Spaced, a Review

For a while I was writing reviews on movies, book and albums. Some of it was just a writing exercise and some of it was to put media that I consumed into a better perspective. Reading back through I found a few mistakes, but also a few memories that gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling, so I thought I’d share at least one of these. So, without further ado, one of the greatest television shows of all time:

spaced-dvd-poster

Spaced starring Simon Pegg as Tim, Jessica Hynes as Daisy, Katy Carmichael as Twist, Mark Heap as Brian, Julia Deakin as Marsha and Nick Frost as Mike.

Where to start… I guess the easiest place to start is by saying this is one the best television series of all time. That’s right. Of. All. Time. It’s quirky and funny and quite British, but we American fans don’t hold that against them. Spaced originally aired on the BBC and is only two seasons long equaling fourteen episodes, yet is still one of my favorite all time television shows. Why, you may ask. Well, let’s start.

I think one of the biggest draws for me about Spaced is that it’s a show that would never get aired on American television because it is too good. Executives wouldn’t see the underlying intelligence and humor in the show, only that it would be hard to market. Maybe HBO. That, in itself, is reason to take a peek. They also say fuck, tits and twat (which really only sounds good with an English accent) and reference marijuana, speed and ecstasy. At the time you could really get away with that on American TV beyond late night Comedy Central shows.

Part of the charm is that Spaced is based on two regular twenty-somethings, eking their way through their 20’s and their interactions with their strange friends and flat neighbors. Now, to be honest, season one is good, but not knock your balls off good. That’s expected for a show considering there are characters, sexual tensions and plot lines to develop. That’s not to say it’s not worth watching because there are some very good episodes. My favorites are Battles, Chaos and Epiphanies which is probably my favorite of the season.

Now season two is where it truly takes off. There are spoofs of The Matrix, Fight Club and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Tim’s discontent with George Lucas and the all important final two episodes where everything is on the brink of destruction. My personal favorite is an episode called Gone. I think what I enjoy about this episode the most is how guys act around each other demonstrated by fake gun fight stand offs. It is a remarkably funny and true episode.

The DVD series also comes with a fantastic documentary about the series with an interesting little twist at the very end. If you enjoy the show, especially if you really, really love the show it is something you definitely need to watch. It gives a quality wrap up to a show that seemed to stop before it’s time.

This brings me to my next point. The documentary talks a lot about why the show didn’t continue and how much fans wanted to see more. As a fan I can buzz through the two seasons quickly and feel like I need more. As much as I would love to see more I think one the most endearing parts of Spaced is that it leaves you wanting more. What more could you ask of a television show?

Whether it’s the avant garde sensitive artist Brian, the drunken landlady Marsha, the best friend military freak Mike or the shallow quick to quip Twist, there is plenty to like about the characters. That doesn’t even include the lovable Tim and Daisy as the main characters. All of the eccentricities, the acting performances and the dialogue make a great group and some great episodes.

This is already getting too long, but, as you can tell, I really love Spaced. There’s really not much more to say other than go watch it already to you sodding bummer.

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In Memoriam of the Still Alive Cody Clayton

hoshizaki-ice-machine

The parking lot is mostly empty. Plenty of spots. It doesn’t feel good. Neither does my head. I tried not to drink too much last night, but we all know how that goes when you work behind a bar. The clo-pin. It’s a right of passage in a way, but I miss my bed.

My feet carry me up the back steps, clomping heavily on the rain worn wood, pulling my weight on an unreliable hand rail. I take a deep breath as I clock in. I don’t know why, but I need it. I hope it will give me energy or a more positive attitude. It doesn’t.

I begin setting up the same bar I broke down several hours ago. Uncapping, unwrapping, refilling, washing, wiping, all that shit. I try to suck down a terrible cup of coffee just to keep going. My body craves water, but I don’t usually listen. Why the fuck am I here right now? I won’t get a customer for hours. I’ve been here too much lately. Fuck this place, fuck work. What kind of life is this?

I burp and fart my way through the set up. No one else is happy to be here right now either. It’s the morning dregs. We all get them. The evil eye that says just leave me alone for a while, let me set up in peace and get this coffee in my system before I have to be civil. I curse the existence of the restaurant, for not paying better attention in school, for the failures of a city that owes me nothing.

I wander to the back to get ice for my well. The dish washer is one of my buddies and he looks as bad as I do.

“What’s up man?” he says, spraying a dish down.

I shovel a scoop into the ice pit and begin loading up my bucket. I groan as he talks, “Ugh. You’re looking at it.”

“Yeah,” he said, his smile slowly fading as the realization of where we are and what we are doing set it. “Yeah,” repeating, much more solemnly this time, going back to washing another dish and I continued shoveling ice in silence.

We were where we were and there was nothing at that moment that could change it. We could dream of a fire burning the building down, giving us a free day, but it wouldn’t happen. It never does. Our day would go on and we would quietly hate the world for a while, hungover and miserable, shoveling ice and washing dishes in one way or another until it was time to punch the clock once again.

The Carnival

nashville-skyline

Light streaks upward
from the bottom of newly planted trees
reaching for the moon
falling well short

in the night of new Nashville
the ghosts of old have been paved over,
built on and forgotten
houses that owners can’t afford
rent that I can’t
it’s a goddamn travesty
for us with little money
in a valley where dreams once sprang
turned into a mecca of asphalt and falsified realities
of a soap opera TV show
more interested in money than story lines

it’s a carnival or a circus
where a bottle of Bud costs $8
and it’s fucking sad
it used to be so cool, I say,
trying not to sound like an old codger

it’ll come crashing down one day
and I’ll be far away
hoping my new city
doesn’t follow this path
hoping that I’ll be in a better position
to appreciate it
or fight against it