Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Buffy versus baseball

My wife and I were talking the other day, and the subject of the Great Buffy the Vampire Slayer Re-Watch (Plus Intercalation of Watching Angel For the First Time) Project came up. This is not exactly a tremendous surprise, given the reverence of Whedonia in general in our house, but the noteworthy aspect was that my wife was the one who brought it up, essentially out of nowhere, since I hadn't made mention of it in quite a long time. The basic dynamic of our relationship, and its triangulation against pop culture, is that I come up with these grandiose schemes for jointly consuming a certain amount (read: a frigging ton) of something in a certain way, but I refrain as best I can from attaching certain dates or timetables to said consumption. It's in my nature to want to make those attachments, because to me it's a fun and exciting challenge to stick to a target or race against a deadline. But I understand and accept that it's not that way for everyone, and my wife finds that approach a bit wearying, turning what should be the relaxing escape of entertainment into a grinding slog of dutiful benchmark-meeting. So I say "We should do this" and she says "Yeah, we should" and then I let her tell me when she's good and ready.

Which apparently she just about is, as she very astutely observed that the timing of certain external factors can and maybe should play a part. One of those circumstances is the imminent finale of How I Met Your Mother. For years now we have had a standing appointment with HIMYM on Monday evenings, which has become so ingrained in our routine that we've perfected the art of getting all three kids tucked snugly into their beds on schedule mainly so that we can be on the couch by 8 p.m. (which conveniently enough is just as critical for Community on Thursdays as it is for HIMYM on Mondays) Clearly there is going to be a void to fill after the last new episode of HIMYM airs, and what better way to fill it than with hundreds of episodes of Buffy and Angel, doled out one or two a week for as long as it takes?

(I feel obligated to point out the Venn overlap of HIMYM and BTVS in the person of Alyson Hannigan. Considering the fact that, as is implicit in the Re-Watch part of this project, my wife and I have already seen every single episode of Buffy and actually got as far as mid-Season 3 in the second go, and also considering that not only are we faithful watchers of new episodes of HIMYM but that we are fairly likely to settle on syndicated re-runs of HIMYM when nothing else is on (every couple has to have a default show that they're both perfectly happy to put on as background noise, right? For the longest time for me and my wife that show was Scrubs, but somewhere along the way our allegiance shifted to HIMYM), you could make the argument, and I suspect the data would actually bear this out, that there is not a single actor or actress, living or dead, who has been on our collective/respective home television screens throughout the duration of our romantic relationship anywhere close to as often as Alyson Hannigan. With all due respect, I wouldn't say she's the main draw of either Buffy or HIMYM, as it were, yet there she is, a constant fixture.)

The other circumstance to be taken into consideration is that baseball season is almost upon us. You might think that this means there are yin and yang forces at play here; my wife and I can both enjoy Buffy/Angel and one another's company by dedicating some weekly time to that project, which may very well offset the antagonism of our Hannigan-esque eternal Yankees-Orioles rivalry for the next six months or so. (The Yankees home opener this year sees them playing host to the O's. At this point its like they're blatantly trying to incite domestic discord for me.) Be that as it may, my wife was mainly responding to our by-now familiar pattern of just kind of defaulting to watching baseball more evenings than not throughout the spring and summer. They do play almost every day, and Baltimore's games are broadcast regularly, with us tuning in just as regularly, to the point where we unerringly know which two of the five or so in-house announcers is calling the game as soon as we hear their voices. Granted, part of the appeal of baseball is the unhurried pace, of each game and of the entire 162-contest season, but both my wife and I would willingly admit that there are plenty of meaningless games on the schedule, which we nevertheless subject ourselves to out of force of habit. So having a viable alternative at the ready, in the form of our Buffy and Angel box sets and the goal of steady progress through the, can only be a good thing.

I will provide further updates on that progress as it unfolds, unless it all comes to a screeching halt because of a blown ninth-inning lead during some non-Monday game that causes a television screen to get kicked in or the like.

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