climb

the couchless couch potato's holy week crutches

i bargained with my doctor about suggesting that i might still be able to leave manila for the holy week despite my temporary disability, but realizing how going down from my unit and reaching my office on the 30/F of RCBC leave me sweating buckets convinced me that i had no choice but to cancel my plans, write airlines to rebook my flights without any charges, and buckle down for a long weekend in the metropolis. i have to admit that ever since i discovered (and could afford) the joys of travel after graduating from law school, i have always been away during this annual exodus, in this order: batanes in 2004, bicol, northern palawan and boracay in 2006, bicol again the following year, dumaguete and siquijor, vietnam, cambodia and thailand in 2009, kalinga mountains, batanes again in 2011, and siargao last year. i was supposed to start my unholy peregrinations in coron and end up in puerto princesa, but getting better was foremost in my calendar, and i began to prepare for my confinement.

i began downloading entire seasons and several episodes of some TV shows that would keep me company for my 4 days of incarceration. i’ve migrated a few good gigabytes to my external hard drive, which are worth hours of entertainment while i lie down on my bed and make sure my right foot is perched higher so it doesn’t swell, but since i’ve hardly done anything in the last 3 weekends and on most nights when i get home from work, i’ve basically burned all the viewing time i was supposed to allocate during this long weekend. here are the TV shows that helped me survive my self-imposed but momentary exile:


i’ve actually been watching “community” ever since my DVD supplier suggested i see it immediately after they completed their first season. i can’t say that she has good taste; she really just wants to sell me a DVD. it’s now on its fourth season although i haven’t actually seen half of the 3rd season, which i’m now currently watching, although my torrent is missing some crucial episodes and i can’t move forward until i find them. the episodes are really short which basically means i could finish an entire season in a day. my favorite characters here are jeff winger, pierce hawthorne (played by chevy chase), and dean craig pelton, who i’m glad has a less recurring presence in seasons 3 and 4.


“revolution” is a high-budget series which talks about a post-apocalyptic world which suddenly lost power. and by that i mean electricity. like in all post-apocalyptic worlds, the government ceases to exist, survivors are left to fend for themselves, and primal survival instincts erase most traces of civilization, except in this version, it just throws us back a few centuries back where the union that is the united states of america is no more, and the “nations” that have formed are trying to annihilate each other. i skimmed through 10 episodes of this series in 10 days, which tells a lot about the substance in each installment. some gripes are the poor acting, all the unnecessary deaths, and the weak premise: i’m not sure if this is science-fiction or fantasy, but “flash forward” had a better hypothesis and it was canceled.


when i finished season 1 of “american horror story”, i wondered where the horror was. i didn’t find it very scary. that is until i had the worst nightmare of my life, i was convinced this show was somehow possessed. now i have the complete season 2 and i still haven’t seen everything. in fact, i’ve only watched the first episode and i still am not brave enough to continue. i think there’s something embedded in its opening billboard which invades your consciousness, because this is exactly what happened to me. i have no love for the horror genre, which is compounded by the fact that i live alone, so it was a surprise why i even bothered to start on the first season. now i need to have someone beside me to get through all the remaining episodes of season 2. a lot of the original cast members are back, assuming different roles. jessica lange is just brilliant on this one (as was she on season 1), although her evil nun character seems staple for this genre. i also want to know how long adam levine will be seen considering he had (spolier alert) his arm cut off in episode 1.


grimm is now on its second season, which makes me wonder really, because i didn’t find it too compelling when i first came across it. in fact, i didn’t finish the first season although i revisited them since there were parts of this ongoing one which i didn’t understand. the premise is this: grimms are people who are able to see things which we normally don’t. the stories used to draw from childhood fairy tales. although each episode begins with a quote from a well-loved story, now it just seems like all these wesens (pronounced ve*sin -- it’s german, yes) are animals in human form. there are some plot twists which were not present in season 1, although that’s probably because i didn’t finish it. suddenly, detective nick burkhardt has some special powers: super hearing. this isn’t so unique. i have hyperacusis (self-diagnosed) and it has caused me nothing but grief.

apart from the above, i’m also currently following a few shows, and patiently waiting to download new episodes as they become available.


why “smash” has been generally panned by critics or why it hasn’t attracted a bigger audience share is a mystery to me. yes, katharine mcphee’s acting chops may not be on the level of jennifer hudson (who guest stars in a few episodes), but i just love the music and the backstage pass to musicals that it gives us. the initial plans for each season of smash was to follow the development of a brand new musical, with an entirely new cast each time, but although new characters are working on “hitlist”, there’s still “bombshell” which is undergoing some changes, including having the katharine’s character leaving the broadway show.


“house of cards” is a mature political drama that stars kevin spacey who lavishes viewers with subtle and nuanced acting that can only get him to win an emmy. it unravels politics in washington, DC, without however making politicians appear like complete frauds. i wouldn’t mind if these guys scheme and barter futures as long as they work really hard. there hasn’t been a hard-hitting drama series like this since “newsroom” (by the way, this is just my opinion based on my limited knowledge -- i don’t have television so i have little to compare). kevin is a congressman who once aspired to become the secretary of state. i’m not sure if he’s scheming to get back that promised appointment, but things are falling into place. i’m also loving the fact that he and his wife have a really strange moral compass. i think characters should be more like them: complex and amoral. there are no true protagonists in life.


i came across “golden boy” precisely because i was looking for a new TV show to follow. this police drama tells the story of the meteoric rise of walter clark, who becomes new york police commissioner in just 7 years. i’m not psychic nor did i read spoilers, but based on the earlier episodes alone, i have a good idea how that happened. like i said, characters have to be complex, and this golden boy isn’t incorruptible and is willing to pull strings to get to where he wants, so i’m curious to see if his appointment has anything to do with his ability to play politics. i already correctly guessed that the present police commissioner would somehow end up in prison and i’m betting he gets that position because everyone else is killed.


although i'm a huge DC comics fan, i've somehow glossed over the green arrow. he is protector of a city which has another more popular hero: the green lantern. but the green arrow is a more accessible costumed crusader because he has no super powers. he's as human as you and i, and whose advantage over most criminals is that he's really good in combat, and is amazing with the bow and arrow. so in a way, a television adaptation based on his character is easier to execute. "arrow" tells us of a vigilante which the media in starling city has called "the hood", a nod perhaps to the less than legal, but the-ends-justify-the-means mantra of robin hood. also because he does wear a pointy hood to cover his true identity, which is oliver queen, billionaire heir. he has made it his mission to accomplish his father's wishes, which he does by getting rid of people whose names appear in a small book, people who "have failed this city". the actor who plays the hood is nice to look at, but not much else. his portrayal is a little wooden. i don't know if green arrow had a sidekick in the comic, but in the TV series, he has a rather outspoken driver and bodyguard who also represents the show's conscience.


my favorite series is now on its 6th season, and as more and more of my friends are watching it, more and more of them are comparing me to dr. sheldon cooper. i think he’s very funny, and his obsessiveness and general lack of social awareness steals the show from everyone else but i can’t completely say that’s a good thing. it may even be an underhanded complement. i wonder though whether i’m echoing too much of sheldon in my interactions with other people, or his character is based on real people. i do tend to be very pedantic: i correct people often (mostly concerning grammar and on knowledge of general things), have selective eidetic memory, and tend to drop trivial facts about mundane things even if it’s only remotely related to the conversation. if people gave me a peso for each time i began a sentence with “did you know that...” (or its derivatives), i’d have a lot of pesos. although i have to say that i was a little disappointed to find out that jim parsons actually sounds and moves just like sheldon cooper in real life.


sometimes i forget that “glee” is still ongoing with all these other distractions i’m currently entertaining. also maybe because the series is losing its grip. at first i wondered how they’d manage to give us a convincing show, but they made the bold move of graduating the lead actors of the first few seasons, but always finding ways to let them appear in the current season. the appearances in lima heights sometimes come across as tenuous, but we’ve lowered our expectations for a show that’s always entertaining. honestly, it was rachel berry’s irritating personality but undeniable talent that really carried this show in the past, so a spinoff based on her and kurt’s (and now santana’s) life in new york should be worth watching. there are new characters as well, and while they’re talented, they’re not as quirky a bunch as those that included finn, quinn, puckerman, and mercedes.


another series that once almost lost its grip is “the walking dead”. there was a time in the previous season when it was too focused on human psychology in the wake of this zombie apocalypse. i think the kind of audience that this series attracts doesn’t care much for deeply developed characters dealing with loss and holding on to the last strands of hope as the world around them is spiraling downward. it’s a good thing that season 3 has realized this and audiences are given a lot of gore and zombie juice. the failure of civilization is also in focus as the governor is waging war on rick grimes and his friends in the penitentiary. the reduction of human beings to their most primal instincts seems to be a recurring theme in most post-apocalyptic shows.


i’ve also just closed the book on a few shows which have occupied my time at home. one other character that i’ve been compared to -- and i find this a bit surprising -- is sherlock holmes. i never read any of the classic books about the sleuth, nor did i see the movie, but the comparison got me curious about it. now there were two shows about mr. holmes. the first is the BBC drama sherlock. i had no expectations of the show but the moment i viewed the first episode i was immediately hooked, primarily because it was martin freeman (who is of course bilbo baggins in “the hobbit) as dr. john watson. the title role is portrayed by benedict cumberbatch. i’m not sure if he’s the same guy who was merlin in the british series of the same title, but this actor has some really strange facial features -- he almost looks like an insect (amy farah fowler actually describes sheldon as a sexy preying mantis). but his characterization of sherlock is superb. incidentally, benedict and martin are going to be reunited not just in a future season 3 of “sherlock” but also in part 2 of “the hobbit”. apparently, he’s the voice of smaug.


the american take on this british classic from sir arthur conan doyle is “elementary”, which stars lucy liu as dr. joan watson. clever, if you ask me, but not necessarily groundbreaking. the american’s version of sherlock is a bit more on-edge: a recovering drug addict, sports several tattoos, dresses up more colorfully, and is less “officious” in some ways. but he makes the same uncanny observations and conclusions just based on the way a person fidgets in his seat. perhaps the reason someone compared me to sherlock holmes is that i’m pretty observant myself, and entertain far too many possible conclusions which sometimes are not appropriate for sharing.


i also finished “suits” over a month ago. i once described the series as my favorite fantasy show, because really, the premise is just too implausible: a perfect memory is just not enough for anyone who hasn’t attended law school to pretend to be a lawyer. but what’s more unbelievable is the fact that he’s gone about his work undetected. maybe i’m saying that because i’m a lawyer and i wasted 5 years studying and preparing for the bar, and here’s this upstart genius who basically walked into a hotel room and suddenly has a new career. by the way, mike ross has embraced his fake identity without remorse (he once said that it’s his life, as though he will never be uncovered as a fraud) and does not seem to entertain thoughts of this being merely in the interim. in the season finale, he admits to rachel zane that he never went to harvard. well neither have i. by the way, although suits is normally a pejorative term used to refer to men in black and other officers of the law, i actually always pay attention to what harvey specter is wearing. he and neal caffrey of “white collar are without doubt the best dressed men on television today.

the title may not be very accurate; like i said, i've seen almost all of these shows. but then again, who says i can't re-watch them just to kill time while i'm healing?