Monday, November 29, 2010

The Joys of Cable

Nahhh, I'm not talking about the heavily-armored, '90s-nostalgia "X-Men" character (although I may devote a future blog entry to his awesomeness). I'm talkin' basic, Mediacom cable TV. Sure, it's nothin' like the DirecTV we started out with up here, but it's still got its perks. The best part is, I've been able to not only see new shows I wouldn't have had the chance to otherwise, but I also get to see reruns of the shows I grew up on! Stroll with me, if you will, down memory (and the occasional modern nugget) lane . . .

First and foremost, I've heard of "House" for years, but I never actually had the chance to sit down and watch it. I've always liked Hugh Laurie, and when I found out Bryan Singer was a producer, I figured it had to be pretty good (the first two "X-Men" films were excellent, although "Superman Returns" was garbage, Kevin Spacey's delightfully evil turn notwithstanding). Goodness gracious, was I underestimating its awesomeness! Dr. House is a curmudgeonly, often unpleasant fellow, but he's got that strange grumpy charm that only a select few fictional characters can command (Melvin Udall from "As Good As It Gets" and Spike from "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" spring to mind, combining epic douchebaggery with epic awesomeness). The medical portion of the show tends to be fairly predictable, even formulaic at times (none of the allegedly brilliant doctors know what ails yon patient's good humor, until the valiant--if a bit prickly--Dr. House steps in and reveals that he knows exactly what's wrong, and has known for some time: "It's an INFECTION!!"), but it's not the practice of medicine that makes the show; it's the characters. I think the episode that really stands out in that regard is when Cameron and House finally go out on a date, and House explains to her why she's really attracted to him: "You live under the delusion that you can fix everything that isn't perfect. That's why you married a man who was dying of cancer. You don't love, you need, and now that your husband is dead, you're looking for your new charity case, that's why you're going out with me. I'm twice your age, I'm not great looking, I'm not charming, I'm not even nice. What I am is what you need...I'm damaged."

Also of note: "Glee." Heaven help me, that show is one of the most enthralling, enchanting things I've ever seen. The music is cheesy, but oh, so catchy (and not in a saccharine, "I hate myself just for hearing this crap, and I would like to pour sulphuric acid down my ear" kind of way), and the characters are quirky enough to keep it interesting for the long haul. I first heard of "Glee" through my employer at the writing lab, but I didn't really think anything of it. When I finally saw my first episode, though . . . WOW!! It just figures, though, one of the first episodes I saw was the most heart string-twanging of the entire series: Artie performing "The Safety Dance!" 'Nuff said!

"The Boondocks." This show is so very irreverent . . . so very WRONG. And yet . . . it is very entertaining . . . sometimes. Other times it goes wayyyyy too far, which is odd coming from me. Still, the episode with the "24" parody character "Jack Flowers" is truly awesome . . . particularly the bizarre crotch-kicking scene at the beginning. 

Ahhh, TBS . . . you bring me everything from "Home Improvement" to "The Office" to "Conan" to "Everybody Loves Raymond" to "The Cosby Show" on alternating Sundays . . . truly, you are a wonderful network!! That's all I've got . . . TBS is great!

I love getting to see the shows I grew up on . . . the aforementioned "Cosby Show" and "Home Improvement," but also "Family Matters" (I got to see the Halloween episode with Stevil . . . ohhh, what a classic!) and "Boy Meets World." Hmmm . . . "Boy Meets World" . . . that one's kind of a mixed bag. When li'l Cory was but a wee lad in the early seasons, he was clever, resourceful, and likable . . . cheesy theme music notwithstanding, the show was a thoughtful portrait of a child's adjustment to life's milestones. And of course, who didn't think Mr. Feeny was the coolest teacher EVER? Around the time Cory hit puberty, though, the quality of the show went out the window. More and more, Shawn started developing into a thug. More and more, Eric started to go a little bit crazy. More and more, Topanga started to annoy the crap outta me. More and more, Cory started to lose his "intelligent, endearing" kid quality and gained a "typical, stupid high school kid" quality, driven by hormones and his own tendency toward idiotic behavior. Nevertheless, the interactions between Eric and Feeny kept the show alive and funny . . . it's a shame the rest of the show degenerated into crap.

"Chuck." Yep, thanks to one of the most awesome teachers ever, I had already seen it . . . BUT I HADN'T SEEN SEASON 4!!!! Ya gots Rob Riggle! Ya gots Linda Hamilton ("Come with me if you want to live.")! Ya even gots Timothy Dalton, who is surprisingly awesome as Alexei, the weird freakin' arms dealer who pines for Chuck's mom. Oooh, by the way . . . I went to Hastings for Black Friday. They had a special deal: all used items 40% off until noon. Guess what? It was 11:45. I had to run frantically through the store . . . missing out on a lot of stuff I kicked myself for later. BUT I found season 3 of "Chuck." It was the individual disks bundled together . . . each disk was $5.99, and up in the top corner it said the entire set was $29.99. Guess what? The cashier only rang up one disk. That's 5 disks, a COMPLETE season, for $3.59. I kiddest thee not, kiddies who shall not be kidded by any kidder. In a word . . . wow. But seriously, "Chuck" has officially topped "Burn Notice" as my favorite spy show. An excellent cast of excellent characters, portraying a world of deception and intrigue that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats . . . and that's just the stuff that takes place at the "Buy More." The espionage stuff ain't bad, either. Also, check out season 2 to see Yvonne Strahovski beat the snot outta Nicole Richie--not something to be missed!

I also discovered "In Living Color." Y'know, I never thought I'd say this . . . but for the most part, this show is even better than "SNL." Jim Carrey . . . the Wayanseseses . . . David Alan Grier . . . there's some serious talent on that show. Shame it's been off the air for like, 15 years.

AMC is another channel I love. "The Walking Dead" is a great new series, but AMC is about more than just shows, as the acronym will attest. The "Fear Fest" marathon this October was truly awesome, because it allowed me to finally watch all those horror movies I didn't get to see when I was a kid. "Friday the 13th" . . . "Halloween H20" . . . "Thir13en Ghosts" . . . "Ghost Ship" . . . it's a real shame all of these movies suuuuuuucked. The "Friday" marathon was by far the worst, saved only by an Alice Cooper track on the sixth one. Great for a laugh, though. The "Halloween" marathon was better by far, though it was still pretty goofy. Now the theme is action movies . . . meh. I likes me some action movies, but horror movies are so much more fun, simply because they are so bad!

"Family Guy" . . . I'm really not fond of it, but for some reason it's on every channel. *Sigh* . . . VIVA EL BARTO!!

Basically, I really like having cable. It kills so much of my free time . . . and study time . . . and all my other time . . . but still, it's really fun. Oh, and "Robot Chicken" just about every night is pretty great, too! :D

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