When Modern Family debuted in 2009, I completely wrote it off, just because it was a family sitcom. I don't know about you, but when I go back and watch sitcoms from the 1970s and '80s, I vomit soft-focused sugar over the opposite wall. For about 20 years, there was a steady continuum of very special episode awful, covering everything from the evils of alcohol to the dangers of a sitting president's wife infiltrating your school and humiliating you in front of your classmates ... before molesting you in her bike shop.
The '80s were a horrible time.
Which was why I was surprised by Modern Family. First and foremost, the writing is really good. As in I don't need a looped recording of people convulsively spewing "HAHAHA!" to make me aware of the jokes. Ultimately, I could just end the entry here, because I can't make the same statement about many other shows on TV right now. But quality writing isn't even why I picked Modern Family. I picked it because it's like looking in a mirror, but one populated with much taller, more beautiful people with way better skin and straight bangs.
For example, here's a real-time Instagram picture of me, my little sister and the white-haired leprechaun who lived with us during my childhood:
When I recall her face I just hear screams.
Here's another one. It's a picture of me, my kids, my dad, his kids who are also the same age as my kids and the gay couple that I wish I had in my life, but don't, for some terrible reason that is unknown to me:
I'm the redhead.
Chances are, you know someone who's in the same family boat -- one with step-siblings and new marriages and different shades of skin color. And if you don't, just wait. This is the reality of a world where people are living longer and making babies longer. Well, not literally making long babies. That would be horrible.
Modern Family pulls off the sentimental family stuff in a way that hasn't been attempted since The Wonder Years ... but with more jokes and with people who look more like America looks today. And it works.
According to a media group that gets into these sorts of things, "occupy" was the most-used word of 2011. Not "octopi," which really explained a lot once I thought about it.
Yes, I know this joke is 2 months old. SHUT UP.
"Occupy" has had nothing but negative, militaristic connotations since colonial days. It's what you do when you take over a hostile territory militarily. You know, with guns and marching and free bubble gum for children and stuff. So it's an odd choice of word from people who are more or less camping out. I guess "Squat Wall Street" didn't have the same ring.
Not to disparage what the 99 percent are doing. I get it, kind of. There's been a helplessness in the air, and this is an understandable attempt to get a little control. They've commandeered a word that usually belongs to aggressors, even if they themselves are claiming to be victims. It's like when you're a kid and you're getting bullied but you tell everyone that you're the one doing the bullying -- except not really, because that never happens. Crazy, right?
Crazy like childhood depression!
And then the word became a joke. "Occupy Everything," "Occupy Mordor," "Occupy Couch." You can't drink a cup of mocha without telling it to occupy your belly or have sex without telling someone to occupy your vagina. It's a cliche now. Which is worrisome. We're staring in the face of what could be the most culturally significant movement since anti-Vietnam days, and we've turned their watchword into a joke. What a perfect way to end 2011.
But maybe that's just the way it's always been. No one took the hippies seriously, either. And now they're the ones we're "occupying" against.
It's like the circle of life. Which probably means we should be eating hippies, or something.
Did I already say "occupy/octopi" jokes were terrible? DAMN IT.
Look at that hat. Look at it.
If stupid could be represented in hat form, this is what it would look like. It's like someone glued a gaping toilet lid with snakes coming out of it to her head, one that's been beiged on.
And you know what? Someone paid over $130,000 for it. That's right, 130,000 dollars, not farts. True, those dollars went to charity, but where I come from $130,000 can buy a lot of normal. Maybe Princess Beatrice is a lovely girl. Maybe she's the best girl in the world. I wouldn't know, because I'm going out of my way to know nothing about her or her sister, Princess Eugene. All I know is that I can't respect a person who wears an overflowing toilet on her face.
I think I just figured out why I hate Lady Gaga so much. Time to ask my therapist for a refund!
It has come to this.
That was Republican candidate for president Rick Perry proving that the GOP has fully embraced not even trying to sound smart anymore. Don't take this for a biased "All Republicans are imbeciles" partisan attack -- the Democratic Party hasn't always thrust forth the most intellectual candidates of the day. There's plenty of evidence, for example, that JFK was an academic idiot. We've had stupid candidates and presidents from both parties. But before, they always tried to hide the fact that they weren't smart.
For all his common-man mannerisms and Texas charm, George W. Bush was a big fan of books and making sure you knew he read them. The new Republicans are different. It's one thing for Sarah Palin to believe common sense and values are important for running a country -- it's hard to argue with that. It's something else to believe they're all you need, and that putting additional information in your brain somehow kills off the values part. She actually used the fact that she only had an ordinary education as a selling point.
Transcribed, here's what that speech looked like:
"I believe that I am because I have common sense and I have I believe the values that I think are reflective of so many other American values, and I believe that what Americans are seeking is not the elitism, the uhm, the ah, a kind of spineless, spinelessness that perhaps is made up for that with some kind of elite, Ivy League-education and, and a fat resume that is based on anything but hard work and private sector, free enterprise principles. Americans are could be seeking something like that in positive change in their leadership, I'm not saying that that has to be me."
Yowch. So, the Ivy League-educated people who form the backbone of GOP strategy screwed up. Everyone gets one. But then Christine O'Donnell happened ...
And then Michele Bachmann happened. Michele Bachmann thinks Democrats might behind swine flu.
I get that we're talking about two different parties here, the Republicans and the Tea Party, except, not really. And I get that it's not like there's a grandmaster GOPmeister moving candidates around like chess pieces (I think).
The point is, whatever those American politicians lack in book smarts, they usually make up for in preparation and hard work. Anyone who watched the 2000 presidential debates probably remembers that they weren't horrifyingly one-sided, in spite of Bush's and Gore's respective reputations. Contrast that to Herman Cain, who barely knows that Libya is a thing, much less a place that he needs to conjure up an opinion on.
Never mind that three of the GOP primary candidates don't believe humans have anything to do with climate change, or that four of them don't believe in evolution. Forget all that for a second ... the fact that this is who Republicans are bringing to the table against one of the smoothest orators of that last 50 years is what's appalling. Think of how the debates are going to go when Perry can't remember the word "the." Or Cain gets asked about Europe. Or someone asks Bachmann to speculate where AIDS comes from.
None of those things are going to happen, of course, because those three will never see the light of day against Obama. But shame on the GOP for not scraping together every conservative genius they could find for the contest.