Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Thursday, August 16, 2012


So, in our house, we only have broadcast television, no cable or satellite, so we wind up watching that like, not at all. We do, however, have the internets connected to the TV screen, and Netflix streaming gets a lot of play. We usually pick one series, usually one that is off the air now, and watch it through. Without commercials, regular shows are about forty-five minutes long, a nice little period that allows for some passive/relaxing/snuggling/decompression time without consuming the whole evening.

The show that we are currently watching is Warehouse 13, a somewhat goofy fantasy series perhaps best summarized as "Mulder and Scully working for the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark." Set in the same universe as the goofy sci-fi series Eureka, it has the same implausible science, outlandish plots, and tongue-in-cheek approach that create a decently diverting series. It has the added bonus of a wealth of literary and historical allusions and references, since the Artifacts (you can hear the capital "A" every time they say it) that the principals are chasing and guarding are all related to famous people or incidents. But most of all, we like it for the characters:

The main agents are Myka and Pete, your usual oil-and-water partners, Secret Service agents recruited into Warehouse service when they stumble into a case involving an Artifact. Myka is a logical, analytical bookworm; Pete is an intuitive, emotional frat-boy. Within the constraints of episodic television, the characters have developed beyond their stereotypes, at least a bit. Claudia is the wunderkind computer hacker, a late-millennial post-ironic poster-girl who literally says "squeal of delight!" when pleased and uses slang not heard since Scooby-Doo. And leading them all is Artie, a former NSA cryptographer who has been with the Warehouse since the seventies, the cranky old man of the group. Pretty conventional fare, made a little more interesting by a slightly steampunk vibe, and I only mention it here because of an observation I made while watching the show:

My Identification character is Artie. Even in escapist entertainment, I can no longer imagine myself the square-jawed protagonist, much less the rookie or the boy wonder - it just doesn't work, especially when I look in the mirror. You've got to face it when the reflection looks more like Vulko than Aquaman. With the more-than-a-few miles I've got on me now, my contributions to the Cause - real or imaginary - tend to be subtler, often less flashy, but (it is hoped) still critical. I can leave for others the Achillean heroics; my role has evolved from that, and is based more and more on experience - creaky and maybe even cranky, but valuable. And there are some perks to being the boss in exchange for not being the lead.

My last post concerned things I am just now really understanding, and I forgot one: some years ago, a colleague said to me regarding my leadership "Maybe it's time to move from brash to wise." Yeah, I can live with that.

After all, I can still wear my Chucks.

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