Things that are supposedly great that I didn’t like at all

1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

This got an 85 on Metacritic, which is high enough to give you a nosebleed. But when RB and I watched it, I squirmed and agonized through the whole thing, because… IT MADE NO SENSE! Seriously, how many scenes can you have where a white guy who looks just like another white guy (or is it the same guy?) says something cryptic and nods and then … cut to the next scene. Ugh. I was lost the whole way through, and by the end when it was revealed who was dastardly and who wasn’t, I could not have cared less.


2. American Pastoral, by Philip Roth

This book won the Pulitzer Prize. Yet I am convinced that if an unknown writer had submitted it, no publisher would ever have picked it up. What a mess! Repetitive, random, repetitive, inconsistent, repetitive. “The Swede.” I wish I’d never met him.


3. Twitter

People I love and respect insist that there is a way to use Twitter that will enrich my life. But I seriously cannot stand looking at Twitter pages. All those shortened words, hashtags, indecipherable responses to others who have tweeted at people… WHAT-EVER! I hate it.

4. Louie 

I will admit that I only watched one episode of this show, and that when I mention it to fans (Louis C.K.’s, not mine) they tell me it the worst episode he ever did, and that I should give him another chance. But seriously – the Joan Rivers episode was horrible to watch. Dark, depressing, un-funny.


5. Boba.

It sounds cute. And who doesn’t like bubbles? Um, me. These bubbles are yucky.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!




19 responses to “Things that are supposedly great that I didn’t like at all”

  1. FPS says:

    Ach, Twitter. Alas, Twitter. I have friends who are obsessed with it and seem maybe slightly hurt that I don’t read the hilarious thing they wrote–I’m sorry, tweeted–but it’s like…all dependent on knowing some meme that came into being five minutes ago. It’s beyond ephemeral, the worst of the internet extracted. I get on there every six months and last about a week. H8 #twitter.

    I sort of like bubble tea, on the other hand. I have to eat about eighty of those bland little blobs before it dawns on me that they’re gross and I throw the rest out. Up to that point they’re great!

  2. SG says:

    All this time I’ve assumed that I am Grampy Grumpus when it comes to Twitter. I though that I was the only one who didn’t get/like it.

    As for Louie, I love him and his show, but I can certainly see why you wouldn’t like it. That’s some seriously dark shit — forget about the episode when a homeless guy gets decapitated in front of him by a garbage truck: very little that’s funny there. But I think that his point is that sometimes you need to look really, really deep to find the comedy in this dark world. Or, maybe I’m just making excuses for the guy.

    Boba? I concur.

    Haven’t seen Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but I will tell you that you’ve cleared up the title for me. This whole time I thought that it was: Tinker Tailor: Soldier-Spy!

    Never read American Pastoral, so I have nothing to say here, but along the lines of Tinker, Tailor, until very recently, I thought that “Portnoy’s Complaint” was “Port Noise Complaint.”

  3. AWB says:

    I’m a Twitter h8r too. I was a very early adopter, declared it stupid, and then abandoned it forever. Facebook at least allows me to see with whom I’m having a conversation. On Twitter, it seems mostly like celebrities (and people who would like to be celebrities) responding to fans and occasionally getting on a jag about something. Where is the bonhomie?

    Philip Roth, agreed, overrated, especially in his later work. Portnoy’s Complaint did something fairly important for me when I was 16, but once it was done, I didn’t have much more to go to the well for. General misanthropy? No thanks, I’m full up.

    I am a fan of Louie, but not because it’s funny. I’m not sure funny is what he’s getting at, almost ever, in the show. One of the things I love about it, and even about the Joan Rivers episode, is that it is very much a show about a profession that most people can’t imagine. It looks easy to do, getting up and telling jokes that you’ve memorized, to people who don’t have any experience making people laugh or writing or performing. Whenever I’ve met comedians, even ones I really liked on-stage, I’ve found them unbearable in person–moody and grim, paralyzed by shyness, or constantly trying out unfunny lines based on stereotypes. I appreciate that Louie’s show is about someone who deeply gets at an itch no one can scratch themselves, while he’s on-stage, who has brilliant insight into the human condition and enormous rhetorical skill, but off-stage is a grumpy, self-loathing, shy, hapless, ungrateful dude. The Joan episode isn’t the best for showing why that’s interesting or important, but I did like that it was about doing a thankless job and having to remind yourself that you like pain or you wouldn’t be there.

  4. J-Man says:

    Ditto what all y’all are saying about Twitter. Just seems like another clicky memelet.

    I haven’t read or seen TTSS either, but I seem to recall that it was a mini-series in the 70’s. Was it just me, or did all the dialogue and voice-over in the trailer seem extremely cliched, almost like one of those spoof trailers?

  5. J-Man says:

    Oh, yeah, and Louis C.K. is just too depressing, even for me.

  6. Mark says:

    I’m with you 5 for 5. I love Louis C.K., but I can’t bear to watch this show. He had one on HBO a couple years back, I think it was called Lucky Louie, and it wasn’t good either, imo. Give me one of his comedy routines though, and I’ll watch the shit out of it.

    Can I add one to this list?

    Let the Right One In, that Swedish movie about the vampire kids. I know it has been out for years, along with the re-make, but it was just horrible. I did, however, try Dowton Abbey last week, for what reason I have no idea, as I usually have my tea and crumpet guard up at all times, but it wasn’t so bad.

  7. Dave says:

    The Louie show doesn’t do much for me. I’m all for dark humor, and the guy’s stand-up can be good, but the show is just meh.

    Tinker, Tailor: Try the 5-hour (or more?) BBC miniseries with Alec Guinness. It is soooooooooooo good. On the other hand, maybe if you don’t like the short version, the long version will be worse. But I’d say the white guys in the BBC version look a lot different from each other than the white guys in the new version do. (I haven’t actually seen the new version.)

    I’m kind of hooked on Twitter. I started using it just to have little things to read while waiting in line for a sandwich. Now I follow tons of people. The key is to follow only people who are really good at twitter. Also, it’s really one of the best sources for news about Occupy, particularly about your local Occupy. That said, it’s annoying and addictive and you probably shouldn’t even try to get into it.

  8. Dave says:

    I like saying “Downtown Abbey” and thinking I’m hilarious.

  9. LP says:

    2: “Port Noise Complaint” is excellent. Thank you, Grampy Grumpus!

    3: “Whenever I’ve met comedians, even ones I really liked on-stage, I’ve found them unbearable in person…” This seems to be a lot of people’s experience – or at least, it’s the prevailing wisdom – but I’ve had the opposite experience. I know a lot of standups here in LA, and I find most of them really engaging, fun, interesting, worth spending time with. However, the ones I know do tend to be really flighty when it comes to making plans, so it’s hard to get time with them in the first place.

    7: But even when people are “really good at Twitter,” don’t they still have all those annoying responses to other people’s Tweets, which you then have to go back and look at the other person’s page to figure out what’s being discussed? I gave up on Twitter about 5 minutes into starting it, because of innumerable Tweets like “@randomguy I know, hilarious, right?” and “@somebodysname BITTER citrus fruit. French would be interesting.” (This latter tweet I just took, verbatim, from a friend’s twitter page.)

  10. josh k-sky says:

    The key is to follow only people who are really good at twitter.

    Correct. I recommend @meganamram for humor and @yokoono for yoko onosity. I was pleased with my twittering self for starting a brief meme called #BieberVsGraeber in which Occupy theorist David Graeber and Justin Bieber were nemeses. It didn’t quite take off — there are people who are fluent in both, but they’re not easy to find — but David Graeber did retweet a few of them.

    So I can sympathize with 3. And I agree completely with 5. But 2 and 4 are indeed great, and 1 is rather good. (Those white guys don’t actually all look alike! The whole movie is a trip to the physiognomy cabinet!)

  11. josh k-sky says:

    But even when people are “really good at Twitter,” don’t they still have all those annoying responses to other people’s Tweets, which you then have to go back and look at the other person’s page to figure out what’s being discussed?

    Some of the twitter interfaces–including the revamped–allow you to “open” a tweet to see the whole chain.

  12. Dave says:

    #BieberVsGraeber was really funny.

    As for twitter debates, the people who are really good at Twitter often retweet the other side’s responses so you can follow what’s going on. I also tend to follow people who are in certain circles of twittiness, and I only tend to pay attention to debates within those circles.

  13. LP says:

    10: Ooh, I am so curious: You really liked “American Pastoral”? Did you not find it repetitive, meandering, occasionally… dull? And did it not bother you that the first 20% of the book took place from the POV of a character who then completely disappeared, replaced by an omniscient narrator? It took me a number of pages to finally grasp the fact that Roth had simply thrown Zuckerman out the window, as it made so little sense from a narrative perspective.

  14. FPS says:

    I like accidentally typing “Downtown Abby” on facebook and having AWB make fun of me for it and getting to bring up Petula Clark.

    Louie for me was a thorough mix of hilarious and boring. There’s a scene where he’s going through airport security that I just thought was devastatingly funny in a very unconventional way but there were a bunch of episodes I can’t remember anything about.

  15. farrell fawcett says:

    Ah, yes, a grampa grumpy-puss post! Hurray LP! Thanks for being a little fearless and contrarian and irritable. I’m on board with all this–at least the things I’ve experienced. And, FTR, I do LOVE me some Phillip Roth–but I think he just cranks out so much emporers-new-clothes crap for the last couple decades. Also, Louise CK. I really love something about his personality and the way he is. And his stand-up for sure. But I felt defective for not loving his show or finishing the season/s. You made me feel better.

    I haven’t seen TTSS. But we wanted to see it before the Oscars. Now I think we’ll just wait for it’s home release. If even that. Although, I was one of those who LOVED LOVED The Descendants which you were quite lukewarm about. (FPS also took exception a few weeks back: “Pistols at dawn…” or something like that. Sweet response. I believe your impression, LP, was totally cause you were in your sleepy living room watching it on TV). But other than quibbles like that, you, LP are a gifted dear-to-my heart critic. xmooches.

  16. LP says:

    Things I love:

    1. farrell fawcett

    2. “xmooches”

  17. swells says:

    Okay, l I feel compelled to defend Philip Roth, even though I’m a woman and am not supposed to. American Pastoral, I will admit, was a little bit boring. The Zuckerman trilogy, same. But the followup to that trilogy, The Counterlife, omg, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. (And I’ve read it literally about twelve times, and no, I am not misusing literally.) His style is hilarious and complex and amazing, his insight into insecurity and identity is revealing, and the structure and premise of that book, which I won’t tell you in advance and please do not read anything about it if you’re planning to read it, are just so delightful. He is mixing radical Zionism, American maleness, New York Jewishness, Anglophobia, C-of-E Christian squeamishness, emotional eroticism, sexual frustration, masculine identity, and authorial license in such a fabulous cocktail in this one. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ve read several other books of his and not loved them like this, but this alone puts him in my personal canon.

    I get how the Swede stuff was random and boring though. I really only read it because Nathan Zuckerman was in it.

    p.s. not to contradict you again, but I also love boba. The rest, I’ll give ya! and the Descendents looked too irritating for me to even consider watching!

  18. josh k-sky says:

    13: 1. Yes. 2. Si. 3. Doch.

  19. Dave says:

    Okay, I watched the new Tinker, Tailor over the weekend, and it’s horrible. I mean, the acting is pretty great, and it’s very stylish in every respect. But goddamn it’s impossible to figure out what’s really going on (and I’ve read the book and seen the BBC adaptation many times), and so of course nobody cares at the end when they tell you who the bad guy is. Because you don’t care at any point during the movie, and you’re not trying to figure it out on your own because it’s completely impossible.

    The whole thing is a sad victory of Design over Art.

    I really urge you, when you have the time, to watch the BBC version. It’s completely different in the way the story is told, and completely engrossing as long as you are the kind of person who like the Sherlock Holmes stories or good spy stories.