Sunday, December 16, 2012

Top 5 List

It's that time of year again. December is quickly falling into 2013 and people are making their "Best Of" lists for 2012. Of course, since the world is ending in a few days (I'm glad my work Christmas sweater and cookie party is scheduled for the 20th), there is more pressure to make these lists extra thoughtful.

I considered making my own top 10 list for 2012, but then I realized that I can't exactly remember everything that has been engrossing me this year. Maybe I have been having a series of mini-strokes throughout 2012 because I can't draw my mind back through the whole year and analyze my pop culture consumption to figure out which ten things made the most impact.

I'm holding off on the brain scan for now. I am placing my bets on the fundamentals of memory. Memory isn't like a book with pages that you can flip back and forth; it is subjective and largely influenced by context and emotion. Sometimes we can't remember something without the trigger of a scent, feeling, sight, or another internal or external stimulus. I can't immediately pull my favorite things from 2012 from my brain. My gray  matter doesn't work that way.

By the way, I am very qualified to discuss memory (cough). I am an expert on basic psychology having spent four years studying it in no great depth at a liberal arts college. I had a rat that I taught to play soccer using chocolate milk as a reward. I felt sad for Little Albert. I memorized the personality disorders in the DSM-IV-TR, which I don't remember anymore...which doesn't really matter because the new DSM just came out and they changed anyway (only some, I know, calm down). These accomplishments (plus my super awesome B.A. in English) were obviously worth my 60K+ student debt, or as I like to call it- grad school application fee.

Snark aside (can you tell my monthly blood money to Sallie Mae is due?), I would like to add a very non-comprehensive pop culture "best of" list to all those being released in this personal megaphone we call the internet. This will not be a best of list for all of 2012. I can't think like that, or maybe I'm too lazy on this Sunday afternoon to be that reflective. This will not even be a best of list for things that came out in 2012. Oh no, I'm not that culturally relevant. Instead, this list is the top 5 TV shows that have been interesting/enjoyable to me in the past couple weeks/months that came out whenever. I can tell that this list will be a huge internet hit for its breadth, depth, and insight. Without further foot dragging, in no particular order:

1. Bones  

I've mentioned that I love this TV show before. I don't know why I so love this show. It deals with crime mystery and dead bodies-two thinks about which I care very little (ha, take that preposition). I think what draws me to this show is that it is largely character based. The murders aren't the most important part-the lives and the stories of the main characters are. I love Temperance Brennan, the socially awkward, brilliant forensic anthropologist. I adore Dr. Sweets, the psychologist (this actor shows up again in #2 of my list). Hodgins makes me laugh. Angela is cool. I care about their story lines. I know they are hyperbolic personalities, but I still love watching them. This show is available up to season 7 on Netflix (the streaming subscription-does anyone even do the DVDs anymore?).

2. Freaks and Geeks

This show is old and only has one season. Many people have criticized that this show only got one season so I won't add too much to that. Know this: I protest. It deserved more seasons. The cast-oh my god, the cast-is so blockbuster. This show was the equivalent to what the Mickey Mouse Club was for millennium pop stars. I have not watched the entire season because I want to savor it. Every other line is this fantastic nugget of gold. I can't even explain how much I love Sam (John Francis Daley now plays Dr. Sweets on Bones). I am sure that most of you are not so far behind the times and have witnessed the wonder that is this show. If you haven't, go. Now. It's on Netflix.

3. Escape to River Cottage

This was a British show about  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who apparently was a celebrity chef (not to me, but I guess to people across the pond), that came out in 1999. The reality show (which brings some respectability to the moniker "reality" show) follows Hugh as he leaves to big city for Dorset, which I am convinced is basically Eden. His goal is to create a self-sufficient farm and life in this rural area. His adventures are largely based on food (growing, catching, bartering, cooking, enjoying with friends). It is a freaking gem. You don't have to be a back to the lander to enjoy it (it might turn you into one though). He raises pigs,  makes prosciutto (from said pigs), helps manage overpopulation of deer and pigeons for his own gastronomic gain, consults with vegan spiritualists about a mice problem, etc. You can find it on You Tube starting here: There were subsequent seasons, so you can Hugh it up for many episodes.

4. Parks and Recreation

Well, duh. A lot of people love this show. Every actor is so on their game. There is a character for everyone. My dad might not get the John Ralpheo (Ralfeo?) jokes, but he loved Ron Swanson. I am a big April fan myself. Check it out on Netflix. I would actually start with Season 2, not Season 1. This show took a little time to get in its groove.

5. Downton Abbey

I met someone this summer who did the most spot-on impression of Lady Mary. It involved an exaggerated eye roll and a deep sigh of "Oh, Momma." I have since stolen this impression and done it (poorly) everytime someone mentions this show. Sometimes, I will bring this show up in conversation just so I can do this impression. I love this period drama set at the turn of the century England. The class drama! The romance! The soapiness! The costumes! Dame Maggie Smith! Ahhh! I'm obsessed. You can catch it if you have an Amazon Prime membership streaming free. Can you believe that PBS rolled this out? Can you?

So these are my TV obsessions of 2012ish. It isn't well organized, but what are ya gonna do? I am still hoping to jump on the Homeland bandwagon if someone can show me how to watch this for free. I also really want to catch Girls just so I can see what everyone was talking about (damn you, preposition!).

What have you been watching in 2012...ish?

Post Note: My cute Christmas tree did not make it until the 25th. The poor little thing dried out. I wanted to keep it until Christmas, but there were needles everywhere and it was just depressing me. I gave it water, but it wouldn't take it. Hunger strike, I guess. I pitched them and the tree. All was not lost, however. I decorated my advent tree (which has been super-duper fun), which I might actually like better. I know it is grinchy of me to prefer this to a real tree, but it takes up so much less space. #tinyapartmentproblems.

Success! (out of failure)


  1. That correctly placed preposition was totally worth 60K. ;) Love you and glad you had a merry (if imperfect) Christmas!

    1. I got prepositions down but totally had to relearn the different kinds of adverbs and adjectives to teach them this semester. I don't love my loans, but I did love W&J and all my wonderful professors. :)

  2. Jean-Ralphio! I know, caught me by surprise too! --actually Ian.