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What to Watch When Sicksicksicksicksicksick

Can I chakram that mucus for you, ma'am?

There was this stomach flu thing that made its way through Georgia and then my family, and I think in the wake of it, my much pampered, zinc-infested, Airborne-sucking, Echinacea-fused bloodstream FAILED me, and it let the flu in. I am DYING of mucus and my eyes are leaking grainy juice.

Sam has it, too, though he feels better this am (I DO NOT, THANK YOU FOR ASKING) and last night, Maisy started puling and snuffling and she is STILL asleep; I have low hopes for her this AM. This week is the festival of Birthdays: Scott on February 25th, Sam on February 26th, and I tick over last, on February 27th, and REALLY all I want to do to celebrate is lie down. In a hole. And pull the hole in after me.

I have nothing to tell you but what I have looked at with my eyes on the television for the last 4 days as I lay in a drooling stupor. So.

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. The whole series is available for instant Qing on The Netflixes, and I watched it all in between ODing on OJ and dozing. WHY did this not catch? Was it too smart for the room? Was it not polarizing enough? It dared to have a conversation between the far left and the far right that certainly took both sides seriously and examined both sympathetically and accepted the possibility of GOOD intentions on both sides.

Also, the show BELIEVED in its heart that in the world of arts and entertainment, if you are very very GOOD at what you do and not too mentally ill to function and have an amazing work ethic, you will succeed. It’s all through every script. And yet…the show is good. The writing is superlative, the concept, the cast are all so very, very good. But the show failed, closing after a season, and thus violating its own premise. It upsets me because I want to believe with the show—-both that talent when combined with a modicum of mental stability and a work ethic outs, eventually, and that the right and the left can at least grant the other the gift of assuming good intentions.

At the same time, I see how polarized this country is, and I see BRILLIANT novels by writers who hold their demons in check and work their tails off fail to sell. Still Studio 60 made a
world I WANT to believe in, and isn’t that better in a lot of ways than simply reflecting the real one?

Also, it’s romantic and funny and smart and tense and fast paced, and oh oh oh, but I fell in heart with Daniel Tripp. Here, lookit this:

BRICK: You should watch Brick. It’s Noir goes to high school. And beats people up. And says everything in hardboiled detective shorthand. The school is as isolated as a back alley in a ghost town, the sound moves in pings and whispers. It’s smart smart smart and and twisty as ALL get out, and I couldn’t; take my grainy, leaky eyes off it. I STAYED AWAKE for the whole thing. So.

XENA, WARRIOR PRINCESS: It’s spring break! You are sick. Your 13 year old son is sick. Your 8 year old daughter is bored. What can you watch when you all pile onto the sofa to infect the only well one? The kind of PG-13 sci-fi, fantasy, horror, adventure he likes is often too SPOOKY for her. But he can’t possibly sit through Little Mermaid again. It’s impugning his manhood. They will both watch wacky kid-friendly comedy things, but the VERY though of Spy Kids Umpty-Eleven makes you want to put your eyes out.

Hey, Xena, what's this green stuff on your chakram?

XENA has cheesy special effects and sword fighting babes duking in out in skimpy armor for him, strong female role models and kissing and the invocation of the Most High And Interesting Word In The English Language (princess, natch) for her, and it has campy humor including the mighty Bruce Campbell in a recurring role as the King of Thieves for you. It’s total win.

Granted, somewhere in the later seasons everyone’s baby either gets killed or turns out to be evil and gets killed and X and G get crucified (yikes) and while I imagine it will stay delightful for us older two, I would say it all becomes a little much for 8 year olds who hid their eyes and got RIGHTEOUSLY upset in the furnace scene in Toy Story 3.

But we all watched the first season together and now Maisy is agitating for Season two and Sam says, cool guy style, “I would watch that.” So. I think we will take our tissues and our futile doses of Zycam and go do that.

20 comments to What to Watch When Sicksicksicksicksicksick

  • Judy in California

    Ah, yes, yes, yes, you are yet again the divining rod of all things Too Good To Last. I adored STUDIO 60 when it aired, and I own and watch the DVDs. They had me at “Written by Aaron Sorkin.” He is the one screenwriter, whether for TV (shout out to ‘Sports Night,’ ‘The West Wing’ and ‘Studio 60’!) or films (hooray ‘The American President’ and I’m rooting for him to win an Academy Award for ‘The Social Connection’) who reliably, consistently writes real-live dialogue spoken by and intended for people with an IQ higher than tofu. May you soon be mucus-free and clear-eyed, as a reward for your discerning taste!

  • I LOVED Studio 60 and was CRUSHED when it was cancelled. I agree with Judy. Aaron Sorkin is a screenwriting GOD among mere mortals. Mortals who feel they must take him down! (I think).

    Since we’re suggesting things to watch that are SMART and extremely well written. You MUST, and I know this will be shocking so brace yourself, watch the Vampire Diaries. It almost hurts me to type that. I should feel VERY DIRTY, but I am not exaggerating when I say you will be pleasantly surprised. It has all the things one looks for in Vampire Drama and almost NONE of the fail. People DIE. Prominent characters actually PARISH, never to rise again. The first episode is good, but IT GETS SO MUCH BETTER. These writers pull no punches and they do not take the obvious route on anything. It is remarkably satisfying. It will seem at first that it will be a remake of a certain other popular vampire series that one might have caught on the silver screen, but it is NOT. Make it through episode 3. Seriously. You won’t be disappointed. Oh, and it’s not for little kids.

  • I’m with Maisy – I covered my eyes for most of the “Toy Story 3” furnace scene, too.

    Hope you all feel better soon!

  • Jan

    Well, I got goosebumps in the Studio 60 clip, so I guess I’ll be chasing that one down. And you timing on the discussion of art and society is eerie. This bit, in particular: “It upsets me because I want to believe with the show—-both that talent when combined with a modicum of mental stability and a work ethic outs, eventually, and that the right and the left can at least grant the other the gift of assuming good intentions.”

    I’m not sure your grainy-eyed self wants to hear my thoughts; cynicism doesn’t combine well with Echinacea. (A medical true fact.)

    Hope you and family feel better soon. A big pre-emptive Happy Birthday.

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    Thank you! You are absolutely, one hundred percent on the nose about Studio 60. The writing is brilliant and the actors are brilliant (how great was Sarah Paulson’s impression of Holly Hunter?) .
    I think that you are right when you suggest that it was “too smart” for the room. Reminds me of ‘The Producers’ and how their idea of the worst show was embraced by the masses : “We had the wrong script, the wrong director, the wrong actors — where did we go right?”

  • JulieB

    Thanks! I always enjoy your recs, and they all look good. Brick seemed esp. interesting.

    Hope the goddess of Zinc bestows health on your house soon.

  • Kathy

    Two words for the Bruce Campbell fan: Burn Notice

  • Debra

    Oh you poor sick thing with poor sick babies. Get better soon, please.

    I totally think Danny would have kissed Jordan had she not been stuffing her face full of bonbons. No man wants to kiss a woman with cheeks stuffed fuller than a chipmunk.

  • Brian

    If you run out of media, I encourage you to watch past seasons of Phineas and Ferb (linkie: http://disney.go.com/xd/phineasandferb/). Funny for the kids, pop culture Pixar-like references to make the adults smile.

  • Loved Studio 60. Now I want to rush home and rewatch it!

  • Zoe

    OMG, I am SOOOO with you on Studio 60. I vowed never to watch NBC again when they canceled it. SUCH a waste. Hope you all heal soon. 🙂

  • Loved Studio 60. . .and my hubs will love Brick. Hope you are ALL

  • . . .well.

    Got a little type happy and hit enter.

  • I loved Studio 60 and Sports Night, too. They were both such excellent, witty shows. Feel better soon!

  • Ooh, I just added Brick and Studio 60 to my instant queue. (I like typing that word – queueueue…) I like to put on a tv series when I’m sewing so I can listen without having to focus too hard. Lately I’ve watched The Dresden Files (Paul Blackthorne, tall, dark and British (except the character is from Chicago, but he does a pretty credible accent) noir-lite wizard) and The Dead Zone (Anthony Michael Hall all grown up and serious – with psychic abilities). I also really liked The Dollhouse (because it’s from Joss Whedon, of course). My all time favorite shows available on Netflix, though, are Firefly (sci-fi western) and Veronica Mars (serial mystery starring a smart (and smart-ass) teenage girl).

  • I loved Bradley Whitford in The West Wing, too, and so it was not hard to love him in that clip 😉 I should track it down. The only other clip I’ve seen is actually from that episode, I believe, where displaced New Orleans musicians are playing “O Holy Night” and I adore it because I love that song and it’s played so very beautifully.

  • DebR

    ME TOO on the sickfullness!!! Gaaahhh!!! I have been aching, sneezing, coughing and miserable since Friday night and am only just now feeling semi-human again and heading back to work. (Might as well, since I have to go to town anyway to replace my supply of nyquil, zicam, cough drops & tissues, all of which I went through at an alarming rate.) I spent a big hunk of the last few days hunkered down on the couch, also in a drooling stupor, watching episodes of both the British & US versions of Being Human. I decided I like the Brit version better, but the US version is ok too.

  • Oh yuck, hope you ALL feel better and can enjoy your birthdays. Or just change the birthdays, because flu season is no time for a party. 😉

    Oh and I second the Phineas and Ferb for when you’re stuck with kiddie tv.

  • Jessica

    We, too, are watching Xena in my house, although we are almost done with the series. We have to admit (after admitting that it’s cheesy and a bit campy) that a lot of the acting is pretty good. There are times that characters switch “bodies” and you actually start believing the actors switched bodies. Sure, it’s full of things that make us roll our eyes or others that make us laugh out loud (and even a few cry-inducing scenes), but that makes the entire thing more fun for everyone involved. 🙂 (Now that you’ve admitted it, I thought I could go ahead and admit it.) We’re continuing the 90s with finally sitting down to watch all of Buffy as well. Yeah, we’re behind the times, but I wasn’t able to watch it weekly in high school, so I get to watch it beginning to end now and not miss any eps. (I was a busy, busy girl in HS. I guess I’m not as busy now as I was then…)

    I just heard that Twilight Zone will soon be streaming, as will Family Ties. I think my days just got a bit shorter. 😉 I mean, TWILIGHT ZONE! Whoo!!

  • Oh, I wish I could agree with you on Studio 60 … I watched it with great devotion when it came out because I had been such a huge West Wing fan, especially during the years Sorkin was writing it. But about five or six episodes into the run I realized I didn’t care if I missed it because I didn’t care what happened to the characters — somehow (for me, obviously not for others considering the opinions of lots of smart and tasteful people here), while Sorkin’s dialogue was as witty as ever, the character development didn’t work and make me care, and I realized that I’d missed the episode where the entire cast fell into a pit of molten lava and died in horrible agony, I wouldn’t really have cared, because none of them were real people to me. I don’t think I’ve ever WANTED to like a show more than S60, but I just couldn’t.

    TV is such a fickle thing. Well, books too. Anything where you have a creator trying to make it great, and a bunch of people filtering it through their own crazy brains as they read or watch — hard to predict the outcome.