Saturday, October 4, 2008

Happiness Is A Good TV Show

I'm not a huge television watcher so I don't have too many shows that I follow. It isn't that I don't want to watch TV, it's just that with four young kids in the house, a freelance writing career and my books, I just usually don't have the time. With that being so though, I do have a few shows that I always make time for, and like all the other girls, I am very excited about the new season.

My all time favorite show that I can not wait for is 30 Rock. I LOVE Tina Fey and think the show is an absolute riot. My other guilty pleasure is Dancing with the Stars. Though I hate to admit it, I'm a glutton for anything to do with dancing. The music and the costumes are all something I can't resist, much to the chagrin of my husband who would rather be watching something to do with war.

My other favorite shows are Kitchen Nightmares (which has made me strongly question dining out), Man Versus Wild (nothing better than watching someone eat a bison's eyeball, and Lost.

So with cooler weather heading our way and a hopeful slow down in what seemed to be a recent flood of deadlines, I'm hoping to catch up with many of my favorite fictional and reality characters.

Happy watching!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ice Ice, Baby!!

Whee Fall TV!!

For me, the autumnal television scene is always a welcome return.
It is a homecoming, of sorts.
It is a return to a season of drama and comedy, nights of tears and laughter.
It is the salacious prospect of a good old fashion fist-beatin', frontier-style!

That's right.
Because, for me, Fall TV means one thing. Hockey.
Yup. Lovely lovely hockey. How I have missed thee.

Now, I'm a Toronto Maple Leafs fan-girly so the summer doldrums on my television usually last longer for me than for some... And, of course, I'm never sure come October if I'm going to like the storyline, or be able to relate to the new cast members - er - defensemen, or even if my fave show is a comedy or a drama (or, frequently, a tragedy in three acts - er - periods) .

But I am SO there. Good hockey (which, sometimes, includes some very bad hockey) is, to me, just as story-intensive as a well-scripted drama. Over the winter months you get to know the sub-plots, the over-all story-arcs, the behind-the-bench intrigue; you fall in love with certain characters - er - players (*sigh* Mats Sundin), and out of love with others (*groan* Bryan McCabe); and, as in all the best stories, even if you know where the story is headed - you're never quite sure how it's going to get there.

And best of all, you get to watch it all unfold with a bunch of maniacs you call friends.

Oh yeah. I'm also pining for the return of LOST. I also think Sawyer and Jack would look fine on skates.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm Not a Doctor, But I Play One on TV

I usually do love the return of fall TV – the sudden rush of real shows after the long stretch of summer with nothing to watch but D-List reality shows a la Kathy Griffin (Though, she does make me laugh!). But this year, I’ve found myself in a bit of a bind. So many shows that I watch returned at once and at the same times, that I wasn’t even able to tape them all on some nights, even with 2 DVRs recording 2 shows each (That’s 4 shows at once!!). And the bigger problem, I don’t have the time to watch them all. Between the kids, the three college classes I’m teaching, and the two books I’m currently working on, it’s usually after 11 o’clock each night before I settle down and even think about turning on the TV. So I decided it was time to make some choices (as in more sleep or more TV), and I’ve chosen the more sleep option. I’ve vowed to cut out watching everything but my absolute favorites. (I actually posted a list of what I’m cutting and why on my personal blog earlier in the week).

But Grey’s Anatomy is the one show I can’t live without right now, the one show I wouldn’t give up for any amount of work or sleep deprivation. Why?

It’s hard to say. I’m not usually a big fan of medical shows – the inner hypochondriac in me doesn’t need anything else to worry about, and I can’t stand graphic medical scenes. I never got into ER. Ever. Not even for George Clooney.

Yet, Grey’s Anatomy feels different. The characters are all so funny and well-written and complex and smart and undeniably flawed.

So I was browsing on the Grey’s Anatomy site on (for, um . . . the purposes of writing this post only) and I came across this personality quiz: Which Grey's Anatomy Character Are You? (Click here for the quiz.) Being unable to stop myself, I took it. 10 little questions later I had my results: I am Cristina.

Seriously? Cristina?

I felt a little disappointed. Though, I thoroughly enjoy watching the cold, driven, sarcastic, no-nonsense Cristina, I don’t necessarily want to be her.

Then I read the blurb that followed: “Very few people have or understand the sheer drive that propels you . .” Yeah, okay, that’s sorta true. I am a driven person. Maybe not quite as driven as Cristina, but I always did very, very well in school, and I think as a writer, facing so much rejection, you have to be driven to keep on going. “But you’re just as fiercely protective of your friends as you are of your own hopes and dreams. . .” Also, true.

Of course, I wasn’t left at the altar by my cardiac surgeon fiancĂ©e. And I am sometimes more emotional than I am practical – not very Cristina-like at all.

So I did what any reasonable person would do: To test the validity of this little quiz, I had my husband take it. That’s because, in Grey’s speak, he’s my person.

10 questions later he informed me that he’s Dr. Derek Shepherd. That’s right, McDreamy himself, which according to the quiz, means he has “knight in shining armor” qualities and his heart’s in the right place. All true. I concur. Definitely my McDreamy. (And besides, maybe now he won’t be so offended when I gush about how much I LOVE the real McDreamy.)

And maybe that's why I like the show so much. I can see pieces of myself, my husband, my friends, in all of the characters: Cristina’s drive and sarcasm, Izzie’s tendancy to get too emotionally attached, Meredith’s indecisiveness, Bailey’s need for organization, Callie’s insecurity, Derek’s desire to save everyone.

Which makes me wonder, what show wouldn’t you give and up, and which character are you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Turn it up!

Here comes another confession. I’m not a TV fanatic.

But I certainly used to be. I’m not sure what’s happened. I’m the girl who planned her college courses around General Hospital and All My Children. My sorority sisters and I would hold up in the TV lounge, all hours of the night, watching black and white movie reruns. And – I’m dating myself here – back in the 80’s another group of us would hold Knott’s Landing Parties. As I type those words I realize most of my lovely Novel Girl pals were not even born when that show aired so the names, Valeene, Gary and Abby mean absolutely nothing to them. But way back when, it was the show to watch.

Fast forward to the new millennium. There is one show, well two, that I plan my evenings around and they are both on the same night! And at the same time. How unfortunate. Grey’s Anatomy and The Office. My next-door neighbor and dear friend, Kathy, and I have a standing every Thursday evening. I bring over my dinner, she’s usually already had hers, (I don’t get my act together until late) and we turn up the tube. She has TEVO, thank God, so we get to go back through every missed or misinterpreted word of dialogue. We look forward to Meredith’s passionate words of wisdom, or the defining life lessons she offers up at the end of each show. I never fail to relate. What does that say about my life? It’s either tragic or crazy, one.

The Office is sheer comic brilliance. Not sure this year’s season opener did it for me though, but when the Dwight character opens his mouth or makes a facial expression, with his dated glasses and side-burns, I can’t help but wish I’d created him, along with all the rest. When Michael said, “Have a seat Phyllis, you must be exhausted from standing on those gams.” I almost spit my Vitamin Water across the room. I realize not everyone shares the same sense of humor, but that show really does it for me.

Oh! I almost forgot. What about the Saturday Night Live season opener? Tina, Tina, Tina. You have put the hee back in my haw!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Return of Fall TV Equals Much Excitement

As I woke up this morning and saw overcast sky and color-fringed leaves outside my bedroom window, I realized there’s something so satisfying about the beginning of fall. Of course, many years ago, fall wasn’t exactly a welcome time—with the starting over of a brand-new school year and summer being that much further away. But now, thanks to a few years in the corporate environment, fall seems like the time when the world returns to its natural state, settling down from the chaos of the summer months.

The weather starts to get colder, as though a promise of winter’s necessary hibernation (at least in Chicago!) and the leaves, the first signs of spring, begin to flutter down from the trees, as if we need a reminder of summer finality.

And what else?

Oh yes!



While I’ve enjoyed all of the benefits of summer, the lack of decent television left me a little nuts. Although it did provide me many opportunities to watch baseball, I really could’ve used a good sitcom, or man, even reality show, to break up the monotony.

And thankfully, my favorite show, the best show ever created, has returned with a vengeance: The Office. Satirical, smart, subversively clever, I pink puffy heart this show. If you haven’t watched an episode, get thee to NBC on Thursday nights. (Except for this Thursday, as the VP debate is on…and that’s all I’ll say about that…) I know there used to be a time conflict with Grey’s Anatomy, and I’m not sure if that’s still the case, but if it is, I have one word: TIVO. Seriously. Any other excuses?

I’ve also been watching Fringe, which is creepy and entertaining, although I keep shouting out things to Joshua Jackson like, “Man, Pacey! This weird stuff would’ve NEVER happened in Capeside! Go ask Dawson what you should do! He’s probably down by that creek!”

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again...

The leaves are going to be changing color soon, the air is getting cooler, furnaces are beginning to turn on, and Halloween is only a month away. In a few weeks, I'll be taking the kids to visit a local orchard (the same one my parents took me to when I was growing up). Another week or so, and we'll be buying pumpkins, spending an evening carving faces into them, and then baking the pumpkin seeds for kid snacks. And beginning this week, I'll start hoarding up on candy for all the trick-or-treaters that will be hitting my door at the end of October.

Following Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas will arrive in mega-speed and before I can blink, we'll be in the middle of winter. But all of those are different posts, because what happens first--what's already started happening--is the start of the TV season. While there are a bunch of new shows scheduled to start, I'm more interested in the return of my favorites...and many of those left off with a cliffhanger.

The first huge cliffhanger I remember hearing about was from the show Dallas. "Who Shot J.R.?" made it on t-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers. People talked about it--a lot. So much so, that even though I was too young to really have watched much of Dallas, I'd heard enough about it that I wanted to know who shot J.R.!

Other television cliffhangers that I remember include (in no particular order):

  • Friends: When Ross says Rachel's name in place of Emily's--in the middle of his marriage ceremony.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy sacrifices herself to close a portal to hell. Buffy dead?
  • Alias: When Michael Vaughn confesses his name is NOT Michael Vaughn to Sydney while they're driving--and then, another car crashes into them.
  • Grey's Anatomy: McDreamy is married! And his wife is a hot redhead? Oh, no! Poor Meredith!
  • Soap: Who shot Peter Campbell? Again, kind of before my time, but I remember my parents talking about this cliffhanger.
  • Lost: Every freaking year since this show has started has left us with huge cliffhangers. Season One: Walt is kidnapped and OOOH what's in that hatch? Season Two: Jack and Kate are abducted by the Others, the hatch went into meltdown mode, and who the heck are those guys in the arctic? Season Three: Is Charlie really dead? Apparently a rescue takes place, but Jack wants to return to the island?

I vaguely remember something about Dynasty having a huge cliffhanger one year, but don't remember the specifics. Same goes for Cheers--pretty sure there was one there, maybe with a proposal from Sam? But I can't remember the details.

What I do remember are the cliffhangers from MY favorite shows this past year. Some have already had their premiers, and others I'm still waiting on. In no particular order, here they are:

  • Supernatural: They left Dean in hell at the end of last season. This is totally unacceptable! Luckily, the season began almost two weeks ago, and Dean was pulled from hell--by an ANGEL. YES! I love Dean. I love Sam. I love Bobby. And I love my Thursdays!
  • Ghost Whisperer: Okay, this one doesn't start until this week--on Friday--but I'm already annoyed. Because last season ended with Payne making a comment about six people but only five shadows. So, someone's dead. The rumor mill is saying Jim (Melinda's husband) is dead--but I soooo hope they didn't go there. Besides, if JIM'S dead, how does Payne even know he's there? As far as I know, Payne can't see ghosts. So does that mean Payne is dead? Argh. No clue. Can't wait for Friday to find out!
  • Ugly Betty: Does Betty accept a marriage proposal from one man or go to Rome with another man? Well, this show began it's new season last week, and Betty turns BOTH men down. Nice play, Betty! I love this show for it's stupid humor and pushing the limits characterization.
  • Lost: Locke is dead? How? What about he REALLY dead? And what the heck happened to Claire and why does Kate have Aaron? SO MANY QUESTIONS!!! Unfortunately, this isn't a fall starting show this year, so I'll have to wait until FEBRUARY to get the answers. So. Unfair.

There are other shows I love that I watch, but they didn't leave me hungering for answers at the end of last season. But I still love them! Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Chuck, Desperate Housewives are all on my watch list. Oh, and last year, we didn't even get 24, so I'm anxiously awaiting the return of Jack Bauer. Mmm. Jack.

The thing is, I'm so thankful for DVR...because I don't always have time to watch my faves when they're on. So I record everything, and watch them when I can. Well, except for Supernatural. I watch that when it's on, and normally several times over in the next week. I know--kind of sad, but I love those boys!

The only show that didn't make it from last year that I completely fell in love with was Journeyman. I really wish they'd given that show a second chance. I have questions! And they'll never be answered.

What about YOU? What season ending cliffhangers do you remember over the years? Which shows are you dying to watch this year? What are your favorites? I'd love to hear!