When Readers Watch TV

September 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm (Reviews, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I read incessantly.  When I’m not reading I go on literary-like adventures.  And when I’m doing neither of those things, like a sack of potatoes I will sit and watch a whole season of a TV show in one sitting.  It is my favorite not feeling well activity.  Why? Because I am obsessed with stories.

My most recent TV binge was the first season of Revenge, available on Hulu.

Remember that sweet girl from that show Everwood? Well, she’s all grown up playing a devious and manipulative woman who was severely wronged by a powerful group of people.  Moral of the story so far, don’t conspire to put a girl’s dad in prison and then have him killed – she’ll get pissed and make you suffer.

When I saw the ads for the show, I thought they looked cheesy and I wasn’t all that interested.  There comes a time in every person’s life, though, when they feel lothargic and just want to sit in front of the boob tube.  Hulu paraded Revenge in front of me, and I said “Why not?”

While watching it, I discovered that the writer’s have done an excellent job lacing several time frames, a huge conspiracy, and a huge cast of characters together into the perfect onion.  It reminded me of reading a Kate Morton novel without the pitter patter of a swoony and inevitable love story, like reading Elizabeth George’s Believing the Lie but with a more cohesive and linear tale.  I am shockingly riveted with the characters, and most of them are awful people, but they are believeable in their awfulness.

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A Grimm World

August 1, 2012 at 1:19 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

The new season of Grimm starts August 13, 2012; roughly two weeks until round two! Because of this, my husband, who just fell in love with the show via Hulu, has been making me watch season one. I say “making me” as though it is this incredible chore, but in reality, it is a relaxing date-night type activity for us once the kiddo has gone to bed.

The NBC original series portrays the Brothers Grimm as magnificent demon hunters, and the main character their detective descendant.  As a Grimm, Nick sees demons for what they are and can catch the bad guys of urban legend with his handy dandy Grimm family heirlooms as well as the help of the police department.  It’s CSI meets Van Helsing. Of course, the original stories weren’t collected by demon hunting bad asses, just two brothers in Germany in the very early 1800’s enthralled with folklore.

So, as we wait for 9pm (kiddo’s bed time) to hit every evening, I have decided to start reading my copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  I bought one of those shiny lettered, fancy leather-bound copies long ago (the cheaper version from Barnes and Noble, not an Easton Press or anything) with the intention of my husband reading them to the kiddo before bed at night when she gets older.  The stories are rather short and as I read to her all day, I think it best for bed time stories to come from Dad.

 The stories are mostly terrible.  In theory I love mythology and folklore, but what I’m discovering more and more is that I adore lengthy retellings rather than the original short stories.  Yet, I’m a serious advocate for source documents.  Just as I don’t want to watch the TV show Grimm without reading the original stories – I definitely would be appalled at myself for reading a fancy retelling in the form of a novel without reading the original collection of tales.  As in most things, I believe in the principle of it.

I found The Little Farmer to be especially awful.  What a deceitful and greedy group of people! And the fact that this horrible little man becomes the sole proprietor of the town and all the riches therein is quite appalling.  I enjoy stories with a solid moral, a bigger picture, lessons for life about the merits of goodness.  Instead, The Little Farmer breeds selfishness and sociopathic characteristics.  The Life Lesson being: the cheaters that are most cunning rule the roost.  Of course, this is a valid truth in most societies, but in my perfect story I want there to be inspiration to persevere under the pressure to keep up with the Joneses (or just kill them off if you can’t), and do something great in your life.  The Little Farmer may walk off a wealthy man, but he has no friends and he has not lived a fulfilling life.  Be proud of hard work, rather than trickery.

I am not a fan of people getting rewarded for bad deeds or laziness.  Just as I cannot get my novel published until I finish writing it (blaming my main character Dani for being elusive and moody when I’m trying to get her life organized), the princess shouldn’t get a Frog Prince to marry when she hasn’t been anything but mean to him.

There are, however, wise stories in the Brothers Grimm, not just the “only people who share are the people who don’t have anything” kind (a real-life adage from my own father).  The Nail is the very story which proves one of my old martial arts instructors’ words correct: slow makes fast; or, as the Grimms tell us: Make Haste Slowly.  Stories like these, though the horse suffered much for the sake of the warning tale, is what keeps me reading and what reminds me that the kiddo will benefit from growing up with the stories as well.

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