I have been neglecting this blog. No, really. Life is crazy and sometimes demands my attention. But I must confess, I have been recently distracted by something that I usually don’t give a whole lot of time: television. I know. I am so, so sorry. But I figure you may as well get to know what exactly has been dragging me away from the internets, so here we go…
The Presidential Debates
I must admit, I didn’t even watch the first Presidential Debate. From what I’ve gathered, Romney won that one cleanly. Not that it ultimately matters to me, because I seriously doubt either candidate is going to sway my vote at this point, but now and then how they answer or DON’T answer a particular question informs much about their character. Sometimes you gauge their reaction and say to yourself “hmmm…that’s not the answer I expected.” I did catch some of the VP debate, and was underwhelmed. Plus, the VP contest is always a chance for the Number Twos to act out and play dirty so that the Number Ones can distance themselves from hateful rhetoric. Meh. I like Biden. Don’t know if he’s Presidential Material, but he’s funny. I was curious to see what sort of tone the second Presidential debate would take, and HO-LEE SHIT. God DAMN that was entertaining! Man! It was literally like watching a heavyweight prize fight. Several times during this matchup both men were literally on their feet and circling each other like they wanted to throw a punch. Their eyes measured one another, looking for an opening, waiting patiently for the killing strike. Ice lasers flew from Obama’s eyes, while in the background Romney’s brood clenched their jaws and threw pure hatred onto the stage. It. Was. AWESOME. Obama seemed to carry the day, thereby forcing a Game Seven and guaranteeing that I’d tune in for the final act. Good stuff.
American Horror Story 2: The Creepy Old Rusty Place
I didn’t watch any of the first season, and everyone tells me that I totally missed out. The show was described by various friends as “Creepy” and “unsettling” to “downright terrifying.” I need some more terror in my life, so the wife and I settled in to catch the premier this past week. After watching, I have another word to describe the series, and it is “yawn.” Sure, it’s the first episode and I know that it takes time to build characters and story. But it just seems like the producers are counting on the setting (an old 1960’s insane asylum) to do all the heavy lifting. That, and showing buttocks. Lots and lots of buttocks on this show. Here’s the plot: a serial killer is on the lose in the 60’s and this one kid is a suspect so they throw him in an insane asylum where there’s also this reporter lady being held for “ASKING QUESTIONS!” and also Cloe Sevigny loves sex. Oh, and James Cromwell experiments on inmates and Jessica Lange is a hot GILF nun. The end. And pro tip/spoiler alert: if you’re in an old, abandoned, supposedly haunted asylum and you go sticking your arm through an opening in an old cast-iron cell door, expect bad shit to happen. I wonder if this was somehow supposed to be “Silent Hill: The Series” and they just decided “fuck it” or what, but so far everything is very, very predictable and clichéd. I hope it gets better. Speaking of getting better…
Boy, did I want this show to be excellent. J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau teaming up for a post-apocalyptic survival story? Hells yes. But then I saw the first episode…and the second…and the third…and…and I just about quit. I like making analogies (see above re: Silent Hill) and Revolution started reminding me a lot of a television adaptation of Kevin Costner’s “The Postman.” I mean, down to the friggin’ horses and militias. I was depressed. But then it started getting a tiny bit better. The backstories help a lot, and I know they’re trying to draw this story out into something epic, but here’s the problem: new shows get MAYBE six episodes to establish an audience. You’d better make me care about these motherfuckers stumbling through Northern Indiana right away. It’s finally happening, and I like that at least one character that you think is there for the long haul has been killed off. Good. That adds concern for everyone except the fat neckbeard guy (how the hell are you still fat?!?! You’re growing you own food now and working your fingers to the bone to survive!! I call this the Hurley from Lost syndrome) and the annoying Katniss wannabe lead character. She’s really bad. Then again, Carl from the Walking Dead was terrible for the first couple of seasons but has finally started to grow into a decent member of the cast (I call this the Wesley Crusher syndrome.) Giancarlo Esposito is wonderful as always, and the C. Thomas Howell-meets-Seth MacFarlane friendly badass uncle is okay. I’ll give it a couple of more episodes. And so might the network.
The Motherfuckin’ Walking DEAD!!!
THIS is how you do it. I have enjoyed every season thus far, even as I admit that there have been a few low points. Basically, every episode set at Herschel’s farm was drag because, you know…it’s a fucking farm. I love farms. I love the smell of corn and soybeans. Tractors. I fucking LOVE tractors. However, um…see…there’s this farmhouse and out there across the field are zombies and (spoiler!) Ol’ Farmer Herschel loves keepin’ a crop o’ walkers up yonder in the barn. The characters SIT there. To make another Star Trek reference (because that’s what I DO) this part of the series reminded me of Deep Space Nine. See, DS9 was great and had loads of wonderful characters, but the whole thing about Star Trek is that that they boldly GO. On DS9 they boldly SAT THERE. That’s why Walking Dead had to end the last season in such grand style. It wasn’t just a big ol’ zombie attack, and it wasn’t just a chance to move the story and characters literally and figuratively forward: it was a metaphor. Two main characters died, and the good ol’ (somewhat) reliable RV was abandoned to the walker horde. The characters are once again in the wilderness, relying on their skills and one another to survive. When they finally do settle down again, it’s in a goddam prison. THAT’S a location with built-in drama. You know how I mentioned that American Horror Story relied on the setting to create drama? Shit, son: you ever see “Oz?” Or “Shawshank Redemption?” Plus, the metaphor of being safe while also being imprisoned is rich. It takes on greater significance when you find out that The Governor has basically turned a sleepy small town into a prison. Oh, TOPSY-TURVY!! DOWN IS UP!! RIGHT IS WRONG!! LEFT IS RIGHT!! NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE!! The first episode was great, and I can’t wait to see how the new characters, settings, and developments pan out on-screen.
Okay, there’s my explanation (excuse) for the absence of new blog posts of late. I’ll try to be better, more attentive to your needs in the future. And I’ll leave you with this fun little prank; my lovely wife, Heidi, actually did find American Horror Story a bit scary. After the first episode’s conclusion, I went downstairs before her to take a dump. As a little surprise, I took this creepy baby doll thing that my kids play with and propped it up against the wall at the bottom of the stairs to greet my love with unblinking, lifeless eyes in the semi-dark gloom of our house at nighttime.
Let’s just say she freaking LOVED it. My bruises can attest to this.