Social Encounter X

Hey.

Hey?

Hey. I’m talking to you.
Excuse me!!!
What now?
How is this new person going to hate me?
How is this encounter with a total stranger going to go wrong?
How will I be misunderstood and hated forever?
Hey.
It’s just a word. I can ignore it.
It is my right as an American to not respond.
I have the right to remain silent.
It says so in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Excuse me. I know you can hear me.
I don’t want to know what happens next
How this new person will dislike me.
Find me incredibly annoying.
It’s too painful.
Excuse me?
How is this going to end?
How will they misinterpret my silence as a rejection and resent me
Resent me until I can’t stand to look at myself.
HOW WILL THIS RANDOM PERSON HURT ME TODAY?
Hey.
How will this next encounter hurt me?
Will they make me fall in love with them and then disappoint me horribly?
Or will they fall for me too hard, too fast and make me fear them. Fear their “love”???

You ever have an ex… yes I’m talking to you… You ever have an ex who uses every pause in a conversation to tell you how much they “love” you? Not a current. An ex. Well I have.

(in the middle of telling a joke or a story) “…And then the dog took this big dump on the grass.” (stops talking to drink because, you know, your throat gets dry)

“I LOVE YOU…. (long awkward pause) You don’t have to say it back.”

“Yeah yeah but I’m sort of in the middle of telling a joke about dog poop right now.”

“It’s okay. You don’t have to say it. (another pause and then a quick) loveyou!”
Heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy!!!!!!
That’s not love. If you loved me I wouldn’t fear you, if you loved me.
That’s not love.
You wanna be with me.
You don’t want me to be with other people.
You want to fuck me.
I don’t know what that is
But
That’s not love.
Hey. I know for a fact that you can hear me.
Oh come on.
Now what.
Are they gonna flirt with me?
Make me feel attractive… wanted… sexy
Am I going to laugh?
Blush?

Or am I going to turn around and try to flirt with them
Only to find out that I’m standing on a scarf or something?
How is this human encounter going to ruin my self-esteem today?

How the hell will this random human interaction reshape my world view?
HOW WILL I OBSESS ABOUT THE MANY WAYS I WILL MIS-HANDLE THIS SOCIAL SITUATION UNTIL THE DAY I DIE OF EMBARRASSMENT AND… I DON’T KNOW… FOOD POISONING… RICKETS
Come on. I can tell you hear me. I know you can see me. What’s wrong with you?
Oh god. I have to say something. I have to say something. I have to say something. I have to say something.

(Turns head around and says sweetly) Yes?

(Long pause breathing harder and harder in anticipation and fear)

What. Whatdoyouwant? WHAT? WHAT? whaaat?

(Now crying) What?

(Pleading) whaaaaat.

(Wipes tears and straightens, composes self then turns head back around and says calmly) What is it?

 

No not you. I was trying to get THEIR attention.

– Mel

Cable Dramas: Top Ten TV Mega Post Part Eight (8/10)

While going through the list of my favorite Cable Dramas I noticed something.

Cable TV Dramas are polluting our society by putting supposedly good characters in extraordinary situations, where they are forced to do bad things (for the record, no one can be forced to do bad but according to these eleven shows it’s a requirement), Where surrendering themselves to their darker nature makes them stronger and helps them survive. They are the hero. But they learn time and time again that being the good guy not only goes unrewarded but is often punished. Cable dramas, well the good ones anyway, are helping to mold this new storytelling morality where the good guy, the hero, the savior, the leader, the main character… is kind of a dick.

Martin Freeman

We’re coming down the home stretch of my Top Ten TV Mega Post in Ten Parts for 2014 with Cable Dramas. There are a bunch of well-written dramas on cable these days. So many that it was hard to narrow down my list to just ten. (I ended up with eleven)

Cable TV Dramas, for the most part, are a spectacular hit or a tremendous miss. They are either very good or very bad. AMC and FX know how to make a good cable drama it seems, because nearly all of these shows are from those two networks. Most of the other channels are trying to make broadcast quality dramas without broadcast quality money.

The Board

As always, it starts with writing. Good writers are a must. A good writer can turn a show with three sets, two props and one location into an epic. And again, a lot of American cable channels try to make dramas that are broadcast quality camp but without broadcast TV budgets. So the wardrobes aren’t as good and the actors aren’t as pretty. The sets, the effects, pale in comparison. So there is very little of substance without good writing.

Good writing needs no sets and no props and no effects. And what AMC is doing right, and what FX is doing right, is to start with great stories and talented writers. These are the best shows on TV …for which you don’t have to pay a premium.

Vikings

Bring on the bad guys.

To the list…

American Horror Story (FX)

American Horror Story

Created by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk

Starring Connie BrittonDylan McDermottEvan PetersTaissa FarmigaDenis O’HareJessica LangeZachary QuintoJoseph FiennesSarah PaulsonLily RabeLizzie BrocheréJames CromwellFrances ConroyEmma RobertsKathy BatesMichael ChiklisFinn Wittrock & Angela Bassett

American Horror Story is fantastic every year. And except for the core cast of wonderful character actors, that includes Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson and Frances Conroy bringing their best to some of the weirdest characters on TV, it is completely different every year. There’s a different setting, a different theme and different genres of American Horror used to creep and scare the shit out of its audience.

Freak Show

I’ve heard it said that this season of Horror Story (called Freak Show) has been the weakest. I admit, the freak show thing is sort of lame and it also makes me uncomfortable. But the Killer Clown is one of the scariest things ever on the show. And anyway, clowns are fucking scary in general.

Scary Clown

But the scariest thing this season is when the characters start to sing. Ryan Murphy created the musical show Glee and he has brought the horror of this pop music, musical theater monstrosity to American Horror Story.

Two Headed Sarah Paulson

That’s some scary shit, Ryan. Truly frightening.

Bates Motel (A&E)

Bates Motel

Based on Characters from Psycho by Robert Bloch

Developed by Carlton CuseKerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano

Starring Vera FarmigaFreddie HighmoreMax ThieriotOlivia CookeNicola Peltz & Nestor Carbonell

Vera Farmiga. Vera Farmiga. Vera Farmiga.

At the Bates Motel

Norma Bates is the scariest and sweetest character on TV. Heart-breaking-ly insane. Vera Farmiga’s portrayal is amazing. Where is her Emmy? She is incredibly good.

The Bates

I love this show because it holds true to the feel of the film. And it offers other characters and other situations and other things going on besides the adventures of Norman and his crazy, smothering, over-protective, pathological, borderline psychotic mother.

Norman and Norma

But mostly I love this show because Vera Farmiga is scary good.

Fargo (FX)

fargo-tv-show-fx

Created by Noah Hawley

Based on Fargo by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Starring Billy Bob ThorntonAllison TolmanColin Hanks & Martin Freeman

The first season of this FX crime – comedy – drama – thingy was sensational. With a wonderful cast of characters and writing and situations and Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman. I loved this show.

Fargo

The Fargo TV series takes place in the same general area as the Coen Brother’s film and in the same world. That same, ultra dark but still comedic and absurd, world. And I loved it.

Billy Bob

Rumors about a second season sound extremely promising (even though it doesn’t bring back the great cast from the first season because it’s a prequel set in 1979). I’m looking forward to see what they do next (even though I’ll miss Allison Tolman. She was perfect)

Allison Tolman

And it’s the one show on this list where the good guy is a good guy. (well girl in this case but you know what I mean).

However, even though I absolutely loved Fargo, it was just my second favorite new show from this year. Taking a close second place, right after the spectacular…

Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

Halt and Catch Fire

Created by Christopher Cantwell & Christopher C. Rogers

Starring Lee PaceScoot McNairyMackenzie DavisKerry Bishé & Toby Huss

Halt and Catch Fire is my pick for the best new show of 2014.

Our Heroes

An incredible cast. Great stories. Great writing. And also another sexy bisexual character to add to my list (played by the beautiful Lee Pace). One of the sexiest bisexual characters on TV. I love Halt and Catch Fire so much.

Lee Pace

Halt and Catch Fire is the story of the early days of the personal computer. I love the subject. It’s the story of a small company trying to compete with the big boys. I love an underdog story. Lee Pace plays this marketing whiz. This amazing salesman who knows very little about computers but has a passion that makes him not accept failure. And a management style that takes no prisoners and leaves no survivors. Throw in this brilliant software designer and a troubled hardware guy on the verge of losing his mind and you have hands-down the best new show of 2014.

Scott McNairy

Halt and Catch Fire is a fine replacement for the departing Mad Men. If you haven’t yet, give it a chance. And if you bailed on it give it another chance. It’s quality television.

Halt and Catch Fire AMC

Next up… a couple of westerns still going strong.

Hell on Wheels (AMC)

Hell on Wheels

Created by Joe Gayton & Tony Gayton

Starring Anson MountColm MeaneyCommonDominique McElligottTom NoonanEddie SpearsBen EslerPhil BurkeChristopher HeyerdahlRobin McLeavyKasha Kropinski, Dohn Norwood, Jennifer FerrinChelah HorsdalMacKenzie Porter, Tayden Marks & Jake Weber

Hell on Wheels is so weird. And so dark. But so good.

Hell on Wheels

Anson Mount is wonderful as the anti-hero, gunslinger. The southern, slave-owning, mass murdering, racist with a code of honor. And his evolution is a joy to watch, as he struggles to be the first to build a railroad to the west and justify all the friends and lives lost along the way. A railroad that leaves piles of bodies in its wake.

Eva

This past season was one of the darkest on the show. They take the HELL in their title very seriously. Life is cheap in the untamed west.

One Less Every Day

Hell on Wheels is fucked-up sometimes because no one is safe and people are dropping like flies. But it is so good. It’s really good.

Justified (FX)

Justified

Based on  “Fire in the Hole” by Elmore Leonard

Developed by Graham Yost

Starring Timothy OlyphantNick SearcyJoelle CarterJacob PittsErica TazelNatalie ZeaWalton Goggins & Jere Burns

With this upcoming season being the last for this modern western, I will miss this show greatly. The sheer badassness of Justified is its beauty. And also its main selling point. It is a study in badassitude. I love this show.

Boyd and Raylan

Timothy Olyphant is Olyphant-tastic. I love the way his superiors try to get him, as a U.S. Deputy Marshal, to stop killing so many people, and he tries. But he comes from a criminal family. His friends. His neighbors. All criminals. They keep pulling him back in.

Justified

I love these characters. Boyd, Ava, Raylan, the other Marshals. I’m going to miss them.

Ava and Boyd

But not half as much as I’m going to miss these next guys…

Mad Men (AMC)

Mad Men

Created by Matthew Weiner

Starring Jon HammElisabeth MossVincent KartheiserJanuary JonesChristina HendricksJared HarrisBryan BattMichael GladisAaron StatonRich SommerMaggie SiffKiernan ShipkaJessica ParéKevin RahmChristopher StanleyJay R. FergusonBen FeldmanMason Vale CottonRobert Morse & John Slattery

Another show on its last season, Mad Men is one of the best scripted shows in TV history. And this last season has been just as good as the first.

Mad Men

It hasn’t lost a step. The show about the Advertising business, and the con man who lied his way into a partnership in one of Madison Avenue’s top agencies, has an amazing and beautiful cast, incredible writing. And every episode is exceptionally well-directed. And don’t get me started on the wardrobes. Their costume designers are the best!!!

My God The Colors

Mad Men is leaving on top as one of the best shows of all-time.

Licking Peggy

Peggy. Peggy. Peggy. I don’t know why but I just want to lick her.

The Americans (FX)

the-americans

Created by Joe Weisberg

Starring Keri RussellMatthew RhysMaximiliano HernándezHolly Taylor, Keidrich Sellati, Noah EmmerichAnnet MahendruSusan Misner & Alison Wright

Only on its third season, The Americans is an insanely good look at undercover Russian operatives living as American citizens. Again, from our point of view, they’re the bad guys.

The Americans

But the show makes you root for them and then sneakily reminds you that they are in fact the bad guys by having them do… you know what, you have to watch it.

The Fake American Real Family

If you’re not watching this show I question your choices. Because this show is outstanding. The Americans is a sexy, espionage, family, spy, thriller that gets better every season. The cast is sensational.

Keri Russell

Keri Russell is at the top of her game. Watch this show.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead

Based on The Walking Dead by Robert KirkmanTony Moore and Charlie Adlard

Developed by Frank Darabont

Starring Andrew LincolnJon BernthalSarah Wayne CalliesLaurie HoldenJeffrey DeMunnSteven YeunChandler RiggsNorman ReedusLauren CohanDanai GuriraMichael RookerDavid MorrisseyMelissa McBrideScott WilsonMichael CudlitzEmily Kinney & Chad L. Coleman

While The Walking Dead has decreased in quality, the premise of the show is still gripping and suspenseful and good for a fright or two a week. And as it turns out, going through these frightening situations with these characters makes you really care for them. So when they kill one of my friends off, it is devastating.

Beth and Gorman

But after all this time, I still can’t stay quiet while watching. The suspense level is off the chain and I’m always like, “What are you doing?” “Run you stupid fuck.”

Daryl and Carol

This half season has frustrated me. There were a few amazing episodes. The first at Terminus, the third with the Hunters, Daryl and Carol’s episode and the mid-season finale were four of the best episodes the show has ever aired. But the way everyone is losing their humanity just doesn’t sit right with me. A couple of really annoying new villains and allies are ruining the show for me as well. Because the good guys have gotten less good, so the bad guys have to be cartoonishly evil. And it feels like the zombies are no longer the main focus of the show. The show has become this idiot’s guide to surviving the apocalypse and its main advice is to be an asshole.

Morgan

However, it is still a fun show. And I still watch The Walking Dead in the dark because it’s even more fun that way. It’s just they need to bring back a moral center to the show.

Hershel was right. Surviving but losing your humanity is not surviving at all.

TURN: Washington’s Spies (AMC)

Washington's Spies

Created by Craig Silverstein

Based on Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring (2007) by Alexander Rose

Starring Jamie BellSeth NumrichDaniel HenshallHeather Lind, Meegan Warner, Kevin R. McNallyBurn GormanAngus MacfadyenSamuel RoukinJJ FeildIan Kahn, Owain Yeoman & Ksenia Solo

I enjoyed this show about the first American spy ring during the revolutionary war.

Turn

I like the period. I like the characters. I like the story.

Turn Washington's Spies

I want more of this. I’m glad they’re bringing it back for a second season.

George Washington meets with Benjamin Tallmadge and Nathaniel Sackett

I like the show. I like the history. One of our better wars. I expect great things.

Speaking of history…

Vikings (History)

Vikings

Created by Michael Hirst

Starring Travis FimmelKatheryn WinnickClive StandenJessalyn GilsigGustaf SkarsgårdGeorge BlagdenAlexander LudwigAlyssa SutherlandDonal LogueLinus Roache & Gabriel Byrne

Vikings gets better with every season. Vikings is awesome. I love Vikings… just in general. And Viking women are very hot. I love me some warrior women. This show is very cool. Except that Vikings is the only show on this list with absolutely no people of color. Zero. But they get a pass

Eric and Lagertha

Maybe we’ll see some Native Americans this seasons. Or some Mongols. Or a North African. Still a great show, however.

Eric

And I can’t help but watch it even though The History Channel is the most overtly racist television channels OF ALL TIME. And I’m including FoxNews. (Nazi aficionados and Civil War re-enactors were their entire audience for the longest time. Take a look at that Venn diagram for a moment)

Lagertha

But Vikings is really good even if it does have a built-in excuse to not have any other races in it. The show is cool. And Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha is hot as all hell.

And that’s all. That’s eleven.

There was a lot of evil in this post.

From the viking raiders to the conquering ad execs. From the spies for our side to the spies for their side to the industrial spies just out for themselves. From the gunfighters with the quick triggers to the good people forced to do bad things to survive… with the quick triggers. From the horrors at the Freak Show to the murders at the Bates Hotel. Remember, no matter what the folks at Jaguar tell you, it isn’t good to be bad.

It’s just bad.

Next up Premium Dramas (Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Showtime etc.)

See you on the couch.

– Mel

Dreaming (a death poem)

Dreaming (a death poem)

Black

I dreamt last while that I killed a man
That me and some friends
I use the term loosely
Beat a man to death for no reason

We were drunk
We were high
There was a devil there
Who started it all
But we joined in just the same

When I woke
No matter how I tried
I couldn’t get it out of my mind
It was disturbing

So much so that
I dreamt again the following night
It started with me and my family
Me on a couch watching TV
Mother-in-law in the next room

I dreamt about guilt
Then the investigation
A phone call from a man
An image that showed my face
Near a heinous crime

I dreamt of how quickly I cracked
Under the pressure
And how much this bothered
My friends
Their wives
Their mothers
The laws
And the man we killed had a name

When I woke
No matter how I tried
I couldn’t get it out of my head
It was unnerving

So much so that
I dreamt again
About the trial
And how bad a liar I am in dreams
And how deathrow smells like cold turkey

My execution was barbaric
Execution always is
It doesn’t bring back the dead
More than add to the death toll

I died looking into my own face
If we are everyone in our dreams

Then I was the man
I was the devil
I was the friends
The wives
The mothers
The judge
The executioner

If we are everyone in our dreams
Then I died staring into my own
Disappointed eyes

And then the dream stopped
All the dreams stopped
All of the dreaming stopped
And now I don’t dream at all

– Mel

It is not okay…

date-rape

It is not okay.

I was watching four women I respect talk about romance books in what they call The Vaginal Fantasy Book Club. I have been a fan of, and am a fan of, all of them. And I enjoy listening to them talk about books I will probably never read. I even feel like it helps me with my writing. The conversation they were having morphed into a mini discussion about rapey sex in novels.

One of the men in the book they were discussing started to have sex with a woman while she was sleeping.

That’s not okay.

Then they talked about times when it is okay: Like if she’d said so before hand. If you’ve been together a long time, And you know her well enough to know that she wouldn’t be bothered by it. But never if he doesn’t know her and she didn’t say it’s okay. Never.

I absolutely agreed. Most rapists are someone the person knows. It’s an epidemic that needs to be eradicated from the earth.

Then from out of nowhere one of the women says, “…unless it’s a guy. Guys like that stuff.” And they all agreed. I think they laughed.

what???

So it’s okay to rape a guy because guys like sex?

If he wanted to fuck you (and you wanted to fuck him), he would have done so before he went to sleep.

Men are not just fuck machines and women are not just sex objects. And I say this knowing that I have sexually objectified women (and men) probably every single day of my life. I’m not proud of it. I like sex… when it’s consensual.

If we know each other well, that’s one thing. Obviously if I said it’s okay then it’s okay but if we have never had sex before, didn’t even start out in the same bed, it is not okay for a woman, no matter how “hot” she is, to climb aboard my night wood.

(On a side note, Climb Aboard My Night Wood would make a good title… for something… but I digress)

Book Club

So, I think this bothered me because I’ve been raped before (twice actually… once by a man [which is not the way I’m talking about] and once) by a woman.

We started off in separate rooms (she was my friend’s girlfriend) and while I was sleeping, she decided to “Climb Aboard My Night Wood.” She didn’t even bother to put a condom on me. Freaked me the fuck out. And you know if I would have come (I didn’t) and she had gotten pregnant (she didn’t) I know she would have had the kid (She was Catholic) and the state would have made me pay for this crazy woman’s baby. (But that’s a completely different conversation altogether though)

It is not okay, is what I’m trying to say now.

If me and this girl have never had sex. (I don’t care if she thinks I want it) And if I’m not expecting it. (I don’t care if we were flirting all night). And, in this case, I don’t care if I was homeless and needed a place to stay, she had better be wearing a helmet on her head, if she thinks it’s okay to climb aboard my night wood.

Because I woke up and, like I said, I freaked out. I was only inside her for a second or two (that’s still rape and still long enough for me to have impregnated her or gotten an STD) but I knocked her off me violently and forcefully.

Rainn Wilson

Not funny Rainn.

But I’m the one who apologized, because in her mind, and I guess in the book club’s mind, all guys want it and I’m the one with the erection. I would not have had sex with my friend’s girl. I would not have had sex with HER. And I would not have had sex without a condom. (But I also apologized because I was the one in need of a place to sleep and I had knocked her to the floor).

But, what I’m trying to say is, an erection is not an invitation, especially if you haven’t already been sleeping with the person.

Having an erection can mean a lot of things and only one of them is “I want to have sex with you.” The same qualifiers apply for men that you made for women.

So, guys, I love your podcast and I still respect each and every one of you. I follow you on social media. Take your suggestions for TV and movies and games and books with weight. But this is an ignorance you need to correct. You think it’s okay to rape a guy because guys like sex.

It is not okay.

The Noose

But before I hang myself here, I want to say that I am not in any way comparing this to violent rape. I was twice her size and easily pushed her off of me, when I woke up. (when I was raped by a man I was half his size and not able to get him off of me and only one of these people do I fantasize about killing… okay now I’m crying) But they are both rape.

And it is not okay.

It is not okay to say it.

And it is not okay to think it.

I’m probably too much of a coward to e-mail this to any of you. So I’m just going to post it to my blog. Maybe it will help someone. And like I said, I’m a big fan. But it upset me. I expected better. Felicia, Veronica, Kiala, Bonnie. I expected better.

– Mel