Posts Tagged: Set For Life
25

A Fan's Notes On "Gilmore Girls"

Each television show will inevitably teach you something, but together they've all taught me one thing—that is, a television show will always teach you how to watch it. The education starts early: "Barney" or "Sesame Street," where learning to count is the same thing as learning how to learn to count. You might not realize it when you're eight and miming the clean-up dance on "Big Comfy Couch," but then the education continues. "Mad Men," that excellent serial drama, directs us to observe details, little gestures, big paintings—all meaningful subtext. Even shows fairly awful at teaching you how to watch them, like "Homeland" or "Smash," manage to convey something (don't [...]

4

From Chart-Topping Highs To Unthinkable Lows: The 20 Best Lines Of Narration From "Behind The Music: TLC"

20. "Millions of dollars were pouring in, but in the middle of 1995 the girls shocked their fans by filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy."

19. "But although she agreed work on the new album, Lisa continued to look beyond music for her own personal salvation."

18. "Consumed by turmoil, trials and tragedy, was the music. Not a single new note was heard from TLC for nearly 5 years."

17. "On the way to the studio, Lisa saw a rainbow. It was a vision that inspired her to add a deeply personal touch to the song, 'Waterfalls.'"

This list is part of a series about our favorite [...]

52

What Made "The O.C." Great, Bitch

"Welcome to the O.C., bitch." —Luke, "The O.C.," Season 1, Episode 1

Sometimes disorder introduces itself into long-standing order. Such is the plot of almost everything compelling: "Downton Abbey," the evolution of the norovirus, "The Nanny," bedbugs, "Jurassic Park," civil rights, the lineup changes of Foreigner, infidelity. So goes, also, the story of Ryan Atwood, who storms Newport's gated communities with little more than a hoodie, a wrist cuff, a pack of Marlboros and his trademark Chino flair in the pilot episode of "The O.C."

This essay is part of a series about our favorite TV shows past.

Previously: The Joys And Derangement Of [...]

14

The Theology Of "Angel" In The City Of Demons

The first in a series about our favorite TV shows past.

There are some things I know to be true that cannot be objectively or scientifically proven, what theologians call articles of faith. Corporate lawyers, for instance, are not simply bad people who made poor life choices. They actually work for demons, a kind of lesser god-monster from a parallel dimension porously paired with our own. Professional politics, a career nearly all attorneys aspire to, is itself a realm of slightly higher demons—higher in influence and power, not intellect or evolution. These professions, like those of talent agents and film producers and record-label executives and school principals, are natural [...]

11

The Before And After Of "Monty Python's Flying Circus"

When but a girl, I used to stay up quite late watching TV (exciting in itself!) trolling for Fred Astaire or Marx Brothers movies in a sea of horrific late-night jangling commercials like those featuring, in his white cowboy hat, the car dealer Cal Worthington "and his dog, Spot" (who turned out to be an elephant, often as not). Thus it was that one night I discovered "Monty Python's Flying Circus," a phenomenon that roared like a hurricane across the plain of my tender psyche, ending in an hoarse, explosive "It's!" How can I tell you what this meant to me? It was just a TV show, but "Monty Python" [...]

50

You, Me And "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

An obsession in five acts.

I. You're about nine, and you always watch tv with your dad. It's your thing—he's usually nursing a Coors Light, you're doing your best to hang upside down on the couch until your head starts pounding. Sometimes you watch golf and fall in love with Payne Stewart; sometimes you watch "MacGyver" and wish your dad had his hair. But then you start watching "Star Trek: The Next Generation" at 5 p.m. on a Saturday, because obviously that is when the best show on television should be scheduled, and your routine becomes: 1.) watch "TNG" together 2.) Mom and Dad go out to some dinner [...]

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The Joys And Derangement Of "F Troop"

Fort Courage, Kansas. Civil War hero Captain Wilton Parmenter is in command, protecting the Fort, and the neighboring town of the same name, from a tribe of Indians in the area, led by Chief Wild Eagle. With Sergeant O'Rourke and Corporal Agarn rounding out his staff, Captain Parmenter navigates Fort Courage through the dangerous waters of the expansionist latter half of the 19th Century.

Plus also: wackiness.

This is the synopsis of a situation comedy, circa 1965. Not an emphatically successful one, but "F Troop" was still a pristine specimen of what I grew up thinking was the Platonic ideal of sitcoms.

This essay is part of a [...]

10

"Carnivàle" Broke My Heart

In my opinion, this is the most beautiful sequence ever aired on television:

This essay is part of a series about our favorite TV shows past.

Previously: You, Me And "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

It's the opening scene for episode two of "Carnivàle." I've probably watched it 100 times. I know every motion, piece of furniture, item of clothing, dialogue snippet, and character backstory. I know the song playing is Ruth Etting's 1929 hit "Love Me or Leave Me."

And yet still, I have absolutely no idea what's going on.

That was kind of the experience of watching the show. Trying to [...]

14

The Terror Of "Twin Peaks": His Name Is BOB

Myriad outrageous things occurred during the two seasons of "Twin Peaks" that aired on ABC in the early 1990s. A fish somehow got stuck in a coffee percolator, a sheriff's deputy knocked himself silly by stepping on a loose board, Sherilyn Fenn tied a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue. Verbal tics and regional dialects and odd vocal registers predominated. Dwarfs and doppelgangers spoke backwards. David Duchovny showed up wearing a dress. Many of these things came off as humorous, and each episode provided at least five or six chuckle-worthy moments—which, as offsets go, is only fair, considering that the David Lynch and Mark [...]

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Love And Other Conspiracies Of "The X-Files"

The best time to get involved in a conspiracy theory is in media res. A really good conspiracy needs years to pile up the evil plans and secret knowledge into a baroque edifice worth caring about. At its beginning, it's just a bunch of people with some sinister ideas, and where's the fun in that?

So I think I got really enthusiastic about "The X-Files" and its ongoing storyline of a human-alien conspiracy precisely because I came into it in the middle. I had seen an episode or two of the first few seasons, enough to get the general gist of the show; but it was only after I moved [...]