Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

Last night I caught myself laughing my butt off and thought it would be embarrassing to admit why. But then again, don't we all have our guilty pleasures that we would prefer to keep to ourselves? So in the spirit of confessing my shortcomings, here are a few of mine, in no particular order.

1. Several nights a week at 9PM I tune into the Family Channel for an hour's worth of Whose Line Is It Anyway? It's an American version of a show that originated in England and consists of improvisational comedy. Some regular spots I really can't stand, but invariably there comes a point in every show that I find myself cackling hysterically. The true stars of the show are Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie. I swear they could come center stage and just stand there and I would start laughing. They are two gifted comics. I sometimes wonder if they drive their families crazy with their antics or if they are mild-mannered in their real lives. All I know is they make me laugh and I need that on a regular basis.

2. I was late in discovering the author Janet Evanovich. She's enormously popular and I'm now one of her fans. She has a couple of series available, but my favorite is the Stephanie Plum books. The main character is a female bounty hunter in New Jersey. From her cop boyfriend to her uncontrollable grandmother to her plus-sized ex-prostitute assistant to the mysterious hunk and fellow bounty hunter Ranger, it's a fun ride from start to finish. The language tends to be a little coarse, but who notices when you're having such a good time following Stephanie's exploits. Give it at least 2 books to make up your mind whether or not to join in the fun. I read all 10 books in the series back to back in about a month's time. Can't wait for number 11 to hit the stores. In the meantime, I'm beginning to make my way through her other series.

3. At one time I read a lot of romance novels. It may not be the highest form of literature, but for light, quick reading they can fill the need nicely. You can pretty much depend on a happy ending(eventually) and after you've read a few you can pretty much pick up any romance novel at any point, start reading and never miss a thing of importance. Over the past few years, however, the genre has taken a turn to more and more graphic, hot sex and in my opinion has lost its charm. What ever happened to the theory that the imagination can be stirred more by suggestion than by graphic prose? So a few years ago I pretty much stopped reading romances. With a few exceptions. I still like gentle romance novels set in the West in the late 1800s. (Feminine westerns, I guess you would call them. Think of a literary Dr. Quinn.) And I love the Christmas novellas that come out around Thanksgiving. Four stories to a book and all with the background theme of Christmas. I'm still reading this year's batch of Christmas literature. I happened across an Internet source running a holiday special and ended up with 8 volumes. Great for carrying along to doctor offices and solitary lunches. But for some reason, I usually make a point of keeping their covers "undercover". Lest I be judged by others as having such poor taste in literature. I would hate total strangers to think that my reading consists solely of such supposedly sub-standard fiction. (Whatever your opinion, keep in mind those women churning out this stuff are laughing their way to the bank.)

4. Lost. If you haven't found this new series on ABC, get with the program. At least this guilty pleasure is shared with a lot of folks at this point. One of the very few shows I make a point to be sitting down for at 7PM sharp and I pay attention to from start to finish. Their website is a lot of fun, by the way. You'll appreciate it a lot more when you become a regular viewer. And don't miss the recaps by the folks at Television Without Pity. They sometimes are more entertaining than the actual episode. Two rounds of enjoyment per episode of Lost. How many television shows can make that claim?

That's enough confessions for this time around. Don't want to lose all respect out there yet. Just rest assured that whatever your guilty pleasures may be, we all have some that are just as stupid. Enjoy yourself.


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