Series Premiere: About A Boy

about-a-boy-nbc

As you can tell by the lack of posting last week, I got pretty swamped with work. When I get swamped with work, I have less time to blog and get sleepier earlier. In other words, I have less time to not only write about things, but also wind up falling asleep about four minutes into things (sorry Alien).

Anyway, we did watch the Olympics pretty much non-stop and I found myself enjoying them for the most part. I’d like to see robot judges comparing moves to Platonic ideals in judged sports, but we’re at least two years away from that. After the games on Saturday, I was surprised to find myself watching NBC’s new half hour comedy About A Boy.

When I first started seeing previews for this show, I was pretty skeptical. I read the book back in 2012 followed quickly by the movie, both of which were emotionally powerful looks at two strong adult forces and the child in between them who’s trying to figure out which elements to bring into his own life. The story is funny and heavy and a really tough but satisfying ride. So how would all that translate into a half hour sitcom?

Pretty well actually. The first episode is basically a condensed version of the book/film minus the mother’s more intense emotional problems. Basically Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) and his mom Fiona (Minnie Driver) move next door to Will (David Walton). Marcus is very much his earthy mother’s son, but that’s lead to some trouble at school. He winds up forcing his way into Will’s life where the two start becoming friends, something Will uses to his advantage, but eventually comes to realize is mutually beneficial.

By speed skating through the source material, the first episode (which you can watch on NBC.com) might have felt a little quick and off balance, but it also seemed like a good way to jump right into the series. It’s about this kid and these two adults and them all trying to live around each other and figure out the world. I think this cast is well equipped to handle that challenge. Driver pulls off the struggling single mother who also has a strangely positive outlook on the world while Walton seems ready to take on Will’s life which goes from completely detached emotionally to (hopefully) immersed in relationships with others. But the real pressure lies on Stockham’s shoulders who needs to have the kind of innocence that leads a pre-teen to sing a One Direction song at the talent show and dedicate it to his mom because he knows it will make her happy, but also the knowledge that the world doesn’t always react positively to such things. I think he’s got it and am interested to see how things pan out with this show.

Ambitious Summer Reading List 2012

Longtime readers might remember that I tried to tackle a large stack of classic books for my Ambitious Summer Reading List last year. Well, that wound up spreading into the beginning of this year and wound up not being a whole lot of fun. So, this summer, I wanted to try something different and finally read some of the books that have been sitting under my bed for ages. This is a mix of autobiography, mystery, psychological thriller/horror, slice of life, drama, food, music and just about everything else. I started off with Nick Hornby’s About A Boy (review coming soon because I finished it today), but don’t have an order figured out (last year’s was chronological).

The pile includes another Fletch book by Gregory McDonald (Fletch And The Man Who), Stephen King’s Misery, the aforementioned Boy, an oral history of the punk rock and new wave movements called Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, Anthony Bourdain’s follow-up to Kitchen Confidential called Medium Raw, Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake (I loved her book An Invisible Sing Of My Own), Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon which I know nothing about but liked The Lovely Bones, the latest Diary Of A Wimpy Kid installment which doesn’t really count but I want to finally read it, Steve Martin’s autobio Born Standing Up, actor George Hamilton’s autobiography Don’t Mind If I Do, a book about a band I’ve never heard of called Petal Pusher by Laurie Lindeen and Erik Larson’s historical thriller The Devil In The White City.

It’s a pretty eclectic mix, but also a pretty apt representation of the kinds of books I’ve been wanting to read for a while, found for a few bucks at various places or both. I’m hoping that by choosing books I’m interested in, I’ll stick with them a little better. I also admit that the idea of actually focusing on getting through a dozen of the books I’ve been collecting for more years than I can count and either put them on a shelve (or more likely a box in storage) or give away to someone else. I’d much rather store books I’ve read and liked than ones I’m still waiting to get to.