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How does that make me feel? mid-September 2008 edition.

Pop culture this month has left me full of feelings, and I'd like to share just a few with you (mild spoilers to follow).

The first six episodes of Dexter: Season 2
So far, I'm really getting into the second season, and am already hungry for more Dexter (just imagine that was said in a creepy Michael C. Hall voice). I really enjoy how darkly funny it's becoming--I would say even funnier (while still maintaining that scare factor I so crave and characters I genuinely care about) this season than the last. When Dexter started going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings I was just tickled. He DOES have an addiction. Get it? But it isn't drugs!! It's killing people! He's a serial killer! One would think that the whole "I'm a secret killer and make lots of little puns about it" thing would get old fast, but I'm totally still digging it (digging it a grave, that is. Zing!). So far the second season, in some ways already surpassing the first, makes me feel: Happy!

"Previously On" segments that give me too much information
While I am enjoying the second season of Dexter on DVD, I was a little annoyed that the first episode's "previously on" had to sum up the entire first season. Maybe this is the convention, but should it be? What does it say to me, the loyal fan, about how much "they" (not entirely sure who "they" refers to, but go with it) care about my devotion to watching the entire series, in order, and not just feeling like I can jump in at any point like some johnny-come-lately? It sort of tells me that "they" don't care about having devoted fans, since I can join at any time and just be caught up by a ridiculously long "previously on." I was similarly irritated when Dirty Sexy Money used this tactic, and at the beginning of every episode repeated the premise of the entire show. What does this say about confidence in building a fan base? I'm all for a quick summary of the important points of the last episode, but really...it makes me feel like everything just keeps getting dumbed down for the viewers. I have to say, too much back story given in the "previously on" makes me feel: Angry! (I think that Angry Amy might have a rant up here sleeve regarding this topic as well...)

The Swiffer commercials featuring Hall and Oates' "Baby Come Back"

I'm in love with these commercials (see link above), because, what can I say, I'm a sucker for personification. The mop loves her! He just wants her to take him back! Sure, there are the general sexist connotations that the mop takes the male role since only women use a mop (and further, that these roles of "human and mop" have to be designated as male or female at all) but really, as soon as "baby come back" starts playing and a "sad-looking" mop peeks out from behind a tree (yes, I know the mop doesn't really have a face) I just melt. Personification of inanimate household objects make me feel: Very Happy!

Gossip Girl
I don't know, Gossip Girl, but you seem to be losing your edge. A summer black out in the middle of a party that somehow finds all our characters forced together just when they need to be so that they can manage their various relationships? Serena and Dan alone in an elevator, forced to finally talk through their issues, Chuck and Blair in a dark, luxurious home, where only one thing can happen (oh yeah!), and Little J with Blair's mom, with nothing to do but talk through some designs and eventually redeem herself to her fashion hero? Deus ex machina much? I don't know...I guess I just wanted a little something more from you than a "device" episode so early on in the season. How does it make me feel? I hate to say it, but, after the third episode of the season: Bored.

Mad Men: Season 2
The second season of this incredible drama has already surpassed the first. I'm really loving it as each character becomes more and more dynamic and real, and I can't wait to see how the various stories unfold. Also, of course, the clothes are great. Men should really wear suits to the office still. I am especially enjoying how much the major female characters are developing this season, and how their struggles with societal limitations (and how each character deals with these limitations) is becoming a major theme in the storyline. So far this season is making me feel: Happy! However, I've learned that I don't like watching a show as it's actually on, waiting like a jerk between episodes. Having to wait each week to actually watch the next episode makes me feel incredibly: Nervous!

Rethinking the Swiffer commercials and what they're really implying...
The more I think about it (and I can't seem to get it out of my mind), these adds for Swiffer don't make me want to buy a Swiffer wet jet; rather, they make me feel sorry for all the discarded mops out there, who no longer have a home or a purpose. it's really a keen insight into our culture of waste. what happens to all those mops, now?? I saw The Brave Little Toaster! I know where they end up. On second thought, this add makes me feel: Incredibly Sad.

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  1. Blogger qualler | 10:49 AM |  

    Aw, now I can't stop thinking about the mop that we threw away...he's probably crying somewhere. But, he hasn't sent me a single box of chocolates, so how is he supposed to win my heart back? Am I right, girl friends?!?

  2. Blogger Brigitte | 11:29 AM |  

    poor mop. :( we should never throw anything away...

  3. Blogger chris | 1:11 PM |  

    I remember the Dirty Sexy Money previously-ons being particularly annoying, but other than that, please remember that some people don't have DVR! With a few exceptions, I don't think that it's a smack in the face to fans. I think it's a "hey we know you're busy and can't watch every episode, so here's what you may have missed" kinda thing. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

  4. Blogger DoktorPeace | 1:17 PM |  

    Yeah, "previously on" isn't horribly intrusive, but it can be, and you hit the spot when mentioning it in terms of Dexter. I would select the show onDemand, go make a sandwich, come back, and they'd still be blabbing.

    I also think, if it's done poorly, "previously on" risks hitting real fans over the head with information that may have triumphed in its subtlety during the actual show.

  5. Blogger qualler | 1:21 PM |  

    I think Brigitte is referring to only when the "previously on" segment literally recaps the entire series, like the Dexter Season 2 DVD does, for about five minutes -- doesn't have anything to do with DVR. (Believe it or not, DVR users also generally like a previously-on segment!) I'm all for previously on segments that do a little run-down of what happened in the past, and especially if they pique your memory of "hey, yeah that scene was a few eps ago" and then something about that plotline happens in the episode -- that's great. When it's to a point like on DSM where every single segment started with "My father was a mysterious man...", or last season on Gossip Girl with "Serena is coming back from being away...", or, in this case, "Get it? Dexter is a serial killer! Also, here's the entire season one."

  6. Blogger qualler | 1:22 PM |  

    ...then, it's annoying, is what I meant to say finishing my comment.

  7. Blogger Brigitte | 1:54 PM |  

    chris--i totally agree that previously ons, in general, are great. DVR or no DVR, it's always nice to have a brief, pertinent recap. I was only talking about "previously ons" that recap the whole freaking premise of the series. those drive me crazy (like dirty sexy money or dexter).

  8. Blogger Brigitte | 2:02 PM |  

    i know that not everyone has a dvr...i'm not sure what that has to do with "previously ons" that summarize the premise of a series. also, doesn't "everyone" (i know, not literally everyone) have the internet? aren't there nice little summaries of most series and individual episodes out there if someone really wanted to jump into a show in the middle of its run (say i wanted to watch season two of dexter but because i've been living in a cave i didn't know he was a serial killer, for example...)

  9. Anonymous Adam | 2:02 PM |  

    Can't wait to begin viewing the second season of Dexter, they're slowly working their way up on the Netflix queue, so I'm especially happy to see that they are not going to be a let down!

    As to the "previously on" segments, the show that I believe way over does this is Lost, but that's what fast-forward is for!

  10. Blogger Brigitte | 3:30 PM |  

    does no one else feel badly about that poor, discarded mop? :(

  11. Blogger qualler | 3:31 PM |  

    I guess it's just you and me.....

    (slowly walking away to Charlie Brown "Christmas Time is Here" piano chords.)

  12. Blogger qualler | 3:34 PM |  

    p.s. Doktor, did Dexter narrate your sandwich making? If so, he probably said something like this:

    "I have the need to slice. My sandwich, that is. I'm ready to strike.....but tonight, a spare will do."

  13. Anonymous Jane Tomato Pants | 3:45 PM |  

    Brigitte, I too feel sorry for the mop. He's just tryin' his best, livin' his life without arms or a chest cavity. He doesn't have enough money to buy a single shoe for his little foot, but he was willing to sell his body to a crack dealer to make just enough money to offer you flowers. And you shut the door on him. You SHUT THE DOOR ON HIM!
    However, right now I'd like an absorbent paper towel, because I am eating my sandwich containing a very juicy tomato, and the tomato slid out onto my lap and landed with a squish. Now it looks like I've tomatoed my pants. This is embarrassing. Does anyone have a discarded mop I could use?

  14. Blogger DoktorPeace | 3:57 PM |  

    @qualler:

    Yes.

  15. Blogger chris | 9:12 PM |  

    DVR allows you to never miss an episode, thus less need for a "previously on." That's all I meant.

    Plus who wants to read an episode recap? READING?! Are you SERIOUS?! I don't get to see Josh Holloway walk slowly out of the water if I READ about what previously happened on Lost!

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