Monday, January 10, 2011

My Rock Bottom

Just when you thought the red rose couldn't be a bigger cliche...

Unlike my colleague here at our nifty little blog, one of my resolutions for 2011 is to watch more TV, if for no other reason than to accumulate fodder for said blog. (Parenthetically, it will be interesting to see how well this goal will gel with res number two: lose thirfteenleven pounds.) Of course, given the amount of TV I already watch, this decision has forced me in many ways to dip dangerously close to the bottom of the barrel.

Last week I tuned in for the season premiere of The Bachelor, fueled only by my ongoing mission to find the perfect show on which to do weekly recaps. (Spoiler alert: the search continues.) I was hoping the “controversy” associated with this season would provide some mild analytical twists, while the show’s usual antics would lend themselves perfectly to jokes and ridicule. As it turns out, the scandal surrounding this year’s bachelor is hardly enough to make a few ripples in the show’s monotony, let alone an actual wave. In a nutshell, bachelor Brad Womack catapulted himself to notoriety during his first stint on the show back in 2007, by brazenly rejecting both of the final two future Mrs. Womack hopefuls. The nerve.

I stuck around through the end of the episode, if only to relish the inherent hilarity in the fresh batch of women having their “words” with the dude who deigned to screw with the show’s promise of a televised proposal. Because, as all of us card-carrying Ladies often ask ourselves, what’s the point in dating a man while sabotaging other women if he doesn’t give you a big shiny rock in the end? I mean, to not be ready to propose marriage to someone after six whole weeks of dating in a variety of fantasy scenarios? What kind of a dick move is that?! And OMG, like, who would even choose being alone over being with a girl who wears evening dresses and fancy eye shadow every day? Enjoy your TV-lit frozen dinners and bubbleless baths, douchebag!

Of course, the solidarity was quickly abandoned as, true to form, the women’s baby-making instincts kicked in and they began fighting each other in earnest for Brad’s sperm attention. Ugh! I should have known I couldn’t watch a show whose sheer premise fundamentally disgusts me. My favorite moment, if I can call it that, came when one of the bachelorettes, mere moments after meeting him, slapped Brad square across the face “just to get it out of the way,” prompting him to utter the words, “Now I like you even more,” or some such. I get it; who doesn’t love a little abuse now and then, am I right? The whole episode, really, was a rubbernecker’s wet dream, from Brad's awkward confrontation with the two spurned ladies of yore to the gratuitous footage of his Changed Self, a change that—if the circumference of his upper torso is any indication—took place largely in that most sacred sanctuary of dudedom: The Gym. (To be completely honest, this was the first time I’d ever been jealous of a man’s nipple pertness.) What really amused me throughout the whole thing was the level of righteous indignation, albeit short-lived, shown by some of the new women on behalf of the old, rejected ones. I mean, this guy is practically a pariah for making a decision than any rational human in the real (read: unsimulated) world would applaud. It boggles the mind, it does.  

Fortunately, the second show I discovered on my new year’s quest fared much better. In fact, Grey’s Anatomy is actually, sort of, in a way, good. This is a show I had tried out when it first started, back when Scrubs was in its heyday and doctor shows in general were all the rage, but I abandoned it shortly thereafter due to both my general inability to suspend that pesky disbelief and my fear of being associated with that very specific demographic of doe-eyed womanfolk. (Full disclosure: I’ve really been revisiting this show since last season’s finale, which I tuned into after being exposed to endless ABC promos and which turned out to be a positively gripping two hours of television.)

I’m not saying it’s on par with Mad Men or Breaking Bad (seriously, did the AMC execs make some Faustian-type deal back in 2007?), but Grey’s Anatomy is pretty solid, not-completely-ridiculous entertainment. I am also shameless enough to admit that the collective hotness of the cast is likely doing wonders toward helping me forgive those long, impassioned speeches that creator Shonda Rhimes is known for. At any rate, there are some good bloody moments in this show. For example, even though I could have done with less repetitive dialogue, I was totally transfixed when Meredith called out Derek in the OR last week. That scene surprised me, and I was definitely not expecting this show to ever be able to sneak up on me like that. And then there are those awesome shots of the Space Needle between scenes? Sold!

Look at how hot they are!

But, like Sir Isaac Newton once postulated, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every awesome moment on Grey’s, there’s an equally cheesy one, too. Sure, you might witness a wrenching and plausible exchange between newly-broken-up Drs. Torres and Robbins, but a mere few minutes later you will be cringing through a sappy and clichéd reunion of estranged BFFs Meredith and Christina, set to the tune of the worst '80s Top Gun music I’ve heard so far in this millennium. There’s a good chance you’ll be compelled to nod emphatically through a scene that speaks super true to the harsh realities of post-traumatic stress, but faster than you can say “sassy black lady,” out comes Dr. Bailey summoning her inner Scarlett O’Hara (after the glamour years) to literally look up into the heavens and dem-ay-and—raised fist and all—that God return the life into a patient’s body, hammering home the point that the writers have been bending over backwards to illustrate since Episode 1: that when Miranda Bailey speaks, folks listen, deities included.

Personally I’m thankful for the corny moments because they keep me grounded and a safe distance away from wanting to think this show makes for some sort of brilliant, groundbreaking television. Still, fitting somewhere between the guilty pleasures and the eagerly anticipated must-sees, Grey’s has wedged itself pretty comfortably in my long list of followed programming.  

What are some other shows I should watch and/or recap? Help this tellyphile meet her New Year’s resolutions by leaving lots of comments. Weight loss tips unwelcome.


  1. Grey's finally owns you ha ha. That's two for 2011, my other half now watches it as well.

    I think I have a similar couch time and exercise routine (mine's non-existent) to you so if you ever want to swap food plans...let me know.

  2. First of all, I admire your stamina for even making it through a full episode of the bachelor. I can only stomach clips from that show and even then only when funny man Joel Mchale follows it with hilarious commentary.

    Grey's isn't bad, but like you said it ain't good. If you really want to enjoy some cheesy doctor drama you should have stayed put and watched Private Practice, even though lately they've been getting a little too dramatic (I mean how many disasters can happen to a single group of people?) I keep watching for Dr. Addison alone. She's definitely one of the more interesting female characters on TV (sorry Meredith, but I've always been team Addy)

  3. @Artillery, yes, you gave me Grey's, but I gave you Cougar Town. (Just realized how incredibly STD-ish that sounds...)

    As for the other, I don't think you really want to swap food plans with me. Your petite frame couldn't support the resulting thunder.

    @Liz, you hit the nail on the head with your comment about the unlikelihood of that much disaster. I haven't watched PP, but the same can definitely be said about Grey's as well, don't ya think?

    Joel is hilarious. They seriously need to hire him as an award show host. There. I've said it. It's on the record.

  4. I haven't watched PP because, well, I don't know why. But recently I heard something about Xander from Buffy raping the blonde chick on PP so now I'm just plain scared to watch it.

  5. I like PP more only because it seems to have some originality to it. I actually checked out of Grey's last year and have watched sporadically this year. And so far, I've given in to the impulse to channel surf way more than I ever did in beginning episodes... it all just seems been-there-done-that to me. And now that the lesbian chick is pregnant with the other guy's baby, I smell whifs of soap opera desperation.

  6. Hah! Yes, I agree with most of what you're saying. I feel like some of the stuff taking place now is reminiscent of past events from back when I watched this show the first time. Perhaps I'm not as annoyed by it because I took a pretty lengthy pause in the middle?

  7. Lawdy I'm behind!!!! These last 3 months have been Ka-razy, and now I'm just catching up on the posts, even BEFORE catching up on my television shows. Thank you, thank you, and thanks to ye' for your brilliant wit and perfectly timed cynicism. I salute you. - Lindsay B.