This week I loved:
Chuck (Mondays at 8pm on NBC)-sweet, goofy, funny, warm, quirky, clever-this awesomely casted and generally awesome show is all of those things and it makes me incredibly sad that it isn't insanely popular. I can safely say it's one of about three shows currently on television that I truly and deeply love. Plus Zachary Levi is possibly the cutest thing on television (well apart from Kris Allen, but more on him in a second)
The start of the clay court tennis season. It's hard to catch this live because most of the clay court tournaments are in Europe, and not all of my favorite players excel on the dirt, but on a purely visual level there is something so singularly arresting about the sight of tennis played on a red clay court. The crisp whites of shirts and shoes, the yellow pop of the balls, the straight white lines, all of it becomes bolder and more defined against the backdrop of burnt orange earth. And there are few still images that more simply or quietly define the nature of a sport than the sight of a tennis player's socks after a clay court match, the once spotless white covered in red. It's more telling than sweat or a scoreline. Right there, written on their socks, is the entire narrative of the game.
Deadliest Catch. The most recent season premiered on Tuesday and like all the seasons before it, it's freaking awesome. I have no idea why this show works. On paper a documentary about crab fishing sounds a little well, dull. But then you watch and you see what these guys actually do and the conditions they do it in. And it's not just the drama and the danger and the giant Bering Sea waves or massive chunks of ice. It's the stories of these hardened, weathered, salty, foul mouthed guys and the way they create lives and relationships amidst all those things. Last season I watched in utter captivation as Captain Phil grew sick on the boat and deliberated about whether or not he should turn back to seek medical care and jeopardize the earning potential of his boat. I cared about this big old bear of a man and it wasn't The Real Housewives of NYC (which I do watch incidentally) and women arguing about a tennis match. It was this guy's life and his livelihood. It was about his two boys who were on the boat and his fear of leaving them and letting them and the rest of the crew down. And on Tuesday night I teared up when Phil got news from his doctor that he still wasn't ready to fish and he had to stand on the dock and watch his boat, the Cornelia Marie, and his boys and his fellow fishermen, sail away without him, not knowing if he would ever sail again. And it's pretty incredible that we as viewers get to witness a moment like that. This show is just 100% human drama in a way that no other "reality" show is. There's nothing fake or forced or contrived. You're just on this journey with people who are working and living their lives with absolutely authenticity, and the camera is doing what it's supposed to do but which it rarely ever does, witness with interfering, observe without creating artifice. And that's art. Plus it's pretty damn entertaining.
And Kris Allen on American Idol. Without a doubt he is my favorite contestant this season and one of my favorites of any season. Except for one Don Henly related mistep, he has been flawless. When he sang the song "Falling Slowly" from Once this past week I got chills it was so effortlessly, sparsely beautiful. Now I know what you're probaby thinking. I only like him because he's as cute as a puppy times baby pandas divided by rainbows and sunshine. And the fact that he is adorable has not gone unnoticed. But, and I'm being honest here, his cuteness is only one tiny reason I love him. I just think he's incredibly talented and I think he hasnt been as heralded as Adam (I like his slow songs but his fast songs kind of scare me) or even Danny because he doesn't feel the need to sing every note as though he's trying to strangle it into submission with the force of his lungs. He's subtle and restrained and he doesn't sing like he's in a high school talent show (ahem Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey) where the biggest voice wins. And maybe that means he gets overlooked and underestimated by the judges, but I think he's wonderful. If he put out an album tomorrow I would go out and buy it based solely on the strength of his AI performances. And okay, fine, he's so cute I just want to squeeze him.
If you want to see for yourself go here. I couldn't find an embeddable video because the American Idol legal nazis have been working extra hard this season on Youtube. But this is off the official site and well worth the click.
So all in all, a lot of things to love this past week. And I have tomorrow off, the first day off in a while and one that is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous. So my plan is basically a patio somewhere, drinks, and lots of sunshine :)