POP CULTURE SPIRIT WOW
Conan O’Brien ended 28 years on the air on Friday. I haven’t watched the finale yet. I don’t want to, honestly. I don’t want to believe there isn’t somewhere out there in the universe where Conan and his team are doing exceedingly stupid things that feel like they could have been done in your garage after dinner on a school night and yet were also really sweet precisely because of that. Aw, look at this ridiculous thing Conan and his friends did. Those kids are adorable.
Most of late night comedy is about politics or celebrities. Conan’s shows had almost nothing to do with the former, and as time went on less and less to do with the latter either, as his remote spots in foreign countries or playing video games became an unexpected gold mine of comedy all its own.
Those spots in a sense capture what has made Conan such a jewel of the late night pantheon. You could throw him into any situation and he would find the funny in it – and the nice/naughty kind of funny, where you might be a little embarrassed that you’re laughing, but you never feel like anyone is being humiliated (other than Conan or other members of his staff).
His baseline has always been that people are wonderfully hilarious and life, too, and watching him has always been an opportunity to be reminded of the same.
And here’s a third which while tone deaf in some moments in the world of today remains for me an all time classic.
This weekend also marks the end of Pride month, which the Pope made a little extra special by writing a letter to Fr. Jim Martin, who has been speaking out on behalf of queer Catholics for some years now, thanking him for his work.
With all the moving I can’t say that I’ve had much time to sit back and enjoy the month, but the overall image I have for Pride is of life opening up. Maybe that’s just me projecting my experience of our country right now onto everything else – Oh my god, look at how that refrigerator is opening up *starts weeping*.
(Okay it probably is.)
But I actually think it has something to do with what Pride is meant to be, too. As well as a celebration Pride is an activity, a movement into a bigger and fuller experience of life and self. And in a way that’s what the Pope is cheering Jim Martin on about – while some voices in the Catholic Church have taught people to hide who they are and be ashamed, to hold themselves back and bury themselves deep, Martin’s work has challenged the Church to see their queer sisters, brothers and friends as on spiritual journeys of their own. Not only is there nothing wrong with being LGBTQ+, it’s a path to life.
At least, those are the little meteor showers of ideas I’m having in between finishing projects and sending stuff across the country and wondering what the future holds. Moving is like that.
Speaking of moving… I’m spending the next two weeks and change living out of boxes in an Airbnb while I scramble to get things done that have been hanging on for way too long.
I don’t know if anyone else is like this or if it’s just me, but departures are always big work periods. Pretty much anything that has been waiting for my attention – My inbox! That one script! Selling off old comic books! — whenever I’m about to go on a trip, that’s when I suddenly am finally there for them.
The nights before I fly I often get very little sleep, and it’s entirely because I’m suddenly like, “Oh hey, today is the day to clean out my desk.” What? At 2 in the morning? OF COURSE.
It’s the plight of the procrastinator, really. We need pressure to get us going. Travel=that. So too does moving.
And so off we go!
But it’s also going to mean I’m away from the newsletter for a little while. Right now I’m thinking I’ll be back on August 8th, but we’ll see how we go. I just need a little time to finish taking everything apart and then putting it all back together.
You have to love Humpty in a nice toque.
In the meantime, some rapid fire recommendations:
Sweet Tooth (Netflix) — Only watched the first two eps so far, but my shrink said it made him cry, the old softie. Basically it’s about a kid with antlers who is trying to find his mom while everyone in the world is kind of trying to hunt him down.
Ted Lasso (Apple TV) — The second season is coming out soon, and I’m still catching up on season one, but man it is a good show. The hopefulness of Parks & Rec’s Leslie Knope married to a football coach who moves to the UK to become a soccer coach. Apple TV is also free for the first 7 days, and the eps are each about 30 minutes. So there’s that…
Rutherford Falls (Peacock) — Another show I let slip by, co-created by Mike Schur (creator of The Good Place and Parks & Rec). It’s the story of a very well-intentioned white guy still living in the town named after his family, and his best friend, a Native woman who wants the local casino to open a cultural center. A show that has some really dynamite and varied portrayals of Native people, and also a slow burn story about white people confronting their history that is really, really interesting.
Ragnarok (Netflix) — I haven’t watched the second season yet, but the first season, about a teenager who moves to a new town and is sort of chosen by the gods to become Thor and fight off the wealthy family/frost giants that live there, was really wonderful. Not a show you need to be into fantasy to enjoy, those elements are very tightly contained. Really just a wonderful show about a kid and his mom and brother trying to find a home for themselves.
Loki (Disney+) — I mean, I guess? I actually like it, the performances are great, the idea is weird in a good way. Just not sure what the show is actually…about? But if you like the Marvel movies or anything to do with alternate dimensions, you may enjoy it.
Okay, off to the races. See you in about a month. Look after yourself. Have a Happy 4th!