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Amalah's Top Thingies of 2009, Hodgepodge Edition

At some point in the list-compiling process, I thought, "Self, I am pretty sure there is more to pop culture than television shows. Please try to diversify." Turns out I spent about 99.99999% of 2009 on the couch, consuming mah culture via the teevee or the computer. One time I went outside and saw a movie! All this, and nothing else, awaits you in the form of a handy numbered list...

9. Doogie Howser Theme. No list of mine would ever be complete without a little NPH, and this SNL Digital Short is quite possibly my favorite thing the show aired all damn year. I could watch it over and over. In fact, I just watched it like, three times just now.

8. I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. Speaking of SNL Digital Shorts, My husband and I sing a modified version of that J*** in My Pants one called BABY IN UR PANTS during the boring parts where the reenactors do stupid stuff like squint confusedly at calendars or eat jars of pickles or lift boxes ominously. Then we sit in horror and shock and OMG OMG OMG and I scream at the screen for somebody to please get the goddamn newborn baby OUT OF THE TOILET ALREADY and then the baby cries and I pretend like I am not crying, it's not my fault the room gets all dusty at that exact moment every time.

7. Parks & Recreation. This show was a bit of a slow starter in its first season (although the episode that opened with Amy Poehler hurling baggies of dog poop at a group of teenage boys had. me. howling.), but man, it's really come into its own this season. Like, it's really funny. I could go on and on about how funny it is...or I could be lazy efficient and go with (that's) WHAT SHE SAID. Plus, it's got my favorite opening credits of any show on TV right now, possibly tied with True Blood.

6. True Blood. WHICH. SPEAKING OF. Man, do I love this show. I love the books, too. I love how you can read and love the books and still watch the show as a completely different animal -- the writers take the characters and some basic plot lines and amp them up to batshit levels of crazy so you're always surprised and rarely spoiled. Plus: tons of sex and violence. Plus plus: Kdiddy's recaps!

5. Delusional Downtown Divas. This hilarious web series about three clueless art brats "trying hard to be effortless" had me choking on my pretzels from the very first scene, as the girls frantically try to pick outfits for a gallery opening of Mountain Don't, a feminist art collective. Oona wants an outfit complete with feminist critiques.  "I think that by wearing a banana shirt, you're saying, 'Well, I’m the one with the penis.'" says AgNess. Swann senses hostility through fashion. "You KNOW I'm allergic to bananas. Metaphorically." By the time Isaac Mizrahi shows up to be the girls' life coach, I was thoroughly in love with the series' low-budget AbFab-like zaniness.

Season two has just started (and features a marked difference in the production budget), so get caught up at indexmagazine.com or delusionaldowntowndivas.com.

4. Modern Family. Hands down, the funniest new show this year. And probably last year. Regularly gives 30 Rock a run for its money as funniest show on television, period. The closest any show has come to filling the Arrested Development-shaped hole in my heart, with the added bonus of ACTUALLY GETTING GOOD RATINGS. But let's not get complacent, people. Watch this show. Watch it multiple times, as the dialogue and asides and under-the-breath mutterings are fast and furious and in the time it takes to laugh at one joke, you've probably gone and missed two more. 

3. Glee. Oh, this show makes me so happy. You tune in expecting High School Musical and instead get Freaks & Geeks meets Bring It On meets something we have never seen before on television. It's sweet and campy and candycoated...with a center of juuuuust enough fuckedupedness to keep it from being saccharine. Plus: Jane Lynch in the comedic role of a lifetime! Plus plus: Amber's recaps!

2. Lady Gaga. Like so many people, including a good half of the writers here at Mamapop, I went through the Five Stages of Gaga this year.

First: A vague sense of her existence, easily written off because I don't like that kind of music. Disco stick? What? Goddamn whippersnappers.

Second: What the fuck is that girl wearing? Why is everyone talking about her so much? Wait, NOW what the fuck is that girl wearing? Goddamn whippersnappers.

Third: Okay, I think I kind of get what she's doing, and it's pretty amusing. Still not listing to Just Disco Poker Dance or whatever the hell.

Fourth: Her appearance on SNL. That old YouTube video of her playing the piano at NYU. Listening to "Speechless" all the way through. Are those...goosebumps?  

Fifth: Purchase The Fame Monster Deluxe Version from iTunes. Listen to it nonstop for weeks, start shaking my husband by the shoulders because OMFG GAGA LISTEN TO THIS WOMAN LOOK AT THIS WOMAN BUY ME TICKETS TO HER SHOW AND A WIG SHAPED LIKE A BIG DAMN BOW FOR CHRISTMAS.

1. Where the Wild Things Are. I know this movie disappointed a lot of people, as we were all expecting 90 minutes of cathartic Arcade-Fire-fueled ugly cries of Hope and Joy, but instead got a subtle and slow-paced existential exploration about the beginning of the end of childhood, when you learn that your family isn't perfect, that magic isn't real...and that the sun is going to burn out and destroy us all. But the movie sticks with you, needles at you, as you recognize parts of yourself and others in each of the Wild Things. It threw me so solidly into Max's shoes and wolf suit -- the hurt, the fear, the rage, the fucking crap unfairness of being at the mercy of adults all the time and the desire to simply disappear into imaginative worlds that you are rapidly outgrowing -- that I came home and spent two hours curled up in my son's room, alternating between mental apologies for how hard it all was going to be...and mental promises to at least understand that growing up can really suck sometimes.

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I still haven't seen Where the Wild Things Are, despite the fact that this baby in my tummy is named after the main character. Looking forward to when it comes out on DVD. Since I probably won't be leaving the house until well after that.


True Blood is my happy place. You know, like my bloody, sexual happy place. Wow. That sounds wierd when I say it out loud.


Dude. The only thing that could make my Christmas better would be an "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant" marathon. I think I am slighly obsessed. Do the have a Facebook fan page?
My man friend and I have taken to saying in a hoity-toity British accent, "Whaaaaaat? I didn't know I was preeegnant." Whenever we drop something on the floor. Specifically, while getting up off the shitter. Sarry.

Mrs. D

Only you could bring tears to my eyes with a 2009 recap, Amalah! Love your description of WTWTA.

Also, I completely agree about Modern Family. Comedic magic, it is. Endlessly hilarious, with just enough real emotion thrown in to make you truly feel for the characters. Also, I was never a fan of Ed O'Neill, but I LOVE him as the family patriarch.


I now want to watch "I didn't know..." just so I can sing "BABY IN UR PANTS."

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