Tag Archives: television

“But why are the kids crying?!”

“How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?”

That’s the attitude I try to have when it comes to the death of someone I loved, yet never met.

In 2013, I lost three of my best friends.  The news was devastating every time.  Did I know them personally?  No.  And yes.  And not really.  And very well.

Why did I consider them my friends?  All of them had just, I dunno — all of them had gotten me through so many confusing, shitty, or just plain boring times.  I hope I don’t sound too crazy when I say that.  I’ve never stalked anyone and I understand the difference between fantasy and reality, but yeah, these people meant a lot to me.  They still mean a lot to me.  I can call them my “friends” if I want.  And I was sad when my friends made their exits.

Still, the question remains: “How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?”

Lou Reed?  He ain’t dead.  He can’t be.  I still love him very much and I still have “Sweet Jane,” so nothing has changed.

James Gandolfini isn’t dead, either, and neither is Tony Soprano.  (My theory, anyway.)

Peter O’Toole.  My dearest, darling Peter O’Toole.  The coolest.  The smartest.  The hottest.  The craziest.  That voice.  That height.  That hair.  I think about him all the time and I miss him all the time, and yet, as long as I can get together with my friends every December and laugh and cry and yell and drink champagne while watching The Lion in Winter, Peter O’Toole can never die.

This morning, as soon as I got to work and turned on my computer, I found out that Rik Mayall died.  Today.  Rik Mayall died today.  Weird.  So very weird.  And sad.  He was still, well, young…

Just last week, I was listening to The Pogues and wondering when Shane MacGowan would die.  I was also wondering why Shane MacGowan hasn’t died already.  Seriously.

I should stop.  I don’t wanna give the universe any ideas.

My point is, I was already thinking about my remaining heroes and wondering who I’d lose next.  Apparently, not Shane MacGowan.

Oddly enough, I was also thinking about The Young Ones last week.  I don’t remember why or how, but, quite suddenly and inexplicably, I felt inspired to find the Dr. Marten’s boots song on YouTube.  After watching it, I spent a good hour and a half searching for cheap Dr. Marten’s online.  No avail.

The next day, a co-worker of mine mentioned The Young Ones.  He’s Scottish.  I said, “I fucking love The Young Ones.”  He said, “That’s too weird.”  I asked him why.  He said, “It’s just weird that you even know that show.”  I asked him why.  He said, “I dunno.  I mean, it’s British and it’s old and it’s weird…I mean, I was watching that when I was in high school.”  I said, “So was I.”

If you knew me in high school, you must recall that I was a pretty cool teenager.  I mean it.  Like, the coolest.  For example, when I was 15 or 16, I begged my mom to buy me orange suede ADIDAS like the ones Ewan McGregor wears in Trainspotting.  I felt so badass whenever I wore them.  Like, so very, very badass.  I also begged her to buy me a pair of plaid pants, because, ya know, Scotland.  Or something.

There’s really, like, very minimal plaid in Trainspotting.  I realize that now.

The coolest thing, though, was that every Saturday afternoon in tenth grade (after improv practice, no less) I would go to my friend Kaley’s house for Britcom.  Yes.  Britcom was our somewhat exclusive club that involved eating ice cream and watching British comedies until our eyes hurt.  We wrote a constitution at one point.  I don’t remember what was in it except for The Golden Rule, which came from an episode of Father Ted: “If anyone is ever talking to you again, think about what you’re saying and then don’t say it, and then just run away somewhere.”

The Young Ones was one of Britcom’s staples.  Every David Bowie reference made me feel so damn validated.  I went out and bought a Madness record and listened to “House of Fun” on repeat.  I began referring to my English teacher as a “fascist bully boy,” despite the fact that she was a She.  I seldom said, “I don’t have any money” — I usually launched into a Neil impression and said, “We haven’t got any breaaaad.”  When I was feeling boy crazy I was a “Bitch funky sex machine.”  I wrote “Boomshanka” on things I shouldn’t have written “Boomshanka” on.   I even once got a Starbucks barista to write it on the sleeve of my Americano.  I think I still have that sleeve somewhere.

Rik Mayall is dead.  The people’s poet is dead.  I’m sad for his wife and his family.  I’m sad for Ade Edmondson.  Like I keep saying, though, “we still have his poems.”

My VHS tapes of The Young Ones were dragged from my parents’ house to my college dorm (there was a VCR in the downstairs common room), and when I moved out of the dorm and into an on-campus apartment, I made sure to buy a TV that had both a VHS player and a DVD player.  Why?  Well, how could I live without Neil, Mike, Vyvyn, and Rick?  They were university students, after all.

I still have those tapes.  I’m not ever going to get rid of those tapes.

Aw, Rick.  Thanks for helping make it nearly impossible for me to legitimately enjoy 99.9% of the current comedies on television.  No giant sandwiches falling from the sky?  No jokes about Leonard Cohen being a vampire?  No pervasive political undertones?  No, thank you.

There was also the music: Dexy’s Midnight runners doing “Jackie Wilson Said” and multiple Madness appearances and that great scene with friggin’ Motorhead…

What the hell is that shot of you guys being pushed on that…what is that?  That’s a luggage carrier thing, right?  Well, it slays me.  Every time.

Ah, Rick.  Thank you.  Your show is so damn cool.  So, so cool.  It had everything the teenage version of Steff wanted in a show, and, since 27 year old Steff is very similar to the person she was 11 years ago, it’s still one of my all time favorites.  It’s part of me, really.  An appreciation for The Young Ones (or the ability to sit through several episodes in-a-row) is my litmus test for whether or not a man is husband material.  (Husband, not boyfriend.  Those are two different things.)  Watching an episode of The Young Ones is my solo go-to activity when I’m having a shitty day.  The music that plays during the end credits is what I hear in my head when I’m exceptionally happy.

Aw, Rick.  RICK.  My favorite pseudo-intellectual-anarchist-hipster-bachelor-boy.  You’ve never failed to make me smile.  You never will, you friggin’ weirdo.

 

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While I Was Sleeping.

Last night I came home to find a pile of envelopes with my name on them.  They were from places like UCLA Health, Keck Medical Center of USC, Wells Fargo…oh, and that company I have to pay to keep our water on.

“Fuck, fuck, fuuuuuck” I muttered while sorting through the pile of bills, bills, biiiillllls.

My roommate laughed.  I laughed.  Then I sighed.

“Dude, I know that once 2014 gets here my life is still gonna be my life, but I really need 2013 to be over.”

“Yeah,” she said, her tone softening.  “You’ve had a pretty rough year.”

I had a difficult time getting to sleep.  When I go to bed anxious — as in, “I’m lying down — why is my heart racing?” anxious — I have a tendency to, ya know, fall asleep for a few seconds and then wake up gasping for air.  It’s very strange.  Eventually I’ll fall asleep and stay asleep and everything will work the way it should, but during those moments where I find myself suddenly sitting up in my bed panting…well, it’s terrifying.  I described it to a doctor recently.  She still said I was healthy enough to be operated on (thus the bills), and she turned out to be correct about that.  I’m basically saying I don’t have regular Sleep Apnea.  I don’t think.  I mean, when I go to bed in a perfectly fine mood without a care in the world (rather, with a manageable amount of typical day-to-day worries), I sleep like a friggin’ log.

Anyway.  Enough about my myriad anxiety manifestations.

When I finally conked out, I dreamt I was at a party.  I don’t remember who hosted the party, but it took place at a beautiful cottage in a picturesque, woodsy location.  Imagine a Thomas Kinkade painting and then add a bunch of people standing around with red SOLO cups.  Everyone was outside talking, and CHRIS O’DOWD was there.  That’s right, ladies — Chris Friggin’ O’Dowd, the cutie-est, most patootie-est Irishman around.

Here he is in HBO's "Family Tree."  ::Sigh::

Here he is in HBO’s “Family Tree.” ::Sigh::

You guys, he was so into me.  Yes, in the dream.  He was…he was just down.  He was so down.  He wanted The Steff.  More than that, though…he seemed to genuinely like The Steff.  He kept smiling at me and laughin’ at my jokes and givin’ me compliments like, “You’re so interesting!”  I was so happy, you guys.  I was so tremendously happy.  Somehow, for some reason, Chris O’Dowd wanted to hang with little old me, and it felt perfectly natural and perfectly perfect.  He was a gentleman and a sweetheart and I felt completely at ease with him.

Now, years ago, I described a celebrity-themed dream to my first therapist (I say this like I’ve had dozens…I haven’t).  In my dream, Dustin Hoffman guided me across a busy crosswalk on the Las Vegas strip.  He looked me in the eyes and told me something profound, which I ended up forgetting, and then I woke up.  My shrink was trying to help me figure out why Dustin Hoffman, of all the artists in the world, was the one who was offering me guidance.  To her, it was no accident that my brain conjured up images of Dusty while I slept — there was a very real explanation.  You can read about it here.

So, why, out of all the cute men in the world, was Chris O’Dowd the one making me feel special at a party?  I don’t know the man.  I don’t read internet gossip about him and I don’t know anything about his personal life besides the fact that he’s married (to a woman who has her own interesting damn career).  What I do know is that I find him very funny in his movies and television shows, and I find him very charming in interviews.  I love that he was on Girls.  I love that he was in Bridesmaids.  I love that he was on a Christopher Guest show.  I love that he stars in the film adaptation of one of my favorite books (that happens to have a kickass female protagonist).  I love that he co-created and co-wrote a comedy series about a little boy with an imaginary friend.  It’s called Moone Boy.  It’s on Hulu.  It’s the sweetest show ever.  Watch it now.  

 

"Moone Boy"

“Moone Boy”

If I ever learned that Chris O’Dowd was a total asshole, I would not only be very disappointed, I would also be very surprised.

Still, why him?

Because he’s entertaining.  Because he seems like he’d be fun to hang with.  Because he’s creative and has interesting ideas.  Because he’s not a Hollywood dickhead and his beard is awesome and I love his curly hair.  He’s unpretentious.  He’s hilarious and OUT THERE without being over the top.   He’s driven.  He’s successful.  He gets shit done.  And dude, when you watch Bridesmaids, you’re supposed to root for Kristen Wiig to end up with Chris O’Dowd, not Jon Hamm.  And ya know what?  It works.  Ya don’t sit there thinking, “Yeah RIGHT.  Like this Irish dude could ever upstage The Hamm.”  Ya sit there thinking, “Girl, he made you a cappuccino.  Calm down and get back into that damn bed.”

But really, I want to wake up tomorrow and find Chris O’Dowd in my room holding a cappuccino talking about how he wants to bake all day.  I would feed him allll the cupcakes.

Perhaps I’ll dream of that tonight.  But for now, back to last night’s dream…which took a rather dark turn right after I told Chris O’Dowd I was going to go inside the cottage for a drink.

“I’ll save you your spot,” he said, smiling.

By “spot,” he meant the spot where I was sitting.  At that point, everyone at the party was sitting on a wooden railing that lined a concrete walkway that lead to the cottage.  I smiled at Chris O’Dowd.  Then I stood up and walked away.  Moments later, I heard a loud CRACK.  Then I heard screams.  Then I heard a large THUD.  I turned around and saw that the wooden railing had snapped, sending the guests tumbling to the concrete.

They all landed on their heads.

Including Chris O’Dowd.

I screamed.  I looked around to see if I was the only one who hadn’t been sitting on the railing when it snapped.  I saw one dude standing by the railing — his eyes were popping out of his skull as he he struggled to remove his cell phone from his pocket.  He kept dropping it and picking it up and crying.  I ran over to him and yanked his phone out of his hands and called 9-11.  After I hung up I ran over to Chris O’Dowd to see if he was ok.  He was unresponsive.  As I sat next to him trying to wake up him, I noticed that a few of the people who had fallen had opened their eyes.  A few of them were wriggling around, trying to stand up.  One of them looked directly at me — his eyes were completely white.  Completely.  No pupils.  No irises.  He started grunting.

Like a zombie.

Then they all started wriggling and grunting and murmuring and I was terrified.

I looked toward Chris O’Dowd, but he was gone.

Just then, the paramedics arrived.    They did a quick examination of the guests who had fallen.

“They all have brain damage,” one paramedic told me.

I gasped.

Then my alarm went off.  And I woke up.

Perhaps I need to start looking on the brighter side.  Ya know.  Just bright enough to prevent future dreams of finding a worthy companion and then immediately losing him to a freak accident.  Perhaps this is simply a dramatic re-telling of every relationship I’ve ever been in.  Perhaps this is an unearthly, yet spot-on representation of the last year of my life.

Perhaps all of the above?  And perhaps tonight I’ll watch some Moone Boy before bed…just to help put me in a slightly better mood.

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