What's on my DVR; TV Shapes Career Choices!

The the arrival of summer used to mean the vacation of anything decent to watch on TV. Thanks to shows like The Closer, Royal Pains and True Blood, summer TV is no longer just a wasteland for cast-offs that weren't good enough to make it into the regular rotation.

It takes a lot for me to commit to a TV show and some of them get cancelled. Two of NBCs new shows I immediately liked, and made a point to record on my DVR are both gone. One is Prime Suspect, which has been gone since December. The other is Awake, which they are kind enough to let finish out the year. I can understand why Awake didn't take hold with the masses. This high-concept show is a bit dense, and not very uplifting. I don't need to be uplifted to be entertained and was fascinated by the transported-to-a-parallel-world-via-dreams premise. I also enjoyed that Jeremy Isaac's Det. Britton found clues to what was going on in one life in the other. The fact that he's extremely easy on the eyes doesn't hurt. I am confounded as to why Prime Suspect didn't take off, though. I found it to be gritty, witty, and the characters realistic, not caricatures. I was also completely impressed with how it looked like they were in New York when actually they were filming in LA.

My two favorite network shows are on Fox and sisters are the leads in each - and they couldn't be more different. Bones and New Girl. I was hooked on Bones from the first episode. I love David Boreanez anyway, and probably would have kept watching even if I thought it was awful just to see him in a weekly basis. And I know that Brennan annoys the dickens out of a lot of people with her lack of social graces, but I find it endearing. It shows me that despite having a highly inflated IQ, she doesn't understand everything. And a lot of the time her honesty can be refreshing and bring perspective to a situation. It took me about five weeks after New Girl started before I actually watched it. I let them collect in my DVR, and nearly deleted them despite all the great reviews I'd read. The best thing I did that Saturday afternoon is press "PLAY" instead of "DELETE". Ben even stopped doing what he was doing (playing a computer game probably) to watch them. The show got progressively better as the year went on. And the concept is so sitcom-kitzchy that it could very easily have gone the way. I've always had a girl-crush on Zooey Deschenal, and I found it annoying when the non-troversy of Jess being too girly, therefore weak, popped up. But they handled that with aplomb. Every character is unique (and weird) and Max Greenfield has an ability akin to Courtney Cox when she was playing Monica - he embraces all of Schmidt's failings as a person with a big bear hug and you love him for it. I always thought that Courtney Cox was gipped out of an Emmy - Monica was a WAY more complex character than Rachel and it's obnoxious that it wasn't acknowledged. Anyway....

In Plain Sight just wrapped up in its entirety. When I saw FINAL SEASON in the clear font on the bottom right corner of my TV, I was saddened. This show was a passing amusement for me for the first two seasons but became a must-watch last season, and now its over! They were promoting the final episode in a manner that alluded to a romance between the two main characters, and those are two people who I felt had absolutely no chemistry that way. They were great friends and that's how they stayed. There is going to be huge hole in my summer schedule with the exodus of The Closer. I'm going to miss those "Thank yewwwwws!" I love that despite her great intentions, and how good a person Brenda Leigh Johnson is, she has some serious flaws. She's done some pretty soul-twisting things. I was cheering though, after she and her detectives left a gangster at his doorstep, with the rest of his gang closing in to implement a little street justice. Not really in the vain of being an upholder of the law. But he did murder an elderly owner of a convenience store and his little grandson because the owner wouldn't give him a beer; and she was forced into accepting a deal that give him immunity because he had information about a murder of a solider. She is in some hot water because of the choices she made and I'm anxious to see how it will all be wrapped up. Royal Pains has been another pleasant surprise. I didn't think I'd really get into it. Mark Feuerstein is impossibly cute, which can be annoying to me and his character, Hank Lawson is a do-gooder, which too much of can also annoy me. As I've watched, Hank's flaws have come out and some of his do-goodiness has saved the day, but didn't make we want to gag because of a syrupy sentiment. I adore Paulo Costanzo - I have ever since I saw him in Road Trip. He was the reason that I watched the Friends spin-off Joey longer than I should have. I left Royal Pains on one Saturday morning because of him. His character, Evan R. Lawson is Hank's brother and CEO of Hank Med, the concierge medicine business he started after Hank was fired from a Manhattan hospital for saving a poor teenager instead of a billionaire hospital benefactor. (See what I mean, he's a do-gooder.) Evan can be an abrasive know-it-all, but in an endearing way. And Reshma Shetty is beautiful and I love her British accent. Her character, Divya Katdare is the Physician Associate and she really blossomed this past season when she stood up to her hyper-controlling parents and said she wouldn't go through with her arranged marriage. They cut her off and she's had to make it on her own. But honestly, this takes place in The Hamptons and I wouldn't mind having to rough it out there. I also thought I'd be bitten with the jealousy bug over seeing so much wealth, but the wealth on display is such that even my dreams don't go there. The show is a fun, fancy escape.

Ahhhh. True Blood in a few short weeks! There was never any doubt I would be enamored of this show. Well I wasn't all the impressed with the very first episode, but since I love all things vampire I was going to give it many chances. Didn't need to hold my breath for it to kick in to high gear an longer than until the next episode. Excess is a word that classifies the show perfectly, so it's no wonder I love it. And vampires. There are also witches, werewolves, fairies and a plethora of other creatures. But it's always the vampires for me.

I find it fascinating how so many aspects of our lives are influenced by the moving picture boxes in our homes. Aside from the radio, which I have on all day during the week, TV is the other main source of entertainment. With the exception of acting being a glamorous and lucrative business, I never really thought about it as influencing people for other careers. While driving back from the grocery store yesterday I caught the end of Morning Edition on NPR. There is a local show, Innovation Hub that has an hour slot over the weekends. Its host, Kara Miller was summing up this interview. It's about the lack of people going into technical fields, such as engineering. Companies are now recruiting students to be interns in their freshman years. One aspect of this deficit of young people interested in technical careers is TV. There is a glut of legal procedurals and medical dramas that can make those type of careers appear exciting and sexy. Not ironically there are too many lawyers now and not enough doctors going into general practice. There really aren't any shows with engineers or physists as the main characters. The Big Bang Theory was mentioned as just such a show, but also acknowledged was the main characters are pretty geeky and not exactly the type of people kids aspire to be like. The entertainment industry now needs to get on making general practitioners, engineers and physicists sexy because we are in need of them more than surgeons and lawyers!


Okay, folks! Today is day three of my JM Body Revolution program. Eighty-seven more days to go... The first week has an optional "Kick-Start Your Metabolism" menu, or you can just use the regular program menu. Since I see just about everything as challenge to take on, of course I am kick-starting my metabolism. So this week my food choices are limited and it's only annoying when it comes to dinner. I can have the same breakfast and lunch day-in-and-day-out, but I like to keep dinners different. There are three breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners to mix and match. Unfortunately because "the calorie quantities are adjusted accurately per food category" I can't switch up the dinners by substituting one of the lunches. Grrr. But at least the food is yummy. Last night I had the Peppercorn Steak on a Bed of Wilted Spinach served with a Tomato Salad. I also spread a couple of shakes of the balsamic vinegar over the spinach and steak. Easy enough. I did make some mashed red potatoes with goat cheese for the rest of my family to have with their steak, of course. I've included the calorie information as well, and the recipe is for one serving. Sorry, no pic for this!

Peppercorn Steak on a Bed of Wilted Spinach served with a Tomato Salad

1 4 oz steak; filet mignon, flank steak or sirloin
Fresh ground black pepper
1 c baby spinach
1 plum tomato, cut into 8ths
4 black Greek olives, roughly chopped
1/4 of a red onion, sliced paper thin
2 tsp olive oil
1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar.

Season the steak with the pepper and any other herbs (no salt). Broil or grill to desired doneness. Serve the steak over the spinach. For the salad, mix the olives, tomato pieces, onion vinegar and olive oil in a bowl.

This recipe can be found in JM's Master Your Metabolism cookbook. 


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