I mainlined all of Alpha House season 2 as soon as it came out. It was incredibly delightful, with a joke complexity density rivaling Arrested Development or 30 Rock. Highlights
-Senator Laffer owning an authentic Bush
-The whole Mormon soaking thing. A slow build leading to an unbelievably hilarious series of images.
-Senator Bettencourt miserably registers voters in North Philadelphia, knowing that every voter he registers will be a vote against him.
-Janel Moloney as a Republican Senator. Let me repeat that. DONNA MOSS, REPUBLICAN SENATOR. Yelling at Bradley Whitford. Working while on a treadmill in her office... IN HEELS. Wielding a pistol in the Capitol in a bold stand for gun rights.
-EVERYTHING JOHN GOODMAN DID. THE REALITY SHOW. THE BONFIRE. THE DISARMAMENT. THE FRONT PORCH CAMPAIGN. THE CIRCLE OF CIVILITY. THE HUSTLE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT LEGISLATION. JOHN GOODMAN IS A COMIC GOD.
I'm watching Gotham- I don't think I mentioned, but of course I couldn't resist. It's a pretty bankrupt premise that I'm still waiting to see what the point is, but so far I'm enjoying it despite its sort of pointlessness. Penguin is wonderful, Fish Moony is amazing, and I'm liking that Jim Gordon is so ethically compromised already, though in the wake of this most recent episode it remains to be seen how far they're willing to take that. They brought things to a head much faster than I thought they would, which is a relief, and yet it beggars the question of where the writers think they're taking this show.
I'm watching Agents of SHIELD still, of course. I've been mostly disappointed by S2 so far, though the most recent episode was my favorite by far. Mockingbird is great! Mack is great! I want my FitzSimmons back together. I still wish Agents of SHIELD were the FitzSimmons show. But the show is plagued by the difficulty of juggling all the new characters and character relationships. Coulson/Skye was the heart of Season 1 emotionally, and Director Coulson/Agent Skye in this season has been just completely adrift. There have been episodes in this season that, with all of the new dynamics being juggled, saw the plot get completely botched. The Agent May vs. Agent May fight was great but it was surrounded by probably the most wretchedly dumb writing the show has ever seen, in which any questions about whether May could trust Coulson and vice versa were sabotaged by the stupidity of the dialogue.
I finished the Wheel of Time about a month ago. I'm not sure what to say about it because it is so big and powerful a literary achievement that it's hard to get a grasp on its significance. Ten thousand pages or more, hundreds of characters, dozens of plotlines, all maneuvered, sometimes clumsily and sometimes brilliantly, toward a single climax lasting most of a thousand pages. A climax that manages to tie up an immense number of loose ends without seeming forced, yet certainly not an effortless climax. The Wheel of Time is impressive because it is enjoyable in spite of its many faults, because somehow over the course of its tremendous length, the good outweighs the bad more often than not.
-Brandon Sanderson could never quite get Mat Cauthon right, especially his sense of humor. But he did a pretty amazing job of writing Mat Cauthon, gambling general, in the finale given that handicap.
-The metathematics of the Wheel of Time are pretty central to its point... The heroes of the Horn spinning out in every generation, the Dragon reborn again and again to fight the same battle over and over again against the Shadow, names translated into new myths with every Age, Tel'Aran'Rhiod as the one constant- the world of dreams, the world of storytellers, the world where if you believe something more strongly than someone else, your story is imposed on the world.
Given this, the point of Rand's ending is that he gets to live a life that isn't part of a story now. But I still want that story desperately, because of my love of metanarrative. I want to know what life is like for a messiah after he has provided salvation, after he is not longer ta'veren. I guess I need to read The Name of Wind
I've also been lightly bingeing on Meg Cabot, when I don't want to think. All of her non-Princess Diary stuff is weirdly fascinating. She blends genre fiction with teen romance as well as anybody. The Airheads series is really dark and kind of awesome.
And lastly, I did a reread of Jill Pinkwater's Buffalo Brenda
, a seminal book of my childhood and an anthem to weirdness and letting your imagination introduce you to new and exciting fun that always makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.