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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
OCT
24

Life Without Schitt's Creek

This may be the first time I've finished a series and immediately considered just starting it all over again. Because it's just a little too painful to consider that there won't be any more Schitt's Creek to watch. And in a time where all the world is watching WAY MORE TV than ever before thanks to, well, a lack of other choices, I've certainly discovered some gems. Breaking Bad, The Good Place, and others have proved to be gripping, innovative, and delightfully endearing. Yet no show has moved or entertained me more than this one. In trying to pinpoint why that is (these are the types of things that writers, particularly writers in a pandemic, are wont to do), here are the top three reasons.

The Humor. One could argue it may not be EVERYONE'S kind of humor, and yet I can't imagine getting along with any person who doesn't find it funny. And it's a clever, understated humor, made even better by the lack of audience and the speed and subtlety with which it comes at you. It's a kind of humor not based on people telling jokes or saying funny things, but more about the actual situations the characters get into. And they get into a lot, considering the Rose family is thrust into this "normal" life having never before experienced anything like it. Their reactions, to pretty much everything (and David's facial expressions), are priceless. And Moira filming that winery commercial? Tears. From laughter. 

The characters are so comfortable being themselves but are also willing to change and grow. Moira herself is a bit of a freak show, but she's so unapologetic about it. David, too, beats to his own drum (those outfits!!), but it's just not a thing. It's never really talked about nor does it need acknowledging, because it just is. And the audience gets that and embraces it. I wish I saw more of that, both in myself and pretty much everyone I know, this ability to simply be ourselves. Because who else is there for us to be, anyway? All the characters from the town are equally themselves, and though a bit odd for it, they still shine bright for doing what they know and for supporting each other and the transplant Rose family. All that said, you still see so much growth from the characters as they learn things about themselves, as they push past struggles and limitations, as they find purpose. Stevie's storyline was particularly compelling to me, her quest to find out not just what she wanted to do with her life, but also her recognition of the need to push her own limits. Her Cabaret performance was one of my favorite moments in the entire series. That "Maybe This Time" number? Tears. From inspiration.

The positive family relationships. It takes some time to get there, of course, but at the end of the day, what I loved most about this show was that it was about a family coming together and growing closer. Not really because they chose to, and I get that, but a bi-product of all that time living together in the Rosebud Motel was that they rediscovered what they had in each other. One of my biggest frustrations with TV shows that depict family life is that the families are so rarely portrayed as having positive relationships. There's so much fighting and bickering, so many jokes about marriage being sucky, parents not making an effort with their kids, kids taking advantage of their parents. Not to say those things don't happen even in the best of families, but there were so many sweet storylines in this show that depicted this family--with already-grown children, I might add--genuinely enjoying and wanting the best for each other. To the point that when Alexis points out as the show comes to a close that she's really going to miss being together, being able to pop over and just see her family, it feels like an actual ache in your heart. Tears. From sadness over there being no more.

 

AUG
18

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

While in New York City last week, I posted on social media about the world feeling heavy right now, about the Mrs. Maisel pop-up exhibit at the Paley Center for Media reminding me how refreshing it is to laugh. In response to this, I had a friend ask me if everything was OK, as if perhaps I had hinted at some sort of life meltdown or tragedy by posting such a thing. But I'd been referring to the world in general as being heavy. Headlines, almost all of them, seem too much to bear on most days. And it can't be ignored. So what are any of us to do to feel happy?

While pondering this question I thought about, well, Disneyland, but I also thought about television, about how TV shows can serve as an escape for 30 or 60 minute intervals. And yet let's consider many of today's popular shows. I'm currently in season 6 of Game of Thrones. A great show, and I'm invested, but it's so violent, and so intense. Or how about Killing Eve? Also a good show, a great one, but equally intense, and downright disturbing. And speaking of disturbing, there's Handmaid's Tale. So, see, even the shows we turn to for an escape provide situations and circumstances that are just as heavy. 

That's why The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is so treasured. It's light, it's funny, and it reminds us of a simpler time. And what I find so enjoyable is that it's not as if there aren't crappy things happening, because there are. But it's the way the show and the characters carry on, navigating uncharted waters and doing their best to go after what they want. The Paley Center's exhibit is worth a look if you find yourself in Manhattan in the next few weeks. It will make you smile, laugh, and stay in the center's auditorium watching episodes on the big screen much longer than you'd planned. Tits up, everyone. There's always something to smile about.

FEB
07

The X-Files Reboot

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It's such a dirty trick, really. How TV shows get us hooked and then go off the air. I've pined after the ends of Sex and the City (luckily the two post-show movies helped me cope), Gilmore Girls, Friday Night Lights, and others, but no show have I ever missed more than The X-Files.

I was raised in a home that observed the sabbath day, such that my parents strove to have it be a day truly set apart from all others. Meaning if it was something we did during the week (like go over to friends' houses or watch TV), we didn't do it on Sunday. The TV thing was really a killer, because that's when The X-Files was on. So I would record each episode on a video cassette and watch it Monday morning before school. And considering that I had not one but TWO earlybird classes in high school (meaning I left the house by 6 AM), this meant I was waking up at 4 AM just to watch that week's episode. True, unadulterated dedication if I ever heard it, especially for a teenager.

What made it so good? You could say the conspiracy theories were interesting, the monster episodes spooky, but really it came down to Scully and Mulder. Their personalities were so different, Scully so rational and Mulder so into the paranormal. Some say their lack of romance was what kept the show so good, but all I ever wanted was for the two of them to get together. So I hung on every touch (that New Years kiss!), every line of flirty banter. That Fox has temporarily brought back the X-Files has made my 2016 such a treat so far. A decade and a half older, and it's not like they don't look it, but Scully and Mulder are still the same (so is the opening song/credits), and this reboot seems so much like the original series that I'm wondering why they ever took it away. Here's hoping we can convince Fox to make this a permanent thing...and not just because I'd like to see them get together for real.

MAR
19

The City that Never Sleeps. Ever.

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Since moving to New York, I've never slept so horribly. It really all boils down to one reason, and it's because no one else sleeps either. I'm being completely serious. I fall asleep each night (after much tossing and turning and shaking my fist at the wall) to the sound of the TV blaring from the apartment next to me. That might not sound very unusual, but when I wake up at 2:00 AM, and, let's be honest, again at 4:00 AM and maybe a few more times in between, this woman is still watching TV. The drone of TV voices and movie scores is constant. I hear the same types of noises from downstairs as well, only the woman downstairs--in addition to having it in for my cat--has some type of symphonic stereo system, and whenever there's something on the TV or radio that she thinks the whole building ought to hear (usually breaking news about terrorists), she hooks that thing up and lets it rip. I once ran into the news-blaring, cat-hating woman at the door of our building. It was midnight. I was just returning from Times Square where I had seen a show. She was just returning from doing her grocery shopping. Groceries! At midnight! What are these lives people live??

My window overlooks a garden and courtyard area, and across the courtyard is another apartment building. Most people don't close their blinds (including me), which means at night, my walls are lit up by the various flashes and colors from all the cross-courtyard big-screen TVs. There's one in particular that is truly spectacular, and I find myself looking up and over through this window throughout the day. Not so much because of its size, but because I'm amazed that I've never once seen that TV turned off. It is literally always on. Whether children's cartoons, children and adult video games, movies, or TV shows, that television is a part of every moment of that family's daily life. I certainly indulge in a little TV myself, usually reruns of The Big Bang Theory or Gilmore Girls (did I tell you about the time I ran into Alexis Bledel in Lord & Taylor??), but all the TVs around me make me grateful that it's not a huge part of my life. Grateful that there's a stack of library books on my table. Grateful that each day's to-do list includes things like gemology assignments and finishing the next chapter of my manuscript. Grateful to have hobbies and pursuits and interests outside of the tube. (That said, do you think the people across the courtyard would be open to having guests over for March Madness? Asking for a friend.)