Thursday, September 04, 2008

fall awakening

Being sick has given me a chance to catch up on my TV-watching, and it turns out that this is a good week to do so, because there are premieres. Once upon a Zap2it time, my personal schedule was frustratingly dependent on when things premiered, when things were replaced and when sweeps week occurred, and my vocabulary included words like “Upfronts” and “Press Tour.”

Now my TV is more like a box of costume jewelry in the back of my closet. I open it only when I stumble upon it, and sometimes I’m delighted by how surprisingly lovely certain faux turquoise pendants are, and sometimes I’m just weirded out.

Tuesday night I watched the premiere of the new 90210. I was excited to see that the West Beverlians—edgy teens that they are—were performing Spring Awakening and that, in the tradition of backstage musicals everywhere, the director seemed to cast it by staying on the lookout for shy-but-pretty girls on set crew humming the words during rehearsal, then demanding that they take center stage and replace the bitchy star.

Also, I liked this piece of dialogue:

Naomi: Are you breaking up with me?

Ethan: No, I’m breaking up with us.


Last night I watched Sarah Palin give a speech that seemed more naggy than inspirational, and I fanaticized about Tina Fey’s forthcoming impression, which I probably won’t see if I’m feeling better by the weekend.

When AK and I had had enough of that, we switched over to the premiere of America’s Next Top Model. Why do I always forget how much I like this show?

I like it when Tyra very seriously says things like, “Ladies, you have five minutes to put on your metallic cat suits.” And I like how even though it’s a “reality show,” in this episode they magically beamed themselves different places. In the next episode, I hope Tyra will lift a couch with one hand, a la Vicki the robot on Small Wonder.

I decided that I’m rooting for Isis, the MTF model. Not just because she’s a good queer poster child, but because she knows her shit and she has personality that seems to be more about life experience than about doing a raise-the-roof gesture with her hands and shouting “heeeeyyy” the way one girl (Nikeysha?) kept doing. (By the end of the episode, it was clear that even she regretted having chosen this as her signature move.)

Isis’ photo made her look sexy and vulnerable—it doesn’t hurt that she has big wounded Jennifer Beals eyes—and would I be off-base to guess that she has more of what they call, in the trapeze class biz, “body awareness” than most of the girls?

Whether she’s studied how women move in order to pass as one, or studied how men move in order to pass as one in a previous part of her life, my hunch is that, when she puts her hand on the side of her face or pops her knee to the left, she knows exactly what she’s doing and why. Compare that to gorgeous, dorky Marjorie who seems to have woken up in her body approximately two weeks ago. Isis’ body might be less natural, but that’s (part of) why she’s so good at making it look like she was born to live in it.


Peter Varvel said...

"it doesn’t hurt that she has big wounded Jennifer Beals eyes"
LOVE this! . . . forever Flashdance fan geek that I am.

Laura and the family said...

I'm sorry you are feeling under the weather. I must admit that you are FAR AHEAD about the T.V sitcoms. I have missed so many shows, even when I'm feeling #@!&

I surely hope you feel better, cousin.

Robin said...

Hi there, Just found your great blog circuitously through the post on Houston Lit List. Feel better soon!

Cheryl said...

P: Jennifer Beals' eyes are the only good actor on The L Word.

L: Thanks for the get-well wishes. I'm almost there! Meaning I might be able to handle actually renting a movie tonight.

R: Thanks for clicking through! In these days of short attention spans, that's practically like reading War and Peace. :-)

Ms. Q said...

Check out for a wonderful/witty/catty digestion of Top Model - it's even good when you miss an episode.
We're also rooting for Isis - I mean on top of the fact that she's MTF, she was discovered by Tyra in a homeless shelter - which means she is a frontrunner in ANTM-land, an underdog everywhere else.
The house has quickly broken down for me into bigots (lead by the scary Clark) and big-hearts (lead by the dorky but lovable McKey).

Cheryl said...

I missed the homeless shelter fact. No wonder she looked all sad and life-experienced. Go, Isis, go!

Misty Harris said...

1. Thanks for pointing out the J. Beals connection. It has been driving me nut strying to figure out who Isis reminded me of!

2. I was sorely, sorely disappointed with the new 90210. All I wanted to do is jump on a plane to LA, strangle the screenwriters and force-feed cheeseburgers to the female cast members. But maybe I was having a weird day.

3. Love the blog!

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Misty. If you want to do some screenwriter-strangling in L.A., you're welcome to crash at my place. It would be my good deed to the future of TV.