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The Genius of Fat Babies
A/N: This essay contains spoilers for a “Doctor Who” episode that aired in the US in 2008. If you’re upset about reading this because of that, then you really need to spend more time watching TV and less time reading about it.

Television has given us some pretty ingenious ideas: Chrismukkah (“The OC), the Biscuit’s toilet flusher remote (“Ally MacBeal”), The Evil Dead franchise’s Ash Williams’ chainsaw prosthetic hand, and pretty much all of MacGyver’s gizmos (“MacGyver”) and Sean’s creations (“Felicity”).

One of, if not the absolute, best ideas in my mind came from “Partners In Crime”, season 4 episode 1 on the British television series, “Dr. Who”.

For those not familiar with Dr. Who, here’s a very basic breakdown: the Doctor is a Time Lord who travels through time and space. He can go to other planets, but he tends to hang around Earth, helping fend off aliens and getting into various adventures. He likes to travel with at least companion, a human he meets at various points during those adventures.

In “Partners In Crime”, company called Adipose Industries starts selling a diet pill in England. Basically, a person takes the pill and loses a couple of pounds by the next day.

Sound too good to be true?

Turns out, while the people are sleeping, their body fat is used to create small whitish aliens, called adipose, who leave their host’s bodies and slip out into the night using open windows or doggie doors. The company’s tagline, “The Fat Just Walks Away”, proves to be more literal than any human (or Time Lord) originally thinks.

The Doctor and Donna, his future companion, are on the case and learn that Miss Foster, the adiposes’ nanny, needed to find a new breeding planet to create the small beings for the Adiposian First Family. Cornered, she accelerates the process, causing the diet pill users to die as all of their fat is used to make more of the babies.

This is where Miss Foster and the first family went wrong: they kept their true intentions a secret. I guarantee that they still would have had volunteers if they had revealed the existence of the adipose; in fact, I would’ve probable have been one of the first to sign up.

Imagine taking a pill and waking the next day two pounds lighter? Who cares if the fat becomes adorable little fat babies who don’t ask you to raise them, feed them, or send them to college? All they want is for you to eat another slice of pizza. In fact, I’d sign up for an accelerated program, popping off two in a night and losing four pounds every time. “I will absolutely have another piece of cake. It’s for my fat babies.”

With the company’s full disclosure, the need to suck out all of a person’s fat would disappear. The first family would have more babies than they’d know what to do with, the food industry would make money hand over fist, and people might just get a little more sleep at night. That’s a classic win/win/win. Okay, maybe the fitness industry might be a little upset initially, but fat babies will only make a person lose a few pounds, not become fit and healthy.

So if we have any Time Lords hanging out with their sonic screwdrivers while reading posts online (because why would they be doing anything else?), know that this idea might not be so unwelcome.

And neither would be that second piece of cake.

Credits: https://en.wikipedia.org

A Decade’s Worth of Memories - A Tribute to "The OC"
*Alert: This essay contains spoilers for the entire run of “The OC”. The show aired from 2003 to 2007, so really, you should’ve watched it by now. However, there’s still time, and I recommend it.

I was working on another essay to post when I learned that “The OC” ended 10 years ago today (thanks for the heads-up, People’s Choice), and I couldn’t let such a milestone pass unheeded.

I fell in love with “The OC” right from the start – okay, let me amend that. I loved the first season. I loved the fact that despite everything, Sandy and Kirsten fought for their marriage and together provided an anchor midst the dramatic maelstrom that was life in Orange County. I loved that Ryan and Seth had each other’s backs right from the start. I loved that Julie was a mom whose questionable priorities concealed humble beginnings she was determined to leave behind. I loved watching Summer grow the kind of party girl who dumped a passed-out Marissa on her front lawn to being a loyal friend. I loved Seth’s Chrismukkah traditions and the OC women’s dedication to their yogalates classes. I loved that Ryan, from Chino (which was evidently poor and dangerous), was supposed to be the bad element when in fact, all he really did was drink a bit of alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and got into fights to settle arguments. He wasn’t a virgin (but he didn’t brag and probably got the least amount of nookie out of all of the main characters on the show), but he stayed away from drugs (even marijuana), protected women, studied hard, and loved his family. The first OC party he attended in the pilot, he walked by teens snorting coke and encountered couples cheating with each other’s so-called friends. And he was the boy the parents didn’t want around their children.

The person I didn’t love was Marissa, even though most boys (and at least one girl) on the show fell for her. Marissa drank too much, had family issues, made poor choices in pretty much every aspect of her life, lacked direction and discipline, took drugs sporadically, suffered from depression, shoplifted on at least one occasion, and tried to overdose on pills. What did she have going for her? She was thin, pretty, and not a ‘mean girl’ even though she was, evidently, the most popular girl in their private school. Most importantly, she was constantly in peril. Everyone wanted to protect poor Marissa, and she was used to being saved. She was also passively poisonous, the beautiful ship whose propeller happened to chew up those who drew too near. Ryan’s brother got shot and fell into a coma, the bus driving him out of town being the only thing that saved him from returning to jail or suffering the fate of poor Johnny Harper, whose injuries from a car accident cost him a surfing career. Johnny continued to spend time with Marissa until he became so drunk and depressed that he fell off a cliff to his death. Kevin Volchok eventually turned himself into authorities and went to jail, most likely for vehicular manslaughter, after running Ryan and Marissa off the road. Ryan was almost arrested a few times: when Marissa had alcohol in the car (they were both underage), when she got caught shoplifting, when her mother arranged for Ryan to be blamed for shooting his brother (when it was actually Marissa), when he almost confessed to a crime to save Marissa from jail (Ryan’s brother beat him to it.). He was almost killed (by his brother and by Volchok), was beaten up (by Luke and almost by Volchok and Volchok’s friends) – in each instance, indirectly due to Marissa’s poor decisions.

I must confess that I stopped watching halfway through season 2 when the show first aired. I just couldn’t watch Marissa singlehandedly wiping out the teenage male population in town.

But then I heard that Marissa was going to die, and it was, as the opening song’s chorus by Phantom Planet goes, “California, here we coooomme!” once again. I tuned in to the final couple of episodes in season 3 and watched Marissa die in the middle of the road due to Volchok’s obsession with her.

Some say that season 4 jumped the shark because Ryan was involved in cage fighting, but it made complete sense to anyone who knew anything about him. Ryan deliberately didn’t fight in the cage. Feeling guilty for not being able to save Marissa, he stood there letting men beat on him until he couldn’t stand as a form of penance. He cut himself off from the Cohens, because he didn’t feel he deserved to be happy. The cage-fighting scenario was brilliant, because the pain was familiar to him after growing up in an abusive household.

I don’t want to say that I liked season 4 better than season 1, but I think it might be true. Season 4 developed Taylor Townsend into a sweet, brilliant stalker with attachment issues, exactly what Ryan needed. While she was strange, she was never a victim and didn’t need Ryan to save her. What she did do was make him laugh and allowed him to find balance in his life. Kaitlin, Marissa’s younger sister, remained in town and kept everyone on their toes, including forcing her mother, Julie, to grow up and learn how to take care of herself instead of relying on wealthy husbands. Summer found her bliss, and Seth learned that Summer’s running toward something didn’t mean that she was leaving him behind. Sandy tried to find a guy he could hang out with and learned that he was happiest at home hanging out with Kirsten.

I would’ve happily watched a few more seasons with Taylor and Ryan mixing it up, Seth and Summer (and their ‘child’, the rabbit Pancakes) figuring out their college messes, The Bullit (“Bam!”) and Frank Atwood both trying to woo Julie (who was pregnant with Frank’s baby), Sandy and Kirsten raising their unplanned baby girl. I wanted to know more about The Bullit’s sons (each, with the exception of Spencer, named after cities where his oil refineries were located – Austin, Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, Odessa, El Paso, Amarillo, Texarkana, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Hanoi. I can only hope that they each had a different mother –that could’ve been an AMAZING spinoff!). I wanted to find out how the brilliantly manipulative Kaitlin chose to utilize her skills once she became an adult and what happened to Luke and his twin brothers, Brad and Eric. I wanted Luke’s dad to find a man and settle down. I wanted to know if Kirsten’s sister, Hailey, and Julie’s first husband, Jimmy, ever got their acts together.

Thanks to SoapNet, I did go back and watch the episodes that I’d missed, and there were some true gems in there: Ryan heading to Seattle to fetch Seth back home, Ryan leaning into Sandy as he watched his brother’s bus leave town, everything with the Nana (Seth’s grandmother, played by the amazing Linda Lavin), Ryan realizing that there were some girls out there who will deliberately put themselves in harm’s way in order to be saved – and that he didn’t always need to be the one to save them, Kaitlin getting into all kinds of mischief without crossing the line from mischievous to despicable.

The list of actors who passed through the show during its four-year tenure is quite impressive (and these are just the ones I remember): Alan Dale, Amber Heard, Chris Brown, Chris Pratt, Colin Hanks, Eric Balfour, Eric Mabius, George Lucas (as himself), Gilles Marini, Jaime King, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jeri Ryan, Kevin Sorbo, Kim Delaney, the aforementioned Linda Lavin, Lucy Hale, Max Greenfield, Michael Nouri , Morena Baccarin (who is now on “Gotham” with her new husband, Benjamin Mackenzie, which begs the question: did they ever meet on “The OC”? They didn’t have any scenes together – at least none that made it to air.), Nikki Reed, Olivia Wilde, Paris Hilton, Paul Wesley, Robert Picardo, Shailene Woodley, Steve-O, Tia Carrere, T.J. Thyne, and Tony Denison.

It’s also impossible to talk about the show without discussing the music. They highlighted a lot of indie rock bands, none of whom I followed. According to IMDB and Wikipedia, Modest Mouse, Rooney, The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Subways all performed on the show, probably at The Bait Shop where Seth was employed (but where he never actually worked) and where Olivia Wilde’s Alex actually did work. I will say that each of the show’s 6 CD “mixtapes” are fantastic, introducing me to musicians like Jem (who performed a terrific version of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” at Julie’s wedding to Caleb) and Imogen Heap. But throughout the run of the show, I also heard plenty of songs I recognized: Boys II Men’s “End of the Road”, Jeff Buckley’s "Hallelujah", Journey’s “Open Arms” and “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”, The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and “Smile Like You Mean It”, Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual”, The Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.”, Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”, Will Smith’s “Miami”. While this show didn’t introduce me to Joseph Arthur, it did gift me with his “Honey and the Moon”.

After the show was cancelled, I confess that I tried to fill the void with “OC” creator Josh Schwartz’s new show, “Gossip Girl” (which he developed from a series of books by Cecily von Ziegesar), but where “The OC” was a cold beer on a hot day (refreshing, and the perfect way to decompress from the real world), “GG” was a Long Island Iced Tea (too many flavors jammed together with a potency that ensures regret the next day). “Gossip Girl” had no Kirsten and Sandy, no foundation - the adults were just as messed up as their kids, making the same poor decisions and unable to commit to romantic relationships or even, most times, their own children. They cheated on each other, travelled in helicopters to other countries and to the Hamptons, attempted to purchase their own burlesque clubs. It’s not that “Gossip Girl” wasn’t good on its own merits; it just wasn’t a satisfying replacement for “The OC”.

I headed to the past to try to find a show that could help me, and I ended up thirteen years back and about an hour down the road in Beverly Hills…90210 with Jim and Cindy Walsh. Brandon and Brenda’s parents ended up being the grounding support for all of their children’s friends, but they rarely had their own storylines. Cindy never developed a drinking problem or felt guilty about the last words she shouted at her father before he died. Jim never faced temptation with a former flame while stranded alone in a hotel room. Neither gave up their position as head of a company because they realized that their family needed them more.

When “The OC” worked, it was fantastic television. It had a couple who wasn’t perfect but who provided proof that healthy marriages – and good parents – could exist on an entertaining show. It had good kids who made lots of bad choices but many of those for the right reasons and most of the time to help out the others. It had characters that I still miss, ten years after its last episode, and actors whose careers I still follow and support when I can (I proudly own Peter Gallagher’s CD, “7 Days in Memphis” and used to watch him weekly in “Covert Affairs”; I currently watch Benjamin McKenzie in “Gotham” and have watched Adam Brody in quite a few movies. I regularly tuned in to Rachel Bilson’s “Hart of Dixie” and gave Mischa Barton’s “The Beautiful Life” a try. If I hear they’re in a project, I’ll watch at least the first episode of any show featuring Melinda Clarke – who could have chemistry with a telephone pole if she chose, Autumn Reeser, and Chris Carmack.)

I own the box set and have some of my favorite scenes saved on my DVR for when I need a quick dose of Seth and Ryan’s commiserating or Taylor’s stalking or Summer’s rage blackouts. I’ve found other shows to love, but “The OC” will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Credits: imdb.com, peopleschoice.com, Wikipedia
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Countryfied – Pride
When they hear that I’m a country fan, people tend to shoot me looks ranging from incredulous to confused. I can picture the person across from me hearing in broken Southern drawl, “I bet you can squeal like a pig” in his or her head. What they don’t realize is how varied the songs are in country music. Sure, there are tons of songs about trucks, and there are quite a few love songs, but country music offers much more variety. So, from time to time, I’m going to share some of my favorite kinds of country music.

Today I'll start with Pride.

Pride in Country: Right after 9/11, Toby Keith released “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”, a rallying song to help us cope while we were all trying to make sense of a world that would never be the same. Nowhere else can you find lyrics like, “…we’ll put a boot in your ass/It’s the American way”. Some said it went too far; as someone who’d lived in New York city for seven years and still had many friends there, I needed something that gave me more to focus on than just our loss of life and innocence.

Pride in your city: One of the great things abut Montgomery Gentry’s “My Town” is that it could be any city. “Where I was born, where I was raised/Where I keep all my yesterdays…/Where I came back to settle down/It's where they'll put me in the ground”. I love to travel, visit other parts of the country and other cultures in farther lands. But there’s something about the feeling of home, of the familiarity of where I came from that Montgomery Gentry brings forward with such clarity.

Pride in your ‘hood: For those who identify more with their region, country music has songs like Little Big Town’s “Boondocks”, which features a fun round at the end that’s fun to sing even for people who never lived close to a fishing hole.

Pride in Southern food and the things that matter: Zac Brown Band gives us “Chicken Fried”, whose title kind of says it all. To be fair, they also raise their glass to “cold beer on a Friday night” and “a pair of jeans that fit just right”. But they also remind us that “…it’s funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most/Not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes”. Preach, Zac, preach!

Pride in where you live: Miranda Lambert literally takes us home with “The House That Built Me”. Her voice drips with longing for a taste of the girl she’d once been in the house where she grew up. In her voice, the words, “I thought if I could touch this place or feel it/This brokenness inside me might start healing/Out here it's like I'm someone else/I thought that maybe I could find myself” are heartbreaking.

Pride for Self: In “She Couldn’t Change Me”, the singing duo Montgomery Gentry tell of a woman who wanted to change a man once she’d gotten him, but he stood firm with who he was. It pays to pay attention until the very end.

Pride in your roads: Yeah, I know. It sounds random – until you listen to Brooks & Dunn talk about that “Red Dirt Road”: It's where I drank my first beer/It's where I found Jesus/Where I wrecked my first car/I tore it all to pieces/I learned the path to Heaven/Is full of sinners an' believers/Learned that happiness on earth/Ain't just for high achievers/I've learned; I come to know/There's life at both ends/Of that red dirt road.” The verses are just as impactful as that chorus.

Pride in the escape: Jimmy Buffett has managed to turn Margaritaville into a brand of its own, with hotels and resorts, apparel, and casinos (although as the site says, “Where is Margaritaville? It's in your mind.” And any Parrot Head knows that to be the truth.). I make a point of stopping at the Margaritaville gift shop every time I’m in New Orleans and try to eat at the Margaritaville restaurant at least once while I’m there. But it all began with the song that college students all over the country (and possibly the world, especially in those higher education establishments located in tropical locales) know by heart: “Margaritaville”. I don’t drink margaritas or lay out at the beach, but I can still relate to the heart of “Wastin' away again in Margaritaville/Searchin' for my lost shaker of salt”, the idea of being idle, relaxing with a chilled beverage of my choice, and letting the world wash over me for a while.

Even if you aren’t from the south, you don’t own a vehicle – much less a truck – and you aren’t interested in fried foods, you still have quite a few chances to find country songs that can still speak to you. So the next time the words, “I hate country music” start to force their way out of your mouth, push them back in and try a country station. You might just be surprised that you have more in common with some of those songs than you might think.

Credits: allmusic.com, cowboylyrics.com, “squeal like a pig” from the movie “Deliverance”, margaritaville.com, metrolyrics.com, wikipedia.com
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Wickedly Awesome
Sunday night, I went with some friends to see “John Wick: Chapter 2”. I can’t remember the last time I went to see a movie on opening weekend; in fact, I can’t remember the last time I wanted to see a movie on its opening weekend. But there I was, at the 4:45pm show with two friends on either side of me.

None of us had seen the first movie in the theatre. All but one of us had encountered it on cable or elsewhere, watched it out of curiosity, and gotten hooked. Kind of like the character itself, the movie snuck around our blind side and shot us right between the eyes, those same eyes that now light up with excitement at the whisper of two words, John Wick.

According to IMDB, “John Wick” made $14,415,922 on its opening weekend, which means that there must be plenty of people out there who were more aware about this movie than my friends and me. But as I don’t seem to know any of them, I can easily forgive them for not sharing that information.

A while back we learned that they were making a second installment, and there was much rejoicing throughout the land (or at least around my neck of the woods).

I’m not going to spoil the movie – I purposely didn’t watch a single interview or commercial and only listened to one review before seeing it, because after watching the first movie every time I run into it on television (broadcast or cable), I wanted a pure experience on the big screen. Let me just say that this one has a little more humour, and some of the action had everyone in the theatre wincing and shouting, “ooh!” in unison, as if we’d practiced beforehand. It’s still violent, still action-packed, and absolutely fantastic. I can’t wait for it to go onto cable so I can watch it just as frequently as I watch the first one (and, I must admit, as much as I still watch the first two “Underworld” movies).

I know a lot of people went to see the newest “Fifty Shades” movie, which is appropriate considering the time of year (and where I’m going to end up going to support a friend). But I can’t think of a better movie to watch for Valentine’s Day than “John Wick: Chapter 2”. It has everything a woman could want: a man who can take care of business but who also knows how to love his dog, exotic locales, and plenty of action. Oh, and did I mention Common? Yep, Common’s all up in there too. Happy Valentines Day. And you’re welcome.


According to nerdist.com, there are already plans for “John Wick: Chapter 3” (http://nerdist.com/john-wick-3-chad-stahelski/). I know Keanu Reeves has one movie in pre-production (“Rally Car”) and the new Bill and Ted movie in development, but revisiting John Wick’s world sounds like the perfect recipe for a Valentine’s Day in the near future.

Did you go see “John Wick” when it was in the theatres? Have you seen either of the John Wick movies? Did they leave you wanting more?

Badassery on Board (and Off) the Nathan James
Badassery on Board (and Off) the Nathan James

When it comes to female badassery on television, a few women automatically come to mind: Melinda May (Ming Na Wen kicking butt as Coulson’s trusted confidant in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Kono Kalakaua (hard-hitting Grace Park on “Hawaii 5-0”), Michonne (Danai Gurira expertly wielding her katana in “The Walking Dead”), and Tulip O'Hare (Ruth Negga playfully lethal in “Preacher”). But as I was watching reruns of “The Last Ship”, I realized that sometimes badassery comes in quieter, but no less impressive, forms.

She started off as Commander Kara Foster, a tactical action officer (TAO) on naval destroyer USS Nathan James, and at first, I’ll admit that I was so occupied with other characters and that whole deadly virus thing that I barely noticed her. She did her job well and had a little illicit romance with Lt. Danny Green (which, well, yeah. He’s hot and kicks his own share of ass regularly and with panache.).

Of course, that whole thing blew up in their faces, and I became a little worried. I totally get why romances on board a military ship are forbidden, but it does make storytelling a little less romantic and spicy. How does one stay away from a tasty mealcake like Danny Green when he’s being all manly? Plus, we learned that she was pregnant with his baby! There’s no nursery on board ship! I figured she’d be written off or maybe be seen every so often calling him on board ship or whatever they do to keep in touch with loved ones, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t really thinking that much about her then either.

But then season three upped its game, and Lt. (Mrs.) Green was working in the White House, radiating confidence and competence with her mom to help her with the baby, and suddenly she had bumped herself up in my radar. She was the badass Nathan James representative on land, a one-woman force without the backup of a ship, a Wolf (who’s hot too – where is this ship, and when does it dock? I definitely need to visit), and an arsenal of guns. She finds an old friend (another hottie who’d pitched a ride on the ship in the first two seasons – hello, Tex!) and ends up in charge of one of those rag-tag groups of fighters I love on shows, a member of which, as it happens, is the President.

That’s right; she was protecting the President of the United States.

She showed off her marksmanship with various guns and had no fear in doing what she needed to do, but what impressed me more than the physical show of force was her intelligence. She figured out that something hinky was going on and used her cunning to learn who was responsible while at the same time saving the President. And then, after she got the President to safety, helped break into the White House and take out the

I give TPTB, the writers, and actress Marissa Neitling props for taking a character who could’ve easily been written off after providing a little office romance and giving her her own relevant storyline without sacrificing her love for her daughter, her husband, and her teammates still on board the Nathan James.

And then there’s red headed Lieutenant Commander Andrea Garnett, Chief Engineer on board the Nathan James. She suffered more tragedy and setbacks than anyone else on the show to date: she received a shrapnel wound in the first episode, was exposed to the Red Flu during the human trials of the vaccine, and learned that both her husband and daughter died from the virus while she was on board ship. Along with many other members of the crew, she was kidnapped and held hostage in season 3, helping in their own rescue. But she remained tough, helping to regain control of the ship in season 2 and was promoted to Commander to become the Executive Officer of the Nathan James. She might not have her own storyline, but she remains vital in the success of every operation, each maneuver. Strong, steadfast, and reliable, she is one of the backbones on the show.

What badasses.

Review: "Powerless" and "Superior Donuts"
Last week we saw the introductions of two new sitcoms, “Powerless” on NBC and “Superior Donuts” on CBS. Between the two of them, “Powerless” was more my kind of show nowadays:

“In the first comedy series set in the DC universe, Vanessa Hudgens plays Emily, a spunky, young insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes. It's when she stands up to one of these larger-than-life figures (after an epic battle messes with her commute) that she accidentally becomes a cult "hero" in her own right... even if it's just to her group of lovably quirky co-workers. Now, while she navigates her normal, everyday life against an explosive backdrop, Emily might just discover that being a hero doesn't always require superpowers.” (credit: NBC.com)

Alan Tudyk, Run Funches, and Danny Pudi provide the comedic muscle, and Vanessa Hudges is the bright-eyed innocent who’s come to the big city to make good and make her daddy proud.

Unfortunately, the jokes fall flat, and I can’t help but think that this could’ve been –and needed to be better. Granted, this was only the first episode, and all it takes is watching the first, horrible episode of “Friends” to remind a person that shows can improve dramatically, so there’s still hope for “Powerless” .

CBS’ offering: “Superior Donuts is a comedy about the owner of a small donut shop that’s located in a quickly gentrifying Chicago neighborhood. Arthur is a gruff, to the point Chicagoan who refuses to sell newfangled cronuts and macchiatos or renovate his dated shop that hasn’t changed since it opened in 1969. That all changes when enterprising go-getter Franco fast talks his way into Arthur’s life as his new (and only) employee, and convinces him that he can bring the shop – and Arthur – into the 21st century. Arthur’s supportive regulars include loyal patron Randy, a cop whose late father was Arthur’s best friend; her overeager rookie partner, James; Tush, a colorful customer who uses the shop counter as a makeshift office, where he keeps tabs on a variety of odd jobs via fax machine; Maya, a privileged grad-school student working on her Ph. D; and Sweatpants, Franco’s longtime friend who’s willing to dress as a donut to help drum up more business. Looking to cash in on the urban renewal is Arthur’s over-caffeinated neighbor, aspiring real estate capitalist Fawz, who pushes Arthur on a daily basis to sell the building to him. With his business in jeopardy, Arthur grudgingly realizes that he had better embrace the change around him and that Franco could be exactly what he – and the donut shop – need to thrive. Based on the play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning writer Tracy Letts.” (credit: CBS.com)

This sounded pretty old-school (all the way down to the fax machine), which isn’t necessarily a deterrent, but it’s pretty far away from the superhero world of “Powerless”. Judd Hirsch, Katey Sagal, David Koechner, and Maz Jobrani are the vets in this one, and they all know how to deliver even the most innocuous of lines with maximum impact. Jermaine Fowler, whose IMDB credits tell me that I should’ve known him by now, brings energy and a fresh-faced appeal, and he delivers his lines with an agility and deftness that allows him to hold his own among those who’ve more than made their mark in the industry. Anna Baryshnikov (yep, the ballet great’s daughter) plays the grad-school student, and while she didn’t have a lot to do in the pilot, she showed potential.

Watching this brought me back to the days of rapid-fire delivery, witty rejoinders, and a batch of brashness mixed with a dash each of sentimentality and sweetness that I remember from sitcoms from back in the late seventies and early eighties. Instead of sidestepping current issues, they address them with well-written humor and sarcasm.

I went into the evening thinking that I was going to be adding yet another superhero/supernatural show to the brimming cupful that makes up my TV viewing (“The Flash”, “Supergirl”, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, the last season of “Grimm”, “Emerald City”, the soon-to-return “The Walking Dead”, and on-hiatus shows “Preacher”, “Lucifer”, and “Gotham”). Instead, I ended up adding a sitcom that reminds me that a well-written joke deftly handled by actors up to the task never gets old.

Signs of Life, by Bymaga Jones 1/1
Signs of Life, by Bymaga Jones

Fandom: “Signs” (2002 feature film)

Characters: Office Caroline Paski, Graham Hess

Rating: K

Word Count: 2,400+

Summary: Officer Caroline Paski finds herself checking on the Hess family, and she tells herself it's part of the job.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

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For a list of my fanfic posted here
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The Friends You Make Here… by BymagaJones 13/13 - Epilogue
Chapter 12

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A/N: The final installment. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Comments and constructive criticism are welcome, no matter when you read this. I hope, if you have time, that you drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Story master page

The Friends You Make Here… by BymagaJones 12/13
Chapter 11

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On to Chapter 13 – Epilogue

The Friends You Make Here… by BymagaJones 11/13
Chapter 10

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On to Chapter 12