Stream the Night Away

Three Shows to Get Your Binge On

Seriously, where does the time fly? I feel like just yesterday it was the Fourth of July, you know the day Target decides summer is officially over and it’s time for backpacks and trapper keepers and boots. Summer does not spring instantly to mind when one thinks about binge watching but I think it is the perfect time to find a couple of shows to fall for and spend some quality time cuddling with your remote and a cold brew.

OJ: Made in America: This mesmerizing five-part documentary series directed by Ezra Edelman originally aired on ESPN in June. (A channel I mostly pretend does not exist, even with my limited internet cable connection options.) Not to be confused with the F/X series that gave Ross from Friends his first job in years (kinda like Chachi at the RNC). OJ: Made in America gives context to how and why Mr. Simpson walked and why the verdict was so divisive at the time.

Anyone who grew up in the 70s and 80s could not escape the cult of OJ Simpson. He hawked orange juice (naturally, because advertising types are so creative) and ran through airports trying to convince your dad and all the other dads to rent a car from Hertz. He was in movies (Towering Inferno), television series (Roots) and charmed the pants off your grandma on talk shows. He was golden.

But beneath the smile and the athletic prowess was a grade-A narcissistic, controlling asshole. A wife-beating privileged football star who got away with murder, two of them to be exact. A man who skated through life on his ability to run with a football who hobnobbed with the elites, mostly ignored his own community, and only remembered the fact that he was African American man when he was down and out and it suited him.

I really, really, encourage you to watch this documentary. It is as compelling as Making a Murderer and in my opinion a better overall series. Blasphemy, I know but it’s true. The not guilty verdict is explained in way that most (white) people probably NEVER would have understood before this horrible summer of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and all the others who came before them. Consider this Must-See TV without Central Perk or Smelly Cat. (Coming to Netflix in August, streamable on ESPN.com)

Once you finished OJ, you will for sure need a palate cleanser. Luckily these next two shows will not leave you with a terminal case of the sads, quite the opposite in fact. Yay!

Lady Dynamite: Maria Bamford, where have you been all my life? I liked this series so much that I watched it twice and may even go for a third viewing if Hillary does not increase her poll numbers greatly after the DNC. Seriously, what is wrong with America? Lady Dynamite is weird in a good way like tater tot hotdish or just about any food on a stick. It takes place in the past, in the present, in Los Angeles and in Duluth (actually Roseville, apparently Duluth was too expensive for the producer’s budget). No glorious shots of America’s greatest lake, Superior, which is a shame because Duluth is such a beautiful city, maybe spring for some stock footage at least for season two, okay?

Maria plays Maria, her pugs play her pugs and everyone and everything else are stand ins for the many facets of her life as a stand-up comedienne/actress in Hollywood who struggles with mental illness. Lots of people will probably recognize Bamford from her stint as the crazy Target shopper lady from a few years back. She does not do those commercials anymore and most definitely never will again after the way she mercilessly skewers her former employer’s union-busting ways. Interestingly there has been nary a peep from the fine folks at Checklist about their portrayal on the show. Wise move, Bullseye, wise move.

Every time I think Mo Collins’ Susan character veers too far into Fargo territory Minnesota bad accent-wise I watch the local news, they interview a local and I am reminded that unfortunately sometimes stereotypes do exist for a reason. From the worst manager ever to her pug out Babe-ing Babe in a fierce sheep herding competition, Lady Dynamite is the perfect show for your summer fun binge. (Netflix)

The Strange Calls: Constable Tony Banks is having a bit of a shit life. His girlfriend won’t return his calls, he lost his shoes (along with his dignity) and his father (the chief constable) has re-assigned him to a small town working the night shift in the hopes that he will quit, like all the others before him. Toby’s job is to live and work out of a crappy trailer answering the phone calls of the town’s lonely and loony populace. He is assisted in his endeavors by the town’s self-appointed night security officer, a man named Gregor who says he is decades younger than his appearance would suggest and thinks the town is a hot bed of paranormal activity because of a local volcano.

If Lady Dynamite as weird with its juxtaposition of past/present, Los Angeles/fake Duluth, talking dogs and a commercial for a product called Pussy Noodles than fasten your seat belts because The Strange Calls is an even wackier ride. I could not even explain it if I tried other than to think of it as sort of a mash up of Hot Fuzz, The Vicar of Dibley and just about any show on the SyFy channel.

There are only six episodes at less than a half an hour each so you can easily binge this one quickly and then get yourself outside to the nearest PokéStop.

Up all night, binge-worthy shows to Netflix now

Back in the pre-internet, pre-cable days summers were pretty much virtual wastelands as far as television viewing goes. Sure there were a few summer replacement shows (anyone else remember The Hudson Brothers? Yes, Kate Hudson’s dad did actually have a job once) but mostly it was nothing but reruns of TV shows your dad liked. Consider this updated post a combo of those two ancient TV relics, a rerun combined with just enough info to make it seem like a brand spanking new summer replacement show, minus Kate Hudson’s dad.

Pretty much all of the shows listed below have new seasons available to stream with the exception of The Honourable Woman which will sadly not live to see another episode. The hairdo’s remain questionable in Peaky Blinders, modern technology is still scary AF in Black Mirror, Dicte tries to make nice with her dad and no one gets one bit happier in Happy Valley and that my friend is a good thing for us fans.

I have always been somewhat of a night owl, going to bed early was never part of my routine. I had older parents who stayed up late and even though I wasn’t supposed to, I often times watched the Tonight Show right along with them from the hallway where they could not see that I was still up on a school night when little girls were supposed to be in bed. That practice of staying up later than I should has never gone away. What has changed though is how very far I can push it. One of the many less than fun things about getting older is how much more your body rebels against any change in its routine. Eat a little too much between Thanksgiving and New Year’s when you are twenty-five and it is not even noticeable, do that a couple of decades later and not only is it noticeable it takes until Easter to get rid of and by then the Reese’s peanut butter eggs are out and there are Peeps bunnies and chicks everywhere and pretty much all bets are off.

Staying up all night is no longer an option for me on the regular, but sometimes when I find a series that I really, really like, I can come pretty close. These five shows are binge-worthy for various reasons, mostly because they are so addictingly good or they have Tom Hardy in the cast.

Happy Valley:  more like mega unhappy valley, despite its idyllic appearance somewhere in the Yorkshire countryside. This six episode series stars Sarah Lancashire (Ms. Foster from my very favorite episode of Doctor Who and currently seen on PBS’s Last Tango in Halifax) as Catherine Cawood, a small town divorced cop who is barely coping in the aftermath of her daughter’s suicide. Her marriage broke up, she is estranged from her son and she is raising her grandchild with a little help from her former addict sister Clare (Siobhan Fineran) or as I will always fondly remember her, O’Brien, the maid you don’t ever trust with a bar of soap from the first couple of seasons of Downton Abbey. One day on the street Catherine spots Tommy Lee Royce, the man who she believes raped her daughter and is the father of her eight-year-old grandson, Ryan. In addition to being an alleged rapist and now paroled drug dealer, Mr. Royce (played by James Norton yet another Doctor Who guest player) gets involved in the kidnapping of a local businessman’s daughter. How Catherine ties the two together while dealing with the loss of her child is what makes this series so watchable.

There are a couple of episodes of this series that are quite graphically violent, Mr. Royce is not a very nice man, and I had to fast forward or avert my eyes more than a few times. Blood and violence are not my scene and luckily there is so much more going on that I could easily get past something that in another series I would not be able to stick with. Sarah Lancashire is amazing, she is a good cop, a loving grandmother to a child her ex-husband can barely acknowledge even exists and a grieving mother whose pain is truly believable. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

Black Mirror: if you have not heard about this one than I am not sure what kind of a cultural black hole you live in but you should get out of it right away and start watching this show. Take today’s modern technology and amp it up a bit, toss in a little of Twilight Zone/Tales of the Crypt-like creepiness and you pretty much get the gist of this import from Britain’s Channel 4. Each episode is a stand alone, with two series of three episodes each currently available on the old Netflix. I watched them in chronological order because that is the way I roll but you don’t have to. In fact, I almost gave up on episode one, The National Anthem, as it was that personally disturbing to me. But if I could make it through that one you can too, and the pay off is pretty amazing so hang in there.

I liked this show a lot, but there were a couple of episodes that really stood out from the crowd, White Bear, which is not just the name of a lake and a town in Minnesota, but the story of Victoria Skillane, a young woman who wakes up with no memory of the day before who is being pursued relentlessly by people she does not know yet alone the reason why. This episode stars Lenora Crinchlow, who any Brit-show watcher may recognize from either Doctor Who or the original Being Human. Amnesia in both movies and television as a plot device is a bit of a bete noire usually but this is beyond anything I have ever seen before on All my Children or General Hospital, like Laura totally forgetting she knew Luke and Elizabeth Taylor showing up in Port Charles, and actually made sense albeit in a way I was at first rather uncomfortable with, that is until a couple of news stories of such cruelty and brutality happened within days of my watching White Bear and I was like, yeah, I could get down with that.

My other favorite episode by far was The Entire History of You about a couple having relationship issues but with some fun modern technology ways to cope. I don’t want to say too much about this one lest I spoil it for you other than to say that Robert Downey Jr. has already optioned the movie rights for it which is so weird to me since there has already been a kinda/similar movie made and it was called The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and it was perfect, so just back off Iron Man, back off.

The Honourable Woman:  it’s like MI-5 and Looking for Mr. Goodbar got together with Not Without My Daughter and had a baby that wasn’t named Homeland. I let this one sit in my queue and stew for a couple of weeks before I decided to check it out and then ended up not getting up from my comfy furalicious bean bag chair for over three hours which was not so good for my 10,000 steps a day minimum lifestyle goal. Three episodes without moving so you know it’s gotta be good as there were no potty breaks for either me or the dog. Luckily I had my popcorn and milk duds and she had a chewable so all was good during our binge-a-thon into the murky politics of the West Bank.

These things are seriously comfy

These things are seriously comfy

The Honourable Woman (yes, that is Brit-spelling) just recently aired on Showtime and has miraculously already shown up on Netflix. I say that semi-snarkily as other Showtimes series I want to see like Master of Sex and The Affair are still not Netflix-able and that is pretty annoying. Thanks to this show I now have a new fear, that of billowing curtains in fancy restaurants and waiters with bread knives. Trust me, you will feel the same way after the opening of episode one. Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Nessa Stein, a rich British lady do-gooder with a big secret in her past and a bad habit of sleeping with the help. Some of the plot holes are big enough to drive an Escalade through like the supposed security expert guy who falls for the old my-mother-does-the-books-at-night-at-a-stone-factory-out-in-the-middle-of-bum-fuckville, let’s go there, when anyone, let alone a security expert would know that was a one-way trip to not making it to the next episode. But the cast, especially Stephen Rea as the soon to be retired MI6 Middle East chief, and the overall story more than make up for a couple of dumb turns.

Dicte: is the only non-Brit show in the whole batch and is about yet another crusading Scandinavian journalist a la Annika Bengtzon, although Dicte is set in Denmark instead of Sweden and instead of a non-helpful boyfriend Dicte has a non-helpful ex-husband. Dicte also knows how to wear the heck out of a scarf in a way that I find very intriguing since whenever I try to do something similar it just ends up looking like a big giant rat’s nest of a mess. This show is slick and produced and very American style-wise, which is a trend I have noticed in Scandinavian shows now that I have watched quite a few of them and am totally fine with that. If the woman playing Dicte looks familiar to you then you have probably seen the movie High Fidelity, where Iben Hjejle played John Cusack’s girlfriend and where I now realize my obsession with listicles probably goes back to. Thank you Nick Hornby!

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Dicte moves back to her hometown with her teen-age daughter to start a new life but also to find out some things from her troubled past. Her parents were/are Jehovah’s Witnesses and disowned her once she left the fold which was news to me as I did not know the Witnesses did the shunning thing like the Amish and Church of Scientology do.#thingsyoulearnfromDanishtvshows

Peaky Blinders:  I have to be honest and say I did not binge watch this one until I heard Tom Swoon-worthy Hardy was in series two and then you can bet your sweet ass I blew through the last couple of episodes just so I could get there. Peaky Blinders were real gangsters in Britain in the time period right after WWI and got their name by carrying razor blades in the caps so they could blind their enemies or just slice them up like so many watermelon or apples when you play Fruit Ninja on your phone or at the Big Thrill Factory.

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This series reminds me a bit of the BBC America series Copper in that it is dark, not so much in subject matter but as in dark-dark, like the lack of proper lighting so everyone looks the same and I just wish someone would turn on some damn lights except then I remember how horrible the haircuts are and there’s the rub. Now I know Peaky Blinders is going for the realistic period look but a large part of the problem I had with this being wholly binge-worthy was the male hair-do’s which are in my non-professional opinion are MAJOR hair-don’ts. I mean like not ever. They were so distractingly awful I could not ever forget they were there, like the Babadook, they haunted this show.

Perhaps they are historically accurate although I have seen plenty of shows or movies taking place in roughly the same time period (Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises just to name a few) and no one looked as hideous as poor Iddo Goldberg (so cute in Secret Diary of a Call Girl) or the almost too pretty for a boy Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Batman Begins). Peaky Blinders is about a family of brothers who are gangsters who get messed up with the IRA (never a good idea) while trying to be legit bookmakers and along the way get mixed up with gypsies (the Irish traveler kind like in The Riches) and communists (the Emma Goldman kind like in The Americans) and there are lots of otherwise interesting things going on but you can just never escape the hair elephant in the room. In fact, the last time I saw hair that awful it was the 1980’s and it looked something like this:

I ran alright, away from such hideousness.

 

 

A Graffiti Bridge to Nowhere

It has been seven hours and way too many days since Jehovah’s sexiest witness left us with a major case of the sads. The world is a whole lot less interesting, Minnesota in particular, because now all we have left are 10,000 lakes any of which I would gladly give up if we could get the little guy back. (Not Lake Minnetonka though, we gotta keep that one for obvious reasons.) Prince was of course much more than just a genius musician he was also a bonafide MOVIE STAR. At one point in 1984 he had not only the number one album (Purple Rain), but the single and movie to go along with it. Like everyone else on the planet in 1984 with a heartbeat, five bucks and a driver’s license I saw Purple Rain at the time but had not seen it all the way through since. So in honor of the late, great Purple Yoda I decided to go on a Prince-a-thon to revisit and recap his cinematic career from best to well, let’s just be kind and say less best.

1.) Purple Rain: I loved this when it came out. I loved it because it was filmed at the club where I spent my formative years (thanks to a real fake ID), it starred the most famous music dude in town and the songs were amaze-balls. I am pretty sure that even with the purple-tinted sunglasses (Oakley of course) I had on at the time I knew it wasn’t exactly a Casablanca or Segei Eisenstein’s Potemkin level of celluloid greatness before me (I was a film minor FFS) but I did not care then or now. The electrifying musical performances more than made up for any of the gaping plot holes, the ridiculous amount of misogyny and the fact that Steve McClellan was somehow no longer the manager of First Avenue but had been replaced by some guy from Detroit named Billy. Whatever Prince. (iTunes, and some theaters)

 

2.) Under the Cherry Moon:  I did not see this movie when it came out and sadly I was not alone in my indifference. UTCM was both a commercial and critical flop, winning a whopping five Golden Raspberry Awards and beating out the completely ridiculous Howard the Duck for worst movie of 1986. (Interestingly enough that movie also starred a Minnesotan, Lea Thompson.) But now that I have seen it twice I can honestly say those golden raspberries were completely undeserved and I am not alone in that assessment.

Prince and The Time’s mirror man Jerome Benton play cousins who spend their days and nights on the French Riviera scamming rich ladies trying to earn enough dough to get back to Miami. Kristin Scott Thomas (in her film debut) plays their latest and richest mark yet who is proving to be a bit more of a challenge than their usual suspects. Originally shot in color, it was switched to black and white prior to its release which was a great call  because UTCM is drop-dead gorgeous to look at.

Prince dances, prances and lays the doe eyes on extra thick but he and Benton have great on-screen chemistry and their silly screwball routine about going to the wecka stow is classic. Between the clothes (Chanel, pre-Kunty Karl), the scenery (Nice) and the songs (Kiss, Sometimes it Snows in April, Mountains),  UTCM is more than worth spending three bucks and some of your extra time on. (iTunes, Amazon)

 

3.) Graffiti Bridge: I am not gonna lie, Graffiti Bridge is pretty bad. So bad that I was regretting not having my iPad with me so I could surf the web during the dull parts and there were lots of dull parts. Ostensibly a sequel to Purple Rain it has absolutely none of the charm, hit songs or performance magic of its predecessor. According to the plot line, fake First Avenue owner/manager Billy has gone to the great nightclub in the sky and left another club called Glam Slam (also RIP) to the Kid (Prince) and Morris Day. I do not know who got First Avenue (Apollonia, perhaps?) or how Glam Slam got moved to Seven Corners (WTF?) but at least fake dead Billy had a will. Just let that one sink in for a minute.

Even though money-grubbing Morris allegedly owns half of Glam Slam he somehow wants to destroy it which makes no sense but neither does this movie so there you go. I think Prince hit peak Prince-ness with Graffiti Bridge (he wrote, directed and starred) but seemed utterly bored by the entire process. Mostly shot on a sound stage at Paisley Park his ennui shines through loud and clear. It’s a bloody mess but it could have been much, much worse. According to one-time Prince dancer extraordinaire Cat Glover, Madonna was supposed to play the Angel role that ultimately went to Ingrid Chavez. Watch it if only to say that you have seen it and then go rewatch Purple Rain any of the awesome performances that have cropped up on YouTube while you can. (iTunes, Amazon)

 

4.) New Girl Prince episode: Here is your chance to see Prince show Zoey Deschanel just how adorkable is done. I probably should rate this television appearance above Graffiti Bridge but New Girl is only 20 plus minutes long minus commercials and Prince is not in all the scenes so demerits must be given. On the plus side you hear a snippet of one of my all-time-favorite Prince songs When You Were Mine, there are pancakes involved and he made the producers remove all traces of a certain reality show family that were set to appear. Prince was the sensei of shade and man am I going to miss his not-at-all-subtle ways with the side-eye. (Season 3, episode 14, Netflix)

 

If you still need more Prince in your life (and who doesn’t?), check out this fantastic podcast with André Cymon. Recorded a couple of years back after Cymon released his first album in about a hundred years this interview offers great insight into the makings of the Minneapolis sound.. Cymon and Prince were childhood friends and lived together for years after Prince moved in with Cymon’s family. André was also Prince’s bassist during the pre-Revolution days and was known for his uncanny ability to pull off wearing clear pants and not looking like a total try-hard twat. He recorded a few albums in the 80’s but then went on to became more known as a songwriter and producer. Cymon is a great story teller and you won’t be bored for an instant which is good because this podcast clocks in at over two hours, something I wish I’d known when I started listening at 11:30 on a school night.

http://podcastjuice.net/the-prince-podcast-andre-cymone/

 

 

 

Vampire Weekend

For some reason Easter always makes me think of two things, Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and vampires. Now the deliciousness of the greatest pairing in food history is understandable, its peanut butter and chocolate together for goodness sake, but the vampire thing maybe not so much. Let me try to explain, Easter is when we celebrate the resurrection and since vampires are the living embodiment of the previously dead it kinda makes perfect sense. Vampires have been considered pretty cool for a long time since 1897 when Bram Stoker first created Dracula. That coolness factor was seriously damaged by the Twilight series when they became sparkly yet dull-as-dishwater and turned Kristin Stewart into one of the highest paid “actresses” in Hollywood, further proof that there really is no justice in this world.

Barnabas Collins was my first vampire, and you know what they say, you never forget your first. I used to run home from school in first grade so I could catch the tail end of Dark Shadows, if my grandmother would let me. Now my grandma was a total soap addict but she was also pretty religious and did not think too highly of me watching a show about werewolves and vampires. She was a grandparent though and usually caved in and watched it along with me, probably praying for my mortal soul the entire time. So in honor of Easter and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and all things Cadbury, here are a couple of vampire pics you very well may have missed but are well worth checking out this holiday weekend.

What We Do in the Shadows: Fans of Christopher Guest and his mockumentary style of movie making will adore this flick about a group of four vampires living together as flatmates in New Zealand. Vampires, they are just like the rest of us, they fight over who’s supposed to do the dishes or take the trash out or who got blood all over the bathroom. I hate when that happens.

Jermaine Clements (Flight of the Concords) is Vladislav, an 862 year old vamp with a mortal enemy called The Beast (his ex). Taiki Waititi is Viago, a 379 year old romantic who still loves Katherine, his girlfriend from the old country, currently living in a nearby senior facility. Jonathan Brugh is Deacon, who at a mere 183 years young, is the baby of the group, especially when you consider the oldest vamp is 8,000 year old Petyr. Petyr looks like Gollum, lives in the basement and does not interact much with his roomies. Petyr does not have to attend house meetings nor is he expected to do any chores, so apparently age does have some benefits, if you happen to make it to 8,000.

The quartet spend their days sleeping and their nights prowling the streets of Wellington looking for victims and hoping to get asked into one of the cool clubs. Deacon has a servant/familiar, Jackie (Jackie van Beek) who is a mega-desperate vampire wannabe type. One night to speed up the process she invites an ex-schoolmate and an ex-boyfriend Nick (Cori Gonzales Mac) over for dinner in the literal sense but things go horribly wrong and next thing you know Nick is the new roommate. RIP Petyr.

Newbie Nick creates all sorts of problems for the other three but he does get them into all the clubs they so desperately wanted to go to and he comes with a computer nerd best mate named Stu (Stuart Rutherford) who hooks the vamps up with all the mod cons like cell phones and the internet. Fans of Flight of the Concords will recognize Rhys Darby (Murray from FOC) as Anton, the alpha dog of the werewolves who is a gentleman and expects his fellow wolves to act accordingly. If you need a good laugh after eating a bunch of ham and cheesy potatoes and way too many Peeps than this movie is for you. I loved it so much I’ve watched it twice. There is a sequel already in the works and I can’t wait. (HBO, iTunes rental, Amazon and Google Play for purchase)

Only Lovers Left Alive: If you like your vampires cultured and sophisticated with a smattering of clinical depression thrown in for good measure than this one’s for you. OLLA is a Jim Jarmusch film so you will either love it or hate it, depending on how much you like art house cinema and his particular minimalist style of movie-making.

Tilda Swinton is Eve, she lives in Tangier and spends her spare time reading one of the eight million books she has stashed in her funky casbah. Eve sneaks out at night to collect blood from her friend/dealer Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt) who it turns out really did write all of Bill Shakespeare’s plays, who knew? Eve’s husband Adam (Tim Hiddleston) lives in an abandoned neighborhood in Detroit making dark funereal music, buying vintage guitars and designing his own electrical system. He also moonlights as a doctor, names Faust, so he can get a constant supply of O negative blood, because killing people is so last year. Eve books herself on a couple of red eyes to Detroit to see if she can snap him out of his funk but since Adam used to pal around with Bryon and Shelley (not exactly known for being a barrel of laughs), it’s not looking too promising.

Adam drives Eve around Detroit at night proudly showing off his abandoned, dilapidated city. He even takes her to see the house Jack White grew up in and surprisingly it looks pretty good, especially compared to Adam’s, which could use a lot of TLC. Their happy reunion is short-lived however when Eve’s pain-in-the-ass and the ultimate houseguest from hell sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) shows up.

This movie is worth seeing for a lots of reasons but mainly for the performances of both Swinton and Hiddleston. She kicks ass and looks fabulous whilst doing it and Loki has never been hotter, he practically out iggies Iggy Pop himself and that is no easy feat. Hiddleston’s star has risen since this movie was made so he probably won’t be doing anymore weird little indie flicks like this which is too bad. Only Lovers Left Alive isn’t for everyone but fans of Jarmusch or movies that are not the same-old same-old will be glad they took the time to seek it out. (iTunes, Starz, Google Play)

 

 

 

 

 

The crying game

There are lots of things in life that can make you cry. Not getting any chocolates for Valentine’s Day, very sad animal stories, breaking your toe on one of your dog’s stupid bones that you have asked her quite nicely to put away a thousand times before and the simple fact that even though McDonald’s is now serving breakfast 24/7 you still can’t get any biscuit options past ten unless you live in one of a handful of states, none of which I would ever choose to live in, despite my love of all things biscuit-y.

 

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Some people don’t cry very easily and others cry at the drop of a hat like America’s least favorite tan dad, former Speaker of the House John Boehner. Whether it was being crowned House of Representatives king-of-the-prom or getting backstage passes to see the coolest pope in the universe this guy can bring on the waterworks like nobody’s business and I sorta miss him for that, and for that reason only, because he was a terrible speaker. Personally I kinda fall somewhere in the middle between being all dead on the inside or cries like a weeping puddle of Boehner, depends on what I am watching, how crappy my day was, or you know, hormones. But if you feel like you need a good old cry these three movies bring on the waterworks for me each and every time and even if they don’t make you sniffle a whit they are still great movies.*

Dear Frankie: stars Emily Mortimer (woefully underrated as an actress in my book) as Lizzie, a single mother of a hearing-impaired mute boy named Frankie (Jack McElhone). Lizzie is on the run from Frankie’s abusive father and goes to great lengths to make sure Frankie never meets him by making up the name of a merchant ship and turning Frankie’s father into a crew member. Frankie regularly sends letters to his fake father on the fake ship and Lizzie responds with stamps from around the globe to make the story believable and everything is hunky dory until the fake ship turns out to be real and coming soon to the quaint coastal village they currently reside in. Lizzie needs a fake dad real fast and her friend and chip shop boss finds her one in the guise of an unamed visiting sailor played by Gerard Butler.

Fake daddy takes his job very seriously and his pay-to-play gig turns into something much more than anyone was bargaining for, least of all Lizzie. He buys Frankie a fancy book about the ocean and when he hugs his pretend father in genuine gratitude the feels begin in a big way and you can tell this movie is moving in a direction that will soon require some tissues. When one night Lizzie tells fake daddy that she only gets to hear Frankie’s voice in his letters we understand why she has been faking it so hard for so long. (Netflix, YouTube)

Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About A Father: I saw this movie the very first time when I was sick in bed with a cold, the kind of sick where you can listen to the TV but not really watch it because your head feels like it weighs a thousand pounds. Once the movie started though I had to get over it and watch because I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. Dear Zachary started out as one kind of documentary by the filmmaker but due to horrific, unforeseen circumstances ended up a completely different one. If Making a Murderer made you angry about the sorry state of our criminal justice system then Dear Zachary will make the Canadian one look even worse, but for opposite reasons. Andrew Bagby was an only child, adored by his parents, a good guy with a solid group of friends, one of whom Kurt Kuenne, set out to make a film about Andrew initially for his parents to remember him by and then subsequently for Bagby’s son Zachary to get to know him by after Andrew was killed by Zachary’s mother before he was born. This is NOT A SPOILER since it was the original premise of the film.

Parents are not supposed to outlive their children, that is not the natural order of things. Watching what Andrew Bagby’s mother and father go through to have a relationship with Zachary, their only grandchild and last tangible piece of their son on Earth is punch-to-the-gut-wrenching. Only an android could watch this movie with its shocking turn of events and not ugly cry, a lot. Grab a full box of tissues for this one, you will need it. (Netflix, YouTube)

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont: Recently widowed Mrs. Arthur Palfrey (Joan Plowright) decides to move to a residential hotel in London, to a room absolutely without a view and an assortment of other widows and widowers, (mostly widows). She and her fellow residents spend their evenings in front of the telly watching old Sex & The City reruns while they wait for members of their respective families to come visit. Mrs. Palfrey hopes to spend time with her grandson Desmond and calls him repeatedly but he never returns the call. One day while out on a walk she takes a tumble and is rescued by a young man around her grandson’s age named Ludavic Meyer (Rupert Friend in his pre-Homeland days). To thank him, Mrs. Palfrey invites Ludavic to dinner and all the single ladies assume he is the much talked about but never actually seen Desmond.

Mrs. Palfrey and her fake-but-so-much-better-than-the-real-thing grandson bond over their mutual love of Wordsworth and Blake and it’s all so sweet and cultured and cute that you just know something’s gonna make it all come crashing down to reality and it does when the real Desmond shows up unexpectedly one afternoon at the Claremont. This movie proves that sometimes fake or manufactured families can often times be more kind and loving to one another than the real blood ones and that old people deserve much more than just being put into cold storage somewhere until they die. (YouTube, Amazon Instant)

* seriously, if you don’t shed a tear or twenty watching one of these movies than we are going to have to assume you are a Cyberman or a Dalek or some other member of the undead.

 

Life on Mars

2015 was not one of my better years but I kind of knew that going in since it was the year of the Goat (or Sheep or Ram, depending on who you believe) in the Chinese zodiac and as a Rat it was not going to be pretty no matter what horned creature was on the birth announcements. You see I have this totally unscientific but very practical theory that people born in even years (like moi) have less than satisfactory odd years. I have lived long enough to personally prove this theory but the Nobel committee probably needs a bit more empirical data. This premise is obviously reversed for those peeps born in odd years, but I can’t prove that either rather like the existence of the chupacabra or zero calorie pizza. (One I really do want to believe in, the other not so much.)

I did learn a few valuable lessons in 2015 though, things like if you think it’s merely a coincidence that your water softener seems to be running every time you go down to the laundry room it probably isn’t and you should have that checked out before you get a snot-a-gram from the city followed by a water bill that is more than a car payment, for a Range Rover. I also learned that I absolutely positively CAN NOT have Nutella in my house, ever. Maybe if I did not have any peanut butter to go along with it to make it even more delicious but that is just crazy talk and never going to happen. Also, don’t ever buy Target dental floss, it is crap.

I have spent the last couple of months trying to figure out the answer to life, my life in particular, because despite what Deep Thought the computer from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy spent seven million years calculating it sure as shit isn’t 42. (It also isn’t being able to wear stretchy pants practically every day while you are waiting for the right answer but you may as well be comfy in the interim.)

In case you never saw it, Life on Mars was a BBC series about a modern-day policeman, Sam Tyler (played by John Simm, aka the Master from Doctor Who) who after an accident gets sent back in time to the 1970’s (I personally can’t think of anything worse other than perhaps the 1870’s) but the show is awesome and the soundtrack alone, everything from Bowie to Nina Simone, is more than worth your time. (Sadly this is one is disk only, no streaming)

I am not sure what 2016 will bring, whether I will end up on Mars (yes please, it’s close and warm, I like warm), or Uranus. Is there anyway to even pronounce that planet’s name without sounding like a naughty eight-year-old? Your-anus versus Urine-us? Neither are good choices IMO. Heck, it may even be Pluto, which to some is not even a proper planet anymore but I am old school so it works for me. No matter, 2016 is the year of the Monkey and that means things are looking up for us Rats, it’s about time.

 

 

A river runs through it

Even though it is not particularly wintry yet in these parts it still gets dark before the local news comes on so the time is right for parking yourself in front of the old tv machine and watching something other than Masters of None (no slam). I loves me some Tom Haverford/Aziz Ansari but I’m figuring you have already binged yourself silly on that one and there are plenty of other shows equally deserving of your precious time.

River: The latest collab between the BBC and our besties at Netflix is one of those shows you should schedule some quality time with real soon. Starring Stellan Skarsgård as John River (Alexander’s dad) and Nicola Walker (Jackie “Stevie” Stevenson here, but forever known as MI-5’s Ruth Evershed). The two play a couple of police detectives but the similarities to all other cop buddy shows ends there. Like the little boy in the Sixth Sense John River sees dead people but unlike Haley Joel Osment’s Cole Sear, River also talks to them, gets into fisticuffs with them and even buys them banana milkshakes at the drive-thru. River is unabashedly weird, even weirder than that “friendship” between the tiger and the goat that was supposed to be his dinner only way less creepy than that because eating your friends is just plain wrong, except perhaps if your plane crashes in the Andes or you get stuck in a blizzard on the Oregon Trail.

Stevie is a major karaoke fan and the song I Love to Love* figures prominently throughout the series. Now Ruth Evershed/Stevie has a lovely voice, but anyone who has had the aural misfortune of seeing (and hearing) the film version of Mama Mia knows that is not the case with Stellan, or Colin Firth, or Pierce Brosnan for that matter. Thankfully Stellan doesn’t spend too much time crooning as he spends all six episodes acting his pants off, not literally of course, but he really impresses here. After a pretty shocking reveal about mid-way through episode one I was hooked. I don’t want to say too much more lest I ruin this cleverer than average show. #nospoilersforyou (Netflix)

Iris: ” You’re not pretty, you’ll never be pretty but you have style”, says the not-so-very-nice owner of Loehmann’s to a young Iris Apfel. No matter how backhanded of a compliment that was, Iris more than took it to heart. True style is something very few people have and it doesn’t necessarily have to mean couture as we see Ms. Apfel collects both designer and flea market finds with equal zeal. Prior to this movie I knew very little about Iris other than her obvious love of Mr. Magoo inspired eyewear but you don’t even need to know that to enjoy this documentary. In addition to being a fashion icon Iris was also a very successful interior designer who along with her husband Carl decorated homes around the world, including the White House for nine presidents. Not too shabby.

Iris is the last movie from Albert Maysles, best known (along with his brother David) for bringing the world the greatest documentary ever made Grey Gardens and for that we will forever be in their debt. In Iris, Maysles found his staunchest, chicest character since Little Edie wore a skirt upside down (mainly because it didn’t fit the regular way) and slapped a sweater on her head with a lovely brooch because after all, accessories do make the outfit. (Netflix, iTunes)

Getting On: is one of the best shows on HBO that you have probably never heard of. I had not until recently and it’s already in its third (and possibly its last) season. Consider it the John Kasich of premium cable, stuck at the kids table while Game of Thrones and Girls hang out at the adult table sucking up all the attention à la someone we all know that I refuse to acknowledge exists. Uncomfortably funny in the British Office sense (not at all surprising since it is based on a BBC series with the very same name), Getting On stars Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne) as self-centered head of medicine Dr. Jenna James, Niecy Nash (Reno 911) as the sweet and kind nurse Didi Ortley and Alex Borstein (MADtv’s Miss Swan) as her nut-cake boss and fellow nurse Dawn Forchette.

Getting On is set in a geriatric extended care facility called Billy Barnes and anyone who has ever spent an iota of time in such a place will be able to practically smell the hand sanitizer through the screen. Just like in real life, Billy Barnes tries to alleviate its medical industrial state institutionality with therapy dogs, music and water features. Now I like all three of those things but no amount of puppy love, Duran Duran or even a spectacular waterfall could ever make an extended stay in a care facility seem appealing. This show sucked me in though and I binged watched all three seasons in two nights. Much less impressive than it sounds since there are only six episodes a season (and there is one more left of the current season) but still, squad goals people. (HBO, Amazon, Hulu)

* Iceland’s favorite pixie scream queen Bjork got her first recording contract covering this alleged disco classic. The world makes no sense sometimes.

 

The Knick recap part deux

Here it is y’all, part deux of everything anyone really needs to know about season one of The Knick, just in time for season two. Thanks again to Ann from McIntoshmd for the medical input, and for going halfsies on the pizza.

Episode Six = Start Calling Me Dad (Monster-in-Law) Did you know that Typhoid Mary was a real person? ‘Cuz she was and her mad peach Melba dessert making skills made her a much in-demand cook for the NYC richie riches. Unfortunately for them, she did not have the same mad skills when it came to her potty habits and the combination of the two took out more than a few of the one percenters she worked for. Lillian, the Gallinger’s baby dies and honestly I should be much more sad about that but my cousin’s Baby Alive from back in the 70’s looked more real than her so I don’t.

Dr. Thackery discovers Algie’s underground railway hospital but before he can even fire his sorry ass Thack also discovers Edwards has perfected hernia surgery and since Thack wants in on that action offers him an alliance instead. When Cornelia finishes her day of running around the upper east side looking for the dessert-making, disease-spreading Typhoid Mary she has a major skin-crawling, cringe-worthy encounter with her soon to be father-in-law. which you would think would make her think twice about marrying into such a family but SPOILERS!!! it does not. Thack with the help of Bertie and a couple of the hookers from the opium den come up with a new placenta previa idea. He puts the call out for a patient and because it is a tv show one is quickly found and for the first time ever, both the mom and baby live. Yay!

Ann’s medical professional opinion: we call that method of transmission the old fecal/oral route, in plain English to eat shit, literally. Poor hygiene habits or lack of proper sanitation still kills people across the globe. 

Episode Seven = Get The Rope (Can’t We all Just Get Along?) Cop/wannabe pimp Officer Sears (Collin Meath) gets himself stabbed by a black man after trying to recruit his non-professional girlfriend to his stable of ho’s. This starts a race war that only gets worse after Sears dies from his wounds. Thack saves another black man from a lynch mob and the Knick pays the price for his for once human-ness when racist cops and thugs (sadly mostly Irish) trash the place and even steal the ambulance horses.

The underground hospital’s jig is totally up now as the ensuing melee leads to it being discovered by none other than Sleazy McSleazerson Barrow. After the riots subside, the hook-ups begin. First the inevitable Lady Cornelia and Algie one we saw coming about five episodes ago and then the Dr. Thack and Nurse Lucy one we saw seven episodes back. No good can come from either.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Leprosy was not/is not that communicable but people were petrified of it, which is why those with the disease were shipped off to leper colonies. 

Episode Eight = Working Late A Lot (I’d Like to Buy The World a Coke or at Least Nurse Lucy) Cocaine is a helluva drug and to think it was not only legal but one of the original ingredients in Coca-Cola (hence the name) is mind-blowing. There is a war going on in the Philippines and now cocaine is no longer coming to America and that is turning coke’s number one fan Dr. Thack into a basket case of epic proportions. Bertie’s dad Dr. Bertie Chickering the original (Reg Rogers) wants his son to cut his ties with the Dr. Thackery and all the poors at the Knick. Bertie junior of course says no because he does not mind the poors, thinks Thack is a genius and happens to be in love with Nurse Lucy. Poor deluded Bertie junior, Nurse Lucy has sold her soul for some sex sprinkled with coke and only has eyes for Thack.

Cornelia and Algie continue to live life very dangerously with their ill-fated Romeo & Juliet affair conveniently forgetting the fact that Corny is about to be married soon to someone else named Philip. It’s so hard to believe I know, but it seems insurance companies were crappy even back in the golden age because they won’t pay the hospital for the riot damage. The board wants the Knick to move uptown (little do they know how silly that idea would be a mere one hundred years later when all the cool people live downtown). Typhoid Mary is scheming to get out of quarantine on a technicality so she can kill some more rich people. Sister Harry has an orphan baby girl named Grace that she wants the Gallinger’s to adopt, thinking a new baby will pull Eleanor out of her deeply depressed state. Methinks Sister Harriet is a better abortionist than she is a social worker because this does not seem like a very good idea at all.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Drug shortages happen all the time. Interestingly it is often the cheaper, more commonly used drugs that go AWOL so you are forced to use expensive substitutes. There can be real reasons like contaminations at the manufacturing plant but it can also be because of opportunistic creeps like the Martin Shrekli’s of the world.  

Episode Nine = Golden Lotus (Lucy does Wu) Thackery is so desperate for a fix that he breaks into a pharmacy like a common meth-head. Of course he gets caught because Thack is a brilliant surgeon not a cat burglar (not even a hamburglar) which means Barrow and Mr. Moneybags Robertson have to bail him out and try to keep the news of his arrest on the DL. Something so much easier to do back in the pre-internet days. Eleanor Gallinger is not getting any better and is neglecting poor baby Grace. Barrow goes to his loan shark to try to score some cocaine but that Bunky is a sly one and gives him a placebo instead.

Because she is Beyoncé levels of crazy in love (emphasis on the crazy part), Nurse Lucy goes to Thack’s favorite opium den to procure some drugs for her one true love. Mr. Wu (Perry Yung) deeply admires Lucy’s dainty feet and has a proposition for hers which will result in Lucy scoring not only some opium for her beloved but also a little nest egg for her future. Our other crazy in love lady Cornelia tells Algie that they made a baby and it would be awfully hard to pass it off as her fiance’s seeing as how they haven’t ever had sex and the baby would probably not be blonde. Algie won’t abort his own child so Corny is now in quite the pickle. Eleanor drowns baby Grace and gets carted off in a strait-jacket by the legendary men in white coats.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Lucy is a grade A enabler and unfortunately for the addicts, there are way too many of them. The drug seekers and their enablers are one of the many contributing factors as to why physicians leave emergency medicine. 

Episode Ten = Crutchfield (They Tried to Make me Go to Rehab) Cornelia gets a ride to her procedure from none other than Mr. Cleary but the surprises don’t end there as she finds a non-habit-wearing Sister Harriet will be the one to kindly help her out of her predicament. The next day when she is at home recovering Algie comes to visit and kinda breaks up with her which is kind of weird considering Corny is engaged to be married to someone else named Philip the next day. Having conquered previa, appendectomies, hernias and a bunch of other problems Thack is now obsessed with figuring out why blood transfusions hardly ever work out right. The fact that his nemesis Dr. Zinberg (Michael Nathanson) is already working on that very same issue makes him even more manic in his quest to win one of those new-fangled Nobel prize thingy’s.

Bunky wants his money from Barrow and since he has none to give Barrow wants Dr. Thackery to use his influence with Mr. Wu to kill the pain in his debt-ridden side. Thack says no way so sleazy goes directly to the source and asks Wu to do the deed. You know the old saying, meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Apparently Barrow never heard that Who song before because he gets a new boss alright one that will make Bunky seem like a bro. Thack’s mania about blood types leads to him testing his theory on a little girl who dies and all is not right with the world. Bertie finally realizes his hero is a flawed junkie ass-hole and enlists the help of Bertie senior to get Thack into rehab. To ease his withdrawal symptoms the clinic injects him with a thoroughly harmless little drug called heroin.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Cocaine is a stimulant, which is how Thack could stay up for days on end. Heroin is a depressant so the high is not the same. Not sure one is any more addictive than the other, it is more of a personality issue. He was using opium to sleep already. 

Will Thack turn in one addiction for another? Will Cornelia move to San Francisco with her new husband? Will Algie ever stop staging his own version of Fight Club every time he gets in a mood? Do either of us like this show enough to pay iTunes money to watch season two? Stay tuned!

Season two starts on Cinemax this Friday October 16th. Season one is available on all forms of HBO, Amazon Instant and iTunes. 

Just in the knick of time, your season one recap

This is what happens when a home-schooled doctor of pop culture and a for reelz doctor of medicine (University of Minnesota, class of 1993) get together and binge watch ten episodes of Cinemax’s only hit show. We (mostly me) thought it would be great fun to critique the series both for entertainment value and it’s attention to medical reality. As an extremely squeamish person I had to watch all the surgical scenes with the remote control shielding my eyes which is where my fully trained emergency medicine physician pal Ann* came in handy. That and she brought Dairy Queen. The Knick is basically a 1900’s version of General Hospital crossed with an awful lot of House and a little bit of Upstairs/Downstairs set in downtown NYC before it became super fabulous and none of the patients in the show could ever afford to live there.

Episode One  = Method and Madness (Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner?) Drs J.M. Christianson (Matt Frewer aka Max Headroom) and Thackery (Clive Owen) lose a patient during placenta previa (rhymes with stevia) surgery which causes Dr. Christian to commit suicide and have even more room in his head. Now Dr. Thack gets to be sheriff of everything surgical and has to choose who gets to be his deputy between two not so lovely contestants, the mega stuck-up Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson), or the super-sweet Dr. Bertram Chickering jr (Michael Angarana, who if he looks at all familiar means you watched Will & Grace because he played Sean Hayes and Rosie O’Donnell’s son Eliot). I know who I’d pick, but no one gets to pick because old Mr. Moneybags Robertson (Grainger Hines) who funds the hospital wants it to be his hired help’s son, the Harvard educated and European trained Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland). Did I mention that Dr. Edwards was not white? Because he isn’t and Thack is not down with integration so he says no way. Sleazebag hospital administrator Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) hires Edwards anyway, not because he is a nice progressive kind of guy (he is the total opposite of that), but for Robertson’s money so the Knick can install some electricity.

Also Thack is a cocaine addict, thanks to Max Headroom’s bad influence, but he tries to go cold turkey one day which of course ends up with him having major withdrawal issues right when he is needed for an emergency bowel surgery (can there be any other kind?). Seemingly innocent southern belle newbie nurse Lucy Elkins (and if she looks familiar it is because she looks exactly like her dad, Bono) has to inject him in his personal bits so Thack can come back to the Knick and save the previously up the creek without a paddle patient. Dr. Edwards decides to stay even though no one likes him because of the being black thing and Nurse Elkins also decides to stay probably because of that whole penis thing.

Ann’s medical professional take: My experience is not in OB/GYN so while I have diagnosed women with placenta previa that is about the extent of it. The depiction seems legit to me. Sadly physician suicide is a very real issue. An entire medical school class is lost to suicide each year in the U.S. 

Episode Two = Mr. Paris Shoes (Hospital Flowers for Algernon) We meet Cornelia Robertson (Juliet Rylance), Mr. Moneybags daughter, chair lady of the hospital board and all around do-gooder. Algernon is now not only working in a shit hole but also living in one where he has a run in with a fellow shit hole dweller who is jealous of his fancy shoes from Paris. When Algie goes to work he finds out his new office is not one with a view, unless you count the furnace, and decides to open up his own hospital for African-Americans who are not allowed in the Knick, except to work there. Sleazebag Barrow has the electricity installed in the Knick and of course it is shoddy (mainly because he skimmed some of the money for his own nefarious purposes) which leads to a surgical patient catching on fire (thought that only happened to drummers?) and a nurse being electrocuted because they obviously did not teach basic safety rules in nursing school like how water and electricity are not a good combo, ever. Bye-bye nursey, we barely got to know you.

Barrow owes lots of dough to his loan shark Bucky Collier (Danny Hoch) but can’t pay him so Bucky kindly has one of his goons remove one of sleazy’s teeth for collateral. Ouch. There is a cadaver shortage in NYC, Thack loses another patient, this time to an aortic aneurysm, and when downstairs hospital basement baby Algie says he knows a procedure to make sure that doesn’t happen again Thack tells him to get lost and sends his two flunkies, Gallinger and Chickering, to steal a medical journal with Algie’s procedure in it. Only the journal is in French. Guess who knows French? If you said Mr Paris Shoes Algie Edwards then you would be 100 % right.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Aortic aneurysms have a pretty good survival rate these days as long as they are diagnosed in time. AAA’s are very bad news but are somewhat preventable. Risk factors would be hypertension and smoking. While the surgical scenes are grossing Amy out the scenes to me seem way less messy than they would be in real life. 

Episode Three = The Busy Flea (When Love Comes To Town) A former flame of Dr. Thack’s Abigail Alford (Jennifer Ferrin) asks him to fix her fallen off syphilis nose (just like in Candide) thanks to her cheating scumbag of an ex-husband. Dr. Thack does not want to do it but of course does in the end because deep down inside he is not just a crabby junkie but a kind of okay guy, kind of. The surgery is super gross and requires the patient to have their arm be attached to their face for like a month and I am starting to think the blue metal nose seems like a much better option for poor Abigail. Barrow has a teen-age prostitute friend (which is one of the reasons he is so in debt to Bunky) but the less said about her and the busy flea that gave this episode its title the better.

Algie hosts a job fair for his underground hospital, hiring a seamstress as a surgical nurse which makes perfect sense if you think about it. He successfully repairs a huge hernia on a patient with strict instructions that the man can not go back to work for six weeks. (Algie’s hospital was ahead of its time kicking patients out the door as soon as the anesthetic wears off. ) Of course the patient goes back to work because he is poor and they did not have disability insurance in the bad old days. The man dies and Algie gets a major case of the sads. This leads him to pick another fight with a random stranger and we learn the hard way that Algie does not have very good coping skills. The stolen medical journal is now in the hands of Dr. Gallinger’s teeny tiny wife Eleanor (Maya Kazan) only her French proficiency solely involves being able to order crepes off a menu which is no help at all. Mon Dieu!

Ann’s medical professional take: In way too many years of medicine than I care to count I have never come across someone losing their nose to syphilis. I have seen the disease plenty of times but it generally gets diagnosed before appendages fall off. STD’s are 100% preventable, practice safe sex people.

Episode Four = Where’s the Dignity? (Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves) Edwards tries to talk Gallinger through a cardiac surgery but instead has to take over to save the patient because the blonde pretty boy is not a very good surgeon. This does not endear Algie to Gallinger so alas these two will not be going out for beers any time soon. In his off time Algie meets with a Hoover salesman, buys an upright for his underground hospital, tweaks it and invents modern suction. Thack has been ignoring his former flame, because he is probably still pissed about her choosing her STD-riddled ex over a cokehead. Nurse Lucy puts him to rights and guilt trips him into a little meet-and-greet. (FYI: her arm and nose are still firmly attached and I can’t even imagine how much that is gonna hurt when she finally gets to put that arm down.)

Dr. Thackery tries to save a woman who gave herself an abortion and just like the 5,000 women a year prior to Roe v. Wade, she dies. After seeing this, former judegy blackmailing ambulance driver Tom Clancy (Chris Sullivan) joins forces with Sister Harriet (Cara Seymour) who as a trained mid-wife at least knows how to safely perform the procedure.

Ann’s medical professional take: Open cardiac massage been there, done that. Usually when the patient is a member of the gun and knife club and has penetrating trauma. This technique was pioneered by Moritz Schiff  in 1874 so it being used in 1900 by a surgeon at the Knick makes sense.

Episode Five = They Capture the Heat (What Happens In Nicaragua Stays In Nicaragua) Barrow thinks that if Thack saves one of his loan shark’s wounded henchmen Bunky will clear his debt. Of course Bunky doesn’t and we would feel bad for him if he was even one ounce human but he isn’t so c’est la vie. Hospital basement baby Algie is perfecting his hernia surgical skills. The Gallinger’s daughter gets sick and the stunt baby they are using makes the one in American Sniper look convincing. After Barrow gets insulted at a posh restaurant by Gloria Vanderbilt’s daddy (Anderson Cooper’s granddaddy for the youngsters) he decides to buy the Knick a new fangled x-ray machine, used of course, because he is a cheap bastard.

Thack must not be getting enough love from the ladies at the opium lounge he regularly crashes at because he starts creeping on Nurse Lucy. Bertie is in love with her but Lucy has the fever for the cokehead old enough to be her dad. Gross. Perhaps Owen is going all method in this role because he is not looking at all like his hot Croupier/Children of Men days. We also learn in this episode that Mr. Moneybags Robertson and Dr. Thackery go way, way back to Managua which quite possibly explains why Dr. Feelgood still has a job at the Knick.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Never seen that trick with a belt before, ever. The only time we used belts were to tie patients down for their own safety or ours.

This recapping thing is way more wordy than we could have imagined. After five hours in my lady lounge we had enough of cocaine addicts, racists and gore, even with DQ treats. Part deux of this very special edition of Oh-Amy will be posting tomorrow. 

   * For real legit medical and wellness information check out Ann’s blog at mcintoshmd.com. Link below or on the right sidebar, depending on your device.