Category Archives: TV

Felix or Oscar?

Today’s post comes to us from Minnesota Steve

The Odd Couple was a popular play that then became a hit movie and then became a television series that ran for five years. The original play, written by Neil Simon, features conflict between recent two divorcees who room together. Felix is a neat freak; Oscar is a slob who is comfortable being a slob. Essentially, the two characters are defined by their very different positions on the OCD scale. I particularly liked the movie. In it, fussy Felix was played by Jack Lemon, an actor who could do crankiness well. Oscar was played perfectly by Walter Matthau.

One reason I found the jokes appealing was how they mirrored my relationship with my favorite hunting and fishing partner, Bill. Bill was Felix; I was Oscar. Bill used to wear suspenders and a belt to keep his pants up; by contrast, I’ve been known to wear neither, with predictable results. We have been pals for over fifty years. Bill has gradually grown less uptight, while I have become somewhat more prepared. It has been the best friendship I ever had.

I was shocked to learn, when I was in my sixties, that I had slight OCD tendencies. One night I sat behind a woman during a small theatrical production. The tag on her blouse was sticking out. I found myself seriously tempted to tuck the tag out of sight. I didn’t, of course. Men who rearrange the clothing of women they don’t know might suffer harsh consequences. I couldn’t wait for that play to end because that loose tag was like a bit of grit in my eye.

When I moved to Michigan, a family friend helped set up in my new apartment. She donated glasses, silverware and furniture so the place would be livable when I arrived. To my disgust, I found myself freaked out by having “mixed” flatware. I lived for 48 years using nothing but the lovely Dansk flatware my erstwife and I got when we were married. After Nancy’s intervention, my elegantly stylish flatware shared a drawer with all kinds of alien forks and spoons from Walmart or who-knows-where. Every time I opened the silver drawer I was disgusted by the clash of styles. When I moved back to Minnesota I secretly dumped all the alien utensils.

So I’m still Oscar, but have a carefully hidden streak of Felix that only my best friends see.

How about you? Are you more slob or neatnik? Do you have enough OCD in you to be slightly bothered by it from time to time? Sitting in the doctor’s waiting area, did you ever straighten up the stacks of magazines?

Foodie?

With all the channels that I have access to, I usually just scroll through the tv guide; I only have a few channels actually memorized. I don’t suppose it will surprise you that Food Network and The Cooking Channel are two of those channels?

There are quite a few shows on those two channels that I don’t watch. Any kind of competition in which one of the contestants gets thrown off at the end – I won’t watch that.  It’s just mean.  I don’t have too much trouble with contests where at the end they just announce one winner, as long as there isn’t too much trash talk, but no throwing people out!.  (And please.. nobody needs to tell me how different “The Great British Bake Off” show is and how I’ll like it – I’ve heard it all before.)

My favorite kinds of shows feature different dishes from places around the world, shows like “Bizarre Foods”, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, “Unique Sweets”, etc. I’ll even watch Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” in a pinch, although he’s not my favorite chef.

Last Sunday, while enjoying Leap Day, I was switching back and forth between two cooking shows that were on at the same time. One of those shows was “Unique Sweets”, a program that showcases desserts from different bakeries around the country.  By luck of the draw, at one point there was a dish on each channel that were both interesting to me, so while “Unique Sweets” was showing ingredients being stirred together, I flipped to the other channel.  They were also showing some ingredients being stirred together, but it seemed like they were stirring really quickly.  I switched back and forth several more times before I figured out that Unique Sweets appears to be slowing down some of their food prep shots a bit compared to “live action”.  This caught my attention so I watched a whole bunch of “US” episodes very closely and what I discovered is that slowing down the action makes the food seem a lot more appealing; more sumptuous, more mouth-watering.  That would explain why I like this show so much.  Does this mean I’m into “food porn”?  Or am I just imagining it?

What makes your mouth water?

Comedy Tonight

On February 5, 1967, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour premiered on CBS. I remember watching it, as well as Laugh In, Carol  Burnett, Jackie Gleason,  Jonathan Winters, Jack Benny, and Red Skelton.

I was only 9 years old at the time, and sometimes I just didn’t get the humor.

I think I liked Carol Burnett the best.

It was such an unhappy time, the late 60’s, yet  such shows proliferated. One thing that surprised me as I researched this was how long the sketches were that I found.

What was your favorite comedy show? Know any good jokes?

RIP Terry Jones

Amid all the insanity this week, the saddest news to me is the passing of Terry Jones.

I discovered Monty Python when I was in high school. This was before the television show but I had all their record albums.  One of favorites was Eric the Half a Bee:

Another favorite was An Elk:

By the time I got to Carleton, the television show was airing on Sunday nights and I was a founding member of the 4th Burton Penguin Society:

We got together every Sunday night to watch the show and drink Fosters (do not ask me why we thought we needed to drink Australian beer while watching an English comedy show – I don’t remember at all). All of us in the “club” had a small ceramic penguin; I still have mine and keep in my studio

When Monty Python and the Holy Grail came out, I laughed until I cried and went back to the theatre three times in the next couple of weeks. I have it on DVD but it loses a bit on the small screen, especially the moose credits at the beginning.  YA doesn’t even begin to understand the appeal of Monty Python.  But I loved the irreverence, the silliness, the fun graphics and the craziness of some of the sketches.  This was a great team.  It was sad to lose Graham Chapman too soon and now Terry Jones.  I gave all the record albums to tim last year because I didn’t have a turntable anymore, but I am enjoying the tv shows that are running these days and, of course, you can find a lot of it on youtube, but it’s not quite the same as crowding around a small black and white tv set in a dorm room on 4th Burton, seeing them for the first time.

Who has made you laugh over the years?

 

It’s Movie Time

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia Commons

One of my close friends, Pat, is an Oscars fan. As soon as the list of nominees comes out every year, she works hard to make sure she has seen all the nominees (in the best picture category – not every category) before the Oscars.  I’ve been getting updates since the list came out of what she’s seen.  She has a pretty good track record; most years she manages to see them all by the time of the ceremony.

I’m the opposite, since I rarely go to the movies. In fact, this year, I have only seen one nominee – Klaus, an animated Christmas film which I didn’t have to leave the house to see as it was a Netflix release (it was very good).  Reviews are not usually worth my notice; if I want to see something, I see it, not matter what the reviewers say.  I can’t ever recall a time when I left a movie screening saying “gosh, I should have listened to the reviews.”

Every now and then I do look, including the Doctor Doolittle reviews this month.  There is always a certain amount of trepidation on my part when Hollywood decides to tackle a beloved book, especially a beloved children’s book.  I’ve seen the trailers and I know that the movie bears very little resemblance to the book.  While I can’t stomach this in, say, Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorite books of all time), it may not be a deal breaker for Doctor Doolittle or even Little Women.  Both have been made into movies multiples times so I feel like the water is already completely muddied.  The newest Doolittle venture has not gotten great reviews but I don’t think that will stop me.  Dare I admit that Robert Downey Jr. is the main reason I will probably go see this movie this weekend?

Do you have an actor/actress who will entice you to see a film? Or one who will keep you out of the movie theatre?

Read It or See It?

In ye olden days, the LGMS was my radio anchor, beginning at home through my morning drive time. After the show’s demise, I did Trial Balloon at home and in the morning hours of work.  But since then, I haven’t really found a radio show that strikes my fancy and have drifted away from radio to…  I know this will be shocking for some of you… books.  The first hour or so in the morning, I listen to an audiobook and then in the car, books on CDs.  I sometimes run out of books on CDs and so spend some time browsing the audio shelves at the library.  This leads to some interesting results, sometimes fabulous, sometimes not so much.

I’ve admitted here before that I like the Hallmark Mystery Movies, so last week, while browsing, my eye was caught by the first Aurora Teagarden mystery sitting on the audio shelf. I had been a little curious about the books, especially since my favorite character left the series; I was curious if the movies were true to the books.   So I was a little surprised right off the bat that while most of the characters bear the same names, most of them did not bear the description or personalities.  The most disappointing was the main character, Ro.  In the book she doesn’t have any drive to solve the mysteries and in the final chapters is rescued by the men in the story.  This is completely different from the movies, in which Ro is rabid about solving the mystery and it is her ingenuity that not only solves the crimes but saves her life (and often the man’s) in the end.

This made me think about the few instances in which the movie better than the book.  So rare.  Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, Julie & Julia, Clue, Bladerunner.

There might be more but for my determination not to see movies when I have adored the book. I don’t want Hollywood messing with the pictures in my mind’s eye (Wrinkle in Time, The Martian, Uprooted, ANY of the Louise Penny books).  And, of course, the number of movies much worse than their books is legend.  Including Legend!

When were you last surprised about how a book turned out when adapted to the big screen?

OK!

Today is the anniversary of the shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone,  AZ between the Earp brothers  and the Clanton gang.  None of these were real solid citizens, but this “battle” haunts us to this day with cowboy legend. I loved movie westerns growing up.  Having Native friends has tempered this somewhat.  I was surprised to hear that one of Husband’s Native colleagues likes nothing better than to vegetate and watch westerns while lying in bed.

Virgil Earp was supposedly the real hero in this incident but Wyatt got all the credit about it because he wrote a book about it. This seems unfair to me, but I never had any siblings. I wonder what Virgil thought about it?

What is your favorite western movie or novel?    How are things with you and your siblings?