3 things for today

1. I started DVR'ing Hart to Hart nightly on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel and now I skim through two episodes while I eat dinner (I seldom make it the whole way through one, because it's not very good).

I loved this show as a child but now I see it's also insane. I mean literally insane. How do married millionaires, one of whom is a purported titan of industry and the other of whom is a journalist, just accept this amount of regular mayhem in their lives? Why don't they ask more questions? Why aren't they more suspicious of their chosen circle of friends, since they are constantly being targeted for theft and/or violence by sketchy acquaintances whose glittering evening soirĂ©es or glamorous international weddings they inexplicably agree to attend?

One of them (usually Jennifer) is nearly murdered in every episode, not to mention A) fallen in love with by obsessive strangers or lawyers or B) employed as an unwitting drug mule in situations involving either Freeway the dog or Max the manservant. And they go on so many cruises! How do they have any time for jobs? What kind of crackpot enterprise is funding all these trips?

Also there's often an inappropriately lighthearted sexcapade going on relative to storyline content: for example, Jonathan had amnesia in one episode last week and couldn't remember who Jennifer even was, yet not only did the two of them continue to share a bed, I'm pretty sure there was hanky panky happening. Now I'm no psychoanalyst but that seemed both morally and mentally unwise, and it made zero sense to boot. Yet I adore it! It's probably the greatest thing ever to happen to me so far this month.

2. I get access to the NYT Cooking site along with my digital subscription to the paper and have found the reader comments to be peerless. I make a lot of recipes from their app and always check the comments first; some are legitimately helpful in avoiding catastrophes, but mostly they're either angry or overly prescriptive or both: "Mark Bittman is a moron! Why would you ever follow his directions and broil this chicken?? It should be baked at 50 degrees for 10,000 hours!" or "You're boiling water all wrong, dumbo." Some lady left a recipe for overnight oatmeal inside a comment on a recipe for cold-brewed iced coffee, and it was like following the hamster right around the wheel, or witnessing an audience Q&A session after a reading or theatrical performance; i.e., bananas as always. 

3. Something I meant to say earlier: I write here because it’s my space (lol <3, RIP), and anyone who visits does so with intent. It’s not me shoving this in your Facebook and expecting you to care, although obviously I do that, too. Om Malik calls blogs "thought spaces," and his post today touches on something similar:

What people don’t realize about blogs is that they are never a complete story. They are incomplete and by nature more mysterious, more episodic, and thus more interesting. Blogs are meant not to leave you with everything. The whole idea is to think, to deliberate, and to come back again and again, to finish what was started a long time ago. But there is no end, just a pause, for a voice to start, talking again.

Still thinking of Kevin

I'll go to my grave hearing Patti Levin shout "Kevin!" This video title spells it "Kyevan" but I think it's more like "Kh-yev-uhn"—no fewer than three syllables, at least towards the end. 

"Aw, you're on goddamn fire!"

She's so good! I'd almost say they were my favorite couple on the show but I love Nora & Kevin too much to ever make that claim.

After The Leftovers

I will miss this show so goddamn much. In the end, the only mystery was how do you live your life knowing with 100% certainty that you will lose every single person you love. And the best solution it had was this: you reach out a hand.

I've thought about this a lot lately, the defining characteristic of my favorite cultural and life endeavors, and I finally figured out that it's "generosity." A generosity of spirit and humor, an openness to asking questions that have not one but a thousand different answers, with each of those answers based on a personal experience, and each relying on a simple shared acceptance of understanding. What can you do but ask someone to trust that what you've experienced in this life is real? How can you express love or communion or faith or courage in any way but "yes"?

Did you ever want it?

The best thing about Big Little Lies is Michael Kiwanuka's song "Cold Little Heart" playing over the opening credits. The second best thing is everything else about Big Little Lies, including the fact that it's written by David E. Kelley and the way Laura Dern's Renata pronounces "Madeline" with a long "i" with such corner office/alpha dog obliviousness. I am obsessed with every episode and every character and want it never to end.

New theme show: Happy Endings

There is no better television show with which to spend long dark winter nights than Happy Endings, and I've seen every episode of season 2 at least 59 times (rounding up). It is fundamentally and simultaneously cozy, chummy, breezy, bright, smart, fast, and a little mean, all adjectives I relate to. I first binged on it when I was stuck in NYC, sick, over Christmas break in 2011, and it was a saving comfort during a time of sloth and sadness. At first I thought Penny was my favorite character, and she still is. Then I thought Jane was my favorite character, and she still is. Ditto Brad, who might really be my favorite character. It took me longer to warm up to Alex and Dave, although the Marilyn Monroe Halloween episode sold me on the former and the "Temple Grandin/It's Pat/You look like a Jonas Brother" tight perm put it in the bag for me and Dave. I appreciate a slow burn. And since Max cuddles with two stuffed bears signed by Mandy Patinkin ("He sat next to us at a game once"), it was a fait accompli.

And guess where it's set? That's right: in theme town. And look at how happy! ABC! is! about! its! clips! Just not happy enough to give it a fourth season, I guess.

Lesson learned: it's okay to go home again. Sometimes home is what you need.

We can’t return, we can only look

Did you watch "The Dick Van Dyke Show in color" double-header on CBS last night? It was deeply weird but lovely: weird as in—as with all things colorized—all things look like they're carved out of chalk. There's no luster, no surface; it's all matte and putty. Lovely as in: it's The Dick Van Dyke Show in primetime on CBS! Come on...

p.s.1: thoughts from Ken Levine that have nothing to do with color:

But the truth is, they knew how to tell stories, they knew how to set things up to payoff big, they knew how to find funny situations along the way, they knew how to surprise you, they knew to get laughs from universal situations, and they knew how to get laughs from attitudes not formula “jokes”. (The Matt LeBlanc promo featured a hemorrhoid ring joke. Ha ha.) The comedy celebrated humanity. It was uplifting, not mean, not snarky, not smarmy. 

p.s.2: Sundance has started playing classic TV shows on weekdays: M*A*S*H, All In The Family, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Andy Griffith Show. I canceled my cable subscription right after the election (screw you, CNN!) but signed up for Playstation Vue after realizing I actually do like to watch TV. Sadly the package I selected includes CNN by default, but I pretend not to notice. I watch Hawkeye and Trapper and Hot Lips and Bob and Emily and Carol and Mary and Rhoda and Lou and Andy and Barney and Opie instead. Everybody feels like they're winning.