The Thick of It

If, like me you love political satire, love VEEP and In the Loop, watch The Thick of It on hulu.com

It’s directed and devised by Armando Iannucci, who created VEEP and In the Loop. It’s a smart send up of the finagling and incompetence that rears its ugly head daily in the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Strong adult language and deft, sophisticated barbs so beware.

Violence

I really can’t take gory violence in any way, shape or form. Suspenseful, off-screen, more psychological violence is another matter. I do love cop shows: Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett or even Basil Rathbone, Columbo, The Closer, and the extraordinary Sherlock and Luther.

But there’s a line that’s been crossed and the idea of people accepting pain in a psychologically disastrous way is it. This season, sad to say, The Good Wife has crossed this line with their story of Kalinda, the investigator. She’s a tough woman and often saves the day. This season we’ve had to see her ex-husband return and mess with her. She tries to stay away, but she also toys with him and enjoys some of the masochistic activities he’s fond of. It shows her as partially liking them too and it turns my stomach. Otherwise the show is smart and engaging, but I can read or watch something else. To continue down this seedy path just isn’t good for my psyche or soul.

I hope this storyline soon plays itself out. Then I’ll be back.

I’m also struggling to watch two Asian films and the violence gets to me. The Korean film The Housemaid chronicles the story of a somewhat innocent, somewhat not woman who take a job as a housemaid for a very cold- hearted, rich family.  The wife is materialistic, vacuous consumer, the husband a heartless, womanizing consumer.  They’re both users, cold blooded users. The wife is pregnant with her second child. The daughter is about 6 or 7 and she’s like a little robot. There’s also a middle aged  stern woman who manages the household and eavesdrops for a cold hearted mother-in-law.

The husband makes sexual advances towards the housemaid, who’s interested in him, though he treats her like a prostitute, like dirt. The mother-in-law finds out the maid is pregnant and “accidentally” kicks over a ladder the maid is on so she falls two floors. It’s manipulative, vicious and reptilian. Though the film is  beautiful and I thought a way to learn more about Korean culture. I paused it a week ago and can’t bring myself to watch more.

After pausing The Housemaid, I started watching The Drummer from Hong Kong. The image on Netflix made it seem like it would be a film about a traditional drummer. Nope. It’s about a rock star who sleeps with a gangster’s girlfriend. The gangster finds them together and assigns the drummer’s father to bring him his hands.

Yep, small world, the drummer’s father is a gangster, who works for the cuckolded king pin. The drummer goes on the run and his father tracks him down. The scene where the father goes to his daughter’s vet clinic and roughs her up, breaking a few of her teeth, was too much for me. Good Lord.

I remember a conversation with a Chinese man who said in China violence is viewed as beautiful, like a ballet. Whoa. Now you’ve lost me. Just like a scene with a father beating on his daughter so she could tell him where he could find his son to kill him is too much for me.  And I’m fine with that.

Spalding Gray: Our Town

A friend, Sandra blogged about Our Town and included the YouTube video above. I love the play and watched the video.

This Our Town scene was extra poignant because it features the wonderful monologuist Spalding Gray, who, sadly killed himself a few years back. In Japanese they have a tendency to let sadness just ring like a bell. That’s how this made me feel.

I also like the My So-Called Life scene below.

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

When I was growing up in the 70’s, I’d listen to CBS Radio Mystery Theater before going to sleep. I loved how radio stimulated  my imagination, how enthralling the stories were.

I just discovered that they’re all online, available at http://www.cbsrmt.com/.  It’s a fun, nostalgic journey.

What about you?


You Are a Crime Drama


You may seem quiet and withdrawn, but you’re paying attention to every single thing around you.

You intuitively understand people. You are an amazing listener.
You are very tightly-wound. You can get completely wrapped up in your job.
You’re the type of person who always finishes what you start. You like to wrap things up completely.

the good wife: kalinda’s storyline

In season 4 of The Good Wife, we’ve been introduced to Kalinda’s husband. He’s a seedy, violent character just out of jail. He wants Kalinda back because he likes control. She’s playing him and it’s quite weird. She’s troubled by him but yet doesn’t take any definite steps to keep him away legally. It’s a very weird game she’s playing and ultra-creepy as CBS has ventured into a very suggestive S & M vibe.

I really don’t like this story like and would be delighted if it stopped. But the writers seem to think this is good for the show and I don’t know how they’d get out. Yet they are professionals and some of the best on American TV, so if you’re reading this Good Wife Writers, please cut this storyline short.

By all means, don’t go the obvious route of having Kalinda murder him and then having the firm come to her aid. A season of that will get me to change the channel.
On another note, I did enjoy the non-Kalinda plot with the case against a Google-ish search engine that manipulated the search results to hurt a voice recognition software product. Very cutting edge.

The Good Wife, Season 4

I’ve watched the premier and second episode of The Good Wife‘s fourth season.  Several new characters have climbed on board. Nathan Lane‘s playing a stick in the mud trustee who’s charged with getting the firm on higher financial ground. Kristen Chenoweth appeared in the first episode as a journalist who’s honing in on Peter’s election bid and will be tough with Alicia. Does she stand by her husband? Well, they why don’t they live together? Isn’t she sending a bad message to modern women? Alicia handled it well, but we can expect trouble down the road.
Speaking of roads, my favorite story line involved Zach who got pulled over by a zealous cop. There was no real cause and soon the cop asserts that he’s found traces of pot. Baloney. Zach stepped up to this jerk and with his tech savvy helped find the evidence his mother needed when they went to this small town court.

I wasn’t keen on Kalinda’s dodgy husband or the S & M aspect of their relationship. Does the envelope need to be pushed in this way? It’s a turn off for me and I just endured these unsavory scenes.  I hope this storyline fades out soon, but I doubt it will. Lord help us.

I know I’ve seen worse on say Luther or Prime Suspect, but I find the Brits can do things with more class and spare us some of the gory details. Listen CBS, please.

We haven’t seen much of Eli, and I hope that changes fast.

More on VEEP

I watched the rest of VEEP yesterday. I planned just to watch one episode, but it soon became a marathon.

Such biting satire!

Reasons to love VEEP:

  1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is at her best. She deserved the Emmy.
  2. The dialog moves fast and furious.
  3. There’s something of a cathartic effect of watching people yell at the incompetent. Don’t you wish you could at work?
  4. While the show is heavy on testosterone, so’s the world and the show skewers that inane competition for alpha male position.
  5. Anna Chlumsky is marvelous. One of the best comediennes working today
  6. The show satirizes all politicians, all who scurry around for power. It’s something of an anti-West Wing.