Tuesday, October 12, 2021

medium entertainment

I discover TV shows by wandering into the living room and seeing what B. is watching. This time, a couple weeks ago, it was the second episode of a new drama called Ordinary Joe. B. lost interest but I've kept on through at least two more episodes. If I don't bother to watch at some future point, I'll know I'm done. More likely it'll be canceled.

Ordinary Joe's gimmick is not Joe, who though central is rather inert, nor the plot of his life, which is thoroughly mundane melodrama, but the fact that there's three of him. Joe faced a trilemma of what to do that afternoon after he graduated from college, and now ten years later each choice has led to a drastically different career, marriage to one of two different women or a single life, and lots of regrets over roads not taken. What's more, both of his wives are also active in his other two lives. So it's keeping track of what's going on as the three storylines jump back and forth that gives this otherwise dull story its slightly mind-bending appeal.
(e.g. which is the version of wife #2 who's having an affair with her boss? Is it the one Joe's married to, the single one, or the one who's married to Joe's best friend? Not clear at first, as the color-coding of the plot lines is not that consistent. But it turns out it's the single one.)

The other medium entertainment of the week came from the notification that Opera San Jose's first production of the season would be online only, meaning we could try out an opera of questionable charm without having to take the trouble of going there. It was a 40-minute, one-act, two-character drama by Rimsky-Korsakov titled Mozart and Salieri, after Pushkin's poem on the subject. No, Amadeus was not the first treatment, and in fact the plot is pretty much the same as Pushkin's. Salieri fumes at Mozart's superior talent and determines to do him in. In this one he invites him to lunch and gives him a slow-acting poison.
It was more talk than action, the music was mostly meandering recitative that didn't sound much like Rimsky, the singers were OK, there were a few snatches of genuine Mozart. But I couldn't share the enthusiasm of SFCV's review.

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