My New Addiction

Because I really needed something other than coffee and chocolate and Anne Tyler books and sleep.

Anyway, when we were in California recently, we were hanging out in one of our favorite families’ living rooms, and they had the tv on as we sat around talking. I was confused at first, because all I saw were music videos and an occasional commercial. Since when did MTV get so low-key, and so focused on music?

Well, it’s not MTV, and it’s not VH1. It’s The Tube Music Network and it really works for me! Their tag line is: “Think of it as music television. Only with music.” And they mean it. There are no veejays (anyone old enough to cringe at the memory of Martha Quinn?). No reality shows or game shows. Just music videos, from the 80s, the 90s, and now. Here is a sampling of the artists that I got to see and hear within about an hour yesterday:

John Mellencamp (when he was John Cougar!)

Don Henley

Duran Duran

Big Country (yes, the one-hit wonder! Or was it two?)

Ben Harper

Cold Play

Rod Stewart


Of course, there are times when I have to mute the television (Bjork? No thank you). But it is a thrill to hear some of those old songs, and some really great new ones, all without having to endure all the nastiness and gimmicky stuff of MTV. It certainly makes unpacking boxes a lot less tedious when I can do it with an old Bon Jovi song in the background.

This new addiction works for me. Click here to see what works for Shannon!



The Real Wedding Crashers

Well, we watched an episode of “The Real Wedding Crashers.” I’ll admit that we laughed at some of the stunts, but ultimately I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it shouldn’t be all that funny.

Please understand–I am not a total party pooper. I am all in favor of fun at weddings (if you’d been at our reception way back in 1992, you’d know that to be a fact!). A wedding is a celebration that’s intended to only happen once in a lifetime, so it should be light-hearted and happy. But the kind of fun they have on “The Real Wedding Crashers” doesn’t focus on the celebration, or the bride and groom, or the relationships represented by all the friends and family in attendance.

If you’re unfamiliar with the show, a group of actors–with full cooperation with the bride and groom–inserts themselves into the action, before and during the wedding, all the way into the reception. The show is advertised as being from the makers of “Punk’d,” so if you have any inkling of that show, you’ll get my drift. Some of the stunts on the episode we saw were:

*A guy with a leaf blower interrupts an outdoor wedding, blowing the rose petals around.

*A tow truck attendant attempts to tow away the father-of-the-groom’s car, which happens to have the ring in the glove compartment, and he will not allow them to get into the car to retrieve the ring until the father-of-the-groom agrees to give him a big hug.

*A waiter at the wedding takes people’s plates away before they’ve eaten even half of their food.

What really gave me pause was when the bride and groom repeatedly said things like, “We wanted this to be a day that our friends and family would remember, something that they’d never forget.”

I’m sorry, but shouldn’t every wedding be a day that the friends and family remember? I know that sometimes it seems like there’s a wedding every other weekend. Particularly when you’re “that age,” between 20 and 30, and all your friends are tying the knot. (I’m thinking we’ll be in “that age” again when we’re in our 50’s, going to all our friends’ kids‘ weddings–a frightening thought.)

I remember every single wedding I’ve been to, and they are all distinct. Yes, there were tuxedos, and a white dress, and flowers, and candles, and chicken floating in an unidentifiable sauce at pretty much all of them. But they also each took on the identity of the bride and groom, all without actors and tv cameras and national exposure. I’ve been to almost-irreverent weddings, too, when the groomsmen wrote “Help Me” on the bottom of the groom’s shoes, visible to all when he knelt for communion; when the best man, upon being asked for the ring, spread open one side of his coat to reveal a wide selection of rings with prices attached, like a street vendor; when the groomsmen (why is it always the groomsmen?) held up cards with ratings on them, from 8.5 to 10, after the first kiss. But all of those elements came directly from the friends of the couple, not a hired group of actors making a “reality” show.

Every wedding has its own identity which matches the identity of the bride and groom and their unique relationship. This is something that I noticed on the website of my friend, Sandi Evans, who photographs weddings (I swear, she’s not paying me to keep linking to her site. She’s just really good and her photos prove my point!). I don’t know personally any of the couples whose photos are showcased on her site, and yet I can get a sense of who they are just from their photos, from the fact that their weddings are so different. My favorite is the couple that dances in the midst of a flurry of bubbles. I need to meet these people.

So, we won’t be watching that show again. I don’t mean to condemn it entirely, nor will I hold it against anyone else that enjoys it. I just prefer to look at weddings as personal, unique, and lovely. And I’d rather remember them for the momentous promises that are made than the television ratings they might get.

UPDATE: I’m apparently not the only one who doesn’t love this show.