Thursday, July 20, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different

I've been ranting a lot lately, and I fear my righteous anger and propensity to use "fuck" a lot has perhaps concealed the true sunny goodness of my personality.

Nah, not really. But I would like to be a little light-hearted today, so I'm going to talk about something fun. (No, this isn't the Snakes on a Plane post. That will come later. Can't wait for Snakes on a Plane!)

Instead I'm going to talk about Reno 911! and Encyclopedia Brown.

How are the two connected? you may ask. I'll tell you how they are connected, and in so doing will reveal the reason for this post, too.

Okay, first, I love Reno 911!. I think it's hysterical, the kind of funny that, like Office Space or Free Enterprise, gets funnier every time you see it. I love the characters-Lt. Dangle and his shorts (so he can move like a Cheetah); Jonesy and his seemingly insatiable sexual appetite; Raeneshia who likes being a cop so she can push men around; Wiegel the racist idiot; Garcia the boob; Junior the white trash petty thief; and Clemmie the whore. (I know they added someone new to the show in Season Three, but being in England I haven't seen it yet.) Every character is so perfect, and so perfectly funny. The show is a gem, and if you are a writer who likes to do comedy, you could do a lot worse than studying this show, because the humor is so character driven.

Where the show fits in with this blog is in one particular classic episode, I believe from Season 2. (I have the first two seasons on DVD but I'm too lazy to go hunt for it.)

The Sheriffs of Reno respond to a 911 call and arrive at the scene of a fire in an apartment building. A man is outside in his robe, begging them to let him go back in to rescue his manuscript. It's his only copy of a novel he's been working on for several years.

They ask him what it's about, which is funny in itself. He tells them it's about a man whose father died, and twenty years later he starts getting letters, and they're from his Dad, and his Dad was murdered...

"Oh, it's that movie," says Dangle. The Sheriffs argue about whether it was Randy or Dennis Quaid in the film (Frequency) for a while, blah blah, all very funny. They tell the author it sounds derivative, it's already been done. Then Lt. Junior shows up. The writer begs him to go get it. Junior starts to go but is called back by Dangle, who says, "Nononono, don't bother. It sucks."

The plot is explained to Junior, who insists that's an Encyclopedia Brown story. Meanwhile the writer is freaking out.

The Fire Dept. arrives. The writer begs the fireman to go get his book. The sheriffs tell him not to. The fireman asks the writer what the book is about. The frustrated and upset writer mumbles some half-assed response. And, in one of the best moments ever, the fireman says:

"You know, if you can't get excited about your work, how can you expect anyone else to?"

At which point I collapse into giggles and decide Reno 911! is one of the smartest, funniest, bestest shows ever.

Becuase it's true. You need to be passionate about your work. You need to believe in it. Passion is a good thing. Loving your book is a good thing. If you can translate that passion onto the page, readers will feel it, and they'll be passionate about it too. Love like that, excitement like that, is infectious, and translating it to the page is half the battle.

Personally, I tend to dislike my work until it's done, as I've mentioned before. I'm about 15k into a new book at the moment that I'm really enjoying, but I know that I'm almost at the point where the whole thing will start to seem like useless drivel to me. I'll push on, because I love to finish a book and I'm just a deicated kind of a girl, but when I finish it I'll put it aside with a sigh of relief and a determination to never show it to anyone, that it sucks and blah blah blah.

Then I'll go back and read it a week or two later and fall in love with it all over again.

I'm reaching a point where the only books I want to read are my own. Am I the only one who gets that way?

That episode reminded me of somethng else, though, too. How much I used to really like Encyclopedia Brown I loved those books! I loved trying to match wits with his enormous intellect. Just like those One-Minute Mysteries or Five-Minute Mysteries you used to be able to get. Can you still find Encyclopedia Brown books in the stores? Or has he been totally phased out by Girls Who Are Smart and Have Adventures While the Boys Bake Cookies or Feminist Retellings of Every Kid's Book, Myth, or Legend You Ever Loved As A Child books?

That's one of the things I love most about Harry Potter. The cast is largely male (with the exception of Hermione, who is more interesting now than she used to be but who I still wouldn't care to spend a lot of time with.) It's about boys doing boy things, and I love it.

End Notes

I am out of town again this weekend.

Are my posts too long?

Should I post more often?


Bernita said...

No, your posts are not too long.
You're interesting.
You post when you can.
Of course we'd like one every day - but that's selfish.

Anonymous said...

I never doubted the sunny goodness of your personality. Hey. I am a quiet, thoughtful sensitive guy. That is until my civilized Cherokee side loses control of my Irish temper, which in turn brings out the underlying savage of my Cherokee blood. Then, I can break a few jaws. But, that doesn't mean I'm not a nice guy, right?

bernita is right (as she is MOST of the time) about your posts. I enjoy them but don't let our entertainment detract from your WIP. -JTC

Erik Ivan James said...

I've just started visiting you, on recommendation of a fellow blogger. So far I'm enjoying greatly the visits. This blog is likely a case of more is good.

Southern Writer said...

I'm not familiar with Reno 911, and I don't think your posts are too long. :)

I'm getting great verifications today: digtyhx, man! Far out. Whoth bright idea wath it to put an s in lithp?

S. W. Vaughn said...

Answers to questions!

Oh! I hope you're doing something fun


No, but we'll forgive you if you don't. :)

Now THAT sounds like a show I might actually watch (Reno 911). I haven't been interested in a television show since Whose Line Is It Anyway, and I think before that was The Cosby Show (so yeah, there was a little time in between interests there...).

And I LOVED Encyclopedia Brown!

S. W. Vaughn said...

Oops!!! I meant "NO!" Your posts are NOT too long. I love detail!

December Quinn said...

Oh! I just realised I haven't even responded here. My head is all over the place!

Thanks, Bernita. I am going to start trying to post every day instead of every other day.

Nothin' wrong with a little law breaking, JTC! Mmmm...savagery.

Thanks, Erik! I try to keep it interesting, it's incredibly pleasing to know so far I've succeeded. Of course, it also puts more pressure on...:-)

December Quinn said...

LOL, thouthern writer!

We did do something fun, SW, at least one thing. We went to the Museum of Natural History (dinosaurs, not my thing) and the Science Museum (definitely not my thing. Bleh. The only good part was the nautical bit where they had lots of model ships.) But thenwe stopped at the Victoria & Albert Museum, which was wonderful. They had plaster casts of the tomb effigies of my beloved Plantagenets. It was my exciting!
And I knew what you meant.

Isabella Snow said...

Nothing's too long if it's interesting. :)

And thank God the tracing lips thing wasn't mine. Nearly chucked all over my keyboard when I read that. :-p