I am not a TV watcher. I tend toward anything else really and being a compulsive reader, that is what usually fills my entertainment time. I will pick up anything; a weeks old newspaper, the back of the cooking oil bottle, a book on the Arts and Crafts movement in the northwest. If I want something in the background so it isn’t so quiet, I put on music. Usually Jazz.

My wife, on the other hand, is a TV watcher. She usually has it on in the background when she is doing other things, just for the noise, to keep her company so to speak. And while she doesn’t do this when she is reading, it is on when she is cooking or working her seedlings. Usually it’s a whole series, season by season. Which, as a non-TV person, begins to grate on me. But, every once in a while I find myself really enjoying the show.

Right now she is watching Friends.

As I said, I was never a TV watcher (my older brother had control of the remote when we were kids, so I just found other interests, usually Conan paperbacks), so I never really watched the show back in the ’90’s when it was on. But watching it now, as an adult with a grown child, I am surprised at how much I am enjoying it. Yes, it is a typical sitcom with laugh tracks and title themes, but between this and Seinfeld (my insomnia go to) you can (IMVHO) witness the zenith of the sitcom. Very strong writing, developed characters, impeccable timing, strong physical comedy and most importantly, no references to then current events, or at least not much (did catch a Y2K mention last night.) In short, comedy gold.

So, what are you watching and/or reading?

We will be back with a installment of the Norwegian Wood book club next week.

Staff Writer

A fourth generation Californian, befuddled.

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7 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. A book about the Muscovite Subway System.
    Dark, post-apocalyptic.
    (The Russians really MEANT their subway systems to serve as shelters).


  2. Friends was one of the shows that was *HUGE* in syndication when Maribou and I were first married. We watched it every day and hammered out that the only people we could see being able to handle for more than 20 minutes in real life were Chandler and Phoebe. Ross and Rachel were awful people (and the show went out of its way to explain over and over and over again that they were awful people) and Joey was… well, he was fun. But he was exhausting. And Monica was exhausting.


  3. Friends helped me to develop my grand theory that the jump from TV to movies is possible for actors in TV dramas, but not in TV comedies. To do drama every week, an actor can be pretty consistent. But to do comedy that much, you’ve got to reach into your bag of tricks every time. A Chandler Bing has to be slapstick funny, romantic funny, subtle funny, dialogue funny, all in one episode, then has to do it differently next week. He also has to do drama. A few years of that and what can he do on the movie screen that we all haven’t seen before? I remember watching The Office (US) and seeing Steve Carell do a voice he’d done in a movie. But he also did a dozen other bits I’d never seen before.

    Tim Allen can play Santa because we’re not asking too much from him, on the small or the big screen. Jennifer Aniston can do romantic comedies because, oh, let’s face it, she’s adorable, in a way that men can enjoy and women don’t find threatening. Ashton Kutcher keeps making movies, but no one knows why.


    • I actually find Ashton Kutcher adorable and not threatening, whereas Jennifer Aniston seems to move in a cloud of low-grade anxiety that only I feel (but which makes her unwatchable for me except in Office Space where the low-grade anxiety fits the character).

      But I would still rather watch either of them on TV than on the big screen.

      Paul Rudd seems to have made the transition fine, and to a lesser degree Seth Rogen, but they both shifted to movie roles very young… wonder if that has something to do with it.

      (As a total aside, holy crap has Rudd been in a lot of things, shifting back and forth from TV to movies seemingly at will. 107 IMDB credits)

      And then of course there’s Robin Williams, but he was a once-every-50-years kinda guy…. and he was also quite young when he shifted… hm.


      • I was thinking about Robin Williams and John Travolta. Maybe it used to be easier, although I can’t think of why it would have changed.

        Paul Rudd was never a TV star. He did 20 episodes of Sisters and 18 of Friends. He didn’t exhaust his repertoire the way most sitcom actors do.

        Oh, I’ve got one more for the successes list, though. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Third Rock from the Sun was like a master class in acting given by the great John Lithgow – even though everything looked like it was ridiculous.


      • Aniston does seem to be a very …brittle maybe…actress. Not that she is brittle, but the roles she takes.

        Also, Tom Hanks made the transition. But he wasn’t on TV that long.


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