My Little Town

Schitt’s Creek won all the Emmys on Sunday night, and I’d been long been meaning to write a blog entry about what became one of my favorite shows of all time.

A co-worker–with whom I frequently discussed our mutual love of Archer–recommended this show to me years ago, when it was only available to stream on Amazon Prime. I’ve never really been a huge fan of the Christopher Guest movies (although For Your Consideration was probably one of the most brilliant send-ups of Hollywood and the Oscar chase I’ve ever seen), which was primarily what I knew Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara from (although I’ve always been a big fan of hers and thought she was always under-appreciated and should have been a much bigger star than she was); but when I watched the first episode, I wasn’t convinced it was something I’d want to watch. I’ve never understood Chris Elliott, or understood his style of “cringe humor”, and the old “fish out of water” trope being explored here didn’t seem especially interesting or original. It didn’t grab me on that first watch, and I never went back to it. I just didn’t see how this was any different from any other “filthy rich awful people lose all their money and have to live in a rustic quirky backwater with eccentric people” show/movie/whatever I’d seen already.

I’m also not entirely sure why I decided to go back and try it again–this time with Paul watching with me–but the second time was definitely the charm. We found season one amusing, and by season two we were bingeing unashamedly and reluctantly turning it off every night because we had to go to bed. We finished everything on Netflix, and then had to wait for the final season to air so we could watch it as well–the entire time telling everyone we knew they had to watch. The final season was, as opposed to most final seasons of beloved shows, quite good; I should have known they would know how to end the show properly.

Why did Schitt’s Creek resonate so strongly with us, as well as with so many others? I think it was because the Roses–despite all appearances to the contrary at the beginning–weren’t truly terrible people; it’s just that their wealth (and soap stardom, in Moira’s case) had disconnected them not only from each other but from any sort of sense of reality, and the real world. Their interactions with the eccentrics of Schitt’s Creek–and their own eccentricities–were never cruel, insulting or condescending; we also got to see the Roses grow and adapt, get closer to each other and develop not only a true sense of family, but of community with everyone else in the town. There is a genuine sweetness to the show, and the way everyone grows is something that is rare on a situation comedy; it was also genuinely touching. The friendship between David and Stevie, for example; also the way Stevie gradually became a part of the family. The friendship between Alexis and Twyla, as well; the entire Alexis arc, going from brainless celebutante to high school graduate to businesswoman; from self-absorbed to genuinely caring enough about other people to put their own happiness before her own, was not only inspiring but impossible to watch without the occasional tearing up.

David’s relationship with Patrick was also probably one of–if not the best–same-sex love stories to ever play out on a television series.

And while I was sorry to see the show end, I was absolutely delighted to see it get the Emmy love it got Sunday night.

And if you’re looking for something equally charming to watch, I’ve got to say that Ted Lasso on Apple Plus comes pretty damned close to matching it.

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Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)

The cold has returned, after an absolutely stunningly beautiful weekend in New Orleans; more’s the pity, really. I sit here within my cold windows, with the gray light of early morning out there, shivering a bit; I probably could put on my fingerless gloves and a skull cap, but instead I simply sit here and shiver and shake.

Work schedule for the week is still messed up, or rather, not the norm; I have to go in early every day which means my evenings are free. Last night, I wrestled with the problem of my Mac having slowed down dramatically since the last iOS upgrade (to Mojave, by the way) but then I downloaded one of those “clean up your Mac” apps, and this morning it seems to be operating at a much better level; faster, at any rate–or at least I am not staring at the spinning wheel of annoyance the way I was when I got home last night–and proceeded to spend the entire evening getting that taken care of until frustration set in and I retired to the living room.

We’re currently binge-watching Schitt’s Creek, which is absolutely hilarious. It’s available on Netflix now; it’s a Eugene Levy creation, starring Mr. Levy and Catherine O’Hara–who makes everything she’s in better. Why she hasn’t won all the Emmys is a mystery to me.

I also signed a contract for the sale of my story “A Whisper from the Graveyard” to an anthology this morning, and emailed the signature page back into them. It’s for a gay male anthology called Pink Triangle Rhapsody, and my story is noir with a twist of the supernatural; or rather, as they say, “pulp”. It was a fun challenge to write, and is perfect for including in my future collection Monsters of New Orleans, which is clearly off to a very good start.

Yay, me!

I also read “The Mysterious Disappearance of the Reluctant Book Fairy” by Elizabeth George, from  Bibliomysteries Volume Two, edited by Otto Penzler:

For an entire generation, the story that follows could not be told. She who affected the vanishing of Langley, Washington’s most famous citizen was still among the living and had the knowledge of what she had done been revealed before this moment, there is little doubt that legions of the broken-hearted, the disenchanted, the disappointed, and the downright enraged would have ended up marching along the quiet street where she lived, bent upon violence. This, of course, would have followed whatever the afore-mentioned legions had done to a disused potting shed in the arboreal confines of Langley Cemetery, where the shape of a body on a moth-eaten blanket and a rotting first edition of an antique novel marked the spot of a deeply mourned departure. But now, at last, everything can be revealed. For all involved have finally passed, and no danger remains to anyone. Langley, Washington, has long since returned to the sleepy albeit lovely little village that has sat above the gleaming waters of Saratoga Passage for more than one hundred years. And what occurred there to its citizenry and to its gentle, well-meaning, but dar too malleable librarian has been consigned to history.

Elizabeth George.

It surprises me that I’ve not read any of Ms. George’s works, and I am not quite sure why that is the actual case. I certainly know of her, I know she is critically acclaimed and has been short-listed for, and won, numerous awards. And yet…Elizabeth George is a big hole in my mystery/crime education which must needs be remedied at some point. But there are so many authors, so many books, so little time; I certainly can relate to that old Twilight Zone episode where Burgess Meredith survives the nuclear holocaust and is delighted by the end of the world because now he has the time, finally, to read everything he wants to. And unlike his character, I don’t need my glasses to actually read, praise Jesus.

The premise of George’s story here is quite charming, if twisted; her main character, Janet Shore, loves to read but has the ability, by chanting and focusing, to actually put herself into books. She soon learns, much to her delight, that she also has the ability to put other people into them as well–she learns she can do this due to an argument over who killed Tom Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird with a stubborn friend whom she sends into the book to witness what actually happens for herself. Soon she is sending other friends into books, but after heartbreak in college she shuts herself off from other people–but finally returns home to her island off the Pacific Coast as librarian only to soon find herself back into the old position of putting people into their books. The story is quite original–at least to me–and I loved how George wove books into her narrative; along with slyly taking potshots at authors and books Janet Shore, with her deep and abiding passion for books, considers to be trash–Twilight, for one, and Fifty Shades for another.

Basically, what George has done with this tale is take the old cliched story of losing one’s self in books quite literally; books were Janet’s salvation as a child, as they were mine…and as I read this story, I wondered if I would take advantage of such a power were I to have it; I don’t think I actually should. But the finish of the tale is also enormously satisfying, and I was quite pleased with it.

And yes, I’ve added George to my “must read” authors list.

And now back to the spice mines.

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