Idol Chatter

locke_idol.jpgWe all have those television shows which serve us as utter escapism, which help us transcend our bodies and our daily lives. Often they even become true guilty pleasures worthy of repentance–that’s how guilty and self-indulgent they are. But some of these shows also irk as they transport–they panic viewers even from within the vantage point of inspiration. And that’s what the love-hate relationship is about.
It’s like being in love with someone who occasionally does something really helpful, but from any outsider’s perspective is otherwise destructive. Some more recent shows (“Prison Break,” and “Heroes”) are still growing on me, and we’ll see which way they go. But here are five shows that have me so alternately jazzed and jittery that I just had to share them with you.
1. “Lost”: John Locke’s crisis of faith, the leadership battle between Sawyer and Jack, and burying Nikki and Paolo alive … awesome. And then there’s last season’s “Doc Brown/Marty McFly” conversation of an ending (“We’ve got to go back to the future, Marty! I mean, Kate!”), which I alternately love (because I didn’t see it coming) and hate. (no new shows until February 2008? That’s just mean. Thank goodness Lostaholics at Beliefnet are taking control, and creating an online forum to talk about religious themes in the show.

denny_idol.jpg2. “24”: While Jack Bauer and CTU are alternately together and broken up, and while the rest of the world (beginning with Los Angeles) suffers from repeated terrorist attacks, I tune in every week to watch them ratchet up the tension and exploit the precarious sense of security that we have in this post-9/11 world. As my sense of homeland security goes out the window, the only person I want in charge of setting up perimeters in the real world is Jack Bauer. And I know that can never be.
3. “Entourage”: As a woman, I’m supposed to hate this show–for reveling in the superficiality of men, for encouraging immature behavior in relationships and in life, for treating beautiful women like promiscuous, self-promoting sex objects, and for treating normal-looking women like dogs (or worse, because the guys genuinely seem to like dogs). But I can’t help it. I love the Hollywood stuff, the hilarity of the ensemble as they stick together, as they revel in their own good fortune and superficiality without conscience or much of a consequence. And of course, the appalling/appealing Jeremy Piven, who is either my fantasy or my nightmare, but he’s with me in REM sleep just the same.
4. “Grey’s Anatomy”: “Seriously?” This show hooked me in the second season and prompted a Netflix trip down Grey’s memory lane. And then, when I wasn’t looking, BAM! Denny’s dead. He had a bad heart. And I’m heartbroken. I could do without most of Meredith’s inane voiceovers, as she tries for a Carrie Bradshaw observation with more than a hint of Dr. J.D. Dorian. But at the end of the day, my hatred is for the writers and producers who brokered the death of Denny.
5. “Weeds”: And you think your parents made some questionable decisions in your lifetime? At least they probably weren’t suburb-dwelling pot dealers. (I’m assuming, I know.) It’s amazing how this show, and the incredible Mary Louise Parker, manage to take the more mundane family dramedy and impose an overlay of the drug-dealing world. Why hate it? First, for being on Showtime, which I don’t have. And secondly, the show reveals that the reason Nancy (Parker) has had to take this job to support her family is because BAM! Denny’s dead. Well, not Denny, exactly–her husband, Judah. Played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who also played Denny Duquette on “Grey’s Anatomy”, and who, at this point, I’m sure has got to be paranoid about his own ticker. I bet he gets EKGs all the time.
So here’s to a world where we can tackle on television the things we worry about, while remaining, in reality, safe from terror, with no plane crashes on uncharted island, where no one has to sell pot unless s/he wants to, and where men and women treat each other with respect. And here’s to good heart health. Seriously.
What shows do you simultaneously love and hate?

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