Archive for the ‘Television’ Category
It’s always fun for my children to visit my mother in Maryland because her house is kind of a Shangri La for kids. (And since I’m her kid… the place rocks for me too, and really anyone who visits, even the GrownupGrownups.)
Mom has giant house with a dock, perched on a beautiful creek. There’s a giant pool, lots of wildlife and forest-ish stuff for kids to pretend to get lost in, a jet ski and a motor boat that are always the hit of the party despite occasional whiplashy side-effects.
My stepfather is cranky but completely loveable and he seals the deal by holing up in his ham radio shack all day to escape the madness (did I mention he doesn’t like mess? and when we visit it’s like we brought the NY zoo with us?) and when kids venture to his shack they are rewarded with gizmos and dials and hoozy-whatsits more dazzling than a 747 cockpit, along with Oreo cookies and personalized ham radio postcards to take with them.
My mother cooks and bakes and buys nonstop goodies so we all enter into a sugar coma immediately and usually only wake up from it about halfway back on the 6 hour flight home. And while the outside is fun and the kids would swim from sunup to sundown if we’d let them, the giant TV in the upstairs playroom is the perfect babysitter, keeping the kids quiet and happy while the adults get some ‘us time’ at the dinner table downstairs.
No one knows how to use the TV remote. Or maybe my step-nephew does, and possibly my brother does, but they usually aren’t around. To my stepfather’s credit, he FINALLY got rid of the “Universal Remote” (that was literally IMPOSSIBLE TO USE) after only 5 years of insisting “it works” so it is now sort of possible to navigate around the various shows, but it’s not easy.
So when I went upstairs to take my son through the play room to my bedroom where his night clothes were, the TV show programmed for the kids had ended and there was another program running.
Hmmmm, how shall I put this delicately?
A pornographic program.
Regardless of who is watching it, I think porn sucks. But when it falls under the unsuspecting gaze of my EIGHT YEAR OLD????!!!
My son went hyper immediately (may have had something to do with my hand that slapped down hard over his eyes), and it was him-against-me for a few seconds of primal struggle until I managed to grab the closest remote and NOT figure out how the fuck to turn the danged thing OFF.
I finally got it – close enough – the TV still buzzed but no show ran – and hurried my giggly son off to the bathroom to brush teeth.
The whole thing was forgotten in a minute, as no pornographic show holds a candle to a new toothbrush that lights up like a firefly when it comes to an eight year old.
Or so I thought.
Because as I walked my darling boy from the bathroom to his bedroom, he remarked sweetly, “Ima? When I’m thirteen, can I watch whatever TV shows I want?”
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
I never really got hooked on The Office, so I actually had zero percent idea of who Mindy Kaling was, and was really surprised when HuluPlus offered me the chance to preview an upcoming pilot episode of the new ½ hr comedy, The Mindy Project.
Who was this unknown chubby Indian girl staring at me from the show’s artwork, so happy and confident, with her REAL NAME in the show’s title? What rock had I been hiding under that I didn’t know who she was already? (The ‘mom of 3 kids’ rock, duh.)
Usually I start watching these ‘teaser’ pilots on Hulu and then stop 10 minutes (or less) after I started – because, let’s face it, most new TV shows are terrible.
Not this one.
Mindy, you are my hero.
I don’t know how she managed to do it – in one show, put all the things I’ve grown & evolved into thinking are WAY cooler than every other status quo represented in most half-decent shows on TV – and forget seeing them in any awful TV show, i.e. most of them: being a smart woman, being over 30, being non-white, not having a ‘sample-size’ body, being educated, being an OBGYN for God’s sake, believing it’s better NOT to have casual sex but instead to wait until you are not a teenager, with someone stable & ideally waiting to do it with someone you will stay married to your whole life….
I could go on and on.
Except it’s time for the next episode, so gotta run!
Until next time, readers… when I explain to you why you should also be watching The New Girl, Gossip Girl, Revenge, The Good Wife, and tell you the tale of how I finally healed from my breakup with Grey’s Anatomy (ie, watching all these new shows and not having any patience for that crazy show that jumped the shark already a season or 2 ago)…
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Every Friday, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!
And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:
What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!
If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.
I love to read. Memoirs, novels, chic lit, The Week magazine (for any of you not in the know, The Week is literary CRACK – go out and get yourself some right now, you’ll see), The New Yorker… I was the kid who bought Seventeen, Young Miss, and Jane, then poured through the articles, barely glancing at the pictures. (And you know what? While I’m at it, I’ll take a moment here to give a retrospective THANK THE FRICKIN LORD that I didn’t take much notice of the photos at the time– because I was also about the only girl I know who didn’t ever have an eating disorder as a kid. Connection? You be the judge!)
That said… why – oh why!? – do I have a terrible blockage when it comes to the simple task of reading directions?
Could it be inherited from my mother, who never touched a DVD until my brother set it up for her years ago? But she does read directions to some things, like the new Nikon she received last Christmas. So what is it? I start to read directions, and a form of severe dyslexia sets in – my vision gets blurry, I start to yawn, and the next thing I know, I’m either curled up asleep or distracting myself with whatever else is available – TV, phone, computer, a (non instructions-containing) book…
Recently I weaned my two year old. Boobs sore and bursting with milk, baby crying like I was withholding the very Oxygen she breathes, it occurred to me: should I have tried to read up on the process of weaning before attempting it? My other two kids weaned without blinking an eye, but I already knew the third was more attached than the others… so why didn’t I better prepare myself?
Worse than that was the preparation I didn’t do before having my first child – I spent the first two months of his life going out of my mind with exhaustion, frustration, and semi-depression. The kid wouldn’t go to f@$*(&#-ing sleep!!! Finally at the two month marker, I somehow was desperate enough to skim through The Baby Whisperer, a book instructing mothers on the Do’s and Don’ts of a newborn.
My eye landed on the part where she recommends giving the baby a pacifier and swaddling him tightly to help him sleep. I hadn’t wanted to give my baby a pacifier (see past blogfor that and other ridiculous pieces of advice our Nazi Bradley Birth teacher taught us) but… would it work? First time I tried it, he was on the changing table for easy swaddling access. His ear-shattering screams stopped the instant the pacifier hit his tongue. I nearly fainted as I watched my previously inconsolable little boy conk out in two seconds flat.
Or… is that just what happens when people read & follow directions?
Years ago, I was on anti-depressants, and they stopped working after a couple of good years. But instead of checking with my psychiatrist, or – God forbid, reading the instructions – I just stopped taking them, cold turkey.
Ever gone completely insane? No, I mean, like, really, totally out of your mind?
Yeah, me too. When I stopped taking those pills. Come to find out – what happened to me, is textbook what happens to anyone who stops cold turkey. You’re supposed to go off them slowly. I would have known that… had I asked. Or… read.
Now this is an important lesson for all of us, so I’d really appreciate it if you Tweeted this blog out to all your friends, okay? In fact, I’ll explain exactly how we can use social media to get the word out, just as soon as I read online how it’s done…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……..
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
What is it about turning blorty that has turned me into such a freakin waterfall of emotion?
Don’t show me an Olympian athlete win – or lose — or come in second or third or fourth – because I may just start sobbing with joy, happiness or disappointment.
Are you a fan of So You think You Can Dance? Turn your head from the TV to BatSheva on the couch and catch the latest episode of So You Think You Can Cry?
And the other day at the gym, while I maxed it out on the elliptical while watching a recent Colbert Report on Hulu? I’m not kidding, tears were STREAMING down my face as I cracked up so loudly, and so often, that at least two different workout-ers moved to machines farther away… from the crazy lady. Me. [to catch the video of the bit that sent me over the edge, click here and find it in that article.]
I’ve always been a sensitive soul. Teased for being tall & skinny? Cried. Read stories about death, pain and suffering? Cried. Heard about how your parents abused you? Sorry, I know YOU should be the one crying, but… SNIFF!!!
But lately, it’s getting a little out of control. More than a few times I’ve had to stop and wonder Could I be PREGNANT? Because the emotion is just so disproportionate – and the last time I asked myself that question, I’m not kidding, I was literally ON MY PERIOD.
Whoops… Sorry, guys who may have accidentally started reading this blog thinking they could have a quick laugh at my expense without having to read about menstruation.
But, back to my out of control emotions… they even leak out when I need them to be locked in a steel prison, i.e., when I’m punishing my kids for misbehaving. The other morning Yehuda and Racheli were so out of control that I wound up giving them both a solid whack on the behind just to stop the madness.
Yehuda sobered up instantly, sitting down and waiting quietly to fall back into my good graces. And Racheli? She was quiet… and then slowly she leaned over into a plastic megaphone that she had (without permission) brought home from camp that was sitting on the table next to her, contraband, until we could returns it. So she leaned into it, and she sang – softly, and off-key:
To put this in context, the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah is one of my absolute favorite all-time songs (not his version, but Jeff Buckley’s and some of the other covers), and it’s played almost every day while we’re all at home.
I was SUPPOSED to be mad. They had misbehaved. They had ignored my warnings. They had gone so crazy that I had to make good on my final warning to give them a swat on the tuchus. And now… Racheli was singing Hallelujah into the contraband megaphone.
I burst out laughing.
Darn these out-of-control emotions!
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Okay, I admit, that alone does not excuse my lack of blogging (and not even bothering to re-post old blogs) for the last month+. But it is my latest obsession. And it may not be a coincidence that I watched season 2’s finale episode yesterday, and today is the first day I’ve been compelled to write another blog, despite numerous kind encouragements from friends and fans.
It may also explain why I feel an overwhelming urge to blog in a pseudo-English accent. O, Madonna, how I understand thee!
(PS. Madonna, I also am forever grateful for… uh… thee… specifically, for being 10 years older than me. Thanks to you looking hotter than a teenage Vogue model, I am less afraid to turn – gulp – FORTY – in one week than I would otherwise be.)
(Plus, I don’t feel quite so ridiculous about my newly adopted English accent, albeit it’s only used while I’m writing, not during my actual use of speech.)
So what have I been up to, this past silent month-point-five?
No great excuses for neglecting the blog, I’m afraid. Other than slight burnout, indulgence of my “free time” (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Whew, that was a good one! Wiping tears now, continuing on…), a rigorous workout discipline which includes a 5-days-a-week Insantiy workout, and perhaps most significantly, getting plenty of sleep… which as any writer will tell you, may very well be the number one enemy of getting shit written.
Sleep, that is.
I see I’m still dropping the occasional curse word as I write, despite the good influence of my Merchant-Ivory-ish friends over at Downton Abbey.
Well, let’s see what this next month-point-five brings us… since it WON’T be bringing us the next season of Downton Abbey (until September, I’ve heard), then maybe, at best, it will bring us some more inspiration, and accordingly, more new Grownup Girl blogs. Probably not 3 new ones a week, tho – probably more like 1-2 per week.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
I have a confession to make. I’m cheating on you, Grey’s Anatomy. You too, House. Lie to Me, you left before I could say goodbye.
It’s just… House, you stretched to its breaking point my patience for falling in love with new interns only to see them kicked to the curb – and then Cutty left. I’m not going to lie and say my personal issues with abandonment may have blocked my ability to enjoy or even watch your final season (I still don’t know who the “everybody” is who died in the finale episode entitled Everybody Dies)…
…But then again, as you yourself know all too well, everybody lies.
And Shonda, I tried to go with you to the new territory of Scandal. Sure, Grey’s Anatomy has become maddeningly incestuous, with each episode’s ‘medical mystery’ almost exclusively having to do with one of the main cast members.
I mean, come on, a PLANE CRASH? REALLY?
But Scandal was worse, with its almost-but-not-quite Aaron Sorkiian dialogue and didactic, sappy politically correct point of view that was soooooooooooo in my face with every scene that even this dedicated Ivy Leaguer-Democrat-Super Politically Correct gal just couldn’t bear to jump onboard that bandwagon.
But lest you desolate readers think these recent desertions of my small screened loyalties left me ONLY in the throws of the occasional Daily Show or Colbert Report… think again.
Because there’s a new girl in town. And her name is…
The New Girl.
Or, more accurately, Jess Day. Or, MORE accurately… Zooey Deschanel.
My new crush.
I’m not just crushing on HER, though she admittedly is flawless. I’m crushing on the whole show. I mean, come on, SCHMIDT???
All of you must immediately go out and buy a HULU subscription and watch all episodes of The New Girl, if for nothing else, the character of Schmidt. Who is brilliant.
By the way, if you have never seen the show, I must warn you that you won’t like the pilot much, and then you’ll be confused and maybe a little angry that the black guy in the pilot gets replaced by a similar but slightly funnier & better looking black guy from episode 2, onwards. It’ll take you about 3 episodes to get over it, and then another one or two to fall in love.
But you’ll get over it, I promise. Don’t give up on it. Her. Them.
And BTW, when you’re trying to figure out what to watch with the rest of your Hulu subscription time, might I suggest The B in Apt 23? It’s also a new gem, one of those incredibly rare shows that makes me happy and sometimes even laugh out loud.
Touch, on the other hand? I admit, I’m addicted… but it’s completely against my will.
Don’t get me started….
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
On the Subject of potty mouths, or more specifically, my potty mouth, when I write my blogs… I have a question to ask you guys. When I speak – especially in earshot of children – I’m clean as a whistle.
Not so much, when I write.
Not every blog, as you know, but MANY blogs, are clearly not even the slightest bit appropriate for children to read. I’ve even, on occasion, forbid my father to read one of my blogs.
The trouble is, whereas my father will happily oblige, following my instructions & skip any particular blog I ask him to – will my son/children do so too, as they grow older?
Who am I kidding? The Fantastics – the song, “They Did it Cause We Said No” – I think song was written with my future children in mind.
What I’m saying is that I’m more than nervous when I imagine my son or daughter reading my blogs. And I have 100% no idea how/whether to prepare them for what they will read and/or how/whether to talk to them about it once they’ve read them.
Yeah, you! (if you are a parent of kids older than mine, preferably kids who turned out spectacularly)
….WHAT SHOULD I DO?
I’m not going to stop writing.
And while I may tone down my language, I also may not. Tonight it hit me. As I write this, it’s 10:15pm on a Saturday night, my husband is out seeing a movie with a friend and all three of our kids are soundly asleep. And what do I do? What sneaky, rebellious, grownupgirl actions do I decide to take in my free, “Me Time”?
I ate some old stale chocolate cake. It was disgusting. So, I washed it down with Nutella spread onto dry challah bread. I don’t like Nutella. Oh – and as I fixed myself a coffee with Truvia and cream and got ready to check out what we’ve got saved on the ole DVR (ooooh, caffeine after 10pm?! NOW WE’RE TALKING! What other naughtiness do you have planned, Sheva, skipping the floss and going straight to the tooth-to-the-paste?)
Yeah, when all that bad-to-the-bonedness was taking place, it hit me:
WRITING, OCCASSIONALLY, ABOUT BARELY-NAUGHTY SUBJECTS, USING, OCCASIONALLY, SORT OF-NAUGHTY LANGUAGE IS ALL THE EDGE I’VE GOT LEFT.
In college, and for about 6-7 years after college, I was a full metal Party Girl.
Now? I’m a loving mom, a dutiful wife, an ardent student of Kabbalah (I even eat Kosher & keep Shabbat, for Christ’s sake!), and…
A (sometimes) potty-mouthed Grownup Girl.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
So, Smashed, that new TV show? RRRRRRRRRR
When it was first publicized, I was excited and intrigued. Amazing cast (I mean, hello, ANJELICA HUSTON, anyone!?), a musical (I seem to be one of the only ones who doesn’t like Glee even though I tried… but I do love me a good musical), the girl from that sitcom with the gay roommate (can you tell I’m writing this late at night & too lazy to use Google?), and Steven Spielberg exec producing?
Oh yes, I DVR’d the crap out of that show.
And then I watched it.
Couldn’t make it past the first 15 minutes or so. Just seemed kind of boring, and lame, and… whatever.
Cut to: a week later, I’m at the gym on the elliptical with Hulu Plus ready to roll on my iPhone but no more unwatched episodes of Grey’s Anatomy or Gossip Girl. What to do?
Hulu Plus’ home screen suggested Smash (go, NBC advertisers!), and I bit. I finished the episode I had begun a week earlier. And, lo and behold…
I got hooked.
Next episode was even juicier, and my husband was instantly hooked too – he had fallen head over heels for Katharine McPhee back during Idol, so this felt like he was watching his first-born fly, all growed up. And I had to concur – Kat McPhee is flawless in the show.
But on the other hand…
There’s that writing partner guy, what’s his name, the piano player, whose chin kind of melts into his long neck. I like him but he reminds me of a poor boy’s version of my more-than-excellent Yale roommate and once-best-friend, Derek, who is 5 times the looker, piano player, and person than the Smash guy will ever be!
Sidetracking here: Why in the world isn’t Derek one of the world’s premier film directors yet? He directed a film over 10 years ago that was one of the best movies I’d ever seen. Since then? No directing gigs, to my knowledge. Yet another reason to hate Hollywood: Derek should be directing and starring in Smash, not the other Yahoo.
Speaking of whom, that Yahoo’s personal assistant guy in Smash is also THE dumbest. First of all, we’re supposed to believe that girl in the shower in his apartment is his girlfriend and he’s NOT gay? I mean, WHAT? Secondly, he’s just really stupid and annoying and such an obvious “villain” in the show. It’s just weird. AND, where did his random Real Estate friend come from in last week’s episode? I mean, huh? What in the world was Anjelica doing, having drinks with them?? I thought Spielberg was behind this, not my 5 year old!
But the icing on the cake is the stupidest storyline – SPOILER ALERT! (for anyone who isn’t watching the series yet but may rent it at some future unspecified date) – the rekindled affair between that chick from the sitcom and the guy playing DiMaggio.
I mean, COME ON!
First of all, he’s not at all good looking. He’s annoying. As is she, granted, but her husband in the show is cuter, more interesting and nicer than that married guy she’s trysting with, not to mention they have a kid together and supposedly want to adopt another.
Speaking of which, did anyone BELIEVE that ridiculous scene where she was stupid enough to kiss the DiMaggio guy outside her kid’s bedroom window? Oh, her son saw them? Really? DUHHHHHH….
Whew! Thanks for letting me vent, dear readers.
Help me, Anjelica Huston, you’re my only hope! Okay, well, you too, Kat.
Until the next episode…
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Cursing… I’ve written about it before, and my feelings are pretty much the same – in a nutshell, I think language is better served without lots of cursing. I even thought the recent Modern Family episode that got a lot of attention for little Lilly’s ‘hilarious’ cursing was silly, and – while I wasn’t offended by it – I thought it was kind of a lame storyline for such a brilliant show.
Once in a while, I do believe that a juicy curse word can really spice up a sentence. Not for kids – I firmly believe that anyone under 18 should keep their mouth squeaky clean. (Yeah, I know, pulled that one right from the file of Do What I Say and Not What I Did. But anyway…) Whereas I think adults should reserve the right to occasionally punctuate a thought with a pithy curse word, I’ve noticed lately I’ve been using a bit more of that kind of ‘spice’ than normal.
Case in point: yesterday’s blog. Re-reading it, I actually cringed when I read the word “sh**” twice in one blog. (See how prudish I’m feeling today – I can’t even spell the word out without censoring myself!) It wasn’t so awkward that I felt the need to go back in and edit the words out, but still… I guess I’m getting influenced by my surroundings.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook knows I work for the famous Paul Fisher, ex agent to supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour and current star of the docu-series Remodeled. And anyone who has watched Paul on the show knows he is no stranger to foul language. The thing is – it works for him. It works for his assistant Joseph too, because Joseph is funny and dark and sour.
But for me… mom of 3, student of Kabbalah, and Director of The Network Community & Wellness Program for models & talent… not so much.
Time to f***-ing clean up my act!
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
I’ve written before about how I’m obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy, how I’m addicted to Grey’s Anatomy, and how my addiction with Grey’s Anatomy grew so large and so deep that its stars actually started stalking ME. How, in a word, Grey’s Anatomy is like crack.
Well, readers, I’m here to tell you: Crack Sucks.
You know how at the beginning, crack is all awesome and fun-producing and high-making and people bonding?
SO IS GREY’S ANATOMY.
But then you know how after a while, crack takes over your life, becomes your obsession, and causes you to miss out on life’s important events because your slavish devotion to it trumps all else?
SO DOES GREY’S ANATOMY.
And finally, you remember how in the end, crack doesn’t even work anymore but you still can’t seem to put it down; it doesn’t fulfill its initial promise of total perfection and happiness, and ultimately, destroys lives, but you JUST CAN’T STOP without intervention?
YOU GET WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS.
At this point, I hate Grey’s Anatomy.
Wait – I’m sorry, Grey’s Anatomy! Don’t leave me! Please!! I didn’t mean that!!!!!
It’s tough, people. Isaiah Washington, T.R. Knight, and Katherine Heigl are gone. (No I still don’t care what the actors’ names are – I Googled them if you must know. O, but how I loved their characters.) Meanwhile, the ones who are still around are getting a bum deal. Miranda Bailey keeps getting paired with hot men she has no chemistry with. McSteamy is getting old, McDreamy is getting annoying, little Grey is a pill, and Sandra Oh’s character’s journey off the deep end was 100% not believable, nor is her chemistry with the hot red haired guy.
SO WHY CAN’T I JUST LET IT GO??
The new episodes sit on my Tivo like so many old chocolate truffles in the cabinet – beckoning even as you know they are BAD BAD BAD. I know I may get a temporary high when I eat them – or watch it – just as surely as I’ll know I will get that feeling afterwards… you know, like I just wasted my calories/time. And perhaps even caused a little diarrhea.
Time for rehab…
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)