Life is just too fucking boring not to try.
-Lew Ashby, Californication
-Lew Ashby, Californication
It’s been a big week for my TV life. Mad Men started back. Archer finished its third season. Californication set up for its season finale next week.
Overall: I’m disappointed.
Mad Men was good. Maybe I’m not disappointed in it, but there was this new level of wrong with the characters–Lane’s creepy yearning, the Drapers’ punishment/fetish sex, Harry’s lewdness–that sort of put me on edge.
Archer’s conclusion sucked. Not that theme was bad: a Moonraker-style two-episode farewell that had a Drax-inspired character called Drake, and a Jaws-like goodbye to Bionic Barry (who already had a somewhat Jaws-ish relationship develop with Katya in the precursor to the season-ending double-whammy). Good job, team! I guess I just felt like part two ended with me thinking, “Archer’s a dick. Got it. Everyone else suffers because of it. Got it. So…” What? We’ve known that since forever. The end did nothing to make me want the immediate return of the show. And I’m always wanting that. Until now.
And then there’s Californication. I still really like this season, despite some inconsistencies, like
-WTF happened with Hank and Kali?
-Why does Samurai trust Tyler with Kali?
-Why doesn’t Karen get how horrible Tyler is?
-WHY IS HANK DOING THE RIGHT THING 75% OF THE TIME?
-When did Marcy become not funny and just a bitch?
but this last episode seems to have set the doom-gloom on the season closer. Is that necessary? We already had Hank’s trial and Hank’s confession to Karen, does this season need to be a shitter, too? What happened to the jump-in-the-car-and-go type ending from the first season is what I want to know.
While I’m not opposed to infidelity in the show–obviously it’s what it’s based on–this latest episode fucked over everyone. EVERYONE. Even Hank, who was staying pretty clean until it involved Becca.
As glad as I am that he gave Tyler what was coming, why couldn’t the episode have ended with Hank doing the standup thing [side note: as much as I was rooting for Hank, Karen, and some beach sex, I think this was the right move for his newly developed awareness] and then let Samurai catch Kali and Tyler? Why did Hank have to come out as the bad guy, again, when his intentions have been so good with not hurting Becca and Karen? Bah. There’s just not one stable person or relationship in the whole damn show (hell, even the agent-writer relationship is fucked up) and I don’t know how that’s going to turn around in 20 minutes next week.
But, like I said, still an awesome show. And despite the heartbreak, this week had some pretty great moments. Here are a couple right-on remarks from Marcy:
“I would be the fucking spice. The sexual tabasco.”
“They fucking love you to pieces, you dumb shit. We all do. You just have trouble loving yourself sometimes.”
Today, February 7th, 2012, is his 200th birthday. London is ablaze with celebrations: Charles and Camilla are visiting the Dickens Museum, Professor Klimaszewski is at his Westminster grave, The Hip Hop Shakespeare Company is performing Dickens in the streets, there’s a world-wide 24-hour read-a-thon of his works, and Cityread London will use Oliver Twist to continue the party into the Spring. And it’s no small feat that Dickens Journals Online released a digitized version of his publications [I helped! All The Year Round Vol. II, New Series No. 50] for the special day.
What do you know about the man behind the face of Victorian literature?
That many of his works were published serially?
He wrote under the pseudonym Boz?
He was pals with someone known as Phiz?
His wife had 10 kids?
He ran off with an actress?
He had an extra hole in his butt?
The Wire named an episode after him
(“The Dickensian Aspect”) and Ludacris is his bro
(“I only hang with chicks that got more twist than Oliver”)?
There’s nothing (well, almost nothing) that I can tell you that you can’t find on any of the thousands of websites spouting Dickens knowledge in honor of this blessed Bicentennial. But besides being an interesting man (how can you write the phrase “gong donkey” and not be interesting), you just have to read his works. That’s really what this hullabaloo is all about: his literature.
Reading Dickens is an experience. Not the lame one you had reading Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations in high school. It’s astounding what you learn, and how intelligent you feel, if you take the time to understand the social and political climates of Victorian England. Dickens, like Austen if you appreciate her works, wrote remarkable social commentary that reached the masses. His publication history (periodicals, novels) is a study itself. So use this 200th birthday year as motivation to take the time to read a book–I don’t care if it’s A Christmas Carol (that’s the shortest)–and encounter Dickens and the worlds he simultaneously lived in and created.
To mark this splendid occasion, I will leave you with three things: My favorite Dickens (no, I have not read them all), a totally awesome quiz, and a very simple yet powerful observation.
My top three favorite books by Charles Dickens are Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and Our Mutual Friend. I highly suggest reading them all, but I will admit that Great Expectations can be very dull without the guidance of a classroom and higher education. Our Mutual Friend is fucking brilliant: Dickens at his best–engulfing, crazy characters, and biting social commentary. Oliver Twist is what prompted me to go to grad school–I wrote a paper about it and it’s reincarnation in the neo-Victorian Fingersmith. Now, let’s be real here folks, there’s only one man who could have gotten me to move to Lubbock: I chose Raider Rash over Boston, all for one Charles J. H. Dickens.
Which Dickens Character Are You? Find out here!
(I’m Sidney Carton. How depressingly accurate!)
“…the most interesting and pardonable of human weaknesses— love.”
-From the Pickwick Papers
But at some point I had to choose happiness. I had to make it a priority.
I am really liking this fifth season of Californication. I had my doubts after season four dragged. It was stale. But this–this is nice. It’s a little bit more dramedy, a little less sexmedy. Don’t get me wrong, the shock value is still there, the strange is definitely still there, and Hank’s wiener is still feeling weird. But it’s a good change of pace. Everyone is growing up, or at least trying to. It doesn’t feel like a game anymore. The end of the third episode reminded me of so much of what I loved in the first season. This season itself has breached some interesting topics: overexposure to porn and sex toys. Now, it’s dealt with in a comic manner, but some people I know would have you believe it’s a legitimate issue. In this latest episode, four, Hank got downright put in his place. In front of all his happy friends. And although I think they gave Crazy a little too much self-righteousness, it was refreshing to see it happen.
It’s just… At the end, when Hank’s talking to Karen, I totally feel them both. And being the good little narcissistic blogger that I am, I can’t help but wonder between the two, where I really am now (I know which I tell myself), or where I’m going to be. The miracle is that I’ll get there someday.
What if this is it for me? What if I’m just destined to sit around and wait for the band to get back together.
Hey everyone, come and see how good I look!
Multiple compliments on my skirt today warranted this post. It was on sale at White House Black Market. I’m not one for taking fashion risks–the risk here being a black and white skirt. Or a high-waisted skirt. Or a colored top. Basically I’m just really glad it worked out. I feel so Katherine-Heigl-on-the-cover-of-Vanity-Fair.
I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.
Also today, I received a package in the mail. Did I not get the cutest damn cups from West Elm? Not as cute as the bowls (which will arrive in August). My apartment sounds like Raphael Saadiq’s Stone Rollin and I have lots of fantastic dinnerware because I am so very involved in the kitchen industry.
The one that listens and hears everything. The one that looks at you and sees right into your soul. The one that makes you believe in every fucking fairy tale that you’ve ever been told. Ultimately, I may not even be the woman who gets to enjoy the man I know he can be. But I still want the best for him.