Thursday, July 5, 2012
Sinking or 'Grease' is the Word
Friday, August 15, 2003.
Ever since beginning dialysis, I started watching a lot more television. Not that I already wasn’t glued to the set for more hours a day than I would ever want to admit throughout my life, but now, it’s not comparable. It started with the addition of two new Law and Order spinoffs. Throughout the 90s, I only had one show that I felt compelled to tune into each week and that was the original Law and Order. I got hooked on it when my Mom and I watched a few episodes of the first season together before she passed away. Now there are three of them to keep tabs on! Since I am now tired, weak, and sedentary from being sick, and slowly working my way to stuffed animal status, I see lots of TV at home every evening in addition to the four or so hours of barely interrupted time during dialysis. Currently, at dialysis I have figured out how to watch four straight episodes of Perry Mason on three different channels during my stint. If I tire of the courtroom drama, I can always watch the eight episodes of M.A.S.H. that are spanned across two different channels. During the evenings, I have started watching the two CSI: shows and I love the new show Boomtown and especially the new version of Dragnet with the Married with Children guy. I actually get frustrated when they schedule “my” shows against each other. It really is disgusting. But now that it’s been summer re-runs for some time, I have been left with nothing, because I have seen all of the episodes already. Life becomes empty when it’s based on a TV schedule. That’s how I wind up watching Debbie Travis’ home improvement show Facelift late at night, when I could care less about that shit.
The other evening, I was tuning in to watch TNT’s nightly run of old Law and Order episodes hoping to see one where I don’t remember the outcome. This night, however, TNT decided to show the old musical Grease. I have seen Grease many times, but found myself excited to see it again anyway. The thing that I noticed about the movie that I had never noticed before, and I’m sure that it had everything to do with these new (to me) surround sound TVs and the weird sound separation that they seem to create - every time a song scene came on during the storyline of the movie, the vocals sounded as though they were being piped in from a giant hangar or spacious old train station. The vocals echoed at me as if Olivia was singing into a toilet paper tube from behind me. The reverb was downright silly. Unfortunately, every time I’ve watched Grease, I am reminded of my dislike for one of the extras. It’s a guy that’s in most of the song and dance sequences and he bugs the living shit out of me. He’s the one near the end of the movie, during that closing song (wompa lamma lamma ding dong?), who is wearing a light green short sleeve shirt and tan pants. He does a Groucho Marx inspired dance for a moment. Next time you run across it, and that’s really the only way anyone watches this movie, you’ll see who I’m talking about. At first, you’ll say to yourself, “that’s funny that Chris doesn’t like this guy.” Then, the next time you run across the movie, and you will, you will begin to see this guy running about throughout the entire movie, like during the “Grease Lightning” scene, and during the entire dance contest stretch, and even during the “Summer Lovin’” extravaganza near the beginning. I do not know why his presence irritates me so much, but even as an eight or nine year old watching that film for the first time, he made me angry. Every time I see him, I want to turn away. I threaten to hunt him down and torture him the way he has tortured me for years. Yes, I talk to the TV. And, no, I wouldn’t want to hunt him down.
After watching Grease, and running the gamut of practicing my “hickey from Kenickie” impersonation, my terrible Travolta singing, and trying to avert my eyes from the evil extra, later that night I came across the pilot movie for Hawaii Five-O. This is the first episode of one of the best shows ever and I had never seen it before! The pilot has a different Danno. This Danno chain smokes and doesn’t have that weird hair or the childlike run, and the dialog is more free and intriguing. Plus the pilot introduces us to the dreaded Red China agent Wo Fat, and of course, Steve McGarrett – the Lord, Jack Lord. We get to see the blue suit, his freakish skeletal face, and that hair. We get to hear him tell Danno to “BOOK ‘EM” for the first time as he arrests CIA agents just for being a nuisance to him. McGarrett commands and coerces people who are supposed to hold more power than him, though we all know better. There is nothing else quite like this show. There is nothing quite like wasting one’s life away by watching television all hours of the day and night. It’s no wonder I can’t sleep anymore.