an awesome way to watch TV

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hot Ham Water

"So watery...and with just a smack of ham." This post is dedicated to Alia Burdick, the only person other than myself and co-founder Katherine Bickford to studiously attend all four Motherboys. This bountiful image of Gob is for her.

** EDIT: after painstakingly picking the perfect pictures, the OP has decided that they should go away. Please be patient while I find new ones. **

I'm not really sure how it began. The idea started as a kernal; Kate was housesitting at a place where we could smoke weed inside, and we really just wanted to hang out and get high and drink cider and eat pizza and watch TV. And at that time, she hadn't seen all of the third season of Arrested Development.

If you have never seen Arrested Development, you should stop reading this blog and go get on Netflix or anywhere else on the goddamn internet and watch it ALL RIGHT NOW because (a) this is Motherboy season and (b) what the hell is wrong with you? Your life must be so empty.

To continue my tale, once Kate and I put our awesome brains together, we decided to make it into a gathering where all our friends could come and hang out and have the best Arrested Development marathon ever. A few days in between Christmas and New Year's were chosen as the perfect time, because everyone's sick of their family and needs some time to just chill before going out and raging on NYE. We bought a quarter and a 12 pack of hard cider and settled in with blankets and beanbag chairs.

Things had been going well; we were high, eating sourdough bread and spinach dip, flying through the first disc. Somewere around "My Mother, The Car" Arcata lost power for what would be days or weeks, depending on where you lived. Our New Year's Eve would be generator-powered with a Plaza full of chaotic dark mayhem. But that's another story; in this moment, the TV was out. What to do?

I opened my laptop and the marathon continued. When my battery died, a friend brought her's over, and another friend did the same. People brought blankets since the heat was out, and we continued on for two days. On the third - a Motherboy miracle! - the house regained power and we continued late into the night, lounging and smoking and drinking and eating and, most importantly, laughing together.

And that is the story of the first Motherboy, and how the laptop batteries and the spirit of Arrested Development brought us all a little joy during the great blackout of 2006.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wherein We Find Ourselves In Treatment

I was going to use this opportunity to write a Motherboy post (don't worry Alia, it's coming!) but I figured it'd be better if I wrote it at actual Motherboy time. So this post is going to be all about my TV therapist.
My mom, who is herself a therapist (and not a psychologist or an analyst, which I think has been greatly beneficial to my personal well-being), turned me on to In Treatment. I mean, I had obviously heard about it, but the whole concept sounded a little intense and not really something I could get into. But then, with the Netflix DVD laying around on Thanksgiving break, I watched the first few episodes and immediately moved on to the rest.

In Treatment is a fascinating character study. It's a telling testament to the immense skills of Gabriel Byrne that he is able to carry every single episode of this show on his back. Even when his patients lose my interest, I'm still invested in how Paul will be affected by them.

Let's back up a little. For those of you who don't know, In Treatment is about a psychologist, Paul Weston, who, when the series begins, is treating patients out of his home office in Baltimore, MD. Part of the fun of this show is getting a glimpse of something that is normally considered forbidden, even illegal to disclose: private therapy sessions. The first client we see is a trainwreck of a woman named Laura, who is clearly suffering from a terrible case of transference that Paul doesn't seem to know how to handle. From there we see that each of his following patients are reflective of a part of Paul's own life as he struggles to keep his family together and maintain some sanity for himself.

The last episode of each week is devoted to Paul's own therapy sessions, beginning with Gina (Dianne Weist) and, in the recently completed third season, moving on to Adele (played by the incomparable Amy Ryan). In these sessions we get to see Paul removed from the position of evaluative power that he usually assumes and put into a place of vulnerability. He clearly isn't very comfortable with such a position, and his relationships with Gina (who used to be his supervisor, which those familiar with the study of psychology will know is quite unusual and probably problematic) and Adele showcase that discomfort. The Paul who appears in his own therapy sessions is quite different from the capable Dr. Weston we usually see, easily helping his own patients.

And he is, in all honestly, quite a capable psychotherapist. He truly does connect with and help most of his patients, when he's not crossing boundaries or trying to solve his own problems through the treatment of others. As anyone who went to college or has spent any time studying psychology knows, psychologists are often just as crazy as any of their patients, and Paul is no different. But some of the most moving contrasts in the show are between the way he relates to his patients versus the way he relates to his friends and family. Especially since he does such a great job with all of his child/teenage patients (in fact, in each respective season, Sophie/Oliver/Jesse have all been my favorites) it is very tough to watch him try to carry on those skills and relate to his own children, because he simply doesn't know how to be a good dad without also being his childrens' therapist. Again, boundary issues arise.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Christmas-Themed Movie Snack

Oh Frabjous Day, calloo, callay! How I Met Your Mother is back in top form. Maybe not Hot-Sister-Carols form, but "False Positive" is pretty awesome nonetheless.

"That's exactly the element of whimsy this celebration of love needs!"

A Minor Derailment

Ah! Is what I said this morning when I found my accounts hacked and this blog deleted. Man, I was all set to write a long-ass post about In Treatment today, because I finally finished all three seasons, and then those Wikiassholes decided that hacking blogs was a fun game. But, hurrah! We're back in business. Come back soon - tonight's episode of How I Met Your Mother was a classic and I can't wait to write about it - hopefully I won't have to spend all morning at the mechanic.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Music and cookies and liquor and trees, that's what Christmas is for"

I know that three days is SO LATE in the internet game, but sorry internet, I have a life and right now it is CRAZY and it's been all I can do to maintain my sanity, much less write blog posts. But I took notes so that I could write something once things died down a little. SO.........

Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas review starts now! Well, a few paragraphs from now.

Let me begin by explaining a little about my family and our Christmas celebrations and my relationship to Christmas pop culture. My dad does not like Christmas, a fact that made known to me once he deemed me old enough, which was around my 10th birthday. My sister and mom were a little indifferent to the whole thing, and then there was me. I LOVE Christmas - well, I love MY version of Christmas. I love picking out the perfect gifts and hanging stockings and cooking with my family and singing carols and unwrapping presents and the rainy weather and lights and the smell of the tree and pretty much anything Christmas that doesn't have to do with Jesus. My sister celebrates Chanukah and my grandfather celebrates the solstice; this year, due to a fortuitous typo, we've decided to refer to our December 25th holiday celebration as Xams, so as to remove it as far from Christ as possible. Because my family are atheists and agnostics and one converted Jew, we tend to avoid stuff about angels and pageants and miracles and the weirdness of worshiping a baby, and focus on the good stuff: eating and giving. Carols were always one of my favorites because I love to sing, but they drove my dad crazy and I've had to find good, non-annoying versions of my favorite Christmas songs to fill up my awesome winter playlist.

But this meant that I didn't watch a lot of Christmas movies/specials when I was a kid, partly by choice and partly because my dad would not give the TV up for that stuff. Rudolph and The Nightmare Before Christmas creeped me out, Charlie Brown didn't really captivate me, Miracle On 34th St. was boring, and I still, to this day, have never seen It's A Wonderful Life. Oh, sure, I watched The Grinch and Home Alone, but the holiday movie I probably saw the most was the animated version of The Snowman (quiet and nondenominational and thus inoffensive to my dad). As I got a little older, I started watching Friends and their holiday episodes became some of my favorites - and some of the best, with moments I can still instantly recall. Friends handled the holidays awesomely by either making a classic bottle episode, or by putting the Friends into stressful, emotional, and/or drunk situations. Always pitch-perfect. As I got even older, I started making my own traditions and found my trio of current all-time favorite holiday movies: Die Hard. Lord Of The Rings. Elf.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"What're you lookin' at, Jessup?"

Psych does a Twin Peaks episode!

In the most recent episode of Psych, "Dual Spires", they do a playful and quirky take on the David Lynch show Twin Peaks. Gus and Shawn travel to a town so small it's labelled on the map in parentheses for a cinnamon festival they received an anonymous tip about. Once there, things seem weird ("Are you Frederick Douglass?" a little girl asks Gus), and get weirder once the body of a local teenage girl is found drowned and wrapped in plastic on the edge of the lake...the story goes from there.

Adding to the awesomeness of this homage is the cast - most of the people from the town are played by actors from Twin Peaks (and IMDB just made me realize that Sherilyn Fenn and Dana Ashbrook both played Pacey antagonizers on the same season of Dawson's Creek - crazy!). I wonder if they even shot some of it where Twin Peaks was shot since both shows are/were filmed in Vancouver and that lake vista looks eerily familiar. The show does a great job of capturing what can only be called the Lynchiness of the original series without losing the humorous edge that Psych balances so well. I'll admit that I'm not as familiar with Twin Peaks as I'd like, but I've seen enough to know that this take-off was done skillfully - going so far as to change the theme song to a high-pitched plinky piano cover of what is usually a boisterous interlude. Oh, and stick around for the last scene and the credits - true Lynch fans will definitely appreciate how completely Psych commits to their concept.

Just a few fun notes & quotes:

"You know I'm a sympathetic crier, Shawn. Just leave me be." And then he makes this face...!

"I'll get Deputy Frost to take you back in the rickshaw."
"The earth is soft and moist."

"My partner plus too much monkey bread equals tummy shame"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Because I'm a grown-up!"

Today is my 25th birthday. In honor of being a quarter-century old, below is one of my favorite birthday-centered episodes, "The One Where They All Turn Thirty". It does such an awesome and hilarious job of capturing the different ways birthday anxiety can manifest, from "Why, god, why?!?" to "Help me get my top off". I love birthdays and birthday episodes because they're usually bottle episodes - on TV and IRL, like tonight when I'm having a karaoke party and a lot of the important players in my life, from my boss to my childhood camp friend, will be there. Although I'm not as concerned with growing older as any of the characters, well...give it five years, and I'll probably be freaking out then. In the meantime, enjoy drunk Phoebe!