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Top Ten Things to View Whilst Sick

On the art of programming your viewing whilst sick…

When sick, as in stuck in your bed not quite able to focus on book or magazine text, left with only audio visual aides to pass the time, the selection process becomes very intense. You have to find that happy balance between something that will hold your attention so that you’re not bored, but not so much that you can’t drift into much needed sleep. I have had the distinct pleasure of perfecting this balance over the course of a week of half days of work, and full afternoons and evenings of staring at the television.

The most effective thing to lull me into sleep has been Family Guy. This is not to say that this show isn’t genius, it’s beyond genius, but so much of the funny can be enjoyed while in a haze, and despite having seen every episode, there are so many references within each show that it feels both familiar and fresh, the perfect blend to make me not feel guilty when my eyes inevitably shut. Also along these lines are other animated gems like The Simpsons and Futurama. Both smart enough to hold interest, but familiar enough to sleep.

For my more lucid moments, I tried to find movies that I swore I’d see in theaters and completely failed to somehow get there. I started off with the animated feature The Secret of Kells, which had tons of whimsy and fanciful animation to keep me floating. Gorgeously created and mercifully short enough to never realize there’s not much in a way of plot. Combine a viewing of this right before you take some TylenolPM or Nyquil, and you’ll be floating. Along the same intoxicating lines, I watched Terry Gilliam’s Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and found myself mesmerized but a little too lightly. Visually this piece is incredible, with the added bonus drama of being Heath Ledger’s final onscreen performance, but the impact of the story never quite hit me. And then for the sheer stupidity but enjoyability of it, I watched Planet 51, which satisfied the 12 year old in me as I drank my chicken noodle soup.

In the TV world, I continued to dig into Pushing Daisies, reminding myself of a time when I really did enjoy a weekly television series. And thanks to having nothing but time, I removed my block on Fringe, which had begun to bother me with all its twists and turns and back-stories, and got familiar with the team again. That show should have way more than just the devoted tuning in, as it truly is one of the most intelligent and bizarre pieces of television being created these days.

So what did I learn on this odyssey through sickness? That in this day and age there are way too many different ways in which you can watch media. I had a computer on my right, my TV in front of me, my Roku and TiVo just off to the side, sitting atop my DVD player. Seriously, how many different methods must one household have to occupy my time! Thankfully, for once, I had time to enjoy all of them, but what about the 51 other weeks of the year when I’m not ill!?

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PLAY Elling – I do not understand how things like this make it to Broadway!? It’s a perfectly half-decent play that should be performed by talented unknowns off-Broadway. Instead, the comedy is being jammed down throats by actors of name (and some note). Thank you Brendan Fraser for not only being a marquee name, but also bringing a heart and intelligence to your role… C

MOVIE Annie Get Your Gun – it’s hard to believe I’d never seen this movie all the way through… until I got to the song “I’m an Indian, Too,” with all its lyrical racism. At the end of the day, this is a fun, if light film, that could have used stronger direction… B

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