No Food, Just TV
February 18, 2007

I'm in a weird, euphoric state of boob toobage. After seven years of happily distilling a lethal concentration of hate, indignation, and outrage whenever I turn on the television, I've now got a pile of fun shows on my TiVo that don't make me foam at the mouth. No, I'm not talking about Battlestar Galactica, Veronica Mars, Heroes, Grey's Anatomy (which my husband calls "That Evil Show" because he always finds me a snotty mess by the end of it), or Supernatural. Those are my good shows. My fun shows are things that, well, I find a certain peace in watching.

First, there's Jericho. It's seriously the most awesome dumb show you will ever watch. Jericho is improbable, often quite ridiculous, and sometimes flat-out wrong, but there are these horrific moments of brilliance that completely carry the show. For me. I'm getting simple-minded in my advancing years. When the second episode ended with a character push-pinning locations that had been nuked, and I slowed my TiVo to shriek over each and every one of them, I knew I was being manipulated. But I also knew that I was hooked.

All I really care about in the stupid one stoplight town of Jericho is what's going on with two specific characters and maybe a sprinkling of a third. Jake and Hawkins both have mysterious pasts that the show is dragging out in little contrived bits. Jake knows how to dynamite bridges and mines and also how to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a pen? Sure, doesn't everybody? But then, people, THEN he trots out street names in the Green Zone! It was pandering and facile and totally freaking awesome! Hawkins is up a tree sniping a sniper? And stockpiling, like, loads of crap? And is the only one in town with an internet connection? And knew about the bombs ahead of time? Hell, yeah! (Fact is, I was a bit disappointed when it came out that Hawkins was just a boring old F.B.I. agent, but I have hopes that's a smokescreen.)

Now, both Jake and Hawkins do some dumb things. Like that time Hawkins took his laptop outside (Dude? Why are you outside with a ginormous pimple of a satellite dish when we already know your computer works so well in your cement block bunker, which, by the way, is totally AWESOME!) and got spotted by Jake who was up spotting the fires that were cropping up all over the city. For Jake's part, well, there was that time he almost kissed his ex, Emily, which brings me to my third favored character: Heather.

Heather is the relatively kick-ass school teacher who broke her leg in a bus accident but still managed to be useful while Exmily was boggling over a bunch of dead birds. She also knew how to fix a hospital ventilation system and made ice for Mayor Dad out of water and fertilizer AND worried about sparks and gasoline when no one else did.

Look, the show is not smart, it's not challenging, and it doesn't make me think overly deep thoughts about life, death, and philosophy. It makes me giggle and it makes me cheer for surprisingly shallow reasons. It also doesn't feel like homework, which -- hold on to your toasters -- BSG has started to feel of late. I need these dumb, peaceful shows to quiet my mind.

The other show I've slotted into that category is Gilmore Girls. I don't really know why I'm watching it when I hate Lorelai and Rory so damn much, but I have programmed my TiVo to bank the reruns on the Family Channel -- the channel that blips out words like "retard" -- and I watch every. Single. One. Again, I'm discovering comfort and calmness in this little New England town with the pretty buildings, the pretty trees, and the overly quirky townspeople. I roll my eyes at the tired rapid-fire dialogue that makes my husband's ears bleed, I ignore the romantic entanglements of the title characters, and I shun the squee. I just like to chill on Gilmore Girls and think of a time when I lived in a smallish New England "town."

It's nice to like TV again.

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