Stalked By A Bollywood Star

Normally, when you think about celebrity stalking, it’s the crazy fan stalking the celebrity.  In my case, celebrity stalking has turned the tables on me.  I’m the one being stalked.  By a Bollywood star, no less.

And it’s all happening via Netflix.

I had watched a serious  period piece set in India called Water–not like anything you’d normally think of in association with the term “Bollywood” (no songs, no dances, no wackiness).  But it prompted Netflix to suggest a whole slough of Bollywood titles.  At that point, the only name I knew in Bollywood was Aishwarya Rai (from Bride and Prejudice, which I consider “Intro to Bollywood for Stupid Westerners”, and one historic-epic  called Jodhaa Akbar from the local library).  I thought I would start exploring Bollywood in earnest by looking for something else with her in it, just to start out. But the list Netflix had me looking through didn’t seem to have any of her movies.  I was forced to forgo stepping stones of the familiar, and strike out on my own–daunting for a girl who is no fan of change and gets edgy stepping out of her comfort zone….

Deep breath.  Big girl pants?  Check!

I skimmed through the suggestions and narrowed it down a comedy about a female cricket player who dresses as a man to make the team, and a kids movie with a magical nanny.  I chose the kid-type film, Thoda Pyaar, Thoda Magic.  It was actually good if you’re a kid movie fan (which I am).  The kids were cute. The songs were catchy and I thought the two adult leads were funny–very good with the kind of comedic acting I enjoy.

Since I’d been so successful with that first choice even though I didn’t know any names, I decided to continue being brave and pick at random again.  I chose something that looked like a standard romantic comedy, Hum Tum.  I was relieved when my second choice had both of the same lead actress and actor as the first film (did I mention I like my comfort zone?).  Again, I really enjoyed it.  As with the first, the musical numbers were catchy, and they didn’t completely throw me–something I’d been expecting from Bollywood based on everything I’d heard.  In fact, one of the songs wound up so firmly embedded in my brain I wound up going to Amazon to download it.

So my Bollywood appreciation grew and I thought my random-choice methods were doing me a service.

My next choice was supposed to be an epic romance, Veer-Zaara.  The little image on the screen did not appear to be either of the two leads with whom I was familiar, so I thought I was really breaking out!  Being brave!  Trying something new!  Until the female lead from the previous two movies showed up again.  She was the lead on the B-plot frame story, which it turned out, was really my favorite part of the film (it was about a young attorney, how could I not like that?).
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TVPB Lexicon: The Canada Problem

Clearly, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know we at MTV, MPB have no problem with our neighbors to the North.  In this case the “problem” belongs to Canada (and others, but we saw it with Canada first, so they got the name).  This particular “problem” continues to amuse us.  It has to do with their film and tv industry and it’s made all the more obvious by the amount of shows here in the US that are made in Canada:

You keep seeing the same people.

Seriously, if you’ve seen The X-Files?  You’ve seen the bulk of the available acting force in Canada.  If you’ve  seen X-Files and also Stargate, BSG and Anne of Green Gables?  I think you’ve got at least 99.9% of them.  If you’re watching Psych these days, you get to reap the benefits of going, “Dude that was so and so on Stargate AND he was in the X-Files.”  Then you get one-upped by someone who points out the person was in a brief scene in Anne of Avonlea.

It’s become a game with us.  In fact, it probably ought to be a drinking game.  1 drink if you saw them in Stargate SG1.  Two if they were in X-Files.  Three if they were in the X-Files twice (it happened!)….

It’s not strictly something that happens in Canada.  It appears the Canada problem also exists in Mexico.  I watched one telenovela and it’s allowed me to bounce up and down in my seat and squeal upon recognizing multiple actors in every single Mexican movie and TV show I’ve watched since.  Mexico?  Has a Canada problem.

I’m sure by now you’re trying to think of other countries with a Canada problem.  Britain seems to come to mind for people who are first experimenting with the term “Canada Problem” but this really isn’t correct.  Britain does have some significant faces you see repeatedly, but proportionally speaking, it’s not really that great.  You have to watch a lot of different British TV, movies and miniseries before you can really say you’ve seen the bulk of their actors, and they seem to churn out new ones (really good new ones) with amazing regularity.

I’ve got an eye open for others myself.  Colombia may be a candidate.  I’ve only sampled part of two telenovelas and one movie.  The telenovelas seem to have some overlap, but my sample size is too small to make a judgement at this point (it’s certainly not overwhelmingly clear as it was with Mexico).  India’s Bollywood scene begs for examination as well, but for reasons that will be illuminated in another post, my statistical sampling of India’s offerings has been thrown off.

If you’ve got other potentials, feel free to share in the comments.  We’re always eager to know where this problem has spread (we’re also eager to hear about other foreign film and tv)….

TVPB Lexicon: The Give-a-damn-o-meter

As Kristy established, in her field of study, it’s important to define terms.  The same goes for my field of law–we love to define, particularly within the context of a single document.  And, I’ll admit, I take sick pleasure in responding to the queries of co-workers with, “Well, that all depends on how you’re defining…..”

So, in the context of MTVMPB, let’s go over the term “give-a-damn-o-meter.”  You may pronouncie this either with the “o” shortened as in “Thermometer” or as a long “o” as in “o’clock.”  Whatever floats your boat and suits your purpose at the time.

As to what it is, the make up of the word gives you clues, but it also over-simplifies this complex concept.  At the heart of it is the fact that each one of has a finite amount of caring we can expend on things in a prescribed period of time.  Once depleted, we are unable to care or “give a damn” until the well is replenished.  When when depleted, clearly a physical measurement would be zero.  The Give-a-damn-o-meter reflects this in the same way your gas gage reflects the amount of fuel in your car.  When it’s pegged on “E” you’re in deep kimche.

But there’s more than this.  The amount of “give a damn” each of us is allotted is actually subdivided according to what it is being applied to.  For example, I have almost infinite amounts of give-a-damn for, say, Babylon 5.  This being the case, it’s rare to employ the Give-A-Damn-O–Meter for things we enjoy–when there’s so much to go around, it’s silly to bother keeping track.  However, the amount of give-a-damn I have for dealing with arrogant, know-it-all bastards who talk down to me and wear smug expressions?  Well, there are radio controlled cars with bigger tanks, I’ll say that much.  With so little distance between F and E on the Give-A-Damn-O-Meter in that case, it’s perfectly acceptable to note that “my give-a-damn-o-meter is almost pegged.”  To add complexity, when the Give-A-Damn-O-Meter is running low in relation to one thing, it can actually start to impact the amount of give a damn for other things.  That arrogant bastard?  Once an encounter with him sends my Give-A-Damn-O-Meter into decimal places, the amount of give a damn I have for other things, like dealing with paperwork or annoying grocery shoppers, is likewise decreased.  The full connection between various discrete Give-A-Damn-O-Meters had yet to be fully detailed, but the general observation of universal decrease is undeniable.

We at MTVMPB hope that we have made you more aware of your own Give-A-Damn-O-Meters and that you will utilized this important measure to communicate your amount of Give-A-Damn to others in your life….who may or may not give-a-damn themselves.

Bring me the Funny!

Today we explore an important, commonly used phrase in the My TV, My Peanut Butter lexicon:

“To bring the funny” (verb phrase)

Definition:  To amuse us.  To include humor.  To entertain.

Etymology:  While I cannot say with any degree of certainty that this was the origin of the phrase in general, the phrase was first introduced to Kristy and Cammy through The West Wing episode “Seventeen People.”  Incidentally, this was the episode I used to convince Cammy that she did, in fact, love The West Wing and that she wanted to continue watching it obsessively with me (Ainsley Hayes was my secret weapon).  In this episode the phrase is used as a critique of a speech written for the White House Correspondents’ dinner which was apparently less than entertaining.  The writers “forgot to bring the funny” and one of the plots of the episode is a large portion of the cast attempting to “find the funny” in order to make the speech successful.

Cammy and I frequently use this as a critique of television episodes (or fanfics.  Don’t judge) that fail to amuse us the way we want to.  Such episodes “forget to bring the funny” or “don’t bring the funny.”  When West Wing kinda sucked for a couple seasons, it was largely because it forgot to bring the funny.  Incidentally, the phrase “the funny” can occasionally be used as a stand alone phrase to mean “that which makes something amusing.”  My good buddy Russell once insisted that a missing nuclear submarine qualified as “the funny” but I’m still less than convinced.

A particular character may be praised for “bringing the funny.”  Cammy likes her almost namesake on Bones because “she brings the funny.”

It is important to understand that neither Cammy nor I tend to watch comedies.  I would never say “How I Met Your Mother brings the funny.”  It would not be incorrect so much as unidiomatic.  “Bringing the funny” is something that happens mostly in otherwise serious situations; it is a technique for creating levity which helps us process and cope with said situations.  The aforementioned West Wing episode is a great example.  The major plotline of the episode is heavy and ominous, but it is balanced by “the funny” of the speech writing and Ainsley/Sam, Josh/Donna banter.  (I’m being deliberately vague since one of our five readers has just finished West Wing Season 1 and I don’t want to spoil the brilliance of this episode).

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that if you want My TV, My Peanut Butter to enjoy something, it definitely helps to bring the funny.  And if we are able to bring the funny, even a little bit, here on our little blog, well that makes us extremely happy.