January 9, 2012
Month In Reviews
I'm back! After an unplanned and very long hiatus for which my only excuse is "the holidays are hectic," because I'm not terribly original, I have things to say again. I watched a TON of stuff and I'm a little mad at myself for not dropping in to talk about any of it here. I can't remember all of the movies I watched and I'm not even going to try, but here are some thoughts about the TV shows I that've kept me company these last several weeks.
Wildfire - I don't know why it took me so long to discover ABC Family and their stable of original programming. I wasted YEARS not being obsessed with their shows when said shows are perfectly crafted to push every one of my TV soft spot buttons. Wildfire has joined Greek and Make It Or Break It at the top of the heap of ABC Family shows that I hate myself for not finding sooner.
Netflix had been recommending Wildfire to me for a while before I finally gave in. I'm not going to lie, I was less than interested in a show about a horse. But Genevieve Padalecki is so pretty and it I had a fair amount of TV watching time over the holidays so I decided to give the pilot a shot. I was hooked from the start. That damn horse made me sob on so many occasions. And Gen is a seriously good crier so she misted me up on more than one occasion herself.
But what I really loved about the show was Junior. Junior was Pacey Perfect which is my kryptonite. If you don't know what I mean by Pacey Perfect, I am sorry that your life is not as full as it could be, but allow me to explain: when Dawson's Creek began, Pacey Witter was the smart-ass, fuck-up friend of the introspective, blandly-broody, self-unaware leading man. He nailed his teacher and endured humiliations and was generally the anti-hero in a story where the "hero" was, for many of us, kind of an insufferable tool. But hard as the writers tried to make us think of Pacey as the second, less appealing banana, he was dreamy. He was funny, irreverent, smart, possessed of normal human flaws. He also had a way with women - making them feel beautiful and smart and funny and desired but never like they were objects. And it didn't hurt that he had Josh Jackson's face.
What I'm looking for in a TV boyfriend is a someone who seems like a real person and who the writers don't want me to believe is perfect. Junior was that guy. He started out as kind of a cocky schmuck with his overt come-ons, his rich kid swagger and his Porche, but after a few episodes it was clear that he was the one who was going to be a stand-up guy as a love interest for Kris, a friend to Matt and a brother. Every time he had to choose between Kris and someone or something else, he chose Kris. And while he pointed that out on more than one occasion, he never did it as a ploy to win her over, he did it because he loved her. I struggled to understand what the eff the writers were thinking when they hooked Matt and Kris up for a short time because Matt was definitely into Kris from the jump but she had no chemistry with him and was clearly in love with Junior all along.
As I mentioned on Twitter, ABC Family seems to have a Headshot Casting policy that does not require their actors possess any actual ability to act and this show was exhibit A in that argument but despite some terrible acting, it was a really infections watch. The characters were (mostly) really likable or really hateable as I like all of my TV characters to be (nothing worse than a character that is less interesting than an arm chair) and they wrapped it up with a satisfying fourth season and a really terrific finale. Now if you'll excuse me, I need a to go find a tissue for these flashback tears.
Downton Abbey - I am not going to do any sort of justice to this show or how much I love it. Since watching the entire first season in a day (via Netflix Instant, of course), I have implored everyone I know to watch and when they ask me what it's about I spend half an hour stammering all "period piece" and "British classism" and "dry wit interspersed with understated drama." They all just look at me like I've recommended they watch a Republican primary debate.
I can't sell this show. I can't explain what makes it the best show I've watched in a very long time, but it is. From the moment Mr. Bates arrived at Downton in the pilot I was in love. Full to the rafters with characters, there is not a single person on the show for whom I don't have strong feelings. Most of those feelings are warm, fuzzy feelings of love and steadfast devotion; some of those feelings are of vile hatred and burning rage (hiya O'Brien and Thomas!). But hard as I try to be like "and there's this really sweet valet who is in love with a lady's maid but they hardly ever talk to each other and they never kiss and it's all very chaste and heartbreaking," people are not seeing why that's interesting. I could tell them about the time Mary killed a diplomat with her lady parts but then if they do watch, that's a serious bummer of a spoiler.
The premiere of the second season last night was astonishingly good. I lost track of the number of times I shouted "fuck off!" or "ohmygod, MAKE OUT!" or "back up off Bates' woman!" at the TV. I probably scared the neighbors when I woo'd at the long-awaited smoochies. I'm sure the earth briefly stopped spinning when I actually, gulp, felt sorry for Thomas and then realized that I sort of LOVE that O'Brien has a crush on Mr. Lang. Fret not, much of my fiery rage has been redirected off of O'B and Thomas and onto the Evil Mrs. Bates. Anna and the Crawleys need to cut a bitch.
I am beside myself with glee that this show exists. If you haven't watched it yet, you really must. I know that I'm doing it no justice at all but trust me, I would not steer you wrong.
One Tree Hill (Seasons 1-4+) - A rewatch sparked by my friend Lisa's interest in watching the show for the first time. It had been ages since I did a proper rewatch of any part of this show and I don't think I've ever rewatched the post-high school years. This show gets some shit, and rightfully so, for being kind of cheesy and ridiculous (there was that time a dog ate someone's heart) but it doesn't get enough credit for being funny and sweet and cheesetastic, or for having the single greatest married couple on TV who are not Coach and Tami Taylor.
I am on record as having only lukewarm feelings for the show when it first premiered and it was shoving the "Lucas is the new Dawson" agenda down my throat. But once they stopped playing Nathan as the one-dimensionally evil brother and let everyone on the show have a personality that resembled that of a human being, things got a lot more interesting and Nathan became Pacey Perfect. Rewatching actually makes me enjoy the earliest episodes more - partly due to nostalgia and partly because it's fun to see how far they've come. I skipped a lot of season two on the grounds that no one should have to live through Felix and Anna twice, but I've especially loved reliving the 3rd, 4th, and what I've seen of the 5th season so far (next up for me: Lucas/Lindsey wedding ep).
Rewatching makes me love Brooke, Nathan and Haley even more but it also makes me hate Lucas more. I was a bit of a Peyton apologist the first time around and I still think Peyton is fine and occasionally likable for most of the first 4 seasons but man alive is she AWFUL in the 5th season. I don't know why either Lindsey or Haley never punched her square in the face. I also don't know why no one ever told her that all of her shirts she wears in S5 look like they're bodysuits that she forgot to snap the crotch on. What the fuck was THAT look all about? And speaking of awful, the scene between Victoria and Rachel reminded me that she's the female Dan and no matter how funny she can be, she's still just a hateful bitch.
This trip down memory lane also renewed my insatiable desire for a One Tree Hill spinoff featuring Nathan and Chris Keller having a love/hate bromance wherein Nathan punches Chris Keller in the nose at least once per episode. Tell me you wouldn't watch the shit out of that show!
It is not an exaggeration to say that I've spent all day wishing I were still sick just so I could go home and watch another dozen or so episodes of OTH without guilt.