All my thoughts on ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

The husband and I watched this series in a mad dash to finish before he left for a week to Tennessee, and we have been talking about it and texting each other links since, like, last Thursday night.

As we all may know at this point, I have a serious love for things that are ambitious but flawed. It, the novel. The Dark Tower series. A couple of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. Glee. The Netflix Hill House is definitely on that list.

To boil it down: it was super-cool; go watch it if you haven’t already. But it’s not perfect, and that’s okay–they really went for a vision and they hit most of it.

So, below the cut (assuming I can figure out how to do a cut, as I’m doing this on my iPad) … SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK AND THE MOVIE.

Continue reading “All my thoughts on ‘The Haunting of Hill House’”


all my thoughts on this Versace show

They are not particularly ordered …

  1.  There is a lot of interesting stuff going on here around the closets.  Like, the obvious stuff regarding The Closet and the 90s, but also as symbols of success, of containing the things you want but can’t have, of containing things you used to have but no longer do.  It’s interesting, to me, how often we see Andrew Cunanan in this context of closets–Lizzie’s husband’s, the crappy tiny ones in his crappy motel rooms, his super-fancy sugar-daddy provided closet … and the one in the master bedroom of his childhood home, where Andrew got the biggest bedroom, but his father got the closet.  Closets with secrets, too: we have Modesto’s stash of money and Andrew’s collages of Versace.
  2. I think the reverse structure works for and against the show (but it’s really working for me)–on the one hand, it makes things (like that very first closet) resonate in a different way than if we saw it progress rather than regress.  But one thing I’ve seen in reviews is this expectation that there will be an answer to the enigma of Andrew Cunanan, which the reviewers aren’t finding, and I think part of that expectation comes from the added emphasis of the backwards narrative.  We have to be leading to something, and if the ultimate murder of Gianni Versace isn’t it, surely it must be why Cunanan killed him (and David Madsen, and Jeff Trail, and Lee Miglin, and William Reese).  But I’m not sure an answer is what the show is going for.  I think it’s more a series of portraits–the overarching one is Cunanan’s, but within that framework are portraits of other people that are just as, and sometimes more, compelling.  (Interestingly, as amazing a job as I think Edgar Ramirez is doing as Versace, I find Versace the least compelling character in the show.)
  3. There’s a lot of really good work in this thing.  I think Darren Criss is creepy as hell, and that scene in the jumpsuit was perhaps some of the best non-verbal acting I’ve ever seen: you watch him work through like eight different emotions in five minutes.  And then Cody Fern as David Madsen doing this dissection of discomfort–he hits every beat, from the “I am traveling cross country with an actual murderer” kind of discomfort through the “wow, you thought we were a lot more serious than I did” discomfort, to the “oh, this guy is so out of my league but he’s bought me a drink and invited me to sit down” awkwardness.   Penelope Cruz acting through Donatella’s accent; Ricky Martin looking exhausted down to his bones in the first episode; Mike Farrell in Lee Miglin’s basement; JUDITH LIGHT HOLY CATS.  And Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan–honestly, if you want to skip every other episode and just watch the one he’s in, it’s ridiculously good.
  4. The costuming gives me college flashbacks.  It’s disturbing.

So, yeah, I’ve been enjoying it.  It didn’t go anywhere near the way I expected–I was expecting something more back-and-forth between the manhunt and the past–but I think I’ve dug it more because of that.

2 week blog run: day 3

See, the hard part is thinking up something to write about.

The husband is watching Wayward Pines, which really sounds like it ought to be more like Gravity Falls or Eureka, but, sadly, is not.

Spoilers, kind of, coming up for Wayward Pines (which I keep wanting to call Waverly Pines, which would make a great title for my mash-up, which follows) and possibly Gravity Falls

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The inevitable eulogy for Glee

So this week Glee is ending.  And I’m sad.

I started watching Glee in a very on-and-off kind of way–I skipped episodes, I fast-forwarded the Finn and Rachel stuff that I didn’t care about–while my friends were really into it.  And then I got really into it, and most of my friends stopped watching.  So I got on Tumblr, where the meta is deep and the fanfiction lives, and I blogged about it here a bit.

Really, I could sit here and explain why I love the show–the weird, distorted, but recognizable echoes it has to my high school experience; my love for things that are ambitious but, partly because of that, deeply flawed; the fact that I am a sucker for huge musical numbers; Kurt Hummel–but I think I’ve done that before, here and elsewhere, and it feels too defensive.

I think one of the weird lessons I’ve learned from this odd fannish experience is that I do, actually, have guilty pleasures–for a long time I claimed I didn’t believe in them, you like what you like, own your cheese.  But that only worked when everyone, including me, agreed that this thing I liked was silly or bad.

See, I don’t think Glee is stupid, or poorly-written, or too over-the-top [1].  When I finally fell in love with it, I fell hard and fast and was all in, flaws and all.  But the things I love about it are things that other people … well, didn’t.  And so I shut up about a lot of it, feeling weird and guilty for liking it (and that is, for the most part, on my head more than anyone else’s).

Seriously, thank god for Tumblr.  I think at least half my love for Glee is love for the weird little corner of fandom in which I lurk, with the bizarre, ambitious, beautifully written fan fiction and the color meta and the obsessive focus on what each character has in his or her bedroom and the commentary about Brittany and Kurt’s neuro-atypicality.

Which brings me to something Glee and its fandom reminded me of more than taught me:  it doesn’t actually matter if the writers intended it or not; if you can back up your thesis with examples from the text, your interpretation is valid.  I actually think the writers intend a lot of the stuff they do on Glee (there’s been a lot of groundwork laid that’s paid off [2]), but even if they don’t mean to hint that Kurt’s on the spectrum, even if the costume department isn’t dressing people in green when they’re insecure, who cares?  If someone can back up a claim, it’s a valid interpretation.  This is, like, a founding principle of a degree in English–and why not apply it to every form of narrative in the world?  How come Lost fans get all the fun? [3]

The past few years of my life, pretty much the run of Glee, have been rather stressful.  Not the worst time, but rocky, just the same.  And I’ll be honest:  I knew that the show and the stuff surrounding it–the blogs, the fanfic, the music–were all things I used to escape that stress.  It gave me stuff to think about, stuff to sing along with in the car so that I couldn’t brood; it gave me things to laugh at [4], and it made me cry (dammit, Romy Rosemont).  It also gave me a place where I can be a dorky fangirl about more stuff than Glee, led me to a lot of new music (not just its own soundtrack, but artists I’d never heard of that I checked out because people I follow listen to them), and is at least part of the reason I do yoga every night.

So, yeah.  I’m going to miss it, like I miss Buffy and Lost [5]; it’s one of those shows that will have a narrative around it–Buffy got me through grad school; Lost got me through my pregnancy (which is ironic as all hell); Glee got me through stuff I’m not ready to write about on the internet (but which is comparable to the rest; no major trauma here).

And I will forever be sad that I don’t get my David Bowie tribute episode (with Chris Colfer singing “Life On Mars?”) or Puck and Artie singing “Girls” by the Beastie Boys.  Hell, the other night “Lifetime Piling Up” by the Talking Heads came on, and I thought that would be an awesome Glee montage-type song.

But I did get an all-boys acapella version of “Whistle”; I got the best choir room scene in the world from “It’s Not Right, but It’s Okay,” and, dude, they covered “Far From Over” by Frank freaking Stallone, that was the best early birthday present ever.  I’m not sure I can really complain.

I don’t know if they’ll stick the landing.  This season has been a wild ride of cracktastic beauty and odd emotional resonances; I hope the last two episodes are like that.  But even if they don’t, it’s all right, because I’ll hop online and see what other people thought, read the meta and the fix-it fic, and … I don’t know.  Wait to see what other show comes along to fall into this space in my brain.  It won’t be exactly the same, but it’ll be interesting.

1 [back] It’s John Irving-esque “outsized reality,” which is the first rung on the ladder of magic realism, and I kind of want to write an essay on this because I’ve seen the theatre of the absurd stuff floating around, but I haven’t quite seen my take on it anywhere.  Well, we’ll see.  There are lots of essays I’d like to write.  :) 

2 [back] Look, I wasn’t shocked that Kurt and Blaine broke up after season 5.

3[back]Speaking of Lost … I think the best thing  I got out of my edging into this Glee fandom thing was the beta gig on Because You Left (go read it!).  Which is still going–we’re getting closer to Part 3 being done and ready to post, and then there’s Part 4–and is still so much fun.  I will miss the capslocking and the random cryptic emails about head canon and Lost connections during the actual episodes, but it’s nice to know this isn’t totally over. Plus, I keep telling myself that Lost fandom is still alive and kicking, so …

4[back] That “now talk at me while I eat” thing springs immediately to mind, as does the scene where Artie tells the guys he has chlamydia.

In which I totally get my Orphan Black fangirl on.

This post contains spoilers for all of Orphan Black, which you should seriously watch if you aren’t already because holy hell, Tatiana Maslany.

So. That was quite the season finale.

But that’s not what I’m going to write about today. Not exactly, anyway. No, I am going to ramble about the characters.

Continue reading “In which I totally get my Orphan Black fangirl on.”

Catching up!

So remind me to never plan my kid’s birthday party for the Saturday before Easter again.

Actually, remind me to just skip every part of April that isn’t his birthday, because that would make life easier. April is pure chaos.

Catching up, then …

First of all, because I know everyone who reads this has been waiting with bated breath, THE BOY LOST HIS TOOTH! The day before his birthday, even. He still has the other loose one, and if that doesn’t come out in a few weeks the dentist is going to yank it, but still. THE FIRST ONE IS OUT, HALLELUJAH!

(Below we have spoilers for Glee 5.16 and 5.17, very mild spoilers for The Goblin Emperor, me crying, and a two-sentence discussion about Chuck E. Cheese. Be aware.)

Continue reading “Catching up!”