9/09/2011

The Big C and Gays

I should probably subtitle this: "Or does Laura Linney still think it's 1976 in San Francisco?"

I know, Laura Linney has nothing to do with the writing or production of the Showtime series, The Big C, but it still strikes me as weird that the gays on the show and gay culture on the show seems to be stuck in the Castro in 1976, the era of her miniseries "Tales from the City."

I'll be honest, I love the show. I loved it from episode one. I love the characters with all their ups and downs and virtues and foibles. I love John Benjamin Hickey as Cathy's bi-polar brother who chose a life of homelessness to thumb his nose at society. I love that even dirty and scruffy JBH still is sexy and interesting. I love Oliver Platt as Cathy's hapless hubby, Paul, who tries his best but always seems to be just slightly behind the eight ball. I just genuinely like the show.

But, they decided to add a gay character, Lee, played by the very handsome Hugh Dancy. Nothing wrong with that, three cheers in fact! I'll even give them applause for not making him a mincing little queen as so often happens on other more "enlightened" shows. Unfortunately, the gay character seems to live in the 1970's.

Hugh Dancy and Laura Linney in "The Big C" on Showtime.
In one episode he takes Cathy and Paul to a gay bar. This is 2011 and yet the bar is seedy and dark with a "back room" where people can go for a quick anonymous and very public sex. Really? I haven't set foot in a gay bar in about 16 years or so, but even then the days of the "back room" were pretty much gone. In fact, I can only think of a few bars back then that were that seedy (I'm thinking the Eagle in Atlanta, mainly.)

If that weren't bad enough a few episodes later Cathy is helping Lee with his "bucket list" and decides to let him cop a feel of her breasts. After all, we all know that secretly every gay man wants him some titty from his female best friend. Honestly, that was as annoying as anything. I'm so tired of the gay character who secretly wants to bed the female lead. That is, if he's not the mincing stereotypical queen. The mincing stereotypical queen is shown to be 100% gay while the more masculine gay is always shown as having some sort of secret longing for a heterosexual life or at least heterosexual sex. What's the deal with that?

Do the writers for the show think that if a gay man is somewhat masculine then he can't be a "real" gay man? Do they equate masculinity with the Kinsey Scale (another irony since Linney played Kinsey's wife in the movie of the same name)? I really wish someone in Hollywood would explain.

I'm still watching The Big C and will tune in again next season unless something really odious happens in the remaining episode or two. But, seriously, guys - can't we get past the "gays are sex fiends" and "masculine gay men secretly want women" thing? After all it IS 2011!

9/03/2011

Good Riddance to a Former Fave...

The cast of HawthoRNe
I'll admit to a guilty pleasure. Despite the horrid acting and writing I got hooked on HawthoRNe, the Jada Pinkett-Smith vehicle on TNT. It's hard to explain why I first started watching. Perhaps it was summer and there just weren't enough quality shows on. Perhaps catching it at 2am on a rebroadcast lowers the mind's critical functions. Who knows?

But get hooked I did. I followed the trials and tribulations of the "CEO of Nursing" who did anything and everything in her hospital from running traumas to assisting in surgery. She was always up against the uncaring and dogmatic administration who were just interested in "bottom lines." In short, she was superwoman in heels and a borrowed stethoscope.

The first two seasons were somewhat watchable. The stories were episodic without huge seasonal dramatic arcs. Despite being galaxies away from real hospital life (I know from where I speak there), the show was at least entertaining and if you tried really, really hard you could suspend your disbelief long enough to get into it.

Then the third season happened. I tuned in again expecting another somewhat light entertainment with almost humorous jabs at drama. What I got was a cross between the "Cross and the Switchblade" and a Tyler Perry gospel drama.

The season launched with a pregnant and newly married Christine getting attacked in a parking garage. Then she has an affair with the cop who kills the guy who attacked her. Then she, her new husband (who seems to hate her and she hate him half the time) get investigated along with her adulterous friend by Bill Engvall. Yes, that Bill Engvall - "here's your sign!" Then her daughter gets caught up with a haughty born again Christian who's going through a divorce but is oh so moral in every other way. Then the weirdness really begins. Baptisms in water fountains, preachy "spiritual" messages in every episode, the whole Tyler Perry style "Jesus and God love me despite all my foibles" saccharine neo-gospel of wealth African-American traveling stage show garbage.

Halfway through the season (just after the first baptism in a water fountain) they lost me. I just couldn't suspend my disbelief. The characters became a bunch of screwed up hypocrites who wore spirituality and religion like a shield against their own unlikeable qualities. A show that was never really too good became a train wreck.

Undoubtedly, TNT and a lot of other people agreed. The show was cancelled for a fourth season with little ceremony. It ended this season at the bottom of the ratings and much like her character Christine Hawthorne, Jada Pinkett-Smith has gone out in a blaze of rumors of sexual pecadilloes with her co-star Marc Anthony. Ironically, the same actor who played her on-screen adulterous friend.

I say good riddance. Perhaps, Ms. Pinkett-Smith, who was at the helm of her own show, will learn that when you have limited scripts and limited premises that you can't inflict your audience with preachy episodes about people who are no longer even moderately sympathetic.

Jada, if you want to see how to make a villain sympathetic and even appealing, I suggest you visit the set of Nurse Jackie and talk to the folks over there.

9/01/2011

Of head colds, smoothies, and vets...

A cold Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
is perfect for a hot Arizona afternoon!
Michael always seems to be bringing home things from work. Unfortunately, they always seem to be colds or flu. This week has been no different. He's been sniffling and sneezing for the past few days. He seems to be sleeping pretty well tonight but the past couple nights have been rough thanks to a really bad cold. Of course, even though he was supposed to be off work today he was asked to come in. Also as typical for workplaces, no one wanted to work in his place although he goes in without fail when others are sick or have an emergency.

How well do I remember that behavior from when I was in the workforce! I was always far too nice in "switching" with people to accommodate their schedules only to find when it came time for them to "switch" back they just couldn't manage to do it. Eventually I learned just to say "no" when someone needed someone to work so they could attend their kid's ball game or because little Susie was sick and couldn't go to daycare.

People seem programmed to take advantage of the folks without kids or big families whenever possible. And at the risk of sounding misogynistic: Ladies, if you don't have a back up plan for when your kid is sick or if you anticipate all of your kids' activities taking place during your working hours do one of two things. Either change jobs to accommodate your kid's schedule or wait to have kids when you can afford to take time off to raise them. But don't expect everyone else to rearrange their lives for you or take up your slack at work. Hillary Clinton might think it takes a village to raise a child, but there's a reason I have a dog and not a kid!

So, Michael drug himself to work this morning. He had to cancel a voice student for later in the day because he knew working at the kennel and feeling ill would leave him too drained to give her his full attention later. We did have to take Lady Snow to the vet for her final post surgical check, though.

Let me fill you in on Lady Snow. We adopted her in January when her former family decided they no longer had time for her. She was 5 at the time (she's now 6) and she's become the light of our lives. When she came to us she was very excitable and a little headstrong. We've used Cesar Millan's techniques with her and she's much better behaved now. She's still excitable but a word from one of us can calm her down so she doesn't jump up at people trying to get their attention. She's also learned to be a much better leash walker.

Lady Snow was most unhappy wearing a cast.
She quickly learned how to squirm to pull it off. The sock
is to keep her from chewing it.
In late April she was at the dog park and was chasing other dogs around when she jumped up on a picnic table. Now, keep in mind she's about 25 pounds and pretty short. She hit the table running and flew off the end. She managed to rupture her PCL completely and shredded about 85% of her ACL in her knee. We rushed her to the emergency vet near us for X-rays and figure out what was wrong. They told us she would have to have surgery and quoted us a price of nearly $5K. Obviously, that price was out of the question. Luckily, our vets at Speedway Vet Hospital said they could fix the ligaments using a somewhat older procedure that was effective on small dogs. The price would be around $2K. As it happened we'd saved up almost exactly that amount over the past several months. Of course, I'd bought super expensive premium quality pet insurance too. Of course, it turned out to be a major scam and they wouldn't pay a cent toward her bills. So, it was all on us.

She went in for surgery in early May and did very well. Because of the severity of the injury she was on crate rest for several weeks and on very restricted activity for nearly two months. In the past month she's been able to get back to short walks. Today she visited Dr. Crawford for her final check. He was very pleased with her progress and said she should be fine for normal activity. There will be no more dog parks and rough housing in her future nor will be there back country hikes. But, she's not in pain and can take long walks and do most of the other things she loves to do. The folks at Speedway have been so great to her and she absolutely loves going to the vet and getting all the petting and attention. She also enjoys a doctor who doesn't stick her on cold tables but examines her by sitting on the floor with her and holding her in his lap.

After the vet we came home and Michael was feeling pretty bad. I decided to try out a new smoothie recipe because I'm trying to get more fruits into my diet. This was a banana and strawberry smoothie made with soy milk. It was very tasty and is perfect for hot afternoons! The recipe is over at Sugar Pies if you're interested. It's only 150 calories per 10 oz. serving and is packed with fruity goodness.

Since it's the first of the month my back has decided to do it's thing. For some reason around the first of every month I get this horribly sharp pain in the right lower side of my back that radiates through to my hip and groin. No one seems to be able to tell me why. The only thing that helps is a moist heating pad. So, I'm going to finish this up and go apply my heating pad and sip some Diet Sierra Mist and watch "Keeping Up Appearances" on Netflix. (I love Hyacinth Bucket! "It's Boo-kay, dear!")

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