How Will I Live?

From The Onion: Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn’t Own A Television.

“Green has lived without television since 1989, when his then-girlfriend moved out and took her set with her. ‘When Claudia went, the TV went with her,’ Green said. ‘But instead of just going out and buying another one — which I certainly could have afforded, that wasn’t the issue — I decided to stand up to the glass teat.’

‘I’m not an elitist,’ Green said. ‘It’s just that I’d much rather sculpt or write in my journal or read Proust than sit there passively staring at some phosphorescent screen.’ “

I’m not normally a big TV watcher, but at exam time I undergo a bizarre metamorphosis. Nothing is too banal, nothing too dull, it’s all good as long as it continues to provide an excuse to sit slack-jawed on the couch instead of gritting my teeth at my desk over comparative financing mechanisms of international trade transactions.

Which is why, over my back-to-back exam periods of the past few months, I developed certain, shall we call them, attachments, which cruel reality now threatens to deprive me of.

The Bachelor 3 had me screaming abuse at bitchcat Kirsten, with her shiftygoogly eyes and infuriating tendency to speak only from the back of her throat, Survivor had me screaming abuse at Jon the vicious conniving shrimp with bad hair, and Am I Hot? had me screaming abuse at the judges every time they dismissed someone who floated my boat. I writhed on the couch cursing David E. Kelley to hell and back in a particular episode of Ally McBeal where he made it look as if Ally might dump sweet sexy plumber Jon Bon Jovi for Fred Durst’s evil twin (played by fat-faced Matthew Perry). Let’s not even go into my hours of MTV hoping for just one glimpse of Justin Timberlake.

But as I stagger out of exam haze and re-enter the world of the living, a small part of me feels an acute sense of loss. The Bachelor is over. Ally’s broken up with her plumber. Survivor continues, but self-respect demands that I actually leave the house on Friday nights. Similarly, the Am I Hot? finals are tonight (black guy who’s an English teacher! black guy who’s an English teacher!), but I’ll miss them because I’m having dinner with Pei Ee. Tomorrow I’m taking mum to see Love, Actually (Colin Firth! Colin Firth!), which means I have to miss Punk’d.

I’m not proud of this promenade of plebeianism, but Armchair Psychology 101 suggests that the first step towards regaining my intellectual cred is to come clean and document my fall. Meanwhile, ongoing attempts to wean myself off the glass teat include If on a winter’s night a traveller and The Brothers Karamazov (still not quite Proust, but they’ll do for now), half-written poems stuffed in drawers (don’t even bother with the obvious jokes, y’all) and, quite importantly, admitting to some of my friends for the first time in a while that I actually exist.

File Under Copout

From this week’s episode of the X-Files (Via Negativa/The One About The Guy With A Third Eye Who Creeped Doggett Out): Scenes From Story-Editing (aka Michelle Kvetches)

Chris Carter: Okay, droogs, this one’s gonna be all about Doggett, because he’s new, because we needed to chuck Mulder in a UFO so that whiny boy Duchovny could be in as few episodes as possible, and because I’m the Messiah.
Underlings: All hail Christ Carter.
Chris Carter: Oh, and because none of us are good enough writers to develop Doggett’s character while Scully’s in the way, we have to find a way to get Scully out of this one.
Underlings: Hmmmmmmmm.
Chris Carter: Hmmmmmmmm.
Misc. Underling: I know! Let’s get her abducted by aliens too!
Chris Carter: We did that already, remember?
Misc. Underling: Bugger.
Chris Carter: Hmmmmmmm.
Underlings: Hmmmmmmm.
Chris Carter: I have it! She’s pregnant, right? Let’s put her in hospital with acute abdominal pains! There’s nothing like a pregnant woman in jeopardy to yank viewers’ chains!
Underlings: Truly this is genius!
Chris Carter: Mommy’s Little Plot Device. I planned this all along. [earlier I wrote about the shorthand I use to note my displeasure when judging debates. This is the sort of claim that’d get an “OH, PUH-LEASE”]

Ugh. This is still my favourite show, but they really do deserve a whipping for that. Using the pregnancy for nothing other than to conveniently remove Scully from the action whenever the hell they feel like it is shamefully shoddy writing.

X-Files: Roadrunners

Right, so tonight’s episode of the X-Files was about a huge-ass garden-variety manifestation of the Second Coming, which was worshipped by a bunch of hicks who drove around the desert in a big bus looking for random stranded backpackers and the occasional red-headed FBI agent so they could shove the Slug Christ up their spines.

Methinks the scriptwriters and storyeditors who came up with this opus need a couple of Slime Messiahs shoved up where the desert sun don’t shine.

Last night was gloriously low-brow

Last night was gloriously low-brow and frivolous. I started the evening off with Celebrity Big Brother. Then Carl came into the TV room and waved the first two episodes of the current season of the X-Files at me, and so we had to watch those. Then the Italian girls came in and put on Cocktail, and we all had a good time yelling “Bastard!” at Tom Cruise and pulling apart the corny dialogue. It was all very Bridget Jones.

The thing which probably struck me the most about last night won’t be a surprise for anyone reading this who actually knows me in real life, but I’ll go into it anyway because I just feel like writing about it.

The X-Files, or its good episodes anyway, reduces me to a gibbering emotional wreck. I loved this show long before it was hip, while it was hip, and still love it now it’s pretty much unhip. I’ll be the first to acknowledge it’s had some laughably bad episodes (killer pussies, Bride of Chucky, Scully Madonna with limpid-eyed alien child…), a large number of hilariously verbose pretentious voiceovers (Chris Carter, lose the thesaurus already), and don’t even get me started on what they’ve done with the conspiracy arc.

But the thing is, there’s just something about the characters that gets to me. I could rehash the usual Mulder-Scully skeptic-believer unresolved sexual tension spiel but everyone’s already familiar with that. I guess what particularly endears me to them is their ability to do the whole undying trust and loyalty thing while generally avoiding Hallmark moments. People always tell me “Oh, Michelle, you’ll be more forgiving about gross couply stuff when you’re in a relationship.”

No, I bloody well will not. I can certainly see Hallmark moments enhancing any relationship I’d want to be in, but only in terms of their comedic potential. I’d be quite fond of a man who could deliver cheesy lines with an expression just one twitch short of deadpan so I knew he didn’t actually think “I love you always forever till the end of the world blah blah blah” would fool me into falling over with my legs in the air.

Er. I was talking about the X-Files. Yeah, the X-Files. Love it.


What a pleasant surprise. I ended up having oven-baked chicken with lemon rice for dinner, all cooked by Martin. X-Files was fab. Necromancy, the apocalypse, blood n’gore, those characteristic flashlights, and some great Mulder and Scully teamwork and dialogue. A crossover with Millennium that suffered from none of its terminal snoozeworthiness, and I liked the way Mark Snow wove the Millennium theme music into the score. I was beginning to worry about how things were going, but clearly, all is not yet lost.