Friday, December 31, 2010

First season episode list for a fictional weekly TV series about me and my student loans

The New Year is just about here and optimism abounds for the prospects of next year. Even a pretty pessimistic guy like me has to admit that he still feels some degree of enthusiasm at the idea of a fresh new beginning. Unfortunately this year, it has been exceedingly difficult to build any momentum for the new year since January '11 is also the time when the rest of my student loan debt, built up over 7 years of higher education, finally starts becoming due. Some other loans that came due earlier have already taken much of the juice from Christmas; really there is nothing like sending a cool G to Sallie Mae to really get oneself into the spirit of giving (at least my high-paying legal job will help with the repayment...oh wait...). However as my mother always said "when life gives you lemons, make punny fictional lemonade", so here is the complete, totally made up, episode list for "Victor vs. A Life Time of Student Debt" season 1:
  1. Episode 1: Sallie Mae-hem! (Pilot)
  2. Episode 2: PLUS-sized Trouble
  3. Episode 3: Fun with Forbearance
  4. Episode 4: An "Interest"-ing Development
  5. Episode 5: Stafford Syndrome
  6. Episode 6: Subsidized Pleasure, Unsubsidized Pain
  7. Episode 7: Perkins Envy
  8. Episode 8: A Fistful of Late Fees
  9. Episode 9: Disaster Deferred?
  10. Episode 10: Showdown in Wilkes-Barre
Not quite sure what the tone would be. Tragedy? Comedy? Action? Vorshtein? Oh and to those rich/lucky sons of bitches who have no idea what all these student loan references are, I hope your butler spits in your fillet mignon tonight.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Re-Work My Heart

Quite often I'll find myself with a random idea or notion that, while sort of interesting (at least to myself anyway), is essentially worthless and infeasible due to issues of cost, time, logic, and overall pointlessness. I've also noticed I've been getting these ideas more frequently during my current post graduate unemployment period. Rather than just confining these useless fancies in my mind and letting them die a peaceful, honorable, death I figured I'd toss up an occasional thought or two on the blog and have it live forever in the limitless clutter of the internet. You can thank me later.

The setting is December 1996; weddings and Bar Mitzvahs remain trapped under the unrelenting iron grip of the Macarena, Bill Clinton optimistically looks ahead to a productive, distraction-free, second term, and Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart" is topping the Billboard Charts. Of course anyone around my age will recall the classic music video for "Un-Break My Heart" (which joins Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" as one of the two greatest music videos of women walking around their mansions singing about their love for and lamenting the motorcycle related deaths of their significant others, made in 1996). You know how the story goes: Tyson Beckford gets killed right off the bat by some random yellow Oldsmobile, countless shots of Toni grieving in various states of undress, Toni's flashbacks of sexy frolicking with Tyson Beckford in various states of undress, and that big concert at the end with the full orchestra and that weird dress with the hole in the side. The song itself was epic enough on it's own but then you add the over-the-top four minute melodrama to the music, you get a straight up classic.

At the time the video came out I found it to be probably the most nakedly erotic thing my 12 year old self saw on basic cable (at least until Fiona Apple's "Criminal" came out the following year). Watching it now nearly 15 years later (god I felt so old writing that out) the whole thing is a lot tamer and surprisingly sillier then I remember, particularly the sexy flashbacks. All the flashback to Toni and Tyson during happier times are obviously supposed to show a deeply passionate, sexy young couple, enjoying each other and for the most part they do, but looking at it now some of the scenes don't really work for me. Here's a breakdown of their activities ranked in terms of sexiness:
  • Doing it in the shower (Classic sexy. Can't go wrong with that.)
  • Sexy swimming/possibly doing it in the pool (Pretty sexy, very rarely done wrong [see pool sex scene from "Showgirls"])
  • Cuddling by the fireplace in matching black turtleneck sweaters (Sexy, but the sweaters lose points.)
  • Toni playfully shaving Tyson (Not all that sexy. There are ways one can make shaving sexy, but it doesn't really work here)
  • Sexy game of Twister (Not sexy and weird. With all the physical entanglements Twister can have sexy applications, but when you're an intimate couple like that why don't you just go have sex?)
  • Tyson playfully grooming Toni's hair (Totally not sexy. I can't imagine any scenario where that would work.)
So given all these memorable scenes, my ideas was that that if anyone wanted to make a parody of the "Un-Break My Heart" video it should replace the flashback activities with unambiguously un-sexy and increasingly absurd activities. What these activities should be is really left to the parodist but they should be the complete opposite of sexy behavior. Just brainstorming off the top of my head faux Toni and Tyson could be:
  • Doing yard work
  • Installing weather stripping
  • Filing their joint tax returns
  • Re-enacting Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House"
  • Eating gigantic sandwiches
  • Voting
  • Making a dress with a huge hole in the side
Well, I think it had promise. However given that neither this song nor Toni Braxton has been all that relevant for at least a decade (although Weezer's recent cover of it on their new album is kind of not terrible), it would appear that this idea is will only live on as a gloriously esoteric pipe dream. Then again, if they can make a mediocre SNL digital short based entirely on the opening lines of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5", perhaps there's a glimmer of hope.