April 04, 2015

How to Develop a Taste for the Weird

[Original image here]

Hi my beauties! are you still there?

Because I've been really, really lazy lately. Part of it was old age tiredness, part was probably lack of stimuli and/or ideas. Anyway, I seemed to have blogger's block and I didn't like it in the slightest. So, while I was fishing for new post ideas, my brain swirled with images from my favourite books and TV series, and I thought I'd write a sort of crossover article about them, and how I was shaped into the kind of reader/TV watcher I am now. This is meant to be a homage to some of the TV series and novels that have left their mark on my mind, or if you like, soul...

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AGATHA CHRISTIE: THE COZY SIDE OF CRIME

Italian editions of some Agatha Christie books: Evil Under the Sun, A Pocket Full of Rye, The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, The ABC Murders

Once upon a time, there was a quiet girl who didn't particularly like fables, but was in love with Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and their band of friends. Growing up, she began rummaging the house for something new to read, and found a stack of mysteries by the likes of Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen and Rex Stout (the first one was especially prominent in her mother's collection). She began to read them, and found out that she loved crime and detectives. Mind you, that kind of crime was unusually clean. The bodies might be piling up and not a drop of blood was in sight. Romance was absolutely marginal, and sex was barely hinted at. The girl was pleased, because even at a young age, she cared for the mystery and its intricacies far more than for any romantic implication. So the girl grew up reading the authors mentioned above, plus the later discovered John Dickson Carr (famous for his locked-room mysteries).

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LAW & ORDER: THE ULTIMATE CRIME COMPENDIUM

From left to right, some pivotal L&O cast members: det. Lennie Briscoe (the unforgettable Jerry Orbach), A.D.A. Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and det. Eddie Green (Jesse L. Martin). Speaking of which, meet my boyfriend :). Because I've always had a soft spot for him for some reason, and besides, come on! just look at that smile!

The said girl had loved music from a very early age, but wasn't interested in movies or particularly enthralled by TV series (though she used to watch some), until Fame came along. She grew up with those stories, and matured (more or less) at the protective - but not always reassuring - hands of Law & Order's detectives and lawyers, who rekindled her love for crime and mysteries and rooted it into the present for a change. All the same, for all its deep, gut-punching and controversial stories, Law & Order was similar to those old mystery books in what there wasn't much, if any, blood to be seen. And our heroine was sure she would never watch anything bloody and gory in her life, 'cause she had had evidence enough of not tolerating the stuff. So the girl, now a young woman, stayed contented and safe.

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CHRISTOPHER PIKE: WELCOME TO THE WEIRD

Italian version of my favourite Pike book Remember Me

At the end of the '90s, the girl - we'll call her so for brevity, though, like stated above, she wasn't a girl anymore at that point - caught sight of the blurb of a book called Ricordati di Me (Remember Me) by Christopher Pike. It promised a teen who, once murdered by an unknown killer, investigated upon her own death as a ghost. I suppose the old pull of mystery/thriller stories was at work here, but its coupling with the dead-not-quite-dead character was irresistible for our girl, who impulsively decided to buy the book in question, unknowingly setting her own path as a reader for - likely - the rest of her life...a path paved with afterlife stories and YA books.

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CHARMED: AN INTRODUCTION TO MAGIC AND TIME TRAVEL

On the left, the original Charmed sisters: Piper (Holly Marie Combs), Prue (Shannen Doherty) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano). On the right, the new trio with Paige (Rose McGowan), the long-lost fourth sister who steps in for Prue after her death

A couple of years later, the girl was alone at home one evening, when she casually switched her TV onto a channel that was airing a Charmed episode called Morality Bites. The girl had never been interested in witches or spells, but upon discovering that the sisters had landed in the (near) future in order to save one of them, she kept watching...and watching...and found the context strangely enthralling. She would get addicted to the whole series later, but her communion with time travel was already set.

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CSI: AN INTRODUCTION TO BLOOD-AND-GUTS CRIME

The original team from the original CSI: Warrick (Gary Dourdan), Sara (Jorja Fox), Nick (Geaorge Eads), Grissom (William L. Petersen), Catherine (Marg Hengelberger)

So now the girl was a fan of mysteries, afterlife stories and time travel, and though she'd read some horror books by Christopher Pike, horror as a genre didn't appeal to her, out of the printed page. She even chickened out of bookish horror sometimes, because apparently, for example, she couldn't stomach Stephen King's depiction of it...In the meantime, she had become a CSI fan, and the funny thing is, that one was her real foray into horror. Because unlike a L&O investgation, the blood and gore were finally present on there, and often served freely; and the girl found out that she could keep her eyes open - at least when there weren't creepy bugs crawling in and out of bodies, or simply all over them. It even became easier when Grissom went away, and his bugs were replaced with Langston's prettily arranged intestines. And though a man melting in a pool full of acid (courtesy of CSI Miami) resulted in a sight she couldn't deal with, the girl was pretty much blasé at this point - compared with the old version of herself at least.

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SUPERNATURAL: THE NIGHTMARE...MADE HANDSOME

Do I have to tell you? Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) in a peculiar promo shot from Supernatural Season 1

This could have been just a warm-up while waiting for the real thing. Because a couple of years ago, the girl stumbled on a Supernatural episode, and then another, and another. And though it was supposed to be horror (though not of the hardcore kind, she guessed), the girl actually liked it. Well, not just for the most obvious reason ;). And so happened that she and her husband started watching all the seasons (in reruns first), and up to this point, the girl has only skipped the episode called Bugs (for the explanation, see CSI section above), while happily watching severed heads and bloody body parts without even flinching (well, most of the times, that is). She still refuses to read Stephen King because there's something in his books that gives her the creeps, but look at her now - all grown up. A mystery, afterlife, sci-fi, supernatural and horror lover. Ready for all the weird stuff books and shows can throw at her...

PLEASE NOTE: all the TV shows pictures used in this article are property of their respective owners. I wasn't able to trace their original source back, but I assume they are all promo shots. If you have a valid reason for me to take them off, please contact me via the form on the left. Thank you!

8 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm still here. Virtually, at least. Anyhoo... Law and Order and CSI are FANTABULOUS. It's funny how after reading the same tropes over and over again, you start hunting down the weird and unusual. :3 Fab post, Roberta!

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    1. I hope it was worth the wait LOL. Thanks!

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  2. Uh, Roberta, we might have a problem. See, I have a thing for Jesse L. Martin. And his beautiful smile. And his voice. I first saw him on Ally McBeal, and when he sang, it was like a siren's call. And then I realized that he was from the original cast of Rent, and my love only grew. Plus, crime shows are my thing (except CSI, I never really got into those shows, not a huge fan of William Peterson or David Caruso, but I love Criminal Minds and Cold Case and all the Law & Orders). ;)

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    1. What? Are we sisters in Jesse, besides being sisters in Pike? :O It's funny that my JLM coming out amounted to discovering that LOL. Well, you're lucky, because I'm willing to share! Just with you though ;).

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  3. Whoho! Happy Easter! Finally, a blogpost... I love Agatha Christie too! :) and Supernatural ...

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  4. Happy (belated) Easter!

    I don't watch any of those shows except Charmed. I have such weird taste in shows and then I'm super impatient. I'll be obsessed for one or two seasons then I'm done lol

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    1. Never watched L&O, CSI or Supernatural, not even a single episode? I can't believe it O_O. Especially with them being around for years. Admit it, you made a point to avoid them LOL.

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