June 11, 2011

162: Favorites XX

Summer!  The sun stays up later than I do (...okay, not really), I get to subject the neighbors to my pasty legs whenever I mow the lawn, and we all get to enjoy the things that only come around during the summer months.

This week, my favorite summer guilty pleasures (and yes, a lot of them are on TV):

Reality TV
No, not The Bachelorette or Has Anyone Heard from the Kardashians Lately? or Teen Mom or whatever other horror shows are on MTV.  I admit it: I really enjoy America's Got Talent.  Mostly, I love Sharon Osbourne's hysterical laughter, usually at the expense of her fellow judges, but there's also the rare moment where someone genuinely talented turns up and blows everyone away.  There's also The Voice, where even Christina Aguilera's increasingly depressing personal style (seriously, girl, you cannot go on national television with a streaky spray tan...it's just sad) can't take away from some great performances and aspiring singers getting what seems like genuine mentoring from successful artists.  Rebecca Loebe and Devon Barley's duet/battle on Radiohead's "Creep" was fantastic:
Of course, I've also started watching Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, which is not so much light entertainment as motivation to keep exercising, even when it's muggy and awful outside.

Romance novels
Admittedly, I read them year-round, but I save the truly fluffy, downright embarrassing stuff for summer.  Even though some of it is terrible, and some of it reads like thinly-veiled fanfiction, it's really the best read-in-the-hammock genre.  So thanks to my college roommate, Jess, for introducing me to books by Jennifer Crusie, who was my gateway author.  It's been a downward spiral ever since.  Thank goodness for ebooks from the library.  No one knows your shame when it's hidden on an e-reader.

Vampires, werewolves, and telepaths
Specifically, the ones in and around fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana, where True Blood takes place.  Based on Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series (see also: romance novels, above), it's that patented HBO blend of sex, violence, and cussing, with a healthy dose of humor and mystery to boot.  Yes, I sometimes want to reach through the television and smack all the surviving members of the Stackhouse family upside the head, but there are some great subplots and supporting characters (Hoyt and Jessica, Terry Bellefleur and his pet armadillo) that make even the most annoying of Jason Stackhouse's exploits bearable.  Thank goodness for friends with premium channels.  Given the choice, I will pick this vampire story over Edward and Bella any day of the week.  (Also, I would put money on Eric Northman ripping Edward Cullen to sparkly bits in a cage match, but that's a whole different issue.)

Covert Affairs
USA Network's spy show (available on their website for those of us without cable) is both really awful and strangely appealing.  The writing comes right up to the point of being good before making an abrupt U-turn into hokey territory.  Piper Perabo plays Annie Walker, a CIA agent who is essentially a Mary Sue, but I keep coming back.  I don't know why, but I suspect it has something to do with how much I love action movies, and this show is nothing if not an extremely low-budget, forty-minute action movie.  Apparently I'm willing to put up with stunning mediocrity for the occasional gunfight or explosion.  I'm hoping for less preoccupation with Annie's rogue-spy boyfriend/ex-boyfriend and more hanging out and beer-drinking with her tech ops buddy, Auggie.  In addition to the exotic foreign gunfights and terrible dialogue, of course.


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