Archive | TV Matters

Schlemiel, Schlimazel: Penny Lost

Penny Marshall’s death hits so close to home. Born the same year as my mother, she offered a different model of adult femalehood–screwball funny, radically unpretentious, and trailblazing. A director, a comedian, a Bronx-born broad with gorgeous legs and unfailing creative vision: I still wear an L on my sweater in homage to her Laverne. She was one of my chosen god-mommies though I met her only once, and I’m bereft to learn she’s no longer on our plane. Gen X ladies: We’re really the grownups now.

It’s Always Something

Sunday, on the precipice of a new moon and the Jewish New Year, I woke at 4 am, early even for me. Cool air drifted through the window and rain pitter-pattered against the glass as I lounged in bed, draped in an autumn mumu and reading my second Gilda Radner book in two days. I’ve been pretty open about how hard I’ve been finding life, so the peace of that moment was sweet.

I’m not entirely sure why Gilda’s been giving me so much comfort right now. I’ve been reading and watching everything about her and I think partly it’s her guilelessness coupled with that intense mischief. Her intelligence and sense of the absurd were palpable, but so were her huge vulnerability and empathy–it was all wrapped in an enormous, childlike glow. Not a childish one, mind you for by all reports she was eminently kind, and children rarely are. (People who think children are born kind are fooling themselves; kindness is always a learned trait.) But Gilda was surely childlike: playful, present, boundlessly, bountifully enthusiastic. So much so that her voice was extra-raspy and her limbs extra rubbery, as if excitement was constantly stretching her limits. Continue Reading →

The Book of ‘And Then’

Yesterday I woke early to watch the latest episode of “This Is Us,” which means I was a puddle by 7 am, when I’ve programmed my phone to wake me every day with Aretha Franklin singing “Hello Sunshine.” The show always undoes me–Gd knows I’m not alone in this fact–but the last few episodes have been completely ruining. The death of Jack Pearson, the patriarch played so sweetly and sadly by Milo Ventimiglia, devastated me even though intimations of his demise have been woven into the series since its inception.

The timing also wove devastatingly into my real life. I’ve always believed it’s not my right to disclose the details of other people’s hardship on my blog, and I won’t begin to do so now. Suffice it to say the father of one of my dearest friends, a person so private I’ve never included a picture of her here or even her real name, died last week, and I’ve been taking her loss with me everywhere because that’s how our bond works. When good things happen to one of us, they happen to both of us, and the same holds true with the bad. But I also know that while I can hold my friend’s hand and even some of her pain, this is a path she walks alone. The loss of one’s father is a shadow nothing can fully brighten, especially in a world in which good daddies are far and few in between. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy