Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Of Facebook and Golden Globe Injustices

What's this? A self-promotional filler post on this, the day of the Golden Globe nominations? The nerve!

Indeed, this is merely a brief post to notify all our readers (ha, ha) that we now have representation on facebook. (It's this new social networking thing the kids are using.) So in honor of the impending holidays, please check us out and "like" us here!

As for the Golden Globes, I've always been disappointed with their choices, so I hardly ever let myself get angry over them. Case in point: What kind of Best of 2010 TV Drama List doesn't include Breaking Bad? It's ludicrous! And, I'm sorry, The Big Bang Theory made the cut? Really? We're dipping into the CBS coffers for "good" TV now? Also, I can see why critics like Boardwalk Empire, but I take issue with the acting nomination for Steve Buscemi; I just cannot buy him in the lead role. I must be the only person in America who isn't getting a boner over that guy's performance, but there it is/n't. And here's another one: Julia Stiles for Best Supporting? Please. She may have been a more convincing rape victim than the endless carousel of gals on Law and Order: SVU, but if anyone on Dexter deserves to be recognized for her acting, it's Jennifer Carpenter. Oh, screw it; now I'm angry.

...But join us on facebook!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ode to Television in Five Parts

TV is the true American art form, I always say. And I do mean true. And I do mean art. Gotta love literature and film, but TV remains my favorite medium for fiction, and here’s why:

1. In Which I Become Found in Translation

TV taught me two languages. Linguists everywhere, listen up because it’s true and not in a lame, imaginary friend kind of way, either. I would literally watch English and Spanish television as a child and eventually found that I could understand the dialogue without consulting the subtitles. I might not have been capable of writing treatises in English right away, and I may presently remember only the telenovela jargon as far as Spanish goes, but still: to a young girl from Bucharest, the extent of language acquisition by TV seemed significant.

2. The Circle of Life

Yep, my reasoning is the title of a song from The Lion Kingthe one that tried to justify the animals’ need to kill each other in order to survive in the wild. A similar concept applies to television, minus the technicolor bloodshed. I’ve lost track of all the times I lost a favorite show to cancellation, whether timely or premature. Every single time I was inconsolable, fully convinced that no other programming could fill that void in quite the same way. But eventually, I always stood corrected. No sooner had I finished weeping over the demise of my beloved Arrested Development, than Poof (the magazine for magicians): the age of 30 Rock had begun.

3. Longevity

You know those books and movies that are so incredibly good that ¾ of the way through you get sad because you know the end is just around the corner? Well, with a good TV show, you have considerably more time to bask in the sheer pleasure of the escapism. Even the cliffhangeriest of episodes can’t ruin for you the 99 percent certainty that there’s ultimately more where that came from (and that you will be able to experience it from the comfort of your pajamas and beanbag chair). Besides, more often than not, when they do end, series finales provide relatively satisfactory resolutions. Cinema-wise, I still haven’t achieved closure for There Will Be Blood.

4. Absurdity

Let’s face it: TV makes you a little crazy. Endearing-crazy, not Bertha Mason-crazy. (Yes, she does read!) I’m talking about the kind of crazy that finds you screaming at the rapidly deteriorating protagonist you’ve followed for six years because you know—you know—she’s better than that. The kind of crazy that leads you to briefly ponder what Jim and Dwight are up to when the cameras aren’t rolling. The kind of crazy that convinces you it’s totally rational to gauge your rate of personal growth by the speed at which your taste in television evolves. Like I said, endearing-crazy.

5. In Which It Is Revealed Why We Can Be Friends

Generally speaking, where there’s art, there’s elitism; literature, music, even film, are all awash with snobbery these days. And yet, TV is more or less judgment free. TV lovers, regardless of particularity, are all equal. The drama junkie is no better than the comedy junkie is no better than the reality junkie, because we’re ultimately all “losers” who would rather not bother with personal hygiene or proper clothing on our day off. This is because in spite of having a type or two, the tellyphile (just go with it) usually dabbles in other genres sooner or later. We do not have standards or levels to which we won’t stoop. Nothing is completely beneath us. Even I, self-proclaimed TV snob,* have once watched a Flavor of Love marathon. 
* I am also a self-proclaimed paradox fanatic.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Don...

...but oh, how I love watching his roller coaster of a life! This season of Mad Men has been absolutely stunning, and I can finally say it fully won me over (a small part of me had still been uncomfortable with the show's apparent sterility and too-perfect demeanor; I just wanted to muss up its hairstyle a little bit). Quietly complex story lines, pitch-perfect performances, that barely contained anguish... Needless to say I had been simultaneously dreading and salivating over the season finale since last Sunday. When it finally came around, I got comfortable in my pajamas, barricaded myself in front of the TV, and made sure I could watch it undisturbed. And about two thirds into it.....

“I'm in love with you, Megan, and I think I have been for a while.”

(*wipes vomit off face*)

Of course, TV's Emptiest Marriage Proposal Ever came as no surprise, as the episode did nothing but foreshadow it all along, from Don's idyllic family vacation with Megan, to the saccharine “perfect mommy” moments of which she promises a lifefull, to the conveniently timed inheriting of Anna's engagement ring and those subsequent shots of “pensive Don” in the hotel; you can practically see him drawing the pro and con list on a mental legal pad—really, Mad Men, how very uncharacteristically... obvious of you. As obvious as the irony of Don Draper's ring sealing the deal between Dick Whitman and Megan, the woman who makes him feel “the way [he] always wanted to feel,” namely, like the fantasy of Don Draper himself—the man he always struggled to become.

Yep, I knew the proposal would happen just as surely as I knew that Betty would do something despicable to reverse any modicum of sympathy I may have mustered for her this season. Because well-written, realistic characters, much like real people, don't change. But still I hoped. I hoped that this would be the season that Don Draper would change, that he would become that better man we've all been hoping for since the show's inception—the man worthy of those panty-dropping looks of his. But, in retrospect, Don has been slowly morphing into Roger Sterling this entire season, so really, the whirlwind engagement to the beautiful young secretary should not have surprised me one bit. My own fault, that.

And yet I still feel it wouldn't have been totally unreasonable to expect Don to choose Faye, or hell, neither woman, instead of Megan. After all, Faye, Peggy, even Betty all experienced some form of shock and dismay upon hearing the news. Only Joan in her infinite bombshell wisdom was unblinded by Don's appealing veneer and sees him for what he is: just another dime-a-dozen executive who married his secretary. Even though the entire season up to this point has seen him contemplating and re-evaluating his life. Even if he was on the road to self-improvement. Even if hypothetically, Don's entire post-divorce journey could have been setting the stage for a real breakthrough.

In the end, while I am fresh out of respect for Don Draper, I must award a barrel of it to Matthew Weiner and Co. for not succumbing to what I can only imagine were entire sacks full of fan mail begging for a "happy ending" to the season (although arguably, the season does see a kind of happy ending, what with Don's impending nuptials and, thanks to Peggy, SCDP's newfound stability). Mad Men, thankfully, has never been the kind of show that caters to its audience's wishes over its needs, and, hand to God, I hope it never turns into it, no matter how much I may have rooted for Dr. Miller and her possibly redeeming love. After all, I'm just a silly romantic cynic with a silly romantic streak who rooted for Ross and Rachel, and Pam and Jim, and House and Cuddy, and look how boring all those couples turned out. It is this brutal honesty and refusal to conform that may well be making this show more superb with each passing season. They certainly made for a superb finale, from Joan's and Peggy's brief moment of camaraderie over their shared disgust with Don and office politics, to Faye's scathing parting shot to Don.

But don't feel too bad for Faye, folks; she will be fine without her Mad Man, not that he's some big prize in the long term. As for our ever-fickle protagonist, no matter how much we the viewers might root for him—and we will—we should remember that he will always be the kind of character whose cowardly decisions will repeatedly leave us, like Betty, disappointed yet ultimately unsurprised. Still, in the words of Liz Lemon, “that whole Disney prince thing” sure is confusing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Glee-ping the Faith

It doesn't really need to be said, but not all Christians are anti-science, sexist homophobes. The intelligent among us know this. We believe it. And yet, I find myself compelled to point out this truth on a semi-regular basis. The liberal media—including many publications I respect—as well as friends and acquaintances remind me all too often of the many ways in which people of faith—and thus, faith itself—fall short when it comes to open-mindedness and acceptance. And so, even though most of us know that we cannot and should not pigeonhole an entire cultural group, we still slip into the prejudicial mentality that, ironically, has been attributed to, not directed at, the religious. This is why I was impressed (and a little surprised) by this week's Glee: because even though the wrongness of this stereotype, too, should be implied, many liberal Americans still get a bad taste in the mouth at the mention of religion. I can't quite say I blame us, but I can't quite say I don't.

I admit that I have something of an ulterior motive in writing this, as I had exactly the kind of upbringing that normal (read: non-religious) people imagine when they hear the words “prayer meeting” and the lesser known “Christian music bonfire” (OK, this last one is but a nod to my beloved Arrested Development). The brand of religiosity present in my childhood and adolescence was not malicious or violent in any way, but subtly ostracizing and unwittingly sanctimonious? You betcha. I've since toyed with everything from religious humanism to agnosticism, because that is what you do when you are a thoughtful, liberal 18-year-old with “Devout Protestant” on your birth certificate and scared shitless of being labeled a narrow-minded science basher like “all the other Christians.” Lately, though, I've been getting a wee bit defensive—thank you, adulthood—because try as one might, it's not so easy, this business of denying thy father (heh), but I suppose that's my cross to bear (heh, heh). Don't get me wrong: I still have a chip on my shoulder so big and resilient I'll likely never be fully rid of it, but I like to think I am relatively comfortable with the complexity of my faith at its current state, namely, that while I might not know definitively what I believe, I do believe in God (on most days), and even though I am skeptical about any one too-specific mythology about the divine, it is this skepticism that I am ultimately grateful for, and even though this makes me about 5% afraid for the state of my soul, I am about 95% willing to ignore that fear in favor of my definitions of goodness and morality, in spite of the slight possibility that they will cause me to one day die an eternal and fiery death, though I'm almost positive this is not likely. To skim the surface.

But back to Glee. Sure, this season has been somewhat disappointing and the “I'd like to share my feelings through song!” method of segue into said song is wearing thin (I mean, seriously, Papa, can you hear yourself?), but I enjoyed this episode on the basis of sheer guts; it's not easy to broach a controversial topic to begin with, let alone doing so on a show known more for schtick, less for depth. (Also, the music was fantastic, although a song as awesome as REM's “Losing My Religion” did not deserve to be associated with a plot point as ridiculous as Finn's disillusionment with his grilled cheese Jesus.) And yes, part of me was happy to see a public discourse about faith on non-conservative programming, more specifically, a discourse that neither exalted nor denigrated religion, because God knows I'm sick to death of those. Did the episode reveal more than an occasional trace of the after school special? Of course. But we have to remember we're dealing with Glee, and this rainbows and unicorns stuff is their bread and butter.

The primary conflict this week was between Kurt and the rest of the gang, over their offers of prayer for his ailing father and Kurt's deliberate refusal of any and all faith-based help. The reason the episode worked so well was that it absolutely did not attempt to provide an answer to the “To pray or not to pray?” question—nope, no moralistic agenda here, folks. Instead, it simply pointed out what we supposedly already knew: that in a crisis, some will pray and some will not, and that the faithless can be just as close-minded as the faithful. Kurt was wrong to alienate his friends and they were wrong to pressure him, end of story. Most importantly, he did not go from atheist to believer during the course of an episode, and that's a trap a different show could have easily fallen into. He merely realized that a principle has no place in the simple matter of a friend who, to paraphrase Kurt (and Lennon/McCartney), just wants to hold your hand. And that's something we can all agree on. Not that it needed to be said. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You're Not Grounded: The Advent of Bad Parenting TV

In honor of Nancy Botwin's imminent return (Monday, August 16, 10 PM), about which I am as giddy as I am terrified.

It started with two Gilmore girls. With their trademark rapid dialogue and superhuman witticisms, Lorelei and Rory Gilmore mini-revolutionized the small screen mother-daughter rapport, setting a precedent that would be difficult to reverse. Even as sensible mothers and daughters acknowledged the scripted quality of the fictional relationship, we still lusted after the Gilmores’ dynamic. The grounding and punishment of unruly children were suddenly obsolete, because Rory was the sweet, obedient daughter every parent dreamed of, and it was Lorelei’s anti-authoritarian parenting style that created this angelic child. And thus spawned the belief that familial behavioral cycles could actually be constructive. What a crock.

Since then, the Gilmore phenomenon has escalated. As television evolved, the “cool” parents have devolved into just plain bad. Having just wrapped its second season, Showtime’s United States of Tara depicts a set of parents so ridiculously laissez-faire, it would make Ward Cleaver’s head spin. Half the time, the titular Tara and her husband Max have no clue what their kids are up to, and when they do, they all but hand them the keys to the gun cabinet. They might offer a half-hearted reprimand here and there but nothing that screams Involved Parent At Work. Take this exchange between Max and 15-year-old daughter Kate, on her way to meet not her Civics project partner but the dirtbaggiest of dirtbag boyfriends.

Max: It’s 9 o’clock, are you kidding me?
Kate: What, are you being, like, strict daddy now? Are you gonna take me to one of those purity balls?
Max: One hour. No negotiating.

Ummm, Max, I believe your exceedingly sexualized teen just negotiated the hell out of you. “I can’t seem to micromanage my daughter’s vagina,” Tara complains after finding a morning-after pill prescription in Kate’s backpack. I guess I’m supposed to feel for them but I just can’t muster the sympathy, when the most displeasure either of them show on the issue is, “I’m not real thrilled with you right now” — oh Max, you’re such a dad! Add an overly exaggerated wagging finger and faux grumpy voice and you’ve got all the ferocity of a Shirley Temple movie.

On one hand, I do have to hand it to Tara and Max, because it’s great to see TV parents who are incredibly and unconditionally supportive of their children in matters of sexual orientation and alternate post-high school endeavors. On the other hand, it is not normal for children to meet with zero opposition from their parents in every situation. Even Lorelei Gilmore had a prolonged estrangement from her adult daughter upon learning she had dropped out of Yale, and justifiably so — it was Yale! For free!

Probably sadder than a shitty parent, though, is one who degenerates into a shitty parent over time. Nancy Botwin, the heroine of the long-running Weeds also on Showtime — has been steadily hitting a new low every season since the show’s inception in 2005. We all loved her as a recently widowed mother of two trying to keep a roof over her family’s head, but what started as a harmless (ha, ha) stint as a suburban marijuana dealer has turned our Nancy into a morally defunct shadow of her former self. All of a sudden, she’s complicit in human trafficking and getting knocked up by Mexican drug lords. Is this show even a comedy anymore? Because I swear these plotlines are coming straight out of an Inarritu film. Thank God for Andy, Nancy’s manchildish brother-in-law who still manages to bring comic relief to an increasingly tense viewing experience. 

Thus far, Nancy has turned a blind eye to the following events involving her sons: 17-year-old Silas schtupping his thirtysomething neighbor, 13-year-old Shane losing his virginity in a kiddie threesome, Silas selling weed, Shane getting drunk, etc. By the time the latest season finale rolled around and I watched [a possibly drunk] Shane deliver the final blow — by croquet mallet, to a woman’s head, most likely fatal — I simply picked my jaw off the floor and thought to myself, “Well, Nance, there’s no redemption from this one.”

Don’t get me wrong — I love the weekly Nancy-hits-rock-bottom-again drama. I drink it up like the sweet nectar of the gods who birthed it, because in spite of being more uncomfortable to watch than Dexter, the show’s writers are still among the best at dialogue and, aside from the rare Oedipal exception, generally adept at skirting the line between Holy Shit, Did That Just Happen? and Dear God, Look Away!

As entertainment, Weeds and Tara are justifiably cutting edge, but these same shows also make me want to swear off ever having children. When did cutting-edge television start meaning shock factor, pure and simple? We now have TV parents who are philanderers, drug dealers, even serial killers, for shit’s sake. All in all, stuff that would make Uncle Jesse blush straight through that dreamy olive complexion. And I get it. Parents are human beings too, and it’s scripted TV, and it’s why we love it. But suddenly you have bitches like Dina Lohan trying to be her daughter's BFF-who-hits-you-up-for-fifty-grand-once-in-a-while. Or Britney Spears losing custody to the likes of Kevin Federline. Or Jon and Kate dueling it out publicly to the point where you have a tough time deciding whom to write off as The Douche. (Yeah, OK, it’s Jon.)

Yes, I know these are highly publicized, Hollywood-adjacent cases and that the world (and certainly Hollywood) has always been full of shitty parents. I am not attempting to jump on the television-is-the-devil’s-playground train. However, it’s undeniable that society and the media are, to a certain extent, mutually influential.

Ultimately, I’ll continue to watch my favorite irresponsible mommies and daddies on TV, gleefully even. Maybe I’ll even steal furtive glances at tabloid headlines featuring Jon and The Lesser of Two Douches; there’s no real harm in it. Still, amidst all the shoddy parenting that currently seems to permeate both art and life, I have to wonder: which is imitating which?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Primetime Emmy Nominations: After the Aftermath


This post is late. Let’s just get that out of the way. In my defense, I think my first post has already indicated that I may not be the timeliest blogger ever, and righteous indignation is timeless, after all.

Moving right past the obvious dominators this year—congratulations Mad Men, Glee, Breaking Bad, 30 Rock—I will admit that the initial joy I felt over some of the more surprising nominations momentarily overshadowed the disappointments—acting noms for virtually the entire cast of Modern Family and Chris Colfer from Glee; Conan honored over Leno, yippee! However, on second pass, the disappointments were really bloody grand, especially considering the personal relationships I had developed with some of the unchosen this year.

First of all, House left out of the Outstanding Drama Series category? Seriously? Since when do we snub the one show that has consistently gotten better in each subsequent season? Does the Academy not realize how rare that is? (No offense Damages, I still like you, but you peaked in your first year.) But yeah, OK, there has been a lot of good TV this year, so it must have been a really hard decis—wait, The Good Wife got nominated? Damages is better than that show—hold the phone, for real, Lost? TRUE BLOOD??? After an unsurpassable track record penning American Beauty and bringing Six Feet Under to HBO, I too am wondering what the hell Alan Ball could have been thinking in creating a show (mediocre) around the vampire fad (tiresome); I too want to believe that he knows what he is doing, that he has a master plan he will one day gloriously reveal to all the unbelievers, but an Emmy nomination is not going to “inspire” this guilty pleasure slash thinly veiled social commentary into getting any less ridiculous, people! What do you think this is, the Norwegian Nobel Committee? These awards matter! I’m pretty sure the word “achievement” is somewhere in the descriptions.

And whom, pray tell, does Courteney Cox have to sleep with to get some freaking recognition around here? Isn’t it bad enough that in ten years, she was the only friend not to have been nominated for a single Emmy? What, was she not as charming as Jennifer Aniston? Not as funny as Lisa Kudrow? And in spite of her awesome leading lady work on Cougar Town, she is snubbed yet again. You guys know this show was made for her, right? She is a “cougar.” Whatever, Emmys.

Perhaps the biggest personal disappointment was seeing such puny representation for The United States of Tara. Yes, Toni Colette is super good at playing a bunch of different characters, whoop-de-freaking-do, but this entire show has reached new creative heights this year and still manages to treat a serious psychiatric condition with sensitivity, grace, and humor. And come on: it’s way more endearing than that soulless Nurse Jackie.

But in the end, the Most Disappointing (But Predictable) Emmy Snub 2010 goes to… Rosemarie DeWitt for her perfectly balanced supporting work as Tara’s envious yet loyal Charmaine—the sister lucky in mental health and unlucky in everything else.  By turns narcissistic and self-loathing, Charmaine would not be portrayed quite as brilliantly by a lesser actress. I just hope DeWitt is not the Academy’s choice to fulfill the role of perennial loser the new Courteney Cox.

These were only a few of the Emmy oversights that stuck most uncomfortably in my craw this year. Share yours in the comments section.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Paperless World? Over Kleenex's® Empty Carton Carcass!

Hey, you know that single ancient washcloth you use as a bathroom hand towel? Remember when it got super soiled from drying your just-washed hands on it over and over? And then your dog started chewing on it, but you didn't have a spare, so you just hung it right back up? And then your washing machine went on the fritz so you couldn't wash it? You know, the one that's still hanging in your bathroom right now, looking like a thrice-used square of toilet paper? Man, that is such a drag!

But finally, someone understands! The brilliant heads over at Kleenex® came out with a disposable hand towel for just this sort of situation (see the TV spot below). Yep, while the SunChips® folks were unveiling their new 100% compostable chip bag (and an altogether smarter marketing campaign), the geniuses over at Kleenex® basically said, "Screw that! We'll just throw some money at one of those environmental cause thingies!" This is indeed the same company that brought us many wonderful paper products, but I draw the disposability line at tissues (which we need; handkerchiefs are only cute in Victorian romances). Too bad they didn't opt to introduce this product on Earth Day. Because nothing says conservation like big-ass paper towels for your overmoist hands.

But setting aside the fact that these things are wasteful as shit (no pun intended), what exactly is supposed to be so horrible about cloth towels, anyway? I honestly never thought about this prior to viewing this ad, but hell, I love towels! They're soft, they're fluffy, they come in colors! Why would I want to eliminate such a comforting bathroom item in exchange for yet another thing that dispenses from a carton? This whole idea is extra scary because I feel like Kleenex® might be developing a paper bath towel as I type this. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in one of their staff meetings... "Hey, Johnson, if we play our cards right, we might be able to do away with terry cloth entirely! NO MORE FUCKING TERRY CLOTH!" 

And that commercial! What a blatant insult to any consumer of average intelligence. For the love of Sterling Cooper, are there really any families who wait that long until switching out their hand towels? And what is coming out of these people's faucet? Swamp water?

But let's never mind the lazy ad campaign for a second. Never mind the needless waste and the arguably unattractive appearance of the towels themselves. Let's focus instead on the sheer idiocy of this product. Because in the grand scheme of bathroom experiences, the last thing I want to try to replicate in my home is the rest stop on Route 59. Up next: wall-mounted soap dispensers!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This Is Huddy Do It

This post contains spoilers about the Season 6 finale of House, but it was three weeks ago, so you're probably OK.

Watching Drs. House and Cuddy kiss—for real—was damn satisfying on the season finale of House a few weeks ago. So satisfying, in fact, that it instantly got me asking, first, “What’s wrong with this picture?” and second, “How jaded am I that I would question a lovely scene like this?” Not to mention the way it was perfectly emblematic of the ideal romantic partnership—both parties sacrificed, gave, and took equally during those few minutes. That it also happened to bring to fruition a six-year-long foreplay session was just icing on the cake.

But then I figured it out: what that moment triggered within me was the recognition that a kiss like that had somehow become a completely foreign concept on television. That elusive je ne sais quoi I was struggling to put my finger on was the presence of romance. Pardon the cliché, but it has to be said: TV romance is (nearly) dead. Sure, we still have the cutesy hookups of new and old sitcoms like Cougar Town and How I Met Your Mother to fall back on, as well as the always interchangeable, always manipulated screw-lationships of Grey’s Anatomy, but as far as serious, mature programming goes, the romance dial is essentially stuck on one position: the sweaty, carnal, envelope-pushing, checking-behind-you-for-grandmother’s-whereabouts fuck fests of the wonder that is cable television. (The backyard scene on United States of Tara from the beginning of this season comes to mind.)

What happened to buying a gal dinner first? What happened to affection? Emotional intimacy, anyone? Nothing tugs at the heartstrings anymore. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it makes me too much of a girl to demand some occasional wooing in my nightly viewing. I mean, enough with these borderline rape-y, bend-her-over-a-table-while-heaving-threats “love” scenes—yes, Weeds, I’m talking to you. I love cable programming as much as the next person, but sometimes I really wonder if a misogynist writer didn’t sneak his way onto the Showtime team. It’s like, we get it: it’s all just biology and there’s nothing really sacred about two people coming together physically. Except… it’s not, and there is.

These shows, while well-crafted and cleverly penned, appear to lack a basic belief in love. If love is the higher power, they are the atheists of TV programming, endlessly attempting to convince their audience of the idiocy of romance by depicting increasingly depraved sex scenes more reminiscent of animalistic mating rituals than expressions of human desire. While many such scenes can be funny/charming/real/necessary in context, they nearly always point back to that ol’ bodily function—no, not shitting—sex (although they sure make it hard to distinguish between the importance of the two). I have no beef with sex, but I’m sick of seeing it get reduced to nothing more than an urge. Yes, lust is a real and beautiful thing, but these shows will have you believe that it is sex that bestows significance on love, instead of the other way around. No offense to atheists, but I’ll stick with my silly magic.

So when House and Cuddy, two of the most complex and grownup characters currently on TV, finally got around to being on the same page for the first time in six years, I repeat, I was satisfied. Even better, I was touched. I was touched by their words to each other, the way she helped him up off the floor (symbolism alert!), their barely-there kiss, all the way to the final shot of their tightly, desperately joined hands. (I mean, seriously, who holds hands while making out anymore? I literally had to fan myself.) There was nothing tantalizing or titillating about their coming together, yet it was the sexiest thing I’d seen all year—perhaps longer—on the small screen. And I didn’t need visual proof to know that, in the House universe, those two totally got their freak on after the screen went black.

And so I urge you, television gods—as an non-sentimental, even cynical woman who does not get weepy at weddings and often rolls her eyes at proposal stories, I urge you—do not let on-screen romance die. As much as it shocks me to say this, less D.H. Lawrence and more Jane Austen, please. Look, I too dig a raunchy scene now and again; I just wish you realized that doing the nasty doesn’t always have to be so, well, nasty.