(Don’t) Kill Your Television




What I watched this fall:

The Leftovers: (HBO) Season 2 gets crazy. I liked it a ton better than the first season, which was mostly set up and backstory. This season was more surreal, and the plot had much more of a mystery to unravel. Justin Theroux is easy on the eyes, to put it lightly, and the rest of the cast is stellar (in my opinion, particularly Christopher Eccleston). I love Amy Brenneman whenever she’s on screen, I’ve seen her in tons of shows and movies (Your Friends and Neighbors, Judging Amy) but her acting and characterization of the ex-wife who abandoned Theroux’s character is excellent. (Ah! Live Tyler, too, is haunting!)

The Affair: (Showtime) Ok so here’s the deal: we’ve all seen/heard/watched this narrative before: unhappy family man has an affair with loner, younger girl and turns their reality upside down. But how the show’s writers and producers make this story different (besides the twists and turns of the plot) is the shift in perspective sometimes more than twice per episode. Often we will watch the same set of events told by two perspectives, and it’s fascinating to watch the nuances and details that shift per point of view. Excellent acting all around.


Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: (CNN) So good. I want to be Bourdain’s friend. Why can’t that be? I appreciate good food and good drinks, he can bend my ear on the state of the world or lecture me on what it’s like to smear deer blood on his face while in Scotland (that was disgusting). He’s rough around the edges, an excellent writer, and we are lucky to have him on this earth (well, and on CNN).

Fargo: (FX) Season one was ok. Season two was so much better, and such a fun watch. From the editing and directing to the cast and characters. Jean Smart was amazing as the female head of the crime family, and Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Ted Danson were incredible, they caught these characters and their flaws on such a minute level. Amazing.

What I’m Watching:

Jessica Jones: (Netflix) Marvel’s female character with super powers, and yes I’m going to call her a superhero. The show’s pretty good, there are a few actors I wouldn’t mind seeing leave the story all together, and there’s a tangential sub-storyline that I wouldn’t mind them axing. But the gist of the show is good, and I’ll admit I was spooked the first couple of episodes because it’s largely about (not a spoiler) mind control. Bravo to Marvel and Netflix for finally putting a female in the lead in a current show, and Jessica’s main sidekick is her independent, ass-kicking best girl friend.

Serial, Season 2 (watching in my mind’s eye): (podcast) We are 5 episodes in and I’m waiting desperately for next Thursday (the release of episode 6). Lt. Bergdahl’s story is vastly interesting and I find myself thinking about it even when I’m not listening. And if you haven’t listened to season one of Serial, download ‘em now!


What I plan to watch:

Making a Murderer: (Netflix) so much hype, it’s a must watch.

Vinyl: (HBO) Scorcese and Jagger? Um, duh.

The People vs. Oj Simpson: (FX) Been waiting for this for awhile.

Sidenote: while writing this post, I noticed my viewing preferences have narrowed to five networks: HBO, Showtime, CNN, FX and Netflix. For this gal, sayonara to network tv (although in truth, Scandal had a pretty good hold on me for awhile).

(Don’t) Kill Your Television

Someone Prayed for Me

“Did you feel exceptionally well last night? Between 7:30 and 8:15?”

My electrician asked me this and then turned back to the breaker box he was working on in our garage. I racked my brain. What was I doing at that time on a Monday night? Why was he asking me this?

I was flummoxed. He asked me again, his Spanish accent getting tangled on the word exceptionally.

Had he called me? Rang the bell and I had ignored him? No, I had texted him yesterday afternoon that the power was out in our office, and he had confirmed he would come this morning.

Hugo was his name, a man in his sixties who had fixed a few of our electrical problems in our new house. He was kind and a very good teacher, pointing out every fix he made, and how the house had been wired by the previous owners.

As he continued talking about the old wiring that needed to be replaced I finally remembered what I was doing. I had been lying in bed with my three year old, snuggled close with my nose touching her cheek, waiting for her to settle for the night.

I followed Hugo out and we started to say our goodbyes.

“Wait, Hugo,” I said, my arms folded to keep me warm. “Why did you ask me what I was doing last night?”

He paused and then I knew he had been thinking about me. He held his hands together, looking down at the ground and searched for the English words. Or maybe just words in general.

“Last night at church they asked us to pray for someone,” he began. “I prayed for my daughter, and for him,” he said, gesturing to his apprentice who stood a few feet away looking up at the trees. “And I prayed for you.” At this point he looked at me, his eyes meeting mine from behind his eyeglasses. “The entire church prayed for you.”

Someone prayed for me. Hugo prayed for me, Hugo who I had cold called after the local hardware store suggested him as an electrician, Hugo who had come over only three times since I had moved to Los Angeles.

I must look like someone who needed to be prayed for. I tried to reach back into my memory to the last time I had seen Hugo: what had happened? I only knew it was during the pre-holiday madness of Santa gifts and tree decorating and visiting family. Maybe I was stressed. Or was it sadness?

“That last time I saw you, you looked tired,” Hugo said. “So last night I said a prayer for Tessa.” He took my hand and said goodbye. “And God bless you.”

I followed him out to the front door. I took myself back to the previous night, laying in bed with my daughter. Had I felt a blast of prayer? A rush of love? I can’t remember anything unusual.

I said goodbye to Hugo, closed the door, and sat down heavily on our stairwell. I was touched, feeling the weight of a unique experience in my life. Uniqueness was not so common; routine ruled. I am someone who looks/appears/seems/ to need prayers. God help me. I must need it.

Someone Prayed for Me

2016: A List for Posterity

Welcome 2016. God that sounds so…Bladerunner. I put together random facts about the here and now to look back on.

Kauai Island, January 2016

The state of Kauai, with its tiny population of 70,000 people, is the last place on Earth to ring in the new year. I just spent a week there with my family, and extended family. I’ve got Aloha on the brain.


Los Angeles in the rain

California is in a drought. For the first time in history people have been mandated to stop watering their lawns or receive a fine. While I write today we are in the midst of (hopefully) our first deluge of many rainstorms from our little buddy El Nino –bienvenidos mijito!


We launch into a presidential voting year. Republican hopefuls currently consist of a white, billionaire egomaniac and a black, non-politician with a God-complex. I’m totally not judging. Democratic hopeful is…well, a woman. Yep, you know who has my vote. And we will say goodbye to our history-making (and beloved to many) first black president.

The Gun Control Battle. The US continues to have terrible tragedies with repeated mass shootings here in the homeland. There’s little rhyme or reason to the murderers, aside from being able to easily access guns. As I write, Pres. Obama is trying to work with congress to manage this war against (ourselves, ahem, NRA). Abroad, the world descends on Isis as the terrorist group attacks Paris, and calls for broader and random attacks everywhere. And still, we won’t be terrified.

And speaking of fighting the Dark Side…

The Force Awakens, 2015

The Force Awakens. The first Star Wars movie in a decade. As of this moment, it has generated $1.6 billion worldwide. November and December had a huge amount of hype, and Facebook feeds everywhere were stuffed with images of people dressed up and heading to the theater. My theory is the film meant most to my generation (40-50 somethings) and to our kids (5-10 year olds). Mostly because episodes 4,5 and 6 were terrible, so a few generations in between missed the boat. Not their fault. But with two more Star Wars coming out, maybe their kids will get into the franchise.

2016: A List for Posterity