I’m becoming more and more convinced that geeking out is a personal thing. Certain things make me go all fan-girl. And often they are things that other people simply can’t understand.
Or at least things people around you can’t understand.
The 2012 television season turned into a private geek-out session for me, so bad that I actually turn to Entertainment Weekly recaps for someone to”discuss” the shows with. My friends don’t watch them. (Or if they do, they don’t admit it.)
In fact, some of the shows are so down-market (see my previous column) that they don’t even rate a recap.
Grimm is one of them.
Grimm premiered along with Once Upon A Time, forcing critics to comment on two fairy-tale shows and of course, cross comparing them, thinking only one would survive. If this cross-comparison thing happened to, say, detective shows, and only one survived, there’d be nothing on network television.
But I digress.
To the critics’ surprise, both shows survived. To my surprise, Once Upon A Time has higher ratings. The damn thing was/is so predictable I couldn’t get past the second episode. I prefer the darker, aptly named Grimm.
For those of you not watching, Grimm follows a police detective in Portland, Oregon after his aunt passes on the family legacy. He’s a Grimm, a member of an elite, magical line of criminal profilers who”keep the balance between humanity and the mythological creatures of the world.”
I’ll be honest: I started watching it partly because I write a fairy tale series (as Kristine Grayson) and felt I needed to remain current, partly because some Buffy: The Vampire Slayer veterans are writing it, and partly because it’s set in Oregon. The producers use Portland to great, creepy advantage, from the overcast skies to the lovely cityscape to beautiful magical Forest Park (which at more than eight miles, is one of the country’s largest urban forest preserves).
I love watching my sort-of hometown on the small screen, and I like seeing friends in cameo (or guest-starring) roles. For example, science fiction writer David Levine has been an extra in several episodes, as have a number of people in Portland’s sf community.
But if I only watched because of Portland, I’d be watching Portlandia too, and as accurate as that show can be, it’s not to my taste. (The other show filmed in Portland, Leverage, used Portland as a stand-in for Boston. That will change later in the year, when the Leverage characters actually”move” to Portland.)
What keeps me coming back to Grimm are three things: the characters, the sly twists on the mythology, and the show’s darkly vibrant plots. I find myself thinking about them week after week after week.
Dean and I usually watch sf shows together, but he abandoned Grimm after a handful of episodes, not liking the”monster of the week” aspect. He knows TV as well as I do: he knew that the producers had to do the MoW thing to satisfy the suits in Hollywood, at least until the show got a full pick-up order, but he just couldn’t get as excited about the characters, the fairy tales, and the darkness as I did.
Of course, I seem to be the one who loves the dark side of human nature in our household. I’m the only one still watching Justified as well. Dean liked it but found it discouragingly dark (“œThere really are people like that, aren’t there?” he asked me after one particularly violent episode). I find the show inspiringly dark, and wonder how I can steal its mood for a series of sf stories.
Grimm moved away from MoW in January, after the pick-up order, just like Buffy did all those years ago. Like I hoped it would. The characters got deeper, Portland became more important, and I . . . can’t wait for the next episode. I’m enjoying the show so much that I’m having two fan-girl reactions.
The first? How am I going to make it through a summer without Grimm. The second? I won’t go near the set, even though I’ve been invited. I don’t want to break the magic of the storytelling. I don’t want to meet the actors, see the screenwriters, go through the tedium of filming a single scene. I want to lose myself in the story, not see how the story gets assembled.
You’d think that, living as I do with another writer (and an sf writer at that) that we’d have similar tastes in our geek-out moments. We do, kinda. We both love Big Bang Theory, and we’re going to miss Eureka when it goes away. We share a taste in cop shows and we tend to get disillusioned with a series at about the same time.
But we don’t share a taste in everything. And when it comes to media we’re passionate about, from television to movies to books, we really differ, so much so that we might actually fight about what’s good and what isn’t.
Which is why I’m thinking that geeking out is personal, and at times, inexplicable to others. I love me some Grimm, but I don’t know anyone else who is as passionate about it as I am.
Except, y’know, the folks I see in cyberspace or commenting on the Grimm official website, which I do not waste my time on. I spend my time quite wisely there. I only watch the previews for next week’s episode or maybe read the production blog. But that’s it. That’s all.