The latest TV kick has been British crime dramas. Lindsay started Broadchurch (imdb | rotten tomatoes) before I did, but I caught up and we finished the whole thing. It’s just so good. All the hype, lived up to.
Then we binged The Stranger (imdb) and Safe (imdb | rotten tomatoes), both written by someone named Harlan Coben, whom I’d never heard of, but I take to be a mystery writer of some kind. Anyway, The Stranger was pretty entertaining, but Safe suffered from Michael C. Hall’s presence in the lead role. I’m sure his dialect coach was trying very hard, but my goodness. No.
Now, with some recommendations from a friend, we’ve set our sights on Retribution and Line of Duty.
I kind of didn’t believe the Schitt’s Creek (imdb | rotten tomatoes) hype when I was hearing it. Despite the cast’s more senior pedigree it was a CBC show. I don’t usually pay attention to those. But then Lindsay watched it and swore I’d like it, so I started. By the middle of season one I was pretty much locked in.
Today, maybe two months after we started it, we finished the series. It definitely made me snort-laugh more than most other recent series I’ve watched, and left some all-time classic lines in my head (e.g., “Where is babay’s chamberr?”). Meanwhile Dan Levy’s reaction when Eugene Levy tries to hug him but gets caught on the seat belt is straight gold. But it was also sweet and joyous without being cloying, which is hard to do, and the final wrap-up mini-doc after the last episode made us cry quite a bit, so. Yeah. Good series. Highly recommended.
Slowly, I am re-entering the world outside the loft. Last Saturday we walked into the east to meet a friend and drink Rorschach beers in a (very brown) Woodbine Park. Two days ago I went to the dentist (a new one; no need to get on transit to visit my old one) after a long wait — my last appointment had been scheduled for March 14 but was obviously cancelled.
I still haven’t been on a patio. I think I’m ready, but Lindsay isn’t quite yet. No matter; we have plenty of wine to keep us company right here in the loft.
We’ve watched some rough documentaries over the past week: first the documentary series Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (imdb | rotten tomatoes), then Athlete A (imdb | rotten tomatoes). The latter was exceptional — just extremely well done, thoughtful, well-constructed, and responsible in execution and scope. Still, between that and occasionally dabbling in the Waco miniseries, we’ve needed some light palate-cleansers as well, tossing in episodes of New Girl and The Good Place here and there as needed.
Maybe once this crazy heat wave (which, as I type this, has been temporarily replaced with rain at last) subsides we might attempt a patio. Until then: baby steps.
In a lighter timeline than this one I’d be getting ready to fly to London right now. I was meant to speak at a conference at a venue in Westminster. When I got there I’d probably drop my bags and go for a walk around St. James Park. (It’s 23˚ in London as I write this, versus -1˚ here.) Maybe get a coffee at Rag & Bone, or a pint at CASK. But I’m not headed to London, because we’re in the darkest timeline. (Can you tell I’ve finally decided to watch Community all the way through?)
Still, it was a pretty okay week overall. First and foremost, everyone’s still healthy. I took a day off Wednesday, which felt great. My brother celebrated a milestone birthday yesterday. We have plenty of delicious food. Lindsay’s made huge strides with Kramer and has been able to pet him a little, even if he did turn and scratch her pretty hard yesterday.
I mentioned the Peloton bike last time. My worry is that I’d grow tired of it inside of a week, but I’m still really enjoying it. I might have jumped ahead in my ride difficulty a little too quickly, but I’ve reined myself in and can already see/feel progress.
I’ve been trying to keep up with all the great new music coming out, like the new Grimes (very good, and certainly better than her baby names), the new Porridge Radio (excellent) and the new Fiona Apple (brilliant). In and around the afore-mentioned Community I blazed through Unbelievable (imdb | rotten tomatoes), which was hard to watch in the best/right ways and also elevated by Toni Collette, Kaitlyn Dever, and Merritt Wever.
Other than that: LOTS of food & booze deliveries. I might have gone / be going a little overboard.
In a non-COVID world we’d be in Spain right now. Probably Barcelona, or Valencia. Or maybe San Sebastian. Enjoying the weather (it was 21 degrees in Barcelona today). Drinking Albarino and Jerez. Eating pintxos. Maybe watching some flamenco. Then on to Madrid. Instead I opened a 2001 Rioja.
Still, could be much worse. We remain: home, healthy, gainfully employed (and/or schooled, as the case may be), and well-stocked.
We closed off another busy week with some ill-advised delivery from an Italian place, a nice little walk for me concluding in a pickup at Boxcar Social (which has become a bottle shop for the time being), some online hangout time with our friend Sarah, and a chat with my parents today.
I finished The Plot Against America (imdb | rotten tomatoes) this week. Bit of a twist vs. the book, but not a bad one. Well-handled by Simon and Burns, I thought.
I finally finished watching The Man In The High Castle (imdb | rotten tomatoes). The concept sounded so cool and I wanted so badly for it to be better, but other than Rufus Sewell and Chelah Horsdal it just felt so…stilted.
Oh well. On to BoJack Horseman.
Cover photo by The Q Speaks, used under Creative Commons license
First, the series: as we all know by now, it’s brilliant. All the superlatives are earned. It’s clever and moving and dark. I think season 2 might be even better than season 1, but might need another watch to confirm that.
Second, the (filmed) one-woman show: recaps a lot of the first season of the show, often verbatim. Offered a few interesting changes. Also strips it down to a woman on a stool, so no winks at the camera or other actors to help carry things. I might have found it funnier if I didn’t know 98% of the jokes in advance, but it was enjoyable to watch. Cool theatre too — we sat in comfy chairs in the balcony and had cocktails brought ’round.
There’s also a bar attached to the theatre — Bar Biltmore — and a restaurant — Osteria Rialto. We had late reservations at the latter, and passed the time at the former with cocktails (Paper Planes, Negronis), wine (Gruner Veltliner, a crazy Chardonnay) and oysters.
For dinner we had:
gnocco fritto w/ mortadella, grana padano
salumi / prima donna cheese / focaccia
macaroni verde w/ veal ragù bianco
tonarelli w/ ‘nduja carbonara
a bottle of Punset Barbaresco
The salumi board ended up being massive, so we ordered bread and cheese to go with it; by the time that was done all we could manage was a primi each. The secondi and dolci menus looked great, so we’ll have to go back and restrain ourselves out of the gate.
The Good Place (imdb | rotten tomatoes) wrapped last week, thus ending one of the better bits of television — certainly network television — in some time. It had a lovely send-off, and I miss the characters already. Especially Michael.
At one point I’d tried keeping a list of all the philosophy books they referenced, but I gave up by episode, like, four. I might want to read them, but I still have back Atlantic articles from two years ago, so.
Not long ago I binge-watched the second and third (final) seasons of The Deuce (imdb | rotten tomatoes), David Simon’s latest series. As with most of his work it dealt with the transformation of an American city; this was about New York — specifically midtown Manhattan, around 42nd Street (aka, The Deuce) — in the 70s and 80s, in and around the world of prostitution and nightclubs and porn. Like Treme, I found it only semi-compelling when watching it, but it’s stuck with me for weeks. I can’t wait for his next one.
Speaking of which, there’s one city I’m not sure why he hasn’t yet written about. Today I listened to a Reveal podcast about Detroit, and how — after fifty years of slow decline, massively exacerbated by the 2008 recession — it’s still recovering. It seems custom-made for Simon. Here’s hoping.
Lindsay started watching Breaking Bad, and I’ve jumped on board. I almost forgot how good it was. All these scenes. All these characters. We recently met Saul. Then Gus. Then Mike. And I keep thinking ahead to all the scenes yet to come, and getting giddy.
Anyway, we’re trying to blaze through it quickly so El Camino (imdb | rotten tomatoes) doesn’t get spoiled. But not too quickly.