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My Love Affair With Summer TV

Song Lyric of the Day:

When I am through with you / There won’t be anything left

The VLA / “When I Am Through With You”

Remember the good old days, when summer meant no school, family vacations (there’s a good reason my family’s never gone camping again), playing outside, and catching up on
reruns of your favorite TV shows? Those days are long gone, replaced instead with all-new episodes of summer series, with nary a regular-season TV series repeat to be found. So what shows are hogging my attention this summer?

(FX, Tuesday @ 10PM)
The premise sounds simple enough: Young, idealistic lawyer lands her dream
job with one of New York City’s most prominent litigators. But this legal drama plays out more like a thriller than a standard TV show. Glenn Close‘s legendary Patty Hewes is not only known for her legal prowess, but also for the destruction she leaves in her wake, with casualties ranging from fellow colleagues to rivals to witnesses to her new protege, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). As Arthur Frobisher (I would so name a dog Frobisher), the man Patty is hell-bent on destroying, Ted Danson is a revelation, a self-made man who cost 5200 of his employees their retirements. The beauty of Damages is that you never know quite who to root for. From the dark plotlines to the love-or-hate-them characters (Anastasia Griffith is amazing as Katie Connor), this show revels in its moral ambiguity, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Rescue Me (FX, Wednesday @ 10PM)
As you know, I’ve been a fan of this raucous FDNY-centric drama since it started. And while this season has been its most uneven so far, it’s still leaps and bounds above most other TV dramas. A true testament to star Denis Leary‘s talent (he also writes and executive produces the show), the show can still veer almost seamlessly from humor to chaos to tragedy and back in the blink of an eye. And, like the viewers, the characters carry the weight of their losses and triumphs with them, no matter how much time may have passed or what events have transpired in the meantime.

Burn Notice
(USA, Thursday @ 10PM)
How great is it to have Jeffrey Donovan back on TV? Pretty damn great, as this fun action series proves. As “burned” (read: fired) CIA operative Michael Westen, Donovan takes cases to provide him with enough income to continue to investigate who burned him — and why. Gabrielle Anwar (also on Showtime’s The Tudors) is a sexy, sassy spitfire as Fiona, Westen’s trigger-happy ex-IRA member ex-girlfriend. Bruce Campbell provides additional comic relief to an already humorous show as Sam, an FBI informant and wannabe gigolo who just may or may not be Michael’s best shot at finding out who destroyed his CIA career. Sharon Gless is also perfectly cast as Michael’s chain-smoking mom, Madeline, who likely knows more about her son’s career and life than she’s letting on. Burn Notice is exactly what a summer TV series should be: fun.

(Showtime, Monday @ 10PM)
Ah, Weeds, how do I love thee? Mary-Louise Parker is pitch-perfect as Nancy Botwin, a widowed mother of two who becomes a pot dealer to keep a roof over her family’s hea
d. Funny, profane, and blissfully, gleefully politically incorrect, Weeds mines pure gold out of every scene and every character. Family scenes are always anything but routine, with Hunter Parrish and Alexander Gould (as Silas and Shane Botwin, respectively) exhibiting far more talent than most of their contemporaries and holding their own against Parker’s fierce, in-over-her-head mom Nancy. Justin Kirk (Andy) pretty much steals almost every scene he’s in, facing stiff competition from Kevin Nealon‘s perpetual stoner, Doug, and Celia, played with perfect bitchiness by Elizabeth Perkins (easily her best role, and work, in years). Romany Malco is another asset as the not-quite-lovesick but definitely smitten Conrad, Nancy’s partner in crime. An added bonus of the show? The music score is dead-on, with lyrics often as funny and witty as the dialogue over which they sometimes play. The guest covers of the theme song, “Little Boxes,” are always impressive; this week’s version by Angelique Kidjo just might be my new favorite.

Other shows holding my interest this summer:

Flash Gordon (Sci-Fi, Friday @ 9PM) — Fun, other-worldly time travel adventure. The show wouldn’t work if we didn’t believe that Eric Johnson, as Flash, could indeed save every one of us.

Psych (USA, Friday @ 10PM) — Already a cute show about a fake psychic, Psych has kicked it up a notch this year, with more laugh-out-loud moments courtesy of James Roday and Dulé Hill‘s odd couple pairing.

Californication (Showtime, Monday @ 10:30PM) — David Duchovny revels in the debauchery that his frustrated writer, Hank Moody, doesn’t quite thrive on. I’m not completely sold on the show, but Duchovny, the premise, and genuinely funny dialogue are holding my interest for now.

What’s got your attention this summer?

Today’s 33 Days of Pattie item: Planning a weekend in Atlanta for next month.

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The 33 Days of Pattie

Song Lyric of the Day:

Sometimes / You picture me / I’m walking / Too far ahead

Quietdrive / “Time After Time

I officially kicked off The 33 Days of Pattie on Thursday, exactly 33 days before my birthday (September 17). I figure I’m going to be a palindrome this year, so why not? I’m not doing anything particularly special, maybe just doing something all for me one day or trying something new the next. So what have I done so far?

Thursday: Declared the start of The 33 Days of Pattie and got ideas from friends (take macro photos, skydive (uh, maybe next year), go skinny dipping (not bloody likely)
Friday: Deleted the last 13 unwatched episodes of
Prison Break off TiVo (I figure someone has to buy the season two set for my birthday)
Saturday: Tried pineapple on pizza for the first time — and liked it; took pictures of and from the Gay Street Bridge downtown for the first time ever
Sunday (today): Bought books for my soldiers in Afghanistan for the next round of care packages; excavated the long bureau in my bedroom

Feel free to make suggestions. Within reason, of course. You can send the illegal ones directly to me via email.

Other than deciding to try to really enjoy my birthday this year, I haven’t been up to a whole lot since I last updated. Basically, I watched my dogs come down from their two-day high of puppysitting Willow, worked, saw Rich off on his second solo vacation, and gave in and went to the doctor about the hot flash/overheating problem I’ve been dealing with. The good news: It’s not early onset menopause. (Hearing the words “early ovarian failure” spoken aloud by my doctor really trivialized all my bravado joking that I might actually be heading into early onset menopause. I may not want a kid right now, but I’m pretty sure I will in a couple of years.) The bad news: Blood tests didn’t show anything else, so we still don’t know what’s causing this. This morning, as I was gathering books in our guest bedroom to take to McKay’s, I got so overheated I threw up. So I think I need to call my doctor again tomorrow.

As I mentioned, Rich went on his second solo vacation of the year. He and some friends hit up GenCon in Indianapolis. So what did I do while he was gone? Friday I worked from home, but the evening was a wash thanks to a migraine. You know — one of those really fun ones where every step you take hurts and blinking is excruciating.

Yesterday I met Caren and Kelley at Tomato Head on Market Square for lunch. I have to say, they really do have the best gourmet pizza in town. After lunch, we checked out the Farmers’ Market (it runs through November), browsed the local shops, and made our way to Gay Street. I was happy to see Yee-Haw Industries was open — it’s never open when Rich and I are down there. Caren suggested we check it out, and we were all glad we did — not only does the shop sell prints of its vintage-style posters, postcards, calendars, etc., but the owner, Kevin, let us walk around and explore the shop. I took a bunch of photos, of course. As much as I enjoyed looking around, I can only imagine how much Rich will enjoy exploring it when he gets a chance, as he loves print and graphic design. Now I just need to get frames for the Cat in Space and Dog in Space cards I bought.

After hitting Mast General Store, we called it a day. I then spent a quiet evening home with the kids, watching the pilot episode of Flash Gordon (LOVE the high-def channels), and actually enjoying it. I’ve already set up the season pass on TiVo. Of course, it doesn’t hurt one bit that Flash Gordon himself, Eric Johnson, is quite pretty in high-def. Rowr.

Today, I started the day off with a bang by vomiting (see above). I felt well enough to go ahead and hit McKay’s as planned, only to discover that their prices have increased even more since my last visit. I’m sorry — $4.95 for a used paperback? No thanks. I ended up getting some really great deals at Hargreaves Books instead, so my soldiers are still going to get some books (including new paperbacks for only $3.99).

After lunch with Tamara and Jamie, I came home, where I’ve been on a laundry-cleaning-organizational-bureau-excavating bender ever since.

Rich should be home any minute now, so I’m going to wrap this up for the night.

And those are the latest haps.


Filed under downtown Knoxville, market square