Thursday, January 31, 2008

At home in the lonely hearts club

So I'm doing a semi-review, semi-link-centered, semi-exposition, semi-introspection, and all of it's going to be awesome.

Take a deep breath.

To help you relax, here's as the title might suggest a link to Sergent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as portrayed in Yellow Submarine. (By the way, while the song is pretty cool, I'm not overall a huge fan of that album, although I realize its merits)

So, under the unrelenting pressure of the TV writers strike (actually there have been moments of relention, due to various factors, but unrelenting sounds cool), mega-cool tv critic Alan Sepinwall has been taking a look at an old short-lived favorite (or at least fondly remembered) of his called Cupid (all of whose episodes can be found on youTube with a simple search (if you come up with more videos of music, such as the excellent though quite off-topic song and music video of Cupid's Chokehold by Gym Class Heroes, try searching for Cupid 1, since the episodes are broken into 5 pieces, as a general rule that's usually a good way to find broken up episodes on youTube). And obliged by my unrelenting loyalty to NJ's premier tv critic I have given it a shot.

I'm not going to do a real review because I haven't watched the whole series (currently I'm on ep. 9, out of however, I think only 15, although rumor has it that the series might be getting a do-over and being remade by the head writer) and my mind's still too sunk into the series to really have any sensibility to the review.

But some things to point out especially as they relate to that semi-introspection I've been hinting at.

First of all: The intro theme is pretty damn cool (the song's called "Human" by the Pretenders. At first, I wasn't crazy about it, it doesn't have that strong of a hook or an overwhelming energy, but it has a quiet intensity that grows on you. The nice little images of the intro also help with that.

So here's a link to Cupid's intro.

However, if what to see that quiet intensity really brought out in its intense sense (the Cupid intro more brings out the quiet, pleasant sense) check out the Pretenders video for the song which takes the intensity to a funny but really quite creepy place.

Also, notice the main line: "I'm only human on the inside." Where does the emphasis fall on that? If it's on the "human", the song is emphasizing her essential humanness, if it's only on "the inside" then there's the suggestion that on the outside she's something other than human, which the video also suggests. And if the song's having it both ways, then it's crazy, but heck, so are we all. After all, we're human on the inside.

But if I might return to that show Cupid. With reviews I usually have a lot of trouble explaining plots, not so much with Cupid, partially because the overall arches either were never finished or I didn't see them finish, but more so because this is an anthology show.

The focus is a couple of the week, either having problems or needing to be put together, and to help is Trevor Hale, who's convinced that he's actually Cupid, the Roman god of love, and he just might be (my view of the show is that it tends to say he is, but there's just a slight chance he might be otherwise...). Of course, if he's not Cupid, he's just delusional. And the spectacular feature of his delusion is that he's convinced he's been exiled to Earth as a mortal and needs to fix up 100 couples with true love before he can return to Olympus. To his fortune, he is placed under the care of a psychologist named Claire who sees his delusions as harmless and who runs a single therapy group. To his misfortune, Claire's views on love are very much different from his and often she works against his attempts to unite couples, although her actions often end up complementing his. Underneath it all is chemistry between Claire and Trevor, and to round out the cast is good old Champ, an actor and barkeep who's Trevor's roommate and acts in the everyman role.

Essentially its a fantasy-influenced romantic comedy with dramatic elements. If that doesn't sound that appealing, let me assure you that the comedy is very real and the dramatic elements often reach right to the core. Afterall, while it is melodramatic at times, it is melodramatic about the inherently melodramatic concept of love, which is truly beautiful none the less. But more than anything else, this show has charm to spare. I'm reminded of one of the posts my friend Howard did for me while I was away on vacation, Why I Watch the Tonight Show, and his conclusion is that its because of Jay's good-natured charm, well that's why I like Cupid. It's absolutely charming. And I guess that's because it's unashamedly about LOVE, in its both big and small, funny and dramatic, zany and serious forms, without taking itself too seriously or too lightly, and dancing away all the pretentiousness with mounts of utterly hilarious wit.

So for a preliminary review I'm giving it a 7 out of 10, because it is pretentious, it does get overdramatic, sometimes its storylines are silly or drawn out, sometimes its emotional arcs are rushed, but its got so much damn charm. (I think in the end you just have to label me a rank sentimentalist)

But I wanted to talk about this more because of its relation to the title of this post: The Lonely Hearts Club. And damn this show reminds me that I'm in that. If it wasn't so good, and heck, honestly if I was deeply involved with some other show (ie if Scrubs had produced a really nice season 6 and 7), I probably wouldn't watch it, because even when I'm laughing, even when I'm touched to the center of my being, it hurts. But maybe that's a good thing in the end. If you don't feel the hurt of love...

I have enough plans keep me busy forever. I have work. I have God. I don't need romance. But why then does a show like Cupid hurt? Just the wistfulness of could maybe be? In the end, no. Some don't need the dream of romance, but the reason why Cupid hurts is because I do. That's me. And so I need the pain, even if it is the bitter, bitter pain of loneliness, to keep that romantic part of me from decaying. Because I love romance with such a passion, to give it up...

Now you can't idolize romance, that's a sin. But to give up romance when it's such a central part of me, essentially because of fear, because despite the excuse of busy-ness, the real reason for avoiding romance is for me fear (especially given the questionable nature of some of my side projects), that's a sin. And as a good Christian, I must do God's will, not mine.

And besides, it's not that unlikely... it might be hard, but it's probably not that hard... it won't be perfect, but chances are it could be so good... maybe one fine day despite the tides of the past, there will be a woman who I can hold in my arms and love with total romance.

Perhaps that sounds sappy, perhaps that sounds foolish, perhaps there's a little crazy there too, but I'm only human on the inside, add emphasis where you choose.

Anyways, if you have something to drink (man, how I wish I had a glass of orange juice right now), let's raise a toast: To Love. And to God, the founder of the great feast of love, in all its many forms.

So take it to your head, take it to your HEART, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Post-script: I have a special feature: reviews of certain Cupid episodes I found mega-awesome and certain Cupid episodes that have had a mega-awesome impact on me. It's also possible that some time later I might throw in a full review of Cupid, plus a review of episodes of less than highest caliber, and those that I simply haven't seen yet. But that's getting far too ahead of ourselves. For now though, check out the episode reviews I have now (I put them on a separate page since this is getting obscenely long) because they kick up the reviewerness up a notch, but they also kick up some of the introspection too, overall, they kick up the awesomeness up a notch (because of that very reason, I might do some ep. reviews of other shows I review too, maybe, if only I have the time...)

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