Tag Archives: vampires

Heroes: the Soap Opera



Digg!

My kids are into vampires. This, I believe, is mostly because of the extremely lengthy but otherwise compelling Twilight books by Stephanie Meyer, which portray these creatures of the night as good guys with super-powers, able to run really really fast, dodge bullets, leap tall buildings in a single bound…

You get the picture.

They want to BE vampires. They, of course, would never EVER feast upon the blood of mortals, like EVERY OTHER VAMPIRE story has it. MY kids would be TWILIGHT vampires.

In other words, they’d be superheroes.

Just like we ALL wanted to be when we were kids.

supermanlogo1Isn’t that still a favorite question – even as adults? “What would YOUR superpower be?” Because, of course, no fair hogging all the superpowers. There’s only ONE Superman, and he gets them all. Every OTHER superhero just gets ONE big superpower: The Flash is fast; the Green Lantern gets that ring thing he can do tricks with; Batman has brains, a good personal trainer and a giant bankroll; and Marvel plays it coolest of all: they have the Mutants, each of whom has some genetic fluke that gives them one and only one way-out cool thing they can do – and that thing almost always comes with a drawback, just to keep it real.

Rogue, of the X-Men, from Marvel Comics

Rogue, of the X-Men, from Marvel Comics

 

 

Rogue, of the X-Men, for instance: all she has to do is touch you and she’ll suck the life out of you. Try and mug HER in a back alley. The drawback? She can’t feel the touch of another human, or they’ll die on her. That’s gotta suck.

So when NBC came up with a series idea of a bunch of everyday mortal human beings suddenly springing into action with super-powers (one each, they played fair, although why it all happened at the same time they never DID explain), the little kid in me got as excited as I used to get when December came and all those stop-motion cartoons lined up the programming schedule. (“I wanna be a dentist…”)

Heroes. Whoa. How cool. Maybe it could STILL happen to me. I can still remember the night our family went to see the Michael Keaton Batman movie, and my sister’s boyfriend and I stayed up, jazzed, for hours that night, planning how we could do it – we really could, it was possible…

What a freakin’ disappointment this show is turning out to be.

They should be showing it during the day, instead, and calling it “As the Heroes Turn,” or “One Hero to Live,” or “General Heroes.” It’s become QUITE the soap opera. You hang on for a whole hour, watching them cast maudlin, moody glances, full of portent, at each other, then just as something is about to happen:

To Be Continued.

You can tell he's flying, see, because the buildings are so far away? See?

You can tell he's flying, because the buildings are so far away? See?

They must have laid off the special effects crew due to the hard times we’re all facing. Because even The Flying Senator? All we ever see of him now is him landing from a distance, with a sort of a swooshing sound.

 

It’s all Evil Plot now, to corral the innocent people who have superpowers, by sticking Hannibal Lechter-ish gas masks on them, orange jail jumpsuits, and put them Who-Knows-Where? We don’t know, because of course they always escape.

They scatter. They come together, cast moody glances at each other at temporary safe houses, then scatter again, to find another place to cast moody glances at each other.

The most common lines now are: “We’re stronger together than we are apart,” and “We must keep this a secret.” 

Okay: let’s see some strength. Let’s see you kick some bad guys.

But who are the bad guys, now? Even the superguy they started out with, who they wrote up REALLY scary in the first season, named Sylar, is iffy, now that we’re getting to know him. Sylar is the scariest because he’s unfair: all he has to do is come NEAR a superguy, and he absorbs their power: FOREVER. Wait: that’s more than one superpower.

Not fair. And scary. So he has EVERYBODY’s powers. And, I, having gotten annoyed, and missed a few episodes, observe now he’s a “shape-shifter,” which means he has that 1970s “Bionic Woman/Fill In Your Action Show of Choice” power of magically looking – and somehow SOUNDING (how they manipulate their larynx, too, these shape-shifters, is amazing) – like anyone else. Height, weight, shoe size, and everything.

I guess the Laws of Conservation of Mass go out the window in TV Land. Unless, maybe, if Sylar turns into a really short guy, he becomes as dense as kryptonite.

But what I really like about Sylar is his power to make his hair look really stupid.

Sylar, all glam, and Sylar, with silly hair.

Sylar, all glam, and Sylar, with silly hair.

Wonder Twin Powers, Unite!

Wonder Twin Powers, Unite!

Some of these superpowers, though, I never did understand. Like this woman, whose name I forget. She started out with a double in the mirror: super-strong – and evil. Then, somehow, this double came out of the mirror, and I’m not sure if her twin became good or evil, or merged back into her or not. Either way, it reminded me eerily of “Wonder Twin Powers: Unite!” Only without the plastic cereal bowl ring.

 

Ando - Hiro's sidekick, now superhero - hence the fist, I guess.

Ando - Hiro's sidekick, now superhero - hence the fist, I guess.

Hiro – ha, ha, hilarious name choice – and Ando, though – the two Japanese heroes – I love. Hiro has this extremely stubborn sense of honor, while Ando is just this regular guy, looking to get laid if possible, although Hiro can usually bring him around from the dark side. Somehow, though, during the period I missed, Hiro lost his power to stop time – which was one of the cooler powers – and Ando now has gained SOME power which I can’t for the life of me understand.

 

Looking SO much cooler than the nerd he is.  

 

Looking SO much cooler than the nerd he is.

 

And, to top it all off, they’re toting some SuperBaby, which belongs to yet another reluctant mind-reading hero, which they just delivered (no pun intended.) This mind-reading hero has taken on another power – and they made THIS fair – because the guy that HAD this power died, SO SOMEBODY needs to be able to have his eyes turn white and draw cartoons of the future.

He apparently sucks at it, though, because in the episodes I’ve seen, he JUST finishes his drawing – as in – “Wait – that’s us, getting arrested!” and the police barge in. So he really needs to work on his timing.

The problem with all this?

I’ll keep watching. Because after all, if I can’t BE a superhero, I’m still a sucker for any show about them. Especially flying. Because if you ask me? THAT’S what I want my superpower to be.

 

Think we can pull this off? Are you serious?

Think we can pull this off? Are you serious?

 

OK, NOW we're deadly serious. But for some reason, this cheerleader has a new team?

OK, NOW we're deadly serious. But for some reason, this cheerleader has a new team?

 

 

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under humor, satire, television

The REAL serpent in the garden


 

C'mon, you know you want to.

C'mon, you know you want to.

So the holidays are (sort of) over, and my 12-year-old and I are the only ones up and around, clunking about, kicking around holiday debris, enjoying some quality(?) time together, here, on this Saturday morning, around 10-ish, after Christmas.

 

I’m losing a little bit of patience, however, because I kind of thought we were past the baby-talk stage. Never did I talk to my kids in baby talk. I wanted them to learn to actually say “bottle,” not “bah-bah,” so that’s what I would say to them.

Therefore, they learned to speak, not babble, except for my youngest, who persisted in calling her older sister “Bluh-luh” for the longest time – a sound which doesn’t remotely resemble her true name, which begins with a vowel. Still, it helped – and I felt far less like a fool as I chatted endlessly and hopefully at strollers with belted-in droolers. Yeah, I’m really not a baby person. I just had them, and as I tell them both, I like them better and better the older they get.

I take my duty seriously, though, to teach them. Them, at least – not the whole world. The rest of the world, I simply catalog as stupid, smart or somewhere in between, and I tolerate both with equanimity and relative good humor. The stupid make good fodder for this blog. The smart entertain and teach me – though as I often remind my kids, anyone, however stupid, can teach you something.

Today, however, I felt obligated to teach my 12-year-old.

“Mom, where does ‘I’m not my brother’s keeper’ come from?”

Aghast at my own failing to instill any kind of background in the study of religion, however comparative, I was momentarily speechless. Doesn’t EVERYONE know that? Doesn’t everyone somehow assimilate the story of Cain and Abel?

Apparently not.

Having yanked the poor child out of religious education after she attempted to throw herself from a moving car, rather than endure the misery of Roman Catholic Confession, I realized my child was suffering from large gaps in her education.

“Honey, I’ll tell you what one of my favorite professors in college told me. No educated person has NOT read the entire Bible.”

“WHAT?” she gasped. “The whole THING?”

“Not at a single sitting, goof,” I laughed. “But fear not. It’s just a clump of small books, strung together. You don’t even have to read it in order.”

“Moooom…”

I turned stern. “It’s shorter than ‘Twilight.’ ”  Then I softened. “Come on. I’ll read some to you.”

We read the story of Cain and Abel, and then, for background, we started on the Creation story, which led to some trouble before I even cracked the first “Let there be light.”

I began to mutter something about “Creationists” equaling “lunatics,” forgetting completely that I was talking to someone I’d indoctrinated to have tolerance for all beliefs.

My lack of kindness for folks who ignore the colossal body of fossil records and massive scientific evidence in favor of a version of an earth being created that has trees springing up “bing-bing-bing” in a day really pissed her off.

That is, until I started reading it.

“Wait, Mom – a dome? God created the sky as a dome? So, what is that saying about the earth?”

“That it’s FLAT, honey.”

“So, how big is it supposed to be? And what’s beyond the dome?”

I pointed to the first paragraph. “The abyss, honey.”

We went on.

“A basin? Wait, Mom – the sea is a basin? Like a big bowl?”

I nodded.

“Wait, Mom – sea monsters?”

I nodded.

“Wait, Mom – Adam named all the animals? What, in English?”

“Well, no, wait, I don’t know. Maybe Aramaic.”

“What’s Aramaic?”

“An ancient language.”

She did get excited when the geography part started – when the river in Eden is described, and the Tigris and Euphrates are named. (She’s good at geography.)

The temptation of Eve, however, was unsettling. You see, a lot of misconceptions abound regarding that little tale – but if you read the book, as we did this morning, you learn a lot about who the snake really is.

Sure, it’s Eve who does the talking with the serpent – but it says right there in the book, Adam is with her the whole time. Does he speak up? Say anything like: “Eve – babe – is this really the best idea? Didn’t God say cheese it on that tree?” Does Adam step in front of her and say, “No thanks, leave my wife alone?”

No. The wuss does nothing except grab the apple and munch when it’s his turn.

It gets worse. When God, like an angry dad, comes strolling through the garden, where Adam and Eve are hiding behind a plant (literally), and says: “Hey! You kids, get out here. Who told you that you were naked?”

(At which point my daughter inserted: “Our EYES.”)

Adam, the rat, the snitch, the stoolie, the coward, puts his weak-ass little hand on his wife’s back and shoves her right under the bus. “SHE did it. She ate the apple, and SHE gave it to ME.”

So the Old Testament God, who is, if you notice, a rather moody thing, short-tempered and VERY big on vengeance, doles out THIS punishment:

You: woman – childbirth is going to SUCK.

You: man – no more plucking from the trees. Now you have to sweat and farm.

You: serpent – crawl on your belly, and everyone is going to hate you.

And He locks up the garden of Eden – because there’s one tree left He wants to make sure NOBODY gets a hold of: the Tree of Life. Eat that, and you’ll live forever.

God puts a revolving fiery sword and a band of cherubim at the gate. Nice. Keep in mind, when you hear cherubim, don’t think sweet little cherubs. Every single time an angel appears in sacred texts, the first thing they say isn’t what you see on the Lifetime Channel: “Hey, let me solve your problems.”

It’s: “Be not afraid.”

You think Twilight vampires are scary, exciting reading? Try the Bible. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s a real page turner, that’s for sure.

2 Comments

Filed under humor

No Wonder Vampires Live Forever.


Bella and Edward, human and vampire

 

 

Bella and Edward, human and vampire

 

 

You really have to have eternity stretching before you, and not much to fill the empty days and sleepless nights with (vampires, it turns out, don’t sleep), if you want to have the kind of disposable time on your hands to read a series of books like Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight.

It starts out with a kicky kind of narrative drive. The first-person narrator is in Penelope Pitstop peril for her life. Promising, for sure. How does she get out of this one?

That she gets out, I assumed, since my 12-year-old was panting down my neck with the other three weighty tomes at the ready for me to digest once I’d swallowed the first – although I supposed there was always the possibility, given the supernatural nature of the theme, that she didn’t.

 

But right after that kick-start beginning, things slow to a crawl. Okay, I thought, perhaps Meyers is doing this to give us a sense of how crawlingly boring it is in the town Our Hero Bella has found herself in: Forks, Washington, land of perpetual cloud cover, Smallville to secret superheroes.

Nope. Just plain crawling after that.

Like the diaries of turn-of-the-century housewives, we are thereafter treated not only to every single thought in Bella’s head – something her lucky telepathic vampire boyfriend can’t do – as well as every single detail of Bella’s existence. We learn exactly what Bella wears every day, what she cooks her father for dinner, every time she cleans the house, how her car sounds when it starts, what the weather is like EVERY SINGLE DAY, and what she has for every single meal.

Every frustratingly innocent stroke of the cheek is painstakingly narrated between Bella and Edward, the teenaged lovers.

Well, technically Edward is not a teenager, although the book insists he is. Turned vamp at 17, he is referred to as perpetually 17, but he was born in 1901, making him 107 years old. Call me a stickler, but your age is your age, no matter how well-preserved you are. I mean, my mom looks awesome for being in her 60s, and is often mistaken for being far younger than her years.

Doesn’t make her actually 50. Although don’t tell HER that.

So it’s really sort of a May-December romance. Or, January-December romance. Either way, the age difference is nominal, because they’re both extremely immature, which is fine, because it’s sweet to see two people – er, one people and a supernatural creature – so well-suited for each other.

They’re suited for each other, because as one newspaper review so aptly put it: “They want each other so badly because they want each other so badly.”

That’s about it. There’s no deep, getting-to-know-you period. There’s no real reason these two fall in love – unless you count the fact that Ed really digs the way Bella smells, and wants more than anything, especially in the beginning, to literally eat her up.

They just really, really, crush hard on each other, and decide, “that’s it, we’re done” with the familiar old teenage intensity, which just goes to show how very little one can learn in 100 years if one tries very hard to avoid maturity.

Most amazing of all?

There is, apparently, some deep cultural thirst – if you’ll excuse the pun – for this uncritical, “I love you because I love you, now let’s gaze into each other’s eyes soulfully for the next 7,000 pages” in American life.

Cause everybody’s reading it.

Theaters are packed.

Are you Team Edward? Team Jacob? Team Switzerland?

Are you?

Have you caught Twilight Fever? Or are you going to go ahead and live a life of your own? However short?

4 Comments

Filed under humor