29 January, 2012

Don't threaten my love of Murder, She Wrote. I will cut you.

I recently received a letter from a new friend. He is in "the biz" but I did not know that, and our paths had never crossed in real life until Christmas Eve, when they crossed at the holiday party of a mutual friend. And, to be specific, by "real life" I mean the very strange thing that happens when you are an actor, where conversations go like this:

Him: Hi, I'm M, nice to meet you.
Al: Hi I'm Al.
Him: Hi.

[four minutes of totally "Muggle" type conversation occurs--about LA, the holidays, and 90s television {including a reference to Lady Aberline from Mister Rodgers}, followed by--]

Him [cont]: Oh yes, I saw you.
Al: "Saw" me?
Him: On SVU. Yes.
Al: How?
Him: ...I...watch... television.
Al: Right.
Him: You were great.
Al: Thank you.

Him: I mean I've seen you in other theatre things... like Hello Again [the hostess of this holiday party was also in Hello Again]...and you know, Master Class.
Al: Right. [it dawns on me, taking me by surprise, once again, as it always does, that a lot of people see an actor--a lot more people than an actor will ever see...think on THAT...]
Him: Anyway!

And then we proceeded to dissect the ENTIRE CANON OF 80s and 90s pop culture for the next two hours.

Recently I received the following email from him:

Al Silbs.  Happy 2012. 
I have to tell you – and I don’t want you to be overwhelmed… I don’t want things to get awkward or anything… but… in the near-month since our meeting, I have definitely found myself watching Murder, She Wrote and…  I mean.  Al.  I just don’t know.  It really doesn’t live up to my childhood memories.  Like, in my mind it was just MacGyver except with Cora Hoover Hooper.  But.  It’s REALLY not.  And they’re all in Maine!  I’m just a little conflicted.  I mean, I was able to watch all 7 seasons of Family Ties recently – and it totally lived up to my warm sense-memories.  But, Murder, She Wrote?  I’m not as sure.  

Maybe I just caught some clunker episodes?  But …I feel like you might dispute the notion that there are clunker episodes to begin with.  So, I’m not sure.

I think you might be alarmed by my festival of underlining in the previous paragraphs.  It’s a work-habit, but then I started thinking – this is a chick who pays attention to syntax and details, I have to keep it consistent.  So now it looks like I’m e-mailing you a term paper.

How are you?  How’s Astoria?


JB reflects my *exact* emotions to this email
"How are you?"
"How's Astoria?"
Is this man OUT OF HIS MIND? How can he flippantly ask HOW I AM when he has attacked my love of Jessica Fletcher so profoundly? [mouth sputters!] Pah pah pah! Does he think I will forgive him?! Does he think he can flatter me so simply because it is evident that he follows me on "The Twitter" closely enough to know that I am choking my blog readers with English lessons as well as unnaturally re-interested in Murder She Wrote enough to record it every day onto my DVR and watch it obsessively because Jessica Fletcher is a friend who never lets you down?! [waves her arms and stomps around in Lucy Van Pelt-style fury.]

I needed a moment.
So I took it.
I did breathing exercises and I got a grip.
Then I responded.

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoooa. (I hope you could hear that the last "whoa" section was sung to the first few lines of "She Loves Me"....)

I don't know what to say.

I mean. What do I address first?

The fact you opened with Al Silbs?

Your consistency with the underlining?

The "term paper" you wrote?


Who. Do. You. THINK. You. Are?

MSW is not good. And it is not just "Family Ties and Next Gen are not good but really just dated but heartwarming nonetheless" WAY.
It is actually pretty bad.

...M? Jessica is SO disappointed in you...
I will throw 80-90s TV a bone: there was totally a "style" of prime-time drama that was akin to the comparison of "people once, in recent memory, dressed up to travel on an airplane and now they wear their pajamas." (Thank you Reading Rainbow, thank you Marina Serkis and Gates MacFadden, thank you the entire cast of Diagnosis Murder for reminding us that this is ACTING...and by the way please send this memo to David Caruso because he clearly did *not* get that memo....)

But I firmly (!!!) believe MSW falls under the category of "so bad it's good" in a car crash way, as well as "entertaining purely because of nostalgia" way. It is entertainment that falls in the Venn Diagram of CSI: Miami with Magnum PI. Yay-- someone was eaten by an alligator in the Everglades but the short shorts and mustache makes it all palatable. Plus the frozen face of Angela Lansbury at the end as the credits roll fills me with Pavlovian glee.

There is a word for this kind of entertainment in England-- camp. It is CAMP. It is light, fluffy, virtuously clunky, terrible television that goes down as smooth as doughnuts for dinner-- delicious, too sweet, and you are hungry five minutes later.

The End.

[Angela Lansbury freeze frame]

Basically, this is the message I want to send: do not threaten my love of Murder She Wrote. I will, and I truly mean it, I will cut you.



Related Posts with Thumbnails