It’s that time again! Every week, we here at [Insert Pop Culture Reference] each like to share something that we loved this week. Because being a fan is all about spreading the love, and we’re all big fans of well, pretty much everything under the sun. Comment and tell us what you’ve been loving this week!
Angel: With my recent rediscovery of Netflix Instant Play, I’ve been rediscovering television that I’d forgotten and finding new shows. This past week, I finally started watching the BBC2 series Coupling again, and can’t remember why I stopped in the first place. Coupling, about six friends in their thirties, hilariously explores relationships and sex from the perspectives of both men and women. It’s a true situation comedy, deriving humor from irony and perspective rather than from gags.
I can’t help but think of Coupling as the British precursor to CBS’s How I Met Your Mother. The humor is similar at times even though the subject material is often a bit more risque. I’m currently on the fourth season, and I’m absolutely addicted. Favorites so far have been Steve’s rant about men never understanding the purpose of throw pillows, Patrick encoutering the “Melty Man” (“You killed my erection!” “No, I AM your erection!”), and Jeff unknowingly performing a blindfolded striptease in front of his coworkers, family and friends.
Yes, I’m very late to the party (the show has been off the air since 2004), but the humor definitely still stands up. If you can get your hands on Coupling DVDs, I highly recommend it.
Stefanie: This week’s episode of Mad Men has to be one of my absolute favorites from the show to date. It was an abnormally musical episode, between Joan playing the accordion for her guests, Paul singing with his drug dealer buddy and the Campbells hitting the dance floor for the world’s most obnoxiously adorable Charleston since the actual Jazz Age. I kind of just love Trudy Campbell, I really do, and the absurd hat she had on. The relationship between Betty and Don remains fascinatingly murky, and I can’t wait for Jane to get her comeuppance for that stupid little smirk she always wears (although that inevitable, inenviable hangover might be a start). Hands down, though, it was Peggy Olson who stole the show, from that deadpan instant classic of a one-liner (“I’m Peggy Olson and I want to smoke some marijuana”) to the wide-eyed concern she displayed in dealing with her secretary while in her “very good place.” Peggy’s hushed realization softened her earlier amusement, elevating the scene from obvious comedy to something breathtaking indeed.
Chantaal: While most of the current Marvel titles under the Dark Reign universe crossover seem to either suck or tell a story that could be told without using a new limited series run, what Matt Fraction is doing with Invincible Iron Man is incredible. Tony Stark holds the only known database of registered super humans in his head, and Norman Osborn will do anything to get it. What does Tony do? Go on the run to various Stark labs he has around the world and begin erasing his mind bit by bit. Over the years, Iron Man’s never had a true “lost his power” arc, because he has no real super power. He only has his mind…and he’s losing it. There’s a ton of action to love, Maria Hill is surprisingly likeable here, and Pepper Potts vaults to awesome status, but while those are all great elements, it’s not what makes the storyline so compelling.
It’s the little things. It’s Tony not remembering Pepper’s suit. It’s him asking “who’s Happy?” It’s having Jarvis play an Intro to Engineering CD as he’s in the suit. It’s everything he’s losing in order to protect the livelihoods of people who hate him for what he did during Civil War. It’s one single line, 13 words strung together that made me feel like I hit a brick wall and I almost started crying at 2am. This is an intensely emotional arc for all the action and plotting going on, and one of the best titles out now.
Scott: I’ve had people telling me to watch Leverage for quite some time now, but I’ve been resisting, or not so much resisting as just not watching it, because there’s a lot out there to watch. However, the discovery that it includes a blonde cat burglar who is crazy, a guy who proclaims “age of the geek!” at regular intervals and the Evil Hand dude from Angel proved too much to resist, and it was worth it; I’m only a few episodes in, but it’s a marvelous fusion of Hustle and, well, every techtastic espionage series that was ever made in recent times. It’s even more Robin Hood than Hustle, it’s consistently amusing, and the third episode guest stars both Mark Sheppard AND Jaime Ray Newman. ’nuff said.
Lina: This week I found myself enamoured with In the Woods by Tana French. While reading thrillers (psychological and otherwise) hasn’t always been my cup of tea, this one had me from the get go (hook, line & sinker). Perhaps it is something about French’s writing style that allowed me to grasp the fact that there wasn’t something that I could understand right away and what came next sent my mind places that only a truly well done film has been able to do in the past. Carefully crafted and a great read, I’m proud of the fact that I put aside my natural aversion to first person narrators for this. It was absolutely worth it.