Boob Tube Reviews, Part 1

I watch too much TV. Or I watch more TV than I want to admit publically. Nevertheless, I’ve had thoughts about some of these things I see and I might as well present them if I’m going to admit to it–having watched let’s say enough TV to have opinions about it; let’s just say:

Rake

Superbly clever show about a hedonistic barrister. We start off with his defense of a cannibal and I’m all the way in from that point to a very good stretch. The last season dropped off a little, as many of these shows do when the writers or likely producers or some other ratings ninnies fear they have leveled in some way and need to blow things out of proportion. But I do recommend this show almost all the way through and guess that like me, you’ll want to see it the rest of the way once you’ve gone a certain distance because of human curiosity and the gravity of stagnation brought on from a binge of oh for fuck’s sake I just found out there’s an American version when I went to check how many seasons there were. Looks like they’ve put a female lead in probably to balance some of the edgy topics they’ll rip off of the Australian original and it’ll help the American backlash of those episodes against what South Park calls the PC Babies. I have been unable to get through more than a bit of the American Office. I’d love to rip this US rip-off a new sphincter but I will probably never come near it so you’re on your own, public. Watch the Australian version first or I’ll never believe anything you say about either of them.

Orange Is the New Black

Really divided here. I stayed away completely for a long while because I’ve got a big problem with you people and this show has caught your fancy and that’s an issue for me.

These writers are smart and informed and they are calling attention to our atrocious criminal justice system, check. There are some great performers and moments between performers and it mostly has me on a gut level and that’s good. By the time they bring in the private prisons for immigrants issue, I’m sad enough to feel the need to go and vomit over this shit and appreciate the bold, visceral depiction of the topic, appreciate that it might possibly get someone’s attention who needed a wake up or like that; check check, yes yes glad it happened.

My big issue is with a trend in the scripts–these writers are so well-read and so clever they can’t resist showing it through any character that happens to be calling up good cue for a reference. I didn’t keep a notebook handy or anything but when a white supremacist is making fun of a black inmate, citing call and response in black music as if he studied Leroi Jones’ Blues People to prep himself for just such a chance at a dig, I am not along for that assumption. Racism is not highbrow culture in most sectors, I’m going to say least of all in prison.

When tweaking, toothless inmates offhandedly relate some plot point back to Shakespeare and then titter off with an “or something like, I don’t know,” soon I’m taking for granted that while I’m waiting for the next story reveal I’ll have to keep swallowing these out of place announcements channeled through otherwise compelling characters, about the well-versed writers themselves rather than their story.

Atlanta

Yup. Kafka meets hip-hop. Very funny, real, painful, happening. Hats off to Donald Glover. Very talented guy, visionary by this show. Maybe I won’t love his music; kind of hoping I don’t.

Episodes

Another unabashed recommendation. Awkward British couple moves to L.A. after receiving an offer to do an American version of their TV show. They hear all kinds of promises that the network won’t take a huge Hollywood dump on it which of course it does. How much of this was based on something real? One key phrase might be Friday Night Dinner, which the lead actress, Tasmin Grieg, was involved in for a number of seasons similar to the fictional show referred to as a transplant to the U.S. in Episodes…[Reseraching]. And it turns out there was nearly an American version of Friday Night Dinner–never made it to air–but for some reason a quick perusal doesn’t show any articles or quotes relating Episodes to that true to life experience. Maybe the “Work of Fiction” disclaimer would be jeopardized if anyone drew a line but regardless, these Brits had a go at Hollywood and hit the mark, taking many real trumped-up network slimebags down I’m sure in the process and I think we should all support such a thing–especially when it’s this fucking funny.

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Thank you for reading. Tune in next time and maybe I’ll take a stab at your favorite show.


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