bad TV, good tv, movies, nostalgia, TV, videos, YouTube

Angel Dusted, Desperate Lives, ended with a Final Escape…

Happy Saturday to everyone. It’s cold and grey here near Wiesbaden, Germany. Good news, though. My new Thunderbolt cable just arrived, so now I don’t have to hang around the house waiting for the delivery guy. Or maybe I do. There is one more package I’m waiting for before I declare my Christmas shopping done for 2021. It could show up today. It probably won’t, though.

It’s been quite a dramatic month so far, and it’s really flying by. Pretty soon, it’ll be 2022, and people are already noticing…


Actually, I’m not that afraid of 2022. Being fearful of the future isn’t productive. It will happen no matter what. Besides, we’ve already survived 2020 and 2021. How much worse could it be? Don’t answer that!

I’ve decided that today, I’m going to write one of my “fun” (for me, anyway) TV nostalgia pieces. I don’t feel like ranting about irksome behavior from strangers, opining about people who are in court, or writing very personal stuff about my life. Nope, today I’m going to write about some stuff that was on TV when I was a child. I love to watch old crap from the past on YouTube, and I’m grateful to content creators who are there for me with an impressive collection of that stuff. It’s always a bit unsettling to realize how long ago the early 80s were. It seems like yesterday.

Over the past 48 hours or so, I’ve watched some 80s era TV that was universally entertaining, but for different reasons. It’s easy to forget that the 80s were very different for a lot of reasons. For one thing, for a good portion of the decade, there were only three major networks, plus public television. If you had access to cable, you might have had 20 or 30 channels. I think when my parents got basic cable in 1980, we had about 12 or 14 channels, which seemed like a lot at the time. Consequently, there were a lot of movies of the week and TV shows that everyone watched. Some of the TV fare available in those days is truly laughable today.

In 1981, I was 8 or 9 years old. I was 8 until June of that year, anyway. And one movie that aired and I missed was called Angel Dusted, which premiered on NBC in February of that year. In fact, I had never heard of that movie until I stumbled across it, totally by chance, yesterday morning. It starred the late Jean Stapleton (aka Edith Bunker) and her son, John Putch, as well as the late Arthur Hill. Helen Hunt also has a role. Gosh, she was so pretty when she was a teenager!

There are a couple of videos with this movie on YouTube, but I’m uploading this one, because it also includes ads from 1981. They are a hoot to watch, especially since I remember them well and realize how strange they are 40 years later!

Back in the 80s, there was a lot of press about drug abuse. That was the “Just say no!” era, championed by Nancy Reagan. Drug abuse is a serious problem, but some of the films put out about them in the early 80s were truly ridiculous. I’m happy to report that Angel Dusted is actually a very well done film, save for the hokey title. I never saw Jean Stapleton in much besides All in the Family, so it was a pleasant shock to see her in this film with her talented son, John Putch.

Putch plays Owen Eaton, a high achieving college student who attends an excellent university and is under pressure to make top grades in a demanding major. One night, Owen smokes a marijuana joint laced with PCP– angel dust– and it makes him have a psychotic breakdown. The doctor at the infirmary where he attends school calls Owen’s parents, Betty and Michael Eaton (Stapleton and Hill), and they rush to the other side of the state to pick up their boy. They arrive at the infirmary to find him strapped to the bed, screaming and wrestling. The doctor at the infirmary, played by familiar and prolific character actor, Jerry Hardin, tells them that Owen needs to be hospitalized.

Betty and Michael soon find themselves plunged into a crisis, as their son is put in a psychiatric hospital for several weeks, completely unable to function and surrounded by people who have organic mental illnesses. Betty is the dutiful doting mother. Michael is ashamed and withdraws. Their other three children, Mark (Ken Michelman), Lizzie (Helen Hunt), and Andrew (Brian Andrews) are forced to deal with the shifting focus in their family as Owen recovers from the psychotic reaction.

Parts of this film are very 80s and make me feel older than dirt. It was weird to see nurses in white dresses and caps, remembering that in those days, that’s how they looked. I also noticed things like the house, with all its wallpaper and big boxy televisions. This was all normal when I was a child, but now it’s different. We have flat screens, textured walls, and people don’t necessarily have dinner in the dining room. A lot of newer houses don’t have dining rooms! Some of the dialogue is also pretty dated, too.

But– I really thought this film was well acted and had a compelling story. I also liked that touch of early 80s cheese and over the top drama that made it interesting and entertaining in 2021. There’s a lot more to Jean Stapleton than Edith Bunker, that’s for damned sure! I don’t know how common it is for people to smoke PCP laced marijuana joints these days, and we certainly have a very different attitude about marijuana nowadays. But I do think Angel Dusted is well done and worth watching if you have a couple of spare hours and enjoy movies of the week circa 1981. The cast is excellent, too.


The next film I would like to mention is another one from the same time period. It also featured Helen Hunt. This time, she wasn’t playing a put upon sister who was inconvenienced by her brother’s ingestion of PCP. This time, Hunt is the one who goes a little crazy!

The film is called Desperate Lives. In the past, the whole thing was posted on YouTube. Nowadays, it looks like only a few of the funnier clips are available there, although I did find the whole film here. I’ve seen that movie enough times to comment on it, though. It aired in March 1982, and it was very entertaining, but for very different reasons than Angel Dusted was. Desperate Lives was also about the evils of drugs and the terrible things they do to young people. But instead of realistically focusing on what can happen when someone gets on a bad trip, this film employs really stupid special effects and bad acting to get the point across. Below are a few clips I’ve found on YouTube.

A song by Rick Springfield, who was big at the time.
Diana Scarwid, who played the adult version of Christina Crawford in Mommie Dearest, is a high school guidance counselor who tries to shave everyone’s buzz.

It’s the beginning of a new school year in California. Young guidance counselor, Eileen Phillips, has arrived all bright eyed and bushy tailed for her new job. She is newly graduated and enthusiastic for what she expects will be a rewarding career, shaping young people’s lives as they embark on adulthood. But the school where Eileen works has a terrible drug problem and all of the adults who run the school are turning a blind eye. Eileen is determined to straighten everybody out and, in the meantime, entertains viewers with some truly ridiculous scenarios.

Oh lord… this scene is particularly infamous. Helen Hunt jumps out a window, lands on her back, and gets up physically fine as she screams.
“I’m glad we’re all SANE!”
An ad for Desperate Lives. Actually, you could watch this ad and get most of the funniest scenes in the movie.

Doug McKeon, who was in On Golden Pond, tries to add some credibility to this film. He’s a special student and a swimmer on the swim team, which puts him closer to Eileen, as she’s also the swimming coach. Helen Hunt, God bless her and her prodigious talent, really gave it her all playing a “crazed” girl on PCP. But this movie, compared to Angel Dusted, just sucks. However, it IS entertaining, just because it’s unintentionally hilarious. I definitely got the point that drugs are bad, mmm’kay? This might have been a better movie with a different leading lady. Diana Scarwid was very attractive in the early 80s, but she’s not a very good actress, in my opinion. Diane Ladd and Dr. Joyce Brothers also make appearances!

And finally, I would like to comment on a 1985 episode of the New Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I remember when this episode, titled “Final Escape” originally aired. I was really affected by it at the time. At 13, I was the kind of viewer television executives loved. I could easily suspend disbelief for the sake of enjoying a TV show.

Season Hubley plays a nasty bitch in prison who has a scary end…

Season Hubley plays Lena Trent, a woman who has been in and out of prison, and has a history of escaping. She’s shown having been convicted of murder, and sent off to a life sentence in the big house, Mojave Prison, where just four hours after her arrival, she gets into it with the prison queen bee. But Lena is very manipulative, particularly toward men. She charms the warden, again played by Jerry Hardin, who was also in Angel Dusted (and also had a couple of memorable turns on The Golden Girls). The warden yells at Lena for getting in a fight, but then inexplicably gives her a job that gets her away from the other inmates and puts her at a level of lower security.

Lena then works in the prison infirmary, where she meets a kindly Black man named Doc (Davis Roberts) who has super thick cataracts and can barely see. Doc helps out on the ward and buries the prisoners who die. The dead prisoners are buried outside of the prison walls. Lena is nice to Doc at first, listening to him moan about how the state doesn’t want to give him the money to get cataract surgery so he can see better. She soon realizes that he has free access to the outside of the prison, when it’s time to bury the dead; this causes her to hatch a new escape plan.

One day, a letter from the state arrives for Doc. In it, Doc is notified that he has been granted the money for the surgery. But Lena has another plan. She breaks Doc’s glasses on purpose, effectively making it impossible for him to see. Then she reads the letter, telling him that his request has been denied. Naturally, Doc is disappointed and pissed! Lena tells him she has a lot of money and will give him the money to get his surgery if he’ll help her escape.

Doc agrees… with tragic and scary results.

If you haven’t yet watched the episode and don’t want spoilers, stop reading here. I do recommend watching the video if this description has piqued your interest.

Lena asks Doc to bury her with the corpse, and then dig her up a few hours later, when the coast is clear. Doc initially refuses, telling Lena that she’ll suffocate. But Lena assures Doc that she can hang for a few hours, and once he’s done her this favor, Lena will pay for his eye surgery (which of course, she wouldn’t, because she’s a nasty bitch). Doc tells her to come to the infirmary and climb into the coffin with the corpse, which Lena does.

Sure enough, she gets buried. It’s never explained how two bodies managed to fit in one coffin. It’s also never explained why no one noticed how much heavier the coffin was, with two bodies in it, one of which wasn’t embalmed.

We see Lena in the coffin, somehow with enough air to talk to herself. She’s sweating and seems uncomfortable, but she has her eyes on the prize– a final escape from Mojave Prison, with Doc’s help. Finally, after a few hours, Lena starts to worry. She somehow lights a match, which would have used up some of that precious oxygen. That’s when she realizes that the corpse she’s sharing the coffin with is Doc! And no one else knows she’s been buried!

Of course, this could never happen. Even in the 1980s, there’s no way someone with Lena’s history would score a job with lower security standards. And there’s no way she would fit in a coffin with another corpse. And there’s no way she would light a match in a coffin like that… But it did make for compelling and scary television, back in the days when people didn’t mind suspending belief.

Well… it’s been fun writing about these old gems from the 80s today, instead of kvetching about people who piss me off, exploring psychology and narcissism, and dishing about the Duggar family. I suspect this post won’t get a lot of hits… or maybe it will. Sometimes, people surprise me. I know that Desperate Lives is a guilty pleasure film for a lot of people. And I can see on YouTube, that I wasn’t the only one who was permanently traumatized by that episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Angel Dusted is less notoriously cheesy, but is probably the highest quality production of the lot, at least in this post. Perhaps if this post is well-received, I’ll write another. I love watching this stuff.

bad TV, Netflix

Tiny Pretty Things is cringeworthy viewing…

Once again, I’m going to avoid some of the serious topics bouncing around in my head today. The news is chock full of potentially explosive things to write about– everything from the fact that Mitch McConnell and Vladimir Putin finally recognized Joe Biden as our next president to a haunting story I read about a middle aged adoptee from Romania, born during Ceausescu’s reign of terror. And, of course, COVID-19 is a topic for every day, too… but I’m sick of writing about that, and much of what I would write is stuff I’ve already written.

Instead, I’m going to write about Netflix’s latest “YA” series, Tiny Pretty Things, which was made available for streaming on Monday. Now, I’ve been a Netflix subscriber for years. I started when I was in graduate school, at Bill’s prompting, when the service involved renting DVDs that were sent in the mail. I quit for a few years when we had cable TV, then enrolled again when we moved back to Germany. I quit again for awhile, when I couldn’t get around the VPN filters and all of the content in Germany was in German. Then, when 13 Reasons Why came out, I resumed my membership. I hated 13 Reasons Why, by the way. I thought it was vastly overhyped and never bothered to watch the second or subsequent seasons.

If a ballerina falls in the forest when no one is near, does she make a sound? Oh brother… (that’s not what she actually says, but it’s kind of close and just as stupid…)

However, even though I have Netflix, I don’t watch it as much as I should. I often go months without logging in to watch anything. I have yet to see a single episode of Orange is the New Black or Stranger Things. I have seen The Crown, but I just now watched all four seasons of it in a massive binge. I frequently get reminders from Netflix to log in and use my membership. This week, I was lured by an ad for Tiny Pretty Things, a drama supposedly aimed at teenagers about very dysfunctional teens studying at The Archer School of Ballet, a “prestigious” ballet school in Chicago.

The first episode made me groan. The writing was very cheesy and melodramatic, with lots of hackneyed expressions that were intended to be clever, but came across as dumb. The storyline was ridiculous. Talented dancer, Neveah Stroyer (played by Kylie Jefferson), from Englewood, California is plucked from obscurity to learn how to dance for the big leagues. Her mom is in prison for killing a man who “hit her baby”, Neveah’s older brother, who is now in a wheelchair.

Lauren Holly, who is 57 and looks like she’s had work done, or at least a few collagen injections, is a ballet madame called Monique Dubois who is running the school. She comes off as snooty, fake, and kind of cruel. The kids are multicultural and there’s a veritable rainbow of boys and girls (who are actually all in their 20s) of all shades and sexual orientations. Many of the “actors” are actually dancers in real life, and they are much better at dancing than delivering their lines. I think Kylie Jefferson is a pretty decent actress, and she’s also a legit dancer, but most of the rest of them are not very convincing in their roles. They don’t look like they are the teens they’re supposed to be, and they aren’t good actors.

What really gets me, though, besides the ridiculous storyline involving a dancer who was pushed off a fourth story building and survives, languishing on life support to be the narrator (a la Mary Alice Young in Desperate Housewives), are the huge number of sex scenes, copious nude scenes, drug references, and, yes, I’m just gonna say it– the language. Everything I’ve read about Tiny Pretty Things indicates that it’s intended for a YA audience. That means it’s for teens, and teens encompass an age group ranging from 13 to 18. In most cases, there’s a huge difference in the maturity level of a 13 year old and an 18 year old. And yet we’re supposed to be okay with kids watching a very dark and macabre series about a ballet company planning a dance about Jack the Ripper? Meanwhile, there’s also a cop with a French braid sniffing around, trying to figure out who pushed Cassie Shore, the ballerina narrator who is actually in a coma, from the roof.

I don’t have children, but when I was growing up, my parents let me watch almost anything I wanted to watch. Every once in awhile, my dad would attempt to stop me from watching something he found inappropriate, but most of the time, I watched anything and everything that interested me. Consequently, I saw a whole lot of stuff that I wouldn’t want a child of mine seeing. I don’t know how different the world is for kids today… I can only imagine that it’s very different now. Still, it does seem a bit much for 8th graders to be watching a nude gay sex scene and listening to talk of blow jobs. When I was 13, I didn’t even know what “getting laid” meant, let alone what a blow job is.

There are some rather gory dream sequences and, at this point, I’ve also seen a closeup of a pretty necrotic looking injured foot that I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing. Aside from that, one of the choreographers is very pervy and sleazy. Watching him makes me think of Larry Nassar.

I suppose it’s a good thing that the cast is so inclusive of people who aren’t white or straight. I do enjoy watching the dancing, too, much of which is beautifully done. But all watching this show has shown me so far is that you don’t have to be a rich white kid to be shown as really fucked up and on TV. It also makes me think that if I’d ever had children, I would not want them to be involved in ballet, even though my sister was involved in ballet when she was growing up and this adaptation probably doesn’t even venture close to representing the norm.

I didn’t think I would get past the first episode, it made me sigh so hard. But I did end up watching several more episodes, mainly because I had nothing better to do yesterday. I’ll probably finish this season, but if it gets renewed, I probably won’t bother with any subsequent ones. Besides the gratuitous sex scenes, the acting is pretty cringeworthy, and the storyline is both very cliched and rather implausible. I’d rather watch 80s era episodes of Fame, which included plenty of cheesy acting and dance numbers, but at least it was somewhat clean.

Tiny Pretty Things is based on a YA novel, which has just got to be better than the show is. It’s just got to. It appears that the authors, Sona Charaiprota and Dhonielle Clayton, have made it into a book series that got popular, hence Netflix’s decision to turn it into a series one can stream. It appears that, as usual, the books are better than the on screen interpretation. I might one day be persuaded to read one of the books, just to see how far the streaming series has sunk.

I have a lot of tolerance for bad TV, but this series is really pretty awful, and it makes me roll my eyes a lot. As an adult, the sex scenes don’t trouble me too much, but I don’t think they’re particularly appropriate for young teens. I might have had less of an issue with that, though, if the quality of the show was better and the sex scenes didn’t feel like they were added to flesh out a thin and ridiculous premise. And the acting and writing both suck enough that I wouldn’t recommend Tiny Pretty Things to almost anyone else, either, at least not if they’re looking for something that is legitimately high quality. On the other hand, if you want to watch something cringeworthy, Tiny Pretty Things might be just the ticket. I think I’d like to watch it with my friend Joann, who has a real knack for critiquing bad TV in a hilarious way.


Too bad I don’t clean like I edit…

She was not the result of smoking; she was the result of timely fucking.

It always chaps my ass when I’m reading an online exchange that gets heated and someone writes something along the lines of, “Your an idiot.” Please know, it physically pains me to deliberately misspell words. I do make typos sometimes, but when I spot them, I am compelled to correct them immediately. Sometimes, my mistakes are caused by writing incoherently. Usually, when this happens, I’ll come back later and fix it.

When I see that someone has tried to make a plural by using an apostrophe, I get really agitated. The photo posted below was taken at an Italian restaurant in Rostock, Germany. The owner paid money for these little signs that read “steak’s & more”. Since the steak isn’t possessing anything, there’s no need for an apostrophe; the sign should read “steaks & more”. People who presumably went to elementary school make this mistake all the time. I might give the restaurant owner a pass, since he or she probably speaks at least three languages. Still, if you’re going to invest in a sign, especially one with so few words on it, at least make sure there aren’t any typos.

What the hell? Someone paid good money for signs that are wrong. It makes me stabby! I couldn’t bring myself to go into this place, mainly due to the signs.

Here’s another clue– if you just want to make your last name plural, you don’t need an apostrophe. Don’t write “the Brown’s”, unless Brown is possessive. If you simply wish to make the name plural, you write “the Browns.” You’d only write “Brown’s” if Brown was someone’s or something’s name and that person or thing was possessing something, such as “Brown’s bookcase” or “brown’s depth as a color”. But you shouldn’t sign your Christmas cards, “Happy holidays from the Brown’s.” If your name ends in an s, such as Jones, and you want to make it plural, you write “the Joneses”. It’s not “the Jones’s”.

I don’t know why I’m like this. Some people are fastidious about keeping a clean living space. Some people are obsessive about keeping themselves clean. I am hyper-vigilant about spelling, grammar, and word usage. I took grammar as an elective when I was in college. It was a required class for those who planned to become teachers. I had no plans to be a teacher, didn’t enjoy the class much, and didn’t even do particularly well in it. I took it simply because I thought it would be useful, and it was.

In the early 1990s, I didn’t know that I would spend so much time writing. In those days, we didn’t really have the Internet much. Email was in its infancy. I didn’t have an email address until the mid 1990s, and I shared it with several people. I didn’t surf the Web until 1997 or so, when I came home from Armenia. Now I spend hours every day online. It’s surreal, since over half of my life occurred before the Internet was a thing. Now, I find that I am daily confronted by bad writing. In fact, just this morning, I read this on Facebook:

Today — I lost a friend of at least 10 years. She was a neighbor. She was 80 —- and she was the end result of smoking since she was 14.

This was the beginning of a heartfelt post someone wrote about his friend, who’d had multiple health problems and died at the ripe age of 80. I’m sure his message was to warn his still living friends about the dangers of smoking and let them know that he cares. While I’m sure many of his late friend’s health problems could have been avoided if she hadn’t been a heavy smoker from such a young age, I’d like to point out a couple of things.

First, it appears that despite her health issues, his friend did live what most would consider a normal lifespan. They may not have been high quality years, and she might have enjoyed her last years more if she hadn’t been a smoker, but she did live a long time. Secondly, and probably much more importantly, his friend was not “the end result of smoking since she was 14”. She was the end result of two people fucking each other at the right time of the month. Her poor health and subsequent suffering were the end results of smoking since she was 14. Her poor health also affected people who cared about her, which is certainly worth mentioning. I won’t even get into the differences between “affect” and “effect”, which is another area where people get things twisted.

I am fighting the urge to leave a comment for the guy who authored the above sentence, because I realize that his heart was in the right place. I understand what he meant, even though when I read his post, the error jumped out at me like a flashing beacon. I’ve refrained, because I don’t actually know the guy that well. He’s one of Bill’s high school friends. I think he friended me because Bill barely posts on social media and it’s easier to keep up with him via me. It’s just that his post is a perfect example of what happens when people write from the heart and don’t proofread. I also know that people don’t like it when I act like a grammar cop, especially in public. They have a tendency to shoot the messenger.

I’m lucky that Bill doesn’t mind my grammar cop tendencies. He appreciates it when I catch stuff. He says it keeps him from looking like a “fool”. I don’t think he ever looks like a fool. It’s just that when people are too close to something, particularly when they’re writing, they don’t have the perspective of a reader. You know what you mean, but the people who are reading your stuff don’t necessarily. I remember getting into it with a guy I knew in grad school. We were writing a grant proposal and I told him he needed to include a brief explanation about the project for which we were requesting funding. He immediately got annoyed and said, “They should already know about that.”

My response was that the committee would be reading proposals from all kinds of people from many different groups. It’s a lot to ask them to know the details of every program they are considering funding. I think it’s best to make things as easy as possible for them. Explain it to them like they’re six years old, using language that is clear and easy to understand, properly punctuated and spelled, and with all of the necessary details. That means not writing something like “she was the result of smoking since she was fourteen.” Remember, she was not the result of smoking– she was the result of timely fucking! Poor health was the result of smoking. Use a few strategically chosen words to clarify, so you don’t write something that conveys something completely different from what you mean.

Incidentally, I’m also super fastidious when it comes to music. I tend to be a perfectionist when I make recordings, which is why I don’t often listen to anything I do on SingSnap beyond checking to see that the timing is correct. If I did listen to my whole recordings, I’d never do more than one a day. Perceived mistakes make me want to redo something until it’s close to perfect. I don’t keep a recording when my voice cracks or I veer off pitch. I don’t know why I do this with recordings, since I can’t do it with live performances. If my voice cracks when I sing live, oh fucking well…

But… I am not a fastidious housekeeper. I mean, yes, sometimes when I get into a cleaning mode, I can be very fastidious. But cleaning doesn’t come naturally to me and isn’t something I love to do. I have to be in the mood to clean with gusto, and that mood rarely strikes. When it does, I do like to take advantage of it. It’s too bad I don’t clean like I edit.

bad TV

“Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

I wish I were good at editing videos. Once again, I have been watching the last seasons of 7th Heaven and cringing with each new episode. Around season 8, that show became even worse than it originally was. On my old blog, I ranted about it a few times. Since I have a new blog, I’m going to rant about it again, mainly because I can’t think of anything else to write about that won’t get me in trouble. If I were good at editing videos, though, I could add them to this post to demonstrate what I mean. For now, you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

Complaint #1

At some point well into the series, the writers of 7th Heaven seemed to get lazy with dialogue. They started giving every character the same manner of speaking. I have noticed, for instance, several characters saying “Now, if you’ll excuse me”, after resolutely putting someone else in his or her place. Not only is it an annoying phrase when said by one person, but one would hope that only one person in an entire group of friends would ever be in the habit of saying something like that. Apparently, in Glen Oak, everyone has the same spoken mannerisms, right down to the other Glen Oak urchins calling the Camden kids by their last name or referring to them as “preacher boy” or “preacher girl”. Jeez, don’t the kids of Glen Oak have any spunk? Isn’t there someone with a spark of wit in that town? I think if someone said, “Now, if you’ll excuse me,” to me with a smug facial expression, I would be tempted to haul off and smack the shit out of them. But, since I’m neither violent nor wanting to be arrested, I’m sure the slap would simply radiate from the annoyed expression on my face.

Complaint #2

The actors often sounded like they were reading their lines for the first time. And again, when they read their lines, they used the same cringeworthy emphasis laden expressions. They’d say things like, “If you loved me– If you REALLY loved me…” Or “I needed a brother– a BIG brother– tonight.” And they would deliver these lines without proper emphasis, so they sounded stilted and hackneyed. Somehow, this shit was passable for eleven seasons. And also, almost all of them did it. I would expect one, maybe two people tops, speaking that way. But noooo… on 7th Heaven, they all talked like that.

Oh noooo!

Complaint #3

Most everyone seemed to have attended the “hesitation acting academy”. Stephen Collins was the worst of anyone on that show. He would hesitate before he spoke, as if he was choosing his words carefully. Unfortunately, he simply sounded stupid. As time went on, they would all start acting in this manner and deliver lines like, “You aren’t… thinkin’ about hangin’ out with your buddies and drinkin’ beer… because you know you’re… not 21 years old yet. And if… you decide you want to take a drink… why don’t you just stay… because you know not to… get behind the wheel when you’ve… been drinkin’.”

Complaint #4

I’m absolutely certain the twins weren’t intellectually disabled, but for some reason, the writers preferred to make them sound that way. They’d have them speak in unison. One of them couldn’t pronounce his r’s very clearly, so he sometimes sounded especially slow, even though I’m sure he wasn’t really. Who thinks it’s cute when twins talk like they have no minds of their own?

Complaint #5

“And this is for…” and “we know this how…” and “you would be…” Those of us who have been around for awhile remember David Spade on Saturday Night Live, when he’d do his annoying receptionist schtick. For some reason, the writers on 7th Heaven thought this was outrageously clever and, once again, saddled every single actor on the show with this shitty form of speaking. I’m now in the 11th season and I have lost count of how many characters snarkily say something like, “And you are…” or “and we know this because…” or something similarly rude. What’s sad is that there were some legitimately talented people on that show and they were saddled with terrible writing, especially in the later seasons. Of course, they also let some non actors on the show– like, for instance, when Mackenzie Rosman’s real life stepfather and stepsister guested. The stepdad was especially obviously not an actor. Another phrase that was overused by too many characters and came off as lazy and rude is “no offense”. Here’s my line. “No offense, but the writers of 7th Heaven sucked donkey balls and should have been docked 40% of their pay until they wrote something worth watching on television.”

Complaint #6

Overly emotional background music. Who was playing the piano and guitar on those episodes? Who was playing the saxophone? The sax and piano players were especially “expressive” in the way they played the background music. Way to add the the story, right? Actually, I think the piano player was especially talented. I just thought the use of music on this show was over the top and kind of stupidly done. What really sucks is watching it on iTunes and finding most of the music that was in the original episodes has been replaced by generic knockoffs that really don’t pack the same punch. But I get that they don’t want to have to pay for royalties.

Check out that music… and then the lecture from Matt, the doctor wannabe.

Complaint #7

Smoking, drinking, pot smoking, and fucking are bad… bad… bad… And RevCam knows how to cure every addiction to man.

“The rats! The RATS!”
No burning joints in MY house!

Complaint #8

Ridiculous storylines… like on what was originally supposed to be the grand finale in Season 10. Matt and Sarah, Mary and Carlos, and Lucy and Kevin all report that they are having twins. Of course, Lucy ends up miscarrying hers within months, when the writers had to cobble together one final barely watchable season. In a tragic life imitates art moment, actress Beverley Mitchell reported last year that she miscarried twins in real life. I could probably sit here and think of a dozen similar storylines that were just plain dumb. I get that you have to suspend belief sometimes when you watch a show like 7th Heaven. In fact, that’s part of their appeal. But there is a limit to how far fetched one can get before one goes into ridiculous territory. I mean, what genius came up with the idea to have everyone sing and dance the whole episode, like they did on the cringeworthy “Red Socks” show? That episode was written by Martha Plimpton, of all people, but it just sucked!

One of the worst storylines ever… and Eric hesitates for good measure. “Mary’s… coming to the graduation?” I like Annie’s fake scream, too. She probably also did that while fucking Eric.

So why do I watch this shit? I honestly don’t know. I think I miss watching television that isn’t profoundly disturbing. I like to watch shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, but then I have nightmares. I tried to watch Chernobyl, but it was too depressing. I got through the first episode, but had to stop the second one. I’m sure I’ll get around to watching them later, but I recently read a book about Chernobyl, so it’s not like I don’t know what happened.

For some reason, I find shows about large families comforting, even when they make me cringe. The Camden family is especially annoying, since the parents are overly involved, particularly with their children’s sex lives, and they have to supervise everything. Given that actor Stephen Collins, who played family patriarch Eric Camden, turned out to be a pervert in real life, it seems especially yucky that they focused so much on preserving their children’s virginity. I remember the icky scene in which a teenaged Ruthie Camden was suggestively dancing in her bedroom and dad Eric lingered a bit too long as she shimmied and gyrated. Once again… life imitates art.


Meh… well, I will probably be done with season 11 in a few days. I can go back to watching politics. I’m working on a new book, too, so there could be a review posted before too long. There are things I’d love to write about, but I just can’t bring myself to go there right now. Maybe someday… but not today. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to torturing myself with this shit so I can get it out of my system for the next year or two.