Archive for March, 2011

Selective Viewing: An Open Letter To MTV

AN OPEN LETTER TO MTV:

Attention MTV! Let me tell you the next big thing you need to do. Offer your reality shows with a filter. When you watch the show you can watch the whole thing. Or you can select to watch scenes minus the lame-ass stars who ruin the show. Yes, seriously. I know the show will be shorter. But you’d get back the audience (read: me) on shows like  Jersey Shore. I cannot, cannot, cannot, cannot bare to hear Sammi’s whiny voice or listen to another effed up fight with Ronnie. Cannot do it. Well, I mean, I can’t because I don’t want to punch a hole in my wall. Or my face. So I just don’t watch anymore.

And you know what, MTV? I’m really an AVERAGE viewer. So if I’m giving up on the show because of one screwed up story line that you, for some god forsaken reason, can’t give up, then I’m sure there are millions other who have or will do the same. You can only do so much fast-forwarding. Especially on your buffer-sensitive viewer.

Hey, just throwing it out there. You don’t even have to pay me to put this idea in place. And you know what else? I’d still sit through all of the commercials.

Former Jersey Shore fan,
Disenchanted Girl

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Cheating, From The Perspective Of A Single Girl

I read the article on MSNBC about a woman who went undercover on a dating site specifically for cheaters, Ashley Madison. As I read it I made several notes to self. Notes, which, by the way, are probably irrelevant since I’ve never been married. Never been close. Never even been in a serious relationship much longer than a year. But that doesn’t mean I don’t watch relationships around me unravel. Or change with the ebbs and flows of life. Or listen to frustrations or fears. Or watch as friends settle, then regret it. Or even be happy. Yes, there are happy stories for this cynical girl!

My first response is although the article did state that women and men cheat about equally, it was from the perspective of a female author, which means she was learning about men cheaters. I’ve heard that while men cheat for sex, women cheat for intimate connections with another. The bottom line is, for all people, something seems to be missing. The one despicable thing about these relationships is none of the people using Ashley Madison seem to be willing to communicate the things that are lacking. And in some cases, for men, it was that intimate connection, or a challenging mind, or an outlet just to talk. It was like the men had grown bored. Not just with sex (or in most finger-pointing scenarios, we all believe, lack thereof). But with the connection with their spouse. Life had become mundane, repetitive, and the men felt like they had already lived the best years of their lives.

Oh. My. God. HOW DEPRESSING! Seriously? These men get married and their lives get worse? That blows. Really. And I don’t doubt they feel this way. I also don’t doubt they have a bit of the whiny “woe is me” syndrome going on. We all get it. I got it in my late twenties/early thirties. It felt like “this is it?” And while I stewed in that self-pity for awhile, I ultimately figured out that this is only it if I LET this be it! That’s when I started to think about what I’d want my life to be if it could be anything. A few things in my “dream life” were writing, traveling, trying new things, learning to really cook, finding a dream home and decorating it the way I want it (emphasis on I, not on the next owners), spending a lot of time with my parents, sisters and nieces and nephews, finding those really good friends and spending time with them, and less time with the not-so-great friends that seemed to be plaguing my life, figuring out MY meaning of life, finding a connection with God/the universe, making peace with/preparing for death (yes, seriously – I have an irrational fear of death). I wanted to not only grow and change and improve as a person, but experience stuff, and appreciate life more. Ultimately I wanted to quit my job, but realized I might have to give everything else up in order to do that. So I decided I’d concede to the job thing so I could afford everything else. Hey, life’s not perfect!

OK, so what’s my point? I often don’t have a point, I know. It’s part of my charm.

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My So-Called Letdown

I remember watching My So-Called Life when it was originally on the air. I was very near the same age as the lead actress, Angela (Claire Danes), and while I didn’t quite share her dark approach on life, I could relate to feeling somewhat out of place in life, in an on-again, off-again relationship with my parents who “just didn’t understand” but were always there when I finally realized I needed them, and was trying to be deep, introspective, and most of all find myself. I remember being devastated when they took the show off the air, and feeling a lack of closure. And with the show back on Netflix, I get to relive that letdown all over again.

Some of my favorite quotes:

  • “The worst feeling is suddenly realizing that you don’t measure up. And that, in the past, when you thought you did, you were a fool.” -Angela
  • “Sometimes I think if my mother wasn’t so good at pretending to be happy she might be better at actually being happy.” -Angela (This one is so true. Not just for mothers. But for all of us. Especially now that we’re in actual adulthood, and watching everyone around us pretend to be happy.)
  • “Sometimes someone says something really small and it just fits into this empty place in your heart.” -Angela (This one’s so lame I’m embarrassed to include it. But it’s so true.)
  • “People are always saying you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster. Like you know what it is even. But every so often I’ll have, like, a moment, where just being myself in my life right where I am is, like, enough.” -Angela (I’m also embarrassed to admit I relate to this, even today. Sometimes we’re fifteen year old girls forever. Aren’t we?)
  • “It’s like you have created your own prison and now you have to exist in it.” -Brian (Poor Brian. I forgot the first time around I thought he might kill himself, and all of that came back this time around. I hope he figured it out and married Danielle! OK, yes. I know they’re not real people.)

Then there is this episode that starts with Angela dancing around to Blister in the Sun. I don’t think I even knew what this song was when I saw this episode. I didn’t appreciate Violent Femmes until my junior year in high school. Anyway, she says something epic about having Jordan removed from her hear and she’s free. And she’s so happy. It doesn’t last long, of course, but I can relate to that now more than ever.

Anyway, my point isn’t any of this. My point, strangely, is wondering 1. why I can still relate to this fifteen year old girl, and why they canceled the series. And 2. if I would love the series as much if it were six or eight seasons long. I THINK I would. There are so many unanswered questions:

  1. What the hell is up with Rayanne? I know we got into it just a little bit, but we don’t REALLY know her,yet.
  2. Will Angela’s dad cheat, again?
  3. What’s up with Jordan? It seemed like they were hinting that he’s homeless, too, in that episode with Rickie living in that warehouse. Is he homeless? Why’s he illiterate?
  4. Life with Rickie and the teacher. I feel like this could have been a great storyline. The scene in one of the last episodes where he said, “Our place…. Er, Mr. <insert name>’s place.” You got a glimpse of his life getting better, but we didn’t even get to appreciate it.
  5. Would Brian actually kill himself? Try? Finally hit the breaking point and change for the better? Or worse?
  6. Would that stupid chick opening the restaurant with Angela’s dad ever learn to chew with her mouth shut?

So many unanswered questions. All killed by the end of the series. Rude.

I need closure!

Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated? Or Treat Them As They Treat You?

It’s such a conundrum. Do I treat people as I want to be treated, even if they don’t extend me the same courtesy? At what point is it OK to stop being the “bigger person” and treat them as they treat me? I mean, I’m only encouraging their mistreatment of me if I continue to treat them with respect, right? So frustrating.

Fear Not, The Group That Calls Themselves Westboro Church Won’t Be At Elizabeth Taylor’s Funeral

Trust me. They won’t be there. They stir the pot for publicity. But never follow through. They go to local funerals, but don’t usually spend money on such big ticket (read: far-traveling) affairs. They threatened to go to Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral, too. Didn’t show. They might make the trip for a big military funeral, however. But they get more bang for their buck out of publicity for Hollywood/famous people by only talking.

And even if they do go, it’s not what most people imagine. It’s about ten people (half kids, who most people’s first impression is to feel sorry not hate – how can you hate someone who’s like 10 and brainwashed?). Yelling from a mandated distance.

Don’t fall into their trap. Don’t spew hate. Don’t plan a counter-protest. Do everything you can to ignore them. They’re crazy. And not representative of Kansans, Christianity (in fact, they actually aren’t even legally a church anymore) or any other group you might think of grouping them with. Their only purpose is to get at you emotionally, then sue you (they’re mostly lawyers – and yes, work for the State of Kansas). End of story. Don’t be the pawns in their money-making scheme.

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Why Do You Keep Hangin’ On?

I have a friend who I parted ways with last summer because our friendship no longer worked. I felt like he was using me to lie for him, and lying to me along the way. I have very little tolerance for lying, and my ability to lie for someone is limited to VERY SHORT time frames. Does this make me a bad friend? I’m sure to many it would. But it’s who I am and take it or leave it. The pro side to this is, as your friend, I won’t lie to you. So you give a little, you get a little. And in this case I was lying for him, taking his abuse, and letting him lie to me. After one particularly bad blow-up, and his inability to take responsibility for said blow-up, I was done.

Since then he’s confronted me on several occasions. All ending badly. I’ve said I want to be acquaintances because we still share some of the same circle of friends. As far as I can tell, most of those mutual friends want to stay out of it, but get dragged into it. I don’t want to give up the friends, but I also can’t stand the thought of one more heated confrontation ending in someone telling me to, “Fuck off.” I mean, come on.

So the question is, how do I get through to this former friend and be clear that our friendship is over? I no longer care if I make my case about WHY anymore. Now I just want him to see that the friendship is over for good. I don’t see us ever going back to being friends again, honestly. I know time heals all wounds, but at this rate he, as an individual, has told me to fuck off more in the past eight months, than the aggregate of all of the other people I’ve ever met. Or even not met. Aggregate of all the “fuck off”s is less for everyone else than him in the past eight months. Sad, right?

The other sad thing is I don’t miss him. I don’t miss the lies and the drama. I don’t miss the selfishness and the blacked out drunkenness. My life’s better without him bringing drama (and police) around me, without him convincing me to drink “just one more shot” or to give him a ride somewhere. It’s better without being in the middle of his arguments, or trying to play peacekeeper (which I always end up doing).

Now I just have to figure out how to shut him down as soon as he approaches me (could I simply walk away?), or make him see once and for all all I want is to be acquaintances who can share a room or an event without getting in each others faces. And that, my friends, is the challenge.

The Bachelor, After The Final Rose

Alright, I’ll preface this by saying I only watch The Bachelor in passing because my friends watch it and it’s fun to have something to talk about. I think the whole show is a hoax. And I’ve been slacking this season watching because everything Brad says seems scripted, and he’s an awful actor. However, I forced myself to hunker down for the last two episodes because I also am known to buy a gossip mag or two. So here we are, watching the After The Final Rose show. Which usually is the best part of the show anyway.

First of all Chantel (excuse me if I misspell anyone’s names)… Everyone’s giving her gruff for getting emotional even though she’s moved on and is happy. Here’s the problem, it’s embarrassing to get dumped on live TV. And more embarrassing to get played. She simply wanted Brad to tell her he had feelings for her. In a private setting, like most breakups, he would have. In this national audience setting where Brad seemed contractually bound to marrying the hell out of someone, he was smart enough to know he couldn’t do it. So he had to say he was falling for Emily the whole time, this sent her on an emotional, revisiting the humiliation tailspin, and when he called her out on crying, she cried more. I don’t think any of this is an abnormal reaction. No one likes to “not be good enough.”

But Emily. Oh, Emily. First of all, I think Brad’s a total tool. And how anyone fell for him is beyond me. Sorry, Brad. I mean, I’m sure you have good characteristics and traits, but this whole show was so forced. You didn’t seem genuine. And those girls had to feel that. But Emily… I agree they made her come across as boring. Because in our warped little world, boring equals nice. And they wanted her to be the nice girl, while Chantel was the “wild” girl. It was like Vienna and Tinley from last season, only the bachelor picked “the other one” this time around.

But I think I’m the only American who didn’t care for Emily. Not that I think she’s an awful person or anything like that. I think both are probably nice people. But I DO NOT see them as a fit. Emily clearly doesn’t trust Brad. And SHE needs to get counseling (if she’s not already) to deal with her grief. I think she’s done what’s common when someone dies, and building them up to be someone they weren’t. It’s common when someone dies to remember all the good things and forget all the bad, all the struggles, all the heartache. No relationship is perfect. And I think it’s a natural part of grief to put that loved one on a pedestal. But in this case, it’s keeping her from letting anyone else in. Which is also OK in this case, because I don’t think Brad’s right for her anyway. If she’s questioning this already, she should cut ties and move on.

And the whole bring in the crew to salvage hope thing? Hilarious. VERY cult-like. I’ve read that ABC practically owns everyone who’s on their shows. And if they want to keep getting the job, H or B, under the table (or out in the open, I guess) they have to do what ABC wants them to do. I respect that, too.

But what the rest of the world should realize is you can’t really save a relationship by sheer will. And no one’s a failure for realizing that outside of the picturesque dates where ANYONE would think they’re in love, it’s not what they thought it would be. It’s like they were on a huge honeymoon during those giddy first stages of meeting someone. Eventually it comes crashing down. And the crash is that much harder when 1. you were so high to begin with 2. you can’t see each other in person 3. all of your baggage comes out at once, and the whole world is watching, expecting.

Overall, if Emily said, “I love you” in that condescending way one more time, I was going to reach through the screen and physically remover her from the couch. She’s obviously having a hard time getting over the “reality” of reality TV. And who she’s becoming because of the hurt of that realization isn’t good.

That, coupled with their “anger issues” and having a child in the mix is scary. Well, that and Chris Harrison is a tool, too.