Nacho’s 2010 in Review
As I sit here trying to live up to my own
Like every year since the premiere of Galactica 1980, I’m glad to see it end.
Probably the most shocking part of the year is that, between the US and the UK, there has been not one, not two, but five separate “snowpocalypses.” Two of which crippled DC for most of February. Fortunately, like all suburban paranoiacs, I made a trip to the supermarket and stocked up on supplies as the storm bore down on us. Then I sat back and enjoyed a paid month off on the couch, watching Netflix Instant Watch shit, and drinking an ocean of vodka and tonic. Of course, I have no principles, ambition, or motivation. So, while I relaxed, normal Washingtonians flipped out and went stir crazy, or complained endlessly about how unprepared we are for freak 100-year snowstorms. Mercifully, we avoided the “grit shortage” that dominated the UK’s snowpocalypse news coverage like a pretty blonde girl gone missing from a cruise ship. Our news was more about how we had plenty of salt but not enough trucks. Oh, and, our entire infrastructure hasn’t been updated since 1965, so worm-eaten telephone poles snap if you run into them with a sled and plunge a million people into infinite, frozen darkness at the ends of cul-de-sacs that’ll take weeks to dig out.
What really gets on my tits is when the idiot transplants from the north come out of the woodwork and tell us to man up. Back home, in whatever arctic hell they come from, five feet of snow is child’s play.
Our own president even snarked at us:
Can I make a comment that is unrelated to the economy very quickly? It has to do with Washington. My children’s school was canceled today. Because of what—some ice? As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled… I’m saying when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things
Gee, asshole, sorry we elected you and forced you to come down, then! That comment has me wondering if, in 2012, Obama will be the first Democrat incumbent to lose DC. Hey – you’re the president! How about spending some money on updating our transportation system, our snow trucks, our powerlines…? Maybe, like, stop the production of five missiles. That’s all it’ll take. Then your fucking kids can go to their fucking privileged school.
I absolutely hate people who pull that kind of shit. Whenever some fool from the frigid north complains about snow management in DC, I want to lunge across the table and bite their face. Move back to your igloo, why don’t you?
Of course, I have an issue with transplants. Does DC really need a vast, hundred-mile band full of 12 million puritanical, centrist pencil-neck suburbanites?
Sure it does. And, since the arctic north has been deserted by these fucking yokels, maybe I’ll move up there. Get myself a yurt in Minnesota, or whatever they live in, grow my beard like ZZ Top, recycle my shit, and blog daily about how much I absolutely hate all of you.
In the end, I can’t figure out why these idiots can’t just settle back and enjoy an impromptu vacation. Netflix and booze. Or, if the power’s out, sit in front of the gas stove and drink in the dark. And, if you don’t have a gas stove, then we can afford to lose you because there are far too many people living in the area.
You all should have enjoyed the time off because it’s the last time it’ll ever happen. Most of us were telecommuting already, but the snowstorms last February sealed the deal there. Our corporate masters aren’t about to let us sit at home on the couch and relax ever again. In the summer, the Office of Personnel Management quietly changed their language (the federal government will never be simply “closed” again) and most companies followed suit. When the next snowstorm hits, customers will be piped through to our phones and we’ll be online for ten hours being bitched at by our bosses, who’ll be sitting at home in their bathrobes drinking gin and masturbating furiously to our virtual angst.
I managed to avoid the policy change by claiming that I didn’t own a computer. When this claim was scoffed at, I played to my director’s profession – psychology – and said that I suffered from a crippling technophobia. Which is hard to do when the Droid in my shirt pocket starts playing the Knight Rider theme.
Enough about snow! What I really care about is poorly scripted fantasy.
Lost came to a stuttering, confused conclusion in August. I then spent the next four months marathoning the entire series, which borders on a weird social experiment. While tremendously flawed, and downright unwatchably clumsy at times, Lost ended up being the adventure of the decade, though why we all stuck with it for six seasons is a mystery. There was no real enjoyment for about 80% of the show, but, by the time we rolled into the befuddled final season, we were serious, hopeless addicts. We were wearing Sawyer flesh masks and calling people nicknames and never asking “But what about the Dharma Initiative?” out loud. Lost left storytelling behind in favor of creating the greatest living meme, Snow Crash style. We haven’t really seen anything like it since Twin Peaks. In fact, you could call it a bastard child of Twin Peaks. Some sort of mutated progeny that managed to fall prey to the same goddamned mistakes…except over the course of 121 episodes instead of just 30.
Meanwhile, speaking of television mistakes, 2010 has seen a steady decline in the quality of sci-fi. While we were all trying to forget 2009’s finale of Battlestar Galactica, the ridiculous prequel movie The Plan snuck out and brutally sodomized us while pouring sugar into our gas tank. And, as we lay bleeding by the side of the highway, Caprica came along. A double-whammy of horrific sci-fi in January that should have inspired nerds everywhere to take up arms and assassinate Ronald D. Moore.
Kicking dead horses across several galaxies didn’t end there. After a lukewarm 2009 start, Stargate Universe – the second spinoff of the franchise (unless you’re crazy and count Infinity) – rolled into 2010 with one clear goal: to bore us to tears while simultaneously teasing us with possibilities. We were all ready to embrace a gritty ship-bound version of Stargate full of moral ambiguity as opposed to the previous decade of glittering, futuristic sets peopled by heroes and two-dimensional villains. Having Bobby Carlyle up there as a 21st Century Doctor Smith was a golden moment for sci-fi. Plus, we had three great girls to stare at. We had the chick with the giant rack, a pouty little starlet, and a poor man’s Scarlett Johansson. (And a little Asian delight on the side, if that’s your speed.)
The characters all seemed promising. The girls, unlike the often sexless Amanda Tapping, were clearly there just to grace the cover of Maxim and promote the show, but the somewhat complicated cast of civilian whiners and inexperienced military psychopaths was a perfect mix. Throw in a pretty ship, new aliens, and the whole fish out of water storyline and SGU earned lots of rope as it stumbled through the first season. But it took our good will and hung itself. The final ten episodes will be burned off in the spring.
We switched actors in Doctor Who on New Years Day, with David Tennant leaving the role in an abysmal episode that had me choking back vomit and Matt Smith ushering in what we’ll call a neo-Troughton era. As with every switchover in the show, there was a shadow of doubt, but Smith started out strong. Then, as the 2010 season rolled on, we ended up with what is probably the worst year of Doctor Who since Trial of a Timelord. Though the recent Christmas Special restored some hope.
Where the new series of Doctor Who continually goes wrong is with the companions. Instead of the Doctor behaving like the thousand year old demigod that he is, he acts more like an oversexed schoolboy from Tennant onwards. Catherine Tate ended that trend, though we still had to put up with the constant gag that a man and a woman cannot travel anywhere without people assuming that they’re married. With Amy Pond, we not only got our eye candy back, but there was something sweet in the relationship. The Matt Smith era was advertised as more magical, more innocent. And it started out that way. The Doctor was the mystery man who saved a young (then older) Amy Pond from a life of neglect and abuse. We started out with a father/daughter vibe, then abruptly switched into ridiculous romantic tension and an absurd carbon copy of the Rose/Mickey/Doctor triangle.
Meanwhile, all of the Doctor’s enemies joined forces across time and space to… Lock him in a box. You’d think, with their collective evil and firepower, they’d just kill him, or shoot him into the sun or something.
As you can tell, I was having one long geekgasm in 2010 and avoiding the rest of the news. I like to say that it’s a survival technique. Everytime I came up for air, the news went from bad to worse. The Gulf Oil Spill, the Chilean miners, maniacal British gunmen, the weird decline of the Obama Phenomenon, the collapse of the economy, and what appeared to be a volcano apocalypse. The British elections proved that democracy is broken and the US elections proved that the forces of evil have won. In entertainment, there was nothing but fuckery as Sarah Palin was given her own show, The Hobbit began to sound like the worst betrayal of a franchise since the Star Wars prequels, and Angelina Jolie slowly turned into a skeleton. Remember when she had some meat on her bones? The Pushing Tin-era Jolie is what keeps me warm at night.
Here’s hoping for a quieter 2011. There are times that I wish Big Brother would take control. That we’d move more into the saccharine world of 1984 where nothing happens. 24 hour news outlets are outlawed and all we get are innocent stories about nothing. Like those Nazi newsreels in the last months of the war. Those are hilarious. The Goebbels-controlled newsreels track the feverish rise of Nazism in the 30’s, then proudly cover the advance of the German war machine, then, by spring of 1945, the newsreels are all weird pastoral shots of villagers living in distant mountains, and fully-laden milkmaids racing each other to the town square. The sick, sad desperation is palpable on every frame of film.
Instead, it feels like we’re moving closer and closer to the variation of Big Brother that ruled in the Starship Troopers universe. “The Louisiana coast is dead, the war in the Mideast is a mess, an Icelandic volcano has consumed all of Europe. Would you like to know more?”
Oh, god, Rico! We have to stop the fucking bugs!