Tuesday brings me a dilemma. Not because there’s too much to watch or because I have some “real life” Tuesday responsibilities. Tuesday is a dilemma because of Glee.
Glee: I started out really enjoying this program, and not just because “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey is one of the greatest songs ever made.
(I watch this now and feel a sadness, at how great and joyous things used to be…not what I’m sure the producers wanted)
This was something that celebrated “those” kids in high school. The ones who didn’t really fit in, who liked showtunes and didn’t play organized sports. It made following your dreams seem corny but cool. And there were some great musical numbers. But then the show became unsure of where it wanted to go and what it wanted to be. From Terri’s fake pregnancy, to Quinn dating every guy on the show to Rachel’s personality making her come across like she’s a schizophrenic. And then there were the theme episode, all the theme episodes.
Part of the problem is that they put so much into the first season, where do you go from there? They just seemed to be creating drama and problems where they didn’t exist and took the show further and further away from any semblance of reality. And every time I say to myself “That’s it. I’m done,” I’d catch an episode that had a glimpse of what I loved about the show to start with. So I’m still watching it. Usually I feel dirty afterwards, but I’m still watching it.
New Girl: All cutesy girly crap aside, I like Zooey Deschanel. I don’t really want to get into that feminist debate about whether or not what she is doing and the persona she is portraying is bad for ladykind, but I will say that she doesn’t represent me or any of my friends. But I love New Girl. I love it more now that Nick and Schmidt have come to the front and get equal screentime with Deschanel’s Jess, and sometimes even stealing the spotlight from her. The show is still struggling with its growing pains as it is in its first season, but I have faith in where its going. I hope they don’t put Nick and Jess together too quickly and by the same token, I don’t want them to turn the whole show into a will they/won’t they plot. Yes, at some point Nick and Jess will figure it out. Until then, let’s enjoy the ride shall we? Also — please make Coach a babysitter again. That stuff was great.
Raising Hope: Even though I watched the first few seasons of My Name is Earl at some I feel I must have stopped, but I don’t really remember it too well. But while I was watching it, I thoroughly enjoyed My Name is Earl. And I thoroughly enjoy Raising Hope also by Greg Garcia. Of course the show is owned by Martha Plimpton and Garrett Dillahunt as the parents of the feckless Jimmy, who impregnated a serial killer in the pilot episode, from which came the Hope in the title. Plimpton and Dillahunt take characters who might be considered poor white trash, and elevates them. I look forward to Plimpton’s malapropisms every episode. And in the second episode, they even managed to make Jimmy interesting. His relationship with Sabrina finally turned the corner in the best episode of the season. It was touching and sweet and felt earned. They didn’t get together simply because the plot demanded it – they got together because their characters got there.
And, just as with My Name is Earl, the other characters that populate the show help bring me back every week. Especially Kate Micucci’s (from Garfunkel and Oates) Shelley, who bring’s Micucci’s great song writing skills into play as she manages her daycare for dogs, kids, and old folks:
Of course who can forget the great “introducing Cloris Leachman” in the credit. Leachman maintains her dignity as Maw Maw, even when Maw Maw is topless.
Cougar Town: I know ABC won’t renew Cougar Town this time. I’m sad, but resigned. The fact that we got even three seasons is worth celebrating. Bill Lawrence has admitted that the biggest problem with Cougar Town started with the name – even though mid-way through season 1 the show was no longer about a middle aged woman chasing younger men, the title is the title. And as all the fans will agree, the show never got a fair shake. But I ask you — who doesn’t want to watch a bunch of amusing friends hanging out together, drinking wine, and having shenanigans?
They floated the idea that perhaps they’d change the name of the show before it came back for its second season. While that never happened, we do get a little joke with every title card, mocking the actual title:
Someone has even collected all the title card jokes, god bless them. Of course this just scratches the comic surface. I mean, Christa Miller alone is reason to keep this show on forever and ever…
But it is not to be. I will just have to get my own Big Carl, fill it with wine and enjoy the Cul du Sac Crew until such time as it is no longer possible.
Parenthood: I had to think hard on this one since it aired its season finale back in February. This is a show that has collected some of my favorites from other TV shows: Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls, Peter Krause from Sports Night and Six Feet Under, Craig T. Nelson from Coach, and Mae Whitman from Arrested Development (Egg!). Plus I think I’m one of the few people who has always liked Dax Shepard. It can be cheesy and silly and I can’t really listen to any more talk of the “Bravermans” like they are a tribe unto themselves, but Parenthood fills a niche that isn’t really filled on TV right now: the honest, emotional, funny family drama.
Based on the movie with the same name, for every cliched moment Parenthood succumbs to, there is a moment that is truly touching and real. Sarah Ramos’ Haddie isn’t a teenager that would fit in well with Gossip Girl or The Vampire Diaries, because she’s too busy being a real teenager to indulge in that crap. When she blew up after her brother Max who has aspergers ran away to the museum, you felt her anger, her frustration at always having to keep it together because Max cannot handle change or stress. The police brought Max home and Haddie lost it yelling at her brother: “Do you care? No, you don’t,” and then she turned to her parents and could barely tell them “It’s so hard. It’s not fair. We try so hard to make things normal, and it’s just not.” When her dad, the excellent Peter Krause, went to check on her she told him “I guess it’s not fine, but it is the way that it is, right? So . . .I know it’s not his fault, but it just sucks a little.”
This is an incredibly honesty that you rarely see on television, especially one so focused on family drama (which of course is silly because that is exactly the place for such honesty).
Ok. So that’s Tuesday. Not too bad. Manageable even!
On to Wednesdays!