Coffee at Java the Hut

While we were away, I saved Veronica Mars. Sort of via the Kickstarter campaign, but mostly during my brief stint at a Nielsen viewer. I got a week long Nielsen survey in the mail and hosted a Veronica Mars marathon, in part so that we could log it in my diary. Less than a month later, the Kickstarter campaign hit. Coincidence? Probably, but that still makes this extra relevant.

Would we drink coffee with Veronica Mars?

Kristy: Is this a trick question? Absolutely. Unless she sent me a cryptic message inviting me to coffee since that would probably be a sign that she was setting me up for some sort of epic vengeance for something I had done wrong. And as much as I love the clever ways Veronica Mars gets back at those who have wronged her or her friends, there’s no way I want to be on the receiving end of said vengeance. But in a fictional world where I just get to sit and have a cuppa with with Ms. Veronica, it sounds like a blast. First of all, I feel I owe her a cup on behalf of all those who were bullied and/or socially repressed in high school. Second of all, it seems like it would be a blast. Can you imagine people watching with Veronica Mars? You know she’d have some hysterical things to say. Which, on that note, I’m going on record as saying that I’d order an iced coffee so that if I wind up snarffing and one of her witty comments it won’t hurt so bad. As anyone who’s watched the show too much, I’d of course like to ask a few questions like, “Okay, so I applaud you for getting away from the self-loathing rich boy type, but Piz? Really?” And “I know she’s a bitch and all, but why does Madison get the blame for drugging you when it was Dick who put it in her drink?” Plus, potential bonus, you might get to see Veronica make some privileged obnoxious person realize how worthless they really are. And that’s always fun.

Cammy:  On the one hand, I want to say “absolutely!”  but on the other, for as much fun as Veronica Mars is to watch, she kind of intimidates the shit outta me.  One wrong comment and she can and will verbally slice you into tiny pieces.  It would be my luck, I’d make a verbal misstep and wind up another victim of that razor wit.  I think Kristy is better suited for that match up.  So I’ll let her have the coffee and do the asking, and I’ll sit over at the bar and listen in (until Veronica calls me on my eavesdropping, then I’ll just have to go hang out somewhere else and get the play by play from Kristy later).

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.

Cliffhanger Sunday!

Today marks the 30th Anniversary of perhaps the most notorious cliffhanger in television history:  On Dallas J.R. Ewing was shot by an unknown assailant and “Who shot J.R.?” became entered into the colloquial lexicon forever.  I don’t remember That episode–if I watched it it would have had to have been in a past life.  But I do love me a good cliffhanger.  And by love I mean hate with a passion.  And enjoy every second of.  Because I’m a horrible masochist.

*Warning, the rest of this blog entry will contain spoilers for episodes of various series that aired some time ago.  If you’re one of those who is still slowly working your way though Star Trek: The Next Generation or some other series, trying your darndest not to find out what will happen in the end, I apologize.  If you watch your shows within a year of their broadcast, you should be fine.* (later blog entry to come on expiration dates for spoilers)

So what are your favorite cliffhangers?

A friend of mine once declared the end of The Two Towers (the book, not the movie) to be the greatest cliffhanger in history.  It didn’t do it for me.  If memory serves (my copy of TTT is at the parents house) the novel ends with Frodo being carried off by the orcs.  A good cliffhanger, I’ll grant you, but I’ve read too many epics and epic like tales to have believed for a second Frodo wouldn’t be found.  Only way he was going to die before the end would be if it was a heroic act of self sacrifice.  But it helped that Return of the King was on the bookshelf and I only had to walk across the room to find out what happened.

This makes me wonder, does there have to be genuine fear or uncertainty of the outcome for a cliffhanger to be effective?  I’m not sure there does.

One of my favorite cliffhangers is the end of season 1 of Farscape.  Crais takes off with Talyn, Moya starbursts away, John and D’argo are stranded out in open space, D’argo’s unconscious and Aeryn can’t get to them.  Damn!  (For added info on the impact of this cliffhanger on my psyche, I got hooked on Farscape in Peru where they were about a season behind us.  This cliffhanger was the last episode I saw there, then I came home to find the US in the middle of season 2.  I knew things had worked out, but it was a long while before I found out how.)  Now I didn’t think for a second they were going to kill off half the cast, but I didn’t know but what they might kill one or two.  And I was on the edge of my seat in the wrong hemisphere.

The final episode of Farscape would have made an excellent cliffhanger if the show hadn’t been canceled, turning it instead into the Worst Show Ending Ever.  (I realize it was eventually resolved by the less than stellar Peacekeeper Wars, but that doesn’t kill the sting)

I enjoyed the season 1 “Who’s at the door?” cliffhanger on Veronica Mars even if it was a little silly.

Whatever season of the X-Files it was that ended with Mulder disappearing and Scully being knocked-up was kind of fun in a fangirl “Squee”y kind of way.

Battlestar Galactica had an interesting take on cliffhangers.  They ended Season 2, for example, by jumping forward a year.  All of a sudden Apollo was fat, Starbuck had bad hair, and the cylons were invading.  We were left wondering not only, “What the hell is going to happen?” but also “What the hell happened?”  Double cliffhanger.  Nice.

There are a group of cliffhangers I wish I could have been a part of.  Star Trek:  The Next Generation in “Best of Both Worlds: Part 1” I wish I could have been there for that moment when we saw Borg!Picard.  (I’ve seen this moment, but only years down the road, knowing what was going to happen)  Back in 1990 I can only imagine the thrill of the “WTF?” the audience was feeling.

So yeah, cliffhangers, the evil thing that the television gods do to us and we thank them for it.

TV Cliches We’re Sick of #1–Avenging Cops

Law Enforcement Professional who chose said line of work after family member’s unsolved/unpunished murder/disappearance.

The fact that I know this is cliche and I don’t even watch procedurals is a clear indication of how cliche it is. Seriously, I can’t watch crime shows, they creep me out. Keep me up at night. Working with extremely limited knowledge, I can name off the top of my head the following:

Fox Mulder (X-Files, Sister abducted by aliens)
Bruce Wayne/Batman (um… Batman, parents killed in mugging)
Peter Parker/Spiderman (Spiderman, Uncle killed)(I’m a little unclear on continuity, but this one may not count as unsolved)
Kate Beckett (Castle, Mother murdered)
Temperance Brennan (Bones, parents disappeared)
John McBain (One Life to Live, father murdered, fiancee murdered)
Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars, best friend murdered) (okay, that one might be a stretch)

Okay, they aren’t all television characters, but they’ve all appeared on TV at some point. I’m sure many of you can add a whole host of others. And I do get why writers fall back on this cliche. Not only does it work well for motivation, it provides built in plot lines for future episodes. And I’m sure there really are people who go into law enforcement for this reason. But I’m done with it. I’m over it. I want something a little more creative.

Real life if often more random than that. I want to watch the story about the cop that turned to the law because he couldn’t get into physical therapy school. I want to see the anthropologist who’s just a big Indiana Jones fan.  The Vampire Hunter who just really like Brad Pitt movies.   There’s no reason any of these things couldn’t further the plot. Come on writers, you can do better.