So recently, mainly as a result of a series of mixups about changing out hardware, we became aware that our local cable company had altered their pricing bundles:
Meaning that it was now possible to cancel the cable portion without having the price of the Internet and land line* portions jacked up so high that the price was basically the same as if we hadn’t canceled cable. Given that we don’t actually watch very much cable—many of the shows I used to watch, such as Into the Badlands and Preacher, have been canceled or died of natural causes, while others, such as Doctor Who, Resident Alien, and Battlebots, are on hiatus—we decided to go ahead and cut that particular cord, thus freeing up close to $200 a month. (Yes, I know, everyone else did this five or ten years ago.)
As you might suppose, some of that $200 has gone into streaming services, which all together still add up to well under less than half of the cost of cable. For instance, we reactivated our Netflix account, mainly because I really wanted to see The Queen’s Gambit**, and also resumed getting discs mailed to us, because my wife really wanted to see Minari without paying $20 to “rent” it from Amazon or whatever. (When you fall asleep during almost every movie, having only 24 hours to finish a streaming rental is a bit of an impediment.) I also signed up for AMC+, because zombies. And then there’s this streaming service by a little company called Disney. Maybe you’ve heard of them.
The astute reader will not be surprised to learn that the main reason I signed up for Disney+ is because they now own Marvel and I wanted to be able to catch up on the Marvel TV shows, such as WandaVision and The Falcon and the
Snowman Winter Soldier, but I was also hoping to catch up on Pixar films (I’m way behind on those) and also The Mandalorian, which features this little guy whom you might have seen on the Internet once or twice.
Since my wife was (much to my own surprise) a big fan of Firefly***, I thought she might also enjoy The Mandalorian, which, like Firefly, has a pretty strong Western-in-Space vibe. Unfortunately, The Mandalorian also seems to have a lot of fighting, including blaster bolts flying every which-way, so she tuned it out almost immediately; in fact she didn’t even really make it through the first scene of the first episode:
She did have a question about the dialogue, though.
Wife: “Is that Klingon?”
Me (after a moment): “Did you just ask me if a language in Star Wars is Klingon?”
Me: “Did you ask it on purpose as a joke?”
Wife: “No.” (beat) “Why, is Klingon from Star Trek?”
It’s sort of a running gag here that my wife cannot tell Star Wars apart from Star Trek; if pressed about it, she will generally say something to the effect of, “Star Trek is the one where worms come out of their ears, right?” But that’s about as far as her knowledge of either Star Trek or Star Wars goes. Oh, that, and she likes Mr. Data. But not as much as some people do.
Later on, I started watching WandaVision while my wife was puttering in the kitchen.
She came wandering into the living room within the first several minutes of the first episode, stopped, and stared at the screen for a minute.
Wife: “What is this?”
Me: “This is WandaVision. It’s a superhero show.”
(a few minutes pass)
Wife: “Is this supposed to be a takeoff on I Love Lucy?”
Me: “More like Bewitched. She was doing magic before you came in.”
(a few more minutes pass)
Wife: “Are you sure this is a superhero show?”
Me: “Yes. See, what happened is …” (Here I launch into a lengthy explanation about Wanda’s history as a villain-turned-hero, her relationship with Vision, what befell Vision in Infinity War, etc., most of which I’m pretty sure came across as a lot of ‘yada yada yada blah blah blah’.) “… and since Wanda is a reality-warper—her code name is The Scarlet Witch and she can manipulate probability, among other things—she is making this fantasy world for herself where Vision is okay.”
Wife: “Why do they call her The Scarlet Witch? She’s all in black and white.”
Me: “Well, they don’t really call her that in the movies. But in the comic book she wears a lot of red.”
Anyway, my wife sat down on the sofa to finish the episode of WandaVision, and then said:
Wife: “We can watch more of this.”
So there you have it; the superheroes beat the Western-in-Space!**** I’ve got a feeling the same will not apply to The Falcon and the
Snowman Winter Soldier, but that remains to be determined …
* Yes, we still have a land line. No, I’m not planning to cancel it. It came in very handy that one time.
** An excellent show which never put my wife to sleep—although I personally was scandalized to see contemporary comic books for sale in the rack at a drugstore in the putative 1960s—The Queen’s Gambit makes chess matches seem as tense as gunfights, and the scene where a voice on the phone says “If he goes for the knight, hit him with a king-rook-pawn” packs the same punch as a voice on the radio saying “On your left” in Avengers: Endgame.
*** Even more surprising, she loved the movie Pitch Black, which is why I no longer try to predict what she will or will not like, I just play stuff and we see what happens.
**** See what happened?