TV Diary

Mare of Easttown

I finally got around to watching Mare of Easttown long before everyone else was done talking about it. I literally managed to avoid all spoilers about the show until I was literally a couple episodes away from the end and looked at some year end best of list and managed to find out who the actual killer was right before I would have watched it after avoiding finding anything out for months. It didn’t really matter though because who the killer was was the least interesting part of the show to me. It was just one of those really good, well lived in shows that just took you completely into the world and felt so realistic in both character and place that the lives of the people were much more fascinating to me than the actual murder plot. Spoiler alert for later this week, it’s definitely ending up as one of my favorite shows of the year.

The Real World: Homecoming

I very much still remember the summer the first season of The Real World aired on MTV the summer before I started high school. I loved it so much. First it was just the factor of like everyone else at that point I had never seen anything like it on TV. Second, at that age this was completely aspirational. I thought they were all so cool and I wanted to be those cool people living in New York when I was their age. I quit watching after third season and didn’t really care for the second season that much. There was something pure in this very first season of the show that could never be recreated because after that people knew what it was or made decisions to try and force it to be something they wanted or acted certain ways to get on the show that never made it the same. Watching this reunion was just a huge trip down memory lane and hugely nostalgic for me in a way that I loved. I wish all the Becky stuff hadn’t derailed things in a way that made more than half of the show about that. Overall though I think that they did an awesome job of integrating the footage from the original series with the footage from the reunion shoot and the music was perfect. I wanted to create a Spotify playlist of all the music featured in this reunion because it was a perfect mix of things I loved back then and things I love today. Happily for me the folks at MTV already created a Spotify playlist so I didn’t even have to do the work. If you enjoyed the original series I do definitely recommend watching this. I gather they are now into episodes for the reunion of season 2, which I don’t care enough to watch. There’s a small possibility I might watch season 3 if they ever do that, but I’m not sure I care to relive the Puck of it all.

The Great Pottery Throw Down

I had heard some podcast people talking about The Great Pottery Throw Down previously and how it has a lot of the same gentle rhythms as The Great British Baking Show if you’re looking for something to watch while that show is between seasons. One of my friends was also extolling it to me recently, so I’ve been binge watching it on my Christmas break. I don’t like it was much as GBBS because with GBBS I at least think I could make something like that or that sounds really delicious I should find a similar recipe to bake. This does indeed share a lot of the same DNA, but I have no illusions that I could make any of the things that they are making, and I just care less about pottery than I do food. However, it is as was alluded to a good show to watch if you do need something to fill in that hole in your life for awhile. It is nice that Keith, one of the judges, can get so emotional over pottery that he will sometimes cry. It feels more authentic than the Hollywood handshake has become on GBBS. It’s harder to fake that and half the time it’s more that he gets emotional about a potter really pushing themselves and gaining a bit of skill than it is over someone creating the perfect pot. It’s a nice gentle show, and I know we can all use more of those these days.

Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.

Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. is a reboot of the old Doogie Howser show. In this case the young teenage genius doctor is Lahela Kamealoha, a Hawaiian girl. Her mother is also a fellow doctor at her hospital. Her father sells shaved ice at a stand outside the hospital. She also has two younger brothers. It’s a sweet little show. Nothing groundbreaking, but a decently entertaining half hour to watch and definitely good as family show if you have kids. Also, since it’s set in Hawaii it has some really great scenery.

Saved by the Bell

I loved Saved by the Bell as a kid. I watched every version of it from the original Good Morning Miss Bliss, the Saved by the Bell that everyone thinks of when you say Saved by the Bell, Saved by the Bell: The College Years, and Saved by the Bell: The New Class. So of course I had to watch the reboot of the show on Peacock. Slater and Jessie are regulars on the show as the gym coach and guidance counselor. Zach and Kelly, whose son Mac is one of the kid regulars, show up occasionally. Zach is now the governor of California and as a result of some his bad education policies schools are shut down and kids from a poor neighborhood are now bussed to Bayside. Three of those kids the main characters of the show along with Jessie’s son and a third already at Bayside student rounding out the new gang. It was fine. There were some good things about it and some bad things about it. I haven’t rewatched OG Saved by the Bell in a long time so either I’m misremembering or my views on things have changed enough that the characters seem different to me, but Zach and Kelly seem worse than they were in the original show. Zach is pretty awful and Kelly seems way more vapid than she did in the original. Also there’s some stuff that Mac does that definitely seems right out of the Zach Morris playbook from the 90s, but does not play really well in 2021. I may or may not continue watching in the future. It will probably depend on if there’s something else on Peacock that makes me want to resubscribe once the third season of this show is available because I definitely wouldn’t resubscribe solely for this.

Pretty Smart

Pretty Smart is a super dumb sit-com on Netflix. I really don’t recommend that anyone else watch it because it is not good. It’s super campy but in an even worse way than some of the ridiculous family shows like Fuller House because it’s not really aimed at kids. About a woman who gets dumped by her fiance after moving across the country to be with him and winds up moving in with her estranged sister and her roommates, who are all really dumb while she is a recently graduated Ph.D. student. It was a show we would throw on at the end of the night right before bed. I literally slept through at least half of most of the episodes, and I never felt compelled to go back and rewatch the parts that I missed if that tells you anything. I do not expect that Netflix will be renewing this for a second season.

Baking It

It tried this baking show on Peacock with Andy Samberg and Maya Rudolph serving as hosts and a group of grandmas serving as the judges. I only made it through one episode. It was way too much schtick and not enough baking for my tastes. Maybe the balance got a little better after they were done introducing the show in the first episode and as episodes went by there were fewer contestants to focus on, but at least in the first episode it was like 50% schtick, 40% chatting with contestants, and 10% actual baking. That ratio was way off for me. If it ever got better I will never know because my 6 months of free Peacock are now up, and there is nothing on there at the moment that would make me actually want to pay for it.

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