“Mary you may not have noticed, but I don’t live in a window.”

Writers room for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Credit: The Hollywood Reporter http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/gallery/buffy-x-files-shield-murphy-520949#4-cbs-murphy-brown

Writers room for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Credit: The Hollywood Reporter http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/gallery/buffy-x-files-shield-murphy-520949#4-cbs-murphy-brown

Happy almost Halloween, Retrowatchers! It is getting to be that time of year – the leaves are changing, the afternoon sun is beautifully blinding, and a chill is in the air. It must be fall. I’m not really a Halloween person, but if I were, I think I’d dress up as Rhoda Morgenstern. I used to wear a do-rag in college, so all I’d need is some horrible 70s clothing and a baggy sweater to hide my figure. Throw in a New York accent and go around calling people “kid” and I’d have a Rhoda costume.

Either that or I’d try to find a replica of Mary’s awful bridesmaid dress.

Incidentally, if anyone reading this actually has a Mary Tyler Moore-themed costume, please send me pictures.

This week, we delve into the middle of MTM, season 2 and discuss episodes 13-16:
Episode 13: The Square Shaped Room
Episode 14: Ted Over Heels
Episode 15: The Five-Minute Dress
Episode 16: Feeb

Continue reading

Advertisements

Stop visiting my grave, and let me rest in peace

Note to readers: Normally, I use this blog to write about my latest pop culture discovery, or a show I am looking forward to seeing, (for the record, Company was great) and not so much about my life outside entertainment. This entry will be a little different, as it combines my real life and my pop culture life.

Earlier this week, I found out someone I once knew passed away recently. I hadn’t seen this person in years, and the last time we spoke (via email) was probably two years ago. Fortunately, I have not had to experience too much death yet, but I imagine the normal reaction when one finds out someone from their past has died is this: “Oh, wow, So-and-so passed away? I hadn’t seen her in years. Didn’t even know she was sick. Wow…” And then moves on. Right?

In theory, this should be my reaction. Like I said, I hadn’t spoken to this woman in a few years, and hadn’t seen her in even longer. What’s more, when we did know each other, we really only did superficially.

But let me tell you, when I found out she passed away, I felt like I got punched in the gut, and didn’t know HOW to react. I wanted to cry – but I was at work, so that wasn’t really appropriate. I wanted to tell someone – except no one I know now knew her. So I emailed my mom and (rather embarrassingly) blurted the news to a coworker. Fortunately, the coworker was very sympathetic, and let me ramble on, and then suggested I go outside and take a walk around the block to let the news sink in.

So why did it hit me so hard? (Or rather, harder than expected). Well, to answer that, we have to go back in time, to the summer of 2002.

I had just finished my (first) junior year of college, and decided to spend the summer in my college town, working on campus and taking some summer classes. The summer classes were terribly boring – all stuff that just filled credits so I could concentrate on film stuff in the fall. Most of my friends had either graduated or were home for the summer, and all of my housemates, save one, were gone. Our house became infested with cockroaches when the owners decided to paint. Well, I guess the house had BEEN infested with cockroaches, and they all wanted to get the hell out once the paint fumes started. At any rate, there were lots of them. LOTS. I was scarred for life.

I wasn’t unhappy, per se. I had a job and was making some money, and a couple of friends were still around. It was just one of those nothing summers, and I spent most of it waiting for the fall so I could a.) get the hell out of the cockroach-infested house and b.) have life return to normal.

Earlier that year, I had been introduced to the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer by one of my housemates. We became obsessed together, and annoyed the bejesus out of our other housemates by watching it constantly. But he left that summer and I had no one to obsess with. Thus, I turned to the Internet, and man, oh man, was I surprised at what I found. There were websites galore dedicated to my beloved TV show, and what’s more, dedicated to the actors themselves. I had several to choose from, but ultimately picked one dedicated to James Marsters, aka TV’s badass vampire, Spike. You see, I had just a bit of a crush on him.

This blog has plenty of evidence to support the fact that I have been a fangirl all of my life. But what you might not know is that before 2002, I had no idea about online fandom. No, really, I didn’t. I didn’t know about message boards, I didn’t know about fanfiction, didn’t know about any of it.

That summer, I became an expert. I had found…MY PEOPLE. People who obsessed over TV shows and actors and would have marathons dedicated to them. People who actually bought the Buffy magazine and taped the show and watched it over and over. These people existed! I was not alone!

It was on the James Marsters message board that I “met” Deni. I met others as well, but Deni stuck out to me because her posts were so thoughtful. She was always kind (and trust me, BtVS is a fandom that can get pretty nasty), and always responded.

And that is how I spent the rest of my summer vacation. Yes I went to work and hung out with the few friends still in town and occasionally went to class, but the bulk of my time was spent on that website, reading people’s posts, catching up on old topics, and getting to know people through this series of tubes called the Internet. (Fun fact, this was years before YouTube, so it was a pain to watch videos or hear sound files. And yet, I still managed to download a ton of MP3s and Quicktime videos of James singing or at conventions. Think about that, children.)

When the summer ended, my obsession did not. I still frequented the board. In fact, the website became my homepage. One might say I was addicted. But hey, you try staying away from online fandom when all of a sudden, you found people who responded to TV, music and movies the same way you did.

I was home for winter break that December when the big announcement was made: the person in charge of the website was giving it up, and the site would be shut down. We were all devastated. I couldn’t believe that this was being taken away from me, when I had only discovered it months ago. What would I do without my daily dose of Buffy/James fandom?

Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long. The next day (or maybe it was even that night – forgive me it was almost 10 years ago) Deni announced that she didn’t want to see our community go away, and was creating her own James Marsters site, complete with the forums.

I don’t remember the specifics of how long it took before the site was up, if the forums were carried over from the old site, or how I even knew the site was up (maybe there was a listserv? Hey – remember listservs??) I just know that I didn’t have to say goodbye to all my new friends. We could continue to obsess together. Deni was responsible for that.

Not only that, her new site had a no asshole policy. (Well, those are my words. I am sure she said something like “We need to respect each other.”) Like I said, fandoms can get nasty and snarky, and the Buffy/James fandom was not immune. But at Deni’s site – which she named More Than Spike – assholes were not tolerated. That’s a HUGE thing, and I am sure it took a LOT of work to moderate those forums and make sure the nasties (I think these days they are called “trolls”) stayed away.

The next summer (2003, for those keeping track), I started thinking about my senior thesis. I had made two films that year, and while they were fun to do, I wanted my last one to be really special. So I thought, well what am I really passionate about? And the answer was: Buffy. But not just Buffy, the whole concept of fandom. Where did it come from? Why were some people predisposed to obsess over TV shows and bands, and some people remained casual viewers and listeners? I thought I could really delve into the psychology of it. I could go to conventions and meet other fans. This would be fun. (Ok, the real secret here is, this may or may not have been started by my desire to go to the 2003 Dragon*Con, where James Marsters and several other Buffy alum were scheduled to appear. I honestly don’t remember, but am not ruling that out.)

At any rate, come fall, my idea was approved, and I was going to make a movie about fandom. The only question was, who should be my subjects? I had a few friends I could interview, but they were all my age. The whole point I was trying to make is that it wasn’t just people like me – all kinds of people are fans.

So I reached out to Deni. We had emailed off and on over the past year, and had plenty of message board exchanges. I knew she would be at Dragon*Con. Maybe we could meet up there and talk about the possibility of her being in the film. She agreed to meet up, but wasn’t especially comfortable with being interviewed. Which is understandable – she didn’t really know me. She also said that her friend and fellow board member, Peg would be at Dragon*Con as well, and she might be a good interview.  Peg was also interested in researching fandom.

I remember being in the big ballroom at Dragon*Con the first day, wondering how I would possibly find one woman in a sea of Buffy and science-fiction fans. But my wondering didn’t last long – Deni was very easily spotted – she wore a long-sleeved white shirt, with the names of every member of More Than Spike who was attending Dragon*Con. My friend and I marched right up and made our introductions. She was all smiles and friendly, and seemed delighted that we spotted her by her shirt. (Which was the point, of course; she was the meeting place More Than Spike members.) This was my first “fan” event, and I was at once excited, overwhelmed, and a bit nervous. Deni put me immediately at ease, introducing me to the other board members, and explaining to them why my friend and I were sporting a camera and other film equipment. Instead of being wary, everyone seemed intrigued. They wanted to be represented in some way – after all, the Trekkies had their own movie, why not Buffy fans?

Dragon*Con ended up being a big success. In addition to just being, well, amazingly fun, we also got lots of footage for the film, and both Deni and Peg agreed to be interviewed at a later date. Also, it was really fun to meet up with these people I’d been conversing with for over a year. Some people I just met briefly, others I chatted with quite extensively. And none of that would have happened if it weren’t for our leader, Deni.

A few months later, Deni, Peg and I met up at another convention, this one dedicated solely to Buffy. Deni gave a very honest interview, which became the crux of the film. She didn’t have to do that – even though she had always been honest with the More Than Spike members about her reasons for delving into the fandom, she didn’t have to share that on film. In editing , I saw her interview hundreds of times, and it never failed to bring tears to my eyes. (For the record, still does. I recently rewatched it with a friend, and even though I knew it was coming, she still got me.)

After the film was made and Buffy and Angel were over, I started to drift a bit from the fandom. I had graduated college and was out in the real world. Yes, I still loved Buffy and James, and still wanted to know what was going on in the fandom, but the passion wasn’t quite there anymore. Maybe I needed to move on – it had been a very intense couple of years.

A few years ago, I decided to check in with some of the women I had met through More Than Spike, including Deni. She seemed genuinely happy to hear from me and what I was up to. We only corresponded once or twice, but it was nice to know that someone who represented an important time in my life was still around, still running the website, and remembered me.

Earlier this month, Deni passed away. She wasn’t very old – I never figured out quite how old she was, but my guess is she was in her 50s, maybe early 60s. Far too young to pass away. I learned she had cancer, and that by the time she was diagnosed, it was already in a late stage, and chances weren’t good.

And here we are, back at the beginning the post: Why did this hit me so hard?

I think it has less to do with Deni herself (and please don’t take offense to that – she was a lovely woman) – and more with what she represented. She came into my life at a very impressionable time. Being in college, especially being 20, 21 years old – is such a formative time. I was just starting to really figure out who I was, and become the person I am today. I was gaining confidence, making new friends, and discovering passions.

When you are that age, EVERYTHING is important. EVERYTHING is major. Even more so than high school, because you are on your own, making your own decisions, deciding things for yourself.  You are becoming an adult. Even though Buffy was only in my life for 2, maybe 3 years, they were very important years. Years that molded me. Years I still think about on a regular basis.

I can never go back to the summer of 2002, never go back to Dragon*Con 2003, never go back to college, and my crazy Buffy days. But every time I check in with More Than Spike, and read about what James Marsters is doing nowadays, about people’s times at conventions or that his band is back together (!!!!), those memories come to the surface. I remember having my picture taken with James at Dragon*Con – once with my friend (and, it should be noted, fellow Buffy fan) and once the More Than Spike crew. I remember going all over the country to shoot my movie – from Chicago to LA to Tennessee. I remember having Buffy marathons and dressing up as Vampire Willow for Halloween. And I remember that feeling of being in college, being away and independent, and discovering myself.

So even though I am no longer a rabid Buffy fan (though, it should be noted, I still love the show and would LOVE to go to another convention, for old times’ sake), knowing More Than Spike was still around, and that Deni and Peg and all the ladies I met through it, were still here – is and was comforting. It is one of my constants in life. And now that one of my constants is gone, the world feels a little less right.

Farewell, Deni. You touched a lot of people in your life; probably a lot more than you realized. I hope that you are no longer in pain, and have found peace. Thanks for all you did for the fandom. I will miss knowing you are just a mouse-click away.

Video of the Day: In my movie, Deni says that seeing this for the first time struck a major chord with her and led her to the fandom. I feel it only appropriate to end with this. (My apologies for the bad quality):

K-E-L-L-Y: The best musical moments on TV

Lists, lists, we got yer lists here!

I don’t know why I am constantly making up pointless lists about TV in my head. That’s just me.  And yes, I’ve done it again. After the Glee album was released a few weeks ago, I started thinking about my favorite Glee moments, which led to thinking about my favorite TV musical moments. That led to me making a list of said favorites, which brings us here.

Before I begin, a few things: First, I’ve not seen every show out there. These are just some of my favorite moments. I know, for instance, that Ally McBeal was chock-full of musical performances. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen it. Ditto for the first four seasons of American Idol. Second, by musical moments, I do not mean montages. I mean characters actually singing, or music being used effectively in a scene. (But there are a few exceptions for truly outstanding montages that could not be ignored.) Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a musical montage. But the list is long enough already; if I included every musical montage I loved, I’d be writing this entry forever.

Ready? Okay, here we go, in no particular order. Continue reading

“I’m just a Broadway baby…”

57097507

I thought she had a mysterious glow last week…and I was right. Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs are expecting!

That’s gonna be one beautiful, talented kid. (Though, as one poster in the above link said, “No pressure!” Riiight.)

Man. First Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof have a baby girl and now this. (I can only assume that the offspring of two gorgeous people like Alyson and Alexis is stunning.) If this pace keeps up, the children of legitimately talented celebs are going to take over America. Would this really be a bad thing? I mean, look at Rashida Jones.

Video of the Day: Does anyone out there still watch ER? Anyone going to check out the finale? I’m curious, except I haven’t seen the show in years. I had to check out when they made Carter a drug addict, which was…maybe my freshman year of college? 1999 or 2000, probably. I still tuned in sporadically, but then they had to go and kill Mark Greene, and I really was done.  Despite my ignorance now, I loved the show back in its early seasons. One of my oddest memories from high school involves ER. I was in France for a two-week trip, and was terribly homesick. (Don’t get me started on that trip; I owe the country another one, to prove to myself it isn’t actually a terrible place.) I was outside a hospital, as my host family was visiting someone there and I was forced to go.  There were speakers by the entrance piping out Muzak. The song that was playing? A variation on the theme from ER. I shit you not.  “Ahh, America!” I thought to myself. “How I miss thee!”

Good times. My favorite part has always been Benton’s fist pump.

Karaoke will never be the same

Andy Hallett
1975 – 2009

lorne_121

Andy Hallett, best known for playing Lorne, your friendly karaoke bar owner/demon mind reader on Angel, passed away at the age of 33 today after a five year battle with congestive heart failure.

Did anyone even know he was ill?

In 2003, I attended Dragon*Con while making my senior thesis film on fandom. Andy Hallett attended, and I was fortunate enough to attend a panel with him and fellow Buffy alum James Leary. It remains one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. In fact, I filmed the panel, and somewhere in my parents’ basement lies the footage. Granted, I only saw him in a professional setting, but he seemed to be a genuinly nice, easy-going guy who was just thrilled to have a job and be a working actor.

Fare thee well, Mr. Hallett. Thanks for giving me one of the most memorable and hilarious hours of my life.

Video of the Day: In honor of Mr. Hallett and Lorne, I give you my favorite scene at Caritas, and possibly in all of Angel. “My ass is not pansy!”

The Anti-Valentine Post: TV Break ups

The thing about Valentine’s Day is…I hate it. I’m not against romance, flowers, and chocolates per se. In fact, I downright enjoy them.  (Well, maybe not flowers. I have issues with taking their fate too seriously.) But I don’t want it thrown in my face, even if it is only for one day out of the year. Ugh. Just, ugh.

Despite my personal feelings, Valentine’s Day seems to be trucking along this year, and with it, the inevitable Vday blogs. To that end, I present my anti-Valentine list. Because as much as I enjoy romance, I also enjoy heartache. (Not in my actual life, of course, but on my TV screen.) C’mon admit it: You like the angst and the drama that goes along with a well-done fictional break up. It might hurt, but, as the song says, it hurts SO GOOD.

There’s no real science going on here; my requirements were the following:
Must haves:
1.) The couple has had a significant relationship.
Optional additions:
1.) Angst, angst hitting you in the face, so much angst you almost can’t take it.
2.) Humor. It happens, sometimes, within a good break up.
3.) It’s not so much heartbreaking as it is, HELL YEAH! YOU GO GIRL (or guy)!

In ranking order, here are my 10 favorite TV break ups:

10.) Michael/Jan – The Office (Their most recent, season 5.)  
I was a huge supporter of Michael and Jan back in the day. I thought Jan was a misunderstood character, I thought that, while dysfunctional, the two were good for each other: His flakiness balanced out her rigidness. He was there for her when she got fired; she was there for him when he was broke. But by season 5, I was tired of Jan. Having a baby from a sperm donor, because “this one had to count?” Manipulating him into believing he was going to be a part of baby Astrid’s life? Flat-out telling him not to date other women, while treating him like dirt? Sorry, Jan Levinson. You are now dead to me.
Which is why it was SO satisfying to see Michael finally stand up to her, defy her orders, and go for it with one Ms. Holly Flax earlier this season. You go, Mike!
Vodpod videos no longer available.

9.) Nate/Brenda – Six Feet Under
In the history of TV relationships, has one ever been as tumultuous as Nate and Brenda? You hate them, you love them, they’re great together, they’re terrible together, they make up, they implode… It was stressful enough watching it on screen; I can’t imagine ever being in a relationship like this one. Still though, they had something, as dysfunctional as it was.  After everything, including a sketchy first meeting, the death of a parent, Nate’s unexpected fatherhood from another woman, an impending wedding, and Brenda’s increasing sexual trysts, things finally blow up. I watched this season knowing they were going to break up, waiting for it to happen, watching the tension build and build throughout the season…and the payoff was nothing short of awesome.

8.) Willow/Oz – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
One of the best things about Joss Whedon’s relationships is one tends to love them all. I love Xander and Cordy just as much as Xander and Anya. Watching Buffy and Angel together is heartbreaking, but so is watching Buffy with Spike. Heck, even Buffy and Riley had some tender moments. (Lest we forget: “You’re a little peculiar.”) To that end, I loved loved loved Willow and Tara. What a beautiful romance, right? If I had to pick one person for Willow to be with for the rest of her life, it would be Tara. (You know, if Josswasn’t EVIL in that way.) Even so, I also loved Willow and Oz, because that was such an important relationship for Willow. The reason almost all of Whedon’s relationships work is because they represent a certain period of a character’s life. Oz was the right person for Willow in high school – she was just discovering herself, what she was capable of, and Oz was there to support her in that adorable non-verbal way of his. And, like most high school relationships, things started to fall apart once the couple moved on to college.
Isn’t that what relationships are really about? You try people on, and they fit for awhile; you outgrow them and move on to someone new until you find that one person who fits permanently. Whedon said of his Buffy characters, “No relationship gets more than two years.” Considering the time frame of the show, (sophomore year of high school through senior year of college) I think that’s about right. Those are the crucial years where we learn and change. Relationships come and go, and even when they don’t stick, that doesn’t mean they disappear or lose all their merit. The transition from Oz to Tara is the epitome of this life lesson. That’s what makes Willow and Oz’s final scene so beautiful. Man…now I really want to go watch some Buffy.
(Please ignore the crappy video and subtitles as much as you can – this was the only version I could find.)

7.) Barney/Ted – How I Met Your Mother
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Remember the heartache that Barney suffered last year when Ted ended their friendship? It took two car accidents on the same day to bring these BFFs back together. I’m a big fan of this bromance, and when Ted told Barney he didn’t want to be friends anymore, my heart broke a little. A lesson to everyone out there: Don’t sleep with your best friend’s ex. It’s just never a good idea.

6.) Charlotte/Trey – Sex and the City
Oh, Char and Trey…they were doomed from the start and yet I couldn’t help but care. First with the “alrighty” proposal, then with the pre-nup, then the impotence, and Trey’s horrible mother, and the separation, and then when everything seemed to finally be on track, Charlotte finds out she’s reproductively challenged. (And not to make light of a terrible condition, but that phrase does make me giggle a bit whenever I hear it. So politically correct!)
So y’all know the story right? They find out they can’t have kids, Charlotte wants to adopt, Trey and Bunny decidedly do not. Charlotte starts fertility treatments that play havoc on her hormones, Trey convinces Charlotte not to have kids, they start sleeping in separate bedrooms, Trey buys Charlotte a hideous cardboard baby, their marriage collapses.  I love this relationship, and not just because Trey says things like, “I’m sorry Charlotte. May I offer you a hanky?” when they are finally able to have relations. I love it because of what their relationship does to Charlotte. It changes her entire outlook on life. As Michael Patrick King said, “She finally got her fairytale wedding, and it went horribly wrong.” What a delicious story! Charlotte was never my favorite of the gals, but this plot line made me love her. It made her human. She was no longer the annoying princess waiting for her prince charming. She was damaged. She was interesting.
My favorite part of the episode comes at the end, when Trey shows up for the Home and Garden shoot. It’s a great metaphor for their whole relationship: Pretty on the outside, disaster on the inside. Trey’s earnest declaration and Carrie’s voice over kill me every time (I actually am tearing up thinking about it.)
**So I don’t have a clip of the scene I want, but I do have part of the episode here. The clip runs from 11:33 to 13:17.**
Vodpod videos no longer available.

5.) Buffy/Angel – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the first time, season 2)
Oh, the eternal debate in the Jossverse: Angel or Spike? It’s unsolvable, really: Neither side will ever reach an agreement, and those of us who simply can’t make up our minds never will. They’re both wonderful. Is Spike a wee bit hotter without a shirt on? Of course. But, then, there’s Angel. An never-ending, unfulfilled love. They can never really be together, and that is why they have to be together. (Of course, then there’s the whole Angel/Cordy debate, which you shouldn’t really get me started on because I might never shut up. Quick answer: I’m for it.)
But forget about all that. Forget about Angel leaving town, Spike becoming lovestruck for Buffy, forget Cordy and Angel’s adorableness, all of it. Just go back to season two, when Angel and Buffy were all the rage, and remember how good it felt to feel so bad for Buffy. Girl never gets a break.
The actual break up of Buffy and Angel is questionable. Did they ever really break up? Did they ever stop loving each other? In my head, no and no. However, the aftermath of it all, after Angel turns evil, after the big fight, at the end of the day, it’s this scene that sticks with me. It’s this scene that makes me cry. From Giles’ speech to Buffy refusing to blow out her birthday candles, it’s heartbreak all the way. Perhaps the saddest thing of all is Buffy’s conversation with her mother:
“What did you do for your birthday? Did you have fun?”
“I got older.”
and
“Go on,  make a wish?”
“I’ll just let it burn.”
Stab me through the heart with a stake-  I’m done.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

4.) Carrie/Aiden – Sex and the City (the first time, season 3)
The thing about Carrie and Aiden is, they were never going to work. Carrie’s attachment to Big is too deep, and Aiden is too insecure to overlook it. (Not that he should; I’m just saying, guy’s insecure.) Then there’s my whole theory about how Aiden was too good for Carrie, but that’s a different post for a different day. (Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Carrie. She’s my second favorite character from my favorite show of all time… Please don’t throw garbage at me.)
My first thought was to put their second break up on the list. It’s all dramatic, with the fountain, and the yelling, and then the quiet yet powerful ending: “The next day, Aiden moved out.” Fade to black, credits. It’s a punch in the gut, every time. As a viewer, you wish they could make it, even though you know it’s not meant to be. (The remedy to the post-Aiden blues? Watch this episode. As I said to my parents (through our collective tears) when after we watched it, “See. (sniff, sniff) That’s why she can’t be with Aiden.”
So there’s that. But there’s also the break up from season 3 – after Carrie tells Aiden she’s been sleeping with Big. While it doesn’t have the sucker punch of season 4, it’s just…well, it’s just so sad. Here are two people, who really do care about each other, trying to make something work and failing. Plus there’s the sad music, and afterwards, the brave face Carrie puts on for Charlotte. As Michael Patrick King said in his commentary for this episode, “No matter what’s going on in their own lives, the girls are always there for each other.”  Now that’s love.

3.) Luke/Lorelai – Gilmore Girls (the second time, season 6)
I can’t even talk about this one. The only reason it’s on here is because it HURT so much when it happened, and not the good kind of hurt. It broke my heart and made me sad all summer, and then things just got worse in the next season and…yeah. I have to stop talking about it.
I’ll just say that, I’ve only seen this episode once, and hadn’t seen this scene since it aired until I went looking for it on Youtube. Even so, the sound of Lorelai’s voice telling Luke she picks the wallpaper over him has remained in my head for almost three years. It’s just. So. Heartbreaking. Damn you, Amy Sherman Palladino! Why? WHY? If you’re going to break  a couple up, take your cue from the masters above. (See:  Whedon, Joss and King, Michael Patrick.)

2.) Sam/Diane – Cheers (the first time, season 2)
Talk about a sucker punch. It’s one of the greatest scenes in all of television, and one only tends to remember the funny parts: The slapping, the nose pulling, the line “This is it. We’ve sunk as low as human beings can sink.” It’s hilarious, until it isn’t, and that’s how they get you. Also, simply as a piece of TV history, it’s incredible. An almost 10 minute scene between two people, with that much intensity? Can you imagine if a show attempted this today?  (I wish one would, actually. I miss those scenes.)
 

and, drum-roll please…my number one TV break up:

1.) Ross and Rachel – Friends (the first time, season 3)
Could it be any other way? This episode is, IMO, one of the best of the series, and perhaps one of the best in all of television. Everything works, from the Ross/Rachel banter (“A mistake? What were you trying to put it in, her purse?”),  to the hilarious scenario of the rest of the gang getting stuck in Monica’s room (“Do you think I need a new walk?”), to the intensity played by all the cast when the inevitable happens. Half of the show is basically a mini-play, and it never gets old. It also never gets any less sad, even though we all know Ross and Rachel get together in the end.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the whole thing, but here’s the crux of the piece.

So…depressed yet? Ready to toss Valentine’s Day out the door? Or are you forever a Charlotte, always believing in love?

In praise of Olive Snook

I love the fall. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. A part of this goes back being in school, and having the sense of a fresh start. I like the idea of leaves crunching underneath my feet. I like the idea of shopping for new clothes and getting out sweaters. I like the idea of Halloween. (Though, to be fair, I haven’t dressed up since being Vampire Willow in college. About three people at the party got it, but it was still fun to plan out a costume, wear leather pants and leather boots, dye my hair bright red, and go around saying, “Bored now” to people who didn’t know what to think.)

In addition to school and leaves and costumes, one of the biggest reasons I love fall is because it’s the start of a new TV season. These last two weeks have been a feast for the TV lover. New episodes of The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, Chuck, House, Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters…the list goes on and on. (No I don’t watch ALL of those shows. I have a hard enough time just keeping up with Monday night TV.)

Tomorrow night marks the return of one of my favorite shows from last year – Pushing Daisies.

If you aren’t familiar with the show — and there is a good chance you may not be, as it only got in nine episodes before the strike sent it to Hiatusland — here’s a helpful video to catch you up:

(Thank goodness for that. Jim Dale is a much better recapper than me.)

A few weeks ago, season 1 came out on DVD, and I got a refresher course of my own. I remembered the show, and its most pertinent details, but had forgotten a lot of the episodic plot lines.

Here’s what I discovered: I still like the show a lot. It’s not in my top 10 yet, but I do really enjoy it. The best part of the show, for me, isn’t Ned the Piemaker, nor is it Chuck. (Who, quite frankly, grates. She’s just a little too precious and quirky, even for this show. I hope they fix that this year.) It isn’t even Emerson Cod’s love of knitting (though…awesome) or the Darling Mermaid Darlings increasing pie addiction. No, what makes the show for me is one Miss Olive Snook, played by the luminous Kristin Chenoweth.

What started out as a character with pretty much only one defining trait — she is in love with Ned — has turned into a multi-faceted, fascinating supporting role. Throughout the course of nine episodes, we learn that Olive used to be a jockey (a nod, I’m sure, to Chenoweth’s small stature). We learn that her pajamas match her bedspread. We learn she’s not as dumb as she may at first seem. We learn she’s very sweet — faithfully taking pies to Chuck’s aunts and trying to get them out of their house. Most important, we learn she is a good friend, even to Chuck, whom she should hate for stealing the affections of The Piemaker.

Kristin Chenoweth took what was a minor character in the pilot (Pie-lette) and turned Olive into a vital member of the cast. Pushing Daisies wouldn’t be Pushing Daisies now without Olive Snook. In fact, if Chenoweth ever leaves the show, I’ll probably stop watching.

Here’s hoping Olive will continue her friendships with Chuck, The Aunts and Emerson in season two. Watching her interact with the others truly makes the show for me.

Plus, you know, she sings.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While reading reviews of yesterday’s HIMYM (That’s How I Met Your Mother for those not in the know) I was reminded of one of the great moments of the series – Barney’s Top 10 List, and NPH’s dead on impression of David Letterman, complete with, well I don’t want to ruin it for you, but listen for it at the end. So, to file under “Things that are awesome” (and I promise they won’t all feature NPH, this is just odd coincindence), here’s my Featured Video of the Day. Make sure you watch to the end, as after the initial bit, they do an additional bit that did not originally air.

Barney’s Top 10.

Happy (belated) new TV season!