Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm Having An Affair

I met this girl when I was 10 years old. And what I loved most is she had so much soul. wasn't so much the soul as it was the cursing and the nudity. I think I appreciated her essence at first sight. But when you're meandering through adolescence, "shit" and nipples own your attention in a way that the ethereal just can't compete with.

This girl hooked me oh-so-innocently with Fraggle Rock. When rainy summer days confined me and Youngblood to the basement of our folks' house, I quickly graduated to Not Necessarily the News, Computer Games and endless reruns of every Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steven Segal movie made between 1983 and 1989.

She really started to hook me with a One Night Stand and wouldn't let me go when she aired Inside the NFL, Tales from the Crypt, Dream On, Def Comedy Jam and most of Mike Tyson's greatest hits.

A few episodes into both Real Sex and The Larry Sanders Show, someone in my house decided to cancel HBO. Maybe there was a link there. Maybe not. I certainly would have appreciated one and been confused by the other. Which would have been which, though, is anyone's guess.

Whatever the case, HBO long ago claimed its place as my "main chick." Even when her signal came up scrambled on my TV, I always knew she was the one.

We stayed apart for most of the second half of my high school career, reconnected sometime during my undergrad and we've been together ever since. 'Cept for a couple of times when we tried to quit each other. The quit never seemed to stick, though.

We had Oz when I lived in Pittsburgh. The Sopranos, too. Matter of fact, we had many words over The Sopranos 'cause I didn't like that the show made her everyone's chick. Long as she kept giving it to me, though, I was hard pressed to leave her. We drifted a bit after I moved to LA, but she won me back with The Wire and Six Feet Under. When those shows were on hiatus, she kept feeding me America Undercovers to keep the sheets warm.

Our relationship cooled slightly with Carnivale and Deadwood. Enjoyed a quick boost with Def Poetry Jam. She accented that with a plethora of hookers, strippers and Real Sex. She missed me with Sex and the City, but I wasn't mad that she had something that was just for her and her girls.

She nearly lost me with Curb Your Enthusiasm. I thought it was well structured and executed, but I just can't watch Larry David for more than 3 minutes. No matter how much I dig shows about messed up people living in California. She did, however, make it up to me with Entourage and we found our relationship in a really good rhythm as The Sopranos handed off to Six Feet Under which yielded to The Wire. That, of course, would bring us back to The Sopranos to start the cycle again.

Then I left LA. Lost her for a little while. Got her back. But the chemistry was off. She broke The Sopranos into two half seasons. Entourage made me feel homesick for a life that didn't exist anymore. Six Feet Under finally crafted its own epitaph. Rome didn't work for me. Neither did Epitafios. 'Round that time, I discovered The L Word. Which was cool for a couple of episodes, but didn't command my attention. I watched the debut of Weeds and, for the first time in my life, started coveting my girl's neighbor. Then I moved out of the apartment with the subscription to Showtime and my girl really showed me her gangster.

The Wire: Season Four

To my eyes, it was the greatest accomplishment in the history of scripted dramatic television. The four kids coming of age way too fast. The mayoral campaign. The Kobe Bryant-ruthlessness of Marlo's crew. All dancing in perfect compliment with each other. It wasn't gonna get any better than that. How could it?

I poured out plenty of liquor for the end of The Sopranos and thought it met a brilliant demise. I eagerly jumped on board for John From Cincinnati, which turned out to be weird as hell and devoid of anything to like about it. And, while I watched every minute of the most recent season of Entourage, it still makes me for more homesick than anything else.

Despite the fact that I couldn't stop laughing at Flight of the Conchords, something hasn't been quite right with me and HBO. Which may explain my current predicament.

When the second season of Weeds kicked off, I caught a couple of episodes accidentally. Remembered that I never understood how the main character jumped from her husband's funeral to serving smoke. And, then, I saw the episode where Uncle Andy took lil Shane Botwin to the massage parlour. Ree-effin-diculous. I refused to miss an ep after that one.

I didn't immediately declare my love for Showtime. It has came out in dribs and drabs as I've fought off an addiction to Weeds. (I still really need to have Nancy's dots connected.) I haven't made up my mind about Californication but I'll give Agent Mulder's new show time to find itself.
This past weekend, I fired up the On Demand and finally gave Dexter a shot. For some reason, the heroic anti-hero totally worked for me. I watched all 12 episodes in less than a day. I found it to be a generally predictable mystery, but completely gripping no less. As if you're supposed to be able to solve the riddle before the characters do so that you'll have a profound rooting interest as they inch toward the answer you already know. Nevermind that the lead is a serial killer. (A good guy. Sort of. He only kills other murderers, rapists and despots.) After Dexter finally discovered and dealt with the Ice Truck Killer, I recognized that I might have a problem.

I think I'm cheating on HBO with Showtime.

I'm already kinda planning my weeks so I don't miss Weeds and Californication. I notice that Brotherhood is also on On Demand and I feel like I need to scramble though the first season of that show before its season two opener accompanies the premiere of Dexter's second go round.

I watched a little bit of Curb Your Enthusiasm when I flipped past it last week. I have no interest in Tell Me You Love Me, though. If it weren't for the forthcoming series finale of The Wire, I might leave my main chick altogether.

So I'll give her one more chance to win me back.

While I wait, though, I'll probably be watching Showtime.


E said...

that was a great retelling of the history of HBO... i love it.

the_capital_t said...

Funny thing never occurred to me that I was a lifelong HBO head until I started getting into Showtime's programming.

And I know I left some stuff out. Like a long ago flirtation with Zalman King's Red Shoe Diaries. As well as Big Love, Tracy Ullman and Arliss. Though I was never really into any of those 3 HBO joints.