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19 March 2003 @ 09:57 am
storage jars  
As I was lying around getting drunk last night, I watched some Monty Python tapes at random. One had a skit called "Storage Jars," which you can read a transcript of here. There was a surreal significance to the scenario--a newsman reporting live from "war-torn Bolivia" with bombs whistling and falling all around him, imparting the most ridiculous trivia possible. "But whatever their political inclinations these Bolivians are all keen users of storage jars...." It's a laughably accurate lampoon of opportunistic fluff pieces, but it also made me feel like this is going to be my own modus operandi for the duration of the war. Bombs falling all around, but I'll be like, "Storage jars! Woo hoo! Storage jars!" Except for storage jars, read "Spike and Buffy!" Or whatever hobbyish trivia keeps me preoccupied.

And so on that note. harmonyfb recced this fun little X/S story by fitofpique. I'm always amused by the plot device of characters having to pretend to be...you know. And then getting caught up in it.

I am indescribably out of sorts today. Rain, war, and a kind of inexpressive depression make me dumb.

"Charmed" sucked ass last night. Like that's a surprise.

They have the subtlety of a naked whore on roller skates. They brought in this antagonistic guest character, a whitelighter, and tried to make her one of those rule-bound caricatures whose by-the-book limitations drive home the moral of thinking outside the box, and winging it, and any other spin you can think of that disguises the lazy, undisciplined, self-serving behavior exemplified by our snippy witches. And they cast an actress who, as the recapper points out, looks like a cow next to the anorexic stars. So that's nice. In conflict with this character, the Halliwells come across even more than usual as the most loathesome, self-satisfied, maliciously catty little twats you'd ever not want to meet, in part because--despite crap material--the guest actress worked her ass off to give her character dignity. And she'd *almost* succeeded, when all of a sudden they dump us into this horrific scene where she "trains" the witches for the upcoming fight. If you can imagine...oh, you won't be able to, but if you can try to imagine this woman forced to mouth the most ludicrous, painfully lame lines of dialogue ever, in the manner of a bootcamp drill instructor, a harangue which instantly demolishes all her previous, tenuous credibility and makes her look like an idiot. And then, and *THEN*, we cut to a montage of skanky-ass witches jumping Matrix-style off the walls and playing war games with fireballs as "It Takes Two" plays over the action ("It takes two to make a thing go right / It takes two to make it outta sight").

I'm still scarred and bruised by the long fall I took to reach this nadir of television.

And then? Having made their guest star look a fool, they trot out the inevitable, remaining cliches of this storyline. Rule-bound thinking leads to failure, of course, and the whitelighter's miscalculations cause the villain to get the upper hand--but not only that, they freakin' *kill* this poor bint off as punishment for the sheer nerve she's displayed by trying to enforce a little rational discipline on the snotty-ass witches under her charge. The wicca sisters are all "I told you so," even though she's *dead*, and they kick the villain's ass and crow over his demise with truly sickening self-satisfaction. And do they ever show any real regret over the whitelighter's death? Uh, what show are we watching here? No, because they're too busy preening in an orgy of self-righteous triumph.


And now to work, so I can get through this day, so I can go home, so I can sleep, so I can get through another day, so I can go home, so I can sleep.

Rashka the Demon (wolf in the cave): The Scientist _J/Arashaka on March 19th, 2003 11:25 am (UTC)
they trot out the inevitable, remaining cliches of this storyline. Rule-bound thinking leads to failure, of course, and the whitelighter's miscalculations cause the villain to get the upper hand

This is what has always annoyed me about Charmed that impressed me in Buffy-- everything in Charmed is nicely wrapped up by the end, with a pat resolution & self-righteous lesson. Even the character's own weakness are overexaggerated for lame plot devices with no subtley, no depth of philosophy or study in human behavior... character growth appears in the form of "Oops, I'm sorry, I've learned my lesson and will never [pre-judge/lie/not trust/be rash/overrreact/be stubborn/be suspicious/give up/whatever/whatever/whatever] again, because I have been shown that doing so is bad."

Whereas what I've loved about Buffy is how the character's weakness are always there, and are something they have to take a long to confront and overcome, and are not so easily solved, because it's a part of who they are and can't be just dismissed as "not a problem anymore" when the Big Bad of the week is vanquished.

Anyway, I've not missed not watching Charmed. I have to say I'm amused by your frequent recaps of their absolute patheticness, and can satisfy my curiosity just by reading these.
still lavender from the block: handcuffswickedprincess3 on March 19th, 2003 11:37 am (UTC)
May actually have to start watching stupid Charmed so I can appriciate the snark of your reviews. I {heart} you Anna.
caille on March 19th, 2003 12:18 pm (UTC)
"...the Halliwells come across even more than usual as the most loathesome, self-satisfied, maliciously catty little twats you'd ever not want to meet..."

That, plus the "naked whore on roller skates" image = perfection. I am so glad you are inflicting this viewage upon yourself, Anna, because the results are so hilarious. I remember that episode. I can't remember exactly what the doomed whitelighter looked like, but I think she looked something like me, i.e., really not up to code. It's just so gratuitously mean.

Okay, I know we cannot seriously compare "Charmed" to "BtVS" - as Rashaka points out (Hi, Rashaka!) - except that I feel like doing it anyway. Compare this nasty episode to its nearest equivalent on Buffy, Season Three's "Revelations" and Gwendolyn Post. Boy, that character sticks in my memory. She was so economically drawn, so effective. Never once did they stoop to cheap visual cues - making her as big as a horse and homely as hell - nor did they pull their punches, either. Mrs. Post was real bad, and died spectacularly. No mitigating factors ("She was a Watcher driven insane by the horrors she had seen") or faux repentence ("Mrs. Post dies in Giles's arms, whispering "Forgive me....I never understood before now...if only...'").

But "Charmed" is essential. How do you know tiramisu is so good if you haven't got a gross pink Hostess Sno-Ball to compare? "Charmed" and "Joe Millionaire" are the only shows I monitor at Television Without Pity. I don't watch "Charmed" much anymore, and I never saw even one episode of "Joe Millionaire"...but they are so snarkalicious.
it's just that you're unbearablefitofpique on March 19th, 2003 01:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much for the rec, Anna!
kassrachel on March 19th, 2003 02:45 pm (UTC)
Storage jars
I've long loved that Monty Python sketch. It's actually come up before in conversation with my friend who runs The Nonprofit with me (the one who isn't sanj) -- she's used it as a metaphor for why Identity Studies departments (like Queer Theory, or Asian-American Studies, or what-have-you) bug her. In her opinion, the stuff jars theory of study is reductive.

It might be, at that. But I also like it as metaphor for wartime modus operandi. You and me both, apparently.

Anyway. I'm rambling now.