b Papa Dog's Blog: Stuff I Watched When I Was a Puppy Etc.

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Friday, August 06, 2004

Stuff I Watched When I Was a Puppy Etc.

So, yeah, lately I've been inflicting my adolescence on poor Mama Dog by way of our Netflix queue. We have this system, see, wherein we alternate picking sets of three movies, and for the last few months I've run through a cycle where I pick a set containing a James Bond movie, then a set containing a disc of Star Trek episodes, then a set that gives her a rest. Trying to space them out so as not to overdose her, see. The James Bond thing - I can't even remember why I started that, other than that she (Mama Dog) had said she'd never seen any of the original Sean Connery Bonds, and I felt for some reason or another that I owed it to her and the world to make sure she saw them all in order so that, for reasons still mysterious even to me, she'd be able if so called upon to name them chronologically. We've gone through Thunderball so far, and she can indeed name the first four in order, so hey, I'm doing my job.

I guess the Star Trek thing is sort of the same deal...she had never seen any Star Trek...any episode, any version. One day while flipping through channels, I came across "The Empath," which was a really crappy third season episode from the original series - if you're at all familiar, you'll remember it as the "Hey, we blew the set-building budget for the season, so let's do an episode on a blank stage" episode. Anyway, Mama Dog was temporarily transfixed by the garish makeup job on the titular empath, and seemed to think the thing looked like campy fun. Object lesson for wives of obsessive-compulsive pop culture geeks: don't say these things out loud.

So, we've made our way through four discs of that too, and I have to admit it is in some ways a grim undertaking for me. Mama Dog, with virgin eyes and forty years worth of hindsight, is able to see Original Star Trek simply as a curiously solemn cheesefest where the captain wear lipstick, the pointy-eared guy has black eye shadow, and the "futuristic" computer consoles feature digital displays that look remarkably like the gauge on an old-fashioned gas pump. For me, the reaction's a little more complicated. After having scarcely watched an episode since the early 80s, I'm left grasping to remember how it was I managed to spend so many years obsessed with this stuff. It's been so thoroughly imitated and parodied and revised over the years that it's no longer possible to see it for what it was...or maybe even to remember what it was. I mean, even when I was a kid, we knew William Shatner was a terrible actor, right? Even back then, we knew that all the boulders were made of Styrofoam and that all the battle scenes entailed tilting the camera whilst the cast lurches in unison to the suggested direction. And still...somehow...even when I started watching the show in syndication, close to ten years after its network demise, it still seemed so fresh and new and different and important. How could that have been? It's like being able to look at Seinfeld now and still think it's relevant or even funny (instead of feeling like maybe you had to be there even if you were there). Maybe time just moves faster now.

Anyway. last night's episode was "The Naked Time," the one where some space virus makes everybody space drunk. It's really one of the pretty good ones all in all, because Spock gets to cry, Sulu gets to run around with a sword, that Reilly guy who appeared in a couple of episodes gets to be an annoying caricature of a drunken Irishman, and Kirk's shirt only gets torn a little bit at the shoulder (by Dr. McCoy, who apparently didn't think it was worth taking the time to ask the Captain to roll up his sleeve for his injection).

And oh, yes...Mama Dog is also to be commended for not taking offence at having been saddled with a code name that means, when you get right down to it, "Bitch." Thanks, luv.

Just finished reading: The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel (Canadian content). Liked it quite a lot. Was initially surprised and then quickly unsurprised to hear that M. Night Shamalamadingdong is making the movie. Unsurprising because: Shamalamadingdong, like Pi, was born in Pondicherry. Also, not to blow things for anyone who hasn't read the book, but the ending does have something of a Shamalamadingdongesque quality to it. Now reading: Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies (also Canadian content).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Fifth Business, and enjoyed it, but haven't read the rest of the trilogy yet. The only othe Davies I've read is Murther and Walking Spirits, which is brilliant.

I've you like Life of Pi, you should try The Saint in New York (Canadian joke).

6:38 PM  

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