|An electric guitar/ Nobody plays like you.|
Anyway we signed up again and it's a lot better now because we still only have one DVD out at a time but now as you probably know you can watch movies instantly if you have a device like a Nintendo Wii, which we do, because we asked for it last Christmas thinking our first winter back in the Midwest was bound to be cold and sort of isolating so we might as well have something fun to pass the time (the weather turned out to be worse than I expected, one of Iowa's snowiest winters of the century, but we actually had a lot more going on than we'd thought, as you know if you were reading this blog). Well, as you can probably guess because we were too busy to watch DVDs before we moved here we also were too busy to watch a lot of TV shows, although I still make a habit of DVR-ing "The Colbert Report" and "South Park" and Mrs. Des Noise has been known to add reruns of "Who's the Boss?" just so friends like Emily or Kim can make fun of us for how impossibly out of it we are. So one of the best things about Netflix Instant Queue for us has been being able to catch up on some of these TV shows everybody has been talking about, especially the ones that are only a half-hour long because without commercials those are only like 20 minutes so it's easy to watch another one or quit watching whenever. I don't understand how everybody has an attention span for so many 60-minute shows because if I had that kind of attention span anymore in my free time I like to imagine I'd use it to read a book or write a blog post or whatever.
One of the shows we've been watching a lot lately is "30 Rock." We actually watched at least one season of this before, the previous time we had Netflix, but it's a lot easier when you don't have to change out the DVDs (it's even better than DVR, because you don't have to fast-forward through the commercials and then always end up watching the commercials anyway because DirecTV for some reason always puts you a few seconds before where you thought you were when you stopped fast-forwarding). We're at the start of season three now. Usually I feel embarrassed talking about this stuff because we're so behind, but my ex-colleague Nick Sylvester, who I gave sort of a hard time yesterday in my most recent post on account of his talking about belonging to a "clique," tweeted the other day about how he's finally watching "The Sopranos" and needs like a support group because nobody else wants to discuss it, and the blog Pitchfork Reviews Reviews has been writing a lot about "Seinfeld" lately, so I feel like maybe we're at a moment where there's more currency than usual for talking about TV shows that aren't current. Also I keep seeing "30 Rock" mentioned on Twitter because of Brian Williams appearing on a new one or whatever, so maybe it's current after all? Anyway one of my favorite episodes that we've seen is the one with Gladys Knight, where you keep hearing her name almost subliminally in the background throughout the episode, and then-- well, I don't want to spoil it any more if you're like I was and haven't seen it.
So basically the premise of the "30 Rock" series pilot, as I recall, was that Alec Baldwin's character gets promoted and wants to "retool" Tina Fey's character's TV show, which is currently called "The Girlie Show" and stars Jenna, whose real name I can't remember but you can look it up. The show, as it turns out, is getting bad ratings with a key demographic for advertisers, young men, represented on the show by the character of the slacker-y writer guy in glasses who is always wearing ironic hats. And I pretty solidly enjoyed Retribution Gospel Choir's set last night at Vaudeville Mews, but I think it might've been a similar situation, like they overlooked a key demographic somehow. The band is singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk and bass player Steve Garrington from Low, a Minnesota band I really love, especially their album Things We Lost in the Fire, which is great whether or not you care about short-lived quasi-genres like "slowcore," plus drummer/singer Eric Pollard; at the Mews they were all snappily attired in matching shoes and different colors of ties, and Sparhawk had sort of grizzled matinee-idol looks and Garrington kind of stepped around while he played and Pollard was making these wild-eyed Mick Fleetwood-meets-Jack Black faces while he was drumming, and Sparhawk made some murderous faces during his first guitar solo that I wish I could've caught on iPhone camera, and as a whole when they were really on the effect was sort of like watching a screeching, squalling jazz trio. But Mrs. Des Noise pointed out that there were like maybe two other women there, besides her, and they were both with husbands or boyfriends.
As Rob Sheffield writes in his book Love Is a Mix Tape: "If girls don't like the music, they sit down and stop the show. You gotta have a crowd if you wanna have a show. And the girls are the show." Now, my wife didn't say she totally disliked the show or anything. She just thought it wasn't for her; I was totally pleased to stand back and let my ears hurt (I always end up being in a hurry and forgetting plugs) when they went into their gnashing, Crazy Horse-style instrumental sections, and the catchier moments like muscular rocker "Workin' Hard", from this year's album 2, were pretty good, too. And they played a slow, gorgeous Low song, "Breaker", from the Drums and Guns album, a real highlight although it also appears on Retribution Gospel Choir's self-titled debut album so it shouldn't really have been a surprise. But Sparhawk's wife, Mimi Parker of Low, isn't part of this band, and my wife didn't really want a part of them, either, so before you go you should bear that in mind. If you're a guy, or a woman who has different tastes than my wife, then you might like them-- I did!
|One of us standing in this game of musical chairs|
|You and your friends take away my boring life.|