Monday, December 22, 2008

Television= Brain Liquefier.

For most of my adult life, and I parenthetically qualify that period as age twenty and up, I labored under the assumption that all TV was trash. I even theorized that Major Network Television was responsible for a massive mental degeneration caused by a series of minute neurological strokes induced in the general population by shows so manipulative and badly written that test audiences were not only required to sign intellectual property disclosure statements before watching, but also medical waivers, thereby releasing the networks of all responsibilities involving possible brain damage in the event of watching those aforementioned production pilots.

Then I discovered Buffy.

Stop laughing.

No. Really.


I have always held the firm belief that it is our responsibility to be analytical and conscientious about our entire intellectual intake. We should use the same logical deconstruction tools on music, film, internet publication, and all forms of media that we use for traditionally accepted formats like books and scholarly materials. In short, we need to be Critical Thinkers in everything we experience—our ability to make valuable meaning should not be inhibited by our cerebral laziness.

Because of this firm belief, I felt, more often than not, T.V. did not hold up well against this form of scrutiny—by its very commercialized and mind-numbing nature it was the antithesis of true Auteur Theory. There was no real creative vision to be found. The Networks were merely using television as a means to control what the masses would buy, think, feel, and subsequently experience. Furthermore, before Buffy, I had no idea how television writers/directors/producers figured into the creation of a TV show. I thought shows were either entertaining or not. Entertainers were either beautiful or not. I was either going to throw up while watching or not.

TV=Brain Liquefier.

Are ya following me?

But then I started watching Buffy, and consequently started listening to the director/creator/producer/writer commentaries offered on the DVDs. I was fascinated. Joss, Jane Espenson, and Marti Nixion, to name a few of creative forces, really had an overall plan for the show. There were distinct character archs, character development, symbolism, a strong sense of occult myth, and an extremely deliberate and conscientious creative decision process.

Television really had something offer. This was exciting! Es Las Verdad?

Now for the bad news. Joss’s creations are still very much in the minority. Most Television shows, especially the money-makers, are homogenized cash cows for the networks. Let me give you an example. Up until recently, I was watching one of the more popular and meticulously crafted soap operas TV has to offer: Grey’s Anatomy. I discovered after more than two seasons on the show, a character was getting the axe not for creative purposes, but because the actress playing her was not attractive enough for test audiences to accept. It was okay for her to be a smart doctor with a cold and distant personality for two seasons. It was NOT okay for her to have a love life. She had a relationship with another doctor on the show who was prettier than she. When audiences didn’t like it, she got the axe.

Can you imagine if novelists wrote this way? Seriously, picture what would happen if J.K. Rowling were told, “We’re sorry Ms. Rowling, but test audiences didn’t like that you killed Dumbledore. If you don’t bring him back, we’ll fire you.” Absolutely absurd!

I could go on, but I think I better tell you the point of all of this. Television does have creative possibilities, but just like food, ‘You are what you eat.”

PS I’m watching the FOX series "Bones" right now. It’s good stuff. Also Joss has a new one coming out in February called “Doll House.”

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008 is Coming to an End

Now that things have “settled down”,*let’s out an incredulous cough*, I wanted to take a moment recap my year.

Things I did in 2008:
1. I became a secretary (never thought in a million years that would happen).
2. I was accepted into grad school. *Stands with an enthusiastic fist in the air and chants, “Go Weber State Wildcats!”*
3. I went to Ultimate Tournaments in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Utah.
4. The Women’s BYU Ultimate team came 16th in the Nation—I was with ‘em.
5. I moved three times.
6. I had to give up my dog, Mick.
7. I went the furthest north I’ve ever been in Prince George, BC.
8. I went to Deception Pass in Washington State.
9. I developed a strong addiction to all things Joss Whedon.
10. I saw a live Coldplay concert.
11. I 've started my Thesis...somewhat successfully.
12. I started writing a Novel...somewhat unsuccessfully.

It was a huge year, and I've been blessed. I love school, and I love living in Salt Lake. It's great city.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Shameless. I am just a shameless procrastinator.

When I was teaching (a brief, but painful year and few months), I was constantly impressed with how incapable my students were of ever getting anything done on time. I remember saying to myself: "I was NEVER this bad. NEVER. These children are helpless goobers destined for such heights as McDonald's Management Grooming Program."

Well, I would like to retract that deluded memory. I think I was and still am a shameless procrastinator.

This next Monday I have finals for my once a week, four and half hour, four credit hour graduate school course: American Masterpieces. I've known all semester that the last night of classes would be brutal. My professor specifically said, "The last night of class will be brutal. Prepare yourself. There's a test, a presentation, and a paper due that day. This shouldn't be a surprise."

Apparently when all of that was being said, I was just staring out into space. I mean, I must have absorbed some of it, because I remember the conversation. But I think another porition of my brain thought, "He's bluffing. And he has a very nicely shaped head for an old bald guy." Followed by, "I'm hungry. I should have brought more to eat than pretzels for tonight's class. I guess I'll just have to wait till class is over, so I can eat whatever's dying, I mean lying, around Sarah and Spencer's house. "

I will be paying for that gross underestimation of my Professor's capacity for cruelty tonight. I'm spending this Friday evening, a night usually reserved for screwing around with my comic books/books/movies/playing, desperately pulling a few of the remaining 15 pages I have yet to write of my final paper out of my butt. It's not a plesant thought. Let that be a lesson to you kids out there. Don't be stupid.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My First Official Blog

Hello my peeps.

Welcome to Becky’s Blog.

So I'm guessing everyone *Cough. Looks around wondering if anybody is actually reading.* is curious about what this little blog will be like. I imagine it will be somewhat episodic in nature. Mostly because I feel it is absolutely necessary to spare you the dull whining I’m perfectly capable of doing over the phone. Hopefully you will be slightly entertained enough to check it out once in a while.

Anywho. Here we go.

Today I bought three comic books. I'm not sure how much I've mentioned about my new obsession, but I feel I owe everyone an explanation. I know what you're all thinking. I used to think it too, actually.

Not so very long ago, I imagined folks my age (26) who still bought comic books were a special kind of people the rest of us were meant to shun, or at the very least avoid. They existed in two types.

Type #1 were perpetually zit-faced, hygienically challenged, nerds--the sort who've seen every episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, can speak Klingon, are capable of reciting the scripts for all three original Star Wars movies, and can tell you which cable channels show reruns of Stargate SG1 (I had to look up the title for that one).

Type #2 were an equally unpleasant breed. These types were semi-goths who couldn't understand that colors other than black and red were perfectly acceptable choices for their wardrobe. They enjoyed masochistic pleasures such as facial and neck tattoos, cheek piercings, and walking around in leather trench coats year round (not a pleasant thought, considering our 100+ Utah temperatures). They were also known for their extensive collections of imaginary weaponry. I don’t mean they collected weapons that didn’t exist: I mean they collected weapons that could only exist in “crazy people land,” i.e. 7 ft long swords, knives with funky blades, Xena Warrior Princess spears.

Are ya getting a picture here?

But then earlier this year I rediscovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. I tried to resist, but I became powerless against watching exciting episodes that included witches blowing holes in the earth, vampires ripping out people’s throats, and even the occasional musical (Yes…there is a Buffy Musical. Season 6: Ep 7. Check it out. Very, Very Good Stuff.). I fell in love with every character. But alas, like most good things, the show came to an end in the summer of 2003. And then its spinoff show, Angel, gave up the ghost just a year later. The “Buffy Verse”, as we Buffy Nerds affectionately call it, took a four year hiatus.

Thankfully, in the fall of 2007, Joss Whedon (Forewarning: if you become a regular reader of this blog, you’ll be hearing a lot about this guy), series creator/director/writer/producer, decided to bring back the show in comic formatting: Buffy Season 8 comics. You can imagine I rolled my eyes when I discovered this four months ago. It was bad enough that I was a Buffy Nerd. I could not under any circumstances join the ranks of the aforementioned groups.

For a month I resisted. But then I read other Buffy Nerd's testimonials at The storylines sounded so intriguing. I missed Buffy, Willow, Xander, Dawn, Faith, and Giles. What was happening to them now? I had to know. I HAD TO.

So I went to e-bay, because you can find ANYTHING on e-bay, and I found the first sixteen issues for $25. That’s not bad when you consider each issue costs $3-4 (depends if you’re buying Dark Horse, IDW, or Marvel). Then I found out that Angel was also in comic book form. Same process as above ensued.

Now I’m hooked. Today I bought Buffy issue #19, Angel #12 (I didn’t have it yet), and The Astonishing X-men Trade Paperback Volume #1. Whedon wrote all of them, and I can’t help myself. If Whedon wrote it, I want it. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle. Incurable, really.

Now that I have joined the ranks of adult comic book buyers, I want you all to know that I’ve still never seen an episode of Stargate SG1, I don’t own any black leather pants/jackets/gloves/etc, and there is not enough money in the world that you could pay me to put a piece of metal in my face, BUT I am starting to think about buying a Buffy Scythe.

I'm resisting the urge.