Monday, December 22, 2008

print versus screen: gossip girl

i honestly believe that the best show on television at the moment is "gossip girl." i don't know what that says about me personally. but i know that the show is unadulterated genius. it is also unabashedly ridiculous, and superlative in its excesses, but that all serves to make it so good.

years ago, a coworker came up to me and said, "you read ya books don't you?" and handed me the first two books of cecily von ziegesar's gossip girl series. i never bothered to read them until i heard of the show, and so before the fall 2007 season i finally read the books. and they are terrible. not only are they terrible, they are terribly written. just because a book is ya doesn't mean that it isn't written intelligently, or that it doesn't have literary value. but these books, lack it all. i read the first book and skimmed through the second--i didn't have the patience to read through it all. then i simply went to wikipedia and read about how it all ended. i figured that would save me time and avoid polluting my brain with the remainder of the series.

strangely, from episode 1 of the series, it was clear that this would be a winner. a guilty pleasure that was surprisingly well-produced, well-acted, and just all around enjoyable. the series has deviated rather significantly from the books, but all the changes have been downright improvements. chuck and blair as portrayed by ed westwick and leighton meester, are the heart and soul of the series, and their on-and-off-again love affair keeps the show interesting.

these moments between them, well, explain it all:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

simply too busy to post

i have a print vs screen post waiting on "gossip girl" and the gossip girl books. but i want to get it perfect since the show is nearly perfect.

plus life keeps getting in the way. i should have more time to post near the end of the week. when i'm home enjoying a green, tropical christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

simply crazed

i don't know what happens in december, but time seems to flit away so quickly, and i'm stuck running after it, trying to catch up. i know i shouldn't complain, because i am pretty much all set. my gifts have been purchased, half of them have been wrapped, and i am some what prepared for the various holiday events i have to attend and cook for next week.

but i look at my departure date of next thursday and think, i still have so much to do. except now that i am thinking of it, really, it's not that much. and i am going home for the holidays and it really isn't all that much, it's not like traveling to a foreign place where you can't just buy the things you need if you forget them.

so i don't know why i feel so crazed. it's likely that i am just over-thinking. and perhaps i am feeling stressed out by the massive amounts of television stored up on my dvr. i already gave up on "heroes" and "desperate housewives," but i'm also considering giving up on "ugly betty" and, though it pains me to admit this, "fringe."

i think once i shed some of those episodes, i'll feel much better.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

print versus screen: bridget jones's diary

one of my favorite guilty reading pleasures is bridget jones's diary and bridget jones's diary: edge of reason by helen fielding. i re-read the books at least once a year. and every single time i am brought to tears, i'm laughing so damn hard. just typing about them, i remember some of the entries and can't help giggling.

i also happen to own the movies by the same titles, and have to say that they do a pretty good job of bringing the character to life. having colin firth play the mark darcy character and hugh grant the caddish daniel cleaver are really what make the movies worthwhile. renee zellweger's british accent is a bit too studied, but she has the right degree of awkwardness and silliness that make her bridget jones seem true to life.

the movies were adapted for the screen by andrew davies, who wrote the screenplay for the bbc's "pride & prejudice" adaptation. and he does a wonderful job of making two movies from a slightly incoherent source material. the books are fun, but they aren't great literature, and bridget isn't the most reliable of narrators, what with her distorted sense of self and ability to be ridiculous.

one of my favorite things in the movies are the fight scenes between grant and firth. two grown men kicking each other and running around like idiots, is always funny.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

simply being right can be satisfying

so i've been annoyed with "grey's anatomy" and this izzie sees denny's ghost storyline, i think it's a cheap knock-off of a bad "general hospital" plot twist, and i think it's really sad that this once enjoyable show has gone so far off the rails. but anyway, now that i know i was right--and don't click on the links if you don't like spoilers--i find myself much more willing to go along for the ride.

it's funny how that works. i'm the kind of girl that looks at the end of the books she is still in the middle of reading. why do i do it? i often have guesses as to where the story is going and i like to check to see that i'm right. and i have to say i usually am. and i so still enjoy reading the book through to the end. of course, when i'm wrong, sometimes i feel like my enjoyment of the book is lessened, because what is happening isn't what i want to happen, and somehow it feels wrong to me. (for example, i worry about the sookie stackhouse novels because i love love eric and sometimes i worry that he won't be the hero and that makes me kind of sad because i love him and sookie together so much.)

the first book i remember doing this with was little women, i loved watching the show on nickleodeon and when i discovered it was based on a book, well i had to read it. but then i realized that beth actually dies and that laurie marries amy and jo marries the professor and that all of that was horrible. so i stopped reading it. i've never actually read the book the whole way through. it was one of those moments of my childhood that i recall with absolute bitterness. i was so disappointed by the book and how it ended, because even then that ending didn't seem right to me. and to be fair, i've heard other people say this too, because one of the admitted problems of the book is that it was very autobiographical, and that louisa may alcott may have been untrue to the characters in the book since she was trying to depict what actually happened.

the spoiler argument can also be used to talk of television shows. i mean, when i found out christopher and lorelai were getting together again on the last season of "gilmore girls" i watched just that storyline and i stopped watching as soon as they got married. i knew that the writers were going towards a luke and lorelai conclusion, but never having been a luke fan, i didn't want to see that. and so i was able to see the ending i wanted for the girls on my terms, all thanks to spoilers. i admit that it's a strange way to watch television, but i think this way i can control what i see to the extent that it makes me happy. i think spoilers are a great thing. if you know where the writers are going with something you can decide whether or not it works for you and you can see if you want to watch it play out, or if it's time to cut and run. you can even simply stop watching until you know that storyline will cease, i would have stopped watching grey's during the ill-conceived izzie and george coupling.

forewarned is forearmed they say. i think the phrase makes sense even if all we're talking about are books and movies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

simply destiny

so the wednesday before thanksgiving, there was a "special" episode of gh that focused entirely on robin & patrick and how they were destined to be together. the episode's framing device was this weird dream sequence of robin's that paralleled their relationship, but paired characters and actors who never interact on the standard day-to-day storylines--like robin & matt hunter, patrick & carly, and so on. and honestly, though interesting, it was one of the more unsettling viewing experiences i've had recently. i mean the end message was okay, showing us that robin & patrick are meant to be. but it was still weird.

gh has many bad storylines, it's a soap opera, so of course there is a lot of bad with a few shining moments--at least that's how i would describe it lately--and sonny & claudia engaging in a redux of sonny & carly version 1 is pretty bad, as is the "russians have jake" shenanigans that seem to be the end of liz & jason and sam & lucky as couples and if they end up swapping partners again i will be so thoroughly disgusted i don't even have words to describe it. i fast forward through so much of the show, and even with the limited amount i watch, i am filled with RAGE.

why is this show so bad? because it honestly has the potential to be good. some days it can even be great. but instead it focuses its energy on being MEDIOCRE, and ASTOUNDINGLY AWFUL.

and yes, the all caps are necessary.