I am now just 4 days into Week 1 of my summer reading list (I am no longer using quotation marks around this term, it's not an error, I have decided that they are extraneous and therefore, unnecessary). I will have you know, that I am desperately trying to catch up to present day and that, writing in past tense is not a strong suit for me. Also, my dog is chasing a fly and it's very distracting, you know.
I started my adventure with the "Glee" pilot. The decided advantage of watching "Glee" is that it's a relatively new show which allows me to catch up to current episodes and fill a spot left over from one of the dropped shows from my fall TV queue. What's also unique and exciting about "Glee" for me, is that it's a comedy (mostly) and recently comedy has been in short supply on television. I have been inundated by the macabre- which I love, but comedy, I desperately need. I haven't watched anything even remotely funny since "Friends" wrapped up in 2004.
As the show began, I found myself looking over my shoulder self-consciously. Picture me sitting on my couch thinking "This is really cheesy. I'm alone and yet, embarrassed." But, once the show moved on and I got used to the format (which I think is a refreshing change from crime drama), I was hooked and watched more episodes than any person should ever watch in one week... "Glee," you had me at "Don't Stop Believin'."
Now, in and out of my "Glee" spree (yes, I know, it rhymes) I did make time for a few documentaries that I had been eyeballing. I started by watching the BBC's recent reproduction of "The Diary of Anne Frank". The reviews were very favorable, but it wasn't my favorite production. I felt that the Frank family came off a bit whiny versus courageous. And even though Anne's diary clearly indicates that she was a teenager, who was well... self-centered, as all teenagers are- I felt less of a connection to her and was less inspired than by previous versions. I still have to say, the best-ever production I have seen of the Anne Frank diaries was a live production featuring Natalie Portman, which I saw on Broadway around 1998. On an aside: Rachel Miner, who played Anne's sister, Margot, was engaged to Macualy Culkin at the time and one of the friends bumped into him outside the theatre... which seemed really, really funny at the time.
I also made time to watch not one, but two documentaries regarding the Westboro Baptist Church. If you're unfortunate enough to know who they are, then I'm sorry. I'd only recommend watching if you like to torment yourself. If you don't know who they are, consider yourself forewarned.
The first of the documentaries was "The Most Hated Family in America". In this BBC documentary, a reporter is actually allowed to live with the church (most of which is comprised by a single family) for two weeks. It is certainly an interesting insider's view, but I felt it lacked in storytelling. Now, the second of the documentaries "Fall from Grace" was more of a traditional documentary format, and certainly had more of a storytelling feel to it, but lacked the personal contact the BBC conveyed. That being said, I don't recommend either of them. If there's one thing I did learn from both documentaries, it's that the church loves to be hated. In a roundabout way, by watching either documentary you're giving them what they want - because trust me, you will hate them.
And lastly, I easing my way back into the world of reading with a true crime book entitled "The Missing Girls: A Shocking True Story of Abduction and Murder" by Linda O'Neal, Rick Watson, and Philip Tennyson. This book was selected totally at random. The cover caught my eye at Borders and as it turned out, the events unfolded near the Portland, Oregon area in areas that I am very familiar with. I just so happen to have grown up in the area. As far as literature goes, it's not particularly well-written - but really, are any true crime books? It serves almost no function as far as teaching or self-improvement... but it does make for interesting reading and as a parent, it certainly reassures me that I can never, ever be too over-protective. I have exactly 183 pages read and hope to finish tonight.
In other news, after a failed attempt at mid-air fly catching, my dog had nestled down to sleep in on her favorite chair... until just as I was typing that last sentence, when the fly had the audacity to land on her face. The chase has resumed in full force
"Glee" - 15 episodes complete 4/5 Stars thus far
"The Diary of Anne Frank" BBC production 3/5 Stars
"The Most Hated Family in America" BBC production 3/5 Stars
"Fall from Grace" 4/5 Stars
The Missing Girls: A Shocking True Story of Abduction and Murder" by Linda O'Neal, Rick Watson, and Philip Tennyson. 3/5 Stars thus far