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You know what I feel like I don't get enough of in my TV shows all of a sudden? People yelling and being genuinely angry at someone they love in contexts other than "people about to break up." At least, that's the conclusion I drew after watching the glorious "A Quarry Story" of The Middle,

in which Sue's not-atypical teenage carelessness in Instagramming things leads to her whole school deciding "quarry party! Everybody bring beer and hang out at the place with large machinery, an explosives shed, a quarry, and various other ways minors could hurt themselves or destroy property in ways that could subsequently have cost her dad his job, a lawsuit, or an arrest on some endangerment charge!"

It was so interesting to see Sue actually do something bad, even though she didn't mean to and was more eager to punish herself than he was, and so novel to see that much justified yelling even though it was an accident. I forgot what it's like to just enjoy anger that comes from a place of concern. (Where did I even last see that? Castle, season 4?) The ultimate resolution of apologetic notes being pushed under the door steadily melting the anger made it all that much more gratifying.

But it definitely helped that this came not long after that really lovely college tour one where Mike asks if Sue ever wished he was more like Super Creepy Pancakes Dad, i.e. more emotionally available and attempting to be more involved in her girly interests, and she doesn't miss a beat before launching into an earnest and heartfelt speech about how he's the greatest dad in the whole world. ("Mugs don't lie.")

"My whole life, you made sure my bike tires were pumped up. You let me ride on your shoulders when I cleaned out the gutter. Whenever Mom yelled, 'I just can't do it anymore,' you made my lunch for a few days. And, best of all, when you find a pretty rock at the quarry, you always bring it home for me."

(Did I maybe tear up and cry a little bit? Yes.)

That one also came with a lot of really nice Mom-connecting-with-Axl stuff, so it's one of my favorites all around. Despite Sue accidentally identifying herself as Native American and later accidentally launching into what I think was a white supremacy tirade; I'm not quite sure on that because I skipped ahead as soon as I realized she was about to make herself sound racist while attempting to clarify her own race.

Also, I thought the Disneyworld trip was really wonderful. It's so rare to see things go right that I had to watch it a second time so I wasn't cringeing and tied up in knots of anxiety waiting to see them embarrassed again. One thing I really love about this show is how it pushes and pulls at the season bookends to make sure we actually see them experiencing summer, rather than just handwaving 4 months with a few lines of exposition in the season premiere like most shows.

And even though both the Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes were uncharacteristally hollow and largely joyless this year, I am quite enjoying Axl casually dating the female version of himself. Sometimes sames attract, and it's fun. GOSH I love TV relationships I'm not invested in. It's like I've skipped back to the 50s and I'm going on lots of casual dates instead of having a steady.

P.S. My boyfriend was reading The Infinite Jest when I met him, since David Foster Wallace is one of his favorite authors. It's one of the first things we talked about. I crowed with delight when Brick got it for Christmas.

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