Amanda Gates
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A Musings - August 2012

Last year I gave my thoughts on some of the new shows to hit primetime. I think I did a pretty good job, too; nearly all I predicted to get cancelled did. (Once Upon a Time hung on; I’m impressed (I don’t watch it).) I don’t have as strong of opinions this time around, but here’s what I’ll be watching for sure and also what I’ll be checking out as potential additions. (It’s long. I unapologetically love TV.)


A pretty dead night for us. We’ll either watch DVR’d shows or football, in addition to:

America’s Funniest Home Videos: We get quite the kick out of this show in our house, so it’s always on while we’re cooking dinner.

Walking Dead: My husband convinced me to watch this show and while it still scares me, I can’t look away. I’m very excited for the third season to see what Woodbury and the prison settings bring to the group.


Like I said last year, I just love everything about this show. I think it’s getting ready to wrap up though (Jason Segal’s ready to move on to bigger things; I thought NPH should’ve been picked for Regis’ spot, but he has big things in store, I'm sure), and while I’ll miss it, I can’t wait to see what happens.

Bones: Moved to Mondays! Brennan’s on the lam without Booth; we have a great, new regular villain; the Jeffersonian team needs to save the day…. It’s all very exciting. I love Brennan and Booth together.

Revolution: I’m actually kind of intrigued. I don’t know if we can fit another hour-long drama into the schedule, but I think I want to give this a shot. Plus, I enjoy Billy Burke.


Tuesday has become the new Thursday. Too many shows, something will have to give.

Raising Hope: We get a kick out of this show. Just the right amount of silliness. Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt are the true heart and humor of the show.

New Girl: A year ago I was worried this would just be a show about a dumb girl living with dumb guys. It’s not. This show just got funnier and funnier with every single episode. Quotable lines, awesome references (See CeCe Run, “C'mon, man, I'm not going to get Winklevossed because of your sloppiness.”). Can’t wait for new episodes.

The Mindy Project: I think this looks cute. My husband isn’t sure, but I think/hope this will be right up my alley.

Happy Endings: At the end of last season, I said this was a show I wouldn’t mind picking up this year. We watched a few and laughed at them all. But then they put it on against New Girl!

Go On: We watched the pilot a couple weeks ago and enjoyed it. I really do love Matthew Perry and want to see him succeed (He has some gray hair and looks so distinguished in this show). This show seems to have some heart and lots of humor. Will it last? I don’t know. But I want to watch a few more episodes at least. It’s after The Voice, which is a good lead in, but on the other hand it's against Happy Endings and New Girl, which is a tough spot.

Parenthood: It’s back! Will Sarah say yes to Mark’s proposal? How will Crosby and Jasmine do as a married couple? Will Amber stay on the right path? Hattie goes to college! I just love, love, love this show. Bring on the drama and let the tears flow.

Southland: We love this show, too. It’s back in February for 10 episodes.


We might need to use this day to watch some of the shows from Tuesday.

The Middle: I said it last year and I’ll say it again: This is a great show. It’s a true image of middle-class America. The complete opposite of (and more realistic than) Modern Family. An average looking family struggling to buy groceries and fix the dishwasher, wondering how they’ll get from day to day, while exhibiting questionable parenting. But at the end of the day, there’s love. I tear up at the end of nearly every episode.

Modern Family: While I can’t relate to this show in its richie-rich feel, it’s still hilarious. I feel sorry that Jay is going to become a father in his grandfather years (why do shows always have to add new babies?), but it adds a new element I suppose.

Animal Practice: OK, so I love that Justin Kirk is in primetime, but why on a show like this? Why with a monkey. Why? I think I’ll watch the first few episodes in support of Andy Botwin, but I don’t have high hopes that I’ll love it, or that it’ll make it to a full season.

Guys with Kids: I don’t know. Looks kind of funny? Maybe we’ll tune in between The Middle and Modern Family.


Thursday is going to look a lot different next year, that’s for sure.

The Big Bang Theory: We gave up on 30 Rock last year, so now at least we won’t have to DVR anything while we watch Big Bang, which is still hilariously good. Though Sheldon’s become a caricature of his original role and that’s a little sad to me. But I love the ladies of the show!

Up All Night: Kind of like Modern Family in its rich-people feel, but we loved every episode of this show last year. And while I didn’t appreciate Ava in the beginning, her character really grew on me by the end. I’m excited it’s back.

The Office: I was about to give up. If this wasn’t the last season, I wouldn’t be watching. But, I’m going to see my once-favorite show through to the end.

Parks & Rec: At least this show came along to take the place of The Office in my heart. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Leslie and Ben and everyone else. Ann with Tom? It’s a train wreck and I have no idea where the writers are going with that one.

Elementary: I’m intrigued. I haven’t gotten into any of the other Sherlock shows that have come up in the past few years, but I do love Lucy Liu (she was excellent on Southland last season), so I think I want to give this a shot, too.

Last Resort: I just don’t quite understand the premise, and how it can possibly be made into a series, but I just finished re-watching Felicity and Scott Speedman is on my radar. I’d like him to succeed. I don’t think I’ll end up watching it though…


Shark Tank:
We dig this show.

Community: Now on Fridays? Well, that’s the final nail in its coffin, so we’ll probably just watch until it’s over.

So, what will you be watching? What new shows are you excited for? What have you given up on?

Posted: Wed, 08/29/2012 - 08:57 | Comments: 1

Gone Girl: I'll write more about this soon, but it's been a LONG time since I've read a book I could NOT put down. I'm only halfway through and it's only getting better. Excellent storytelling, great characters, good mystery... the reader is pulled in many directions with regards to who you side with. So good!

The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater: This post is hilarious. I am in no ways a terribly healthy eater, but I think this post humorously breaks down why it's so hard to be perfect when it comes to this aspect of life. So many opinions! We just do our best in our house, and oftentimes that means chicken nuggets, frozen pizza or Easy Mac.

Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell on Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me: I love these two. I've loved her since Veronica Mars, him from Parenthood. Them together from the Sloth video. They seem like the cutest couple in the world. And they prove why on this short piece from the radio. I want to see their new movie coming out, even if it's due to be pretty silly.

McKayla Maroney isn't a Mean Girl: I love nearly everything Mary Elizabeth Williams writes on Salon. She oftentimes picks the less popular stance, but makes total sense while doing it. She's not afraid to say, Majority of America, you're idiots. I felt so bad for our gymnastics team this year, because they were ridculed for not only their performances but for how they looked. (And that is why social media sucks.) This piece comes to the defense of Maroney's facial expressions.

The Lies Every Parent Tells: This article isn't necessarily about lying to your children (though it talks about that too), but lying FOR your children. My mom was a huge talker. And open book. However, she married a reserved Norwegian man and proceeded to have a reserved Norwegian daughter. So, when it came to being an open book, she had to make sure she wasn't TOO open about the rest of us. We had many discussions where I'd say if people ask how I am, tell them I'm fine (where I live, where I work), but as far as any more intimate details than that, you must stop talking. She responded well to this, knowing that our personal stories were not hers to tell. Though I'm sure it could've seemed evasive to her friends who talked about every personal detail of their kids' lives. Anyway, I liked this article because it reminded me of how my mom was and how I want to be.

Tiger Mums, It's Best to Underparent: I liked the themes in this article that reflected on teaching your child risk, respect and also that mom and dad have their own lives too. That was one of the hardest concepts for me to grasp in Tiger Mom. When she would spend her weekend driving her daugther two hours both ways to lessons. What are you teaching her about 'me time'? Nothing. (But then Chua came right out and said she didn't understand 'me time.')

Parenting a Child with Anxiety: As a kid who thought about throwing herself down the stairs to break her arm so she wouldn't have to play in a piano recital (no, I never went through with it), this article really resonated with me. Best tip: Don't Push.

Your turn!


Posted: Fri, 08/10/2012 - 08:49 | Comments: 2

As I said in my Goodreads review: Dear Eugenides Editor, Just because your author has won the Pulitzer Prize doesn’t mean you should stop editing him altogether. This book could’ve been 100 pages shorter and 100 times more entertaining. Sincerely, A.

I didn’t care much for The Marriage Plot. In the first quarter of the book, I had a really hard time relating to the self-involved, over-indulged college students who sat around talking about philosophy all day. While maybe that’s what college is like for some, it’s not what it was like for me. I wanted to shake these kids and say, “This stuff doesn’t matter. Learn some transferrable skills. Prepare for the workforce. This isn’t real life!”

I couldn’t connect with Eugenides’ female lead, and the two male leads seemed like major d-bags, so I didn’t like them either. The detail was so extreme (a half-page describing her typewriter), that I ended up skimming to the dialogue most often.  There was nothing in this story to grab me, and while I don’t always need that (Middlesex wasn’t extremely grabby either, but it was so much better), this book needed something to make me actually care.

There’s a bit of discussion about manic depression, which I did find fascinating. It seems like it’s a no-win situation and really unfortunate that we haven’t gotten farther in terms of treating mental illness in this country. The relationships of the college kids and their parents were also pretty interesting, if lacking in depth for some. But, some could maybe pick out their own child-parent relationship from one of the three.

I admit that I’m at a time in my life when I can’t just sit back and sink into a long drawn-out character tale; I have too many things rolling around in my mind these days that I need a book to take me away and this one didn’t do it. My mind wandered instead, and that made reading it all the more frustrating. Other readers may be just in the right place in life for a story like this, though.

And finally, I’ll also admit that Jennifer Weiner’s gotten to me with her arguments about male writers being reviewed in the New York Times. “If a man writes about a family, it's like, oh, he's really writing about America," Weiner says. "If a woman writes about a family, it's just assumed that she's writing about herself." If a woman had wrote a book like this, it would’ve been called Chick Lit and not given the time of day by the NYT. However, I think it could’ve been way more exciting and a lot more fun to read.


Posted: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 10:53 |