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My show, your show

My show, your show

There is absolutely nothing better than meeting a person who loves television as much as you do. It means there isn’t going to be a dearth of conversation and you won’t ever need to rely on small talk.

If they’ve watched the same shows as you, brilliant! That’s a few hours easily spent talking about Studio 60 and Community. If they haven’t, that’s good too. Then there is that wonderful feeling of recommending something amazing to them (made more wonderful when they watch it and confirm it’s amazingness). You haven’t seen The Wire? Oh my god, give me 4 hours of your life while I tell you in detail why it’s the best thing ever made while simultaneously telling you, you have to watch it to understand it’s brilliance.

The show you say is your favourite is always a telling hint about who you are. Here are the broad categories that TV watchers I have met can be classified into –

The hardcore watcher: They like their shows to be dramatic, hard-hitting and want every scene to make them go “faaaaacck”. No namby-pamby sitcoms for these guys. They like their heart rate at a steady 300 please. Their favourite shows include Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones or Boss.

The honey watcher: The honey watchers might be the ones who share motivational quotes of Facebook and Pinterest, they just might. A bit sickly-sweet, these guys get all their life advice from TV, and will generally use the term ‘heart warming’ to describe a show. They are always on the lookout for a deep meaningful conversation and believe that true love makes the world go around.  They also love to cry. Their favorite shows include Gilmore Girls, Dawson’s creek, Bunheads, Glee or Parks and Rec.

The obvious nerd watcher:  Have you seen Firefly? Is it better than Battlestar Galactica? How can you not have seen Falling Skies? I hate The Big Bang Theory. This type is pretty self-explanatory.

The time-warped watcher:  These are by far the worst kind and I have met so many of them. The ones who talk way too fondly of Friends or Will and Grace. I love both these shows but, god, move on and stop quoting dialogues. I know every dialogue from Friends too but how about waking up in 2012, man. Get an internet connection and change the time setting in your head! If you say how you doin’ one more time, I will punch you. Oh my god, remember that episode when Joey tell Ross to punch him and…shut up!

The always-ready-for-a-fight watcher:  I truly love these kind of people (mostly since I belong to this category). It doesn’t even matter what their favourite show is, it could be The Wire, Six Feet Under, House, Boston Legal or whatever, they will defend it like their annual salary depends on it. You could spend hours telling them that Suits is a speck of dirt on Boston Legal but they will hit you with Harvey Spectre quotes and shake their head at you when you talk about Alan Shore’s epic closing statements till you want to slap them. But they are the best kind. Increasingly, my comeback for everything is, you haven’t seen The Wire? Yeah, you don’t count.

Passionate television watchers of the world, you guys are amazing. This week I have been watching Louie, Go on, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Newsroom. Talk to me about these and I’ll love you forever.

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TV deaths that made us cry

TV deaths that made us cry

Wallace from The Wire:

16 year old Wallace with his million foster siblings. We were just falling for his wide eyed innocence and BAM. By his two best friends. But the game is the game.

Bodie from The Wire:

Bodies death was spectacularly horrifying and sad. At his corner, he died a soldier, loyal and tough to the end.

George from Grey’s Anatomy:

Oh poor John Doe almost dying for his noble act. Wait, what is that he’s writing on Meredith’s hand? Wait, what? 007? That’s….Nooooooooooo. The post aww-poor-baby George dying in the fifth season was the most heart-breaking death of all time. Hands down.

Ned Starck from Game of Thrones:

That scene, the sudden confusion when Joffrey said what he said, the suddenly hushed crowd, the blurred sea of faces and then the birds that took flight when the axe fell. Tears. So many tears.

Lexie from Grey’s Anatomy:

Characters on Grey’s Anatomy tend to move on from heartbreak pretty damn quickly. Yes, they cry and are angsty, but soon enough, an incredible hottie walks into Seattle Grace and it’s all ‘let’s have sex in the on call room’ before you can blink. Lexie on the other hand, sweet, smart little Lexie never really got over Mark. Her death last season was so untimely and depressing, it left me clutching my face and with an empty box of tissues.

Six of our favourite kids on TV

Six of our favourite kids on TV

Debbie from Shameless: Debbie, played by Emma Kenny is the kindhearted soft -spoken Gallagher. We don’t know whether to weep when Debbie cries at the loss of the borrowed Aunt Ginger or to applaud when she stoically decides that she’d rather deal with a drunk father than a father who relapses. Her vulnerability, wisdom and good sense makes us love her more when we see her among her hardscrabble, tough siblings.

Arya Stark from Game of Thrones: She’s a tough one. She doesn’t simper in fear, she doesn’t moan in despair and she recites the names of her enemies before she goes to bed so she’ll remember that she has to kill them.  Played by  Maisie Williams, she is alert and smart and she never shows fear.

Manny from Modern Family: Manny is an adult in an kid’s body. He drinks coffee, writes love poetry, had a turtle called Shel Silverstein and usually has some great advice for everyone. He’s also a great salsa dancer. Played by Rico Rodriguez, as Gloria says, “Manny is old soul.”

Hope from Raising Hope: Very few toddlers, since the Olsen twins on Full House have had cuteness combined with the perfect expressions, whether they are entirely indifferent like baby Lily on Modern Family or just a “lump” like Emma on Friends. Played by Rylie and Baylie Cregut, Hope seems to almost enjoy her crazy but sweet family’s antics.

Jake from Two and a half men: When this show began a few hundred years ago, Jake, like Charlie Sheen was extremely cute. Angus T Jones (Tv’s richest kid) plays the stupid and gross kid and you still manage to feel bad for him. The opening credits of the show has him transform to a chubby cute kid to a….taller chubby cute kid.

Luke from Modern Family: Luke, Luke, Luke. He’s fun, adventurous, stupid and almost evil. Sure, Manny’s funny because he’s already an adult, but Luke is a real thirteen year old, he doesn’t care about consequences and he just wants to have fun.  What’s really fascinating is that vacuous Luke, who hates the cops is played by Nolan Gould, who is a member of Mensa. Watch him on Ellen and you’ll fall in love with him.

The many types of young readers

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The many types of young readers

Let me get straight to the point. My generation is not the reading kind, just like Rhett Butler is not the marrying kind. Come to think of it, we’re not the marrying kind either. Why would any young man worth his salt, curl up with The Sorrows of Young Werther when he can hit the Tote on the turf and get his drink on? Why would the long-legged power walking beauty whip out Pride and Prejudice when she can catch it onDVD? Why read 1984, when you can experience its first stirrings live thanks to Dhoble?

A good strong reading culture is on the sad wane. Forget all this terrible talk, about the tablet crushing the beautiful world of pen and ink. Last year, the NCPA’s Lit fest opened to a tremendous response but there were more grey heads than non-grey, in my opinion. Still, I have a theory. In my limited experience there are categories of young readers in Bombay. And before you wave your prized bundle of Marvel comics at me, this theory excludes Graphic novel readers, of which there is a painfully enthusiastic number.

There are the Jack Kerouac readers. It’s fun to chill with them. Nine times out of ten, they identify strongly with the throw-everything-to-the-wind-and-set-out-on-a-travel-adventure spirit of On the road. But they barely act on it. Travel across the length and breadth of India? Sounds great, but can I get my old job back?

Then there’s the fantasy genre lovers. Elves, quests, dragons and evil dark lords. Yep, yep, yep and yep. I know one bright spark who put tunes to the songs in TLOTR. A simple way is to identify this kind of reader is to ask whether HBO’s Game of Thrones stays true to the written series. He won’t stop talking even when you excuse yourself to go get a refill. Or he might inform you disdainfully that the series has very little fantasy staples. “The dragons and the white walkers are just for masala,” he’ll say dismissively. But that won’t stop him from clinking glasses with a solemn, “Winter is coming.”

Third, The Secret. I know it’s nauseating. But there is a significant portion of my peeps who swear by the ridiculous notion that if you want something desperately enough, the universe will plop it into your lap. And if the universe fails you it’s because you didn’t want it badly enough and let a negative cloud of doubt and fear creep into your mind. Ugh. Other self-help books also on their bookshelf include every variation of “How to get so stinking rich, so fast, that you breathe out gold dust, and people bow to you while throwing flowers in your path.”

The fourth kind are just funny. These ones probably have a degree in English Literature which in this country means that they can do little else besides rattle off a list of books that they define as “classics.”  They’ll confuse Dracula with Frankenstein and use the word post-modern in the wrong context. But it’s adorable how much they try.

Number Five: Copywriters.

Every page of Douglas Adams, The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.

There are sub categories but these are the major chunk. Am I wrong or too blind to see that young Bombay is in fact teeming with champions of other genres? Fill me in and I beg of you, strike me down from my throne of superiority and snobbery. It’s really no fun up here and nobody invites me to parties.

 

Female characters who shine (despite bleak circumstances)

Female characters who shine (despite bleak circumstances)

Elliot Reid from Scrubs

Through eight seasons of Scrubs, I have never stopped feeling bad for Elliot. She’s pudgy, and a complete emotional mess. She cries in broom closets, she loses all her stuff, she gets dumped so many times, I’ve lost count. But she’s a great doctor. She braves all that stuff (when she isn’t crying in a closet) and faces up to Dr Cox managing to not go utterly apeshit crazy.

Christina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy

Meredith Grey is one of the most boring protagonists ever. Christina is the real rockstar here. She is the best doctor at Seattle Grace, she’s focussed, she’s driven and she will not take your crap. Well she cannot seem to keep a man. But who cares? She isn’t whining and crying like poor little Meredith, she goes out and kicks ass.

Robin Scherbatsky from How I met your mother

Robin is a news reporter, a pop sensation, a bull fighter, a scotch drinker and a wearer of boots. She is starved for attention from her father and can’t have babies and has a job, that is downright humiliating at times, but through it all, she manages to look hot…I mean, keep a brave face and still be funny.

Arya Starck from Game of thrones

Her circumstances are not bleak. They downright suck. First her dad’s head gets chopped off and she barely has time to register this and she has to make a run for it on account of the most powerful people in the country wanting her captive. She escapes horrific fires, men with swords and inevitable torture. She’s alert, quick-witted and brave. Oh and btw, she’s only 11 years old. Stick ‘em with the pointy end, Arya.

Kima Greggs from The Wire

She’s a woman cop in the most dangerous unit in the city but who cares about that, right? We love Kima, because she comes out of five seasons with her professional integrity intact. Not even her righteous boss, Daniels can boast of this. In season one, when she awakes from a coma, she recounts exactly what she experienced, even when it meant that an extra name could put away a hardened criminal. Justice and fairness, all the way. In season five, she picks chain of command over shielding an errant colleague. Natural Poh-lice.

Opening sequences we love

Opening sequences we love

What’s better than a great TV show? A kickass title sequence that builds it up (buttercup)

Game of Thrones

Fresh prince of Bel Air

Mad Men

The Simpsons

Dexter

The Wire

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