Bad Television Addict

Every so often, I find myself in the mood to watch bad television.  Normally, this isn’t a problem.  But I’m learning that there’s a threshold between watching bad television ironically and falling head-over-heels in love with it.  I’m still not sure where that line is.

You see, when it comes to TV, I have standards.  No Twilight.  No reality shows involving weddings, houses, or eating gross food.  Actually, no reality shows PERIOD.  And for goodness sake, NO Kardashians.

I feel like the majority of shows I watch aren’t cringe-worthy.  I’ve got my period dramas, from Downton Abbey and The Paradise.  Then there’s fun fantasy shows like Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, and Merlin.  On a more serious note, I also like Game of Thrones, which is one of the most well-told stories I’ve ever seen on screen.  Of course, I like superhero shows such as Arrow and The Flash.  Not to mention The Musketeers, which is both historical AND action-packed.  Finally, I like quirky comedies like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Every once in a while, though, I find myself indulging in television that I know is just crap.

Most of my indulgences include poorly written teen flicks and anything found on the Hallmark Channel.  For those of you who aren’t versed in American cable TV, Hallmark is the mecca of sappy love stories featuring mediocre actors and plots you can predict for a mile away.

A couple of weeks ago, I curled up in bed and opened my laptop.  Flipping my web browser to Netflix, I fully intended to finally start watching Gilmore Girls.  (I’ve heard great things for a long time and feel like I need to get on the bandwagon.)  What I ended up clicking on was nothing of the sort.

The show I ended up watching was a low-budget, highly Christian period drama set on the Western Canadian frontier. I pegged the protagonist’s romantic lead within five minutes of starting the show and could see a long, slow trail of attraction, confusion, courtship, separation, more confusion, etc. etc. etc.  The show oozed sentimentality.  When the first episode ended, I spent a moment basking in the mediocrity.

Then I watched the next episode.

Long story short, I managed to watch two seasons (approximately 20 hours) of the show in five days… on top of working 50+ hours that week.  At first, I couldn’t look away because of how cringe-worthy it was.  But then something shifted.

I made the mistake of watching the show’s final episode (up to date) late at night.  It was a cliff-hanger.  The romantic lead was about to finally ask the protagonist to marry him… only to walk in on the leading lady being proposed to BY ANOTHER MAN.  To which I respond, “What does she say?  She can’t marry him!  She’s in love with the other guy!  No!  NOOO.  This is not happening.  PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS NOT HAPPENING.  I CAN’T HANDLE THIS!!!”  It took forever to fall asleep simply because I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened to the characters.

The next morning, I realized something.  Somewhere along the line, I stopped watching the show because it was bad.  Instead, I watched the show because I was obsessed.  And I thought:

How does this happen?  How do we get sucked in so easily to things we know are poor quality?  How do they worm their way into our hearts?

I don’t know the answers to these questions.  But I now have a guilty pleasure show and am counting down the days until the next season premiers around Christmastime.

What are your guilty pleasure shows?  What bad TV do you enjoy?  Let me know in the comments!

On the Shelf: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

A few weeks ago, I had scheduled a meet-up with a friend in a nearby town.  I left early to make time for shopping (because Target is a beautiful, beautiful place) only to receive a text pushing back our meeting time.  Of course, when I get stuck with half an hour of extra time is the ONE TIME I FORGET TO BRING A BOOK.

I remedied this by spending a long time shopping and picked up a book that’s been waiting patiently on my “To-Read” list for quite a while.  That, friends, is how I ended up with Mindy Kaling’s first memoir on my shelf.

My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Summary from GoodreadsMindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”   Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!  In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

My Thoughts:

This book has zero substance, but is absolutely delightful.  I found myself unable to put it down.  During the three days it took to finish, I felt like Mindy Kaling was my best friend.  Which is a bit odd because we have next to nothing in common and I’m not really a comedy fan.

I suppose I enjoyed this book for the same reasons people like magazines and celebrity gossip: It gives me insight into a world completely removed from everything I know.  I’m not obsessed with fashion trends and the Hollywood lifestyle, but reading this was just interesting!  My favorite part is that Kaling’s stories lack the glitz and glamor of tabloids.  They’re honest, imperfect tales of how to make a name for yourself in a highly competitive career.

Most of these chapters are stories and Kaling is good at telling them.   She talks about her childhood, her body image, her college life, early career, and her big break writing for The Office.  Some chapters are just lists, like “Types of Women in Romantic Comedies That Are Not Real”, “Non-Traumatic Things That Have Made Me Cry”, and “Revenge Fantasies While Jogging”.  There’s even a whole chapter of narcissistic photos from her phone, which made me laugh.

Kaling is relatable.  We’re completely different in background, trade, and personality, but I still felt connected.  She isn’t afraid to point out her flaws or make fun of herself.  I feel like most girls, including myself, struggle occasionally (sometimes more than that) with body image and reading Kaling’s tales of being an average-sized women in Hollywood were really encouraging.

She’s also got some great words on high school popularity:

“Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.”

What a wonderful pat-on-the-back for nerdy kids like me.

This is a fun read.  It doesn’t make you think very hard, but made me laugh and gave me a glimpse into a life very different than my own.

Check out my On the Shelf page for more reviews!

Lord of the Rings Valentines

Around this time every year, a plethora of strange and witty Valentines begin showing up in my dashboard on Tumblr.  Every year, I’m drawn to the Lord of the Rings ones.  All week, I’ve been looking them up on Google and giggling at them.  I was originally to scatter several throughout my actual Valentines Day post (which is coming in the next few days).  But then I realized their presence detract from what I’m trying to do in the post.

They’re too good not to share, so I decided to give them a post of their own.  Consider this a Valentine from me to you!

Which is your favorite?  Are there any quirky Internet Valentines you love?  Let me know in the comments!

Dinosaur boogers

There’s a large cast of a triceratops head in the atrium of our Science Building.  While walking past it with friends this evening, I saw something unusual.

Kind of unrelated to anything else, but I am very fond of this picture.

“I think there’s something in its nose,” I said to Bethany.  She gave me a weird look.  “No, I’m serious!  There’s something blue in there!”

Bethany went over and investigated.  What did she bring back?  Answer:

Even though my friends were a bit disgusted, I ate it.  It was delicious.

And that, dear readers, is the story of how I ate dinosaur bogies.

Leapfrog writing

A great and glorious tale was born during my innovative creative writing class today. It was an in-class activity that our textbook referred to as “Leapfrog”.  Here’s how it works.  We got into groups to write a collaborative story.  The only catch was only one person could write at a time.  When the professor gave the cue, we had to switch writers.  The time slots weren’t consistent, so at points we would madly get a few words in before handing it off.  At the end, everyone read their creations to the class.  The result was a bunch of hilarious nonsense that, somehow, seemed like creative genius.

Here is the story I worked on with classmates Meara and Adam.  I just read it aloud to  my roommate, Katie, and she insisted it needs to be shared with the world.

~~~

The gladiator stood in the center of the dusty floor over his vanquished heathen foe. “GrrrRAR,” he said. “GRRRRRARRARARARAAGGHH.” He was a skeleton imprisoned in a deep pit of a great gelatinous beast.

“Oh my goodness,” he cried one hundred years later. “I have been trapped in this pit for so long, I no longer remember the taste of peanuts!”

Then suddenly, he died. From the peanuts.

We pan over to an empty field, below a forlorn mountain.

There was a cave at the bottom into a lake of lava.

A rabbit stood above the field and cave, majestically adorned with a cape made from the FLAYED scales of the leviathan that dwells in the lava. “Ahoy!” The rabbit was dead. THE PLAGUE HAD CLAIMED ANOTHER.

And no one heard of the terrible beastie again, for he had sated his hunger for impossibility, and died.

~~~

Can you tell what parts are mine?