, Sloan asked to touch a bodyguard’s pecs, and confused a comment Don made about how she is “expanding” professionally as a jibe at her weight. As Sloan gets more screen time, it appears she’s getting stupider, which is a total bummer.
Mackenzie. Mackenzie is a total train wreck. The weird thing about the show is, it seems to want us to think she isn’t a train wreck, and that she’s actually a very competent person. I feel like this based on the fact that, when we’re first introduced to her, we’re told that she’s been working in war zones. But I mean, when she was working in war zones was she capable of using a Blackberry without accidentally forwarding an email to everyone she works with confessing she cheated on her ex-boyfriend/current co-worker that one time a few years ago? I hope not! I hope that didn’t happen after someone specifically gave her directions about how to NOT DO THAT earlier that very same day. Because, ugh, that would be an insanely stupid thing to do.
Every time Mackenzie tries to do anything related to her job, she’s distracted by the fact that she dated Will and cheated on him. She seems to be overwhelmed with guilt over this mistake she made, in cheating on such a paragon of virtue (I’m not saying cheating is right or anything, but OH MY GOD THIS IS AFFECTING EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE, TIME TO LET IT GO). This causes her to be perpetually frazzled. I think we’re supposed to find this endearing, but it just makes me want to shake her. She’s passionate about her work, which is nice, but mostly she expresses it by being shrill and yelling at, like, everyone all the time. Mackenzie is basically the worst, except for…
Maggie. Maggie, Maggie, Maggie. Poor, sweet Maggie. Maggie is the character who makes me the angriest, because I feel like she’s the one I have the most in common with. She’s a 26-year-old woman who works in journalism and is prone to anxiety. Those are also facts about me! The problem with Maggie is…everything else. Maggie is an associate or assistant producer or something who repeatedly shows herself to be intelligent by having a vast pool of knowledge and getting important interviews and all kinds of useful things. So that’s good! But then there was that time she interviewed a guy who she used to date until she hid under his bed while he had sex with his ex-girlfriend. Wait, what? Anyway, she didn’t tell anyone she had a personal connection to the source, blew the interview, then told Jim (who is her boss) the whole pathetic story for some unknown reason.
So Maggie is in this relationship with Don, which is mostly bad because of how Don is awful. She is obviously in love with Jim from episode 1, but because she has no agency whatsoever, she just keeps dating Don for the next year anyway for no reason. Don senses there’s something between Maggie and Jim, so he sets Jim up with Maggie’s roommate. From then on, Maggie gets insanely jealous of Jim’s relationship, and literally screams at him in front of their coworkers in one of the most cringe-inducing scenes ever. She also becomes overly involved in Jim’s relationship, doing things like planning his Valentine’s Day (because ladies are OBSESSED with Valentine’s Day, it turns out) in a really desperate attempt to hide her feelings for him.
Maggie thinks LOL stands for Lots of Love. She confuses Georgia the state with Georgia the country. She can only stop having a panic attack when Jim saves her. And even worse, her whole relationship drama isn’t even interesting. Like, I just saw this EXACT SAME TRIANGLE on The Office. The Jim Halpert character is even literally named Jim! Ugh. I hate everything about Maggie and every plot she’s involved with, and the thought of working with someone like her or Mackenzie who allows their personal life to affect every aspect of their professional life makes me want to vomit.
OK, this went on much longer than I was expecting, but I have to say, I feel like I have at least scratched the surface of the things I hate about The Newsroom! It feels very cathartic. I may do this again…there are three more episodes in the season, after all, and I’m sure there will be all kinds of things that fill me with anger.
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.