Monday, August 4, 2008

houserat vegan singlehandedly supports movie rental industry.

So maybe it's a little disappointing that after one post on the new blog, I have nil to say on the recent products of my kitchen, even though the only (and I mean only) productive outcome of my summer thus far has been devouring my "Instant Queue" on Netflix... and baking a lot of treats (both sweet and savory) for my sole consumption.

Eh. Whatever.

The truth is, personal and home issues have put me in a place right now that hasn't warranted much motivation for social or "productive" activity. One might argue that the only stated purpose of this blog is to share the goings-on of and around my kitchen. But I've got you on that one: the cooking and baking (and eating) is the easy part. The blogging is where it, for this purpose, becomes productive.

I can, however, recommend some television shows and stand-up comedy that have very little to do with the vegan lifestyle. Other than I'm vegan, and I've recently styled my life around watching these programs.

Weeds: I sat through the entire series in one weekend, and it is hands down the best thing I've discovered via all of this. Suburban widowed-mom deals against the backdrop of a catty and stereotypically status-driven surbuban neighborhood in California while still managing to raise two sons, house her brother-in-law, and keep business under the radar (even if the neighborhood is her customer base). It's as good, dramatic, ironic, and reassuringly hilarious as it sounds. And if it didn't sound like all of those things... it is. My few gripes are that the script seems to suggest that Mary Louise Parker's Nancy Botwin can drag herself out of most any pickle by her sheer sex appeal (and even when it's not obviously about how hot she is, you most always can trace the outcome back to, oh yeah, how hot she is), and throughout the series Nancy's concern with how her lifestyle directly impacts her children lessens more and more. But one could argue that that's not entirely unrealistic for all intents and purposes.

Wonder Falls: Produced by the brains behind Dead Like Me, the one-season, 14-episode series (starring Canadian favorite Caroline Dhavernas as well as Tracie Thoms (Rent)) is an entertaining and less-than-obivous take on the Joan of Arc story. This variation is quirky and animated, following Jaye Taylor, a cynical-but-endearing, "over educated and under employed" employee of the Niagra Falls gift shop Wonderfalls. Beginning with a smooshed-face wax lion, little souveniers and cartoonish animal images of all kinds begin communicating with Jaye in order to fulfill some grand master plan that's never clear until the end of an episode. The exposition is simple and mostly unchanging, but the plotlines hold interest. Dhavernas' demeanor as Jaye often comes off a little cartoonish herself, but she maintains watchability. Tracie Thoms' character is the easiest to watch, and Jaye's siblings Sharon and Aaron are likeable supporting characters. The love interest (a bartender at the bar Jaye frequents and Tracie Thoms' character works), played by Tyron Leitso, is sincere but a little flat. The tension between he and Jaye is obvious, and not in an endearing way. Essentially, I recommend the series as a rental. It's fun, dark-humored, and moralistic in it's Joan of Arc allusion but not in a religious, familial, bullshit way.

An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder: Just fucking watch this if you've seen Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Dogma, Chasing Amy, Mallrats, the first An Evening With Kevin Smith... even fucking Jersey Girl or those episodes of Degrassi that Kevin Smith guest starred on. Or just know who Kevin Smith is in general. It isn't "stand-up comedy" but a Q&A with Smith in Toronto and in London that often ends up brilliant, like the hilarious, irrelevant conversation that his movies' dialogue plays off of. It's humor is comforting to say the least. Like, in a "At least people still say shit like this to an audience." sort of way.

Daniel Tosh: Completely Serious: I've seen this special quite a few times on Comedy Central, I'm sure. If you wait long enough you can probably it catch it rather than actually renting it or clicking "Play" on its Netflix page. And still, his frat-like, spot-on observations and clever humor are just as brilliant. As Tosh points out halfway in, jokes often open funny and spiral on and on till its end punch and a handful of audience members have held on long enough to catch it. Definitely tune in if unfamiliar with his offensive and sarcastic performance, as apparantly the material hasn't varied much from other recordings. Worth the Comedy Central channel-lurking, at the very least.

Super High Me: Comedian Doug Benson does the opposite for pot than what Morgan Spurlock did for McDonald's in his playoff documentary. The film, which started out as a joke in Benson's act, follows him on the road during a comedy tour, introducing the beginning of the concept, a 30-day sobriety, and ending with 30 days of being stoned in order to study the effects between a variety of tests (including lung capacity, memory, and even psychic ability). But it's okay: he's got a California medical marijuana license. Not that such licenses are recognized by the United States Federal Government, due to a convuluted system of laws between the federal government and the states that recognize patients' use of marijuana. The difference is explained briefly and touched upon when the "dispensary" that backdrops the documentary is ransacked by the DEA. It's interesting and informative in its representation of the recreational drug unfamiliar to most of the general public, but its comedic aspect shouldn't disappoint people familiar with Benson either (or, you know, stoner humor in general).

Look at me; blogging like I know shit about reviewing. Ain't it cute. Don't be fooled or disappointed with my former claims; I've watched far more television than this.

1 comment:

Vegan_Noodle said...

Ha, I did the same thing with Weeds season a and 2 on the weekend. Bummer that season 3 isn't available instantly.

I'd been thinking about watching Super High Me.. so I'll have to get around to that one now. And thanks for the other suggestions!