Scene: Beijing, late ’80s, Connie Womack and Tina Rutnick have a late-night-drunk-girl chat.

Connie: I’m going to be a totally normal actress. Not only will I be on a show about football, but I will prove that a nuanced, well-rounded woman can take a pretty darn good story about football and make it stratospherically great.

Tina: And!—even when people later want to get mileage out of your fabulous hair and the way y’all just drops out of your mouth, you’re going to continue to insist that women are infinitely more fascinating as actual people.

Connie: Right?! Yes.

Tina: I’m going to be a totally reasonable Senator. My biggest claim to fame will be that I keep working when the rest of Congress decides to act like a petulant toddler.

Connie: Oh! And since you’ll be nailing the Floor while at the same time being the mother of small children, you’ll teach your fellow legislators that women really ought to be running most, if not all, of the government.

Tina: Amen, sister. A-men.

Both: late-night-drunk-girl giggles

Ok, so I’ve decided that Ryan Murphy is the Joyce Carol Oates of television. Great ideas, but obnoxiously poor execution (and sometimes writing).

Matt Prickett

Yes. All of that.

Am I grown without my own children? Yes. Will I probably give this a whirl anyway? Also yes.

I wish that I could take everybody I ever lived with and everybody I ever loved and pack them up and take them back to my mom’s house and have us all eat from the lunch boxes she made—even though they really weren’t very good lunch boxes anyway. Funny about that, how you can’t really appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore.
Dylan, quarterlife
In really serious situations, I always feel like I’m pretending to be an adult. And it occurred to me recently that I might always have that feeling. Maybe everybody’s pretending to be an adult. After all, we’re not that young anymore. We kind of are the adults. At least the junior ones.
Dylan, quarterlife

After three years of book research, I have checked off the final item on my to watch/read list.*

In six months, I turn thirty. I like where this is headed.

*for now (clearly)

My birthday is coming up, so I’ve been thinking about Sally Rogers. Funny Sally, with her blonde hair bobbed and curled, a black bow affixed on the left side, flowered dresses that cinch at the waist and billow over the hips. She’s the type of woman who wears a single strand of pearls that settles just above the collarbone when she goes out for the evening.

My birthday is in late February and hers is in early March and “Where You Been, Fassbinder?” is the most depressing example of what it’s like to be a single woman, dateless, on your birthday.

Because God has an excellent sense of humor, I am a confirmation mentor.

‘You know I’ve been Presbyterian for like a minute and a half, right?’ I asked my confirmand and my pastor and have said to everyone who’s been on the receiving end of this story.

No one seems to mind this fact, and so on we go, exploring the denomination, larger Christianity, faith in general and other Big Questions.

You know what’s really hard about that? No. Scratch that. You know what’s really easy about that? Being glib. It’s really easy to turn the whole thing into some big chucklefest. It’s really easy to brush the whole thing aside with a dusting of ‘you know, God, or whatever.’

What’s hard is being sincere. Not even in answering the questions, but in asking them in the first place.


Todd and Amy talk about their favorite things that have nothing to do with Christmas, yet still remind them of the holiday season, including a brief detour into discussions of Christmas episodes of TV shows and how Aaron Sorkin is like the modern-day Irving Berlin. Featuring music by the Eddie Higgins Trio and Mark Mothersbaugh!

Check it out on LibSyn here.

Listen directly here.

Today’s music includes:

“Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly” by The Eddie Higgins Trio. (Buy the MP3 at Amazon.)

“End Credits” by Mark Mothersbaugh. (Buy the Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack at Amazon.)

Got suggestions for what we should do next? Hit us up on Twitter: ToddAmy, or the show itself. And e-mail us at toddvdw at gmail dot com to tell us about the person you just can’t decide on a gift for.

My favorite TV trope is the narrated montage at the end of an episode. It occurred to me that my evening prayers are not unlike that—a series of images and the greater themes tying them all together. Maybe that’s why good days are the best prayer days: nothing is better than the happy/sentimental concluding narrated montage.


Chart Showing a Day of Television Programming in Chicago, 09/16/1954
An exhibit from the Senate Judiciary Special Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency during its investigation on the effect of television programming on juvenile delinquency.


Chart Showing a Day of Television Programming in Chicago, 09/16/1954

An exhibit from the Senate Judiciary Special Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency during its investigation on the effect of television programming on juvenile delinquency.

Make me good, God, but not yet

[Spoiler warning: this covers the entire first season of Nurse Jackie.  If you haven’t yet watched it, I encourage you to do so.]

Back in June, I asked if there was room in my small, dark heart to love another TV nurse.  After two episodes, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Nurse Jackie.  But as the weeks ticked on, I started to fall for the show, a little bit at a time.

Things started getting good in the third episode, as a subplot involving the older of Jackie’s daughters, Grace, and her mounting issues with anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t get much play time on television – Degrassi gave it a little bit of treatment with Paige when she started college – but not really, and especially not a continuing plot arc with a child.  As someone who started getting really panicky in elementary school, I applaud the visibility of the issue.  Also appreciated: Jackie’s wavering feelings on the topic.  In one of the later episodes, Jackie’s best work friend, Dr. O’Hara (love her), calls Jackie out for sounding angry about her daughter’s condition, to which Jackie asks, who gets mad at her daughter for something she can’t help?  It’s an honest reaction/interaction and that side of the story is just as deserving as the anxious child.

It was episode six, however, that really anchored my love of the show and its characters.  In that episode, a retired, and dying, nurse comes into the hospital to seek Jackie’s assistance in suicide.  The nurse makes sharp, sarcastic Jackie look like Susie Sunshine, but her fierceness in death makes her just as loveable as Jackie.  Double bonus for episode six: this is when we find out Dr. Cooper has two mommies.  And, check it, they’re normal.  Like, actually human beings, and treated like every other couple on television.  Revolutionary!

Treatment of gay characters (there are two gay male nurses) is a continuing bonus of Nurse Jackie.  In the season finale, Mo-Mo and Dr. Cooper are bemoaning their love lives while working on a patient.  Mo-Mo says how his boyfriend has a thing for straight guys and open relationships.  The patient (middle-age male) tells Mo-Mo he’s got to make his boyfriend jealous.  Dr. Cooper swoops in with the idea for a fake kiss with Mo-Mo to send via text to the boyfriend.  Revolution, part two.  (Really, honestly, I can’t stress how awesome it is to see homosexual nonchalance on television.  Maybe making a big deal of it is counter to that idea, but it’s so damn unusual that it can’t go unapplauded.)

What I’m still questioning is this: where do we go from here?  By the end of the season, Jackie’s at-work boyfriend has discovered Jackie’s marriage and children, though the viewer is left not knowing if he’s spilled their relationship to Jackie’s doting husband.  We also don’t know why Jackie’s been cheating or why she’s so deep in the pill habit that she downs three vials of morphine at the end of the season finale.  In interviews, Edie Falco has said that’s part of the mystery, not spelling it out, which I can totally agree with, but I at least need some crumbs.  Mysteries aren’t much fun without clues to keep us guessing.

Other issues in the last episode are the stuff of season finales: will Zoey get the boot for almost killing a patient?  What’s the deal with Dr. O’Hara and her mother?  Will Dr. O’Hara be able to forgive Jackie for ditching her?

At this point, I can safely say that I can’t wait for the second season to find out what happens.