Tuesday, June 19, 2012


TV Show:  Bunheads
Like/Don't Like:  Conditional like, if only because it is so familiar
(NOTE:  There is a big spoiler in this so stop reading if you haven't watched the first episode and are planning to.  Or keep reading and just live with knowing.)

I don't normally review TV shows, simply because I don't usually start watching new TV shows.  I don't like being committed to a show, even with the magic of the DVR.  And also, it's tough to judge a show on just a few episodes. But this was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who created Gilmore Girls, and if there was one show that I loved and truly miss and wish that they would do a reunion special just so I can see how happy Luke and Loralei are right now that would be it.  So I recorded the first two episodes and watched them tonight and am happy to report that this is Gilmore Girls on the west coast.

Proof:  it has several actors from GG.  Like Emily.  And Gypsy.  And Mitchum Huntsburger as a hippie barkeep.  The same gal who did the music in GG is doing the music here, with similar guitar strumming and la-la-ing.  It has the same rat-a-tat-tat dialogue that I loved in GG, with lots of pop culture references and sarcastic zingers.  And Sutton Foster is a good fit for that, even though I hope she'll ease out of her Broadway broadness and into the subtleties you can get away with in television.  So over all, I liked it, because it was so nicely familiar.

But here's where I object (And here's where the spoiler begins.  You've been warned.)  I do not think that I can get beyond Alan Ruck being given to us for one episode and then so abruptly taken away.  When I saw that it was him I squealed, because who doesn't love Cameron?  And he's such a sweetheart in the first episode.  And now he's gone.  Boo.  I fear I will always think what might have been.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Book:  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Author:  Alan Bradley
Like/Don't Like:  I was completely taken in

I've been a little annoyed lately with writers who don't trust their readers.  Few things infuriate me more than when an author spends too much time explaining things that should be understandable through context.  Or puts in references simply to look smart.  It makes me feel like they think I'm dumb.  You have to trust that your reader will figure things out on her own.

So here we have Alan Bradley who not only wrote a YA novel, a genre that is fraught with this sort of stuff, but did it without the slightest bit of condescension.  This story is stocked with Latin phrases, chemical compounds, allusions to female chemists, snippets of Shakespeare, and a mystery involving stamp collecting and not a bit of it is spoon fed to you like you're an imbecile.  He does not coddle his readers at all  His heroine, Flavia de Luce, is a smart, no-nonsense, eleven year old budding chemist and member of the British gentry.  She's a heroine I can get behind and not just because she's a girl sleuth.  I love girl sleuths.  With the exception of Nancy Drew who was just too perfect.  Ugh, didn't you just wish Ned would dump her, even if he was a dope? 

Anyway, Flavia finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery and she manages to make her way around the inspectors and the murderer and her two scheming sisters to discover the truth, all while whizzing around the English countryside on her bike.  It is charming and smart and a book I would have devoured if I had gotten my hands on it as an 11 year old.  Ok, so I devoured it as a 36 year old.  It's just that good.