Jeff/Annie, George Michael/Maeby, & the classics.

Here are some more rambling thoughts on television. Take all of this with a giant grain of salt.

I don’t ship Jeff/Annie on “Community,”* but I can see why people do, and I’m not disturbed by it.

People are mostly put off by the large age difference between the two characters, but frankly, I have read far too much Victorian and Regency literature to be weirded out by that. Actually, I’m sort of relieved that they’re not cousins, when I think about it in that light. Jeff is pretty much the same age as many Victorian leading men, and most Victorian and Regency  heroines (with exceptions, of course) are 19 – 22, exactly the same age as Annie. Think Arthur Clennam and Amy Dorrit, for instance – though Mr. Clennam was likely even older than Jeff.

Readers of the classics would find their age difference fairly normal.

You can even read a literary riff into the will they/won’t they of Jeff and Annie’s relationship. Like Bronte’s Mr. Rochester, Jeff is a bad man trying to be better, but still mostly failing. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that his attraction to Annie is similar to Rochester’s hunger for Jane, either. He wants to be redeemed by untainted young flesh. (WHO DOESN’T? amirite?) Annie may not be as eccentric or naive as Jane, but she is somewhat naive.

Jeff would always fail in an Austen story, though – the man is clearly a rake. Annie really is an Austen sort of heroine. She may fall for a rake in the beginning, but she’s smart and driven, and she’ll end up with a proper gentleman in the end. (Let’s hope his nipples are of the appropriate size, though.)

The George Michael/Maeby pairing from “Arrested Development”** is problematic for a lot of people, as they are assumed to be first cousins for most of the series (even though – spoiler alert – we learn in the third season that they’re not biologically related after all). Anyone who has read any amount of VicLit has encountered a cousin marriage or two…or twenty. Mansfield Park’s Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram are first cousins, after all. (By the way, cousin marriages are mostly only outlawed in the United States – and legal in 19 states. Just for the record. Worried about the progeny? No need.) So, George Michael and Maeby are just kicking it old school – really old school. You know how it is with those grand old families and their bloodlines – and what are the Bluths but a grand old family? It makes sense, in a very old fashioned, Victorian literature sort of way.

I don’t know what the hell those two kids see in each other, though. That’s the problem for me. (Him? / Her?)

*Please note: When I’m talking about “Community,” I’m talking about the original three Harmon-led seasons, and not the incredibly mediocre fourth season, which I have not completed. I will watch it at some point – after the sting of its lost glory has faded, and I am less attached. So I am ignorant of anything that happened in season four after the Halloween episode.

**Dying to see the new episodes. DYING.

A few thoughts on “Hannibal.”

This isn’t really a review or anything like that, just a sort of dumping ground for a hodge podge of thoughts about the show.

First of all, I was simply blown away by the pilot. Really! I was gape-mouthed in wonder, love at first sight blown away. And everything I’ve seen so far supports my original reaction. I was really reluctant to see anything Lecter related become a TV show, as I was so attached to the characters from the books – but this is a wonderful interpretation, though it is very different (and not at all canon, if that’s a sore spot for you). The writing and acting are fantastic, but the camera work is sublime. You rarely see cinema these days made with such care. I mean, when was the last time you watched a TV show and gasped, “MY GOD! THE COLOR SATURATION!” Probably never, right?* But I actually did that, and I have a witness to prove it.

The show is just so beautifully shot. It’s luscious to the point that I start to feel guilty that such violent imagery is so pretty to me. From the magnificent cascades of slow motion blood spatter to the pretty-as-a-postcard vignettes of Graham’s nightmares, each new horror is lovingly crafted and bewitching to the eye.

I’m really grateful that Hannibal Lecter isn’t my therapist, though I do enjoy watching him at work. And isn’t it nice to see a really different sort of Lecter? So dapper, yet…somehow wrong. Much more menacing than other screen versions. This actor brings no false frisson of the Halloween haunted house theme attraction; he embodies a barely veiled coldness like that of a predator. I love it. I particularly like his micro-expressions. Such a controlled performance.

It’s nice to watch someone cook on television, too – someone who isn’t on a chirpy celebri-chef on the Food Network. Someone who isn’t afraid to get in there and saute his own organ meat.

I have inappropriate thoughts about Graham, too – but not of the sort you would expect. I keep thinking to myself, why does he continue to sleep in t-shirts if he’s just going to drench them in sweat and strip them off every night? And is “Graham in his tight boxer shorts” the new “Mulder’s got his shirt off again”? Perhaps that is unkind.

Mustn’t be unkind. We all know what happens to the rude when Lecter’s around.

I like this new Graham, too. I think watching him fracture will be as much fun for the viewer as it will be for Lecter. He is distinctly damaged, and watching Lecter opening him up is like watching his internal cracks turn into faultlines. Fascinating stuff, and so well acted.

What is up with that stag? I have so many thoughts about this, but I will let the show play out the symbolism before I delve into it too deeply.

Will we learn more about Graham’s gentle wolf pack of stray dogs?

Why does Freddie Lounds get all the cool lady clothes?

That’s enough rambling, I suppose, except to say that it’s amazing, and you should see it.

*Well, maybe a couple of times on “Pushing Daisies,” but that was also a Bryan Fuller show.

An open letter to (the other) Sarah.

Dear (Other) Sarah Crowder,

I’d really like you to get a new e-mail address. I’m not 100% sure what your e-mail address actually is, but it must be pretty damned close to mine because I continually get your e-mail.

No, I don’t know your LinkedIn business associates. I’m really glad that your friend’s massage business is going well, and that the opening party was a success, but as much as I need a massage, I don’t know your friend, and I don’t live in the Pacific Northwest. I also really appreciated the invitation to your family reunion BBQ, but again, I don’t know your family. I’m sure they’re lovely people, though.

Maybe you get e-mail intended for me sometimes, too. I have no way of knowing. Feel free to tell my friends “Hi” for me. Go ahead and reply. They’re mostly a mellow bunch, and who knows – they might even like you more than me. I am pretty cranky, after all.

Look, I know we have a very common name, and I’m almost sorry I got to Gmail first (and truly sorry that I did not include my middle initial in my handle), but here we are. If you don’t want to get a new e-mail handle*, at least make sure that the people trying to contact you have your correct address. I seriously get a lot of your e-mail. (Was it misprinted on your business cards?)

Anyway, I hope this letter finds you well. But if you’re feeling a little stressed out, I bet your friend would give you a discount on a massage. It wouldn’t hurt to ask, right?

Sincerely,
Sarah L. Crowder

*Both “SCisAwesomeForevs@hotmail” or “scrazyscrowder@juno” sound fun, right?

I want to unfollow “The Following.”

I want to unfollow “The Following,” but I just can’t seem to do it.

The dialogue is terrible. It’s like dramatic tension as imagined by 14 year old boys who shop at Hot Topic. And though I can’t fault the actors – there are some good performances here – it’s still painful to hear excellent actors plow their way through such stilted dialogue.

The concept is very cool, and it could have been great. A serial killer with a cult of serial killers following him? That could have been some excellent TV. Joe Carroll is like a literary Charles Manson. But they’ve barely touched upon Poe and the “dark romanticism” (is that a thing?) that inspires him…and when they have, they’ve done boneheaded things like MISPRONOUNCE “Amontillado.” Really? No one on set could figure that one out? No one at the reading table read “The Cask of Amontillado” in junior high English? Or, failing that, no one had actually had a glass of Amontillado Sherry? I’m dying and flailing here, and spouting dialogue as bad as that killer nanny, just from the shock of this.

It’s a terrible show. Look, I know it’s getting good reviews and the ratings are decent enough that it has already been renewed for another season, but c’mon, guys. It’s terrible. I once tried to explain part of the plot to my partner, but he laughed so hard at its absurdity that I gave up.

But I can’t stop watching it. And it’s not simple hate-watching, either. I really do want to know what happens next. But it’s so bad that I just shouldn’t care. I want to stop caring. I really do. I want to stop watching. But I’m on Hulu the minute a new show is posted. I’m in a creepy, toxic relationship with an awful TV show, and I don’t know how to stop.

Do they have self-help books for this?

Also, can someone kill that killer nanny for me? I HATE HER SO MUCH.

“TV is so much better than movies these days because TV shows aren’t TV shows anymore. Because now we live in this DVD, iTunes, Hulu age, and show creators and networks are realizing that and letting shows develop on those terms rather than ‘We gotta just punch it week to week, man.’ Now they’re like, ‘What will happen if someone watches the entire show?’ If Twin Peaks had come out two years ago, it would still be on the air. It would be this massive tapestry.”
Patton Oswalt

Another rejected Twitter bio.

“Afraid of clowns, spiders, & sticky jam hands. I enjoy pretending to be a T-Rex, wearing cardigan sweaters, & insisting that everyone around me listen to whatever obscure band I love at the moment. OXFORD COMMA FOREVS!”

Note: This one is mostly accurate.