One of my favorite television episodes of all time is Cheers, season 10, episode 16, The Nanny G episode. Officially titled ‘One Hugs The Other Doesn’t’, as a birthday present for their son Sam Malone has purchased tickets to a concert by children’s singer Nanny G (played by the superb Emma Thompson) for Fraiser Crane and his wife Lilith. The four are sitting just a few rows from the stage as the concert opens, when Fraiser exclaims, “My god, that’s my first wife!”
And Lilith, who thought she was Fraiser’s first wife, says, “What?!”
What follows is 23 minutes of verbal barbs and actual physical wrestling as the two women fight over a delighted Fraiser. I roar with laughter every time. I’ve actually bookmarked it on Netflix so I can watch it about once a month, and I dread the day Netflix takes it away.
Which brings me to body art, which I really like. It’s not the art itself so much as the person the art is on and how it’s displayed. The right art with the right person can be mesmerizing, creating an almost ethereal experience, and I have great respect for those who can pull it off. I’m delighted I have no body art myself – given my lifelong immaturity and generally abrasive personality, god only knows what sort of fool crap I’d have permanently affixed to my body. An undisclosed first wife would be the least of the misadventures. The younger me is not something I’d be proud to display; I can barely stand the current me.
What I’m leading up to: The other day I’m wandering around the house for some reason and I’m looking at some of the photo art my incredibly sweet and indulging wife (first wife, really, I swear to god!) has encouraged me hang, and it’s like I’m looking at stuff I did in high school. I mean, it’s fine work I really loved when I hung them, but I’ve learned so much and gone in so many new directions, especially in the last ten months or so, it’s like looking at art I did as a kid. Not a memory; an illustration of my creative state of being THEN. Back then. And now that state has changed. In another year, likely the work I’m proud of now will seem the same.
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OK, since I know you’re asking, it’s actually rare that a comedy resonates so with me as the Nanny G episode does, although I’d have to acknowledge the ‘Adam’s Ribs’ episode of M*A*S*H. I generally gravitate to much darker material; ‘Mr. Robot’ and the reimagined ‘Battlestar Galactica’ are among my all-time favorites. Also ‘Mad Men’, ‘The Sopranos’, and the Australian series ‘Rake’ that can be found on Netflix. Current favorites? I’d list AMC’s ‘Better Call Saul’, Netflix’s ‘The Kominski Method’ and ‘Mindhunter’, Apple TV+ ‘For All Mankind’ and ‘Mythic Quest’, FX’s ‘Fargo’. I’m leaving out stuff I’m sure I’d love, such as HBO’s ‘Westworld’, Amazon’s ‘Man In The High Castle’, Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, and all the new Star Treks on CBS All Access because I don’t get those services, which pretty much defines the TV watching experience in 2020, if not life itself. It’s all about access.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.