All My Life I’ve Looked at Words as Though I Were Seeing Them for the First Time Or, Smart Girls Have More Fun

This is Max from Happy Endings (a show you should be watching).


In the winter, Max basically hibernates to the point where he takes on the characteristics of the most frightening mammal in the animal kingdom – a bear.

Yesterday, my sister texted me to tell me that The West Wing is now on Netflix.

That being the case, I’m basically pulling a Max and spending the rest of this winter underneath the covers with the Bartlet Administration (my beard will probably be a little thicker, though…)

I love The West Wing for all sorts of reasons – the walk-and-talks, the fact that the show’s politics align pretty closely to mine, the staggering crush I have on Bradley Whitford/Josh Lyman (yes, I realize he’s 53 and that’s a little weird but watch this and tell me he’s not the coolest guy ever) as well as the rest of the cast who are pitch-perfect, but the primary reason I love this show with a fierce and intractable passion is because I love words and Aaron Sorkin writes some solid fucking oratory.

My own vernacular is wet garbage during a heatwave. Peppered with ‘ums’ and ‘uhhhhs’ and ‘dudes’ and ‘bros’ and just barely cogent asshattery that makes people wonder, “You grew up in England? Where they speak English?”

But Sorkin (and by extension, his characters) speak with the kind of bluster and bombast that no-one uses in real life.

When was the last time you heard someone quote Lincoln’s first inaugural address as trash talk during a basketball game or curse out his creator in Latin?

I’m guessing never because why would you bother with oratory when you can just hiss the word, ‘asshole’ and call it a day, right?

One of my 30 Before 30 Goals was to read Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories (so far, I’ve purchased a cheap copy of the bard’s collected works and I’ve read Hamlet).

I chose this lofty goal because I call myself a writer (which is akin to someone who subsists on a diet of instant noodles referring to themselves as a chef) and I feel as a writer, I’m obligated to be familiar with his works. Actually, I feel as a human being, I’m obligated to be familiar with his major works. Another reason I decided to do this is because I felt reading Shakespeare would give me a better insight into the human condition because let’s face it, he kinda covered the entire spectrum of humanity in his work – jealousy, lust, love, passion, madness, anger, ambition, greed, life and death.

But mostly, I wanted to read all of Shakespeare’s works because I watched CJ Cregg effortlessly quote Julius Caesar and the eloquence of that moment floored me.

I want to be that erudite and well-spoken. I want to be that well-versed in literature and most of all, I wanna be smart because as Aaron Sorkin told his daughter when he won the Oscar for The Social Network – smart girls have more fun and honey, you’re one of them.

We Few, We Happy Few Or, DND This Weekend, Dudes

So, this is happening.

If you see me within the next couple of weeks and I have this idiotic grin on my face (well, more so than usual) – it’s because I have watched the following repeatedly on a big screen:

What? Seriously, what? Like, how is this even a real thing in this world? The first time I saw this, I pretty much had a heart attack and couldn’t form cohesive words or thoughts for like, fifteen minutes.

And then, there’s this:

Dear God, this man is a walking Prince song.

In addition to Livingston, the rest of the cast is pretty phenomenal too:

Tom Hanks – He co-produced the series with some dude named Steven Spielberg – I don’t know who that kid is, but the name sounds vaguely familiar.
Michael Fassbender – Everyone wants on this dude’s jock. Even George Clooney.
Donnie Wahlberg – Shut up. He was awesome in The Sixth Sense.
James McAvoy – He played Professor X in X-Men: First Class. Not a patch on Patrick Stewart but who is?
and Neal McDonough – Dudes, are you watching Justified? You really need to be watching this show. It’s phenomenal. Hands down, my favorite show on television. Smart, well-written, complicated and well-acted. Oh and goddamn if McDonough didn’t kill it last season as Robert Quarles – the sociopath with a “big, stupid baby head.” Watch Justified. Seriously. Just drop whatever nonsense it is that you’re doing and just pop in the first episode. You’ll be hooked. Promise.

So DND, dudes – Do Not Disturb.

Unless you’re bringing over pizza and gin. That would be fine.

Just, y’know – shhhh. Trying to watch something over here.

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose Or, Friday Night Lights Is My New Favorite Thing

Me: I have this idea. I’m going to move to Texas, marry the coach of a high school football team and call people ‘shug.’
Biffle: Stop watching Friday Night Lights.
Me: I will NEVER stop watching Friday Night Lights. It’s so good, dude! So good. I’m moving to Texas.
Biffle: Obvious issues with that idea aside, let me remind you that George Bush is from Texas.
Me: Lies. He’s from Connecticut.
Biffle: Fine. You know who else is from Texas?
Me: Stevie Ray Vaughan?
Biffle: Rick Perry.
Me: I hate you.

Friday Night Lights has become my new favorite thing. In three days, I watched seventeen episodes (don’t judge – it was snowing) and I’m hooked.

Initially, I was reluctant because I assumed the show would be nothing more than a tired rehash of Varsity Blues – a movie that I loved at 15 but makes me cringe as an adult (“Ah dawn’t wawnt yur laife”) – but it’s actually a well-written, sublimely performed and realistic look at American life.

I love the game scenes and find myself cheering for the Dillon Panthers with the kind of zeal usually reserved for the Miami Dolphins. Well, minus the bitterness and barrage of four-letter words.

And then, there’s Coach Taylor. He’s the kind of mentor everyone needs in their life – he’s got a strong moral center, he’s compassionate and he believes in you the way you want to believe in yourself. Also, really good-looking.

See? Kyle Chandler, how are you even real?

Usually, I’m a great person to watch TV and movies with but this show? No. Definitely something I should watch solo because I get all riled up and start yelling at the TV.

I’m not talking about cheering when Smash runs the ball in for a touchdown. I sit on my couch and yell things like, “Ugh! I hate you, Voodoo! HATE! You don’t call the plays!” and “Awww, Landry, you’re my favorite! You look like a tiny Matt Damon!”

The whole series is available on Netflix Streaming and if you haven’t already, you should definitely check it out.

And if you don’t mind spending quality time with a girl who yells at the TV, I will totally watch with you.

You bring the beer, I’ll make the nachos.

Basic Knowledge About Basic Cable Or, Routinely Making An Ass Of Myself Since 1983

Me: Oh! You know what I’ve just gotten into that’s awesome?
My Sister: What?
Me: Southland.
My Sister: God, you talk about that show all the time!
Me: No, I don’t! I talk about Fitz and Buchanan.
My Sister: What? That’s not a thing.
Me: Franklin and Bash. I talk about Franklin and Bash.

TNT knows drama.
I do not.

Real World/Road Rules Challenge – Battle of the Exes Or, The Triumphant Return of The Recapstasy!

It was bound to happen sometime.

With all the hooking up that goes on during the show, some lightbulb at MTV had a Eureka moment and blurted out, “Dude bros! You know what would be like, Bible bad-ass? Like, getting together all the exes for a Challenge? Amirite? Yeahhhh.”

And out of this spark, the newest incarnation of Real World/Road Rules Challenge was born.

This season features thirteen ex-couples all vying for big money. Let’s do a quick rundown to refamiliarize you with the cast members, shall we?

Abram and Cara Maria

Abram smears poop on walls (Google it).
Cara Maria likes ponies and has a lot of feelings.

CT and Diem

CT would punch through your solar plexus if you scuffed his sneaker. Yeah, he’s calmed down a little but I wouldn’t put it past him to murder my cat.
Diem had cancer but it’s in remission now.

Dunbar and Paula

Dunbar was in a porn (Google it)
Paula finally won a Challenge last season.

Dustin and Heather

Dustin is a gay-for-pay homophobe (Google it).
Heather is blonde and sprite-like.

Johnny and Camila

Bananas is the worst person ever.
Camila went to the Gulag a lot.

Leroy and Naomi

Leroy is the only likeable member of the cast.
Much to my irritation, Naomi says things like, “I don’t drive cars; I drive boys.”

Mark and Robin

I’m pretty sure Mark is an AARP member.
Robin is an asshole when she drinks.

Nate and Priscilla

All I know about these two bananaheads is that they’re from The Real World: San Diego.

Rachel and Aneesa

Rachel is one of the OG Mean Girls. She and Veronica engaged in some hardcore emotional terrorism anytime they got together.
Aneesa used to wander around the Chicago house naked.

Ty and Emily

Ty has anger issues and once tossed a roommate off a balcony.
Emily was on Road Rules with Timmy way back in 1996. No. No, she wasn’t. My sister says this is Emily from the DC season. Apparently, this chick was raised in a cult and digs on yoga.

Tyrie and Jasmine

Tyrie likes to fight.
Jasmine likes to fight.

Vinny and Sarah

Vinny looks like he belongs on Jersey Shore.
Sarah has tattoos and once, had a really ill-conceived crush on Mr. Beautiful.

Wes and Mandi

Wes is a little red-headed bitch who cries like an infant and has to be carried up mountains. Also, dude looks like wet pizza dough (according to the brilliant Figgy of Pajiba fame)
Mandi looks like pre-plastic surgery Heidi Montag and has interminably bad taste in men. She also had a thing for CT. Ew, Mandi. Ew.

After looking over this list, you will realize that there are a couple of glaring omissions:

Rachel and Sean – What? Now that you’re involved in civic life, you’re too good for reality television? You know, maybe if you competed in a challenge, you’d make a little cash. After all, in your world – six figures might as well be the bread line.

Trishelle and Stephen – Oh, the hot messery. Also, does anyone else think Stephen looks like Ryan Reynolds’ non-union body double?

Coral and Abram – Why do women want to get with this lunkhead? I care not for him – I just want my girl Coral back. She doesn’t wrestle; she beats bitches up!

And the most glaring omission of all – Wes/Johanna/Kenny.

Yes, it would be an unfair advantage as this team has three players as opposed to two but imagine the possibilities!

Every week, these three knuckleheads get together and decide who’ll jump into The Dome. Then, they learn what the mission is and vicious in-fighting ensues.

Also, the hatred simmering between Wes and Mr. Beautiful is probably at an all-time high, so I’m relatively certain someone would wake up with a live viper in their bed which would make for quality programming.

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes starts up at 10:00 pm on January 22 and the Recapstasy will be back in full effect.

I’m trying to set up a fantasy league for the show so if anyone has any idea how to pull off such a coup, please let me know.

Winner gets bragging rights, hugs and a handcrafted mix CD.

John Stamos Ruined Goat Cheese For Me Or, My Parents Shouldn’t Have Let Me Watch So Much TV As A Kid

I have a bone to pick with Full House.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “The adorable, saccharine-sweet TGIF show about a widowed father raising three daughters with his brother-in-law and best friend? How could you possibly have a bone to pick with that show? Yeah, it was a little glurgey and Michelle was a brat, but come on! What kind of black-hearted wretch hates Full House?”

Allow me to explain.

In the Kissing Cousins episode, Uncle Jesse’s cousin Stavros (played in a dual role by John Stamos – oh, the magic of television!) comes to visit the Tanners.

Stavros is from Greece and basically serves as a massive stereotype of Mediterraneans. He’s rips off Joey (but Joey sucked so I don’t really care about that. Come on, dudes. He was a grown man with a cartoon fetish and a woodchuck puppet. It’s creepy, right?), he hits on Rebecca, he docks Danny with a $65 parking ticket, he has greasy hair and he eats weird food.

Like Goat Cheese and Lamb Pizza.

The Tanners react like a family who routinely eschew deliciousness in favor of things like Cheese Donuts — with revulsion.

Goat cheese! Ew! What kind of freak eats cheese from goats? Gross! Smelly! Things that are different are bad!

And thus, the insidious poison was planted. As far as I was concerned — goat cheese was for jerks.

Well, I’m happy to report that 28-year-old Jaime is a goat cheese seeking missile.

I will clamber over the bodies of the damned to get at some goat cheese (Augs’ mom made this amazing penne with roasted butternut squash and goat cheese and it was one of the most glorious things I’ve ever eaten. I ate it cold the next day and it was still good).

BUT for years, I missed out on its glory because of Full House.

Do you know how much goat cheese I could have eaten during those formative years? Enough to build a bridge between San Francisco and Athens!

I demand reparations for this and Stamos, I’m calling you out.

I’m willing to make peace, though (I’m not completely irrational, as I’m sure is evident by this post) — so, you bring the goat cheese pizza, I bring the Mythos Beer and we consider your egregious sin absolved. Sound like a plan?

P.S. — I wrote the word ‘goat’ too many times in this post and now, it looks funny. Does that ever happen to you?

Real World/Road Rules: The Rivals Recaptasy Or, Huh. This Sounds Like A Portmanteau of Rapture and Apostasy…

I’ve been wanting to a fantasy league for this show FOREVER and because I’m surrounded by charlatans and jerkfaces (read: people with real jobs and responsibilities), no-one will do it with me.

So I’m combining my Real World/Road Rules Challenge Recaps with my own fantasy picks and in doing so, introducing a new element to the blog — Real World/Road Rules Recapstasy!

I’ve picked seven contestants and every week, I’ll be tallying up how many points I’ve accrued thanks to the helpful scoring system created by reality television czar, Dave Jacoby.

Without further ado, let me introduce my starting lineup – Team Crucio (because you know these dudes would if they could)

1. Kenny

Rookie Season: Fresh Meat
Known For: Sleeping with Wes’ ex, Johanna
Strengths: Pissing off Wes
Weaknesses: I kinda hate myself for thinking he’s attractive. Yeah, this doesn’t have anything to do with his performance, but it’s true nonetheless.
Challenges Won: 3

2. Tyler

Rookie Season: The Real World: Key West
Best Known For: Being the only castmember who can solve a puzzle without breaking into a cold sweat.
Strengths: World-class swimmer. Seriously, dude is like Aquaman.
Weaknesses: None that I can fathom. Tyler’s a serious competitor and knows how to play “The Game.”
Challenges Won: 1

3. Adam R

Rookie Season: The Real World: Las Vegas
Best Known For: Getting kicked off his season
Strengths: Total sociopath
Weaknesses: Total sociopath
Challenges Won: 0 (Rookie)

4. Jenn

Rookie Season: The Real World: Denver
Best Known For: Pitching a drink in Mandy’s face
Strengths: Has appeared on five Challenges and knows how to play The Game instead of The Game playing her.
Weaknesses: Being an Oakland Raiderette. The Raiders suck.
Challenges Won: 0

5. Johnny Bananas

Rookie Season: The Real World: Key West
Best Known For: Getting straight up housed by CT in a surprise Gauntlet. Dude looked like a rag doll.
Strengths: Being a misogynistic bag of dicks. In the real world, this is a detriment but in The Real World? This means plenty o’ points.
Weaknesses: I’m like, 63% certain that Evie will shank him within the first five minutes and you can’t put points on the board if you’re bleeding internally.
Challenges Won: 3

6. Cara Maria

Rookie Season: Fresh Meat: II
Best Known For: Hooking up with Abram and having weird, body-paint-animal-noises sex with him. Ew.
Strengths: She incites (justifiable) rage in pretty much everyone. That’s gonna put points up on the board.
Weaknesses: She sucks. What? She does.
Challenges Won: 0

7. CT

Rookie Season: The Real World: Paris
Best Known For: Beating the shit out of every carbon-based lifeform he comes across.
Strengths: Cast member most likely to bludgeon someone to a bloody death. That’s like, 56,000 points.
Weaknesses: None. CT is the Chuck Norris of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
Challenges Won: 0

I can’t wait until Wednesday night. Anyone wanna take odds on how long it takes Adam to get punted from this cast? I’m gonna say three episodes.