ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

May 21, 2019

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Happy Tuesday, all! What should our new monoculture be now that Game of Thrones is over and the Avengers are avenged? 

where just getting the clothes washed and dried is an accomplishment and getting the socks paired and put away was a victory beyond expectations. Actually folding the rest of the clothes? Surely you jest. Shirley you jest? That joke doesn't work written out. So, what do you think of the new Jeopardy champ? I always wondered about people only going from top to bottom. Even if that they are ordered by difficulty, there is an element of chance in trivia knowledge. You might know a hard one and not know what the writers consider an easy one. And getting the doubles off the board early so you prevent another person from being able to make up lost ground late in the game is very helpful. His strategy seems like a metaphor for our time. The previous strategy wasn't really a rule, it was just what everyone did because it seemed the right way (judge whether you really are good at a category before going too deep) until someone just decided that "rules" or things that always seemed like a good idea didn't apply to him. Yes?

I think it’s fun how serialized Jeopardy! is lately. I have been tuning in more than usual just to see how the story ends! I do think your point about the Unstated Norms is interesting, but, yeah, you might as well see if you can get the most difficult question first, if you’re generally knowledgeable. It’s not a travesty; it just situates the drama of the game at a different point. 

Theater geeks deserve their turn to be the center of the pop-cultural world. This series is amazing. Each episode features a different Fosse project and is done in the style of that project. That said, jazz-hands and bowler-hats are EVERYWHERE.

Many people whose taste I trust have been saying I absolutely have to watch this, and if there is anything approaching the volume of jazz-hands you describe, I had better run not walk!

I mean, it was pretty much all my mother did the summer of '74. TV, radio, Time Magazine. Seems almost quaint, but it certainly took over the summer. I think that was the summer I got into the Black Stallion book series.

It sounds quaint, but wholesome! 

Neil Gaiman is having a day. His "American Gods" in its seconds season and "Good Omens" is getting a ton of publicity. I hope it's good since it has a former Doctor playing a demon.

And Michael Sheen as Aziraphale! I have high hopes!

During the April 30 chat, which had a lot about Marvel and such, you responded to a comment thusly: Now this is making me crave a cinematic Austen-verse where you gather Emma and Elizabeth Bennet and Elinor and have them team up to fight some sort of scurrilous rogue who prevents suitable engagements. I don't know about the cinematic part; however, there is a book, "Old Friends and New Fancies: An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen," by Sybil G. Brinton, 1913. It's available (at least) in ebook via Project Gutenberg. It's maybe a bit of a stretch to say it fits your description; regardless, I really enjoyed it.

Sybil G. Brinton  in the year 1913 seems like exactly the sort of person I would trust to produce an Austen sequel! Maybe I can read that during the commercial breaks of Fosse/Verdon.

Surrounding the final episode HBO was practically screaming "We got OTHER nerdy stuff!" What show looked best to you: His Dark Materials, Watchmen, or Westworld: The Great Wide Open?

I agree, the desperation was palpable! His Dark Materials looked most intriguing to me personally— I’ve been wanting a good adaptation of that for years, and the cast seems fabulous. I can’t figure out whether I think the Watchmen concept is maybe a valid and interesting choice or I’m just worried about it, but that also has an amazing-looking cast. To me the intriguing thing about Watchmen is how it intermeshes with history and takes apart the superhero myths and makes some of these folks visibly pathetic and awkward even while they remain admirable in some ways— it’s not just like, “ooh, extra gritty and violent and Nixon! That’s cool!” It’s as much about the gap between how we look at superheroes as wish fulfillment and how having them in the world would just make the world more complicated and not necessarily better. So I’m always nervous when an adaptation just looks Cool and Edgy. Maybe I’m wrong. 

OK, who are you and what have you done with our regular chat partner, Alexandra Petri? She is a millennial, and I wasn't aware that they had "doing stuff during commercial breaks" as part of their vocabulary. I'm Gen X and even when I want to watch a show when it airs, I will often start 10 to 15 minutes late so I can fast forward through the commercials.

I love commercial breaks! All the tension! And you get to see what kind of product the people think you as a show viewer might like! How else could you learn that “if this is your taste in shows, you probably need a more comfortable catheter”? It’s nice to be gently given a referendum on your life and choices while viewing!

I haven't seen either Game of Thrones or Avengers, so I'm not much use to that discussion. However, I have an old cautionary tale about the accordion: Myron Floren, accordionist for Lawrence Welk, traveled a bit playing with symphonies around the world. He was heading to airport, off to one of these gigs, and he was running very late. He pulled up to the front door of airport (back when you could do that), rushed out of his car to run to the counter to ask them to hold the plane. Once there, he realized he’d left his car running, the door open, and his prized accordion in the front seat. He ran back out immediately, but it was too late! Someone had put another accordion in there.

Ha! That was a wonderful first sentence, and the story that followed did not disappoint. 

Good Omens is going to be a TV series? Wow! I might actually have to get a television for that one. Edit: oh, never mind, I see it's going to be on Amazon Prime; I can just watch it on my MacBook. My favorite quote: "They'd come here to spoon and, on one memorable occasion, fork."

I think I either didn't know--or totally forgot--that HBO was doing a version of His Dark Materials. I LOOOOVED that trilogy (in fact, am rereading on my Kindle) and was quite disappointed in the film version. I don't have HBO, but maybe I'll get it through Amazon just so I can watch this. YES. Thank you, chat, for making my blah Tuesday noticeably brighter.

And it has James McAvoy, who is great in pretty much everything, Ruth Wilson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda! 

But there's nothing like a big-screen TV for noticing details you wouldn't have otherwise. Why, I spend half my time on now, posting Goofs like "The supposed Germans in this movie are wearing their wedding rings on the wrong hand."

I appreciate your vigilance! 

Been watching? The dance numbers are incredible.

Yes! I loved “A Miner Hitch.” What a set of pipes those plant workers have!

"All is True"? I haven't, but I think I will. Even with a nearly tragic Rotten Tomatoes score of 72%. It's Branagh and Dench and McKellen. I don't think I can help myself.

It has been aggressively recommended to me! Maybe this calls for some sort of double feature.

I will say I desperately wanted Mitchell and George from the UK Being Human to play Cro/awley and Aziraphale. I will still watch this one, though!

A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion, but doesn't.

Yes! By that standard, I am a gentlewoman! The trouble is that it’s been so long since I picked it up that the first weeks of practice required to get back in playing form are going to be brutal for the neighborhood. 

I’ve also heard a gentleman is a man who invites you up to show you his etchings and... shows you his etchings. 

As I was reading through the posts, my right ear popped open... it was VERY satisfying... and now I feel like I have super-hearing. That's all I got.

Congratulations on this milestone! That is a very satisfying feeling.

Either peanut butter and strawberry jam or peanut butter and bread and butter pickles. The bread is sourdough.

Hmm, the fact that you’re contemplating pickles at all makes me think you should go for the pickles. 

Attributed to many, and often used by Tom Waits.

The Bennet girls could visit the Yorkshire moors and solve mysteries or something.

I can’t picture them getting along with the Bronte girls — maybe Jane Eyre, but certainly nobody in Wuthering Heights. Although, wait, Lydia might really get into the whole ambiance. 

One of my all-time favorite New Yorker cartoons shows a couple in an apartment building lobby and he's saying to her, "You stay here and I'll bring the etchings down."


What happened to etchings, anyhow?

They're both great actors, but for her to play his wife when she's nearly 30 years older than he is?

I think it’s fine! Anne Hathaway was slightly older! And if Dame Judi Dench wants to take a role on, I am not one to stand in her way! Better than the usual scenario where she’s five years his senior yet playing his mother.

All the heroines have E-names so the rogue must have a name that begins with W, a la Wickham and Willoughby.

And add some bacon. You will think you've died and gone to heaven.

They are now DicPics, usually unsolicited!

This makes me crave a tv show where one character gets invited up to see some etchings and the etching turns out to be still a lovely, framed etching but of what you just described. 

I'm sure you were counting on me to make an important contribution to the chat, but I have nothing today. (It's not that I feel bad or sad or tired; my well of questions and observations is just empty.)

It’s never stopped me before! 

To my mind, the three seasons of the Canadian Broadcast series "Slings and Arrows" is one of the best long-form series ever. Set in the fictional town of New Burbage, legendary theatrical madman Geoffrey Tennant returns to the New Burbage Theatre Festival, the site of his greatest triumph and most humiliating failure, to assume the artistic directorship after the sudden death of his mentor, Oliver Welles. When Geoffrey arrives he finds that Oliver is still there, in spirit anyway, and with his guidance (and often in spite of it) Geoffrey attempts to reconcile with his past while wrestling the festival back from the marketing department. Despite a bitter leading lady, a clueless leading man, and a scheming general manager, he manages to stage a remarkable production of Hamlet -- the play that drove him mad. In each of the seasons, viewers see what happens off-stage, as well as portions of that season's production: Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear.

To borrow a phrase from another quality Canadian show, “Can confirm! That’s a Texas-sized 10-4, good buddy.”

that it's time to go home and clean the accordions. I don't have any accordions. Whose voices an I hearing, anyway?

They must not be the voices of gentlemen!

that a person who wasn't really wealthy would be able to afford? I think we are all picturing lesser works of huge name artists. It is more likely to refer to just the cheapest reproduction you could get of a drawing that wasn't cutting something out of a newspaper. Equivalent of a Monet poster in a college kid's dorm room.

but suspect AP is referring to the Canadian comedy, Letterkenny. Now if only it were available from someone like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.

It’s on Hulu!

An Englishman and an American bet heavily on the biggest lie either of them can tell. The American begins his story, “One day, an American gentleman...” The Englishman stops him and declares, “You win!”

This has a similar but not identical energy to the Mark Twain — “Now, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” 

after three or four episodes of Fosse.Verdon, I thought, already saw all that jazz and it had better music and real dancing. Not enough time left in my life to bother with it.

A counterpoint!

I had a bad feeling about that, so didn't watch.

Makes me think you're pregnant.

One chatter’s opinion!


I’ll have to take a look! And on that note, I hope you all have splendid weeks severally and jointly! See you next Tuesday— in the interim, on the blog ( and Twitter (@petridishes)!

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