Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Well, it's been a banner week. Hyperbole Isabel rolled through with nary a power outage or downed tree (perhaps because Southwest has no trees). In fact, the finest entertainment offered was the neighbors who did not bring their patio furniture in. Watching lawn chairs race one another down the block was wonderful for the spirit.

In other news, my beloved temp agency has been unable to furnish me with work. Also, I pulled a muscle in my neck last night, rendering me completely unable of moving my head. I’ve spent most of the day lying very, very still and popping Advil. All of this brings us to an interesting question: Have you ever watched daytime television while physically incapable of shaking your head in disbelief? “I wish Sharon Osbourne would just shut…YOWCH!”

Speaking of pain, here’s the 7th Heaven rundown:

“An Early Fall, Part II”, Airdate Sept. 21, 2003

Last night, we paid a visit to Bizarro Glenoak, where Mary’s still an idiot, but Lucy is likable, people actually think things over before marrying each other, and someone feeds the Poddlers.

Mary’s big secret is revealed: she’s married to Carlos, the Homeless Hispanic, and she finally gets up the balls to tell her parents. However, Carlos finds out that she’d planned on annulling the marriage at first and mumbles in Spanish. Apparently Hispanics do that when they’re angry. I half expected Mary to hand him little household trinkets to break, like they did on “I Love Lucy”. Carlos refers to her as “loco”, which is of course grammatically incorrect (she’s a she, and therefore “loca”). What annoys me further is that Mary assumes “loco” means “chicken”, because of the Pollo Loco chicken chain. So, not only is she abysmally stupid, she also thinks “Livin’ La Vida Loca” was about chickens. Which, by the way, would have been awesome.

The whole family babbles about that rebellious Mary, who toilet-papered the school gym three years ago, which is like the worse thing EVER. Except not: does anyone really care? (Considering that entire plotline was punishment for Jessica Biel’s booby photos in Gear, I especially don’t care. Viva Boobies Libre!) Mary’s also pregnant, so prepare yourselves for the inevitable “will the baby be Protestant or Catholic?” episode. Because the infallibility of the Pope shows up in ultrasounds.

In other Camden-rific news, Ruthie still creeps me out, Lucy and Kevin decide against having a baby, and the Poddlers say that elopement is the worst thing ever (clearly they haven’t seen the photos of my kickass Elvis Wedding). Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard and Chandler break up, because she’s not ready to be a preacher’s wife. I notice for the first time that Chandler has a bit more junk in his trunk than at the beginning of the summer. He looks positively bloaty. Speaking of bloat, there are now 14 people in the credits (including Happy the dog and 7 non-Camdens). Indeed, the non-Camdens have credit-conquered the Camdens. There’s cast bloat, and then there’s a cast that’s so bloated it has to be removed from its house with a crane.

Finally, the family reassures Simon over and over that he’s not responsible for the Blood on the Highway incident. Simon’s not so sure, and he wants to “test out” of high school.

Sadly, this episode lacked much snark potential, as it wasn’t mind-bendingly dreadful.

However, here’s a snarky poll to amuse you:

Blood on the Highway

How can we convince Simon that the accident wasn't his fault?

Tertiary Corpse has had "adult relations"

Tertiary Corpse drank half-beers and disrespected his parents

Tertiary Corpse listened to the wicked rap music

Tertiary Corpse trashed the school gymnasium

Tertiary Corpse posed half-naked in Gear

Current Results

Intentional humor: 7 Unintentional humor: 3 Preachiness: 6 Histrionics: 9 Items thrown at television: 3 Emotional Trauma: 4

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Your long and arduous wait is finally over! Last night’s 7th Heaven premiere was everything it should have been: terrible, squicky and confusing.

But first, time for personal announcements. Howdies and hosannas to Roxanne, Rowena, Stephanie, Tricia, Amy, Emily, and Jen. The eight of us spent Saturday night in Atlantic City for Roxanne’s bachelorette festivities. Highlights included a Donald Trump sighting (dude needs a haircut), and my first experience with going to nightclubs as the Married Chick. I have a new Favorite Thing That Was Ever Said to Me: “Is that an engagement ring? It’s very nice…I find you very attractive. Can I buy you a drink?” That is just too cool for words, and no, I did not accept the drink.

“An Early Fall, Part I”, Airdate 9.15.03

Remember all the way back in May, after Deacon Lou and Detective Michaels showed up on the Camden porch for a cliffhanger ending? My exact words: “If prior 7th Heaven cliffhangers are any indication, we’ll find out that a tertiary character no one cares about has died.” I was wrong. A tertiary character no one has even HEARD OF died, in an all-new low for chicken-hearted writing.

We open with a Camden summer vacation, which primarily consists of frolicking on the beach fully clothed. While there isn’t a single Camden I’d want to see in a swimsuit, that’s just odd. Various Camdens and Peter (why anyone would bring the random neighbor kid on vacation is beyond me) play Go Fish and gossip about “the accident.” And in a new level of Poddler neglect, the twins are left sleeping on kitchen chairs for over four hours before anyone takes them to bed.

Apparently Simon hit a motorcyclist named Paul with his car, killing him and spreading brain matter across the roadway. All of this has made Simon very broody, which is quite sexy. He should kill people more often. David Gallagher acts the hell out of his scenes, because, as long-time readers remember, he is the only member of the cast who bothers to act anymore. Poor David Gallagher.

Over the course of the episode, Simon dumps Cecilia (hooray!), broods (sexy!) and wanders around on the beach. When the vacation ends, the Reverend and Annie get in a hilarious kitchen battle. Annie says it’s time they got in a fight about the accident, and the Reverend delivers a soliloquy about how he should have been the one driving. Annie turns away from him to face the camera and look pained as he talks, creating one of those tableaus only seen in dinner theater and Lifetime “Mommy May I Sleep With Danger?” movies. At the end, Annie says, “I just wanted to say, I wish his parents had told him to wear a helmet!” Huh? As Mike pointed out, it’s not like the Reverend would have argued AGAINST the wearing of helmets. So why did she want to fight?

Over the course of the episode, we also learn that Simon is going to go to trial for the accident, and that Paul’s brother Justin has been stalking Simon and vandalizing the church. Simon also runs away to New York to see Matt and Sarah, and Annie tries to order the Reverend to go get him. How does this family afford all of these last-minute flights to New York? At 8:53, Paul’s parents show up at the Camden residence and tell the Reverend that they are dropping the case. It turns out Paul was on the drugs, thereby completely absolving Simon and chickening out of a remotely interesting plot. However, they don’t specify what the drugs were. Was it the ganja, the cocaine, the crack rocks or the high-powered cough syrup?

However, the episode wasn’t completely Simon-focused, because there are 28 people in the credits now and at least half of them need something to do. Chandler and Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard bicker and smooch (fully clothed, on the beach), and Chandler threatens to dump her if they don’t get married. Who in hell issues and engagement ultimatum six months into the relationship? The Reverend also asks Chandler if he and Roxanne are doing the funky monkey. What kind of boss can ask that of his assistant and NOT get his pants sued off?

Lucy and Kevin, who are slightly likable so far this season, decide they need to do something “life-affirming”, like have a baby. Because being a newlywed simply isn’t affirming enough. In a new gross-out moment, Lucy tells the Reverend that they are going to skip church in favor of said affirmations. So, Lucy basically announced, “Daddy, we’re going to go upstairs and have unprotected sex!”

We also discover Mary’s mystery from the season finale when Carlos shows up on the front door. Carlos is another Camden Pet Minority Character, this time in a sassy Hispanic flavor. Camden tertiary characters are frequently racial minorities whose lives are improved merely by the Camden aura. They met Carlos a few seasons ago, when the show wasn’t completely terrible. He was homeless, and the Camdens gave him a plane ticket home to his family. Well, it turns out he’s Mary’s husband now. And Coincidence completes its metamorphosis into Contrivance.

Intentional humor: 2 Unintentional humor: 4 Preachiness: 9 Histrionics: 7 Items thrown at television: 5 Emotional Trauma: 7

And, a poll in honor of Carlos:

Camden Minority Report

Which Camden racial or religious minority mascot is your favorite?

Carlos the Homeless Hispanic Husband

Morgan, the black minister whose church burned down and who gets mistreated in restaurants

Yasmine, the wooden and oppressed Muslim girl

Joy, the sassy singer with the pink pants and borrowed Massive Attack riffs

Sarah, Matt's Jewish wife with the odd teeth

Kevin, because robots are minorities too!

Now and forever, Ruthie. Girl's adopted.

Current Results

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

So, OK, it happened. I’m married. AS of Labor Day weekend. You can see pictures here.

Now I’m back in Washington, temping at a company that is secretly ruled by leprechauns (that’s the only explanation I can come up with for why the tables and chairs in the breakroom are so tiny).

Here’s the full rundown:

I flew to L.A. on a Thursday on America West, which may be the worst airline in the world. The movies suck (Holes and Daddy Day Care), there’s no food, and they always seat you next to the screaming kids. However, for $300 round trip, they can stuff me in the cargo hold for all I care. I'm cheap. (Everyone who went to college with me: shut up).

Matt and Merrill (one of his oldest friends) picked me up at the airport. We picked up food from a restaurant that carried tacos, burgers AND chili cheese fries. Matt and I stayed at the Hotel Merrill, where he not only relinquished his room to us, but allowed us to watch all the Cartoon Network we could stand. After watching an outrageously sexual Japanese cartoon, we met up with Skye and J.B. for drinks. Emphasis on the multiple drinks.

Also, Matt gave me a pretty, shiny emerald engagement ring that I absolutely love. I use it to mesmerize fish and small children. Ooh, shiny. Though, in retrospect, pretending to bite it to test its authenticity may have been mean.

Friday, Skye picked Matt and me up to eat at the In-N-Out Burger. Fun fact: it’s even more Christian than Chick-Fil-A, and the bottom of the soda cups say John 3:16. Afterwards, we shopped for wedding bands at the mall. We just wanted sterling bands, since we’ll get nice ones later when we do the church wedding. Virtually every store tried to guilt us into buying platinum (“You must not really love each other if you just want silver!”). However, Fox Jewelers offered to make the rings on the spot. The best part was their slogan: “Home of Bling-Bling.”

Friday night was Merrill’s 30th birthday party/the rehearsal kegger. Skye brought 40s for the wedding party, Matt and Merrill performed some songs together, I kept the snacks refreshed and alphabetized, and Skye’s friend wanted to adopt me and take me home in her purse.

Saturday Matt and Merrill hunkered down in front of some wings and an Alabama game, so I begged Skye to come rescue me. I can go to football games and have a great time, but sports on television make me want to scream. Skye picked me up and drove me to the Grove, where we had brunch and shopped. Skye bought pants. She was very excited about the pants. On the way, we saw Flynt Publications. Porn is housed in a building that looks just like the Death Star.

Saturday night a group of us went out for a steak dinner for Merrill’s birthday. On the way, we saw a sign for “Korean Disconunt Underwear,” which may be the most awesome sign ever. I had no idea that Korea had specialized underwear, or that Nunts could disco.

Sunday Matt, Merrill, Skye and I got into Merrill’s Toyota Matrix (the Cool Dude’s Minivan) and drove to Vegas. Ever spent five hours crossing the desert? I’m an East Coast girl, and that much nothingness weirded me out. We had a great time listening to Will Shatner sing “Mr. Tambourine Man”. Until you’ve heard the Shat, you simply haven’t lived. We also saw the Definition of Optimism: a truck towing two Jet Skis across the desert.

We arrived in Vegas and went straight to the courthouse. Let me tell you, getting a marriage license may have been the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I had to show more I.D. for my Safeway Club Card. The place was German in its efficiency and 60s fortress in its architecture. Best of all, when we got back in the car, “White Wedding” was on the radio. Omen!

We drove to our digs for the evening, the Westward Ho! hotel and casino. I highly recommend staying anywhere with an exclamation point in the title. Our room wasn’t ready, so I only had about 40 minutes to get ready for the wedding. I chucked Matt out of the room, dove into the shower, and assigned Skye tasks such as untangling my necklace, smoothing my veil, and finding a way to attach a large Icelandic coin to a flip-flop (answer: hairpins).

To prepare, Matt and Merrill watched football on TV.

The limo picked us up at 4:30 and took us to the Viva Las Vegas wedding chapel for our 5:00 service. Advice to anyone who’s getting married: go easy on yourself. Chuck the detailed wedding plans, the worry, and the fuss. Not because your wedding will be beautiful anyway, but because you won’t remember any of it. I do remember Elvis singing “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, during which time Matt and I were supposed to stare into each other’s eyes. No matter how much you love someone, that can get a little dull after the fourth chorus. We said our vows, or at least, we think we did. We couldn’t understand what Elvis was saying, so we just said “I Do” every time he paused. So, instead of getting married, it’s entirely possible we bought swampland in Florida. Then Elvis launched into “Viva Las Vegas”, which we incorrectly assumed was the recessional. The four of us paired up and strolled out, and were shooed back into the chapel by a minister to dance. Fortunately, it looks somewhat intentional on the video. We completed the service with a Rockettes line. Afterwards, we took pictures, I threw the bouquet (caught by Skye), and we got back in the limo. The time? 5:12. Awesome.

We had 6:30 dinner reservations at the Hilton, so we killed an hour in the Star Trek Experience theme bar. A very nice couple purchased our Klingon Blood Wines (aka rotgut Merlot), and we gawked at the geeks. Afterwards, Skye and Merrill treated us to dinner at a lovely Northern Italian restaurant and then we went gambling. Matt and I lost money right and left, while Skye and Merrill came out ahead and went out for steaks at 2 am. Matt and I had long since turned in. It was fun being in the only city in America where no one looks at you funny if you play the slots while wearing a white dress and a veil.

Monday we got up, went out for breakfast, and drove back to L.A. We celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day early by making up stupid pirate jokes in the car. We also stopped in Baker to buy Slim Jims and see the World’s Tallest Thermometer, which was digital and not even turned on. What a scam.

We got back to L.A., watched T.V., went out for Thai, and stared at one another aimlessly. I flew back on Tuesday, where I changed planes in Vegas. McCarran International Airport is nasty, smells weird, has really unlucky slots, and only has Taco Bell to eat. Yuck.

So, I’m home now and getting organized to move to Bogota. The uniquely solipsist State Department has decided on several occasions that I do not exist, and I’m temping for leprechauns. Needless to say, I'm ready to go.

To keep yourselves amused until the 7th Heaven premiere (September 15), please feel free to vote on my name:

Pick a New Name for Shannon

Now that I'm married, what should I be called?

Shannon Stamey Johnson

Mrs. Matthew R. Johnson

Shannon Stamey-Johnson

Shannon Johnson

Mrs. Johnson, if you're nasty

Current Results