atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4355: No news is not good news, but it's all the news we got.

It's amazing how much I can make out of nothing.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus decided to try watching The Knick, which is a medical drama set in 1900's New York. As is typical of cable TV series, the characters are all bad people (one way or another).

The main character is Dr. John Thackery, who is a brilliant doctor, a dour, hard-edged man, and a cocaine addict.


Basically he's a well-groomed House without access to (and knowledge of) 21st century medical science, and he has to inject himself because powdered cocaine hadn't been invented yet. He's got needle tracks all over his body and in the first episode he makes a nurse give him his morning dose in his penis. He also patronizes an opium den in Chinatown.

*double sigh*

The hospital's board of directors is headed by the daughter of some rich capitalist, and of course they're all progressive. She and Thackery collide over the appointment of a black man as the assistant chief surgeon, said black man having studied medicine in Europe (Paris, specifically) and coming highly qualified and recommended...but of course turn-of-the-century New York is so RACISS that he can't possibly work at a white hospital don't you know, because Jim Crow. Anyway he sets up an illicit clinic in the hospital basement for black people, and--as one would expect--things end...badly.

The guy who actually runs the hospital--I don't know what his deal is, but he's turning out to be quite the crook, embezzling funds, owing money to a loan shark, cavorting with a prostitute.

Then there's the baby-murdering nun.


Mrs. Fungus was perhaps a third of the way through the first episode, and there was this scene where the nun and a nurse had set up a tub of ice water on a bed and a pregnant woman was instructed to place her full belly into the ice water for twenty minutes. Mrs. Fungus didn't know what was going on, but I was pretty sure we were seeing an abortion taking place.

"Did the doctor prescribe this?" The nurse asked the nun as they walked away.

"He would if he knew what he was doing," the nun replied dourly. Later we see her going out, dressed like Mary Poppins, and performing an abortion for a woman, assuring her that God will forgive her because He can see her suffering. (Translation: "It's perfectly okay for you to get an abortion, because the baby would just inconvenience you, and I like killing babies.") But someone has seen what she's doing....

They just had to make her a nun, of course.

Anyway, moving on--

We see the occasional flashback of Thackery when he first started his career at the Knick, studying under Dr. Christianson, who committed suicide. (I didn't see that part, so I don't know if it was shortly before the beginning of the series, or the beginning.) Anyway, the part of the deceased doctor is played by Matt Frewer (Max Headroom) and both Mrs. Fungus and I were certain that that guy was familiar to us, but couldn't place him. In the show he wears an impressive beard, which made him look completely different, but once I looked at the IMDB entry it was obvious who it was. It helps that he plays the character differently than he's played other characters in the past. Anyway, it's Dr. Christianson that turned Dr. Thackery on to the wonders of cocaine, specifically its stimulant properties, and because there's no Betty Ford clinic or 12-step program, he's now screwed.

And then the rest of it: the ambulance driver robs the dead, the health inspector's crooked, everyone's cheating on their wives, blah blah blah, etcetera. And around all this we have Typhoid Mary, too! It's a party!

...I speak with disdain about all this, because Typical Hollywood, but it is an interesting series to watch and there's enough suspense to make up for the fact that most of the characters are asshats.

Thackery is of course supposed to be offensive to liberal/progressive sensibilities, a la House. The problem is, to anyone with a brain he comes across as sensible. Okay, when he is told he must hire Algernon Edwards, "the negro doctor", he tells the female CEO that no white people are going to want to be worked on by a black man. I think the racism of 1900s New York is overstated in this series, but if you accept that overstatement at face value then Thackery just makes sense, and he tells her that they're trying to run a hospital, not some kind of progressive (that's the word he uses) social experiment. But because her father gives the hospital a great deal of money--including $12,000 for electrification--she gets her way, and Algernon Edwards is hired. (And then goes on to set up his speakeasy clinic for blacks in the basement.)

We've watched the first three episodes of this series, and so far it's pretty good. It doesn't revolve around medical cases (like House, M.D. did) so it ought to have decent rewatch factor, but because all the characters are dickheads I don't know how much extra time I'd want to spend with them.

That's what doomed Battlestar Galactica to "watch once" status with me; everyone was simply as horrible as they could be, and what could have been an epic tale of the human will to survive instead was presented as a dreary dystopia. It was a good show, but not one I need to watch again, specifically because I know I wouldn't enjoy it any more the second time than I did the first time, and once was enough.

So I'm sitting here and thinking about the various TV shows Mrs. Fungus and I watch, and I'm trying to think of one that's fun like Firefly was, and failing. Penny Dreadful, Game of Thrones, The Leftovers, none of them are fun. Interesting, dramatic, suspenseful, sure, but not fun.

When did TV become such a dreary wasteland?

* * *

I've observed, recently, that 99% of the TV we watch is picked by Mrs. Fungus. I don't really care enough about anything on TV to waste time on looking for new shows--the bunker could only receive broadcast TV from mid-2011 until Mrs. Fungus moved in, and I never watched that either--but when she watches something I usually tag along, which is why I've seen the series I mentioned above. It's the only reason. If I have a choice, it is usually limited to what has been recorded by the DVR, because A) 99% of everything on TV is shit, and B) whatever's on the DVR has a decent chance of being something Mrs. Fungus and I watch together.

* * *

Hot one today, and the grass still needs cutting. Wednesday I ended up falling asleep, and I don't regret that at all because I needed that sleep. But I notice that my neighbors have not exactly been keeping their lawns to golf course standards, either, probably for approximately the same reasons I have not--rain, more rain, too hot, and so on. But today must be Der Tag if only because letting it go until my next day off would then require a herd of goats.

"There are no goats, half-man."

"Then make do!"

Ultiamtely, the worst thing you can do is nothing. No matter how nice it feels.

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