300 Years of French & Saunders:
I think laughter is one of the most important things in the world. Money and champagne and room service are also tremendously important, of course, but laughter is really one of the more valuable things. I don’t think I could ever be a friend or lover or common acquaintance with someone who didn’t make me laugh. Comedy is honestly my favorite thing, and I have long held this fantasy of becoming a standup comedian. Will that ever happen? I dunno, but the thought of it thrills me. My sense of humor was sculpted by the absurdist comedy that is prolific in Great Britain. I love dry jokes, sarcasm, and surrealism. The queen of this kind of humor is Jennifer Saunders, one of the most important celebrities in my life. I don’t know where to begin with her. I’m sure we have discussed her impact on me before. But I must reiterate. I discovered Jennifer Saunders by accident when I was in high school, laying on the couch, home sick. I might not have been sick. I don’t recall. I just recall that I wasn’t where I supposed to be and I was watching BBC America. An episode of Absolutely Fabulous was on, and I didn’t have a clue what was happening. But something about the humor stuck with me and I sought out every episode — on LASERDISC — and it became one of my favorites. Jennifer’s character, Edina Monsoon and her dear friend Patsy Stone have impacted me more than I can ever really say or justify.
I have become tremendously like them in my own life, which might not always be the best. Jennifer created that wonderful program, but the germ of an idea that became Absolutely Fabulous began with French & Saunders, a sketch show that starred Jennifer and her comedy partner, Dawn French, whom Jessica and I were lucky enough to see live in Brighton a few years ago. French & Saunders is one of those rare comedy programs that has survived the test of time. It is as funny today as it was in the early 90s. Jessica and I became a bit obsessed with the show and even to this day, we reference it constantly.
When we are at concerts we dance like Jennifer and Dawn. When we see a horse, we say, “How many hands is it, please?” When we don’t want to do something, we cry, “I have a migraine, Miss!” It’s become part of our identity, but the show ended nearly a decade ago. Blissfully, miraculously, wondrously, the BBC aired a delightful special this past Christmas called Three Hundred Years of French & Saunders. It compiled dozens of great moments from the past series, and delightfully, many new segments. It was delicious to see the comedy duo dressed up as the Kardashians. It was grand to see them bring old characters back to life. The entire hour long program was a triumph and it made me so happy. At the end, I cried. Reader, those two women made such a profound and lasting impact on me. How happy I was and how happy it will always make me.
“Disjointed” Season 2:
Kathy Bates is one of the finest actors alive today, and I take great pleasure in her existence because I have an aunt named Kathy Bates. I routinely make jokes about this to my tremendous satisfaction. I love a good joke. And because I love jokes and Kathy Bates so much, I was justifiably thrilled and delighted by the Netflix original series, Disjointed. The subject matter is hardly to everybody’s taste, but I think it’s a hoot. The show is a fairly standard sitcom, but instead of taking place in a house or an office, it happens in a cannabis dispensary. That leads to a plethora of opportunities for hilarity to ensue. And while the show revolves around marijuana and its effects, this really isn’t the purpose of the show. It’s about the friendships and relationships that come into being at the shop. It deals with the legalities of the burgeoning cannabis market and family dynamics. One of the most surprising topics that they tackle is dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. The security guard of the dispensary was involved in some frightening situations in Iraq, and he must find ways to deal with this trauma. And the entire time it’s full of gags and jokes, and every episode leaves me cackling. I don’t have tremendously much more to say, but the guy who is in charge of the garden is strangely attractive but only at certain angles. And the characters of Dank and Dabbie are perfection. Do give this program a chance, reader. It’s so easy to binge watch. And the second season is even better than the first!
I never thought in all my life that I would have a team of doctors and medical specialists responsible for keeping me well. But then multiple sclerosis has changed so much about my life. Oddly, I am very glad to have been diagnosed with this incurable neurological order. Because of it, I am healthier than I ever would have been without it. I do tremendous research into autoimmune disorders, multiple sclerosis, pharmaceuticals, dietary concerns, holistic remedies, and the work done by scientists around the world. This disease has made me smarter and counterintuitively healthier. I have told you about Dr. Hughes before, and he’s still a fantastic fellow. But at my last checkup, I met the new aide I will meet every other time. She is fabulous. She’s short, jovial, and always ready to laugh. We spent my appointment cackling about everything and very little time on disease. She seemed glad with how I was doing, and I was particularly pleased that she supported my various experiments. I have started tanning because of the gloomy weather. But more than that, I started tanning because of research I did on vitamin d deficiencies and how they tie into multiple sclerosis. Who knows if it’s helping, but I’m feeling fabulous. She thought my experiments with taurine and other supplements were admirable and fine, and I was tremendously happy that she didn’t look at me like I was insane. I truly feel blessed and lucky to have such people helping me out. Without them and their expertise and their kindness, there is truly a good chance that I would be in a wheelchair right now. But I’m not. I’m still traipsing all over the world, eating too much cheese, doing far too much schoolwork, and living my best life. I’m very thankful for them all.
The Shape of Water:
Every year, I get extraordinarily excited about one or two movies. I can never understand why because they always fail to live up to the expectations I set for them. I vividly remember my overwhelming need to see The Artist and then my utter disdain for the film. It was not at all the triumph it was sold as. Same for LA LA Land. That was lame. How could my love of musicals and for Hollywood have gone so astray? Oh well, like all people, I never really learn. Most recently, I have been transfixed by The Shape of Water. I thought it sounded tremendous, and I am a huge fan of Guillermo del Toro. One of my dreams is to take a tour of his home, stuffed to bursting with monster movie memorabilia. Several of his films are amongst my favorites like Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak. I expected the same ravishing delight with his latest picture, and for the most part, I truly enjoyed it tremendously. But it didn’t live up to the fantasy I had built up in my head. It was an absolutely beautiful movie, reader. The sets were stunning, the costumes were perfect, and everything about the cinematography lived up to my expectations. There was just something weirdly unsettling about the plot. The main character, a mute janitor, works at a Government laboratory. Here, she and her friend go about their daily business and don’t take much interest in the activities going on around them. That all changes when this unknown creature is brought into the lab for study. It’s basically the creature from the Black Lagoon — one of the major inspirations for the story — and she grows fascinated with him. They are both unable to speak, and she empathizes with his struggle, so on her breaks she begins to sneak into the lab and teach the creature sign language and how to eat boiled eggs. They become friends. But because of a somewhat convoluted plot involving Russia and the Space Race, the creature is going to be killed and studied. She can’t have this, so she steals him away. It was all great up to this point, it seemed like a standard rescue plot, but then the janitor falls in love with the creature. Like emotionally and physically and it was just weird. Still tremendously beautiful, but it was…weird.
Taking Five Classes at Once:
I made something of a dumb decision recently, and I made it for noble reasons, but it was nevertheless dumb. I am getting really tired of being in college all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love learning. I’ll surely be taking classes until the day they bury me, but these will be more fun to take at a more leisurely pace. Right now I am impatient and I want to finish my bachelor’s degree as fast as humanly possible. I was smart enough to reel myself in and not quit my job and do nothing but take classes, but I was foolish enough to sign up for five. I have never taken five before, and that is for a very good reason, and I don’t recommend it to anybody. I am sure that I didn’t learn from my mistake and will do this again next time. I just want to earn more money! And the problem isn’t that I dislike the classes. Now that I have my liberal arts degree, all of the courses that I am taking are things that interest me. It’s just the time necessary for all of this. I work full time and am more than full time in my classes. When I have a night where I’m not going to a class, I am so sleep deprived that I want to do nothing but take a nap. And if I’m not utterly exhausted, I just want to watch the latest episode of Will & Grace. And I would not even mind going to the gym to get my rapidly ballooning body in check once in awhile. But I have nothing but assignments and classes and projects. And I’m a perfectionist with a proclivity to procrastinate. This is a perfect storm. Enough of my whining and complaining. Just make sure that you think about yourself and your time before committing to anything. You might start blacking out in exhaustion or something.