sometimes I do like to watch

1

I have a thing for brilliant difficult men. I do. Ever since I was in my late teens. And if they were a bit older and in a position of authority, so much the better. They are my bad boys. Gordon Ramsay on HELL’S KITCHEN. Greg House on HOUSE (yes, I realize he does not actually exist, but that is beside the point). Men who are incredible and passionate at what they do; men who have that prickly somewhat antisocial exterior, perhaps because their own intellect and interests caused them to socialize unfortunately as youngsters. Yet once you get beyond their guard and break them down they are complete and utter sweeties. (They have to have that essential sweetness, kindness, vulnerability. Lucky for me, I am not into psychos.) Until they get difficult and prickly and antisocial again. But that, of course, is the challenge.

“I don’t like this show,” observed the brilliant sometimes-difficult man I went and married, even though getting married at 27 was truly not part of the Life Plan, which at that point still called for solo travel and general rootlessness and various forms of inappropriate behavior. “It’s just this one guy screaming at a bunch of losers.”

“They do seem a highly unpleasant group of people,” I agreed. “And yet, I remain strangely riveted.”

E went to sleep, and I watched the end of HELL’S KITCHEN.

I do like Heather: scrappy and spirited and actually competent, or so it appears.

Sara is evil.

2

It takes a lot for me to commit to a scripted TV show — lots of genuine word-of-mouth, reviews, a complete season on DVD, etc. By the time I finally ‘discovered’ BUFFY, after years of hearing about it in some form or other, the series had been cancelled (which was great, actually, because I could rip my way through the DVDs, and when I came to the end of them, I could TiVO the episodes of the remaining two seasons, which were already being shown in everyday reruns). Likewise with ANGEL.

Then there’s 24. I do my best to shut my ears to the season as it runs itself out on TV, because I am waiting for the DVD. You can’t help but pick up a few plot spoilers this way (“they killed him off? really? and him and him and her?“) but the ability to watch back-to-back episodes without commercial breaks makes it so very worth it.

Then there was ROME. Man, did I love me some ROME. (That kid, Octavian, one of my favorite characters ever, and those Machiavellian women locked in subtle intrigue were fantastic.) This, however, was an exercise in frustration: the first season a mere 12 episodes, the second season not slated to show until next December or January. That’ll teach me to get hooked on a show way too soon.

(I wish ROME was a novel and that I had written it.)

Now there’s VERONICA MARS. Just watched the first few episodes of Season 1 and I adore this girl and I love this show and am delighted to know that in a couple of months I can feast on Season 2, which is supposed to be just as good.

3

Looking forward to:

Jennifer Egan’s new book THE KEEP, coming out in August. She wrote a tremendously good novel called LOOK AT ME several years ago and I’ve been waiting for the follow-up ever since. The fact that this book has a gothic twist to it — a castle, a horrible family secret, and the like — cast in her kind of style and art and intelligence — just makes waiting for it all the sweeter.

Michael Mann’s new movie, out next month. I don’t even care what it is or who’s in it or what it’s about. It’s Michael Mann.

David Fincher’s work-in-progress, in which he attempts to reinvent the serial-killer movie for the first time since he made SEVEN. I know little else about this film except that it’s based on the Zodiac guy….It is about time that somebody made a new intelligent dark thriller for all the other intelligent dark thrillers to rip off.

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