Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Notes on Pop Culture: Whitney, Adele, Valentine's, Show Dogs & 'Awake' Peek

Whitney, Whitney, Whitney

This is starting to feel too freakishly familiar, introducing my kids to the soundtrack of my youth by binging on a musician's music and good, old fashioned music videos soon after the musician dies an untimely death.

As I tried to explain to my three kids, via music videos on YouTube, who Whitney Houston was and how I fondly remember her 1980s tunes from my high school years, it felt very deja vu-ish. I'd done the same thing after Michael Jackson died, showing the kids the "Thriller" and "Billie Jean" videos while downloading a bunch of his songs that I hadn't listened to in quite some time.

This weekend, it was the ebullient "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," the soothing "Exhale" and the breath-taking "I Will Always Love You" (which, despite the fact that it was grossly overplayed in the 90s, rarely failed to move me). It was watching The Bodyguard on TV. It was adding some Whitney tunes to my music library. It was also another reminder of what an incredible waste of a wealth of talent this tragedy represents both in her substance abuse, which torpedoed her career, and in her death at age 48.

Adele Sweep

Speaking of a wealth of talent . . . my daughter and I are big fans of Adele, her music, her screw-you attitude toward morons who want to talk about her weight, her fearlessness in wringing her heart dry for her art. We were eminently pleased to see her not only clean up at the Grammy Awards, but belt out "Rolling in the Deep" so powerfully after her recovery from throat surgery.

Now Adele, there's a celeb who's worthy of my daughter's admiration.

The Vow Didn't Wow Me

Over the weekend, some of my gal pals and I decided to indulge ourselves. We loaded up on Twizzlers, popcorn and vats of soda before sitting down to enjoy the confection that is The Vow, starring Rachel McAdams, whom I find thoroughly charming. We wanted to spend some time together watching a romantic weepy that didn't tax the brain too much. We even brought tissues in case we started bawling, like I did both times I saw The Time Traveler's Wife, which also starred McAdams.

Alas, no tissues were required during our screening (which stinks if you've geared yourself up to be emotionally moved -- manipulated, really -- by a film or TV show). Sadly, I found The Vow only mildly interesting, despite the fact that it's loosely based on a true story, and found myself pining for it to grab me by the shirt, shake me and make me care about it.

Still craving some romantic fare by Valentine's evening, after a nice dinner and exchanging gifts with my husband, I was scanning the TV channels trying to find something, anything, resembling either a romantic comedy or a straight-out romance because, well, it was Valentine's Day after all. Finding nothing -- seriously, nothing! -- in the way of that kind of flick playing on television, I instead settled on, of all things, the Westminster Dog Show, which greatly amused me as I sat with my rescue dog Max and told him those pooches had nothin' on him.

Awake Preview Has My Attention

NBC has released the first seven minutes of its new drama Awake, slated to premiere on March 1. Just based on its premise and these few minutes, this show may -- I reiterate, MAY -- be the calamine lotion for the itch left behind by the absence of Lost: The show features police detective Michael Britten who got into a serious car accident with his wife and teenage son. On those points, there is no confusion. There was an accident. The three were in the car.

But here's the catch: Britten is "living" two, parallel lives, one in which his wife died in the crash and one in which his son died. In both lives, he's seeing a therapist and is still a cop who's solving crimes. Both of the lives feel real to him and he can't tell which one is his real life and which one is a dream.

If done intelligently, this show could prove fascinating. If done in a ham-fisted way -- or offers the ultimate answer, "They're all dead" (a la Lost) -- I'll be mighty ticked.

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