margaret lafleur

"Who are we, who is each of us, if not a combinatoria of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined? Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly shuffled and reordered in every way conceivable." (Italo Calvino)
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In previous episodes of The Leftovers, we have heard rumors and murmurs of how the world outside of Mapleton is handling the Sudden Departure. There have been congressional hearings, radio talk shows and ads for manufactured corpses that can be buried in place of a disappeared loved one. And though this week’s cold open followed the manufacture of an average toy baby doll it did bring to mind a question that is starting to float to the surface of the show: What, or who, is this doll replacing?

The Baby Jesus, as it turns out.

Continue reading at The Stake…

Extra tidbits from this week:

  • The title this week is “B.J and the A.C.” which, I assume, refers to the Baby Jesus and The Antichrist.
  • The Mayor, while on the phone discussing a replacement Baby Jesus for the manger snaps, “The white one. Obviously the fucking white one.” I’d take a few more humorous moments like this, please.

Yesterday, three days after Jeff’s father’s funeral, we got on a plane and flew to San Francisco. The trip was long-planned, as we’re in town for a wedding. Still, it felt a little unreal. But everything has felt unreal in the last week, and this, I’m surprised to find myself thinking, is no different. I’m sitting in a cafe, while Jeff is at the wedding rehearsal (he’s the best man) and imagining my grief like a little gremlin that has lodged itself in the hollow part of my chest. Look, gremlin, this a new city. I take it down the street and a muni rumbles by and though the hiss of the electric wires is familiar to me, it’s new to the gremlin. I’ve taken that bus, but you haven’t, I say, imagining the tiny monster with it’s claws sunk into the tender parts of my heart. I want the gremlin to care. I want the gremlin to be distracted. And there are moments, sure, but the beast keeps eating away, even as I tease Jeff about buying me a wooden horse head for my birthday (there’s one mounted on the hotel room wall), even as we hang our nice clothes, even as we look forward to seeing and celebrating friends.

I guess that’s the gremlin’s name: Even As. Take it on vacation, take it out to breakfast, take it to bed at night. It hangs on. Even as we go on.

Death is bullshit.

…Now at The Stake! I’ll be reviewing each episode for the smart pop culture blog. I’ll post the beginning here, but you’ll have to head over there for the rest.

I was a little worried that nothing would happen this episode. The worry was due, partly, to an early review of the show that suggested there was too much set up and not enough pay off, and partly due to the fact that I finished Tom Perotta’s novel the night before. If novels (and TV shows) are about telling one story in the inevitable longer and more complicated lives of characters, it seemed as though the moment Tom Perotta chose for his novel was the more boring one of a somewhat post-apocalyptic world. Most of the action of the novel happens elsewhere, either in the time leading up to the action of the novel or just off stage. Anton Chekov’s proverbial gun only fires behind the scenes, so to speak.

So I hope you’ll forgive my satisfaction when Tom, early in to Episode 2, “Penguin 1, Us 0”, breaks the tension of a yelling match between an FBI raider and Christine by putting a bullet in the man’s neck. Ah-ha, I thought, well at least that is something. The first episode was a slow simmer, but here are a few boiling bubbles breaking the surface.

Continue reading at The Stake… 

Extra tidbits from this week:

  • Jeff thinks that maybe Nora is impersonating an official in her visit to the older couple.
  • The title refers to a blow-up penguin in Kevin’s therapist’s office.
  • The ending made me wish I had a bagel.
  • It’s probably sadly realistic how easy it is for everyone to get guns on TV shows, especially post freaky-world-event.

YAY! The day my wallet and library request list wince in pain, together.

I would like Lindy West to ruin all movies for me, forever. I mean that sincerely.