Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Capital Loss

Yesterday, almost like clock-work, at exactly 9 AM, the Washington Capitals fired their coach.  Over the course of the last four years, Bruce Boudreau, has helmed the Capitals to four consecutive South East Conference titles, one Presidents Trophy (the most points/wins in the regular season) and a playoff appearance every single year.  But with each year came the same tired result.  While the regular season brought forth myriad accolades for the players and team, the trophy that they all sought, Lord Stanley’s Cup was never within reach.

I can’t say I’m surprised by the outcome.  And my valiant readers shouldn’t be surprised that I feel compelled to write about it.  I’ve me Coach Boudreau, more than once, I think, and he was always genuine and full of energy.  What may have been his downfall was his down to earth nature.  While you can see other coaches will make a clear line in the sand of what is or isn’t acceptable, Boudreau wanted to be everyone’s friend and be the nice guy.  Unfortunately for Boudreau, in DC, nice guys finish last.  In another place, with another club, I can imagine great success for him.  But as I listened to the locker room interviews with the players, it was very clear to me what had happened.

As a fan, I have little choice but stand behind my team, the team I’ve spent a lot of time, money and heartache on, but I can’t say that I’m not disappointed.  You look at players like Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, the list goes on and on.  If you follow hockey at all, these are supposedly super stars, or stars at the very least.  In the regular season, stopping any one of these players from scoring should be impossible, but given this last few months, the team has been terrible.  Every single man on that roster was completely and utterly disinterested in what Coach Boudreau had to say.  And I find myself frustrated that a group of grown men, not boys, not children, men, can’t do their jobs.

So, for the combined salary of many millions of dollars, they just didn’t like what they were being told, and how they were being told it?  And this is acceptable?  It is a sad state of affairs that a group of men, talented and capable, can not follow simple instructions, or find the strength within to do what they are being paid to do.

I have always had a hard time with this issue, struggling with it in my own way.  The only people to blame for the Capitals failures are the players, not the coach.  And while it is easy to replace the coach, what Boudreau did in four short years can’t be discounted, and won’t.  Boudreau will land on his feet, smarting from his sharp turn with the Capitals, but it is the players, the ones that remain that seemed so gleeful yesterday that are no under the gun.  If they don’t ‘decide’ to play tonight, and going forward, the team won’t be the same, because the players will be held responsible, and that would be an unfortunate end to a very talented, very gifted and very unmotivated, self-righteous team.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Muppets Review

I’ve you’ve grown up in the past fifteen years, you might be oblivious to this, but those of us that are a tad older grew up on the Muppets.  When I was a kid, I used to love watching the Muppet Show (though I didn’t realise until later it wasn’t live, ah to be a child again).   The show was a variety show, mixing comedy and drama bits with song and dance; the show put on almost entirely by puppets (with puppeteers underneath) and a different guest star each week.  The Muppet movie captures this same feel from beginning to end.  The Muppet movie is a delight, with good natured humour that can appeal to all audiences.

In the movie, Gary and Walter are taking a trip to Los Angeles with Gary’s girlfriend, Mary.  Gary and Mary are two of the staple ‘humans’ in the movie, both played wonderfully by Jason Segel and Amy Adams.  They take Walter, who is a puppet, to see the Muppet studios, only to find it in complete disarray.  The studio is being bought by an evil businessman who has found oil under the studio.  Walter decides he must save his childhood heroes and goes to Kermit, who is finally convinced that they can save the studio if they reunite the old gang.  What follows is a wonderful montage of visits to the various Muppet personalities as they re-join the team.

Once the Muppets are finally back together, Kermit must make a pitch to a TV exec to have the special air, they luck out and then have to find a celebrity host, whom they kidnap (Animal’s Court-Appointed Helper, Jack Black).  The show itself goes off as any Muppet show does, with lots of laughs, lots of mistakes and wonderful guest stars.  In the end, they don’t reach their goal, but due to hilarious circumstances, the Muppets get their studio (and name) back. 

What makes the Muppet movie so great was the humour.  The humour reaches out to all ages, all types of people and is good-natured and makes you feel good.  A lot of the humour was based solely on the visual, like the fact that the entire Muppet crew fit into a Cadillac that should have seated 6, at most.  Or the telethon that had celebrities in the background answering phones side-by-side with Muppets.  The musical numbers do seem a bit overwhelming, but are perfect for a flash mob (if only I could organise better).  What is wonderful about the Muppets is that they can make light of themselves, taking pot shots at their own movie and the silliness of it.  I found myself both laughing, and crying, throughout and loved it all.  If there is a movie for everyone this year, this is it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving: Crazy American Holiday to Celebrate Over-Eating

Other than the overindulgence of eating and football, the idea of thanksgiving is to, well, give thanks.  I feel like this always gets lost in the pre-Black Friday insanity, and who doesn’t enjoy that every now and again?  But lost in that torrent and frenzy is the entire meaning of the holidays, all of them, being thankful and being gracious.

I’ve long wanted to do a blog about this, so I hope this seems timely.  This is also a dangerous post, because any post about generosity is always going to be marred by one of the seven deadly sins, pride.  Because it is boastful of me (prideful) to talk about being generous as if I do it more than anyone else or better than others, which of course isn’t true at all.  This time of the year, we’re all bombarded with adverts and media telling us we need the next big thing, be it a 3DS, a new phone or a new thing-a-ma-jig, but we don’t.  Not really.  Despite the bad economy, there are probably not nearly as many in need of a disposable object like the ones I’ve listed above.  I mean, did I need a 3DS?  No, of course not.  Did I buy it anyway?  Yes.  And I could make the argument that I’ve been price-watching for, well, since it came out, and this is one of the lowest prices around, but that doesn’t mean I need it.  Just like Rocksmith, which I almost bought yesterday from Amazon, but managed to control that ‘proceed to checkout’ button with all its glamour and allure.

By that same token, while I was out and about yesterday afternoon, at the Target, again, I stood in line, somewhat minding my own business, but as you can probably glean from my character, I’m not really the ‘minding my own business’ type.  Not in a meddling Scooby Doo way, (sadly because that would be interesting, but also unsafe as I’m afraid of dogs), but in a conscientious sort of way.  I was watching all the queues, trying to play the over-whelming game of which one was going faster, and as is the custom in Target, when the queues are all super-long, they call another person up to the front. As luck would have it that was right next to the queue I was already standing in.  There were two women in front of me, both with hardly anything, and me with a cart full of nonsense (including Bioshock for $7 from the clearance section, what?!?).  One woman jumped straight into the other line, everyone else around us seemingly brain dead.  The woman in front of me had one item and I had so many more than one.  I could have just cut right over and forgotten about her, she was on her mobile, blathering away about God knows what.  But I didn’t.  I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed to the open till.  She glanced over, surprised, than jumped into the line, uttering a thoughtless thanks.  It wasn’t until moments later that I think she realised that I was actually doing her a decent favour.

The point of this story isn’t self-indulgent drivel (though you might think so, go right ahead), but about the fact that I gained absolutely nothing from this encounter, but saved someone, maybe five minutes.  But in doing so, I’d like to think I passed on a little good will.  And that is hard to come by, despite the time of year.  People always go on and on about how you should be giving or be thankful, but how many of us really are?  I didn’t get her into that queue because I needed good points for Heaven (though, God knows I probably could use some more – I consider religion on a point system, it’s easier that way).  I did it because I don’t want to waste someone else’s time being selfish.  To me, that is what this season should be all about.  We’re all so busy, all year round, trying to ‘get ours’ that we all overlook simple, common courtesies. 

When you’re out and about this holiday season, take a page from that unheralded Haley Joel Osment movie, Pay it Forward.  Sometimes, it costs you nothing (like me yesterday) to do something selfless, or just nice, for someone else.  Do it.  It’ll make you feel better and might turn someone’s day around.  We all are so busy getting caught up in our own affairs that we can’t see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes.  Just because you’re hurting or upset doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t too.  Take a second and display a little kindness, it might make all the difference in the world.  If you’re feeling more adventurous, find a Tots for Toys box or a charity to donate money, a toy, something.  Those of us that ‘have’ need to help those that don’t.  It isn’t something only adults can do; every little bit helps and might make a world of difference to someone who doesn’t have much to look forward to.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breaking Dawn Part 1 Review

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I had the luck of getting to see Breaking Dawn before the general public thanks to being a member of the AMC Stubs program, which is free, incidentally.  If you’re any kind of fan, you can guess what kind of audience was in attendance Thursday night, and how thankful we all were not to be seeing the movie at midnight, but at the much more reasonable time of 8 PM.

All of the Twilight movies follow the books of the same name, who’s basic plot device is girl is in love with vampire and they want to be together forever.  It is really a weak plot, to say the least, and the final book in the series came in at a whimper, while the middle two books, New Moon and Eclipse, both had legs to stand on, however enfeebled.  What followed once the unmemorable trailers played, save for one with Daniel Radcliffe for his upcoming horror movie, Woman in Black, was a beautifully rendered film of good looking people dealing with a difficult situation, which wasn’t worthy of two hours of my time.

The book, Breaking Dawn is terrible, and that is being generous.  For some reason, Twilight fans rejoiced when the movie version was predicted to be in two parts; to me, that seems like we’re prolonging the pain of sitting through a poorly thought out story.  Basically, we have Bella, our main protagonist and girl who can’t possibly make good decisions, in love with Edward, a vampire who aspires to be a caricature of a character with actual substance.  As always, the few good acting moments come courtesy of Taylor Lautner, but the traction comes more from Jacob being the only reasonable character of the three.  It seems that despite his low-level dog like alter ego, he is the only one with a good head on his shoulders.  I was happy to see Esme, Elisabeth Reed, get more face time; she is a wonderful mother figure for the Cullen clan and plays it beautifully.

The overall story can’t go far in this chapter of Twilight.  Bella marries Edward, he impregnates her with a demon/vampire child and it basically kills her.  What made this movie better than average, if you can even call it that, were the scenes that played into the various feelings Stephanie Meyer takes Bella through. 

There can be a lot to be said about Kristin Stewart’s acting, but I will give her credit where it is due.  The beginning of the movie opens up a little further along than the book, and the audience is placed at the Cullen home where Alice is making preparations for the wedding to take place on the following day.  Kristin Stewart, to me, embodied that terrifying moment where you stand on the very precipe of massive change to your life.  What will change your life more than being an adult, moving out of your parent’s house and choosing someone to be your partner for life?  It is a huge decision, and to watch Bella go through the motions: panic at first, utter terror as she watched the assembled crowd and then the elation and relief when she saw Edward standing at the end of the aisle.  Call me a hopeless romantic, but the sequence was picture perfect and I give Stewart all the credit in the world for pulling it off with such ease.

The only other fantastic scene, again with Kristin Stewart, is one of the few scenes in the book that is equally written well, to a degree.  After Edward and Bella make it to Island Esme (the stupidest name Meyer could come up with no doubt), Bella takes a moment to ready herself for the consummation of the marriage, and it is hilarious.  I would never peg Stewart as having any sort of concept of timing, but the scenes are alone and she takes all kind of preparations, finally admonishing herself for being a coward, and heading out in nothing, as Alice packed only skimpy outfits.

The chemistry between Stewart and Robert Pattinson is much more palpable in this movie than in any of the others, and the subject matter, which is not appropriate for all ages, caters to that.  This movie won’t win any substantive awards, won’t satisfy curiosity and isn’t much to stand on, but of all the Twilight movies out, this one has the most merit in character development and substance.

The second half of the movie revolves around the demon child Edward impregnates Bella with and the cost that will have on her life.  Watching the slow demise of Bella is masterful and the effect on the Cullen family and Jacob is played in a way that makes it relatable to any family that has ever watched someone they love dwindle and die before their eyes.

Whether you’re a fan of Twilight or not, this movie is worth seeing, but will probably bring more laughs of exasperation than joyful moments.  I’d recommend it only to the truly hardcore Twi-hards, but think that if you give it a chance, it might actually surprise and impress you just a little.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No NBA, Now What to Do?

Despite my annoyance with the recent ESPN coverage of Joe Paterno, I couldn’t help but turn ESPN on yesterday and saw a startling news story: negotiations have completely fallen through; the entire NBA season could be in jeopardy!  I’m being mildly melodramatic and very sarcastic.  As some of you know, I was quite distraught over the summer, and angry, with the NFL and their players for what can only be summed up in one word: greed.  The players and owners bilk us out of as much money as is possible, and while I won’t argue the enjoyment I get out of watching football (American football for those of you that aren’t sure which one I mean).  The main difference to me, qualitatively, between the NBA and the NFL is the reach.  The NFL reaches more people and influences more people.  With such a short schedule, a mere 17 weeks, as opposed to the endless game upon game the NBA season, it isn’t any wonder that the NFL has made it’s brand known partially through its exclusivity.

What makes me frustrated and unsympathetic with the NBA is simple: their brand has no staying power.  While I can waste time watching an NBA game, to be honest, until the playoffs are approaching, I don’t even watch games.  I am a fan of the Dallas Mavericks, but more so because of Mark Cuban and what he’s done, than anything.  I did enjoy seeing them as the perennial team in the playoffs, which I share with my hometown Washington Capitals (though they have yet to bring the Stanley Cup to the Nation’s capital).  The trouble with the NBA is manifold.  And while I could spout the virtues of the NFL, those are few and far between as it is.

The fact of the matter is, the NBA isn’t relevant.  Football has its own niche; but more than anything, the games are often exciting and meaningful.  With only a few games, each one counts thus making every week a game that could make or break a team’s season.  Hockey has a wonderfully small niche that makes it accessible.  I had the pleasure of attending a charity event last year and meeting and taking pictures with the entire Washington Capitals team.  In what other sport is it even possible to get that close to the guys making what I’d argue are big bucks.  We have one of the highest paid hockey players on our team, Alex Ovechkin, and he is completely down-to-earth, at least at team sponsored events.  I could gush for hours about my love for hockey, or football, but I’ll stop.

One of the issues I had over the summer was the level of greed I felt the players were exhibiting.  But in all fairness, the owners are making billions of dollars on attendance alone to their events.  That doesn’t even count the jerseys being sold or anything with the team logo minting money for the owners.  I don’t know if this is the case for the NBA, but what I do know is more venues than not do not sell out.  Our Washington Wizards can’t give tickets away. 

With as many games as they have, it isn’t any wonder.  But also, more notably, the parity in the NBA has never come full circle.  The salary cap, something I always found foolish, has actually helped both hockey and football is relevant.  Every year there is no telling which team will come out with the best record.  While I don’t like seeing my favourite players leave, the concept of free agency has made the movement of players seem commonplace.  Fifteen years ago, if Emmit Smith or Michael Irvin had up and left the Dallas Cowboys (after they won back-to-back Superbowls), people would have been up in arms.  But in this day and age, a player staying with a team is hardly expected, it is remarkable at times, but not so for the NBA.

If we suspend anger for a moment, and ignore the announcement from the ‘Big Three’ (which would really be the Big 2.5), the movement of big stars has hardly been successful.  Can anyone for get Carmello Anthony moving from Denver to New York last year, and how did that end?  Yes, they made it to the playoffs for the first time in forever, but were they ever any good, no.  Miami is a great example too.  Lebron James and Dwayne Wade are great players, but together, they couldn’t win a championship, despite their own hype.  Do you see baseball, football or even hockey players guaranteeing championships or victories?  I’m not trying to make the NBA seem like it is a league full of thugs, but in a way it is.  But that isn’t any different than most leagues of men being paid as kings who are nothing but boys, but I’m veering off of my course.

The NBA lockout is a travesty, but the people it robs aren’t the over-paid, over-hyped ne’er-do-wells that make million upon millions of dollars, it’s the staff or vendors or working stiffs like you and me who make a living having people attend events to glorify these kids.  There are a few that have hard-luck cases, no doubt, but in the grand scheme of things what can we, as mere observes glean from this?  And ESPN plasters its site with polls about who is to blame.  Guess who I blame, again?  ESPN, and the news media.  The two groups combined are  glorifying these players, making them believe their sport is relevant and worthwhile, when in actuality, no one will notice there isn’t any NBA being played.  Congratulations players of the NBA, mission accomplished, I care even less now than I did before.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dishonourable Discharge

It is probably impossible for anyone in the US not to have heard the news surrounding Penn State.  As a Big Ten fan, I am all too familiar with Penn State, but have, thankfully, seen my Michigan Wolverines best them in most things of late.  But this blog isn’t about sports.

Please just hear me out before rallying your pitchforks.  What is happening at Penn State is wrong.  Joe Paterno deserves better, those kids who were violated deserve better, but at some point, the right thing needs to be done.  More than anything, what do we actually know?  I have spent a good amount of time watching and reading articles, and barring one victim’s parent that has come out to speak, we only know the culpability of Jerry Sandusky, the man who allegedly violated children in what can only be described as the most grotesque and horrifying ways.  What Sandusky did, if proven to be true, is wrong, and he should pay.  He should have life-time cell-mate named Bubba that is his special friend.  But what facts do we actually know?

Here’s my issue, and feel free to point me to your online proof – but what has the Commonwealth Attorneys’ office of Pennsylvania come out and said?  They’ve talked about what Sandusky is accused of doing, they’ve talked about Paterno being aware of what was occurring, but to what extent?

My argument is simple, really, why don’t we wait and see what actually happened?

Right now, we’re basing all this outrage on supposition.  And what is that saying about making assumptions?  I am not trying to minimise what are terrible circumstances – those kids deserved someone to stand up for them, and to have someone like Sandusky taking advantage of kids who were in need is disgusting.  But is the issue that we should be going after Sandusky or going after Penn State, and by extension, Joe Paterno.

I’ll fully admit, yes, Joe Paterno, as the face and head of Penn State football should have done more when he heard what was going on.  And the actions that Sandusky was allowed to commit are atrocious, and to be able to continue those actions without fear of reprisal is of course intolerable.  But at what point are we holding Paterno to a standard that most people wouldn’t be able to meet?  I’m not absolving anyone of guilt; I’m not saying things occurred that shouldn’t have.  But what purpose does it serve to bring Joe Paterno down in this disgusting scandal when his crime is no worse than any other Americans?

I, perhaps foolishly, made a comment in the forums about this, saying, most people avoid confrontation.  Does that make it right?  No, I get that.  And I work for a public safety agency (I should just come out and say it, I work for a Police Department), and in more cases than not, things like this go unnoticed or not acted upon out of fear.  Did Joe hesitate where he should have acted?  Of course, anyone can say that in hindsight.  The real issues here are not the over-hyped, poorly written articles all over ESPN.com, but the fact that we’re being forced to focus our anger on Joe Paterno for doing what most people would have done in his situation.

The most Joe Paterno is guilty of is not doing the right thing, of being a coward.  Does that make it a fireable offence?  Does that mean his should be the head on the platter?  I’d argue no.

The mistake Joe made was egregious; it put the lives of more kids in Sandusky’s path that should have been protected.  But what about all of Paterno’s superiors?  He took the information given to him by his grad student and told his bosses.  Could he have done more?  Yes, but as anyone who has worked in any kind of job, you report issues to your bosses and expect them to act.

I can go in circles talking about how Paterno didn’t do the right thing, but legally, he did what he had to. The argument is being made that he should have contacted the police.  In a similar situation, is that what you would have done?  I get run-downs every day of things of this nature, happening every day and they all read basically the same – the victims come forward.  I have read maybe a few that have said, it was reported by a third party.  It is awful, I agree, but that is the state of it.  Again, this isn’t an excuse, but in most circumstances, it isn’t a hero that comes in and is an avenging angel, something Paterno could have been, but it is usually the victim realising what shouldn’t be occurring and standing up for themselves.

I only ask this – that we not jump to conclusions.  Joe Paterno is paying a heavy price for making a bad decision.  The media is enjoying every second of it, but me, I’m going to lament the tragedy that befall needy children in the Penn State community  for years, and the unceremonious way a man who made that university what it is today is being treated.  The only winners in this travesty are ESPN and the rest of the media circus.  Those kids won’t get justice, Sandusky won’t get justice and Paterno isn’t getting justice.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Twilight - The Craze, The Hype and The Madness

With the upcoming release of Breaking Dawn, the first of two parts of the Twilight Saga’s finale, coming out next week (and yes, I do already have my tickets), I thought now would be a good time to discuss it’s strengths and many weaknesses.  If you’re unaware, Twilight is the story of a girl who falls in love with a guy, no really, that’s pretty much it.  The craze, for me, was the nature in which you could devour the series.  Stephanie Meyer isn’t a great author and won’t be winning any literary awards, but riding on the coattails of the ever-present vampire craze and the need for kids to read (thank you, JK Rowling), Meyer was able to capitalise and write something that was mildly digestible, but only once.

Bella Swann, what can you really say about her?  She is a bumbling idiot, really, and yet, I still find myself watching Twilight, New Moon or Eclipse when they’re on Showtime.  Bella is highly unsympathetic.  When compared to Harry Potter we see a boy who is forced into a difficult situation, not of his choosing, and he ultimately does the right thing.  With Bella Swann, we have a girl who likes some guy and changes herself for him.  Not the stuff of legend, for sure.  Bella Swann has some redeeming qualities, her mother is a complete free spirit, which, is nice, sure, but I imagine Bella being the adult in that family.  Plus, the mother picks up and goes off with her minor league ball player boyfriend and drops the kid of with the dad, who she left out of nowhere.  The story just reeks of selfishness.  This is one of many underlying issues I have with this series.

I posted a review on Amazon for Twilight and Philosophy: Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality, one of many great pop culture and philosophy books.  While my review was not well received, I believe they call the Twi-hards, do not take kindly to any dissention among the ranks.  If you’re an Edward fan, you’re good, if you’re a Jacob fan, you’re not good.  So I read one of the essays and commented on it in my review.  I won’t go into great detail, and I owe you all a review and commentary from the Ultimate Lost version from this series, but these are great, great reads. 

The essay in question dealt with what Twilight would be like in real life.  Take a moment with me here, in real life, if some girl had some guy obsessing over her, like Edward does to Bella, would it be viewed as okay.  Let’s think about it: he doesn’t like who she talks to, so he keeps her away from Jacob, he takes her engine apart at one point.  He has all the control in the relationship, telling her that she can’t be with him, but then doesn’t leave her alone.  When he does leave her, she goes into some sort of meltdown and isolates her from everyone.

Does this sound familiar?  Not familiar like you’ve been through it, I hope, but it is an abusive relationship.  There is no better way to describe it.  He has stalker tendencies and is controlling.  To be fair, and I love to see Edward and Bella together, she should have chosen Jacob. He doesn’t ask her to change, doesn’t need her to change and likes her just the way she is.  For Bella to be with Edward, she has to forsake everything about her life to be with him.  To give all that up for one person isn’t saving the world, it’s selfish.

Additionally, think of how she treats her friends.  I grant you, none are compelling, but she uses them and tosses them away when convenient. Look at Jacob as a perfect example.  When she needed him, in New Moon, she finds great comfort in their friendship, but as soon as she hears of Edward needing her, after he cast her aside like trash, she drops everything. While romantic, the scene at the end of New Moon, with Bella telling Jacob it will always be Edward, no matter what. But what is she basing that off of?  I could digress into a diatribe about ‘love at first sight,’ but this isn’t a Romeo and Juliet scenario, by any stretch of the imagination.  Every friend Bella values don’t have a pulse.  Is it my imagination, or is this story really about suicide?

This is one of the main issues I have with this series.  Bella is headstrong, and to call her a shell of a person would be unfair, but really, she isn’t a real character.  As fans, we follow her story, go through things as she does, but does it ever resonate?  Maybe a little, in a childish sort of way, but ultimately, the end of the story saps any real value it may have had.  Bella Swann is a horrible role model for any young girl reading the series.  There is no Edward, no Jacob to fight over girls, there are no super powerful beings that you can aspire to be just by the smell of your blood, which is in and of itself completely insane.  The story is just terrible.  And yet…yet we all went to great lengths to read it, to watch the movies, to cyber-stalk the stars, I mean what.

The movies have redeemed the poorly written stories, that’s an absolute truth.  The first movie was poor, mediocre at best, really, but when the studio realised the cash cow they had, they put some money into it, no offence to the Twilight production team.  New Moon brings the story a sense of realism and also the production values go through the roof.  Eclipse builds on it and brings some very memorable scenes.  I’ll save that for another rambling blog.  The moral of this blog is Twilight = not very good books, but addictive.  Bella is not a role model, nor is Edward, I find Jacob to be neutral, once he evolves into his own by the end of the final book.  I have tickets to see the movie Thursday night, before midnight, look for a movie review then.  Stay tuned for more blogs about Twilight and how terrible it is.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bones Season 7 Episode 1

Normally I wouldn’t allude to committing to writing a weekly blog about a TV show, but what I’m hoping to do is reflect on some of my favourite eps of random shows, so the titles won’t always be in order or anything.  Last night was the season premiere of Bones, always delayed thanks to the World Series.  If you’ve never watched the show and have any inclination, you should stop reading, go back to your knitting and catch me tomorrow in what I hope will be a thoughtful post about the 5th of November.  SPOLIERS AHOY!

In this 7th season of Bones, we find our love-struck main protagonists, Dr. Brennan and Special Agent Booth, of the FBI, cohabitating in either of their places, the two having conceived before the end of the previous season.  Only later in the episode to you realise whether the rest of the characters are aware of this or not, as the time it was revealed, it was not public knowledge.

Bones is a murder mystery show.  It doesn’t deviate much from this premise from year-to-year.  I myself didn’t get completely enamoured with the show until I started watching it for the male lead, David Boreanz, formerly of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.  I didn’t think much of the show at first, the idea is being duplicated by shows like Cold Case, CSI: Everywhere and Law & Order: Everything.  What makes Bones so memorable, I learned, are the characters.  I am sure that is a tired statement, but in all honesty, that is what really did it for me.

Dr. Brennan is very compartmentalised, she doesn’t allow her varying feelings to get in the way of her work.  Booth isn’t just a tough guy, he has a soft side that he is always trying to convince Brennan with.  The supporting characters are played by relatively unknown top-notch actors who embrace their roles.  At first the romance between Hodgins and Angela seems destined to fail, but as the season closed last year, the two welcomed their first child.  There is a rotating slot for different interns, each more eccentric or unusual as the last.

I wanted to provide some slight background before forging forward.  The success for Bones also lies in one key element, the unrequited love between the two leads.  So as the season started this year, I was concerned that it would go the way of X-Files and roll downhill from here, or as is sometimes stated, ‘jumped the shark.’  The show has always stayed true to its characters, showing them being true to form regardless of the varying situations.  There is a great episode in Season 3 where Brennan and Booth are confronted with a court trial of Brennan’s father, and while you would think Booth would lie or refuse to testify, he gets on the stand and states she couldn’t commit murder but implicates her father, knowing the consequence of doing it.

In this season’s opener, we see the two characters together for much of the episode, and what follows is a curious dance, for a lack of a better word.  What I didn’t expect was to see the characters develop themselves into a cohesive unit.  When X-files did this, Scully and Mulder remained unchanged, holding to their true forms, but would it be unreasonable to assume that a romantic relationship would change that?  Bones embraced this change, seemingly, having the two argue and fight over things that normal couples would fight over, staying true to form, but adjusting to the differing circumstances. 

It is a strange thing to see the characters act like they are indeed in a relationship, when they’ve denied themselves the luxury for so long.  While I can’t say it was an unmitigated success, I can have some slight hope that this won’t be the fat lady singing.  The rest of the characters adjusted to the relationship, but there is a clear strain in all directions.  I wonder if the shorter season will affect the overall show.  I also hope that a dorsal fin isn’t on the horizon.