Drop Edge of Yonder

When I bit into it, I could hear the ocean.

Archive for TV Is My Therapy

Diplomatic Immunity

I’m fond of saying I have more degrees than a pot of boiling water, although that’s not really true (no matter what temperature scale you use). That said, I am really good at going to school, and I kind of love it. Today I was filling out the education portion of my new Facebook profile, and I remembered that I never technically graduated high school.

I was really busy in high school…with extracurricular activities. In fact, I was so busy with three kinds of band and two kinds of choir and two publications (but absolutely no sports whatsoever) that I couldn’t fit all my academic classes into the regular school day.

But because pretty much all the academic classes I did take were advanced placement or college level, the guidance counselor let me fulfill my last math class via a correspondence course. In fact, I took the paperwork in one day to show her I’d enrolled in it, and she promptly wrote it down on my transcript as completed—even though I hadn’t cracked the spine on the book.

I did do a few lessons, but come on: it was math. Eventually I realized the guidance counselor would never know the difference, and it was already on my transcript as a done deal. That was enough for me.

So despite my not, strictly speaking, having enough academic credits to graduate, I still came out at the top of my class. Because of that, I was invited to attend a special event the Clintons hosted at the Governor’s Mansion for that year’s high school valedictorians. At the time I didn’t think much about it. Arkansas is a small state, and I’ve met each of the Clintons several times; once I even played in a band wherein Bill sat in and shared his smooth sax sounds.

In retrospect, though, it was a pretty sweet deal. It was May 1992, and it was the last time I’d see either of the Clintons in person. Six months later, the nation would elect him as its president.

Frank Bonner, best known for his four seasons on WKRP in Cincinnati, attended the event as well. While I was busy schmoozing with the next leader of the free world, my daddy was chatting up Herb Tarlek about the state of Razorback athletics at the University of Arkansas. Good to know he had his priorities straight.

In retrospect, I suppose it’s fitting that over the years I’ve lost my diplomas from high school as well as three universities; after all, I never technically earned the first.

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Wait. Would the Cave Have Cable?

Yesterday I heard this story on NPR’s All Things Considered. The gist of it is some scientists descended into and explored a couple of supercaves, the depths of which the article compares to inverting Mount Everest.

A clip promoting the segment was enough to scare the bejesus out of me. I mean, let’s think about this for a second. These guys plumb the pits of the planet, seeking to see and explore things no human ever has. And do you know why the deepest interiors of these supercaves have remained untouched for all time? It’s only partly because, as the segment explains, there are at least 50 “normal” ways to die while exploring supercaves. But apparently I’m the only one who paid attention when television and film were busy teaching us that if you go poking around in deep, dark, dank mysterious holes, you are going to awaken some awful ancient evil—and there will be hell to pay.

Seriously. Do you know what lives in caves? Balrogs. You might not have heard, but one time a balrog fought the greatest wizard ever, and they both died. Now that is some serious shit. Also consider the Grootslang. The Grootslang might not look scary in that artist’s rendering, but think about this: it’s a serpent that lures elephants into its cave to devour them. Elephants, people.

Even a lot of non-cave dwelling creatures are pretty fearsome and favor subterranean lairs. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Turok-Han—which live in (that’s right: not on, but in) the Hellmouth. How could that end well? The best-case scenario is you lose an entire coastal city to a giant pit of nothingness. (But, mysteriously, that giant pit doesn’t fill with ocean water. I think that’s what they mean when they say “look at the bright side.”) Also, you always run the risk of rousing C.H.U.D.s, and everyone who grew up in the 1980s knows that can’t end well.

I mean, I don’t need to look through the chronicles for references to a warrior beast to suspect these spelunking scientists are going to miff some maleficent monster by disturbing its satanic slumber. Hell, even the scientists themselves freak out a little. They even refer to something some spelunkers suffer called “the rapture,” which NPR describes as “an extreme reaction to darkness and depth…similar to an anxiety attack while on methamphetamines.” I’ve had neither anxiety attacks nor methamphetamines in my life, but that sounds like it would be as terrifying as, um, BEING KILLED BY A BALROG.

My Glee Wishlist

If you know me at all, you know I’m obsessed with Glee. And when I say “obsessed,” I mean I have it as bad as I did for Buffy and Star Trek. But just like with those shows, I know Glee isn’t perfect. Here’s my open letter bulleted list to Ryan Murphy and company regarding how they can keep this show from going completely off the rails. (No spoilers ahead; I am, in fact, completely spoiler-free.)

  • Stop after season two. This show is already getting a bit meta. (You can’t use the term “Puckleberry.” That’s way too shippy for showrunners, you guys. It wasn’t worth the cheap joke you got out of it, anyway.) Besides, the actors who play Puck and Finn already look like they have wives and 2.3 kids each sitting at home. Let’s not do the whole Andrea-from-90210 thing here, okay?
  • Stop with the frequent guest stars. You have a HUGE (and incredibly talented) ensemble cast, and some of the members get precious little screen time and even fewer lines. I love Kristin Chenoweth and am still smarting from the cancellation of Pushing Daisies, but her second appearance was unwarranted. Would it kill you to let T-T-T-Tina talk (Especially now that she’s lost the [unconvincing] stutter?)?
  • If you can’t (or won’t) give up your guest star addiction and devote more screen time to your awesome ensemble, realize that at some point in the second season you’re going to have to take a cue from BtVS‘s “Superstar” episode and turn the whole show on its head for 44 minutes. I need to see how this club appears from the perspective of bit players such as Mike and Matt. And also Brad. I would LOVE an entire episode from Brad’s perspective; in fact, if I don’t get it, I’m probably going to have to satisfy that desire by writing my first fanfic. (Readers, you’re probably wondering to yourself, “Who is Brad?” Kill yourself! Also known as Tinkles, he’s the plucky piano player who gives the most delicious eye rolls and dubious expressions on the entire show. I mean, the man writes chorales with his countenance when he accompanies Glee members who are being especially douchey or diabolical.)
  • That said, don’t EVER let Matt say a word. (Readers, you probably also don’t know who Matt is because we’ve gone through 14 episodes and the kid has never once spoken. You might call him “handsome black guy who dances with Other Asian,” or perhaps you call him “Shaft”—just as Sue Sylvester once did.) Show, you’ve gone so long without letting Matt speak that now his doing so can’t possibly live up to the audience’s expectations no matter what spectacular dialogue you give him; as such, he’s going to have to remain the affable, strong and silent type. (Alternate option: If the actor has the chops, let Matt go off on an angry, vicious, two-minute tirade when the club [inevitably] dissolves into fingerpointing during [another] crisis—and then don’t ever let him speak again.)
  • I’m not the first person to say this and certainly won’t be the last, but Matthew Morrison needs to stop with the rapping and break dancing. I know he loves it, but it’s embarrassing and NEVER, EVER WORKS. (The Thong Song was absolutely wretched, and you can very clearly hear him fart when Emma falls on him. Don’t believe me? Pull out that DVD. See, even your sound people realize it’s ridiculous and aren’t cutting him any slack—even when he cuts the cheese.) Besides, if he’s capable of doing stuff like this, you can do without that bullshit.
  • Please tell the promo monkeys over at Fox to stop putting Brittany’s remarks in the previews/commercials. It’s like unwrapping a birthday present and having someone yell, “It’s a Samaurai sword!” before you get all the Scotch tape off or sever the first slice of a sliver of skin. I’d rather be surprised, you know?
  • I know you may find this hard to believe, but one of the big draws of the show initially was the emotion. You’ve traded much of that for cheap laughs, anvils and lampshading all over the place. You can’t rely on Rachel’s Sad!Face and Kurt’s coming out story for the heart-string tugging. (Although you can’t do away with those things, either. Besides, I will CUT YOU if Burt Hummel doesn’t appear at least once every four episodes.)
  • Stop so strictly alternating in what order who writes the episodes. Going straight down the list of who wrote what episode shows you haven’t yet deviated from this order: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan. This has to stop. Perhaps a more collaborative effort is in order, because the tone of each episode immediately indicates to regular viewers precisely who wrote them—and not in a good way. If you want to please your audience, stop pandering to it and instead collaborate so we get all the gooey goodness in every ep.
  • Stop giving Sue so much…heart. It’s just all wrong. Sue is the one character who can be a caricature because Jane Lynch brings so much to the table. Sue doesn’t need to be a villain with vulnerability: she just needs to be completely outlandish and outrageous.

(Readers [if  you still exist], you’ll notice I didn’t explain my seven-month hiatus from blogging. I was busy, okay?)