Sunday, May 30, 2004

While I was dog-sitting, I got to enjoy the pleasures of cable TV. I taped a ton of TCM movies (36 hours!) to watch later. There wasn't too much on during the weekend, so I ended up flipping through the channels until I found a Cheers marathon on TV Land. I never watched Cheers when it was on -- I was too young -- but I started watching it last year when it was on one of the Milwaukee stations. So I enjoyed watching waaay to many episodes of Cheers yesterday and today. It's a fun show though -- it's got good supporting characters and an interesting chemistry between Sam and Diane. I am not as big of a fan of the Rebecca years (despite our common name), but I'm a sucker for an unrequited romance.

Getting into Cheers reminds me of how happy I am when I find a good romance writer who has a big back log. Jude Devereaux was one, and so was Jayne Anne Krentz. They've been writting steadily since probably the mid-70s or 80s, and there were a lot of books to read after I got sucked into the first one. Jude is a slightly better writer, although her obsession with following enormous and wealthy families throughout time is kind of annoying. I mean, seriously, I don't care that much about the muscular Taggarts of Colorado or the more urbane Montgomerys of Maine. Gosh, just the fact that I remember their names proves that I have probably read too many of her books. They are also slightly classier than your usual romance novels -- nice cover art, without any maidens with heaving bossoms or shirtless men. Jayne Anne Krentz is a less talented writer -- her contemporary novels are pretty much the same. Insert weird name of heroine and hero, set in Washington state, preferrably on an island, occassionally toss in some supernatural sights for the heroine, both hero and heroine are slightly eccentric, slightly older, and have incredibly chemistry together. Add one problem which needs the professional help of one of the couple and shake. After some complication, the problem will be solved and the couple will get married. The end. She also writes some crappy futuristic romances under the name Jayne Castle. Avoid them! But her best books are probably under the pseudonym Amanda Quick. These are Regency era romances, usually following the same kind of plot as her other books. But they have better clothes and there is usually some kind of titles involved. Oh, and the titles are almost always one word -- Reckless, Mystique, or Ravished.

I also ended up watching a little of The Dead Zone on Friday night. I couldn't get into it enough to watch the whole thing, but Christopher Walken was actually pretty cute when he was younger. (The movie is from 1983.) He's got something weird going for him -- but when it works, he is rather appealing. And there's an article about him in the weekend NY Times. It's pretty interesting, because he has done a lot of crappy movies. But people still love him and consider Walken to be a great actor. I guess it's the weird speech patterns -- or perhaps the fact that he really can tap dance! I'm a sucker for a tap dancer.

Well, I'm watching one of the movies I taped now -- Duchess of Idaho. It's an MGM musical with Esther Williams and Van Johnson. From what I've watched so far, it's pretty cute. I just finished Esther Williams' autobiography, so it's pretty timely. And Van Johnson is kind of interesting. He reminds me of Ronald Regan for some reason -- but they are actually nothing alike.

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