Top ten lists abound this time of year, and I have taken to recounting my favorite things, in no particular order and with no number cap. Herein I will tell you about my favorite things of 2015. In the case of entertainment/media, they may be things that debuted in 2015 or things I simply discovered in 2015. Without further ado, this year I start with the brand new…
A “prequel” to one of the best shows ever should not be this good. It shouldn’t be any good. But it is so good. It’s truly unique and a great show in its own right. It is a testament to the writing that I was surprised – really shocked – that Saul didn’t take that meeting with the muckety-muck lawyers. I mean, I know how this story ends, and it still left me feeling bad for poor Saul, or should I say “slippin’ Jimmy.” It is an understatement to say I can’t wait for season 2 in February.
This is the second Americanization of a telenovela that I have fallen head-over-heels in love with. (The first was Ugly Betty.) The show is in its second season, and just as I marveled during the first season at the accurate and hilarious portrayal of pregnancy, I am currently marveling at the accurate and sometimes hilarious portrayal of new motherhood. In the midst of an argument with the baby’s father, Jane says that she is so consumed by the baby that she doesn’t even recognize herself anymore. Right. Exactly. Despite and amidst the crazy, telenovela plot insanity, this show shines at portraying a realism that motherhood is routinely denied in entertainment. It’s not all gazing at a cute face and basking in joy. It’s messy and emotional and very rarely pretty. I cry at this show more than I cried at Parenthood, and that’s a lot. Season 1 is available on Netflix should you want to watch it. I say that you should.
Ah, my beloved Mad Men finally said goodbye, and for the most part, it was a fitting farewell. Though I was initially miffed at the final episode, upon further contemplation, I realized its genius. This show rarely missed a note (the seventh season’s final coupling of Peggy and Stan felt like it borrowed writers from a different show) and I expect that it will be timeless. Having watched all but the first season in real-time, I look forward to binge-watching this series some random and otherwise boring week in the future.
I wasn’t even finished with the first season of this show when I watched the 2015 #spoileralert Emmy’s and saw the ending. Here’s my inner monologue during what amounted to about a five-second span of time: “Hey, there’s a guy in a big cowboy hat. I think that’s Raylan from Justif…SONOFABITCH!” I’m nearly finished with the series now. I know what happens, I just don’t know who does it. But I’ve got a pretty good suspicion. It pisses me off that my viewing of the episodes is clouded by this half-information and speculation, but it does not make me enjoy the show any less. This show isn’t a Breaking Bad or a Mad Men. It takes a while to find its footing, and unless the final season knocks me on my ass, like most other series it peaks in season 4. However it is good, and it is fun, and it is funny, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 4 months of this binge. I will be very sorry in a week or two when it’s over.
The man, the master. I watched Good Eats way back when it was in its early years on the Food Network. I liked it, and thought Alton’s scientific approach to food was logical and pleasing. I did not attempt many of his recipes. He is, to say the least, a bit finicky. Sometimes, after going through his instructions four times, I still can’t wrap my head around them. Mr. Brown’s recipes take patience and a certain investment in cooking. I have those things now, but did not way back when. Somehow he found his way back to my front burners, so to speak. This year I attempted more and more of his recipes with exceedingly great outcomes, but what sealed his deity status in this household was his beef stew. I have been searching for a good beef stew ever since I started cooking. The slow cooker couldn’t do it, and eventually earned itself a trip to the slow cookers’ final resting place. Even Cook’s Country didn’t get it right. But God bless Alton Brown for this recipe. Yes, it takes over six hours to make, but it’s worth every second. I would almost like to cook my way through all his recipes, except we have a few differences on ingredients (to nutmeg I say hell no) and this family has a smaller palette. But learning the science and techniques is good for all cooking, not just Alton’s recipes, and I know he’d agree with me on that.
I started teaching this year and I have to say, as far as jobs go, this one’s pretty good. It is not a clock out and leave your troubles at work kind of job. It requires investment and thought, and thus produces growth, and not just a paycheck.
Pay Attention and I’m the Shit
I feel like I’m forgetting some things this year. I didn’t read near as much as I did last year, at least not for entertainment. I think I actually read more for my short teaching certificate program than I did in grad school, meaning not quantity of assigned reading but personal completion of reading. enlightening as it was, none of it would make this list. I digress. I don’t keep notes during the year for this post, but perhaps I should start that tradition. So sorry if I forgot any great things, and to close out the best of 2015, here are two great Pomplamoose songs.