If your mother tells you to do a thing, it is wrong to reply that you won’t. It is better and more becoming to intimate that you will do as she bids you, and then afterward act quietly in the matter according to the dictates of your best judgment.
Young Mark Twain’s mischievous advice to little girls.
For Children’s Book Week, the best illustrations from 130 years of Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
Despite being an avid television watcher for years, I don’t really remember watching too many series finales. I watched the Seinfeld finale with my parents, and I distinctly remember the end of Boy Meets World. Other than TGIF, my favorite channels were Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, where series either expired after a certain number of episodes or just abruptly ended and all of a sudden there weren’t any new episodes. As I got older, I abandoned a lot of series before they reached their eventual end, like Alias and The West Wing. But I also fell in love with shows that ended too soon, like Arrested Development; I am pretty sure my favorite TV on Facebook simply said “anything prematurely canceled” (groan). Once I got to college, series finales became more poignant, especially 2007, the year Gilmore Girls and The OC ended. Gilmore Girls was the first show I watched because kids at school were watching it, and I only started viewing The OC because the Anna/Summer debate was really intense between my friends. In between those series’ starts and finishes I picked up multiple new shows, many of which I abandoned before they reached their demise: Desperate Housewives, 24, Ugly Betty, Gossip Girl, Battlestar Galactica, Prison Break, Pushing Daisies. I don’t think the gravity of a series finale really hit me until the end of Lost, which coincided with my college graduation. And I mean “gravity” in the lightest sense possible, because as much as I love it, this is television we’re talking about. But Lost was important for me for several reasons: #1, I only started watching it so I would have something to talk about with the guy I liked, and #2, it introduced the idea of the constant which (this is getting really meta now) was how I considered all of my television watching. I became very, very obsessed with television in college, in a real anti-social/sleep-deprivation kind of way, but I rationalized it because it was a connection to something. To friends at home, who were not watching with me but were watching the same thing. To new friends at school, who I could easily talk to about How I Met Your Mother because it had the right balance of being cool but not too cool (this was 2007; it’s definitely not cool anymore). Wherever I went, television was there. Some people have religion, others have sports. I had television.
My interest in television has largely gone away now. There are still shows I watch regularly, but not religiously. The me of four years ago would probably be embarrassed that I don’t watch Game of Thrones, Homeland, Shameless, Scandal, or Once Upon a Time, or that I don’t obsess over Jess and Nick on New Girl. And it’s not like I have anything better going on, I just…don’t feel like it. And I’m starting to feel the same way about most of the shows I still watch. This year two of my favorite shows ended (30 Rock and The Office), and I’m honestly surprised I held on this long. Probably because the NBC Thursday night was just this nice little package of television. (Which isn’t even a very good reason, since I only watch actual channels when I’m at my parents’ house.) It’s been sad seeing these series wrap up, but it’s time. I watched 30 Rock since the beginning, when it was up against Studio 60 (that rivalry is really unfathomable right now) and I camped out in my dorm’s MPR, but I kind of have no idea what happened over the past two seasons. I didn’t watch The Office right away (because I’d seen the British version and I didn’t think it was funny) and only picked it up in the third season when I went to college. My devotion has waned over the past few years.
As for everything else? I still get excited for Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, and Cougar Town. I like The Good Wife, How I Met Your Mother, and New Girl. I will never tire of high school dramas like Awkward and Pretty Little Liars. I used to watch three to four hours of television every night. Now, that’s what I watch in a week.
When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher tasked us with finding our vocabulary words in print for bonus points. Whoever found the most words won a prize. Now, being that kid who’d rather work twice as hard on extra credit than study, I was determined to win. (I think the prize was a big bag of M&Ms? I just wanted bragging rights.) Our only rule was that we had to find it in print, not on the internet. I discovered that I could search for each word on Entertainment Weekly’s website and then find the corresponding issue of the magazine, and since I saved all of my magazines so this was pretty easy to do. I was clearly the frontrunner for the prize. Then I found out my friend was hot on my heels. Now, I had no problem with having a competitor, especially one who is smarter and more hardworking than me. So we had our little day-to-day battle and I eventually won.
Then I found out that she had been working with other people and our teacher had encouraged her do to so. This irritated me because a) those other people just conceded their bonus points to her?!? and b) what a messed up thing for a teacher to do. Even if I really needed to be taken down a peg.
Stephen Sondheim — No One is Alone
Sometimes people leave you
Halfway through the wood
Others may deceive you
You decide what’s good
You decide alone
But no one is alone
Willie Nelson — The Scientist
Is it weird that I really like a Willie Nelson cover of a Coldplay song I heard in a Chipotle commercial at a movie theater a couple of years ago?
I wish I could just sleep 2-4 hours straight through instead of waking up so much every night.
Rob Sheffield, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran