I Can’t Watch

I have seen a few episodes of Glee recently, or parts of episodes, and I have come to a sad conclusion: I can’t watch it.

I would love to be able to watch it.  I mean, a show about high school show choir, with better production values than Hempfield could even conceive of?  Yeah, sign me up.  Except for one problem: the cheerleading coach.

The character’s name is Sue Something-that-begins-with-an-S, and I cannot stand her.  Just having her on the screen sets my teeth on edge.  She is everything I hate about authority figures: dogmatic, arrogant, bullying, illogical, and arbitrary.  As I understand it, the idea is that she grew up with absentee parents and a handicapped younger sister, and this is supposed to explain her.

Well, it may, but it doesn’t excuse her.  Your parents weren’t around much, so you had to raise your little sister?  Doesn’t mean it’s OK to bully teenagers under your authority.  The little sister in question was handicapped?  Doesn’t mean you can randomly insult people who’ve done nothing to you.  You’re nice to the one girl who reminds you of the sister?  Doesn’t get you out of being a normal human being and actually interacting with people as equals.

I realize that the whole point of the character is to be a parody of the extreme, abrasive teacher, and that I am supposed to hate her–for that matter, everyone in the show is a parody of something.  But I think the creators took it too far.  I hate her so much I can’t watch, because at any moment she might show up…

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Two Dresdens

SPOILERS here for both TV and book versions of the Dresden Files!

I watched the first few episodes of the SyFy¹ channel’s Dresden Files last night.  I was dubious.  I really like the books, and there were a number of cosmetic changes that annoyed me in what I’d caught of the show when it was running–Murphy, for example, is Latina and her first name’s Constanza (I assume Murphy is her married name).  Bob isn’t just a spirit; he’s the ghost of someone old and at least formerly evil, and he can manifest a visible though intangible body².   Harry carries a hockey stick as his staff, a drumstick as his wand, and his office seems to be a desk set up in his living room–that kind of thing.

However, watching the episodes has made me feel better about the whole enterprise.  For one thing, Paul Blackthorn (which is a perfect name for someone playing Harry Dresden) has a great ability to come out with the kind of corny lines Harry’s always spouting without sounding like a moron; he sells the character brilliantly, if with a little less wisecracking than I’d like.  Even when we first meet him, Harry is not perhaps the most stable of individuals; Blackthorn makes that obvious without making him seem dangerous…at least to people who don’t deserve it.

The show plays down Harry’s antagonism with Morgan.  In the books, most of Storm Front involves Harry trying to stay one step ahead of Morgan’s insistance, in the face of all evidence, that he’s the one murdering people; in the show, Morgan has just showed up in the fourth episode and while he’s still a suspicious bastard he’s not completely irrational on the subject of Harry’s evilness.  He’s not giving the benefit of the doubt or anything, but he’ll take reasonable proof.

One change I thought interesting: Harry’s evil mentor, Justin DuMorne, has been morphed into Harry’s evil (maternal, naturally) uncle.  Also he seems to have survived Harry having “self-defensed him to death”, which as of Changes he hasn’t done in the novels.

I suspect that by the time I’m done I’m going to be sad that Skiffy cut this series, because it’s shaping up to be interesting.

1: At the time, it was still the SciFi channel.  And should have stayed that way.

2: I’ll grant that the fact that the visible body’s being played by Terrence Mann does a great deal to alleviate my annoyance on this score.

Beautiful Friendship

There was a gorgeous moment on Castle last night: Castle, wearing a steampunk contraption, opens the door to discover Becket on the other side.  Because of a conversation he just had with his daughter, he says, “How do you know when you’re in love?”  Becket, without pause or blink, replies, “All the songs make sense.”

That seems to sum it up, yeah.