Tiny Houses — Boom or Bust?

I was in the other room last night and I heard my husband’s voice across the house. “What a nightmare!” I was expecting him to have news from a friend in Virginia or DC who got over two feet of snow, or some bizarre Internet video. No, he was watching Tiny House Hunters on HGTV.

Now keep in mind that we are not a small family. I am short, but I’m not small by any definition. My husband is 6’4″ and also is not small. Our kids are not small. At 14 my son is already over 5’9″. We could not even imagine. My daughter at almost-13 is 5’3″ and still getting taller.

I don’t get the tiny house phenomenon. Yes, I understand downsizing if you’ve retired, and I even understand the high cost of living in Manhattan where people pay a premium for ridiculously small apartments. There is something to be said for decluttering and not keeping things that you are no longer attached to. These shows go far beyond that. They are insane.

Why would you want to permanently live somewhere that you have to roll the bed under another section of the room when you get up because you literally have nowhere to walk? Why would you want to cram two adults and a small toddler in a living space no bigger than 300 feet? When you already have a house and you are established? grown-ups need their privacy, especially if they have small kids. There need to be boundaries in any healthy relationship.

We got sucked in and watched three different shows, and we couldn’t look away. It was like getting trapped in a Hoarders marathon. Why would these people voluntarily do this? In each one I saw, the wives were pushing it, and the husbands looked like they had been caught in a trap and couldn’t figure out how to extricate themselves.

On the road near where I live, I found a tiny house. The owner should put it up for sale and make a bundle. Any takers? I guess it could also be considered a fixer-upper.

What do you think? Are tiny houses a gimmick, or are they here to stay?

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Happy Thanksgiving!! WKRP and Turkeys

If you are a child of the seventies (or older), you will remember the infamous turkey drop on Thanksgiving. For your enjoyment – and a walk down memory lane — here’s the famous scene. “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

 

Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and my mailing list before you go.

 

TV Round-Up – Scorpion

Rubik’s Cube Race

 

Scorpion (CBS, Monday night, 9:00 p.m. EST)  is one of the shows that we are watching at our house. We are a week behind, so I haven’t seen the episode that aired October 20, but we’ve watched the other episodes. My kids are 13 and 11, and they absolutely love the show. It just might be their new favorite. On a scale of one to five, they would give it a five.  My husband gives it a 3. I might give it a 3.5.

Here is the show’s official description, pulled from the CBS website:

SCORPION, inspired by a true story, is a high-octane drama about eccentric genius Walter O’Brien and his team of brilliant misfits who comprise the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats of the modern age. As Homeland Security’s new think tank, O’Brien’s “Scorpion” team includes Toby Curtis, an expert behaviorist who can read anyone; Happy Quinn, a mechanical prodigy; and Sylvester Dodd, a statistics guru. Pooling their extensive technological knowledge to solve mind-boggling predicaments amazes federal agent Cabe Gallo, who shares a harrowing history with O’Brien. However, while this socially awkward group is comfortable with each other’s humor and quirks, life outside their circle confounds them, so they rely on Paige Dineen, who has a young, gifted son, to translate the world for them. At last, these nerdy masterminds have found the perfect job: a place where they can apply their exceptional brainpower to solve the nation’s crises, while also helping each other learn how to fit in. (Source: http://www.cbs.com/shows/scorpion/about/)

CBS has moved the Big Bang Theory to Monday night, and Scorpion follows it. The basic presumption is if you like the comedic geniuses on BBT, you will like the dramatic geniuses on Scorpion. So far that has been mostly true at our house. The show reminds me a little bit of the A-Team, without the whole running from the law element. I keep waiting for Elyes Gable, who plays Walter O’Brien, to put a cigar in his mouth and squint — “I love it when a plan comes together.” So far, that has not happened. Katharine McPhee plays a convincing single mom, and so far, I think she is a better actress than she was a singer.

Here are our likes and dislikes:

Likes:

  • I like the strength of the characters (when they aren’t annoying me – sometimes they can trend to too quirky)
  • My husband likes watching a group of social misfits try to act as a team with skills that compliment each other.
  • We like that we can watch it with the kids. So far there hasn’t been any gratuitous sex or violence.

Dislikes:

  • The show does the whole Agent Scully/Mulder dynamic. Either the FBI agent believes the team can do what they say or he doesn’t.
  • Deux ex Machina. Without going into too much plot detail for spoilers, sometimes solutions appear on their own, without any action from the characters.
  • As my husband puts it, some of the crazy stunts they try are beyond stupid. (plugging an ethernet cable into a jet while it is flying?)

This one has made the level to get a season pass at our house. Only time will tell if we continue to watch it.The show screams potential, but we don’t think it has hit its groove yet. What are your thoughts? Have you seen Scorpion?

TV Shows I’ve Abandoned-Mike and Molly

I want to tell Mike and Molly, “It’s not you it’s me.” But really, it’s them. we just canceled our DVR subscription. It was too painful.

Mike and Molly

Mike and Molly

Mike and Molly — I really really wanted to like this show. We watched it for three years with few complaints.  I think that Molly (Melissa McCarthy) and Mike (Billy Gardell) are both extremely talented. But I’m tired. The show went out on a limb with two overweight characters, and if I recall, the original plan was to show that heavy people are people too. Now we’ve devolved into a lot of Melissa McCarthy doing slapstick, and Billy Gardell being the lovable straight guy who puts up with his wife’s antics. She’s good, but she’s not Lucille Ball good. If that’s all the show is, it falls flat.

Last year they were starting to develop some of the secondary characters, but apparently the producers felt that their main star wasn’t getting enough camera time, because this season has been all about Molly getting into trouble. We’ve gone from slightly skewed realism to over-the-top farce. Who climbs out of a window to quit their job?

That’s the major reason, but there are some minor irritations that should be pointed out. Two people that large would not be sharing a regular sized bed, or even a queen-sized. My husband and I won’t even sleep in a queen bed on vacation.  I know they wanted some comedy around her mother and sister, but move out already. And we had a brief attempt to move into the basement, but now we’re back upstairs for no apparent reason. Her quitting her job when they wanted to have  a baby and they are always referring to how much credit card debt they have was ridiculous. Molly is quickly becoming a TSTL heroine: too stupid to live.

Final Verdict: If we come across the show we may watch it, but once a show loses its season pass at our house, it’s quickly forgotten.

Create Good Art and the Rest Will Follow: Congratulations Bob Newhart

Bob NewhartI just heard today that Bob Newhart will receive an Emmy for his guest star appearance as Professor Proton on The Big Bang Theory. The taped show will air September 22,2013 at 8:00 p.m.  Bob plays an aging former kids’ show host, revisiting the befuddled character that he has played so well for so many years. Bob is the deadpan straight man who can’t understand the crazy hijinks going on around him.
Born in 1929, Bob turned 84 on September 5th. Although Bob has been nominated for other Emmy’s, this is his first win. What a birthday present!
In addition to his work as a standup comedian, Bob is remembered for his show The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978) where he played a psychiatrist, and his follow-up show Newhart (1982-1990) where he played Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon. In a famous television moment, the finale of his second series linked back to his first series in a dream sequence mocking the infamous shower scene in Dallas.
We find out the entire second series was a nightmare that ends when he wakes up in bed with Emily, played by Suzanne Pleshette. The bedroom from the first series was recreated for this scene, and I remember it to this day. TV Guide chose this finale as the best finale in television history.  In my opinion, nothing comes close to the  way that the last scene of that show opened on a dark set with Suzanne Pleshette’s typical whine.
What makes Bob Newhart’s career so memorable is his ability to play deadpan in the middle of bedlam. He nailed it on The Big Bang Theory, proving he’s still got it. Professor Proton had as much trouble navigating Sheldon’s brand of crazy as Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon had with Larry, Darrel, and Darrel.
When I heard he won, I was surprised that he didn’t already have at least one Emmy award for one of his shows. I wondered whether the actors who won against him have stood the test of time. So I decided to do some digging.
It turns out, Bob Newhart’s arch nemesis is Michael J. Fox.
1985 – Bob was nominated in 1985 along with Ted Danson for his work on Cheers, Robert Guillaume for Benson, Harry Anderson for Night Court, and Jack Warden for Crazy Like a Fox. Of those, the only one that I have never heard of is Jack Warden in Crazy Like a Fox. Robert Guillaume won for Benson.
1986 – Bob was nominated along with Jack Warden, Ted Danson, Harry Anderson, and Michael J. Fox for his work on Family Ties. Michael J. Fox won.
1987 – The slate of nominees didn’t change much: Michael J. Fox, Harry Anderson, Ted Danson, Bob Newhart, and Branson Pinchot for his work in Perfect Strangers. Michael J. Fox won again.
Situation comedies ruled in the late eighties, and there were strong contenders each year. I remember all of those, with the exception of the Jack Warden show, and almost 25 years have passed. I absolutely loved Cheers, had a huge crush on Michael Fox in Family Ties, and loved Night Court. So I can’t complain about the field of nominees.
It’s difficult for comedians playing the “straight man” or deadpan to win Emmy awards. Andy Griffith never won an Emmy for his role of Andy Taylor, while Don Knotts won several times as Barney Fife. We often remember the joke, not the painstaking setup.
Congratulations to Bob Newhart for his long overdue win. As I watched that episode, I remember thinking he still has it. It makes me want to listen to the album where he’s a security guard at the Empire State Building who has his first night on the job when King Kong starts his climb. Classic.
What is the moral that I take from this? Make good art. The rest will come.

Photo Credit:

SI Neg. 2002-22477.08a. Date: 10/30/2002...Comedian Bob Newhart, recipient of the 2002 Kennedy Center Mark Twain Award for American Humor, speaking at the National Press Club. ..Credit: Jim Wallace (Smithsonian Institution)