Where Basic Cable Missed the Boat

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of shows on basic cable, USA in particular.   (With the exception of that stupid show about the not lawyer girl but I haven’t seen any adds for that one in a while so I think they may have cancelled it.)  This summer my friends at USA have put together a great new show called Suits it’s silly and not very realistic but still very fun and the WonderHusband and I quite enjoy it.  Except for one thing.

In  recent months the FCC must have changed the rules for basic cable.  Specifically, allowing the use of words that were previously verboten, the angered reference to excrement, the allusion the a certain part of the male anatomy (when not actually talking about the male anatomy) once per show only, or so it appears, but all of these have shown up in the midst of this otherwise delightful show.

Does the casual use of words that are, at least in my world, not casually used completely ruin the show?  No, not completely.  Am I going to stop watching it?  No, it’s not that big of a deal , I regularly hear worse than that at work, in the grocery store, on the train, etc.  But it is a little off-putting and, what almost bugs me more, it doesn’t make any sense.

Now, I don’t work in television, I don’t pretend to know what goes into assembling an audience for a show.  I don’t know about demographics or … any of that stuff (I don’t even know enough of the jargon to come up with another word to use there).  But it seems to me that the first thing you’re going to want to do if you’re the producer of a show like Suits is to know your audience and give them what they want.

Here’s a hint, the audience for a show on basic cable is not interested in pushing FCC boundaries.  If I wanted to be cussed at (and/or to watch naked people and/or blood guts and gore) I’d watch HBO.  I’m not watching HBO, I choose not to which means that I don’t really want to be sworn at.  But they’re trying to make it realistic, you argue.  Have you ever met a lawyer in NY?  Because I’m here to tell you that throwing in a single reference to what bears do in the woods in an hour does not even come close to what you’d hear in the first five minutes talking to an actual big apple lawyer.  So if you can’t get realism why pretend to try?  (Also if you’re going for realism perhaps you shouldn’t start with a show about a guy working as a lawyer for a big powerful law firm who’s never attended law school or passed the bar (in his own name) because I’m pretty sure that any decent HR department would check that stuff.)

It’s possible that my objections make me some kind of religious fanatic nut and that no one else in the country cares.  I’m willing to accept that if that’s the case.   I just doubt that it is.  There are too many options out there.  In entertainment, viewers can find whatever it is they’re looking for, from Dexter to Hannah Montana* so when I choose to watch USA or TBS, or TNT, I do so with a certain expectation, that if my children happen to wander into the room I’m not going to have to hurry and pause my show.**  So far I haven’t felt like I would.  I’d really like to keep it that way.

*I’m trying to decide which of these shows is more offensive to me.  I don’t know.

**It occurs to me that I have that I have that expectation of the shows on basic cable but not of those on network TV, I expect tho have to censor those.  That’s a little sad.

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Fairly Meh

I believe I’ve mentioned before , here and here that I love the shows on USA.

Can we please just pause a moment to contemplate Neal Caffrey:

(I was going to insert this picture: but I thought it was a little too much, what do you think?)

Oh yeah, I was going to tell you something.  I was going to tell you that in general I’m a pretty big fan of USA shows, I love Burn Notice, love White Collar (who wouldn’t?), I’m lately obsessed with In Plain Sight, I even like Royal Pains (sort of), so when they started to advertise a new show, Fairly Legal, I thought what the heck, I’ll give it a chance.  And I’m giving it a chance, but so far all I have to say is, “meh”.

In all reality I don’t think the premise of the show is all that great, a lawyer quits being a lawyer to become a mediator.  Whatever.  But I’m not really one to get hung up on the premise.  I don’t watch In Plain Sight for the stories about the people going into witness protection, I watch it because Mary is awesome.  I like characters.  The problem is that Kate, the lawyer turned mediator is not awesome.  She’s perpetually late, constantly blowing off her boss (who’s also her mother in law, although her father’s dead so maybe she’s not anymore) and her clients, she lies to everyone (but only about whether she’s on her way to their appointment which she’s inevitably going to miss for something that she deems more important forcing the other person to reschedule) in short she’s completely irresponsible and self involved.  I suppose that I, as the viewer, am supposed to find that endearing but I just find it annoying.

The question is why I’m still watching.

Two reasons, one is that I like USA shows enough that I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, Burn Notice didn’t start out all that great either but now it’s one of my favorite shows, and the other is Lauren Reed, the boss mother in law.  In the pilot she’s a recent widow (although very young, and pretty of course) who has to deal with this self centered child of a daughter in law / employee and try to run a law practice which is foundering in the wake of the death of its founder.  There’s a scene in the pilot where she goes out to dinner to wine and dine a client who’s considering jumping ship.  She thinks she’s been successful until the client makes it clear that in order to keep his business she’s going to have to sleep with him.  She refuses (as politely as possible) and leaves.  Shortly there after Kate, the spoiled woman child, gives her a hard time for having lost the account.  Lauren says nothing.

She’s made out to be the wicked witch of the west but at this point she’s my only reason for coming back.

Sister Wives

I’ve been watching that new show on TLC (actually I’ve mostly been watching it on demand) and I’ve gotta say, very interesting.

As a Mormon, as a product of polygamy myself (not directly, I just have the one mom but when you hit the grandfolks and the great grandfolks and so forth) it’s a topic that I’ve given some thought.

And here’s where I stand:  I’m opposed to marrying a 13 year old girl off to her 50 year old uncle.  I’m opposed to marrying a thirteen year old girl off at all.

Except now I’m going to play Devil’s advocate. I’m opposed to marrying a thirteen year old girl off at all in this culture but scholars agree that Mary, the mother of Jesus was probably not a whole lot older than that and that Joseph, her eventual husband, was probably considerably older than she was because that’s how it was done back then.  And I’m ok with it having been done that way for them because that was what they were used to and what they had grown up expecting, it’s just not ok now because it’s not who we grow up or what we spend our whole lives expecting.  Except in communities in which that kind of thing happens (the YFZ ranch etc.) that is the expectation, that is what they grow up expecting so… well, I’m undecided.  End Devil’s advocate.

But in the case of Sister Wives they were not married off at thirteen.  They married young but not any younger than this girl, or this one.  The husband is within spitting distance of all the wives in age (heck, I believe the Wonderhusband and I with our 6 year age difference are probably farther apart than any of them). They all knew what they were getting into.  When Kody (the husband) and Meri (the first wife) got married it was with the expectation that there would be more wives.  She was raised in a polygamist family and she liked it.  Janelle, the second wife, was not raised as a polygamist but she was friends with Meri and Kody for a few years before she married Kody and when she did it was of her own free will.  Christine, the third wife, was also raised in a polygamist home and according to her she always wanted to be a third wife.  What that says about her is not up to me to say (although I suspect that someone with a background in psychology would have a good time with her) but hey, she got exactly what she wanted.

What it all comes down to is that for what it is I think it’s fine.

It’s my understanding that the state of Utah is looking into prosecuting Kody for polygamy.  (How interesting that we prosecute the husband but largely ignore the wife who obviously enabled this criminal behavior.  Doesn’t that make each of the wives accessories?) To that I have to say, really?  We don’t have actual crime to prosecute?  Let me put my feelings this way: If it’s not legal to marry more than one wife then he’s only married to Meri, whether he “married” the others or not.  Which means that the relationship he’s having with the others is an adulterous one.  Is adultery illegal?  Is it something that we prosecute?

In all honesty I think that adultery ought to be illegal and I think that we ought to prosecute.  But even if it were and even if we did, can we not start with adulterous relationships that result in families being destroyed and in children being raised by single parents and in… well, problems?

Here we have a man who lives with and loves his wives, he lives with and loves his children.  I don’t know this as a fact, but I don’t believe that any of the wives are claiming welfare.  At least two of them work, Kody works, they look out for each other, they take care of each other and of each other’s children.  Maybe they’re just pretty good at hiding it but I don’t get any of the “bleed the beast”, “you’re all going to hell” kinds of vibes that you get from some of the other polygamists.  These are just people living the way they feel like they should and the way that they want to, just like we all do.  They’re not anti-monogamy, some of the children have said that they’re not interested in practicing polygamy in their own lives and they’re not shunned for that, they’re not disapproved of, that is a valid lifestyle and one that they’re free to choose.

Basically, as it’s portrayed on TLC, polygamy for this family is exactly what it says it is, one big family with three mothers, one father and a whole grundle of kids (although the Duggars still outstrip them by a ways) and they act like a family.  And that’s good enough for me.

Premiere Week

Here we are, premiere week, the week that all our favorite TV shows start again for the year.  On the DVR to start recording this week I have House (which I missed the first episode of because my DVR somehow lost our recording info for that one), How I Met Your Mother and Bones (David Boreanaz, be still my beating heart). Which I think is a respectable (read not too long) list of shows.  Of course, that list does not comprise the entirety of our TV addictions, just those that follow the regular season.

On the DVR for future use we also have Burn Notice, White Collar (Oh TBS, how I love your shows) So You Think You Can Dance, Last Comic Standing and… probably a few more that I can’t think of at the moment.

And that’s not all we’re watching these days,  Over the past two weeks or so we’ve been watching Veronica Mars.  I LOVE the Veronica Mars!  We love it so much, in fact, that we have yet to watch the episode of How I Met Your Mother that we recorded on Monday because we’ve been watching VM.  (I also really really love NetFlix and their watch instantly shows [including VM] so that we can watch as many as we want as fast as we want for free.)

I don’t, however, love Veronica so much that Bones will spend more than an hour or so on the DVR (we have to get the kids to bed before we even try to watch), I love me some Bones.

When all is said and done we watch a lot of TV around here.  Probably more than we should.  I would say that we’re working on it but the fact is… we’re not.  The thing is that Sean and I have never been a couple to go on the regular date night that is so frequently recommended.  We don’t have the cash for a babysitter and we don’t really have a lot of interest in trading babysitting. (In all honesty we have a lot of interest in having someone else watch our kids, it’s just the watching some other couple’s kids that screws the whole thing up for us.) But what we do do is have a little mini-date just about every night.

I have a sister who has trouble sitting down on the couch and watching TV without doing something else at the same time.  I have no such problem.  Once we get the kids to bed it doesn’t matter what else needs to be done around the house, it doesn’t matter that the sink is full of dishes and the kitchen floor is makes that thwock thwock sound when you walk across it, It doesn’t matter that the front room, in which I’m sitting, desperately needs to be vacuumed, nothing’s going to get done.  I’m done being the mom for the night, which means I’m done working for the night.  (The one notable exception is Tuesday night when all the laundry that Sean washed throughout the whole day [usually 6 or 7 loads] gets folded.)

Sean and I get the kids down for the night and then we climb onto the couch and watch TV (and eat ice cream).

The way I figure it, if we were going to go on a date once a week we’d probably go to dinner and a movie (we’re not very imaginative around here).  But the way we do it we have dinner together, with all the kids, and then we watch the equivalent of a few movies over the course of a week (or sometimes when we’re out of TV to watch [I know, but it does happen] we do watch movies) so it’s like going on several dates.

It’s my understanding that this sitting and watching TV together every night is somewhat unusual.  I don’t understand that.  What do you do at night if you don’t sit with your spouse and watch TV?

Also, what shows (preferably shows that are now over and available on NetFlix) do we need to watch?  There are only 3 seasons of Veronica Mars afterall.

Date Night

“My fantasy is a quiet room, where I can eat my lunch with no one touching me. And drink a Diet Sprite.”

The person who wrote this line is a mom.

Swiss Family Wonderland

Sean and I and the Wonderkids watched Swiss Family Robinson for a family movie the other night. So the movie starts and they’re shipwrecked and they get off the ship and they’re standing on the beach and the dad says “the first thing we need to do is sat up some kind of shelter for tonight” but then the mom says, “no, not the first thing” and then they all kneel down right there on the beach.
Maybe it’s just me but, I think that’s something they’ll leave out of the remake.

Is it Getting Hot in Here?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but the only time I really have for this sort of thing is when I’m at work (how bad does that sound?) and the computer I use when I’m at work has this psycho browser, security, no porn software stuff (what the heck do they call that stuff anyway? I always call it net nanny because that’s what we have here on the computers at home and I happen to be the administrator, so in theory anyway, I can look at all the porn I want because I hold the keys …) but it’s a computer that I got from my brother and his wife is the administrator so I don’t know the password and it’s a lot more strict than my browser, security, no porn software stuff (or “net nanny” as I like to call it) so, sadly, no porn for me.  At work anyway.

But I digress (how shocked are you?) the point is that this post needs to include a lot of pictures, many of which I cannot view on the laptop with the psycho browser, security, no porn software stuff (not that it’s porn or anything, that thing blocks some very innocuous stuff, like twitter) and so, without further ado (because I think we’ve had plenty of that already) I give you…in no particular order… the guys that I love.

First and foremost, we have, of course Jason Statham:  I feel like I should mention here that it’s not so much that I think he’s the best looking guy ever (although he’ll do in a pinch) it’s that he’s such a… a man.  Y’ know?

Oh and speaking of manly men, I also love Micheal Westen : again, not the hottest guy around (although I’m a pretty big fan of this picture) but hello, he’s like some super spy guy who has a soft spot for his kick a– girlfriend ( I should probably mention here that when I say Micheal Westen, I mean Micheal Westen.  I do not mean Jeffrey Donovan, who’s the guy who plays Micheal Westen (and also the bad guy, Vance Somebody, in Hitch) I do recognize that Micheal Westen is a fictitious character but, hello, it’s not like I’m going to meet these guys anyway, I can love the not real guy just as well as I can love the real guy I’m never going to meet.  And it’s safer that way anyway.)  (Oh and speaking of his kick a– girlfriend, there’s a possibility that I have a slight girl crush going on there too: PS If you don’t watch Burn Notice, you really should.

Moving on.

Then there’s Brendan Fraser: To be fair, I have no idea whether I would like the actual man named Brendan Fraser at all but I like just about every character that he plays (I’m not saying that he’s the best actor either, just that I like his characters, get it?) And hello, did you see him in George of the Jungle? (One of the stuidest movies ever made but, Oh boy…)

Which brings me to Paul Bettany: (That brings me to Paul Bettany because I watched InkHeart with both Brendan Fraser and Paul Bettany just last night.) Ok, so Paul’s hot, but unlike some of the other gentlemen featured here, he’s also an amazing actor!  Seriously, think about it, he was the evil father in Secret Life of Bees, and the cute funny tennis pro in Wimbledon and the imaginary friend in A Beautiful Mind and the fire juggling guy in InkHeart and Jeffrey Chauser in A Knights Tale and… Well he’s good.

Oh and speaking of A Knight’s Tale, there’s always Heath Ledger: Now, I’m not trying to say that I loved Heath Ledger before anyone else loved Heath Ledger, but I would like to let it be known that He was my boyfriend before Jason Statham was my boyfriend.  I’ve loved Heath since way back in the 10 Things I Hate About You days.  So there.

And then there’s Don Cheadle: and Jason Bourne: and Mal Reynolds: and Alan Tudyk: (although that may be more Wash than it is Alan) and well, more.  But there you have it.  A short list of the guys that I love.

How about you?  Who’s on your list?

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