Tuesday August 7, 2012
Chill out on TV
By S. INDRAMALAR and ANN MARIE CHANDY
The Spudniks think television provides some perfect places to hangout.
IíD like to live in Chef Michael Smithís well-stocked kitchen. Or Ina Gartenís expansive one which we can peek at on Barefoot Contessa. Yeah, Iím a big fan of cooking shows on TV, and as much as I salivate over the food, I also lust after the gorgeous and spacious kitchens that TV cooks potter about in. Sure, I am well aware that many of these kitchens are studio sets, but in the case of Smith (Chef At Home) and Garten, they film their shows in their homes Ė Smith lives on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and Gartenís home is in East Hampton, New York. And one can dream of someday having kitchens like theirs.
Kitchens are for cooking and, perhaps, enjoying a nice weekend breakfast, but to hang out in all day? Not so much.
If I lived in my TV, I think Iíd make my way to Monica Gellarís apartment on Friends. Monica lived in Greenwich Village in New York City, so her apartment was tiny. But who cares, right? She managed to make her small flat cosy and quirky. Ironically, I loved her kitchen too Ė tiny but so efficient, and it looked cool, what with the blue cupboards and shelving units against a brick wall. Plus, I loved the mismatched chairs arranged around the dining table and the huge window in the den. I actually had a friend who modelled her kitchen after Monicaís. If I had any artistic streak in me, I might have done the same.
Another cool spot to hang out? Eric Foremanís basement in That 70ís Show. What an awesome meeting place, right? Itís like having a treehouse without having to climb a tree Ė I am rather scared of heights. I think that basement has to be the No.1 place to hang loose, be silly and chill out. (It kind of reminds me of my childhood: during the school holidays, my cousins and I would get together at our grandparentís home. Weíd lock ourselves up in our grandfatherís study and fool around. Well, we never got inebriated like Eric and his friends did Ė weíd merely play blind manís bluff ... but still, it was our secret place!). The decor of Ericís basement isnít spectacular Ė thereís even a washing machine, a dryer and (if I am not mistaken) a freezer in there, and the furniture is made up of second-hand and, again, mismatched pieces ... but itís still a really cool hideout (even though a creaky wooden stairway leads to the den where the formidable Red Foreman, Ericís dad, looms!).
Yeah, I do realise that Iíve only listed the homes of various TV characters. Well, thatís because I am quite the homebody. Iíd rather stay home and watch TV (d-oh) or bake, than hang out in a pub, a bar, a diner or a cake shop. Shopping? Yeah, perhaps Iíd leave the comfort of home for that.
If I absolutely had to go out, I think Iíd like to hang out somewhere like Lukeís Diner on Gilmore Girls. The food looks good and letís face it, Luke (Scott Patterson) is some fine eye candy. Also, itís great for people-watching. Most of the townís characters (and boy, are they quirky) stop by the diner and there is almost always some humour to be had at the expense of someone else. (Ohh ... Gilmore Girls. I really do miss the show. News is that Amy Sherman-Palladino has a new show out called Bunheads that has the same vibe but word is, itís not as good as Gilmore Girls.)
As charming as it is though, Lukeís isnít one of the most popular hang outs on TV. Remember Monkís? The characters on Sienfeld frequented Monkís daily and they made all their lifeís decisions there. Well, almost. When I made my first trip to New York City almost a decade ago, I actually made it a point to visit Monkís. Of course, it wasnít called Monkís; it was Tomís Restaurant or something, and sadly, there was no Larry (the cook) or Ruthie (the cashier). Oh, well.
The most famous TV hang out has got to be Cheers, the pub made famous by television programme Cheers, starring Ted Danson. You know, the place where everybody knows your name (and order)? What a great place to escape to after work, eh? I think I wouldnít mind hanging out there. The beerís cold (and free too, if you are like Norm and have an on-going tab) and the company is mighty fine. Yup, even snarky Carla can cheer you up. You can shoot pool, watch TV, nurse a broken heart and (again, in the case of Norm) escape a nagging (well, he says) wife Ė what more could one ask for? Ė S. ďlooking for the perfect kitchenĒ Indramalar
> LIKE Indra, I wouldnít mind being in Chef Michael Smithís home, but only because he does all the cooking. Iím up for that any day of the week. But when we were thinking about cool places to hang out on TV, my mind quickly went to Nedís pie shop, The Pie Hole, on Pushing Daisies. Ned (the cute Lee Pace) has inherited his motherís baking talents and the pies look ever so delicious. Plus, his waitress, Olive Snook (singing goddess, Kristin Chenoweth, I bow before thee), is always bursting out into song. On top of this, there is always a crime waiting to be solved. Now, what could be a better spot to while away oneís time Ė with ample supply of pie, song and super sleuthing. Thatís certainly my kind of joint (Oh! And donít forget the cool, dead girl and her kooky aunties).
You might have suspected from my ramblings in this column thus far, that in a previous life, I must have been a spy or a cop or a private detective. Hence, my penchant from crime-related dramas. Ask most people what their favourite TV hangout is, and chances are, theyíll offer Central Perk on Friends. And while I do love coffee, I would much rather chill out at the Beckettís precinct (I believe itís the 12th, but thereís a whole debate raging on the Net about that) in Castle (and hey, I might still get that coffee if Castle takes a fancy towards me!)
But better than an NYPD precinct, would be the chance to participate in one of Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnsonís brainstorming sessions in her office at the Los Angeles Police Department in The Closer. Imagine getting clues, piecing a puzzle and watching Kyra Sedgwickís character in action, interrogating one of her suspects. That would be really cool. Iíd even settle for a day at Dexterís Miami Metro Police Department (itís fictitious by the way, there is no such police department in Miami, I checked). Dexter always brings doughnuts, so hey, I would not be as averse to the idea of working alongside a serial killer (a really nice one to boot) as most people.
If I had to choose a bar to be at, I guess it would be Moeís Tavern from The Simpsons. The bar is named after its owner, Moe Szyslak. It is open every day of the week except Wednesday, because it is during this time that Moe goes to the local homeless shelter to read to the children. Ah, a man after my own heart! He does good and volunteers! Why I would really like to hang out in the bar though (apart from the Duff that is), would be to hear one of Bartís crank calls live, and not just on TV (wink).
Moe: Uh, is I.P. Freely here? Hey, everybody, I.P. Freely! Wait a minute... Listen to me, you lousy bum. When I get a hold of you, youíre dead. I swear Iím gonna slice your heart in half!
Bart: Evil laughter
If you know me well enough, youíll also know that I secretly harbour the desire to be a teacher. So, I always think hanging out at the William McKinley high school staffroom on Glee might be pretty cool, too. After all, I might just bump into Mr Shoo, and how fortuitous that would be for me. But perhaps Iíd find myself in the Glee Club room more often than at the staffroom because thereís always music in there. Not to mention, the ever-ready silent pianist, Brad Ellis. Heíll have no problem keeping up with me every time I decide to sing a song, which happens very often, by the way (just ask my kids). In fact, I have a running soundtrack going on in my head 24/7. And what a stroke of luck it would be if John Stamos or Gwyneth Paltrow decided to swing by the day I was hanging out there! It will be song heaven. Imagine: Feeling blue? Belt out a ballad. In a joyous mood? Indulge in some Broadway. Got your competitive cap on? Itís mash-up time. And all with a ready ensemble of back up dancers and singers, and an audience to boot. Now, that would really be the perfect place to hangout. Ė Ann Marie ďsing-me-a-songĒ Chandy