When we last met, I was in the middle of a bout with COVID19. I am happy to report that I am now feeling better and am out of quarantine. After sleeping through most of last Tuesday and Wednesday, I started to feel a little better on Thursday morning and went from strength to strength. Now all that remains is a little bit of a cough, shortness of breath and some tiredness. I’m still taking it easy for the next week or so as I’m sure you can understand. No need to overdo it. For those of you who expressed concern or sent some positive vibes my way it is much appreciated. Thank you.
As you would expect, I watched a lot of television while sick. Some of it was good, a lot of it wasn’t, but I mostly wanted familiar shows, or programs that required little thought. When I was feeling better (though still quarantined) I upped the game a little bit. The following is a small, incomplete list of what I remember watching and a few thoughts about each. This may or may not be in chronological order (there was a bit of brain fog going on after all).
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER- 1 episode
Beaver fell in the giant bowl of soup. Classic episode, but painful to watch. I find a lot of early television drives me crazy to watch these days. It’s not that these shows are bad or unfunny, but more often than not the main characters are complete idiots. Young Theodore Cleaver is a prime example here. Sure, he’s a kid and that’s some excuse, but the boy really was old enough to know better. On a related note, I can’t watch “I Love Lucy” anymore for similar reasons.
AMERICAS FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS- way too many episodes
I watched a few game shows, and this is what Hulu decided I’d like to watch next. Apparently Hulu thought I’d watch a whole season. Sadly, Hulu was not wrong. I came to the following conclusions while watching: 1. either I don’t video enough things or everyone else shoots too much, 2. most cute kids doing/saying cute things really aren’t that cute, and 3. people falling and/or getting hit in the crotch is simultaneously not funny and funny enough that it never gets old.
JAMES MAY-OH COOK!- 6 episodes (one season)
I like James May quite a bit. He’s the only one of the British Top Gear/Grand Tour hosts who doesn’t need the other two to balance out his more annoying traits. Although he did have a woman in a cupboard who helped him out from time to time, so maybe he’s not as good as I thought. anyway, this did what any good cooking (or “cookery” as they say in England) show should do. It made me think that I could probably make a fair portion of what they were cooking on the show. Trouble is, being British food, I don’t really want to.
MONTY PYTHON’s FLYING CIRCUS- 13 episodes (season one)
Okay, I LOVE Monty Python. I have seen these episodes so many times that I can quote not only whole sketches, but in some cases entire episodes from memory, front to back. This was pure comfort food in video form. Season one is not actually my favorite season, as I don’t think they’d hit their stride yet. I find it to be a bit repetitive, uneven, and unsure of itself. However, there is a lot of first class material here, and any drawbacks are more than made up for by enthusiasm and the fact that the guys are clearly enjoying themselves, and are excited by creating something new. There are surprisingly few items in this series that don’t translate well to today’s sensibilities, though there are a few. (There are plenty more in subsequent seasons.) A lot of comedies don’t age particularly well, so it was refreshing to see how well this does hold up. Of course, I may be a bit biased.
Side note: almost all the world history I know has come from Monty Python, Iron Maiden, and Mel Brooks. In that order. My understanding of the Spanish Inquisition is so messed up…
1980s COMMERCIAL COMPILATIONS ON YOU TUBE
I watch these more than I would like to admit. Something about the nostalgia makes me feel better, especially when the world at large is absolutely bananas. So, like, all the time. Maybe it’s just me, or the fact that I stream most of my television these days, but it seems like there was more variety of products being advertised back then. There were certainly more jingles. Also, what was up with all the ads for chewing gum? They really wanted us to buy gum in the 80’s, man. And we did so I guess it worked.
I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t have gone into advertising, it seems like a fun job. Well, back then it did. It feels like every other commercial I see these days is for a different medication with side effects that are worse than the thing you are supposed to take the meds for in the first place. Yeesh. No thanks. Bring back the gum ads, please. Thanks.
SHINE A LIGHT
This is Martin Scorsese filming the Rolling Stones as they do a benefit concert in New York, mixed with backstage stuff and archival footage. I watched this one in honor of drummer extraordinaire Charlie Watts after his passing last week. I fell asleep. Sorry, Charlie.
3:10 To Yuma (original version)
Classic movie. Psychological Western. The performances are great and the story is good, although the ending is a little bit odd for me. Still, I highly recommend this film.
If you are a fan of Frank Zappa I recommend this documentary. If you are curious about the man and his artistic side, I recommend this documentary. If you are easily offended, this is probably not for you. Nor is the majority of Zappa’s music. You have been warned.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (original version)
I have been on a Western kick as of late and realized I have never seen this. It’s good, but left me wanting more. I needed a little more background on each of “the seven” and I could have used a slightly quicker pace in the middle of the film. However, there are some great scenes. I particularly enjoyed Charles Bronson’s character just straight up spanking someone else’s kid. Also Eli Wallach is great as per usual.
This movie made me realize who I would be in a Western. You know how in every movie there’s a shoot out, and usually our heroes are outnumbered? There’s always that scene, shot from the p.o.v. of the hero, where two bad guys come running up, guns a blazin’ and he shoots them both. Then, about two seconds later, a third guy runs around the same corner and the hero gets him too. Well, that’s me. I’m that third guy. The guy who has just enough time to see his compatriots on the ground and think, “What the-“.
Okay, there were probably a lot more but that’s all I can remember now, or at least all that’s worth mentioning. See you next week with what I hope is a real topic.