He Said, She Said will be a weekly post brought to you by Joseph Williams and his lovely wife, Palmer. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything though…
Discussing thoughts and feelings about everything under the sun, from TV and film to awards shows and life experiences, they’ll bring a unique perspective on each topic. When they agree, consider it two thumbs up. When they disagree, consider both sides. But don’t write them off as typical-guy and typical-gal points of view. After all, Palmer doesn’t exactly like chick flicks, and Joseph doesn’t get all jacked up to see Transformers 3 at midnight.
Homeland, Season 1
He Said: As someone who followed 24 from its inception with its edited and delayed season premiere after 9/11, I was excited about Homeland. 24 is one of my all-time favorite shows. The first season was an inflection point for television drama, launching the return of serial TV. Although 8 seasons and a TV movie (and, fingers crossed, Jack Bauer on the big screen?!?) provided for some of my favorite TV-viewing ever, its home on network TV amid concept constraints (real-time, 24-episode seasons) provided for some predictability, inconsistency, and loss of nuance/depth as the series progressed. With Homeland, two of the writers from 24 have the opportunity to break out of the constraints of 24 and provide some of the best television drama I have watched in quite some time. Addictive, enthralling, mind-twisting, and with two of the most interesting characters (brilliantly portrayed by Claire Danes and Damien Lewis) on TV right now, the first season of Homeland provides a window into America’s foreign policy over the past decade. And you won’t be able to look away from the family dynamics, political machinations, and psychologically thrilling tale of what can be behind international terrorist threats and what can be done to try to keep America safe and strong.
She Said: Ok, for those of you who like TV but do not have a clue what my husband just said- this review is for you. I have never seen 24, or any other equivalent show, as my general scariness tolerance level is somewhere around CSI: Miami. So when Joseph told me that Homeland was a MUST WATCH for us, I patted him on the head, said yes, and then proceeded to make sure our DVR was filled so that we would never have the time to watch it. However after Joseph decided to switch our cable from Comcast to U-verse (WARNING: do not engage Joseph in a conversation about the brilliance of U-Verse v. the evils of Comcast unless you have a good two hours on your hands), our DVR was wiped out so I had no choice but to submit myself to starting Homeland…And surprisingly I’m very glad I did. Although I spent half of each episode crouched behind my pillow with my heart-beating out of my chest, the show’s twists and turns left me unable to stop at just one episode a night. I love that the storyline is not your average good guy vs. bad guy, but that the show brings depth and reality to the general “greyness” of the issues it tackles. I would say that if you are like me, and are easily stressed during a show, you may enjoy it more (especially if you are near the end of the series) to read a few spoilers beforehand so you know when the jumps are coming.
Reading spoilers before watching/while watching
He Said: I’m absolutely against it 98% of the time. Although I occasionally see spoilers accidentally as I read reviews, analysis, and tweets about movies/shows, I try to avoid them at all cost. Although I read spoilers for shows like American Horror Story or other shows I sporadically follow in order to have talking points whenever I bump into a water cooler, I’m generally against spoilers. If I am invested in the characters and storytelling as it unfolds, I want to ride that roller coaster and pick up every nuanced part of that journey.
She Said: Bullmalarky, John Joseph! Bullmalarky!! I’m sorry if you have been so jaded by the world that violence and meanness doesn’t faze you. 🙂 However, for those of who like to live in our happy little innocent bubbles, we need spoilers. If you want to drag us to dark, sad, stressful movies, the least you can do it to allow us to pull up a scene by scene summaries of what will happen next so at the very least our innocence won’t be shattered too abruptly (cough, cough, Black Swan, cough cough)
She Said: This one is a no-brainer for me – TWO THUMBS WAYYYYYY UP. As a lover of all things Jane Austen-esque, as soon as I was pitched the premise for the show I was all in. (Ok, well maybe not the first time, as the first time Joe tried to explain it to me, I was busy beating Mastermind on my iPhone, but the second time around when I actually listened to him I was all in). The fashions of the Grantham girls are to die for, the characters are believable, and the historical setting is fascinating.
The romance of Bates and Anna had me throw my computer across the room several times in desperation, and in joy, and then in desperation again. I now aspire to be as sassy as the Dowager Countess, as fashionable as Lady Mary, as selfless as Lady Sibyl, and as loyal as Anna.
I keep Wikipedia on hand at all times to fact-check the show’s historical references to prove to myself that Downton Abbey may just be real after all… I’m really unsure how I am supposed to make it until next autumn for season three. Hollywood better have a hearty summer line-up of period pieces waiting in the wings, or these next six months may get dark for me….
He Said: Something we agree whole-heartedly on. As a male, I’m not exactly a Jane Austen fan. The usual elements of period pieces that make my wife swoon usually don’t do that much for me. But Downton Abbey is that rare, once-in-a-lifetime type of television that anyone, anywhere, will fall in love with and dream of Downton and its myriad of captivating characters. Halfway through season 1, I termed Downton Abbey the British “Mad Men.” Both have high production value; extremely talented ensemble casts; are period pieces set in a time of social, geopolitical, and economic turmoil; and story lines that, if explained, sound like it could be a soap opera. I’m not sure about the fashions of the Grantham girls, but Lady Mary and Lady Sybil aren’t bad to look at. Unfortunately for her, (shout out to those old school SAT analogy lovers) Lady Edith: Downton Abbey; Jerry Gergich: Parks and Recreation. Both are pitied yet ripped on by every other character. But no show is as widely loved right now as Downton Abbey. You learn history while watching. It breaks your heart time and time again, but always leaves you wanting more. Because whether it’s a hug from Carson the butler, a subtle flirtation between Mary and Matthew, or a verbal dagger from Maggie Smith’s magnificent Dowager Countess, you feel like you’re a member of the family. Or at least a visitor downstairs.
The Grammys 2012
He Said: Although I love the Oscars and the Emmys, my affinity is much lower for all other Awards shows. The Grammys are still fun to watch due to the concert-element and the bizarre pairings of performers. Where else do you get Rhianna and Coldplay? McCartney and Springsteen? Nicki Minaj’s impersonation of Lady Gaga and the old white guy’s impersonation of the Pope? Like most awards shows, I prefer to watch on DVR-delay, fast-forwarding the parts I don’t care about and getting the entire show watched in about 90 minutes. LL Cool J was the classiest, opening with a brief and genuine prayer honoring Whitney Houston. Jennifer Hudson proved once again how stupid American Idol voters can be with her stirring tribute to Whitney Houston. Chris Brown tried to continue his redemption efforts. The Beach Boys and Glen Campbell tributes were tons of fun. And Adele managed to unify America’s opinions and feelings unlike anyone in this polarized era can. When she sings, everyone stops and is in awe of her gifted talent. On a night honoring the passing of one of the greatest voices of the past 25 years, Adele was just what was needed.
She Said: When the Grammy nominations came out and Lady Gaga was nominated in the same categories as Adele, I told Joseph that I was teetering on the brink of losing all faith in American music. Throughout the night I continued my questioning as Chris Brown tried to make us all forget that he beats women, Rhianna, Katy Perry and others gave sub-par performances, and I refuse to even dignify Nicki Minaj with a critique. However, two women brought back my waning faith in music, by simply standing on stage and singing. No fancy choreography, no half-naked dancers, or scandalous outfits needed for these two women to blow every other performer out of the Staples Center. Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney Houston and Adele’s rendition of her six-time Grammy winning “Rolling in the Deep” made the night. Not to mention that as far as fashion is concerned, these two had the winning looks of the night in my book.