Category Archives: television shows

Seven Quick Things I am loving right now

1. Pumpkin Beer Season!

Pumking!

Last year, my husband bought a case of this and I was irritated because he only bought one case.  I rarely remember which beers I like, because he remembers all of that stuff for me, but Pumking I do not forget.  You can literally taste the buttery pumpkin-pie crust.  In the beer.  It’s delicious!

2. Breaking Bad, more addictive than Crystal Meth

We just finished season 4, and I’m planning on saying much more about this amazing series once we’ve caught up entirely.  (We haven’t caught up yet because my husband is obnoxious and insists that we do things like sleep and interact with our children.)  The acting alone here is blowing. me. away.  There is not a single weak actor on this show, and every last one of them has a role teeming with contradictions and nuance.   Jesse is probably my favorite, since I find myself thinking things in Jesse-speak the way a person might begin to think in a foreign language once it is mastered.

Who spilled cheerios in the living room, yo? This is bull$h!#!

 3.  Babel by Mumford and Sons

I’ve already written about my great love of M&S, but I need to say it again:  this band is so wonderful!  I am shocked by how religious this new album is, in the very best way.   Look at these lyrics:

Keep the earth below my feet
For all my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Keep my eyes to serve my hands to learn
Keep my eyes to serve my hands to learn

If that isn’t a prayer, I don’t know what is.

4.  This moppet:

When the bus comes for her big sisters every morning, my youngest immediately starts running with all of her toddler might to catch it.  I always grab her right away, but it never stops her from trying again the next day.  It reminds me of a  hamster I once babysat for a few months.  His name was Husserl.  He would spend every day trying to jump out of his tank and it was both funny and sad, the futile way he wouldn’t give up even though escaping the tank was clearly impossible.  Until the day he escaped.  So anyway, I’m staying on my toes every morning.

5. Louie just keeps getting better

I wrote about this the other day, too.  We DVR everything, so I’m often a few episodes behind my favorite series.  We let them stack up and then watch it all at once.  So we’ve just finished the story arc (3 episodes long) where Louie is being considered as a replacement for Letterman.  It was the most ambitious t.v. I’ve seen in a long while.  I can’t believe he (Louis C.K. both writes and directs almost every episode) pulled off walking such a delicate balance between pathos and hilarity.  Those three episodes were sort of like Barton Fink, but better (and I say this as a huge fan of the Coens.)  I could talk about this all day but I’ll stop here:  the soundtrack is unique and brilliant and the pacing of each scene could not possibly be more perfect.  It’s masterful.  My only quibble is:  Jay Leno???  Come on, man, don’t side with that loser.

I did write a fan letter to Conan O’Brien once.  How did you guess?

6. Ora Et Labora Et Zombies

I’m going to write more about this later, but I have to do my part to promote this wonderful project.  When my oldest daughter comes into the house with the mail, it makes our day if we see our favorite envelope in the stack.  There is nothing so satisfying as the feel of a nice long letter in your hand.  I so rarely get those anymore that it almost makes me nostalgic, and when you add to it a tale that is both engaging and delicately, charmingly told….well, you can see why it makes our day.  Have you ordered your letters yet?  What is your problem?  All the cool kids are doing it!

7. Dostoevsky, man.

He’s pretty cool.  I am in the process of re-reading The Brother Karamazov, as I do every few years, and as it happens every time I have to put the book down periodically to process my awe.

I was going to write out a snippet here, to illustrate his  brilliance, but Dostoevsky is not really a pithy writer.  It’s his scope, and his depth, and the way he effortlessly has his characters swing from one extreme to the other, just as it happens in real life and just as almost nobody else manages to convey believably.  So I’ll just say:  Dostoevsky, man.

I will end by encouraging everyone to go read Jen’s Quick Takes even though, as I just started this blog last week, there is zero chance that anyone reading this came from anywhere but there.

Louie, Louie, Louie

I can’t help myself. I love Louis C.K.

He can make me uncomfortable. He occasionally says things that cause me to feel actual revulsion. And yet…

My husband and I once stayed up until 2am arguing about one of his comedy specials, and there wasn’t even any late night make-up goodness. We went to bed reconciled but still pretty irritated with each other. And yet…

There remains something about Louis C.K. we find irresistibly appealing.

He has an F/X show these days, Louie, now in it’s third season. The first two seasons were kind of uneven, still good, but uneven.  There were enough moments of brilliance that they got you through the moments that were a little too weird, but the weirdness was jarring. The 3rd season, though, has been exceptional. It’s all come together and the show is now comprised of brief, perfectly executed vignettes that create a vibe that manages to be beautiful in it’s downtrodden littleness.

The main thing I love about this show, and about Louis C.K.’s persona altogether, though, is the virtue he embodies. What? Says Scrupulous Rebecca in my head. Virtue? With all the random hook-ups going on? The masturbation? The foul language? Even the gorging on ice cream!?!

Yup.

Watching Louie the other day, I was struck by how many famous and powerful comedians make cameos on his show. People really like this guy, I thought. Then it hit me: they like him for the same reason I like him. He is honest, so brutally honest that he is willing to openly admit his faults, his weaknesses, his failures. You know what he is? He is humble.

I have this stupid tendency to think of humility as some sort of cringing, abased thing even though I know intellectually that this is false. Real humility, like all the virtues, is attractive. It’s intriguing. It’s appealing because it is beautiful and true.

How wonderful to live in a world where any schlub off the street has access to this kind of strong, deep-rooted virtue even if he is far from sainthood! How wonderful, too, to see all sorts of people responding to that virtue, people who maybe aren’t ready to respond to anything more incitive.

Lots of people can’t help themselves. They love humility.