January Appointment TV

Sometime last year I decided I was going to watch every episode of Guy’s Grocery Games. I love the show, though it always makes me hungry and envious of people with cooking skills, and I enjoyed spending mindless hours with Triple G on my TV.

As someone who teaches Popular Culture, I feel like I have an academic responsibility to at the very least read about whatever television programs are in the ether. If I really want credibility with my students, I need to watch them.

So I needed to make a break from Guy Fieri and started scheduling purposeful television. Every Sunday, I look at my schedule and I pick one episode of a TV show to watch for every day of the week.

(Except lately, to cope with well, everything, I have been watching 3-4 episodes of New Girl a day, and as of publication time, I have four more episodes before I finish the whole series.)

Here’s what I’ve been watching lately. The common thread in the first three shows? They are released weekly so unless I fall behind, I can’t watch the entire slate in one sitting.

The Book of Boba Fett (Disney+): This is the latest in the Star Wars franchise, and it is a bit over my head in terms of “canon” and “understanding what is going on.” But I always like my preconceived notions about people—real and fictional—getting blown up a bit, and so far, this series delivers.  That’s all I will say to avoid spoilers. 

Finding Your Roots (PBS): I’ve been a fan of this show for years and the latest season just launched. In my own genealogical research, I’m much more interested in the stories behind the names, and this show focuses on exactly that. Some weeks the stories are tame, and some weeks the stories are wild, but I’m always reminded of how my current life is affected by generations who came before me. 

Abbott Elementary (ABC/Hulu): This is a new show on ABC that I caught the first two episodes on Hulu, and didn’t want to wait a day to see episode three so I actually tuned in at 8 p.m. on Tuesday to watch it live, as in times of yore. It’s a sitcom in the style of The Office and Parks and Rec, but in an elementary school. It is the first show about public education that doesn’t make me want to throw things; instead I am amazed at how much the writers are getting *right* about teaching. 

Queer Eye (Netflix): The latest season dropped over winter break, and instead of binging it in a day, I’m reserving it for Monday nights, one episode at a time. The men on the show are life-affirming and loving, a departure from the cattiness of the show’s early-aughts. It’s a nice way to start off my week.

Creating my own TV schedule has been a helpful coping mechanism with the current malaise. It’s given me something to look forward to during the day, and it’s also ensured that I don’t really fall down a bingey rabbit hole. What else should I add to my list?

Why I’m Okay with the HIMYM Finale

HIMYM, by the way, is short for How I Met Your Mother, a show I started watching in its 3rd season (I went back and watched the first two seasons later, thanks to Netflix). And last night was the last episode of the series.

Many people have many opinions about the last episode, many of them negative.
But here’s my Horton-hears-a-Who moment of why I loved the last episode. If you’re a fan of the show, fair warning: spoilers ahead.
If you’ve never seen the show, here’s the elevator pitch: in the year 2030, a dad is telling his adolescent children how he met their mother. Except we don’t really meet the mother until Season 9, so it’s really a winding yarn about how Ted spent the better part of his 30s looking for The One. Moving on.
A few weeks prior to the finale, in the middle of a conversation with Ted, the protagonist, and The Mother (it was a flash-forward), there was an insinuation that perhaps the mother was dead by 2030. I definitely bought into that theory, and didn’t mind it so much because life is messy and conflict abounds and all that writer crap that Stueve is always telling me.
And last night, we learned that’s exactly what happened. Ted meets the mother in 2014. They have two kids, but he doesn’t marry her until 2021 (not judging at all here, just giving time references). She dies in 2024. In the last ten minutes of the finale, Ted tells his kids how much he loved their mother and how lucky he was to have the moments he had with her.
And then the kids call him out on the 9-season story: it’s not about The Mother, it’s about “Aunt” Robin. 
Robin, the girl that Ted says “I love you” to on their first date, steals her a blue french horn, eventually dates her but it ends in disaster. 
The kids encourage Ted to call Robin and ask her out on a date. Mom’s been gone for six years, they say. It’s clear you love Robin, they say.
And the Internet freaks out, while for me, hope springs eternal.
Here’s why.
My uncle, who I love so dearly, fell in love with a woman while in college. He asked her to marry him, then he left for his LDS mission. While he was gone, she married someone else (not a decision she made lightly, by the way, so don’t be upset with her). He came home from his mission, married someone else, had a family.
And his wife passed away. And the woman he proposed to in college, her husband passed away. And they reconnected, and married, and raised their families together, and lived some happy years together. So I’ve seen in my own family, the “girl that got away” be re-gotten. 
Then I think of me. And my favorite Jane Austen book Persuasion. And my uncle. And last night’s HIMYM. And a small flame of hope appears: maybe I’m someone’s Second Act. And I don’t say that for pity–I say that because it just might be true. That perhaps one day, **someone I laughed with or studied with or fought with might show up outside my window holding a blue french horn, and all the pieces of my life will suddenly lock into place while the universe screams at me: THIS. This is what I had waiting for you. Isn’t it great?
So, Internet haters, I wasn’t disappointed with the HIMYM finale. I quite loved it.
But I also loved the last episode of Lost, and I was in the minority then as well, so maybe I just don’t know good TV after all.
**I am in no way wishing ill will on any spouses of ex-boyfriends. Please understand that.**

The Mindy Project.

I love good writing on television. It’s why I loved 30 Rock, adore Parks and Rec, and have an eternal blind spot for anything Aaron Sorkin writes.

And now I can add The Mindy Project to that list. My favorite recent quote?

A winky face? That’s like emoji porn!”

It’s funny because it’s true, in the brave new world of dating-with-a-million-different-communication-tools.

It’s the highlight of my Tuesdays, and since today is Tuesday, it’s what I’m grateful for tonight.


When BYU declared football independence and joined the West Coast Conference a few years ago, part of the reasoning was what the university had planned for broadcasting rights.

It’s pretty amazing.

Sure, I enjoy shows like “The Song That Changed My Life” and “Audio-Files” (seriously good music shows with a variety of artists, most of whom are not LDS), and my sisters keep telling me I need to watch “Studio C” (their version of SNL) but I’m in it mostly for the sports.

Take this weekend–tonight I watched women’s soccer followed by men’s basketball, and tomorrow I’ll be able to watch football and if I wasn’t going out with friends tomorrow, I’d pick up another basketball game.

The commentators are surprisingly professional and good–in other words, this isn’t some cable access kind of programming. It’s pretty legit.

So tonight I’m grateful for BYU TV, because for someone who doesn’t have cable but does have a Roku, it pretty much rocks.

Feminist Kryptonite: Episode 2, Part 2

Meet Ben. He’s haaaawwwwt. And crazy wealthy. And his sister swears he has every quality a woman would want in a husband.

I’m going to pause here to evaluate the matchmakers. Amber actually knows what she’s doing. The women she chooses are both smart and beautiful (except for the old girlfriend–bad move, Amber. Bad move). Matt is drawn to charm and sweet. Not always smart, but sweet. Tracy is really good about picking strong-willed women and then pretending she’s flabbergasted when her women get sent home. Okay, back to the reaping.

One of Tracy’s women strips off her dress to reveal the tiniest little black dress I’ve ever seen in my life. Because she’s there so he can get to know her innermost soul. Or thighs. Tonight the reaping isn’t as exciting as last week due to condensed time. The editing is awful.

I’m going to pause here to address that each of these women reinforces the myth sold to us from the time of Shakespeare and Austen, which is this: “I know he’s the one!” They say it. Over and over. It could be this show’s drinking game–take a shot every time one of the women says “I just know he’s the one” or some iteration of it, and you’d be three sheets to the wind by 8:20.

Ben makes the equally dangerous assumption that “one of these girls could be my wife!”

I’m going to pause here to rant about Tracy. One of her women is a virgin. And she assumes–condescendingly so–that said woman is a virgin because she is afraid of getting hurt. Right, Tracy, because there isn’t a religion in this country that preaches abstinence before marriage and fidelity after. Not a single one. I’m also insulted when Tracy equates sex with love, suggesting that said woman needs to open up “Not ‘down here,’ but ‘up here,'” as she touches her heart. Gag.

Ben’s date is making the girls run a Warrior Dash-type race. So they get all sweaty and dirty before he takes them to the middle of nowhere to “get to know them better.”

Ben asks the best question ever of one of the women: “So why are you still single?”

“I don’t know Ben, because I grew up in a time before TV-mediated relationships were so vogue? Why are YOU still single?”

Ben asks the same question of another woman later that night. And rather than put him in his place, this woman gets some action. Woot woot! Don’t forget ladies, next time a man asks you an insulting question, bat yer eyelashes, give him an “aw shucks” pouty look, and turn that pout into a grand make out session. At least you got kissed.

Oh, P.S. Ben appears to be a little bit loose with the lips. Playas represent!

I’m going to pause here to say that for the most part, I like the advice the matchmakers give the women, post-date. It’s not all that bad. 

Finally, we get to the point where Ben has to send two girls home. Option 1: the old girlfriend. Option 2: started crying as soon as she was placed in the bottom 3. (Sweet Bill Rancic gives the cry-er an honest-to-goodness cloth hanky.) Option 3: The virgin. Go figure.

Ben saves the virgin right away. It takes him a little longer to dispose of the cry-er, which screams to me that he and the old girlfriend are nearly co-dependent. So having her around should make for some gooooood television.

‘Til next week…