Tribute to Television

 

Last month for the second time we gave some much needed (and deserved) love to three under-recognized series, and today we continue that tradition. You might notice that I’ve changed the title of the series from “Reasons to Stay Inside” to “Tribute to Television”; I’ve done this because I think the ironic intention of the former has a pretty short expiration date before it turns sour and unironically depressing[i].

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“That Gum You Like is Going To Come Back in Style”: The Revival of Twin Peaks and the Uncanny

 

Next year, one of the creepiest murder-mystery TV series Twin Peaks will return for a new season. Being over 25 years old, the show is a true cult classic and has been subject to many tributes and references from various other famous TV-shows like The Simpsons and Adventure Time. Last summer I watched the first two seasons, and at times, when I lay wide awake in bed, paralysed by the sheer creepiness of it all, hoping that when I opened my eyes I wouldn’t come face to face with a grey-haired maniac in denim that was staring at me from beside my bed, I really wish I didn’t because it is genuinely the most horrifying thing I have ever seen. Continue reading ““That Gum You Like is Going To Come Back in Style”: The Revival of Twin Peaks and the Uncanny”

*Stares into the Camera*: On The “Jim Look” and The Age of Irony

A few weeks ago I was at a housewarming, and while using a phallic-shaped bottle opener to remove the cap from my beer because it was, regrettably, the only one available, some guy said “I can see you thinking; this one is slightly smaller than what I am used to”. Because I didn’t want to make the situation any more awkward than it already was, I laughed, trying to mute the discomfort that echoed through the kitchen. Yet it was not enough. I could still feel a cringe starting to work its way up my spine. So I did what I would normally do when the uncomfortableness can’t be laughed away: I picked a spot on the wall opposite of me and stared at it, pretending to look straight into the camera as if I were on The Office. It’s not that I like to flatter myself thinking that my life is being documented in a The Truman Show-like way[1], but at moments like these I find that the only way to properly deal with the sheer awkwardness of daily life is by reaching out to an imaginary audience. This is not just a personal quirk but symptomatic for the internet-driven chaotic experiences of modern life. From Modern Family to Parks and Recreation, the look into the camera assumes a stance that reflects contemporary tendencies to fluctuate between seriousness and the remains of the 90s-like postmodern irony.

Continue reading “*Stares into the Camera*: On The “Jim Look” and The Age of Irony”

Less Is More

fireflyWe have all felt the initial pang of sadness when we discover one of our favorite shows’ lifespan is shortened to less seasons than you might have liked to watch. I had such an experience with the two shows Freaks and Geeks and Firefly. Each of these was only given one season—and for both of them that feels far too short.

Freaks and Geeks is a show that centers on teenage protagonist Lindsay Weir and her little brother Sam, who go to the same high school. The setting takes place in a small town in Michigan in the school year 1980–1981. Her friends are notoriously called “freaks” and feature, among others, a young James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel. Her little brother’s friends are called the “geeks” and both groups experience hilarious and heartstring-pulling situations. As neither Lindsay nor Sam truly fit into these groups (nor any other groups, for that matter), it is easy and a lot of fun to invest into and identify with their characters.

Firefly takes quite a different angle. This show features a crew of misfits and do-gooders alike, working, smuggling and struggling through the vast endlessness of space inside of a Firefly-class spacecraft called “Serenity”. Set up as a Western in outer space, Firefly revolves around the following nine individuals: Mal (the captain, kind of a Han Solo-like character), Zoe (the second in command), Wash (the goofy pilot, married to Zoe), Kaylee (the cute mechanic), Jayne (the nitwit muscle), River (wanted by the government), Simon (a doctor, River’s brother), Book (a shepherd with a dark past), and Inara (a “companion”). The way in which these different characters with their different gimmicks and traits work together, clash with each other and beautifully form a family, makes this one of the most captivating shows I have watched. Luckily, Joss Whedon (the creator) made an additional movie called Serenity.

Having watched and re-watched all the episodes of both these shows more than twice I continue to wonder what it would be like if their plugs hadn’t been pulled. On the one hand, having the pleasure of watching more, and enjoying more of it seems very appealing. Especially because there are so many sides of these one-season long shows that could have been explored to a far greater degree. On the other hand, the compactness and tragedy of their duration does immortalize their awesomeness. As it is now, the shows will not be spoiled with filler episodes, unnecessary plot twists, or general dragging of plot—like it is done with so many other shows, for obvious financial reasons (read: Lost, or How I Met Your Mother, or Two and a Half Men, etc.). No, now I can bittersweetly say that I am happy these shows were this short, because there is no way I will ever forget them.

 

Ines

Header image courtesy of moviepilot.com