So this week I have a bit of a smorgasbord from our viewing over the last few months: Things that are not long enough to become their own “Not a Review” but that I found amusing at the time. Because, really, this blog is mostly a series of posts about things that amuse me. Mostly.
Odd & End #1: Dark Subtitles
Those who are familiar with the Netflix series Dark, which is often (and completely inaccurately) billed as “The German Stranger Things“, will not be surprised to learn that I was a big fan of its mind-bogglingly complex time-traveling storyline. If Doctor Who gives us stable time loops that are big balls of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff:
Then Dark gives us a stable time loop that’s an entire set of big balls* on strings arranged along both sides of a giant Moebius Strip** that are all clacking against each other in both directions simultaneously. Or something like that.
But this is not an item about the intricacies of the Dark timeline; as I mentioned, Dark is a German show, and this is an item about subtitles. To wit:
Depending on the location and the era, sure, “Rathaus” seems like a pretty good name for a town hall or other seat of government. And not just in German, either.
Wife: “What language are they speaking in this show?”
Wife: “It sounds really harsh.”
Me: “Remind me to tell you the ‘butterfly’ joke some time.”
Odd & End #2: Antarctica: A Year on Ice
While we’re staying here at home not able to go anywhere due to the pandemic (as opposed to most years, when we stay at home not going anywhere under our own power), we’ve engaged in a little bit of virtual travel by way of, among other things, watching documentaries. One of these was about the staff and scientists who spend twelve months in Antarctica, which has a winter climate that is only slightly better than that of the town on the Canadian border where my wife and I went to college.
Aside from the astonishing scenery, one of the things that Antarctica: A Year on Ice emphasizes is the extreme isolation; in the winter, everyone mostly stays indoors, and your social circle is basically limited to whoever was in the building with you when the world froze up around you. That led us to this conversation:
Wife: “Could you do that? Live in Antarctica for a year, never going outside or meeting anyone new?”
Me: “Pfft. Absolutely.”
Narrator: “… No pets are allowed …”
Me: “Well, okay, the ‘no pets‘ thing might be a problem.”
That was followed up a little bit later by a scene in which a lost and confused seal, miles from the ocean, hunched into the American installation on its way towards certain death in the Antarctic interior.
Lost and Confused Seal: (bleats in distress)
Me: “I sure hope they’re going to help that seal.”
Narrator: “… We are not allowed to help or interfere; we have to let nature take its course …”
Lost and Confused Seal: (bleats in distress again)
Me: “Yeah, nope, I couldn’t work there.”
Odd & End #3: The Umbrella Academy
So, those who were unsurprised that I was a big fan of Dark will likely be even less surprised to learn that I am also a big fan of The Umbrella Academy. Said people will also be unsurprised to learn that my wife paid absolutely no attention to this show.
She completely ignored The Umbrella Academy when I watched Season 1 last year, and would have completely ignored Season 2 this year, except that somebody caught her attention. If you’ve seen the show, you get one guess which character it was.
Wife: “Who’s that?”
Me: “That’s Klaus. Klaus is awesome. He’s my second-favorite**** character.”
So after that, The Umbrella Academy became The Klaus Show, and any time he showed up I had to nudge my wife so she could pay attention for a few minutes. I guess after the events of Endgame, she needed a new favorite superhero. And just like with the Avengers films, she had no idea what was actually going on in The Umbrella Academy, but as long as Klaus was on-screen, she was happy.
Odd & End #4: Perry Mason
No, not this Perry Mason:
This could essentially be considered Perry Mason: The Early Years, as it’s set in the legendary defense attorney’s younger days, when he was a private detective in what I at first thought was San Francisco (because of the hills) but which I soon realized was Los Angeles (because of the movie stars).
Now the long-time reader will no doubt remember that one of my favorite book series of all time involves a detective who wears a fedora, but that’s not why I decided to give the new Perry Mason a try.
Me: “There’s only one reason I’m watching this.”
Wife: “What’s that?”
Me: “It hasn’t shown up yet.”
Wife: “‘It’, huh? You’re not even going to give me a clue?”
Me: “She hasn’t shown up yet.”
Wife: “Uh-huh. Who is she? Is it Buffy?”
Me: “Good guess, but no. I don’t like Buffy enough to watch a show just because she’s in it*****.”
Wife: “Hmm … Winona Ryder?”
Me: “Also a good guess******, but no.”
Wife: “The singer from ‘Til Tuesday?”
Me: “No.” (silence ensues) “Are you going to keep guessing?”
Me: “Okay. I’ll await your next one.”
Wife (after thinking for a minute or two): “That girl from Black Mirror? The one who played like twenty different characters?”
Me: “The girl’s name is Tatiana Maslany and that is correct.”
Wife: “Got it in four!”
Me: “The show wasn’t Black Mirror, though.”
Wife: “What was it?”
Me: “Orphan Black.”
Wife: “Hey, I got the Black part right.”
And then Tatiana Maslany didn’t even show up in the first episode, other than in a photograph, so I had to watch the beginning of episode 2 before I got to see her playing some manner of revival-style radio evangelist, and doing so quite convincingly, of course.
It was pretty weird to just see one of her, though.
Odd & End #5: Lodge 49
On the recommendation of a friend, my wife decided we should start watching the short-lived AMC series Lodge 49:
Lodge 49 is a very cute, sometimes serious, occasionally hilarious dramedy that, at one point, introduced a new character, portrayed by an actor whom I was inordinately thrilled to see:
Me (excitedly): “Is that … it is! That’s Bruce Campbell!!!”
Wife: “I don’t know who Bruce Campbell is.”
Me: “You’ve seen him before! I’ll play a clip for you after the show.”
And then, after the show, as promised, I played a clip for her. But I didn’t even need to roll the video before she realized what she was looking at.
Wife: “Klaatu … Verata … That’s all I remember.”
Me: “That’s all he remembers, too.”
Speaking of the Necronomicon … Could whoever it was who in late 2019 removed it without saying the magic words, thus unleashing wave after wave of disasters upon an unsuspecting world, please return it to where it belongs? The rest of us would be ever so grateful.
* No double entendre intended.
** Yes, a Moebius strip only has one side, but you know what I mean.
*** Vanya excluded. Applies to show characters only. Your mileage may vary.
**** My favorite character is of course Five.
***** Willow, on the other hand …
******* This would be a standard guess for basically any male Gen-Xer.