September 29th, 2008


If It's Sunday, I Must Be Watching HBO

HBO premiered two new programs tonight after True Blood and Entourage.

The first was Little Britain USA. I just spent this past summer watching Little Britain on DVD, and I loved it. Smart, surreal sketch comedy not just with recurring characters but also progressing storylines, which I'd never seen before in this kind of format. Now it's been transplanted with the same cast (minus Anthony Stewart Head, it seems) to the U.S. Some of the classic characters are back -- Lou and his not-really-handicapped friend Andy, the Fat Fighters lady, the annoying Vicky Pollard, the transvestite Emily Howard, Sebastian the Prime Minister's aide, the mean receptionist -- as well as some new ones like the eighth man on the moon, the crazy woman whose dog tells her to do things, and the two workout junkies, but there was a strange feeling of "what's the point?" throughout the episode. I don't think Little Britain needs to be transplanted to the U.S., and in fact it feels a bit watered down because of it. I hear the second episode is actually much better, so that's a little heartening. And it's always nice to hear Doctor Who Tom Baker's voice. We'll see if it shapes up.

The second, The Life and Times of Tim, seemed dead on arrival. I didn't like the animation style at all, and the idea seems repetitive: put Tim in an awkward situation and make it worse because of his inaction, while his girlfriend impatiently taps her foot. I don't see this becoming anything worthwhile unless they introduce a progressing storyline instead of just one-off sketches about some predicament Tim has gotten himself into. Frankly, I'm surprised HBO greenlighted this one while passing on Preacher and abruptly canceling the planned second season of Tell Me You Love Me. This seems like HBO Lite.

(By the way, a distinct lack of ceiling hooks on this week's episode of True Blood. Also, now I think Sam is a werecollie again.)

Coming Out of the Closet

Half the women in my life are lesbians. That's not something I purposely sought out, it's just the way it is. I went to a college with a large gay and lesbian population, so I've never had an issue with anyone's sexual orientation. One of my closest friends in the neighborhood has been out of the closet since she was a teenager. She's still dealing with the ramifications of that with her family, which refuses to accept her orientation as anything more than a phase despite the fact that it's been fifteen years now. Her ex-girlfriend, whom I'm still friends with, is getting even more pressure from her own family to be straight, and it's messing with her head. (I have several gay male friends too, all with their own familial issues as well. I don't mean to imply only lesbians deal with this.)

This morning, another friend of mine came out of the closet. Her situation is different from most of my other lesbian friends' in that she's married and has a kid. Luckily, her husband has been as supportive and understanding as possible for this kind of situation, and is even letting her continue living in the house until the housing market gets better. Still, it can't be easy for either of them. Her husband's hurt might be tempered by the fact that this is an orientation issue, but it's never fun to be left for someone else, and it's doubly hard when you're married. Marriage by nature indicates that you've chosen to be with someone for the rest of your life, and when that dissolves it stabs deeper than any other kind of breakup. All your plans, everything you imagined or counted on for your future, are suddenly and painfully gone. Believe me, as a divorced man I speak from experience.

But I think it's even harder for her. From what I know of her parents, they're going to go batshit (though, luckily, she's already given them a grandchild, so maybe that will appease them). She's not a celebrity, she's not going to get a "Yes, I'm Gay" People magazine cover to help everyone adjust. There's no safety net here. She's doing a brave, courageous thing, and I'm proud of her for finally accepting who she is and taking steps to embrace that.