While this blog is mostly dedicated to the art of writing without the enhancements of the “big screen” (i.e., movie theater or television), I have to give a shout-out to two TV shows I watched this week.
The first one is the half-hour comedy Community. While I don’t watch this on a regular basis, I know who the characters are and their various quirks, so perhaps that enhanced the viewing experience for me. But I don’t really think so. The episode, titled “Modern Warfare,” takes place on a community college campus during a game of Paintball Assassin. The prize for the winner is priority registration. That’s the situation the characters find themselves in, and that alone is pretty funny. But what makes this episode stellar is the hilarious send-up of action movies throughout the entire show. From the original Die Hard movie to the first Terminator, the scenes are familiar and just enough over-the-top that you get that you’re watching an homage rather than a parody. The entire episode is a love letter to action movies, and the creator’s genuine affection for the genre shines through. Add in some absolutely genius dialog, and I will say that I laughed more during this half hour than I have throughout entire seasons of other shows. I even made my husband, my sister and my brother-in-law (who have never seen the show) watch as well. They laughed as hard as I did. Truly well done, show!
The second TV show I admired this week was Friday Night Lights. This show I do watch on a regular basis, but since it’s been on hiatus for over a year, the first episode of the season felt like meeting up with old friends. The actors on this show (mostly unknowns, but some fan favorites like Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler) are nuanced, believable and sometimes absolutely heart-breaking. The “realistic” look at small-town Texas life is like a breath of fresh air on networks clogged with reality TV nonsense (yes, I know some of it is entertaining, but most of it is DRECK). These people feel real to me; I care about them and what happens to them. I want them to succeed, and I cry over their disappointments. The show writers turn fictional characters into people who are almost flesh-and-blood, and that takes talent, folks! FNL is currently airing its fourth season on NBC (having already aired this season on DirecTV), and only has one more season before the show is over. If you’ve never seen it, you’re missing out. I’m not a big DVD buyer, but I will own every season before the show ends forever. And even after the series finale airs, I’ll be hoping the citizens of the small town of Dillon are still out there somewhere, living their lives, loving each other and triumphing over challenges both big and small. “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!”