piranha: red origami crane (Default)
with comedy-dramas. and i am trying to poke around the definitional edges so as to better predict which shows i might like.

total failures in recent past:
chuck
eureka

successes:
dead like me
weeds

when i look in wikipedia, i can see that it's not clear to people what constitutes a comedy-drama. which makes sense because there are no fixed lines; the definition only asks that approximately equal elements of comedy and drama be present. it seems that the definition slips easily: in the cases of comedy in which characters actually have some true emotional resonance, and with dramas that contain some element of comic relief.

but if i count all of those then the term becomes nearly meaningless, because there are so many shows now in which both comedy and drama are present in some combination. to me a show that's primarily drama with some banter thrown in doesn't qualify as a comedy-drama. for example, bones: this is first and foremost a drama, and there is no comedy outside of banter. criminal minds has comic relief through flamboyant penelope garcia and her interactions with other team members, but it's dead serious the rest of the time. or dexter, which has comedic elements in dexter's own observations about people (including himself), though the show inches a bit closer to the invisible line i draw.

i am quite happy with dramas that have comedic elements in the form of banter and black humour between characters, probably because those are my own native modes of dealing with stress. i'm also fine with comedy in which the characters become something more than spear carriers for a joke -- i guess ugly betty would qualify, since i did come to care about some of the characters, and their lives seemed quite real -- but that's a special case, i think. i am also fine with pure comedy where i don't emotionally care about the characters because they're just delivery vehicles for the humour, like in better off ted.

what rubs me the wrong way is if the writers get the melange of comedy and drama wrong. for example:

body parts strewn about in dexter are never comedic; they're dead serious. even if dexter waxes rhapsodically about the artistic arrangement, the body parts are not funny; if anybody is laughing, it is shocked laughter at dexter's alien-ness in that moment.

body parts strewn about in a monty python sketch: funny ha-ha, not serious at all -- no problem with that.

body parts strewn about in eureka: say what? am i supposed to feel bad for larry who got used by nanoids as a "carbon source"? then a) humanize larry for me at the start, and b) don't show me the bloody leftovers with taggart and the sheriff being not phased one bit. and i don't mean they crack "EMT under stress" kind of jokes; they simply do not react like real people would react to finding bloody remains. i cannot take any of the characters in eureka seriously, and in consequence i don't actually care when something bad happens to them. it also doesn't help that the science is horrendously boondoggled, and there too the comedic and serious aspects are confused.

in chuck the timing is off so badly that i don't believe any of the serious action is actually serious. chuck is a likeable guy. i WANT to like him. but i can't really care about anything because he lives in this totally fake-appearing world with all those other unreal characters.

both eureka and chuck get this sort of thing wrong as a matter of course. they try to make me like a character and then fuck with the process at the wrong time. they throw in a bad joke when i am feeling emotionally vulnerable. they constantly yank me out of their own story.

on the other hand, dead like me and weeds succeed because they give me time to move from laughing at the ridiculous stuff to feeling a character's pain. their characters feel authentic, even when they engage in antics that no real person would engage in.

i think that's the central point for me.

lush

Aug. 27th, 2010 22:36
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
hot pink rose
i've been uninspired for a while now, which is why there are few photos lately. partly that's because i am not going out much; it's been too damn hot. i get more sensitive to heat each year, it seems. i've been sitting behind my computer and watching tv shows: leverage, 30 seconds, NCIS los angeles,better off ted, regenesis, dexter, and now i am in the 3rd season of six feet under.

the only one of those that was fairly unmitigated crap is NCIS los angeles, which has nothing good in common with NCIS. dexter is fabulous, and i'm looking forward to the 5th season. i've grabbed the first book on which the show is based, darkly dreaming dexter by jeff lindsay.

six feet under is also quite good, though right now it depresses me just how very bad everyone is at relationships. it's kinda impressive how many shows there are right now about odd, quirky, and outright weird people and circumstances. weird is the new black, i guess. i am all in favour.

i'm also doing a lot of knitting/crochet -- watching tv is good for that. i'm not feeling particularly creative in the sense of creating original things, but more in the "just making stuff" realm. i've finished a tee with indigo rope-dyed yarn (just needs washing), and a do-rag in crochet lace (needs dyeing).
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
echinacea


went grocery shopping today, and then started unloading the trailer full of old fence boards P dropped off -- unfortunately it has nails in it, so each board needs to be "de-fanged". i'm saving the best boards to build more raised beds; all the rest will be cut up for firewood.


finished watching season 3 of burn notice, and am torn between trying to catch up with season 4 in progress, or waiting until i can marathon the entire season. will probably wait. also waiting for leverage's 3rd season, and that's a difficult wait; i've really enjoyed it up til now. finishing up bones season 4, and wow, if i could have hit the people responsible during the episode with the androgynous japanese doctor, i would have. i am not sure i want to inflict another season of bones on myself; overall the ratio of cool tempe versus stupid comic relief and moralizing booth (can i hope he'll die under the knife? no, i didn't think so.) has just deteriorated so much. might start lost, which will allegedly give me several seasons before going sour.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
a single wasp has built a tiny nest behind the cover of the gas tank


OMG! stargate: universe has a lesbian character! in a happy relationship! wow. 15 seasons of a universe completely devoid of non-heterosexuals finally come to an end.

i am so far liking SG:U best of the three. no real skanky colonialism yet, though of course they're fast on the trigger finger when coming upon alien life forms. but mmh, eli is a smart, chubby sex god instead of the requisite obnoxious geek; forgive me for drooling.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
the big disadvantage of watching a truly excellent drama showed itself last night with force. zip.ca mailed me the first farscape episodes, so i was all excited to finally see that from the beginning, because i'd only caught the occasional episode here and there. and while it always had a certain hokeyness (i never bought rigel as anything but a cute puppet, and crichton was just a wee bit too snappy), i could take it seriously for large stretches. now it's basically unwatchable for me as anything but pure comedy, and that's a pity, because it doesn't stand up as that since it's not meant as that. the acting in farscape -- wow, not so good in comparison. i know that probably dooms stargate atlantis for me as well right now.

and i better stay away from rewatching firefly for a good long time, *sigh*.

i remember the west wing doing this to me as well.

in another medium, i've unfortunately also now met a robert charles wilson book i didn't care for: darwinia. damn. maybe i didn't read it in big enough chunks? being so obsessed with BSG i've really just read a few pages before falling asleep every day, and sometimes that doesn't keep a book cohesive enough for me. oh well, he's certainly allowed a dud in any case, given how marvelous everything else that i've read by him has been.
piranha: and they have a a plan; text from the tv show "battlestar galactica" (bsg)
ok, so i have been seriously sucked in, and have now watched the entire first season, and am well into season two. thanks [livejournal.com profile] djm4 for encouraging me to give up any actual life in order to watch a bleeding tv show. :)

in the beginning i was a little peeved that it has turned out not to be science fiction. i mean sure, at first glance it has the trappings -- star ships, far-flung colonies, robots, aliens attacking humans -- but watching the first few episodes after the miniseries it became pretty clear that there's not to be any science whatsoever. a little bit later i realized that there wasn't going to be any speculation either (such as in "speculative fiction").

spoilerish for anyone who has not seen the show at all and doesn't want to know anything about it yet )

one thing that annoys the shit out of me, is how the television format fucks with the story. i don't know why that doesn't have me up in arms all the time, but it's probably responsible for me falling regularly out of patience with television and retreating into books, which have more format leeway. because life doesn't happen in 45 or 90 min chunks. because my engagement with a story doesn't fit neatly into that format. maybe it's just much more obvious here because the production crew is clearly chafing under the restriction -- a fair number of episodes feel as if they've been shrunk just a little too much in order to fit into the standard 45 min chunk, and on the other hand, double episodes feel slightly padded. heck, these guys also don't seem to much like the concept of "season".

but aside from that, i am really enjoying this show, more than i've enjoyed any other show since the early west wing. the acting is across the board very good, and there are heaps and heaps of character development. and i am not spitting the usual nails at gender stereotypes -- mind, there are stereotypes, but gender-wise they're much less screaming out for clubbing the writers over the head than is normal for television. there are strong women here, and it's portrayed as normal that they are strong and capable, it's assumed that they are fighter pilots and admirals and presidents as a matter of course. i have issues with some of the villainy, but overall, this is a breath of fresh air.

oh, and almost forgot: it's shot in and around vancouver, and i am really getting into figuring out where specific scenes were shot. i immediately recognized the public library and the quad at SFU, and i would bet that gaius baltar's house is just up the coast from west vancouver. i feel like making a BSG photo expedition to the mainland.

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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

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