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Don’t Like Being Lost

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I’m someone who likes to think about and write about and talk about pop culture. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me or if you’ve been reading… well, anything I’ve ever written, most likely, then you’ve probably recognized that fact. Yet the sad truth is that I don’t get to soak in most pop culture phenomena at the time they’re going on. I watch most movies and TV shows I get to see once they come out on DVD or start streaming from Netflix; I read most comic books I get to read when they come out in trade paperback. Thanks to the fact that I can legally purchase and download MP3s, I’m at least a little more able to keep current with the music I listen to, but honestly, I’m so far out-of-touch with what’s actually popular in music it might as well not matter.

I read discussion and analysis of pop culture content far, far more frequently than I get to discuss and analyze it for myself.

I bring this up now because as I write this, ABC is broadcasting the series finale of Lost. And I’m not watching it, as I’m now five full seasons behind, and I’m not the kind of person who enjoys jumping to the last page of the book.

A great many of my friends and co-workers are watching the finale right now. Many are Tweeting about what’s going on (though thankfully in a spoiler-free manner). Most will be talking about it tomorrow at work while I keep my headphones on with the music cranked in my ears so I don’t hear anything they’re saying.

"Lost" FinaleI’m on the outside of this pop culture tsunami which I really should be smack in the middle of. I love episodic drama, I love shows with huge numbers of characters, I love time travel stories, I love mysteries, I love any story which can be watched/read/enjoyed multiple times to pick up on extra details which only make sense in retrospect. I should be part of the Lost fandom, should be watching and cheering and cursing along with millions of others right now.

Terry and I watched the first season of Lost shortly after it initially came out on DVD, and we enjoyed it quite a lot. We were excited for Season Two to come out on DVD, and then… I don’t quite know what happened, honestly. I know we watched the first episode of the second season, and then… things just got in the way. And then we started hearing some not-so-good-sounding stuff about Seasons Two and Three, so we didn’t make it a huge priority to catch up.

But then ABC let the Lost guys choose their own end date rather than letting the show just go on from season to season without knowing when they’d be able to wrap it up — knowing you’ve got a target to shoot for makes it much, much easier to hit it. And then we heard that Season Four actually got really good and interesting again, and then the addiction and fanaticism which have become the hallmarks of Lost fans really kicked into high gear.

Now, however, we’re way behind. There are characters, locations, entire concepts which weren’t part of the mythology when we watched the first season. I’m so out of it that you could almost spoil the ending for me without actually spoiling it, because whatever you told me wouldn’t make a damn bit of sense to me. (NOTE: Please please please do not take that last sentence as an invitation to try.)

I want to watch. I want to experience this show that, by most accounts, is as maddening as it is enthralling. I want to be able to talk about it with my friends, to throw theories back and forth and debate tiny details. But realistically, given how often I get to watch shows… even if I started tonight I wouldn’t be done until some time next year.

After tonight, the last chapter will have been written and the discussion shifts into a different key, from what-will-it-be to what-it-was. Not that there’s not value in that conversation, of course, but it’s not the same; the buildup of upcoming events is usually of a much tastier flavor than the tearing down of what’s been done.

Enjoy the end, Losties. I’ll catch up with you when I can.

Written by Allen

May 23rd, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Posted in Pop Culture,TV

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Equal Opportunity Snogging

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Thank you, Bryan Safi of That’s Gay, for helping to point out the utter ridiculousness of one the television industry’s long-standing trends, one which has driven me batshit for a decade now: sure as New England snow, sweeps week and season premieres bring out a new round of straight girls kissing other girls for a quick ratings boost. That little ploy has looooong since stopped being especially effective — if it ever was in the first place — and really? It only makes your show seem desperate and kinda sad.

Don’t get me wrong: I like watching women kissing as much as anybody else who enjoys watching that sort of thing. But, to borrow and butcher a phrase from a friend of mine, it’s more that I like watching sexy people kiss as much as anything else, regardless of the genders of the people involved. And I like to see passion and desire in those kisses, not chaste oh-god-can-we-please-get-this-over-with lip-locking, which is what we get more often than not with these crass ratings-grab stunts.

That’s how you know Heroes has officially lost whatever relevance it might have had, by the way: there’s gonna be an “OMG Hayden Panettiere Kissin’ Girlz!!!1!” element to her story this fall. If I thought we were going to see a reasonably well-handled story with actual character development about Claire realizing she has feelings for another woman and how she deals with it, that would be one thing…I mean, that’s how Buffy handled the beginnings of the Willow-Tara relationship. But I think we all know that ain’t gonna be what happens. Instead, we’ll get a slew of ads about why we should watch the shocking! season premiere of Heroes! We won’t believe what! Happens!! Next!!!

This isn’t 1998, TV. C’mon. You want to shock me? Throw some dudes snogging my way. Let’s see you exploit men the way you’ve been exploiting women for years. Yeah, that’s right: I’m not gonna be happy until I see a couple of men kissing on TV. And I mean really kissing, none of this tight-lipped-just-kinda-pressing-our-mouths-together horseshit you pull with your sweeps week temporary lesbians. I want one of your top-tier network shows to feature passionate, open-mouthed tongue wrestling between two hot dudes, and I want you to promote the hell out of it for weeks before the show airs. It’s only fair.

Oh, and I don’t mean gay guys, either — it’s almost always straight women kissing other straight women or, perhaps, women of dubious sexuality, so to be fair I want the same thing for guys. If I want to see gay men enjoying each other, I can see that on cable — that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I want to see is Dr. House and Dr. Wilson succumb to the moment and go at it like horny teenagers. I want to see Sylar sucking some guy’s powers out through his tonsils instead of going through his brain. I want to see Jack and Sawyer having a serious Brokeback moment. I want to see Barney Stinson decide that his life full of chasing women has gotten boring, so he takes up chasing men instead.

C’mon, TV. It’s time. For fuck’s sake, you barely allowed any kissing between men on Will and Grace, a show about gay men. Spend the next few years making a big deal out of dudes smooching the way you have with women for the last ten, and maybe then we can all just get the hell over it and get to the point where people kissing whoever they want isn’t so shocking! anymore.

Written by Allen

August 20th, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Posted in Pop Culture,TV

100-Word Review: Glee (Pilot)

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That title?  Yeah, pretty accurate.  FOX debuted this show — about a high school glee club made up mostly of rejects — to start building some early buzz for it before it begins its run this fall.  I hope it works.  The music throughout is infectious, both the a cappella background music and their use of 80s classics intoxicating (“Don’t Stop Believing” indeed).  I’m looking forward to seeing more of this cast, especially Lea Michele as the talented, determined Rachel.  It’s a joy to see a show with such an optimistic bent shine out in the sea of darkness currently on TV.

Grade: A-

FYI:  You can still catch the whole pilot episode for free on Hulu

ETA: It’s also available on iTunes, if you want to the file to go. (Thanks for the update, Adam!).

Written by Allen

May 29th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Posted in 100-Word Reviews,TV

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I have decided that in a show of support for the striking members of the Writers Guild of America, I shall not be writing any material either for television productions or motion pictures for the duration of the strike, as much as it pains me not to do so.  But I ain’t no scab.

(Want to know more about what’s going on with the strike and just what the writers are trying to accomplish?  Go read John Rogers and/or Brian K. Vaughan, among many, many others, for the skinny.)

Written by Allen

November 7th, 2007 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Movies,TV

Whedon returns to TV! If there’s ever TV again.

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Joss Whedon coming back to TV? Oh shit yes. And with Eliza Dushku in the lead? Even friggin’ better. Sadly, it’s not a Faith series nor even Buffyverse-related, but really, I don’t care — it’s Joss back as head writer and executive producer of a TV series, and that is honestly all I need to know.

The problem, of course, is that the deal (for seven episodes of Dollhouse, appearing possibly as soon as spring ’08 — go read the link for more details) is with FOX, meaning they’ll air the eps out of order and cancel the show after the third one’s broadcast, but hey… it’s Whedon back on TV, where he belongs. No offense meant to Serenity or his comic book work, all of which I love, but TV is his essential medium of expression.

Pardon me while I go have a fanboy freakout now. omg omg omg omg omg.

Written by Allen

October 31st, 2007 at 11:10 pm

Posted in TV

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