Weekly Downton Redux

Well if Cammy gets to post about Downton Abbey when it’s her Sunday to post, I feel it’s only fair I can do the same. After all, I recommended the series to her. And my mind can be just as one tracked as hers.

As a friend of mine just posted on Facebook, this show will give me high blood pressure before all is said and done. Ay ay ay.

Isobel was annoying the crap out of me last week, but I can’t help but feel a little bad for her at the start of this one now that she has suddenly become redundant. Still, running off to France when there’s, you know, a war there, seems a bit extreme. And more than a bit passive aggressive. Who knew she was Southern?

I can’t quite make up my mind about Edith these days. She’s gone from object of pity to bitch to homewrecker to … almost too damn good to be likeable. Either she’s fickle or I am. But as Lady Violet would say, I’m a woman, so I’m allowed.

Lord Grantham seems to be playing the role I expected Bates to play this season—all frustrated and feeling useless.  I just want to hug him.

Mary… well she’s just so darn British and high class. I both love her for the stupid things she does and want to throttle her for them. But she’s growing, I guess.

Speaking of growing up… Sibyl. Let’s be honest about something. Sixteen year old me desperately wants to be Lady Sibyl. She lives in a big house, has fabulous clothes, gets to act morally superior and has an Irish revolutionary in love with her. She even has the cool mythological name. Come on! What more could you want? So… yes, I get why other people find her annoying. Sixteen year old me was rather annoying too. And sixteen year old me requires that I love her.

On the topic of Branson, I’m increasingly less certain of his death. William’s too. Not that I’m convinced either will survive at this point, but I’m mentally readjusting the odds.

Bates and Anna fill me with simultaneous squees and dread. Vera’s clearly not done yet.

I’m sure a lot of people are going to hate the little lapse into musical, but it filled me with joy like few moments on television have.  Can this show get any more delicious?

Deepest Condolences, Soap Fans

With absolutely no joking or sarcasm, I offer my deepest condolences to my co-blogger and all the other One Life to Live fans.

I can’t even come close to claiming I’m a soap fan in the traditional sense.  Outside of vague memories of my Mom watching All My Children, and Kristy keeping me entertained with well reasoned and supported arguments as to why one Joey Buchanan was the best, and retelling highlights of plots, I am all but soap ignorant.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t see where ABC’s misguided assumptions about achieving a bottom line have created a cultural travesty.  To replace something that’s endured for over 40 years with, well, reality tv, is abominable.

Oh, I get the business reasons.  It’s cheaper, yadda yadda yadda.  Believe me, I know.  I also know that business jack-asses rarely know as much as they think they know and statistics are easily manipulated.  Dollars and cents wise it may be cheaper to go to a reality show with lower production costs, even if the audience shrinks–at least in the short run.  Long run?  I’ve got my doubts.  Soaps are another victim in the ranks of creative programming (and by creative, I mean requiring writing and acting creativity, not just editing).

Even if I didn’t doubt the accuracy of the business decision, I’d still hate the over all cultural impact.  For one thing, it’s hard not to see the downfall of One Life to Live and All My Children has a kind of insult to women.  We’re the overwhelming portion of the viewership for soaps and have been from the start. And before that?  We were a listener-ship when these types of works were on the radio. For many of the soap fans I know, they started watching because older female relatives watched.  Kristy acknowledges her memories of her Mom watching soaps.  My Aunt (a PhD scientist) watched occasionally because my Grandma watches.  Another friend of mine watched because it was part of her summer stays with her Grandma who has passed on.  A girl in law school talked about watching with her Mom and Aunt to learn English when they came to the U.S.  Take away a multi-generational point of connection for so many women, and it’s hard not to have your feminist hackles rise a bit.

Additionally, while I never really dove into the genre, I’ve always been able to respect the unique way a soap is driven.  From a writing perspective, I’m in bloody awe. When you think that one of these series entails generating written scripts for Every. Single. Weekday. For. Decades.  Even if you have multiple writers, you have got to tip your hat to that–after all, sitcoms have whole teams of writers, too and they’re sure as shit not that prolific.  These writer are juggling an ensemble cast and at this point, over 30 years of back-story.  Creatively, that’s just fuckin’ impressive.  And for the actors?  Amazing.  I’m not going to claim that all soap actors are great (ZOMG, I have seen some seriously painful scenes in my channel surfing times), but when you pause to consider that these people are memorizing and performing a different script every week day of every week, year in and year out?  I can’t memorize a 6 item grocery list.  It took honest and painful effort to get myself off-book when I was playing a teensy little roll in Julius Caesar (Kristy’s fault) with maybe 5 lines, let alone entire scenes.  These people are acting machines!  In high school I got sent to a summer nerd camp for humanities and  arts.  One of the girls attending for drama was telling me how she really wanted to go into soaps.  She liked the idea of getting to play one role, but having new material every day and not spending a lot of time on that material.  She memorized quickly and liked to play the scene and move on to something else, so the world of soaps seemed to fit like nothing else.  Until then, I’d not really thought of the unique work this kind of programming offered for actors.  Now what will fill that creative-style void?

And the real shit of it is that through Kristy’s tweets and re-tweets about the end of the series, I was more intrigued than I’ve ever been before (even more than when Kristy was telling me about how someone had a sassy black woman in their head–honestly, how can you not have your interest piqued by that?).  A little activity like that on the part of the damn network would probably have resulted in drawing in more viewers like me and–with only minimal cost to capitalize on the power of social media–tipped that scale to a point where reality TV would be way less of a bargain that it is alleged to be.

But they didn’t, and now it’s just a sad day for a large fandom.  I’m truly sorry.

MTVMPB Forays into Bookkeeping

Kristy: We realize that the second season (or should I say “series”–is that “correct” or just pretentious?) of Downton Abbey has already aired in the UK and that many of our readers have likely watched it online through somewhat illegal means, but we had talked about this feature a while back and decided we wanted to go with it. The idea is to place odds on the characters that we love (or love to hate) surviving this year on our delicious British confection.

I have done my best to avoid spoilers for the second season–I did happen upon a description of the Christmas special which makes it clear that at least two characters survive until then, but they weren’t characters I ever considered likely to perish anyway.  I also had a dream where I was talking to friend of the blog Christina and her lovely wife. In the dream they and I lamented the fact that the show had killed Henry.  Now I have no clue who Henry is, but on at least one occasion in my life I have managed to dream eerily accurate spoilers for a show, so I thought I’d go ahead and mention it in case Henry actually exists.

Cammy: For the record, in the event that Downton Abbey does manage to introduce a character named Henry this season, and if he also dies this season, I will see to it that Kristy gets an awesome prize for her powers of prognostication.

Moving on…

Robert

Kristy:  Well… anytime a story hinges on who will inherit an estate, you have to suspect that the current owner may pass away before all is said and done.  But aside from that I see no major black clouds hanging over his head, narratively speaking.  If he does die I would expect it to be very close to the end of the season.  Death odds: 1:4

Cammy: I second this.  I think it’s more than likely that Lord Grantham will stick around safely for the entire season–and probably into the next.

Lady Violet

Kristy:  Well… she’s old.  that alone raises her odds.  But she’s a tough old bird. Death odds: 1:10

Cammy: I’d put that at even better odds for the gal: 1:200.  This gal will outlive them all–and be highly displeased when she’s been left alone.

Bates

Kristy: I’m fairly certain he will live, if for no other reason than so that he can feel guilty over his inability to go to war.  Death odds: 1:100

Cammy: Second this call.  Not only will he have guilt over his inability to go to war, he’s got all that other seemingly needless guilt he’s been toting around.  That said, if he can find a way to get himself to the front lines, he will get his ass killed trying to spare someone else in some kind of karmic payment plan, however due to the low odds of his finding a way to the front lines, I think he’s safe at that 1:100.

O’Brien

Kristy: If she dies the only way I see it happening is at her own hands. Woman is (for good reason) carrying some serious guilt. Not sure I see that as very likely, but wouldn’t rule it out.  Death odds: 1:10

Cammy: Disagree in part here.  While I agree that the only way it would happen is at her own hands, I really don’t think the odds of her having the guts to do it are 1:10.  I’m putting her at 1:50.

Thomas

Cammy:  While it would make me no end of happy to have Thomas shuffle loose the mortal coil, his close kinship to cockroaches makes it sadly unlikely that he will bite it.  No, he’ll be lingering around to make others miserable for a while yet.  Right up to the point where it’s just him and Lady Violet.   At which point, she will destroy him with her masterful Dowager Countess Superpowers of nagging and insults. 1:1000

Kristy: As Cammy said, he’s a cockroach.  I’m nearly certain he’ll pull through. Death odds: 1:1000

William

Cammy:  This poor boy has “Ensign Ricky” written all over him.  Thomas had it right when he called this poor kid “cannon fodder.”  Odds 1:2

Kristy:  Again, to cite Cammy, the boy might as well be wearing red shirt.  It’s gonna break my heart, but things don’t look good for him. Death odds: 1:2

Branson

Kristy: Let’s be clear: if this were an American television show, I’d picture a happy ending for him and Sibyl. One where they overcome the strong objections of her family (and possibly his) and a multitude of social morays. But this show is British, and they realize that class and ethnic differences are not always so easily overcome. I hear “Irish nationalist” and “WWI” and I think “Easter Monday Rebellion.”  Which, more or less, makes him a goner.  Though I’m not ruling out a storyline where he deserts, refusing to serve in the British army, and Sibyl winds up hiding him somewhere.  Death odds: 1:3

Cammy: I’ll second this one, although I think we can blame as much of his potential demise on Sybil as on his Irish Radical origins.  Since Sybil is left out of the dirty war going on between her older sisters, she doesn’t have enough pure “suck” in her life.  It’s time for a bit of misery to greet the youngest daughter.

Sibyl

Kristy: She’s the only one of the Crawley girls I’m really worried about.  It’s way to easy to see her doing something brave but stupid and winding up dead.  Death odds: 1:6

Cammy:  Not sure I’d put it at quite 1:6, maybe 1:10, but I certainly agree with Kristy that she’s the Crawley girl to worry about, particularly if she has to deal with Branson kicking the bucket.

 

Anna

Cammy:  I’m kinda worried about this girl.  For one thing, I’m not entirely sure she’s not going to get thrown under the bus when someone finally tries to claim that Mr. Pamook’s death was murder.  That said, I somehow doubt this will wind up happening and if it does, I don’t know if they could manage and entire investigation, arrest, conviction, sentencing and execution in this one season, so she’s probably still pretty safe. 1:15

Old Mr. Mosely

Cammy:  Okay, this is another one that is solely me.  And it will never be proven, but I’m 100 percent sure that Old Mr. Mosely will die. He has nothing left to live for after winning that flower show.  It’s all done.  Of course, since we haven’t seen him since the flower show and I’m just as sure we’ll never see him on-screen again, there’s no way to prove that he’s not 6 feet under.  How sure am I?  Sure enough that if he DOES show up onscreen again, I will dye my hair.

Kristy: Everyone else (with the exception of some minor characters here and there) I feel fairly confident will pull through.  I was worried about Gwen, but I’m not sure she even appears in this season. If Joss Whedon were writing this, she’d be killed in a bombing a week after starting her dream job. But thankfully he isn’t. And this is a period drama, not Lost so they can’t kill everyone.

I Have More Faith in Peanut Butter than Television These Days

A couple years back I wrote something for a different blogging site stating that for the first time in a long time I had hope for television.  It just so happened that year there were a lot of creative shows with great concepts or writing that had me excited to watch them on a weekly basis.  I thought great storytelling was gaining ground back from reality television and it was such a relief.

Well, gentle and not-so-gentle readers I have to admit something: I was wrong. That hope I had back then?  Fairly diminished.  I’m not saying hope is gone; I believe somehow or another, someday we have to hit rock bottom and at that point entertainment, in whatever form it takes, will start elevating again. But at this moment… it’s not a pretty picture.

Of the shows I blogged about back then, the only one that’s still on the air is How I Met Your Mother.  I’m not going to climb on the bandwagon with a lot of people on the internet and say that the show has jumped the shark.  I think it’s still good.  I look forward to watching it every week.  Neil Patrick Harris  is still one of the most brilliant comedic actors ever and the show continues to bring the funny while occasionally kicking me in the shins with a sad moment.  Here’s the problem: One of the things I like most about the show, the storytelling frame, has become a trap. I think the writers are afraid that the day Ted meets the mother of his children the show is over.  My advice to them?  It doesn’t have to be.  Come on, you really don’t think Ted has more stories to tell?  How he convinced her to go out with him.  How she convinced him to marry her.  How they decided to become parents.  I think it’s time we start telling at least one of these.

Now I must admit, for someone who says she’s losing hope in the genre, I watch a lot of television.  There are other shows I like.  There just aren’t a lot I love.  The rundown:

One Life to Live.  Okay, actually, OLTL is great.  Best it’s been in years.  I’m excited to watch it every day.  Why it’s making me lose hope?  Oh yeah, because it’s going off the air in a month.  To be replaced by yet another show telling women that if we lose weight and wear different clothes everything that’s wrong with our lives will disappear.  (And because Brian Frons has still not been fired.  Oh yes, I’m still bitter.)

General Hospital. At the moment this show is not just bad, it’s offensively bad, but it’s still in my DVR because I feel like I need to support the few remaining daytime dramas while I can.  (I’m not in the least concerned it will be around next year to suck)

Castle.  I like Castle.  But the only thing that separates it from hundreds of other procedurals is Nathan Fillion.  And as Richard Castle has become slightly more tortured in the past season, he’s lost a little of his energy.  I’m not saying the character shouldn’t evolve, I’m just saying… as a whole, the show is not nearly good enough to make me break my ABC boycott starting in January.

Ringer.  I really want to like this show.  It has actors I like and my old roommate’s names, but… it’s about one hectic week away from being taken off my DVR.  There’s a difference between building suspense and just not telling the story and with regards to the real Siobhan, I don’t think this show knows that.  Also… I like Sarah Michelle Gellar just fine, but she’s not doing enough to delineate her portrayals of the two sisters.

Glee.  Again it’s a like, but not as much as I want to kind of thing.  The weird thing is, it’s the closest depiction of high school as I actually experienced it that I’ve ever seen.  Yes, including the singing.  This show is good at bringing the funny, I’m just not invested emotionally in many of the characters.  I will be interested to see what happens when a lot of the cast “graduates” at the end of this year.  Can the pull off a Degrassi style slow transition?  I’m curious enough to stay tuned, but if I miss an episode, I don’t freak out.

Psych.  Okay, weirdly, if anything is giving me hope on television it’s this show.  Not that it’s that amazingly well done, but they’ve managed to take the procedural format (which as a general rule I dislike) and make me enjoy it.  They also continue to bring the funny.  But most impressively, they’ve let the characters and their relationships evolve (and let Shawn and Juliet get together) and it hasn’t ruined anything.  My only concern is the recent obsession with big name guest stars.  Some are great, but I feel like it indicates they don’t think the regular characters are enough to sell it, and they’re wrong.

Bones.  I dunno.  I like that Booth and Brennan are together and still have drama.  I like that Hodgins and Angela are together.  I just… feel like the show is becoming a little too formulaic in its episode style.  Way too many of them are defaulting to the Law and Order standby of “people doing random thing find gross body, they freak out, cut to our investigators.”  They’ve always used this, but it just feels like they’re using it more and more.  I still like it, but I’m not as excited about it as I once was.

Grimm.  My mother’s friends convinced me to give it a little longer trial.  I want to support fairy tale inspired shows it’s just… there’s nothing new about this show.  I stand by my initial assessment that it’s Angel with less funny and a less charismatic cast.  Honestly, there’s only one character who interests me at all and he’s our domesticated Big Bad Wolf.  Even the villains aren’t fun to hate.  They’re just… meh.  And at the end of the day, it’s just a procedural with a twist.  Which isn’t even a well executed twist.  Also… it’s a little rapey.

Fringe. I was really excited for this season to start.  And I’m excited for it to come back from hiatus.  I like a lot of things about this show—genuinely creative plots, characters I care about, good acting and dialogue, plus it brings the right amount of funny.  But I’m starting to have concerns that recent plot twists are kind of just JJ Abrams being weird because he can be, not because it pertains to the overall integrity of the story.

Once Upon a Time.  Okay, I figured out why I like this show.  Because I like when shows do alternate reality episodes, and essentially, this show is a giant alternate reality episode.  So it’s fun.  But again, I’m not invested.  I don’t care if Snow White gets her prince back.  I don’t care if we “bring back the happy endings.”  I enjoy watching it, but again, it’s not going to be worth violating my ABC boycott come January.

So yeah… it’s not that television is all bad.  It’s just… I’m not seeing things going in positively creative directions.  There are a lot of things I like—there just isn’t a lot I love.  And given I’m a broke graduate student it’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder whether that cable bill is actually worth it… Am I missing something, readers?  Is there great television out there somewhere I’m missing?

Now Viewing…

I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned before that when I’m really depressed my go-to cheer-up movies are Ten Things I Hate About You and Knight’s Tale.  Well I discovered this week that when I’m in a crunchy, mad at the world mood, what I need to watch is Veronica Mars Season 1.

It’s possible that other seasons of Veronica Mars work as well; I haven’t checked.  And I guess it’s not that surprising. Who doesn’t watch this show and want to be the bad ass that Veronica is.  Obviously, I don’t want her life, what with the deadbeat mom and the dead friend and all that.  But man, I would love to be able to pull some kind of video swap that incriminates the cop that gave me a parking ticket this week and somehow or another gets me allies in a motorcycle gang.  Instead, I’m just going to pay the ticket and deal with it. (Since as far as I know said cop wasn’t a d-bag like Sheriff Lamb it wouldn’t have been as satisfying anyway.)

I also learned a valuable lesson: Don’t ever say “I’m going to watch one episode of Veronica Mars season one.  Because it won’t happen.  And next thing you know you’ll be up past 2am watching more  episodes until you’ve finished the whole dame season.

Tune This Time Vampire

As mentioned on several occasions previously, I ditched my satellite TV and went back to plain old over-the-air broadcasts.

For the most part, this is great, particularly on the money-saving front.  Since I have a pretty wide variety of channels in this area, there’s almost nothing I would have watched that I don’t get now.

But there’s a slightly time-consuming price involved here.  The really-old-skool rabbit ears on the TV that’s upstairs doesn’t pick up everything.  It requires adjustment.

Lots of adjustment.  And I’m still trying to figure out the optimal position to get CBS to tune in.  The efforts involved in achieving have been embarrassingly elaborate and time consuming.  It’s one of those times I’m glad I live alone because no one can mock me for my efforts.  First you try moving the antennae.  Then I propped it higher on a shelf.  Then came the books.

I realized I was going too far when I found myself in the basement looking for my brother’s old Tinker-Toys with grand plans of building an rotating platform (and for those concerned about my previous post, I had a cup of tea in one hand during the search).  And, yes, I had given thought to employing a small electric motor to handle the actual rotation.

It’s not like I can’t get CBS at all.  I only have to go downstairs.  But it’s turned into a kind of crusade now.  A puzzle that begs to be solved.  In the midst of my complaints about the lack of time for so many other things, I just can’t seem to let this one go.

Farewell (for now) Pine Valley

Yesterday was the last new episode broadcast on television of All My Children.  Though I have resisted the urge to turn this blog in o one all about ABC and its soap cancellations I thought the occasion deserved marking.

Before we get to the heart of the matter, to update you all on where things stand: Prospect Park has purchased the rights to All My Children and One Life to Live.  As of now the plan is for both shows to return in January as internet broadcasts.  Details are extremely sparse at the moment, but Prospect Park has reiterated several times their desire to maintain the high quality of the shows.  Rumor has it they are trying to resell to other networks such as Bravo.  They are currently in negotiations with actors.  Frank Valentini, OLTL’s Executive Producer who is famed for budget miracles has signed on with a title that is something like Head of Serialized Dramas.  Brian Frons, head of ABC daytime, continues to be an idiotic, misogynistic jackass.  My hate for him has grown to such levels that I will no longer allow Cammy to accept the blame for the Spanish Inquisition because it is clearly Mr. Frons’s fault.  Also the hot air coming out of his mouth and ass are what is melting the polar ice caps.  And the last name he was born with was Rochester.

But this post is not about how Brian Frons blows goats.

It’s about the fact that All My Children holds a very special place in my heart, and I am sad to see it go.

AMC reminds me of watching with my mom when I was home sick from school.

It reminds me of playing on the floor while my Mom folded laundry or sewed or did something else while watching.

I’m fairly certain, looking back, that the first time I was ever really a “shipper” for a couple it was Hayley and Charlie.

And the fact that, mock it if you must, the show has made major contributions to the history of American television.

AMC began by making the Vietnam War a central issue, when virtually no one dared even acknowledge it on television.  It was the first show in America to have a female character have a legal abortion.  It had a heterosexual female character with AIDS in an era where many people still called the disease “gay cancer.”  It wrote an actress’s facelift into the script so that it could deal with the issue of plastic surgery and all its implications decades before Nip/Tuck.  It gave daytime television its first (and sadly, one of very few) black supercouple.   It’s also been ahead of its time in its depictions of anorexia, homosexuality, drug addiction…

And on Monday, instead, we will have a show telling us such revolutionary things as, “hand towels can be used as napkins if your friends are slobs” and “fresher food tastes better.”  (Who knew?)

I’m hoping that AMC and its sister show will continue to blaze new trails, but regardless, I wanted to take this moment to remember.

Step One: Ending the Satellite

As I mentioned last month, I am embarking on an adventure the likes of which I haven’t had since dwelling in the law school dorms:  I’m ditching TV.

Today, I finally got a chance to call and cancel the satellite.  Since that’s actually paid for the next month, it will be several more weeks before it’s truly gone, but it was nice to make the arrangements.  I was prepared to do more battle with the gal on the phone, but she was oddly friendly, and while she mentioned that there were lower tiers I could drop to, she didn’t push when I told her I wasn’t interested.

Ditching Netflix is the next step.  Since my decision to cut them out is based largely on their price hike bullshit, I’m going to wait a little longer.  I’ll get billed once more before the price increases which will carry me through to just a few days after the satellite ends.  I’ll milk this one for another month at the $10 cost, then it’s auf wiedersehen to that one too.

I am truly looking forward to what it will be like without those two time sucks.  Just for the shear change of it all.  And it’s not like I don’t have steady signals and plenty of channels with rabbit ears–in fact, my ability to pull up a local weather map was zero on the satellite, where it’s 24/7 on the new digital channels.  Plus, there are 3 PBS’s instead of just the one.  And if over-the-air fails, I still have a cache of DVDs to keep me entertained, and the library’s just up the street for more.

But mostly, I’m looking to make a dent in The Stack, which, unfortunately, gained 2 more books when I visited the soon-to-be-gone Borders (and they have lots more to discount so I might have another few to come…).  I might actually get decent at writing a book review…..

The current plan is to stay Netflix-free until PBS finishes running the second season of Downton Abbey (which starts up again in January).  Why?  Honestly, no reason, other than that I know myself and when this show finally comes back it will be all I want to watch for several weeks so anything else is a waste.  After that, we’ll revisit the situation.

 

 

Sell-By Dates for Spoilers?

While we’re discussing important social issues on this blog, here’s another one which has been on my mind for a while:  Do spoilers have an expiration date?

Yesterday on that great voyeurism enabler Twitter I noticed a certain actor being scolded by the internet for dropping a spoiler for a television show he’s on.  For an episode that had already aired.  Now (I don’t watch this particular show) my understanding is the episode had just aired the night before and hadn’t aired in Canada yet.  And if it had been me, and I had been thinking about it, I wouldn’t’ have dropped said spoiler.  But I don’t think he did it deliberately and the show had already aired in the country in which it’s made, so I feel like the internet overreacted a little (shocking, I know).

It brought to mind a time several years ago when I was yelled at for spoiling the end of Farscape.  More than a year after the show ended.  I didn’t do it on purpose—I was unaware that there were two people in the room (who I wasn’t even talking to) who were in the process of working their way through the show.  If I had been, I wouldn’t have said it.  But it seems like, watching a show that long after it’s been broadcast, you should expect the possibility of being spoiled.

Maybe I just don’t understand because I’ve never been a purist in that regard.  I’m not someone who insists on watching television shows in order.  I don’t seek out spoilers, but I don’t get upset if they find me.  I used to have a policy of wanting to know if any characters died so I could emotionally prepare myself.  Battlestar Galactica cured me of that by letting me know there was no way to be emotionally prepared for what they were going to throw at me.  Sometimes I like to not be spoiled.  I started reading the Harry Potter books when the fifth book came out because I knew it was only a matter of time before one of my friends unintentionally spoiled the death in that book and I didn’t want it to happen.  (My plan had been to read them once they were all out so I didn’t have to wait for them anxiously like the rest of you suckers.)

But, for example, I’m currently working my way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer with some friends.  All of said friends have seen the show before, but not me.  But I know most of the major stuff that happens.  I know who dies, who gets involved, who breaks up, who loses/gains a soul.  Because I’ve had a lot of BTVS fans as friends and people say things.  Sometimes now when we’re watching someone will reference an upcoming episode then look at me guiltily, but I always assure them I don’t care.  This stuff is about a decade old, I think the spoilers are past their expiration date.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we should ever deliberately spoil shows (or books) for people who don’t want them spoiled.  But I do think there’s a point at which you lose your right to get mad at someone who accidentally says something.  Let’s say a week after an episode has been broadcast?

And those who don’t want to be spoiled can also take reasonable precautions of their own.  For example, if I haven’t watched So You Think You Can Dance live (which I haven’t for several years) I’m careful on Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday nights.  It’s just practical.  If someone is to see the results and have a spontaneous reaction, I can’t blame them for doing so.  If I didn’t want to know, I shouldn’t be reading.

And don’t deliberately spoil things for people. That’s just douchey.

Cammy vs. Netflix

I’m sure by now, the news of the 60% price increase coming in September to those of us using Netflix has already reached your ears.  I swore loudly when the message popped up in my inbox earlier this week, and I’ve been drawn into the hue and cry in comments adjacent to an inordinately large number of blog posts on my feed reader dedicated to the subject.

I’m pissed.

I joined Netflix after the previous price increase, so I don’t have quite the room to be offended as many who’ve already seen their bill go up, but, at the same time: 60%?  Are you shitting me?  Raise it a buck or two, but this is over-the-limit, and as long as Netflix keeps rotating stuff off the streaming list (I had several German movies queued that I didn’t get to in time….damnit), that’s not worth it alone, and likewise, the 1 DVD out at a time is less appealing when there’s a delay in turning around the exchange.

So, come 1 September, I’m cancelling.

It won’t be permanent, I’m guessing.  Up until this price hike, Netflix was to be the savior that helped me to break the shackles of an over-priced satellite bill.  I was going to cancel satellite in favor of my cell phone data plan and Netflix with a side of good ol’ rabbit ears.

I’m still cancelling the satellite, but at least for a while, I think I’m going to let Netflix lose a user.  In part, it’s making a statement.  Granted, it won’t be a drop in the bucket as most people–even the ones bitching loudly in the blog comments–are probably just going to pay the increased price and keep going with life.  But, it will ease my conscience.  And, it makes sense.  That will come at the height of when my job assignment is going to get hella busy, including a fair amount of travel.  The crazy is going to last at least through the New Year, so there will be a good 2-3 months where paying for Netflix would have been a bit of a waste at any price.  Once I get back, I can always grit my teeth and start using it again, if I want.  Heck, in January, Downton Abbey should be entering a new season on PBS, and I have faith that my obsession there will be such that I won’t be interested in watching much else, so it might be into February before I consider going back…

It’s a little bit freeing to think about, actually.  Like a junkie finding the power to kick the habit, I’m going to take the one eye’d monster out of the equation (mostly–I’ll still have a fairly extensive list of over-air channels through rabbit ears and I’ve got plenty of DVDs in my collection).  To the extent that the job leaves me much time, I’ve got one less distraction to keep me from making better use of that time sewing, writing, reading, or just keeping the damned house clean.

We’ll see how this little experiment goes.  I may be thanking Netflix for their crappy decision.