Remember the good old days of television? When all it took to knock someone unconscious was to clock them in the back of the head with the butt of your gun? They’d conveniently wake up, hours later, nursing a slight headache but none the worse for wear. Shootings were relatively clean and dignified affairs, not only bloodless but bullet hole-free. And high-speed pursuits would end in horrific but ultimately negligible crashes, forcing the bruised but otherwise unharmed victims to crawl out of their wrecks and seek out alternate means of transportation. Sadly, times have changed. Now, rather than knock someone unconscious or cure their amnesia, a knock to the head will more likely kill today’s more fragile-skulled players. Shootings are fraught with more hysterics and blood than a high school production of MacBeth. And gone are the days when the A-Team could force a helicopter to crash into a mountainside and plunge fifty feet to the canyon floor below, causing the woozy bad guys to stagger out of the smoking ruins and into the hands of the waiting authorities.

Okay, granted, some shows don’t hold up quite as well as they used to. What may was once considered plausible or at least marginally entertaining can now seem… disquietingly odd in retrospect. Whether it be Steve McGarrett being hunted by the demented sniper with prosthetic hands, Starsky and Hutch going undercover as hairdressers, or Napoleon Solo dancing with a gorilla, they don’t make ’em like they used to. And I suppose maybe that’s a good thing.

Picture above is dinner: Fondy’s broiled monkfish with crispy caper butter.

Devon, who runs Metro Dogs Daycare, is a bit of a foodie and told me he’d been dying to try out Prima Taste, the Singaporean restaurant I reviewed on two previous blog entries. He dropped in one night after a hockey game, just to give the place a once-over, and was greeted by the owner. Devon mentioned that a friend of his had spoken highly of the place. “Is it Joseph?”asked the owner. Apparently, they have no idea what I look like but my reviews have given them some well-deserved notice. Nice.

Uh oh. Fondy’s surfing through the pug rescue sites. Gotta go!

9 thoughts on “February 5, 2007

  1. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane of the antiseptic violence shows of yesteryear. I had a fond chuckle. Yep, I grew up on Westerns where the hero gets shot and jumps on a horse to chase down the bad guys, then leaps off it to tackle them with a few well-aimed punches, on war movies with soldiers who are shot, yet still scale the hill and wipe out the enemy. Even Captain Kirk got knifed, showing us blood, yet managed to pick himself up, stumble to the intercom and call for help. If they hadn’t cut to commercial, we’d probably see him walk himself to sickbay.

    So imagine my shock when I watched two British series years ago, one where in a fight the hero has his arm broken but manages to put the bad guys down with kicks, barely makes it to his truck and PASSES OUT as he calls for help, and another where the hero is shot in the shoulder and PASSES OUT. My reaction? I giggled. Imagine passing out from a little old shoulder wound or broken arm! Didn’t seem like much of a hero, more like a (fill in your own favorite derogative.) I thought, do you know what an American hero would do with that shoulder wound or broken arm?

    Until I realized that if I had a shoulder wound or broken arm, I’d be passing out too, not jumping on horses, running up hills, or even stumbling heroically and stoically to the intercom. It was my early lesson in realism.

    And talking about surprises in the old days. Once again, being a product of many, many hours of American TV which has the most sexually repressed views of nudity and sex, I was certainly surprised when I watched “Silas Marner” on Masterpiece Theater and the girl takes off her blouse in the barn to … uh, get friendly with the guy. Expecting the usual cut to a shot of her back and backside as she uncovers her upper body, so much so that I’m only half-watching, imagine my surprise when they do not cut away and she opens her blouse right there facing me, exposing her naked breasts for all to see. Back in those days, that just didn’t happen on American TV, not even PBS unless it was National Geographic… or in this case, a British import.

    Thanks for the amusing stroll down memory lane. And if you want to take a trip down memory lane with series that hold up for me after all these years, for one reason or another, pick up the box sets of Robin Hood with Richard Greene, Cheyenne, Cisco Kid and Gene Autrey. It’s a fun look and there was a lot of good things in them that have been lost today.

    By the way, if you come to LA, I can recommend the best Thai, the best Japanese, and the best outside-of-Chicago Chicago hotdogs with the real dark green relish (it’s also a great place to watch the Chicago Bears, the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago White Sox, and the Chicago Cubs… see a pattern here?)

  2. Vancouver is my city of OZ. So when I’m studying with the Wizard at the University of British Columbia, I will be sure to check out some of these restaurants. Can you recommend a place with chocolate cake worth the trip from New Zealand?

  3. Sometimes I miss those days of TV. For me it’s the language of current TV that just doesn’t cut it for me. Why on earth do writers and producers think their characters have to have foul mouths to seem more ‘realistic’ or convey strong emotion.

    I knew Matt Dillon was a tough, saavy US Marshall, I knew Malloy and Reed were competent police offices dedicated to catching the bad guys..none of them had to use extremely foul language to convey this to me as a member of the audience. They gave a look or they had body language that conveyed their attitude about the bad guys or their concern for their friends. I knew the bad guy better watch out when Matt Dillon called him ‘Mister’.

    I can say with all honesty that for me the worst moment ever with Sam Carter was when she called Jonas a ‘chickens**t’ in season six. I had up to that point always loved that she never got extremely foulmouthed. Loved her exclamations of ‘holy hannah’. I lost a measure of respect for Sam Carter in that moment.

    I don’t know, maybe it might not be something writers realise, that there are still those of us like myself out here in the very real world to whom the use of foul language is not part of our own vocabulary.

    And yes that means that Marla does not use swear words in her own vocabulary, not even the seemingly most inoffensive ones..but if you hear me exclaim ‘horsefeathers!’ well then you know I’m upset.

    Of couse this made writing ..don’t look Joe…fanfic stories a challenge in some respects, because the characters do swear. I guess I could go and write about Carebears and Dora the Explorer though, but they aren’t as much fun.


  4. No questions for you today…just a bit of fangurling on my part if that’s okay with you…so put that Magic 8 ball away for this one. 😀

    I just saw First Strike.

    In deference to anyone who’s spoiler free, I’ll keep my comments vague.

    Wow. Just…freakin’…WOW.

    Phenomenal episode.

    I’ve liked Martin Gero’s work before…but this? WOW. Please be sure to tell Martin that he has a new fan. 🙂 And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    If this is a sign of things to come from SGA, I and many others are completely stoked.

    Thank you!
    Mary Beth

  5. Just watched First Strike, and had to come over here and give everyone props for putting together a fantastic episode. Action, suspense, some great dialogue, and unique plot turns. I loved it!

    I gotta say, though, I’m still worried about the Weir arc for next season… you keep saying it’ll be a major arc, but the old X-Files fan in me keeps reliving Mulder’s so-called “major arc” at the end of the series… *throws up a little in my mouth* Any chance of a little reassurance here?

    On the old “unrealistic” scenes… love ’em. 🙂 Indiana Jones, anyone? I love when a show doesn’t feel the need to be so accurate to real life. Because really, who actually watches TV to see real life? If I wanted to see someone get shot and die in a bloody, realistic manner, I’d go stand out across the street from my old apartment for awhile – three drug/gang-related shootings in under a year! I watch TV for the entertainment. I want the suspense and the action and fun. And you know what, if Jimmy The Hero is going to get shot and then bounce right back up and go after the Man in Black who’s kidnapped Jimmy’s Sweet Girlfriend, I’m gonna sit back and enjoy the ride. 😀

  6. I know you don’t want to give anything away plot-wise, but can you give us any clue about how many episodes Torri will be recurring in? Do we need to be ready to say goodbye to the much-loved character she plays?

    I’d urge you guys to go and look at the Save Elizabeth Weir thread at Gateworld, and check out just how big the Sheppard/Weir thread is there, too. It’ll show you just which is the most popular pairing, and why getting rid of her on a permanent basis would be a major blow to ratings.

    David Hewlett got the shock of his life at a con recently when he found out just how fans feel about Amanda joining the cast. They’re not happy. We don’t dislike her, we don’t dislike her character, we just don’t like that she is, for all intents and purposes, appearing to be replacing a character we’ve grown to love from the pilot.

    We all know you love sarcasm, we all know you love to stir the fans up, we all know that you don’t want to give away details, but a lot of people are very upset about Torri going to recurring. Can you give us any reassurance? Because many, many people are talking about never watching the show again if she goes. That’s not a threat — it’s just an observation and an honest assesement of the situation as many, many fans see it.

  7. Joe, meant to say earlier that is a very lovely china pattern you and Fondy have in the photos. I always have a particular interest in china patterns and glassware because my grandmother worked in a pottery when my hometown area was known as ‘the pottery capital of the world’.

    I am a noterious ‘plate flipper’ in restaurants (LOL before the food is on them that is) to see where the plate has been made. I do this especially in older hotels and finer restaurants that have been in business for a long time. It’s always a moment of pride when I see a plate that maybe my grandmother helped create.

    Speaking of plates, what is that in the first picture? It looks like cabbage dish. I like a really well prepared cabbage dish once it’s done, though I can’t stand to smell it cooking for some reason.


  8. Kirsten, your comment about if you wanted reality, you’d go stand out on your old street reminded me of an old friend who used to say the same thing. She grew up in a neighborhood with gangs and gun battles, so she always felt she didn’t need to be reminded of realistic violence in her TV enjoyment. All she had to do, she used to say, is go back to her old neighborhood if she wanted to experience blood and guts, or to go back to curling up on the floor away from the windows to not get hit from stray bullets. Often she wouldn’t watch a series until it went into reruns, so she’d know before investing in a character whether he was going to survive the series. Thanks for reminding me of something I should never forget.

    I’m also with you about your comments of sitting back and going on the ride with Jimmy the Hero. I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t like my heroes to be larger than life and do things that ordinary men can’t. I loved Kirk picking himself up and hitting the intercom just as I love gut-shot Daniel crawling to the sarcophagus by himself to get healed. I have many a DVD in my collection on those old heroes.

    It’s just that I was so used to seeing heroes that way on American TV, that over time you forget that isn’t the way it is. And when I saw the more realistic approach, I initially couldn’t relate to it — it was like these guys can’t be heroes if they act like babies when they get tiny little wounds. Until I related it to my own life. It was a lesson in realism that I’ve never forgotten.

    And perhaps while I’m at it, I should further explain my other comment which was relating a story when I first saw nudity on American prime-time family TV in that British series… until you see that, you don’t realize what is censored for you. You think everything is that way.

    I don’t have a problem seeing nudity or sex on TV, but I do hate female exploitation. I figure that if I have to sit through female nudity for the guys in the audience then they should sit through male nudity for me. Like I used to tell the hubby, it’s okay if it’s equal. And now when I feel that American TV is going to censor my viewing for my own good, I have enough friends in Britain who’ll send me an uncut version to view.

    One year the Paley Festival did a tribute to the wonderful HBO series “Entourage” – which is about a gang of guy friends surrounding a ‘popular’ young actor working in showbiz. Towards the end, a guy got up to ask a question about why they couldn’t have more female nudity on the show since they were on HBO. The showrunner gave a great answer about the show being about friendship, not sex, which it is. I didn’t get a chance to counter that publicly because the q&a ended, but I went up to talk to the showrunner and said I wanted to say that if that happened, we, his women viewers, would then be asking for the cute hunks to bare themselves. The showrunner said he was thinking the same thing as he looked out over the audience. But he did give the right answer because we watch it for the friendship and the humor.

    Swearing is another thing that has been brought up here. In the old days, we didn’t have it on TV, not for our good guys or our bad guys. And today we have it everywhere, even to the point where it comes out sounding like Shakespeare, i.e., in “Deadwood.”

    I didn’t swear when I was a kid, but it was all around me, in my family, my daily life, my school, even later in my work, where I learned to have as foul a mouth as anyone else. It certainly was more realistic to hear men and women, especially men, swear on TV because that was real life for me, but it was also okay with me to not hear any swearing either. What I used to think as silly and still do, is euphemisms for swear words, making up words to say to convey the same expression but somehow sound less ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ when everyone knows what word isn’t being said. It’s like I loved from day one Jack’s ‘for crying out loud’, but thought Starbuck and Co. in the 70s use of the word ‘frak’ silly, when they were speaking to me in English in 99% of the other words.

    In any case, it’s fun to revisit those old shows. Some hold up, some you think, ‘oh God, what was I thinking when I thought I liked that?’ Some show us how much technical progress we have made and some surprise us with what they were able to accomplish back then. Some show us how we’ve matured in our tastes, and some show us what we have lost.

  9. Seconding the anonymous commenter — I’m one of the many people who just isn’t interested in seeing the show without Elizabeth in it.

    At Collectormania John Smith seemed just as shocked that the response to his asking the talk attendees whether we wanted to see SG-1 characters in Atlantis wasn’t overwhelmingly positive – quite the opposite from where I was sitting. But honestly, we just don’t want that.

    Don’t get it wrong – many of us love Amanda and Sam Carter to bits. We just don’t want her character on Atlantis, particularly not when she’ll mess up the chemistry of the cast as it has been up ’til now. And she will. She’s out of place in Atlantis. Are you moving her over there because you can’t write Elizabeth or Teyla? Simple solution – hire someone who can to full-time status. And if you check out the characters’ fan threads on GateWorld, you’ll see that we believe Carl Binder can write both of them ably and well. (Martin Gero isn’t bad at the two of them most of the time, either.) Why can’t you do that instead of giving them less screentime to hide that you clearly aren’t all that good with the girls? And I’m sorry if I sound abrupt in saying so, but it’s true. Atlantis has always been more character-centric and warmer in its feeling than SG-1, though I loved that show as well, but that’s how those of us who have been devoted Atlantis fans want things to stay. D:

    If Sci-Fi want you to aim at the teenage male demographic, just point out to them – the majority of SGA fans are not teenage boys. A good half of us are female, many over 25 (not me though; 21 shortly), and believe it or not, Torri and Elizabeth as a character have an enormous lesbian fan base as well as all the young women who aren’t physically attracted to her as well as enjoying the character like we do. We don’t need “eye candy” characters – Torri and Rachel are beautiful enough. Even most of the guys I know who watch the show agree on that. Can’t you just give our girls more screen-time instead of bringing in others? Sam has already had ten years of character development; Elizabeth and Teyla have barely had three.

    I’m sorry if this comment is not as clear as I would like or it seems attacking as I have been told I come across by a lot of people. I have Asperger’s and I’m not very good at communicating my feelings when I am this level of passionate about something.

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