Monday, September 7, 2009

She's Like Joe Pesci...

Although I watch a lot of films, I don't really watch that much television. Earlier this year, I went for about 4 months without a TV because my old one died and I just procrastinated in getting a new one. I've never owned a DVD player. When I want to watch a DVD, I slip it into one of my computers' CD/DVD drive. My new television has a connection port so I can run the computer monitor display through the TV. I'll have to try that sometime.

One reason I don't watch much television is because even though I have cable (now digital cable) and over 100 channels, I often can't find anything worth watching. During the summer, I'll watch Giants games. The rest of the year, I watch the History Channel or the Discovery Channel. I like watching shows about guns, Nazis, Bear Grylls and how thing are made with 70's soundtrack overlay. Sometimes, I'll watch VH1 if they are airing 100 Greatest (fill in the blank) from the 80's. How many times does Road House air every week? How long before they launch the Law and Order Channel?

There are shows that I don't watch but wish I would have when they debuted because now they're too far along for me to pick up the plotlines - Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy are three.

There are a few shows I watch.

I didn't blog about it but I was/am a huge fan of The Shield with Michael Chiklis. The cast was amazing so I won't single anyone out. The multi-season story arc about the flawed Vic Mackey was the best television I've seen. I wish it was still on the air.

The plots on Family Guy have been criticized as a series of non-sequiturs but they remind me of the old Zucker, Abrahams & Zucker films. They keep throwing gags against the wall and see what sticks. Also, because they are cartoon characters, they can get away with a lot more than live actors could. One of the recurring characters is a pedophile (maybe technically, he is a ephebophile) and they make jokes about minorities, gays and the handicapped among many other taboo subjects.

Actually, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia gets away with almost as much offensive humor as Family Guy. It's like Seinfeld 5 times as raunchy and moved to the South Side of Philly.

Rescue Me is uneven and I went for about two years without watching it. It became a cartoonish soap opera. The plot seemed to revolve around heaping tragedy on Denis Leary's Tommy Gavin (FDNY fireman) to the point of ridiculousness. Before the timeframe in the show, Gavin's best friend & cousin died on 9/11 (Gavin has recurring conversations with his ghost), Gavin's son died as a result of a drunk driving hit & run, his cop brother was shot in the line of duty (but not before he began an affair with Tommy's estranged wife), his father died of natural causes while sitting next to him at a baseball game, his mother died of natural causes (Gavin & his cop brother had a knock-down fight at the wake) and in last week's season finale, his uncle shoots him twice because he blames him for his wife's death (she was driving drunk). The humor of the show is what keeps me watching though.

Tommy's travails are wearing thin but every once in awhile, they come up with a sub-plot that shines. The past few episodes, Tommy has been seeing a cougar (Maura Tierney). Kelly (Tierney) had her claws into Tommy's cousin's son but Tommy stepped in and they've had a budding relationship since they both discovered the other lost a young child. I should mention that Tommy is having sexual relations with his estranged wife (Janet) and his cousin's widow (Sheila). The two of them decide they need to scare Kelly off because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don't. That sets up one of the best scenes I've watched on television in a long time. Janet & Sheila show up at Kelly's place (actually it's temporary because her actual home burned down). After some initial maneuvering and posturing, Sheila lays it out that Tommy will only cause Kelly heartbreak and pain. Paraphrasing -

Kelly: Tommy held me.
(Look of shock on Janet and Sheila's faces)
Janet: Did you say 'held' or 'head?'
Kelly: Held.
Sheila: You mean like 'held you down?'
Kelly: No, held like embraced and comforted.
Sheila: Tommy doesn't do holding.
Kelly: Well, he held me. Now I'll have to ask you to leave. You can show yourselves out.
(Kelly gets up to go to the kitchen)
Sheila: I'm sorry about your loss.
Kelly: What?
Sheila: Your baby that died. Janet lost a son and I had a miscarriage. I guess it's something we have in common.

Later, Janet & Sheila have a fight on the street outside Kelly's brownstone. Kelly witnesses this and later (in a conversation with Tommy) gets off this all-time zinger - "The little one [Sheila], she's like Joe Pesci with tits."

Lately, I've been watching The Closer on Saturday mornings. It's time slot coincides with the time I typically do my laundry. It's not bad; Kyra Sedgewick's faux Southern accent is grating but that probably on purpose.

I try to get to the gym on Saturday afternoons. The stationary bikes have a TV built in and I frequently watch Iron Chef because it coincides with my typical workout time. Jeffrey Steingarten can be downright bitchy with his comments. He's like Joan Crawford without tits...

If memory serves me corectly...about 10 years ago, I used to watch the original Iron Chef in Japanese with subtitles. I much preferred that show with its wacky subtitles and reverential tones such as "The Delacroix of French Cuisne" or "The Mistress of Salt." I also liked the regal theme music (originally from the movie Back Draft).

Sometimes, I'll watch an episode of The Simpsons or House if I'm flipping channels. I liked Bill Shatner on Boston Legal too.

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