Monthly Archives: August 2014

TV is your BFF

I just read a New Yorker article about how the Emmys were awful because they were so awkward. That article was wrong.

Bart: TV sucks.
Homer: I know you’re upset right now, so I’ll pretend you didn’t say that.

Look past the fact that this is sexist (or stop here and go write your own blog about how TV is sexist because it’s that too) and think about the meaning behind Seth’s opening monologue from the Emmys. 

“I love television. And not just the high-end cinematic stuff we’re honoring tonight, but the low-rent cable series I stream onto a four-inch screen when I’m on the bike at Equinox. She doesn’t play hard to get. She doesn’t demand your full attention. Television has always been the booty-call friend of entertainment. You don’t ever have to ask TV, “You up?” TV’s always up. She’ll happily entertain you while you cook dinner or wrap your Christmas presents. She’s not like that high-maintenance diva, Movies, who wants you to put on pants and drive over to her house and buy forty dollars’ worth of soda. So I’m sticking with TV. Let’s give it up for TV, everyone!”

Now, to put that in positive terms, television is there for you when you need it. Week after week we invite the characters into our homes. We spend years with them. Yes, they abandon us for holidays and the summer but they come into our homes and touch our lives. We get more than 90-minutes, we get more than a trilogy. We get weeks and weeks of getting to know characters, watching them struggle, watching them find love and watching them grow closer to their friends and families. 

Sometimes the dang network will take them away too soon, but sometimes the relationship will span years. 

I don’t often cry at movies (nope, not even Fault in Our Stars) but I lose all composure when it comes to a series finale–or even a season finale if it’s The Mindy Project. The last episode of Friends ruined the song “Good Riddance” for me and I didn’t even think I was attached to that show. I was not-quite nine years old when Seinfeld finished and I don’t remember the episode but I remember that I felt sad watching it end. I can’t handle these finales…to the point where I still haven’t watched the last episode of 30 Rock because I know it’s going to hurt too much. I heard it’s really good, but I can’t. Maybe if someone holds my hand through the whole thing? 

Years. We have known these characters longer than we’ve known some of our real friends. We watched Jim and Pam and Michael and Dwight for eight years. Through the good episodes and the bad we watched on. We watched Rory and Lorelei date all kinds of guys and reference all kinds of pop culture. Even when the writing gets horrible we remain loyal. We’re total suckers for it and we know it, but television gives us so much we can excuse it’s flaws because of all the good it’s given us.

I didn’t get into Lost or Breaking Bad but the rest of the world could not shut up about those shows. They blew people’s minds and changed the way we look at stories and at the world around us. Don’t even get me started about the time I tried to have a birthday the same day as the Lost finale…

The Simpsons were brought into the world the same year I was. I can literally say (and the internet loves when people say things literally) that I grew up on them. I’ve been the same age as Maggie, Lisa, and Bart and I look forward to the day the Simpsons outlive me. We’d gather to watch the new episode as a family every Sunday night and when I was in middle school I’d sit by my friend Hilary on the bus and we’d talk about the episode. No one else’s parents let them watch it but ours knew better. In every episode there were stories, songs, and quotes that won’t be forgotten.

“The answer to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a bottle, they’re on TV!” – Homer Simpson

So, yes, I love television and I loved the awkward awards show that acknowledged it. Television stars/writers/directors/networks aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves. They give the British actors awards even though they know they won’t show up. Television knows that sometimes it outstays its welcome and sometimes its jokes aren’t funny but it keeps coming back and we keep letting it in. Television is not the booty-call, it’s your best friend. Just admit it already. You love TV even when it’s bad.


The daily struggle.

“Life is pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.” -The Princess Bride

I have two great passions in this world: writing and loving. I have been told now and again that I am good at both and I don’t think those people were lying to me but I do think being good at something is relative. Am I married? No. Have I had anything published? No. Did I write/produce a musical film? Yes, but only with lots and lots of help. 

I say I am not good at these things not because I suffer from low self-esteem but because they are SO HARD and sometimes feel impossible to master. Relationships are really hard. You lovebirds who say it’s easy? Well, I don’t believe you because I’ve seen the ups and downs in your relationships.

Relationships often bring out the worst in me. After one breakup I tried to convince a counselor at BYU that I had developed depression. He asked me if anything had changed in my life. I told him I got dumped. He told me that is usually something that makes people feel sad. I couldn’t believe this new-found devastation could possibly be a normal part of life. But it was and it was temporary. Love is not all rainbows or lights at the end of the tunnel (that’s a Bachelor in Paradise reference and I’m not ashamed).

So why? Why do we bother with something that brings such pain? Because we have to. I think loving selflessly is the only way to truly gain power in our lives. Courage comes from vulnerability

And that, my dear readers, is how I feel about writing. Writing is haaaaaaard. It takes work and sacrifice and pushing through those moments where it sucks (your soul out and chews it up and spits it back into your body). I created this blog for the purpose of proving myself a writer and I have abandoned it for months simply because the commitment of finishing a post always feels like too much. I love it so why isn’t it easy all the time?

When BK told me about this article, Ten Things No One Tells You About Being Married, I read it over and thought these are some good points to keep in mind when marriage is a thing in my life AND it relates to me now in my relationship with writing.

know I am in love with writing. We courted in college through five different screenwriting classes and I fell hard when I got to write my own musical.  I’ve fallen asleep with my laptop in my arms mid-sentence more often than I’ve fallen asleep in the arms of any human. I feel giddy butterflies when I’m writing and the words are just flowing. But sometimes…

You will not always feel attracted to your partner/screenplay/blog post.
“Even if we know this intellectually, when lack of attraction hits in marriage most people panic.” I wrote over 60 drafts of one script. Somewhere around drafts 7, 13, 22-25, 36, and probably the last fifteen I was very much not in love. At some of those points I wanted to give up, it didn’t seem like a pretty idea anymore.

You won’t always like your partner/screenplay/blog post.
That moment when you hear the actor obediently reciting something you wrote and you hate it and feel like you’ve wronged him for making him say something that sounds so ridiculous. That joke that is only funny every tenth time you read/watch the thing. The line you cut that you’re convinced needs to come back and how did you ever talk yourself into getting rid of it? After a while you’ll hate the names you gave the characters or maybe even the characters themselves. You’ll want to change the entire story or give up altogether. It’s easy to talk yourself out of anything. Unless you’re actually not funny, then you should probably just give up on the jokes. That was a joke.

Worst of all, when you notice a typo in your tweet but someone has already favorited it.

Being in love is a stage of relationship that doesn’t last forever.
“Is there any greater genre than that of a musical? I’ll never write anything else.” -me in the beginning of the process
“Why did I think writing a musical would be fun? Why couldn’t I have just written a RomCom or a made-for-ABCFamily Christmas movie? Those look easy…” -me when I realized “musical” is more than just writing a movie with some songs in it.
“Is there any greater genre than that of a musical? I’ll probably need to write another one soon.” -me after watching edits of the film

To quote the article, “one of my clients shared: ‘I had to fall out of love before I learned what real love is all about.’ This is something rarely talked about in the mainstream.”

Every project/post seems like a dream at first. Especially those ideas that come from dreams and then you realize there’s no actual substance to it and it was a “you sort of had to be there” kind of dream. 

You don’t have to feel love to give it.
We screened our musical for some people who hated it. Okay, hate is a strong word, but they (really, really, really) disliked it. Can you let the seemingly one-sidedness or under-appreciation of the creator/consumer relationship get to us? No. Do I sometimes write things here assuming no one will actually read it? Yes. Does my laptop hug me back? No, not yet. Hey, Apple I’ve got this great idea for you involving robot arms and, nah, too dangerous, robots are always turning on people. 

You just keep writing because it’s worth it for the moments when you do connect with someone.

Or heck, write for yourself. I think writing is more than a hobby, it’s a necessity. I’ve heard counsel all my life about keeping a journal from church leaders, family members and some grad student studying psychology so it’s gotta be good for you.