So this is just me wanting to share my enthusiasm for some stuff I've been getting into lately. My personal life has been in the shitter lately, but this stuff has been not only keeping me upbeat and sane and such, but thinking, probably foolishly, that life. is. good. This kind of listing for the benefit of one's soul (and the few others who read what that particular soul writes) is basically something I've seen Nick Hornby do in the pages of The Believer (whom I'm actually now listed, in the March 2006 issue--at newsstands now!--under the title of "General Assistance".) Hornby, "Jimby", in all honesty, it's really pretty similar.
Somewhere a 20 year-old dreadlocked wundergurl writer is frowning.
But irregardless! On with the list!
1) Sons & Daughters, TV show on ABC, executively produced by Lorne Michaels (SNL). Right off the bat, I must say: this new series is simply outstanding. I've watched four or so episodes now, and each one seems, to continue with the baseball metaphor, to knock it out of the park. The humor is subtle, often LOL funny, and full of unexpected catch-you-offguard moments. Centered around dysfunctional American family life (think Arrested Development Season 1 without quite as much zaniness), there is much fuel for this fire. However where I think S&D might surpass AD is in S&D's shocking and grotesque moment of honesty and seriousness that hits you right in the heart at the end of every show. It's the punch that makes you realize that this is more than TV; this is a little bit of them, a little bit of someone we all know, a little bit of us. This kind of ambition is simply ballsy as hell for a network sitcom, and I applaud it entirely.
2) The Office, TV show on NBC. This show took a while to get started up, and, admittedly, I was one of the TV snobs to throw it onto the heap before giving more than a perfunctory glance at a trailer. Much to my surprise (and happiness), this show has turned out to be on par with the original BBC in so much as wit, but more importantly, heart.
(Sidenote: Trev, you're right the fuck on about lauding it on your blog. And if you those plicks on your message boards assault your taste with proclamations of that "The BBC one is better!" or "Martin Freeman--I would suck his wanker!", send them my way. I'll take of them for ya.)
Steve Carrell fucking deserves the Golden Globe or whatever he won for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. He's taken some getting used to, but now that I am, he's become, for me, this crazy little misguided guy tugging at everyone's lapels, trying as hard as he can to get them to like him. They've really nailed the human element down here. Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant should be impressed alone with the fact that NBC didn't totally fuck up their idea and simply astounded that it's actually more than a worthy rendition--it's, dare I say, becoming a classic. It's crazy, I know, but these two shows alone have me practically giddy about American television comedy. Wow.
3) The Zombies "Odyssey and Oracle" (1967), music. This album (from the same band who brought you that classic "The Time of the Season") I came across randomly thanks to my friend ex-merchgirl A Sri Lankan in Boston Sam, an avid Zombie fan. I'm not even going to lie about it--I downloaded this album because I saw her Zombies written all over her MySpace. Yes, I get my music from searching the MySpaces of others. (There I said it.) That said, it's a great album from start to finish for the heart-stuck-in-your-throat hopeless romantic (like myself) in all of us. If you liked my recommendation of Ghosty, check these guys out. This is what Ghosty was listening to when they were sleeping--or maybe more likely, while their mothers were sleeping. In the wombs of their mothers. For those of you who need more than just my personal thumbs-up, if you like 1960s Brit-pop with a white-boy soul/R&B feel and a flourish of the contemporary Wes Anderson soundtrack-esque weirdness (The Zombies' "The Way I Feel Inside" was prominently featured in The Life Aquatic), then do yourself a favor and check this album out. It's a classic, and called as such by others much more qualified than I.
4) Books. Books! I'll get to this at a later date--promise.
A still from a recent episode of Sons & Daughters, Tuesdays at 9 on ABC. And yes, that's the "O-face" guy from Office Space. And no, I'm not getting paid to talk about their show. Seriously.