Friday, July 20, 2007

The More You Know: What I Learned From The TV

A long long time ago, I wrote a blog about esotericism in popular television, and then it got erased by zoho writer. You may remember this, as my reaction was severe, really only comparable to the "Great RISK Fiasco of 1989," when, after two weeks of nightly Risk-playing with my brother Lewis and our father, I took over Ukraine and Lewis reacted by lifting the board and dumping all it's contents onto the stairway. [He was on the stairway because he'd run there during his fit of hysterics.]

So, after zoho writer erased my work and I transitioned from denial to hysteria, I called my then-girlfriend, who told me about this short story she'd written that got erased and how when she re-wrote it, it was the best story she'd ever written. I believe my reaction to that was a high-pitched wail or something like "No, I'm not re-writing it, it'll never be good again." Mostly because I'd done a lot of research for some inane reason. Sometimes I get on these research kicks. It's weird/awesome/wastes my life away.

The funny thing is, actually, she ended up being right, but in a roundabout kind of way: the story I ended up re-writing was kinda [cue violin swell, then transition into Tegan & Sara "Dark Come Soon"] the story of MY LIFE. I solicited my readers to tell me their worst computer-crash stories to make me feel better, even/especially if they never ever usually commented, and I'd make it into a Top Ten, and then all these readers came out of the woodwork and most of them stuck around, which's awesome/AWESOME. AND one of them was my now writing partner, Carly, with whom I just finished (a possibly final) draft of the pilot. It is really good now. I mean, we thought it was good before, but we were wrong, NOW it is good.

Anyhow: I told myself, one day, when I don't know what to write about, I'll attempt to re-create that post. But I still don't really want to do that.

Howevs, I decided to unearth it and see what I could gleam. I have a printout of an early draft of the blog from about 12 hours before it was destructed forever, which I'd brought to the ex-GF during visiting hours for her copy-edits. I'm looking at that now. It's peppered by her handwriting, red ink: circles around misspellings, carrots removing unnecessary hyphens, corrections of it's/its, #s, the scribbled words "suspension of disbelief," "disconnect," "allusions," "Thomas Pynchon (bag over head)." What did we talk about that day? (I remember, of course: it was one of the best conversations we've ever had. Sometimes, I am still sad. Sometimes it is not as easy as I say it is to be happy.)

Anyhow Part Two: This all relates. Carly and I are writing a TV show. I was watching a montage of L Word clips on a friend's myspace the other day and thinking how these characters are a part of my life and how magic it'd be if one day our characters were a part of your lives. Then I thought about how I have learned things from television, every now and then, and I'm not just talking about Sesame Street, Square One or Loveline.

I think the best television writers are also artists/educators, not just comedians/entertainers. Usually they're smarter than their shows imply [unless it is Alan Ball, Aaron Sorkin or Jim Henson, they have smart shows]. That's why TV writers're always dropping allusions to high art, to remind us of their literacy. Nietzsche must've done a triple-somersault in his grave, Mary Lou Retton style, when Jenny Schecter announced on The L Word that her story, "Thus Spoke Sara Schuster" had been published in The Best American Short Stories [Totally impossible, unless the guest editor was Ryan Seacrest or a chimpanzee.] Later, this became just one element of the glory which is Jenny's on-screen literary career, which is one of many reasons why I heart The L Word and it's strange little world of magic and make-believe.


There was a great "This American Life" called "What I Learned from TV." In it, Ira Glass referenced an episode of The O.C. [which was basically, in terms of learning things from TV, American Bandstand for Young Male Musicians with Faux Bed Head and Feelings] which referenced This American Life! I think it was when Seth had that girl over, the snotty one, and Summer was like "Who's there, I hear a voice," and Seth says it's "This American Life" and Summer says: "Is that that show by those hipster know-it-alls who talk about how fascinating ordinary people are?"

How super-duper-meta, right? Anyhow Ira loves that show. I love Ira. See how I did that? See how I brought that back around? To LOVE?


These are some of the things I've garnered from the Evil Box. This might be a regular feature, which I will return to frequently, like I do with the "Carousel of Progress" (which I will return to, seriously). Because I've learned a lot of things, obvs. Usually I learn better without commercials, or watching shows on DVDs. I find promos to be a bit frightening sometimes. Like when they're like "Kathy Griffin hits HARD TIMES!" and she's crying like her Dad is dying? And then all these graphics are like bang bang bang "Seee what happens when life isn't SO FUNNY ANYMORE!" boom-boom-bup-bop-ding! Kathy Griffin! Like, whoa. Not cool! [I love her show though, sidenote. Carly you should edit their promos so that kinda stuff doesn't happen.]


The L Word:

"You need to watch The L Word," Becky told me. Becky wore $80 sweatpants and had a waterfall in the backyard of her Westchester home; she was a brilliant photographer and an A-E-Phi and my best friend at University of Michigan and she was really into television and was one of the only girls I knew that'd never kissed another girl. She was the one who told me to watch Six Feet Under, so when she recommended The L Word--which I'd heard of, vaguely, but hadn't really considered watching, because I generally avoided anything that might make me want to be a lesbian, I knew it was: 1) probs a good recommendation, 2) appealing to heterosexuals as well as homosexuals.

So fast forward to December of 2004, New York City: I'd just joined Netflix. I ordered the Season One DVDs. I watched. I had a boyfriend. I kept rewinding to the scene where they try to figure out if Lara is gay, and the one where Shane's wearing the hoodie and talking to Tammie Lynn and says "You have a lot of feelings." I kept rewinding. I called Krista: "You have to come home right now. There is this girl on this television show, and I think I'm in love with her. It feels very real. She is unlike anyone I've seen before, male or female, she is perfect human, we are in love, we have a lot of feelings, you must come home and watch." And I showed her and she sat down on the ground in a heap of scarf and skirt and said "Oh, Ris, you're right." (She spelled it "Ris," and was the first person to call me that. It's pronounced "Riese" though.) "Ris, she's beautiful. Okay, rewind that scene again." (Krista is straight.)

And for a week we put red envelopes in the mail, received new ones, watched the whole season in four days, thanks to a speedy Netflix turnaround. When Shane told Cherie: You entire life, people have said that...I would become a psychopath if I don't learn how to feel. But I wanna know, Cherie, what the fuck is so great about feeling? Because I finally let myself. And I feel like my heart's been completely ripped out. I remember feeling specific and sad and I realized a good first step towards learning how to feel would probably be to admit I like girls, or something. I don't mean as a lesbian, though that's a part of it: that I liked spending time with other girls, something I'd forgotten in my string of boyfriends and co-workers and my boyfriends' friends, always against girls in some way rather than with them/for them. Anyway. Yeah, it was just part of a lot of thoughts I was having then.

I just looked through my old livejournal to find this conversation I had with Jeremiah [I'd give him a code name to protect him, but, as a member of the NYPD who had no interest in helping me when I was being threatened, I'm not really into protecting him right now, I mean, hello, totes paradox!] when I made my screensaver entirely pictures of Shane. [Sidenote: There's so many LJ entries right when we broke up when I talk about how I think relationships are "bunk" and how I have no feelings and how I was sorry that I'd broken his heart: "He wants to have babies. I want to be a baby. Well, a 23 year old baby," and that "no man is an island. except me," and "I'm bloody Ibiza!" I've totally matured like, not at all since then.] Anyhow:

Conversation with my Then-Boyfriend. January 3rd, 2005:

Him (points to screensaver): Who's that?
Me: Shane.
Him: Shane?
Me: Shane, from The L Word. she's hot.
Him: The L Word is about lesbians, right?
Me: Yeah. She's hot.
Him: You're attracted to her?
Me: Absolutely.
Him: I don't find her attractive at all.
Me: You really should see her in the show. You need to see her talk.
Him: You mean "hear" her talk. You can't see someone talk.
Me: You need to see her while she is talking. it's like--the way she moves, and acts, it's like--everything. It's like pure sex.
Him: Would you have sex with her?
Me: Oh yeah.
Him: So are you like, totally bisexual?
Me: Haven't we discussed this already?
Him: Yeah, well, i know you've been with girls, but i thought you said you liked men better.
Me: I do like men better. [UPDATE, 7/19/06: I was lying.]
Him: Do you think you could go the rest of your life without having sex with another woman?
Me: What exactly do you mean by 'having sex'?
Him: Never mind. I got my answer. Let's talk about something else.

The West Wing:

When I've been writing for too long and my brain hurts, I turn out all the lights and lie on my bed and listen to Ave Maria over and over. Time slows down and G-d feels tangible and my body cools. Then I can sit back down, turn on Firefox, go to my google home page, see the CNN headlines, and remember that George W. Bush is president, not Josiah Bartlett. Then I go stick my head in the oven.

Also: On steamy afternoons when New York's beat me senseless and I feel I've spent my entire life transversing subway tunnels, one station to another, walking to transfer, transfer, beaten by crowds/smoke and instead of touching people I love [Once I believed if I held on to her tightly enough for long enough, we'd become the same person], I am feeling strangers and their big purses and beer breath and tampons/cosmetics/mass-market paperbacks and so I listen to "Ave Maria" on repeat on my ipod, and then everything slows down and I can step away a little.

The first time that song struck me as something I needed in my earbuds a lot was when I heard it on The West Wing. I actually learned a lot about world politics from that show. Seriously.

"I was watching a television program before, with a kind of roving moderator who spoke to a seated panel of young women who were having some sort of problem with their boyfriends -- apparently, because the boyfriends had all slept with the girlfriends' mothers. And they brought the boyfriends out, and they fought, right there on television. Toby, tell me: these people don't vote, do they?"
-Josiah Bartlett, The West Wing

The 'Issac and Ishmael' episode after 9-11? Amazing. So many things amazing on that show. I can't even begin.

Krista introduced me to West Wing. I didn't expect to love it. But I loved it! I came home once and Krista was crying on her bed, on the tiny screen Bartlett was accepting his second term of election and Krista said: "Why can't we have a president like that?" and I thought, "What?!" You're crying over an inauguration on television? But then when I watched it, and I got to that scene, I felt the same way. Dark and wondering why.

Jed Bartlet is both passionately religious and spiritual as well as politically liberal and entirely logical. He's memorized the Bible, so he can go head-to-head with Conservative Bible-Beaters and win every time. Also, he's not real. But who is? Jenny Schecter? Zarathustra? Me? Auto-Win? Auto-Straddle?

I can't answer those questions.


Okay, just two for now 'cause it's 3:48 AM and I am tired and need some sleep, for real. Also, I should say some other things. These are those things:

1. We had a Blogger Meet-Up thing outside.

We took a train to Brooklyn to go to Cattyshack for this Weenie Roast thing. I knew Caroline was gonna be there [who we met on the cruise], because she works there, and also I'd invited Carly (before I met her) and Jamie (who's not actually gay) via Curly, the organizer, when she asked me if I knew anyone who'd wanna be invited. We also brought Carly's friend Roy and my friend Haviland.

So yeah, we took a train and then it was so hot and humid and it was taking forevers.

Me: "Dude, this is taking so long, I'm like, not even gay anymore."
Roy: "I left my gay back at Jay Street."

But then eventually we got there, still gay. It was so hot though! Like, the weather! When I'm hot, it's hard to think of other things. But I did, a little bit. I also ran into a girl I knew from Sarah Lawrence. It was so weird.

There's some photos:
Check out Haviland's poses. Also, I look just like A MUPPET.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Carly doesn't like the photo of her that was taken at the Weenie Roast, and offered to send me a replacement photograph. I thought "I don't remember Carly having a camera," but who knows, I was tired and leaking intelligence from my pores, maybe she did have a camera and I just didn't notice.

This is what she sent me:

Unfortunately, The First Rule of Auto-Win Club dictates that if you don't like your photo, I get to choose whatever photo I want from your myspace and use that instead. Unless you are ethically opposed to photos in general, which Carlytron is DEF. NOT., she loves photos.

That's her on the right with the shark head.

I don't know what I'm going for here. But it's probably pretty hot.

2. I am sleepy. I have more things to write, but I don't think I can write them. In fact, I can't promise this post included correct spellages of any words of the English persuasion. I'm just saying, that's all.

3. Also related to teevees, the Emmys were announced tonight. I don't watch the teevee really so I hadn't seen very many of the shows, but seriously, Carly was IMing me about it and she is and I also am weirded out by this Two and a Half Men thing. It's like the new Everybody Loves Raymond. Sometimes I feel like I live on an island. No man is an island, except me. I am Ibiza! I am Bloody Ibiza! Also just to be sure I was paying attention, she stuck "Curl Girls" and "The L Word" into her list of nominations for best television drama. I was like "WAIT! Curl Girls is a reality show, right?"


Jane Doe said...

Haha, I have been known to write "I'm bloody Ibiza!" in a number of places, including Facebook: About Me, MySpace, and, yes, LiveJournal. It's a great expression! ;)

The Spaz said...

Girls who aren't into girls get interested in girls because they want to do girls like Shane.

She has this whole... gayimization vibe.

Others I can think of with this are Angelina Jolie and Clea Duvall.

An example of a guy with said vibe would be that one who plays young Superman on Smallville whose name I can't remember. He's so pretty!

riese said...

confidential lady: Excellent taste in quotes. I used to use it as an away message as well, somewhat liberally.

the spaz: That is so, so, so, so sooo funny because the ex-boyfriend I mention up there who I had that convo with looked just like the guy who plays young Superman in Smallville. Seriously we'd get stopped on the street by people asking if he knew he looked like that guy. In the posters, they were identical. I think that pretty much says it all. That and the parade of my oft-mistaken-for-homosexual boyfriends. They all had nice hair.

I once did a blurb for nerve about the ridiculous about of survey dedicated to proving over and over and over again that angelina jolie is who most women want to sleep with. I think that the thing that makes Shane special in that regard is that men don't want her, but women do. Like Krista did.

Anonymous said...

firstly i think thomas pynchon with a paper bag on his head was on the simpsons - but maybe your question about it was rhetorical.

secondly you've thrown me into a bit of a spin because i, also a rewinder of that scene with shane in the hoodie talking to tammy, though i always thought she said 'honey you have a lot of failings '
but then it might be the accent...

Jaime said...

I first got into The West Wing via a Presidents Day marathon on Bravo. There are some chunks of later seasons I've never seen, but good god I love that show. I dream of a world where Jed Bartlett is president and I can have eight years of intense sexual tension with Bradley Whitford. Josh + Donna 4 ever.

And is that the "hot picture" from last Sunday you were telling me about? Cause everyone's probably wondering, "Who's that pasty girl?" It's like three girls who obviously just got back from a cruise, and then the blogger who lives in a basement.

I don't live in a basement. I just do theatre and am paranoid about skin cancer & wrinkles. I may be pale, but I am gonna look awesome when I'm 60.

stef said...

a similar phenomenon is the girl boys think is hot but girls don't get (ie jennifer love hewitt) and the girl girls think is pretty but boys think is really super gross (ie sarah jessica parker).

re: emmys, didn't mariska get nominated for something? i hope? yayy mariska.

i got introduced to the l word by the one girl i ever had anything to do with, who used to hang her huge important ex over my head all the time and told me they both thought the other was like, hotter than shane. i didn't know what that meant. she also liked saying "i opened up your worrrrld, jenny" which was not funny then (as i didn't know what that meant) and certainly not now. anyway months later i got up the courage (not really the right word) to rent season one and was like oh hey, that chick is pretty awesome, and oh yeah, those girls were WRONG.

i think my straight male roommates actually like shane, but it may be because every time she's on screen it means there will probably be naked girls kissing pretty soon, and probably close-ups of boobs. kind of a pavlov thing.xa

riese said...

kate: Yeah, it was The Simpsons, I had a section in that post about The Simpsons and so she'd written in that example for me not to forget to include it. Which I didn't. But then you know, Zoho writer... but I digress.

Def feelings (though I'm never really SURE of anything), I think that's it for sure. It's so perfect! MMm. Hoodies.

Jaime: I think I look so pale, like I glow in the dark, sort of, I mean, considering I'd just been on a cruise, I should def. have more color than I do. Which is fine. Carly wasn't on the cruise. Her natural skin tone is darker than mine. So is Haviland's, obvs. Yeah hot picture yeah!

I am gonna look awful when I'm 60. Like a tan shriveled up cardiac arrested nanna.

Lovin' Lyman. Lovin' Lyman.

Stef: Totally! In addition to JLH I think are Mary Kate and Ashley [this has changed lately when they've gotten so deathly skinny, but before that] and like, Jamie Lynn whathaveyou, and Brooke Burke or whomever. And totally SJP in the other category (I don't think she's pretty either, but most girls do), as well as like, Cynthia Nixon actually I think, maybe even Mariska.

I clearly love her. Mariska. And yes, she was totally nominated.

Yeah, I made my straight special friend (who could be reading this! Hi!) watch The L Word first season, and when she was like "I love Jenny! She's my favorite character!" during the whole Tim/Marina thing, I was like "Oh man, this is trouble."

stef said...

i may or may not occasionally discuss marina with my therapist. she was a VIPER. obvs.

i think boys like mariska, but i don't know any. they must be out there.

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tara said...

Your writing is catapulting itself beyond genius, Marie. I'm terribly proud of you.


Anyway, glad you enjoyed the Cruise. Also, can't wait for your script with Carlytron. I know it'll kick Ilene's friggin' sorry ass. She should pay you,

yo ...

Bag Over Head = me.

Cheers/take care,

P.S. And yeah that's my, "Oh fuck she's not moderating anymore yippeekayay and yet ... no personal, if you will, hoo-has better renegerenegerenege ...

Hugz ... :)

carlytron said...

I would love to edit Bravo's promos, cause they are all: 1) the same, 2) insane, 3) no really, what is going on over there, guys?

Also I think you missed a golden opportunity: superimposing yourself in that L Word season 1 graphic you posted. Woulda been brill.

This entry was great because 1) it's about one of my favorite things, TV, and 2) you mention our brill TV show again. IT'S SO GOOD, YOU GUYS.

Also: word verification is "cjync" which made me think of "cynic."

MLissa said...

Oh no...this post now makes me have to go watch the first season of the L Word again..right now...and I have lots of work to get done today. How am I going to pay the bills? Damn.

Anonymous said...

See, everytime I think of how much I would hit the rewind button for Shane scenes during the first season of the L word, it reminds me of how i used to do the same exact thing with Jordan Catalano.

And then that reminds me of the piece you wrote comparing Shane and Jordan.
I wish I could lean as cool as they do.

Reading this blog makes me realise how I am both still 12 and also 23.
And how nothing has changed really. I just have a house and a car now.

Also, I've decided I'm going to buy a new pair of Chucks tomorrow. I think it's time to say goodbye to this pair. My socks are getting too wet in this British weather.

Have a great weekend.

Bourbon said...

I strongly believe that all girls love Shane and if they don't admit it then they're either liars or asexual alien types posing as human girls. I've served at least 10 straight (looking) girls who have stuttered and mumbled something along the lines of "um can I uh get the *clears throat* L word DVD, please" and I just want to be like "It's ok, I understand. I, too, am jonesin for some Shane/Bette/Alice/Dana"

Also, it boggles the mind how it can be so hot over there and soooo bloody freezing in this corner or the globe.

caitlinmae said...

can we recognize the brilliance that is the Emmy nomination for "Dick in a box" as best musical number or something?

That made my life.

Also, every girl I know who watches L word falls in love with Shane and then, in a pursuit of capturing one aspect of that irrepressable force, goes gay for at least, like, a semester. (I go to vassar, and I'm constantly being asked when people find out where I go- Oh are you a lez yet? This is why. Also, I know who on campus owns every season of the L word because it's always out of the library. And which lesbians in senior housing have the best snacks at their l word viewing parties.

The day before bush was elected the first time (and there was all that drama with gore and chads and things) I dreamed they handed over the election to Jed Bartlett. I have never wished for a dream to come true as hard as I did that one.

riese said...

stef: Marina was a viper, agreed. I almost could accept her until it turned out she already had a girlfriend. Then I was like, "Are you effin kidding me?" Like, don't bother to convert JC (who was not entirely intolerable yet) if you already have a girlfriend so you two can play your silly power games. Ew. I don't know any Mariska-boy-fans either, but there's her husband?


tmb: Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

yo ... (Note: proper usage of ellipses.)

Take Care!/As Ever,
mb/mlb/autowin/riese/autostraddle/whoever i am

P.S. In Key West, I saw an ad for a bar named "Finnegan's [sic] Wake." Rock, Finnegan.


carlytron: Mostly I really want to know what's going on with that dude. I wonder what he looks like. You know? The promo guy? And their graphics are just really, like, whoa. They did the same thing to Workout, when they were like "the staff gets some BAD NEWS.." like, "Bad news: your promos are really insensitive." [Unlike me, I'm totes sensitive. At least I'm trying to be funny, not sell things, though.]

I know, I should have superimposed that picture of myself drunk indoors on a scooter wearing a shark head ... oh wait. I don't have any pictures of myself drunk indoors on a scooter wearing a shark head ... fuck.

I think it might be time for a Living it Out label, as I'll probs find a way to mention this brill item every time I blog. Obvs.


mlissa: Just write a really good short story about all your friends, call it "Aut Girls" and it'll probs get published in The New Yorker and then turned into a feature film/musical. Or at least that happened to someone once.


laura: I love the way they lean.

Since that livejournal post, I have grown. And by that I mean that I am both 12 and 25, instead of both 12 and 23. I think the twelve year old inside keeps my 25 year old from freaking out. I imagine this is part of my charm. i mean that, it's totes only in my imagination that this is charming.

I'm gonna get my one Chuck back tomorrow. I'm still sporting the one-holey-shoe, one-neat-shoe look.


razia: Before the "Hot 'N Fit" contest, we joked about how we were all gonna make "I'd Go Gay for Haviland" t-shirts, like how they have those "I'd Go Gay for Shane" t-shirts, which were clearly designed on the assumption that you just described (all girls love Shane, obvs).

I love that girls do that. [I'll have the *clears throat*] Sometimes I wonder why people title things how they do, in terms of being giveaways in such situations, for people (unlike yourself) not in the know. Like The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls In Love? Totes not subtle.

I wish it was bloody freezing here too. You'll be in Spain in no time.


caitlinmae: That is perfect for a number of reasons, the most important being that the lesbian mother in our show went to Vassar, obvs.

Wanna know something weird? I'm like the only person on earth who didn't find "Dick in a Box" funny. I feel like I missed out on this massive international joke?

I wish your dream would come true too. I remember that election day 'cause I was living in the dorms, and everyone I knew had clearly voted for Gore, and we were clearly devastated. Everyone was just so like ... depressed. Not as depressed as we were four years later, but nevertheless.

stef said...

no joke, i used to return my l word dvds to blockbuster in a black plastic bag.

Tara said...

Yeah Marie ... I tried to add that Finnegans Wake Key West bar to my friggin' MySpace, but noooooo ... they're too snooty. Just kidding, who knows. Or cares. Add me MySpace!!!

And yeah ... so happy to see you happy ... :)

Anonymous said...

I'd take Alice over Shane any day. Not in to the skinny as a rake thing and dude seriously the hair is far too high maintenance. My gf was totally into Shane and it honestly made me kinda jealous but now she prefers Alice which makes me smile (perhaps because I identify more with her). I was drawn to Katherine when I saw her in Young Americans but I think had a lot to do with the whole gender bending aspect of her role.
I LOVED the West Wing, Allison Janney is one of the best actors on the planet fo sure!
Riese what are you saying? That reality tv can't win emmys? I did a paper on it during my master's degree, I didn't do too well, but that was because I hadn't yet embraced it's potential brilliance.
Last season of Survivor when Yau-man lost, was one of the greatest/saddest moments of tv ever! My gf swore and screamed at the tv while I sat holding my breath not knowing how to deal with the terrible injustice of it all. I love that Reality TV is so good at getting an emotional reaction out of it's audience.
Also worth mentioning as one of the best programmes ever made is Black Books (UK), truly brilliant.
I was really sad when this post ended, please write more soon!

Anonymous said...

Shane = gay starter kit

Otherwise known as training wheels. Now I heavily dig on Alice, too. And Tasha. And Helena. And, like, you know, real girls that I know and stuff. I am reluctant to give The L Word credit for queering my world, but damned if the timeline wasn't rather suspect.

Also, I would like to be a gay starter kit. I have a friend who is one. It looks like a ridiculously good time.

You produce your pilot, hear?

DH said...

I've never seen the West Wing, but I've always wanted to. I've somehow managed to completely bypass it the last few years.

I could take or leave the L Word characters. However Goren (Law&Order CI) is one of those that is a big part my life. And I'm predicting Parker will be too, potentially, when the greatest TV show ever does get off the ground. Because what's not to love about a soccer team drop-out.

I second the un-funny-ness of 'Dick In A Box'. But then - I think I'm the only person in this world who didn't see the funny side of Monty Python. So maybe I just don't have a sense of humour.

El N said...

Win, tell me someone in your posse got lucky on your cruise. I saw no references to such activities and frankly, what kind of a gay cruise is it when the gays aren't making out left/right? Or were you all like, no, no sex for me thank you, we must think of the children. Cause it's like Yr Family right?

Anonymous said...

The Telly Box is SO educational. Like I learned I never wanna go to prison from Prisoner C Block H and Badgirls and I've learned a whole heap of shit from all sorts of sources.

For the record, I'm a girl but don't think SJP is particularly pretty but JLH is SO hot!

I actually think it's the other way round - men prefer girls more made up whereas a woman prefers a natural beauty in other women. I guess it's horses for courses.

Ho hum. That's life and why we are all different.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to my last post (cuz I'm a little drunk and feel like it) I think Alice is WAY hotter than Shane. Although I can get why Shane is attractive, I could never just shag for the sake of shagging so it's Alice all the way for me cuz she's way cute, nuerotic (sp?) and kinda ditzy but mostly funny.

Prisoner said...

Just wanted to say thanks for inspiring me to write a blog.

I'll probably delete it when I sober up but whatever. Thanks for baring your soul and making me feel kinda normal.

stef said...

i dunno if that's necessarily it.. i'm still trying to figure out the thing boys have with jessica biel. my roommates absolutely die every time she appears on tv. i don't get it at all.

as for alice, she looks too much like my viper. srsly thought they could be sisters even before i had seen the show - 'heyyy you know those yogurt commercials..?' every time alice has drama with anybody it makes me squirm, esp when she's hurting somebody's feelings. she is my favourite character, and then she is also the worst thing on tv ever.

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Tara, Riese is really trying to be civil to you. Just stop. Leave her alone.

Prisoner said...


This is, I guess, what happens when happiness goes wrong. Why can't people be nice to each other?

TMB - Riese hasn't exactly painted you in a bad light. I just personally wouldn't wanna bring up something that may upset someone. But I get maybe you're hurting too and I wish you luck with that.

Riese - go with what your matey Haviland says. She's hot too if that helps.

Anonymous said...

TMB-that email about the reading she is doing....Riese sent that to EVERYONE, not to YOU YOU YOU. and she didn't even mean to send it to you, you were just on an old invite list and it was sent to you on accident. so chill. like havi said, leave her alone. she has been VERY KIND to you on this blog, and you've been frankly INHUMANE and mean in all your dealings with her. there are you happy now you have attention, too.

Tara said...

Yes, Anonymous Ones ... Marie apologized about accidentally sending that email to me ... so stop freaking out. According to Marie,



Err... whoops! I'm sorry ... the latest in gmail's incredible achievements: I didn't mean to send that to you .... though I edited the nyc group invite list this morning, gmail just invited everyone who's ever been on the list anyhow.

Of course it's really sweet of you to want to come and support me and I appreciate it, but I feel like it's probably not a good idea for us to see each other this soon .... or in that kind of situation, etc.

Take care,



So will y'all just chill out? Totes? Good luck on the reading Marie. I can't make it ... alas, also ... I don't think that'd be kosher, if you will ... :)

But seriously ... you will ROCK IT!!! Because that's how you roll. You rocked the Internet MoSex Cyberdildology Panel ... and you shall ROCK my KGB Spies, yet again ... also, I was just at the KGB Bar the other night ... also, good luck.

Cheers, homeslices ... :) Marie and I are on civil ex-girlfriend terms. We're just f-in with y'all.

riese said...

First of all ... I'd like to address the Hot or Not issue in regards to some repeated themes. I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seat [especially you, TMB. You're like, "Yay! Teevee! Which one is Alice?"]

Shane vs. Alice:

-Riese's type-
1. Girls who look like boys or sort of carry themselves in a "boyish" way, e.g., Shane.
2. Girls who look like girls who're not skinny. Like, I don't like most famous actresses 'cause they are too skinny. Unless they are sorta boyish, then I might like them. But a good example of "2" would be Alice.
3. I could change my mind.
4. There are many exceptions.

Shane, on the TV screen, looks smokin' hot. In person: too skinny. I don't like girls that are skinnier than me. Still, she's Shane. It's the overall presentation, the voice ... the allure ... the sexual intensity ... that drew me to her in Season One. Also, I just like girls that look like boys. And she looks hot in a wifebeater with no bra.

Alice, obvs, would be Dream Girlfriend. She's beautiful, smart, witty, sarcastic, and probably one of the only characters who hasn't changed personalities ten times. She's also sexually adventurous, and then she could promote me, to like, Head Guestbian on OurChart.

Jennifer Love Hewitt
Hot: until she opens her mouth. Then it all goes downhill.
Sidenote: Can't Hardly Wait. She was hot in that movie.

Sarah Jessica Parker
Don't find her attractive. But I know many straight girls who think she's really somethin'. They also tend to like her outfits more than me. But I think she's a cool lady. Not Carrie Bradshaw. SJP.


Abby: I agree about Allison Janney. She's amazing and used to make me cry sometimes, when she'd get really upset, like about Kashmir? Also, I'm distantly related to her because I read in an interview that she's related to Pocahantas, and so am I!

Dude, The Real World has made me cry more than once. [Don't like it anymore, but I once dug the old school shit, like Boston and New York and stuff.] I'm not really a fan of reality TV in general, but my comment was mostly that reality TV has it's own category, so there's no way Curl Girls could've been nominated in the "best drama" area.


lain: Re: gay starter kit ... totally. I really want to produce the pilot. Right now we've just got it out there ... waiting for the universe to bless us with goodness.


crystal: That's how I used to feel about The West Wing, but then one night Krista just got me started and before long ... it's so compelling. And Aaron Sorkin is a good writer, even if he wrote some of it on crack in a hotel room with Maureen Dowd. It might not be as fabulous for those not in the US, but it's still really good. I never got into CI because Vincent D'whathaveyou always annoyed the shit out of me.

Go PARKER! I'm sure you noticed in the cast picture ... SMJ rocked the popped collar in that reading.

And thank you for not finding 'Dick in a Box' funny. Seriously that means a lot to me.

I liked Monty Python, the movie, but my Dad told me all the jokes before I saw it, so it was like, the joy of seeing them performed in context as well as the joy of the jokes themselves.

I liked I'm not dead yet! alot.

Saying "the funny side" got Always look on the bright side of life... stuck in my head. Doo doo doo dooo dooo doo.


el n: SomeoneS in my posse got lucky on the cruise. Howevs ... must leave it at that. It's funny how only on a gay cruise would "sex" and "children" be mutually exclusive [y'know?]. But I don't think there was much censorship, as the kids went to bed early.


anonymous: I am also neurotic, and kinda ditzy but mostly funny, so I feel like I'm on the same page a lot with Alice. Also see above. Also, Leisha is single. Carly and I plot different ways to write her into our sitcom all the time. I tried to get into Bad Girls but never really could ... I was like, "When is the lesbian part?" I never got to it. It used to be on logo. I'd sort of had it on in the background sometimes. Hm, maybe I'd like it if I started from the top, but I'm deep into Arrested Development right now.


eclectic: Aw, yay! I've said it before and I'll say it again; that's the most rewarding part for me of doing this. That's what I want to do. And I'm glad you started a blog, I will check it out, blogroll you, etc.


stef: Funny thing ... I LOVE Jessica Biel. Actually, my crush on her dates way back, and was one of my primary indicators that I like girls. There was a woman on the cruise who looked like Alice, but a lot older.


eclectic: I agree that people should be nice to each other and I agree with everything you said in your comment.
Also, I know what [mean!] comment you and haviland and anonymous are referring to, since I saw it before it was deleted by its author.

Gone now. Behind us. Like dust in the wind, etc.


TMB: Thanks! I do hope to rock.


Anonymous said...

Dear Riese,
Congratulations for everything ma chère!
On a non-personal note,how do you get pilots produced? Do you hustle Ilene and promise her free pretentiously messaged T-shirts or do you just call your agent? Do you need a TV agent as opposed to a literary agent? I'm dyin' to get my pilot about French grocery salespeople (Produce! Sex! Bitchiness! Eiffel! Tower!) off the ground. Am in fact generally interested. Thank you for your work and for answering your devotees. Love from Gay Paris,

riese said...

Dear Ollie,


That is a really good question, Ollie. It is one of our favorite questions these days (slash least favorite).

Officially, one is supposed to get an agent who specializes in television, who then sells it to a network. Or, if you have the financing (like IC), you can finance the pilot yourself, and then sell that to a network. We really want to shoot the pilot ourselves, so if we could get financial backing, we could do that and then sell it even if our financial backer is not a tv person.

I do have a literary agent ... I need to ask her. Hm. On the to-do list.

Right now, we're pretty convinced, amongst ourselves, that we can somehow go about this without all the official hoo-ha. This is likely not correct, but basically right now we're just sending it to people we've talked to about it who're jazzed about it and want to be involved in this kind of project--people who're already established in the biz in some form or another, both through Haviland's connections as well as my own and Carly's.

But, I will let you know what happens when something happens. [See, I just deleted "if" and replaced it with "when," Carly!] We've still got a little bit more work to do with creating a writeup for the season, character arcs, and then we'll actually conquer proper process. Mostly right now, we're riding on some good connections and a lot of optimism and faith.

That's probably not helpful at all. Yeah ... yeah.

carlytron said...

I just had to read a whole lot of comments because I haven't been on a computer in two days. Okay.

1. Leisha is single!? Since when? We need our people to schedule a meeting with her people stat.
2. Yay Arrested Development!
3. It is always "when," never "if," good job.
4. I don't get the JLH/SJP thing at all, personally.
5. I don't have any photos of myself on a scooter wearing a shark head either, those were my friends : )
6. Word verification: "wrtekog," which is German for "write a screenplay."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, they need to add a Reality tv category, or shit, is there one already? Nevermind. I only started watching Survivor and ANTM to have something to talk about with workmates. Now I can't look away.
Good luck with the reading Riese and if you thought Peter Jackson could help with your pilot I would get it to his people for you... Although I think Heavenly Creatures is as close as he will probably get to the l word theme....but wait they are going to be in Pennsylvania filming The Lovely Bones in a couple of months. Kiwis are WAY friendly, talk to his wife Fran Walsh she'll know someone!

riese said...

Carlytron: Leisha wasn't single? I just sort of assumed she was because I don't know who her girlfriend is. Hmm. Perhaps we need to do some homewrecking. Or I need to do some serious research. Are you sure that's not German for "write a teleplay"?

Abby: Yeah I think there is, but I'd have to default to Carlytron on that one. Hang on.

Okay she says there are, in fact, TWO. Competitive and Non-Competitive. That is really intense. I just hope that My Life on the D-List wins, cause that's the only one I've seen this year and I heart KG.

And re: Peter Jackson.

Funny you should mention him! Because Heavenly Creatures is actually based on a true story, and one of the girls in that story is the biggest client of my agency (she's grown up, changed her name, etc.) so there was all this drama when a journalist uncovered it was her, and then when PJ wanted to make it into a movie, and then our author had to do this press tour to like, keep her name clean, and she totally wants that whole "thing" to be this closed part of her past, she's a really interesting woman. Her writing is totally like, mystery stories, and very conservative.

But who knows, this could be his big breakout project!

Also, I LOVED The Lovely Bones. La la la loved it.

Anonymous said...

Dude! It was a true story that happened in little old New Zealand which is I guess why it was an interesting subject for PJ. I was really disappointed with Lord of the Rings etc because in Heavenly Creatures he (with v.important partner F.Walsh) does such an amazing job with the characters. I mean it was a story about two girls who were obsessed with each other and their fantasy world and he nailed it, the art direction also being a crucial component. Anyway back to LOTRs, just I guess because there was too much to fit in to feature films there wasn't enough development of characters... I thought. I will probably be hunted down soon (nearly everyone in New Zealand actually worked on or knows someone who worked on LOTRs, my gf was a talent agent at the time for example).
Melanie Lynskey played the part of the other girl (not the writer), she was awesome (you probably know she was in But I'm a Cheerleader, she was also good friends with that girl in Melbourne who broke my heart)... shit this comment is getting too long..
Me too loved Lovely Bones, shout out to Alice Sebold

carlytron said...

I thought I read in an interview for the L Word that she was in a relationship with a fashion designer of some sort? But that had to be like, 1-2 years ago. Who knows.

I did say last weekend that I wanted to be a homewrecker for celebrity couples ...

Anonymous said...

yeah I read that too, she works on the L word apparently...

Anonymous said...

"No doubt Hailey also gets wardrobe advice from current girlfriend Nina Garduno, a fashion designer, L Word stylist and executive at the hip clothier Fred Segal in Hollywood. Perhaps it’s because of the intensity of her very public previous relationship with singer-songwriter k.d. lang that she will now say only, “I’m very committed and in love,” when asked about Garduno. “I’m definitely more of a private person,” she says."
Curve magazine Vol 15#2

carlytron said...

oh, I've just decided that I hate the photo of me from Cattyshack. If I send you a replacement will you replace ... it?

riese said...

OK, Leisha Hailey hands down totes has a girlfriend. I accept this. [sigh]. As does Kate M., so there we have it.

That's true though what you said about the homewrecking for celebrity couples. I totes forgot about that, and now I am totes remembering, and totally thinking it is absolutely brill. i have no more vocabulary right now and can only use... whatever that form of speech is. Adverb? Superlative? I don't even know anymore.

Heavenly Creatures was really really good ... the client of whom I speak always said though that the lesbionic element was created by the storytellers and was not a part of their relationship at all whatsoever. I knew that before I watched it, which tainted it a little. But also, she coulda been lying. Hmmm ... but interesting that he went on to do LOTR after that, seemed so random.

I will look into this Melanie Lysynsky thing.

I keep trying to finish this comment, then remembering that I'm brain-dead. That sentence didn't even make sense.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to drag out the topic but..
Yeah, I think it's the fantasy element he and his team are into. When I heard he had the rights to The Lovely Bones, it made sense to me, he will do an amazing job. Other Directors would probably make it seem corny, whereas he has the skills to capture the unusual pov.

riese said...

1. Carly, obvs, you know I'd do anything for you!

2. Abby, that's a really good point. Because she manages a typically trite POV with such incredible realism and like -- beauty -- it's just really remarkable that she pulled it off, and I think he can too, based on what he did with Heavenly Creatures. Yay!

carlytron said...

Wow, ok, that was phenomenal, the adding of the dinosaur picture. Somehow I knew you'd do something like that.

Honestly, I like the dinosaur picture better than the original Cattyshack one, so it's a win-win-win.

AK said...

Essential background information for AutoStraddle. And I had no idea about the power of Shane to lure so many into the fold. Okay I had some idea.

riese said...

Carly: Of course you did.

AK: Yeah you did.

Anonymous said...

OH GOD you are channeling my psyche Riese! HOW?? We live on opposite coasts, have totally dif backgrounds & educations, and are dif GENERATIONS, but the first time I rented the L word & saw Shane and then youtubed Shane vids for 3 hours, my comment to a coworker was "that person is walking sex" oohhh God. Can't remember life before Kate.
AND the only show I had to see every week was West Wing because it was such a finely crafted & written beautiful fantasy administration to behold!!!
So we are channeling each other & I just want you to know that I appreciate you a lot but can't deal w/Paypal, so how else can I contribute to your tip jar??

riese said...

I don't know why but it's AWESOME! Obvs. Clearly the love of Kate and West Wing, which indicates most of all, superior taste/genetics and overall quality of life, can span coasts, generations, and all other things.

Re: Paypal ... hm. (yay!) email me.

carlytron said...

this is comment #51.
just thought you'd like to know.

riese said...

[waaa software update waaa]

you know what this is, dj carlytron?

an example of how dreams come true.

MoonKiller said...

I had the exact same Shane conversation with my exboyfriend. He thinks she looks like his brother.

I'm in an intenet cafe in Spain cause me and my sister nagged my dad for about a week cause I wanted to check my MySpace cause I'm uh cool and I thought I'd check in and cheer myself up. Heck I've got a lot to read lol.

Keep up the good work. = ]

Anonymous said...

Give prison inmates a miraculas vial. A small vial that is a place where Christian Angels can materaialize a tiny speck of a new kind of drug. Each inmate is given one vial and is allowed to choose wich kind of advanced medication will be manisfested from Heaven. Create some small chips that have a nano-hole or nano-box in their center. This is where one singel molicule can be gotten. Check the vials witha chip in it every four days. when it works you have anew drug to study and mass produce.