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TV on the Big Screen--from the Livingroom Set
by Karma Waltonen

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This is better than most of what they wear

This is better than most of what they wear
Hi, this is Dr. Karma's tv. She's a bit knackered. It's the last week of classes, so she has too many papers to grade and she just got back from a conference in Vancouver. She's been so busy lately that she hasn't been watching me, though we usually spend a lot of time together. (1)

I'm certain that when she does climb out from under that pile of bluebooks, she'll run out and see the SEX AND THE CITY movie. Not only is she constantly watching the old episodes via "in demand," but she actually sometimes watches commercials for the movie. And one thing every tv comes to know about Dr. Karma is that she DOES NOT watch commercials.

I'm not quite sure why she hasn't run out to see the film already, actually. Maybe she's feeling ambiguous about it. What if the show doesn't translate to the big screen? What if it's not as good as the series? What if it pushes the sometimes-annoying agenda of pairing everybody up past her limit? What if Smith isn't in it? (2)

Some movies I've showed her have lived up to their television glory. THE X FILES movie fit right in to the world of the series without just being a long episode. And we all know how she feels about THE SIMPSONS MOVIE—if that hadn't worked, "Spider Pig" wouldn't be her ring tone. She loves some movies that have come from sketch comedy, specifically the MONTY PYTHON films and THE KIDS IN THE HALL's BRAIN CANDY. THE MUPPET SHOW has spawned great films, if spawning is how you describe the mating of a pig and a frog. She still watches STAR TREK in series and movie form. She's fairly happy with some older shows that have had movie makeovers, specifically, STARSKY AND HUTCH and CHARLIE'S ANGELS.

Of course, that may be because she didn't really watch those last two series on television—she went into the theatre knowing only the basics. Certainly, there are older series she has loved that just didn't work as films. Take, for instance, BEWITCHED. Although she likes all the actors and adores the series (with the first Darren most of all), the movie didn't spark. She says she couldn't get over Nicole Kidman's character saying she wanted a loser guy—someone she had to take care of. Dr. Karma SAYS
Karma's not lusty, she's just an alcoholic

Karma's not lusty, she's just an alcoholic
she hates guys like that, but you'd be surprised to see what she brings home.

Many of our favorite shows would never work as films, due to the format. Sketch comedy, no matter how good, doesn't really qualify as a film without a narrative (which is why AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT should not be considered a film. Even though we sometimes watch JEOPARDY! for hours, a movie would have to do strange things to Trebek's "character" to work. THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART and THE COLBERT REPORT are not only formatted too oddly for a film, but are too topical to last (which is why you can't get every season on DVD).

However, in the interest of cheering her up, I've made a list of shows that she would like to see again. She misses these so much that she would take them, even in movie form. Although there are many shows she's loved over the years, most of them faded from her mind as soon as the series ended. Thus, it's a relatively short list.

MOONLIGHT. This show just ended and we all know it wasn't written that well, but she misses her "vampire porn." She hopes that in movie format, she would be able to see more than just Mic's bare chest. She would also like this to be in 3-D. Very 3-D.

SOAP. Although this hasn't been on for years, she thinks of it fondly and often. She fancies this series and the film SOAPDISH, while finding soap operas themselves generally abhorrent. SOAP certainly deserves to be a movie sooner than any of the soaps it spoofs. Could soap operas actually be movies? What would happen to the cliffhangers? Would we be forced to learn what those actors are actually looking at when they look dramatically away? Would the shows survive without that swell of music and the inevitable close-up that signal a commercial break?

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE. We don't want this to take away from Bryan Cranston's work in BREAKING BAD, the amazing AMC series, but we miss Malcolm's family. Although the series wisely knew to quit just as the kids were getting old (unlike some we could name that kept importing children to keep running . . . cough "COSBY"), we wouldn't mind an update. I actually think Dr. Karma's devotion to this
Lois and Hal

Lois and Hal
series has something to do with the relationship between the husband and wife. We are reminded again and again how much Hal needs Lois. We also see how crazy they go when they have to go without each other (carnally). Most sitcoms are about marital strife, with a joker husband and his begrudging wife. Affection takes a backseat to the opportunity for barbs. We hadn't seen a couple so in love as Hal and Lois since Gomez and Morticia.

SCRUBS. This is another one that just ended, but we were both upset about the finale. It did not help that the station cut out during the last line. (And it was the station, not me, I swear.) No show should end leaving the reader feeling like they've accidentally ended up at a renaissance faire (all fairs should be entered on purpose). We need a movie to get that bad taste out of our mouths. And no, Elliot and Dorothy, I mean J.D., don't need to get together. (3)

THE WEST WING and/or STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. We like the snappy writing and the camera that follows characters into the hall without making a big deal about it. We like Presidents who seem to know what they're doing, who admit when they're wrong, who seem to speak standard English. We like shows about shows because we're meta and po-mo.

Something from an early David E. Kelley phase. David E. Kelley has created/executive produced many of our favorite shows: L.A. LAW; CHICAGO HOPE; PICKET FENCES; BOSTON PUBLIC; ALLY MCBEAL; et al. The writing is quirky, the people are sexy (if sometimes malnourished-looking), and the topics are intriguing. With the exception of some recent ventures (WEDDING BELLS), the early episodes that Kelley has the most control over are the best. The shows can also get out of hand when they go on too long. ALLY MCBEAL didn't exactly jump a shark, but they did add a kid (the "cheerleader" from HEROES, actually). It was a move about as desperate as adding Fred Flintstone's little green alien friend, THE GREAT GAZOO. In fact, maybe we should change the term "jumping the shark" since many people have forgotten HAPPY DAYS. Maybe "flirting with Gazoo" or, well, I can't think of a phrase for "having a woman find out that
She would totally see this

She would totally see this
she has a teenage daughter she doesn't know about." At any rate, we think a 2-hour dose of David E. Kelley would be fantastic.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. Aside from THE SIMPSONS, this may be Dr. Karma's favorite show. I wouldn't put it past her to watch all of the episodes again during her short break before summer session. The writing is brilliant, so brilliant that you don't actually get all the references and call backs the first time. It's edgy enough to have a plot line where a brother is mistakenly being hit on by someone who might be his sister AND to have those characters played by Jason and Justine Bateman. It actually understands puns, for example, the references to Dr. Fünke's business card (he's an analyst/therapist, which he shortens to "analrapist." It's so wonderful that one of Karma's students (one of the ones she likes!) has a banana tattoo for the banana stand. And the best part is this (drum roll): cast members have confirmed that there might actually be a movie in the making.

I won't begrudge her for leaving me to see the movie when it comes out, because I know she'll be watching it several times on me.

(1) I think she may have cheated on me in Vancouver. She has been talking a bit about new Canadian sketch comedy and I just don't know how she would have seen so much unless it were on tv. I'm trying very hard not to be jealous; I'm sure that I'm bigger than whatever was in her hotel room.

(2) Her favorite guy through the whole series is Smith. I think this is because she likes to think she's Samantha. She says it's because he's the best boyfriend. He's constant, caring, and cute. He even forgives Samantha when she loses herself in an ex in a moment of doubt, without even fighting. I think she just said that to hint that I get too possessive sometimes. And I don't know what she's thinking; I forgive her for watching other tvs all the time. And, no, I don't sometimes refuse to record her DVR list just because I'm pouting, no matter what she says.

(3) Rumor has it that SCRUBS isn't really gone, that it's just moving to another station. They had that rumor with ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, too, and we all know how that went.

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Comedies with Dr. Karma
Every other Wednesday

Dr. Karma discusses all things comic, from the classics to what may become classics. Laugh with, but not at, her, please.


Other Columns
Other columns by Karma Waltonen:

Goodbye -- Dr. Karma

The Dictator and Dark Shadows

Pirates and Whedon Movies: In Theatres Now!

A Touch of Cult

Our Random Favorites

All Columns


Karma Waltonen
Dr. Karma is a silly, nerdy know-it-all, but in a good way. She brings all her overeducation to discuss that which truly matters: comedy. As some famous guy once said: “And if I laugh at any mortal thing, ‘tis that I may not weep.” Or something like that.


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If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Karma Waltonen by clicking here.


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