Category Archives: Television

Saturday’s Child: Raising Arizona, Hope, and Me

First of all, let me tell you that my love of Raising Hope has only a very little to do with the fact that it stars the not-whiny gal from The Goonies all grown up.

When I was a kid my parents loved Raising Arizona, and I remember just finding it awkward and embarrassing in its near depiction of my own awkward, embarrassing family. Which isn’t to say my mom and dad wanted for kids enough to go around thieving them, but still. These folks were poor and inarticulate and taken advantage of. They weren’t so much real people as caricatures, and when paired with their socioeconomic equals on Married With Children, I was made more than a little bit uncomfortable.

Hope’s family is poor and rowdy and none too bright but they love the shit out of each other, and for me that is the strongest narrative thread in the series. My love of queering the traditional family delights, too, in the role reversal of Jimmy’s parents. His father is the one who needs to be hugged, who cries, who shelters him, and his mother plays at sympathies she sometimes simply doesn’t have. For all of the outlandishness somehow tidily resolved by the end of an episode, these crazy folks are real and I love them.

Just like my folks are real and crazy and I love them.

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U.S.S. Enterprising

Years ago when M and I painted the living room of the house that wasn’t yet half mine, we pushed all of the furniture into the middle of the room and crab-walked the perimeter, brushes and rollers stiff as sore limbs and caked with pumpkin-colored paint. We queued episode after episode of Star Trek: Voyager and Tuvok’s stoic acceptance of the vagaries of children’s tempers helped me to control mine. House projects are something I have accepted with reluctance, and perhaps only because of my love for a man who is convinced that if he doesn’t know how to do something, he’d rather learn than pay someone else.

So it was that when we agreed to begin tearing up the kitchen floor, I indulged in a little TNG and sliced up some watermelon. Stealing bites between peeling tiles, unable to hear over the roar of the heat gun but having seen enough to know just what Wesley Crusher was prattling on about, I found comfort in being part of a crew of two. We’re always doing or dreaming big, and for all it might seem that our projects are for the someday that hasn’t happened yet, I know these are the memories the rest of our lives are going to be built on. I think our kids might be as inclined to groan as I have been, but I’ll share with them my secrets: suck on cold fruit, escape into utopian fiction, trace the patterns of paint and stain and grit on the same pair of old work pants, remembering where you’ve been and what you’ve done. Work together. Be a family.

Or maybe because he’s their Daddy they won’t be so buggered.

Saturday’s Child Works Hard for a Living

I’ve always loved that particular folk rhyme, or perhaps it was the book I read as a child where the children – named after the days of their birth – are all turned into the foods they like best and nearly eaten by a witch.

I was born on a Saturday. For me at least this doesn’t mean I’m living by the skin off my hands or the sweat on my brow, but by the drive I have to do and be, to feel guilty for every moment of rest away from the work of my life: writing. It isn’t that I consider time spent away from my work necessary, because I totally do, but the murderous, ruler-rapping impulses courtesy of my Type-Triple-A personality – kind of like the T-888, only soft and prone to tears – make everything that isn’t something feel like I ought to flog myself. I could and did skip any number of classes in college without warranting this kind of response, but if I elect to read before bed instead of tap-tap-tapping out a few words I might even end up deleting tomorrow, it’s on.

Maybe I ought to have been Wednesday’s child?

But I do give myself a break, even when I don’t feel like I deserve one. With that in mind and my desire for something here to cater to my exhaustive hunger for geek culture – and what my obsessive fervor often transmutes to geek culture, like honing my gardening and sewing skills for the zombie apocalypse – I bring you Saturday’s Child, where I am admitting the opposite of what I ought to be doing. What I’m reading, watching, playing; the things that just took my heart and squeezed it like a naughty cat.

  1. I’ve got a crush on the Naz’jar Battlemaiden. World of Warcraft has some really tremendous storytelling, and as I tend only to game when there’s a rich world and story involved, this is dangerous business, indeed.
  2. I’m not a genius, which explains why I’m late to the Eureka party. The success of this show, I think, lies in what a friend smartly called the fact that it’s “light on the science, big on the fiction.” I love a space opera or fantasy epic as much as the next geek, but a romp that doesn’t take itself so seriously is refreshing.
  3. Jason Sanford’s Never Never Stories, especially the scope and sheer weirdness of the science fiction stories, are just captivating. Every question I felt I needed answered on the first page was forgotten in the wandering and wondering pleasure of just reading.

Guilty pleasures? Spill ’em.

Get Lost

My husband and I , well behind the curve of your average primetime television viewer, only recently watched the conclusion of Lost, and while I have a great deal more to say about it than this, all I want to write about is my abruptly realized fear of dying.

The thing most likely to get the tears flowing from me is fictional lovers parted, by death or otherwise. I missed a question on a test in college for having thrown Cold Mountain across the room but a few pages from the end, and I never watch the ending of Titanic or Moulin Rouge. Once is enough. Just knowing that they end the way they do is enough to set me sulking for the rest of whatever prospective day I’ve decided to torture myself.

It isn’t that I don’t believe in something after death, it’s that I can’t name it or describe it and I don’t have the faith to follow those who claim that they can. Fragile, human doubt about what comes after is as real to me as the notion that these feelings must mean there’s something more. I want to live with as much heart as possible because even if there’s nothing once it stops beating, I won’t know until it’s too late to have done or said or dreamed. I don’t want to make excuses – even though I do – because I know I have more to fear in regretting what I haven’t done than anything I have or would.

It’s just a television show, but what I wanted they couldn’t show me. Life seems hard and little and mean, but at least I know what to expect.