Many people are familiar with the writer and director Joss Whedon. And most of you have (hopefully) heard of poet and playwright William Shakespeare. He is widely considered the greatest writer in history. He is certainly widely studied in schools, and generally held as the paragon of not just theatre, but all written language. However, during his time, his work was for the masses. Poor and uneducated people paid one penny to come stand next to the stage and see his works performed. Although now, because of the differences in dialect between the English of our time and that of his writings, his works are associated with a highly educated class, and are certainly not considered mainstream entertainment, this was clearly not always the case.
As I was reading King Lear, a tragedy of misplaced faith and dramatic irony, I thought about how if this was considered essentially “pop culture” then and is now studied in Universities, then surely there’s a modern counterpart. It seems weird to think like this, but imagine high schoolers in 400 years dutifully opening a copy of a work from our century. It would likely seem as strange to them as Shakespeare does to us, yet they would continue to study it because of its value which transcends time period. Based on this, it is fun to think today about what works from today might fit that category. It is tempting to consider more “literary” works of today, but remember that Shakespeare was not considered “high-class” or “inaccessible” in his time.
Based on this, I have thought about Joss Whedon as a modern-day Shakespeare.
The days are getting shorter, the mist starts to pool at the waterfront, and it’s almost winter in Washington State. The mythical town of Twin Peaks is quintessential 1990’s Americana, but after the death of a beloved teen, FBI agent Dale Cooper is sent to investigate, and what he finds might be much, much more than he bargained for. Get ready to take a trip back to 1990 for Twin Peaks, the warped FBI drama that begs the question: Who Killed Laura Palmer? The Library owns it on DVD but you can also get the soundtrack and if you really get into it, you can go to the Downtown Branch of SPL and look at a guide to the town and show, Twin Peaks.
David Lynch has also done a lot of other really rad projects: (click images for links to SPL catalog)
T.V. Is Good for You: 90s Favorites
Blast from the past! (or less than twenty years ago…) Sometimes it’s Sunday night and I just want to curl up on my bed and watch someone else’s high school experience – these are my absolute favorites.
The Drama: My so-called Life
It’s as much fun to laugh at the woes of Angela Chase as it is to agree with them. Played by a young, redheaded (pilot starred the bottle of incriminating hair dye and a shocked mother) Claire Danes, Angela is a high school girl trying to break out of her sheltered life. She is perfect for her role, but everyone around her really makes the show: her kid sister, her crazy best friends, and the “totally dreamy” Jordan Catalano. Expect all kinds of drama: heartbreak, mother-daughter, coming of age… but don’t call it cheesy; it can’t be cheesy because it’s from the 90’s!
The Comedy: Freaks and Geeks
One of my all-time favorites because this show is so darn sweet. You have your cliched cheerleaders and quarterbacks but they’re not the stars – the weird kids are. Quite literally, the Weir family is. Lindsay Weir is a geek (straight A’s, mathlete, button-up shirts) turned freak (skipping class, parties, band tees). To the geeks she has become a full-fledged freak, but the freaks are not ready to accept Lindsay and her tentativeness to stray from model student status. It’s hilarious and all the characters are lovable (most of all Lindsay’s brother Sam and his friends. They look more like 5th graders than freshmen); they just don’t make it like this anymore, do they?
If you are a Glee fan, listen up. On September 10th a new wonderful Ryan Murphy show began. It is called The New Normal. The show follows a gay couple, Bryan and David, who are trying to have a child via surrogate. Their surrogate’s name is Goldie and she has a young daughter named Shania. Bryan and David want to be involved in Goldie’s life while she is pregnant, so they invite Goldie and Shania to stay in their guest house, causing many entertaining storylines. But the unfortunate result of this is Goldie’s grandmother popping in and dampening Bryan and David’s happiness of a new child. She is openly against gays, which causes even more drama and famously hilarious Ryan Murphy lines.
The storyline is great, and I think it is a good subject matter to make people more aware of. I personally love the connections between Glee and The New Normal. For one, Bryan is a television producer, just as Ryan Murphy is. Even funnier is that one of the people on the show he produces is named Clea, an obvious Glee reference that I loved. If you are interested in a light hearted, fun show, tune in to NBC on Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c. You can also check out more Ryan Murphy works, such as Glee and American Horror Story, from your local library. Enjoy!
A Single Man is one of the most awesome movies that I have ever seen. It talks about an English professor who finds it hard to focus on his job after losing the true love of his life, Jim. Although the movie is based on a stream of consciousness book, it is easy to follow. It’s full of great actors. In fact, Colin Firth was Oscar-nominated for his leading role in this movie. It’s a great puzzle. Yet, it’s clear and concise. I did not hear about this movie until I was about thirteen. I did not watch it until I was about seventeen. It was worth the wait; it’s fresh, new and retro. I loved it and I’m sure you’ll love it. Continue reading →
Every weeknight, except for Fridays, Jon Stewart does a half-hour segment of The Daily Show. There’s always an interview segment, and everyone from A-list actors to renowned astrophysicists come onto his show. Stewart presents his own unique view of American politics in a funny, relatable way. His view is that of a hypochondriac Jew who has lived in and around New York City for his entire life. Continue reading →