Posts Tagged ‘Monk’

When Monk ended I was very happy with the finale. I knew they were still doing what they were doing. When the Chief in Psych moved up to San Fran, I said to my sons, “She replaced Stottlemeyer.” Tonight I was so happy when Juliet said, “He’s alphabetizing the pantry”. To throw an official nod to Monk was fantastic. I started watching Psych eight years ago because of Monk, so without Monk, I never would have found the show.

I loved the entire finale. Spoiler alert…I will ruin stuff at this point if you haven’t watched it. Things I love about Psych (in no particular order and not just about the finale):
The 80s references (this is a vast category and covers so much-movie, music, television, cultural references, etc.)
Cary Elwes
Val Kilmer
The ENTIRE cast, including Cut-Throat Bitch (her character on House) in the pilot
The reference to Monk
Lassie breaking the dvd so he “never learned” the truth about Shawn
Corbin Bernsen’s line-“He finally called me.”

But what I loved most and will still love in syndication and on demand is that I watched this with my sons. My sons are Psychos.

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Lunch would take place in a Jersey diner.  Where else could it, considering the circumstances.  Or maybe PJ’s pancake house in Princeton.  I guess it would depend on the time of day.  (There could one day be an entire post on the season 7 photos, including the blending of House and Pennywise.)

I love the show House, M.D. (we’ll use the full title at least once).  I enjoy procedurals and this one offered a nice little twist that I found irresistible.  The main character is an ass.  I actually sometimes wish doctors were more like House-cut to the chase and remind me that you are the one with the advanced degree while I am the biased patient who clicked too many links on google.  Tonight’s episode returned to truisms from the first season-everybody lies and the relationship (bromance) between House and Wilson is the key to the success of this show.

The past couple of seasons became too focused on the people and less on the interaction of these people within the work environment, which is why I liked the show in the first place.  I got tired of the House and Cuddy storyline.  Still don’t know exactly what happened between Chase and Cameron, and more to the point, I don’t care what happened to Chase and Cameron.  I think the show should end this year (as sad as I will be, just like I was when Monk went off the air), but they had done it all.  Plus, what I had hoped would happen with the end in sight did happen.  They got their mojo back.  House is back to being an ass and Wilson somehow sticks by him, though they have allowed Wilson to show the strain it’s been on him.

Tonight Wilson said some harsh truths.  House took it, handled it in his own way, true to form.  The pictures on Wilson’s computer at the end actually caused me to laugh out loud, dare I type it…LOL.  It was one of the better episodes I’ve seen in a long time because I cared about the characters, including the medical mystery of the week, and they made me feel something.  I do feel that may have also been partly due to Hugh Laurie directing it.  You cannot discount the care and affection the director has for the characters improving the heart and soul of an episode.

The House and Cuddy storyline simply made me feel annoyed.  The show had gotten bogged down with junk and messes to be cleaned up.  Tonight there were plenty of messes, but of the medical kind.  I can’t understand why shows feel the need to change things up when it works they way it was originally conceived.  This year House seems to have returned to its roots.  This is good and has even caused me to care that there are only THREE EPISODES LEFT.

Is it cliche that Wilson has cancer?  Yep.  But the way he and House are dealing with it is not cliche.  It’s reckless and stupid, just like them.  The emotional sap in me loved finding out that all of the knick-knacks in Wilson’s office were from patients.  It offered a nice snapshot of the emotional depth and connections living within Wilson.

There was some kind of contest to send in a picture that you felt demonstrated the key to House (or something like that) and the winner’s picture would be incorporated into the finale.  I did not submit an entry, mostly because I don’t know how to photoshop a single thing.  But I do know what I would have done.  Take a picture of House.  On his shoulders are Chase, the classic little red devil with horns and a pitchfork, and Foreman on the other as the classic angel, halo and all.  Cameron would be where we place the soul (in our attempts to understand this amazing concept) sort of near the heart.  Cuddy would be over his heart.  And Wilson, in full Jiminy Cricket wardrobe, would simply be standing next to him.  Offering advice, but much like Pinocchio, that advice is too often ignored and House looks like a jackass.

Truly part of me wonders if in the last 15 minutes of the last episode if House will simply wake up from a really fun night of partying with too much vicodin and too many drinks.  He’ll get up and go to work for the first real time in the series.  The whole eight years having been a hallucination, pulling a new variation on Dallas.  Or perhaps House and Wilson will pull a Thelma and Louise.  Don’t know…but I hope it’s good.  I hope it’s very House.  But I hope it isn’t lame.

Yeah, you’ll smile when you catch that one.

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Fair warning…I am writing about Christmas.  If you do not celebrate this holiday, I am not writing this to offend you, but merely to exercise my right to be a Christian and celebrate my faith.  So if it bothers you when a Christian uses her right to freedom of religion now is a good time to stop reading so you don’t get angry at me.

That said-we watched Muppet Christmas Carol twice today.  I’m watching the Monk Christmas episodes and will begin baking cookies very soon.  Tomorrow evening we’ll go to church for the Christmas Eve service.  It’s one of my favorite services of the year.  During the minutes when the church is lit only by candles and we sing “Silent Night” I am filled with a feeling like no other.  When we get home, the boys will listen to Scott read the “Night Before Christmas” and I’ll take their picture next to the empty stockings.  They’ll be tucked into bed and then the fun really begins.

As Santa works, he always watches the marathon of A Christmas Story.  After about the fourth go-around, he gets to go to bed.  This year Santa tagged everything in advance so perhaps Santa will only see the movie three times before collapsing into bed.  Last thing Santa does before falling into bed is adding the baby Jesus to the Nativity set.  The Wise Men don’t come out till Epiphany so they still get to hang out for a couple of weeks.

One of the things I love about this time of year is the wonderful sense of antici…pation.  I love reflecting on the birth of Jesus.  With the birth of each of my sons I was completely overwhelmed with emotion, thoughts, questions, answers.  My entire world changed.  How must it have felt to give birth to the Savior?  I cannot fathom.  The strength and faith that resided within Mary are levels that I will most likely never have, but I try.  The whole concept of grace and parenting fills my daily thoughts.  To let your child grow into his own potential.  To provide guidance, support, and respect so he knows he can figure out who he is and make good choices.  To fill his days with love and faith and grace.  To help him make the memories that will shape his future.  Oh, the joy of parenting is heightened at this time of year.  The anticipation I felt with each pregnancy, wondering if the baby would be a boy or girl, wondering what the baby would look like.  This time of year always brings back those memories as I think about the anticipation Mary must have felt.  Every mother feels it, but I would presume it may have been heightened for her.

And the anticipation in the children is fantastic.  It’s harder to focus on some things, but their focus on waiting for Christmas morning is solid.  While this young, more of the focus does fall to the big guy in red, but the moments my sons have shared with me as they have thought about the birth of Jesus warm my heart.  They have asked more detail questions this year than previous years.  They’ve wondered if it was warm or cold, what kinds of animals were there, how long did it take the Wise Men to get there, why did they bring gifts, is that why we get gifts, so many questions.  I answer as best as I can.  The only thing I do is try to not destroy their sense of wonder.

May your Christmas celebration be filled with the love Mary and Joseph felt that wonderful day.  May the spirit of God fill your heart and soul.  May you make beautiful memories with your families and friends.  Happy Christmas!

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Oh, I definitely would order liver and fava beans with a nice chianti to start.  I think that would be a good meal for our lunch-remember, it was Hannibal, not Buffalo Bill, who was the cannibal.  Not that Buffalo Bill was much better for society.

Dear sweet Ted Levine.  Yes, sweet.  But I’ll get to that later.

We would have to discuss how truly creepy Jame Gumb was-a sociopath in the truest sense-particularly with his lack of remorse.    I repeatedly watch the scene when Clarice Starling shows up and he’s looking for the business card of the former owner.  She figures it out, he figures out that she’s figured it out and the cards drop from his hands.  The expression on his face is devious–he knows he has to get rid of this woman.  The hunt between them is exquisite.  Actually, this end part of the movie is my favorite part.

You also have to be truly comfortable in your own skin as an actor to create such a deeply sociopathic character and prepare for people’s inability to sympathize with him.  When Buffalo Bill is wearing his “dress” and tucks his package away, stating how desirable he finds himself, one tends to forget there is an actor in there, performing.  One just shudders at the illness that is Buffalo Bill.

I’ve always been a little off the bullseye.  I thought Buffalo Bill was creepier than Hannibal.  Like Uncle Stevie always says, the imagination always thinks up something scarier than the folks in Hollywood.  We see Hannibal’s horror and gory bloodshed.  Buffalo Bill’s is only hinted at through pieces and scraps that we see-the rest is filled in by our imagination.  Our mind’s eye fills in the dark waiting in the well…waiting for more verbal taunting, waiting for a pair of scissors, waiting for the lotion in the basket.

Ted Levine’s voice is exquisite.  Is it wrong that my husband and I use that famous line for many things?  We say “put the ______________ in the basket” almost daily.  (We store a lot of toys, stuff, etc. in baskets or bins).  We usually say the line in our best Ted Levine voice and add the mock crying/screaming…”put the papers in the basket, whahhhh.”  I will confess that our boys, while not knowing the origin of the line, use it as well.  We can simply say to them, “put the toys in the basket,” and they respond with “whahhhh.”  We are who we are.  Levine’s voice is such a big part of the creepiness of the character.  It’s such a full, rich voice-it haunts you after the fact.

Yet as Captain Leland Stottlemeyer that voice, while almost always authoritative, offers some of the sweetest and funniest moments.  Sweetest because Stottlemeyer was such a true friend to Monk and offered such loyal guidance to him, even when it was hard to do or when he thought Monk wouldn’t listen.   Funniest because through Levine’s timing and that gorgeous voice, great lines received perfect delivery.  In one episode, Disher comes in and says he has two ideas, asking Stottlemeyer which he wants to hear first.  Stottlemeyer replies, “whichever one will get me the least pissed off” (I may be paraphrasing…but you get the idea).  So you have this handsome man with those gorgeous blue eyes and that booming voice at times being full-out captain, friend to a strong yet fragile friend or trying to be a dad.  Levine plays humility (both being humble and being humbled) really well-happens throughout the series-too many examples to list.

I think I may have written it before, but I loved how they ended the series.  With Monk, Stottlemeyer, and company still doing their thing in San Fran.  I miss the show. Thank goodness for reruns and dvds.

The final part of our lunch would be discussing theater.  Oh how I wish I could have seen some of his work at Steppenwolf.  Like Tony Shaloub, Levine’s background in theater makes his performances so very rich and layered.  I would thank Ted for two characters who wander around in my mind-one haunting me and one reminding me of the goodness in the world.

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Salieri said he was the patron saint of all mediocrities in Amadeus.  It is easy for a person to fall into the opinion that she is mediocre.  I’ve attended that pity party for too long.  I wrote of my desire to live simply and that is a much better place than a desire to live with mediocrity.  I took small steps yesterday toward that goal.  After adding a number of items to the recycling bins and filling a trash bag (some things just have nowhere else to go), I realized I am applying what I teach to others about procrastination.  Thirty minutes a day on an undesirable task and eventually it will be done.  If I can’t handle the thirty minutes I can surely handle the “Tolerable Ten.”  Any task can be tolerated for ten minutes.  I am also using rewards.  This may make me sound like a ten-year old, but these habits have been with me since I was about that age and I need rewards as I try to break the habits.

My reward tonight was to watch House without multi-tasking.  It was lovely.  I used to have several shows that I enjoyed and made a point of regularly watching.  I’m down to just House.  As shows have gone off the air, I haven’t found new ones to replace them.  I don’t like “reality” television because I know there is nothing real about it.  I went on casting calls for a few back in the day.  And yes, I’ll show my age, former shows included Cheers, Friends, X-Files and Monk.  I do enjoy the Wallander movies and word is that dear Kenneth will be treating me to some more even as the author announced he is done writing about Kurt.  I usually multi-task while watching television shows but tonight I waited to put the laundry in the washer till after the show.  I didn’t have the rhythmic spinning of the tub to distract me and I didn’t feel the self-imposed pressure to switch the clothes to the dryer when the cycle was done.

As House tried to remove his tumors, my boys were in their room reading the I-Spy book together.  They had already eaten dinner (stroganoff, crescent rolls, and tomatoes covered with mayo, salt & pepper-the favorite summer veggie).  We had talked about their school days and the fact the both had substitutes today.  Harrison and I talked about not faking “the sicks” and spending the morning at the nurse’s office anymore.  Hamilton tried to convince me he had milk with lunch and could have orange juice with dinner.  When I explained I can see every single item they purchase for lunch (including the extra snacks) he changed his tune and welcomed the glass of milk.  They cleaned up their train set-up, brought in the recycling cans and brushed their teeth.  I watched House, guilt-free and totally focused.

Parenting has always been a challenge.  It doesn’t matter when you were starting out as a parent, society was telling you how to do it.  Today seems to be a bit more hyper about telling folks how to do it (many more laws and way more vaccines).  It was so vogue to have your child in EVERYTHING by the time he was two.  We have bucked that trend since day one.  You can be a renaissance man over time, you don’t have to do it all at once.  A couple of years back there were a few articles about not over scheduling your children.  My husband and I said, great now we’re in style.  Our boys play in the dirt, sometimes eat the dirt, and collect bugs.  They “create” germs, write spooky stories, and howl like wolves most nights.  And they know how to entertain themselves while their mother watches her Monday night show.

I am not teaching them that television is more important than them.  I am teaching them that you have to unwind and relax.  You have to stop everything and let your mind be reflective.  Whether it is sitting and watching a show or movie, listening to music, or reading a book, you have to stop going, going, going so you don’t burn out.  And sometimes you need to do this by yourself.  So you can give of yourself fully to others the rest of the time.

After enjoying the episode, I tucked the boys into bed, we said prayers, gave goodnight kisses, and then I put the laundry in the washer.  The clothes are ready for the dryer.  Next I’ll practice my songs for Saturday night.  Then it’s to bed after today’s last dose of antibiotic steroid drops and an ice pack on my left eye for the allergic conjunctivitis.  I can fold the laundry tomorrow.  Ah, simplicity.

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Here’s the thing, I would like to have lunch with a fictional television obsessive compulsive detective. We would have so much to talk about and we could share wipes and antibacterial hand-soap.  The ideal day for this lunch would have been on October 10 last year, so that’s when this would have taken place.

I adored that show and I still do. I can catch any episode that is on and I will sit and laugh myself silly, or weep depending on the story. Obviously this lunch would be with Tony Shaloub and first I would ask how his wife is (I adore her too!). I want to ask him how he made Monk so wonderfully real and then maintained the character for eight years without making him a stereotype. There’s an episode where Monk finally takes medication and we learn why he doesn’t choose to use medication-because he would be putting a drug into his body. A chemical that would alter his mind and that rocks his world too much to wrap his brain around. Plus, once he is on the medicine, he isn’t as good at solving crimes.

I have walked that road. When I was on the meds, I was never quite me. I was more of a zombie version of myself. I could function, but I wasn’t living. I use a different therapy now, and it works great, but it is way more work and it’s harder to maintain. I still struggle with the resentment that I need anything at all to live like a “normal” person. There have been times when I have chosen no treatment because I can do more when I’m not being treated. I don’t need as much sleep or food and I can get more done. The days are literally longer because I can stay up longer. Granted, this is not as healthy for me, but sometimes I think to myself I only have this one life. I want to do as much with it as I can.

The biggest worry with the whole thing at this point is whether or not either of my sons will inherit this lovely part of me. One has gotten my vision and wears glasses and the other has gotten my blood sugar issues and is hypoglycemic. I pray neither gets this part of me. I can see aspects within each that remind me of it, but they are both still so young it’s probably nothing. My youngest is a bit OCD and is rather fond of wipes, actually saying “no, there are germs!” It makes me just a bit proud, a little smile dancing on my lips when he asks for a wipe.

Monk always treated the OCD as a blessing and a curse. He’s so right. There are benefits to what I have-heightened senses for one and they come in handy (sometimes in very weird ways and sometimes in unfortunate ways…amazing sense of smell, need I say more?). A lot of foods have too much texture for me, but it’s easy enough to live without them. It’s the big things in life that I’ve not done that bother me.

In one episode, Monk doesn’t catch the bad guy because of his OCD (the one when he finally takes the meds and calls himself “The Monk”). There are so many things I haven’t done because of it without having a valid reason, only excuses. Then there have been things I have done because of it, without valid reasons, only excuses. Like Monk says, it’s a blessing and a curse.

In the end, my life is so overwhelmingly blessed that I can’t complain. I’ve come to a point where I really don’t focus on it. For eight years I got to enjoy watching Monk, empathizing with his daily tasks, challenges and celebrations. The whole show was a hoot.

There are so many moments that were acted so beautifully. The one I can see in my mind’s eye is in the episode with the garbage strike. Stottlemeyer pulls some strings and gets Monk into a clean room at some facility-a super clean room. He says to Monk something along the lines of “there are no germs here at all.” Monk gets this smile on his face that is pure happiness. The smile shot is in the opening credits in the later seasons-he’s wearing a white bio-hazard type suit and that smile of pure contentment.

And the cast was fantastic. It took me a few episodes to realize that Stottlemeyer wanted us to “put the lotion in the basket.” I think they handled the Sharona/Natalie switch beautifully. They respectfully treated the sad passing of the actor who played Dr. Kroger. Hector Elizondo was a great addition-love him! Ambrose was the perfect sibling and Dan Hedaya as their father was brilliant. The casting and writing was superb.

I still have not found a new show to watch now that this one is only in syndication. Plus, my fabulous hubby has been getting the series on dvd so I still watch it regularly. Slowly but surely I am running out of shows to watch. So, Tony & company, you left it that Monk was still doing his thing in San Fran. Feel free to bring him back. I always thought the series should have been on for ten years…it’s a nice number.

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