Double double toil and trouble

No Macbeth.

Fire burn and cauldron bubble. Well, one can hope. Newts and frogs? Too cold here.

The fairy tale is the thing this TV season. Mirror mirror on the wall, which tale isn’t the fairest of them all.  Once upon a time seems soooo Grimm.

I’ll raise you one poisoned apple. And guess my name. Well, it isn’t that as that would be far too easy, and pricking your finger on the spindle, well, that’s so medieval. These days, glass slippers are easy to come by, especially if you can afford the strassed/Swavorski’d Louboutins. The prince, well, he ain’t what he used to be.  Last century’s charm is little more than self-absorption. The classic children’s story was quite scary back in the day, before Disney rewrote them.

Fringe has already headed to its fall break. I just got interested. Last week’s episode about dementia was one of the best in the show’s history. It didn’t focus on the show’s major characters. A story actually unfolded. A poignant tale about that which should or shouldn’t be. It made me consider some possibilities. And gave me a bit of a sense of wonder. When the show works, it really does. And then this week’s ‘finale’. Underwhelming. The 20 episode network ‘season’ doesn’t work in chunks. Six or seven episodes and then a two month or so break and then another six or seven episodes that will be the ‘winter’ season, another break, and the final three or four  in May, for the May sweeps and the possibility of renewal. I can understand watching a TV series on iTunes or waiting for the DVD to come out. My time is precious to me. I also have a fairly short attention span. No, I really can’t remember things that I watched two or three months ago. Do I care enough to remember that the show will come back in January or February? Well, if the PVR settings remember. And if the PVR decides to not experience ‘technical’ difficulties or to not be in service whenever. Which is frustrating. No, I do not want to call my cable company to ‘reset’ my machine. I don’t really like to go to the power bar, unplug the device and then have it re-set itself over several hours. The PVR was expensive when I bought it and I expect my Tivo imitation to at least function 99% of the time. Not find it on channel 1 or find that whatever I ‘recorded’ is not there. And won’t be shown again. And won’t be found online as it’s only available in the US. I liked the idea of the January season. The show starts then and runs til May, with few pre-emptions. Not the start-stop of the ‘fall’ season. Yeah, maybe if Ican find the show again. Maybe I will, or won’t. Maybe something else will take its place and interest me.

The good fun that is Todd and the Book of Pure Evil has returned in Canada for its second season. One of my TV guilty pleasures. Season 2 is off to a fine, rollicking start. An inexpensive Canadian production that doesn’t seem ‘nice’ as many Canadian series appear to world markets. Chris Leavins continues to knock it out of the park as the misguided and evil sweater-vested guidance counsellor villain, Atticus. The show is quite demented, but there is something about it. My high school experiences weren’t quite so, uh, entertaining. I get so few belly laughs and this show continues to make me smile weekly. I tend to like slapstick comedy. Or that which is considered ‘highbrow’. A simple girl, really. A little Oscar Wilde, a little Three Stooges. Ah well, I’m probably one of the few people at TWOP who talk about the show. A hidden gem.

Not so sparkly is ABC’s Once Upon a Time. A modern fairy tale that embraces the Disneyfied fairytale, but without heart or rhythm, at least so far. The pilot was well-produced but the show itself is struggling to work.  The Princess Bride worked  but this, not so far. Any ‘moments’ have been few and far-between. I really want to like the idea of the show, but it’s not pulling me in.  Happily ever after doesn’t really cut it in modern times. I’m struggling to see the modern metaphors and the modern ‘folk tale’. Little transformation, little ‘fantastic’.The oral tale has become little more than a glorified App for one’s iPod or iPad. One wipe of the finger and you’re off to a new place. The archetypes are bland. The wicked queen has been reduced to the modern minor politician. Show me a wonder. Folklore sanitised. Where are our stories anymore? Have we slayed our monsters or are we unwilling to look at the new monster? Is that monster ourselves? Our technology? Domo arigato Mr. Roboto? Does our cynical and world-weary magical mirror blind us?I exist in a place. Or do I? Well, I’d alter the ‘fairy’ tale for my own purpose. Rewrite history a bit. The winner takes it all. Til you are rewritten. Victorians? A certain sensibility. The Grimms sanitised some tales. Disney continues to feed little girls’ fantasies of the amazing prince. He’s a bit rusty now. Do you believe in magic?

I’d like to. I’m jaded. Cynical.

Ring around the roses. They all fall down. Welcome the Plague.

And Freud and Jung.

A prologue to history.

The monster that continues to walk the earth.

Grimm is the other ‘fairy tale’ type series this season. Loosely based on the Grimm fairy tales. Works collected from peasant. The Grimms were interested in folklore and the oral tradition of tales. German folklore, especially. Which ultimately and eventually were geared toward children. The show itself is reminiscent of the X Files with a fairy tale bent – most episodes start off with a few lines from a Grimm tale. A bit underwhelming. Standard procedural but with the ‘twist’ of a Grimm’s fairy tale. Unlikely that one city – Portland, Oregon, can be the hotbed for this type of story. The X Files worked in that the show moved to different locales each week. Fairy tale monsters in one town? I don’t think so. Eventually the press would get a hold of this type of situation. The lead isn’t particulary compelling. I’d like to care, but I don’t know. The Brothers Grimm were devout Christians. The show itself, well, it may be an interesting idea, but the execution is lacking. Perhaps it is the ‘spirit’ of the Grimms. People like me want to believe in fairy tales but are jaded. And far too Hollywoodised. And seen too many Disney movies. Bippity bobbity boo. Blue green red. The rose drops it petals. Be our guest. Some day my prince will come. Beauty and the Beast. The shoe fits. Or does it. Nothing like a happy ending.  The clock strikes midnight. The coach turns in to a pumpkin. The glass slipper sits on the step. The ugly stepsisters try to cram their feet in to it. The shoe shatters.

What’s my name? Is it Rumplestiltskin?

The straw will not turn to gold.


~ by hooklineandthinker on November 21, 2011.

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