Tag Archives: The Simpsons

Fresh Off the Boat

Last post I mentioned the ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, a show I’m currently mini-binging[1] on Hulu. When I wrote that, I was still very much on the fence as to whether I even liked the show. In fact I was puzzled about why I liked it at all, since it’s a fairly standard sitcom in many regards.

Ever since I’ve been paying more attention to my reactions while watching, and I’ve come to realize that it’s not a matter of being undecided — it’s a matter of having developed a strong like/dislike for the show. As I wrote with Halt and Catch Fire, my feelings are mixed, not vague.

And it turns out to really tap into what attracts or repels me to sitcoms.

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Secret Code

kid codeWhen I was a high school kid, my dad and I sometimes played a game where one of us would make up a secret code, write a message in that code, and the other would try to decipher the message. We generally used simple substitution ciphers, so it was an exercise in letter frequency analysis and word guessing.

There’s a cute secret code I found in a book back then that really stuck with me because of the neat way it looks. It also stuck with me because it’s so simple that once you learn it, you really can’t forget it.

So for some Saturday fun, I thought I’d share it with you.

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Sideband #14: Harry Potter

Saw the last movie in the Harry Potter series tonight. This isn’t called Movies: Harry Potter, because this isn’t particularly a review or commentary on the movie. I don’t have much to add to all that’s been said. Liked it a lot; great job; respectful of the source material; exciting battles; thumbs up. One review suggested it was hard to find anything to complain about. I agree; any complaints would only be nitpicking (not that that can’t be fun sometimes).

And I’m not nearly enough up on my Harry Potter canon to nitpick! I confess I’m the most tepid of fan fans. I’m a fan, but way on the low end. Have the books; read them many times. Seen each movie at least twice; some many times. Do not own any of the movies, and I haven’t bought anyone’s fan gear since I was a junior high Star Trek fan (the Kirk, Spock, Bones, “and the rest” ones). If it tells you anything, sometimes it was a year or more before I got around to buying the books.

[To our younger readers: “and the rest” is a reference to an equally old show that also ran only three seasons and also featured a crew of people on a ship. Actually, they were on the ship, but the weather started getting rough. Fortunately the fearless crew had courage, and the ship was not lost. (They were, however, seriously delayed past their tour return time!)]

Anyway, a question that occurred to me was, “Where was I (and where were you) in the books & movies time line when I (and you) discovered Harry Potter?” If I recall correctly, for me it was shortly after the first three books, so I was already a fan when I heard about the first movie. I think the buzz around Goblet of Fire (the book) is what finally got my attention. By then the books were on fire. (Actually, bad association there; the books were hot, but not in any way actually burning.)  (Unless by some anti-witchcraft crazies!)

So we’re talking 2000-ish for me. Before the movies, but after several books.

I’m not an early adapter of trendy. Depending on the over-hyped to actually-cool ratio, I may not adapt at all. I’m generally allergic to trendy. “Everyone loves it!” is reason enough for me to avoid.

On the other hand, sometimes things are trendy because they are seriously cool. Cool enough to appeal to a wide cross-section of people. House, M.D.; The Simpsons; The West Wing; Boston Legal… all hot tickets, all high quality.  I eventually jumped on all four of those bandwagons. In the case of the last two, I got into them after the series had run its course and gone to DVD (which made it easy to consume them entirely and at will).

Now I wait patiently for DVD seasons of House, M.D. and The Simpsons. I hate commercials very much, and my schedule doesn’t permit catching TV s hows at their regularly-scheduled times (which is why I constantly miss The Closer).

What really chaps my ass is that friggin’ Fox makes House and Simpsons available through OnDemand, but they do two money-grubbing, bastardly things that makes me hate them. First, they disable fast forward when watching in OnDemand. Second, there’s something wrong with their Closed Captioning—it doesn’t work on my system. The captions flash on for a millisecond–just long enough to recognize that they’re there–and then vanish.

I have a hearing defect, so, no [CC], no watch. Plus it makes me hate Fox all the more, makes me avoid their shows as much as possible, makes me never give them a break and makes me think twice about the products of any advertiser I note there.

But that’s a rant for another day.