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Friday, 7 November 2008

Skink, Skank, Skunk... or, Jumping the Sarcopterygian

I watch too much television, (how else would I have been able to coin my mantra?) as does Himself, (his first impulse upon a guarantee of better and non-temp income was to call the cable company and upgrade our package, though I am proud to say that as some of my skinflintitude has worn off on him, he didn't suggest "premium" channels.)
And both of us are able to refer to "our stories" with barely a hint of irony.
Whoever expected to turn into her own Grandmother? (legend has it that one of mine, as her husband lay dying in the hospital, delayed her visit until "her story" was over -- some soap that's may still be on, Guiding Light perhaps?)
I mean, I have my excuses--
With the election season that lasted what, 15 or 16 years? news became almost unbearable, and I, like an idiot, latched on to more "stories," and that was foolish, for everything seems to be a serial now.
Would any single episode of Mad Men or Life make sense? don't you NEED context?
And On Demand allows you to catch up.
Even sitcoms have seasonal "arcs" now, for the love of mike, and it bothers me that I don't know how Ryan arrived back in Scranton, lowly and beardless; or whether Pam and Jim are really engaged; or why the character Jane Krakowski plays on 30 Rock was in a fat suit for a while.
So, I can't just enjoy it when .... I can enjoy it -- I have to "keep up."
TV watching becomes a burden, it feels like an obligation. (How I suffer....)
And of course in addition to all the guilty pleasures enumerated above, (and I didn't even go into the sort of television by which means of which Himself claims I am "turning [him] into a girl!",) there are things like Into Great Silence, which I had marked on my calendar for a month, (appointment TV, I think they called it at the height of Masterpiece Theater's renown,) and which did not disappoint.
The juxtaposition of that last paragraph reminds me, Himself suggested that the best conversation EVER would result from answering the old who would you like to have dinner with? parlor game , Fr Groeschel, Craig Ferguson and Tim Gunn.
Whaddya think? I digress....
Anyway, I watch too much TV, and I'm invested in too many ongoing story arcs, so it comes as a bit of a relief when a show jumps the shark, and I no longer feel the "need" to watch it.
In the case of my latest defection, the show jumped the "Sarcopterygian."
Primeval was good, silly fun, sometimes witty special effects, amusing dialogue, and an interesting premise with endless possibilities. It was also the perfect thing to have on in the background on Saturday nights while I made up my choir programs for the next morning.
Then suddenly, the interesting, ambiguously amoral, complex character played by Juliet Aubrey, (anyone remember her wonderful, subtle performance in Middlemarch?) began being costumed like Rambo in a WonderBra, and leering into the camera like the Big Bad Wolf to telegraph her villainy to the viewer after every evil lie. She might as well have been her won Evil Twin.
(OH. Maybe she is.....)
And the cliched plotting! Rex the Flying Lizard, who, incongruously, was being made ever more cuddly, (note to producers: there's a reason "reptilian" means what it does,) had to be saved, at some risk to herself, by the semi-bad girl, who had semi-seduced one of the heroes, in order to semi-redeem herself.
The Skunk, the Skink and the Skank.
But I was out for the season finale, and just caught it on OnDemand.
Cliche, upon improbability, upon trashiness.
(I know improbability seems like a silly thing to bemoan the lack of in a fantasy, but when situations have no connection to reality, it is imperative that human emotions remain realistic, and that's where their plotting fell down.)
Aeneas, I mean, Stephen, stopped sulking in his tent long enough to save everyone, utter some nonsensical dialogue (written, seemingly, to provide motivation for motiveless behavior,) and then offer himself up.
It was very spock.... (in more ways than one -- it also played like a scene especially designed to allow the character to either be written out or be brought back gloriously, depending on how contract negotiations went.)
But the idiocy that clinched it for me was the girl fight.
It had all the charm of the GorgeousLadiesOfWrestling.

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