August, 2005

Aug 05

Setting the baby “bar”

This weekend, Sam started smiling pretty reliably in response to things that we do — Kathy, my dad & I were all able to get a wide, no teeth grin out of him a bunch of times this weekend. Pretty great, I have to say. I could have done that all weekend.

A smile from Sam is literally all it takes to make me feel just amazing — over the moon, really. And it got me to start thinking about expectations and what it takes to make me (or us) happy. Just a month ago, we were over the moon just to have a baby boy in the world with 10 fingers and 10 toes. Then we raised the bar a little bit, and we were just thrilled when he’d eat 20 cc’s of formula. But the days are gone when we’d be really excited about a loud belch, or a big poop, or a 2 hour nap. (Actually, I’m lying. We still get pretty excited about all 3 of those things. Not kidding. The other parents reading this will know what I’m talking about.)

Anyhoo, over the coming days and weeks and months and years, we’ll have a bunch of new firsts together — first cooing, first words, first steps, first appointment to the Supreme Court, first Nobel Prize, that type of thing — and they’ll all be great. It seems to me to be good to keep raising the bar and encourage development and achievement.

But I want to put a stake down now, set the bar for now & all times. I hope to always be touched when Sam smiles. Melt the way that I did this weekend. Lots of milestones left to go, I think — I’m not sure that many will be much better than seeing our boy be happy.

Aug 05

Sitcoms are alive & well

I think most of you know that I watch a lot of television. Seriously, a lot. I love it. And increasingly over the years I’ve been drawn to these hour-long dramas with really complex story arcs. Started with "Homicide: Life on the Streets" (still among the best television shows of all time), went through things like "The West Wing" and now has ended up with all the *fantastic* HBO shows — in particular, "The Wire" and "Deadwood" (and hopefully "Rome," which starts this fall). Some great stuff lately on FX as well — "The Shield" and "Rescue Me".

[As an aside, it’s clear that I don’t like *all* television. Some new ABC show called "My Kind of Town" is on right now, and it is absolutely, 100% putrid. Makes me feel dumber for even watching it.]

Anyway, as much as I like this latest crop of dramas, I have to say that I think the sitcom, long given up for dead, especially against the crush of reality television, is rising from the dead. Not the mainline junk that’s mostly on the networks — Will & Grace, Joey, stuff like that. But more innovative, 1 camera shows like "Arrested Development" and "Scrubs". ("1 camera" is my new term of art for sitcoms that I learned from Bravo’s "Situation: Comedy," a sort of "Project Greenlight" for sitcoms instead of movies — means that the show is filmed with a single camera, but multiple takes, in lots of different locales that generally aren’t sets, as compared to a multi-camera setup that’s more traditional and shot with a few sets, multiple mostly fixed cameras.)

"Arrested Development" is about the funniest show I’ve ever seen. I’m watching the replays of the second season now on Fox, and they’re just amazing — the writing is so incredibly sharp. 3 or 4 times the jokes crammed in, and a very very fast pacing. Funny stuff. Kathy & I are also working through season two of "Scrubs" — like "Arrested," it manages to be wickedly funny, but sweet & poignant at the same time.

And there’s more to come, with "My Name is Earl" (NBC) and "Everybody Hates Chris" (WB) coming this fall.

I’m shocked, but there it is.

As always, important, hard hitting analysis from your friend John.