11 New Shows! 11 New Trailers!

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The CDP Fall TV Preview is still a ways away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t maniacally obsess about all the new shows that are heading straight for our brainballs several months in advance.

I’ve combed over every new trailer, preview and synopsis looking for something good to watch come Autumn, and I’ve narrowed it down to 11 favorites; five comedies and six dramas I’ll be programming into my DVR in a few months, or at the very least, giving a puncher’s chance to. Click on the show’s title for their respective trailer (that’s the whole point of this exercise). Let’s go.

COMEDY

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#5 – Trophy Wife (ABC)

Official Synopsis – “The series revolves around the life of a reformed party girl who ends up marrying a guy after she meets him at a karaoke bar. In the process, she finds herself dealing with his two ex-wives and their children, along with the chaos she has to deal with when it comes to trying to blend in with this complicated family that she married into.”

Thoughts On The Trailer -Yes, the show will probably rely too heavily on Malin Akerman acting sexy in an ex-drunk/slut sort of way, but I think she’s funny and cute and it’s cool to see her on television. This is one of those shows that I’ll probably get sick of early, but I think it has promise to stick around and get renewed (Note: I tend to suck at these predictions).

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#4 – Super Fun Night (ABC)

Official Synopsis – “For the past 13 years, three single ladies have set aside every Friday night as “Friday Fun Night”. That is, until one of the women, Kimmie Boubier (played by Rebel Wilson), decides it is time to take this party to the next level after befriending an attorney.

Thoughts On The Trailer -What drew me to Super Fun Night was that Conan O’Brien is serving as Executive Producer, otherwise I can’t say I would have added it to my queue. I guess it all depends on where they decide to draw their laughs from.

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#3 – The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)

Official Synopsis – “After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, Mike Henry had to give up his career as a news anchor and focus on his health and his family. Five years later, Mike decides to get back to work and struggles between family and career.

Thoughts On The Trailer -In his first TV show since Mork and Mindy, Robin Williams is another icon returning to the small screen this season with CBS’s The Crazy Ones. Where that looks to be annoying beyond words, The Michael J. Fox Show looks to be a bit more expertly and intelligently written. I dig Michael J. Fox, and I like the idea of working his real-world struggle into something that can generate laughs as well as emotion. I’m assuming it will do quite well for NBC.

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#2 – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)

Official Synopsis – “A laid-back New York City detective (Andy Samberg) is told he must grow up and “respect the badge” when his new boss is a strict, by-the-book type.

Thoughts On The Trailer -This was the comedy I was the most looking forward to, and judging by all the other Fall Previews I’ve read, I’m not alone. They could really mismanage this one, but the trailer was solid enough.

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#1 – The Goldbergs (ABC)

Official Synopsis – “The show is set in the 80’s and follows The Goldbergs’ family. The single-camera series stars Wendi McLendon-Covey as classic overprotective matriarch mother Beverly, her husband Murray, and three children.”

Thoughts On The Trailer – This one snuck up on me. Based on the synopsis alone, The Goldbergs wasn’t even on my radar, but really, you should check out the trailer. Set in the 80’s and narrated by Patton Oswalt? It looks to take the best of ABC standouts Modern Family and The Middle, and throw in a good helping of nostalgia to boot. Out of all the comedies premiering this season (and most of them are not good), The Goldbergs is the show I’m rooting for the most.

DRAMA

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#6 – Crossbones (NBC)

Official Synopsis – “The series is a fictionalization of the life of the notorious pirate Edward Teach (Blackbeard) in and around the island of New Providence in The Bahamas.

Thoughts On The Trailer -I added this one as #6 because there doesn’t seem to be an official trailer out as of the day I wrote this, but hey, John Malkovich as Blackbeard? Yeah, I’ll be tuning in.

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#5 – Believe (NBC)

Official Synopsis – “The series follows a young girl who was born with special abilities that even she can not control, and as they start evolving, the people that are protecting her must turn to an outsider. This leads them to a wrongfully convicted inmate who is on death row before they break him out of prison. Although he is reluctant to take on the role as her protector, the two eventually form a bond that will guide them to helping others as well as each other while staying one step ahead of the evil forces that want the girl.”

Thoughts On The Trailer -Produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Alfonso Cuaron? I assume that’s Hollywood slang for ‘Instant greenlight,’ but Believe has some promise to it. The story will have to be continually engaging, however, as similar shows have played with this plot to weak avail.

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#4 – Once Upon A Time In Wonderland (ABC)

Official Synopsis – “In Victorian London, the young and beautiful Alice tells a tale of a strange new land that exists on the other side of a rabbit hole. An invisible cat, a hookah-smoking caterpillar and playing cards that talk are just some of the fantastic things she’s seen during this impossible adventure. Surely this girl must be insane. Her doctors aim to cure her with a treatment that will make her forget everything. Alice seems ready to put it all behind her — especially the painful memory of the genie she fell in love with and lost forever, the handsome and mysterious Cyrus — but deep down she knows this world is real and just in the nick of time, the sardonic Knave of Hearts and the irrepressible White Rabbit save her from a doomed fate.

Thoughts On The Trailer -The Missus loves Once Upon A Time, so there’s no way I’ll be getting out of watching this spinoff from the Lost writing team of Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. I must say, though, what they do with imagery, storyline and soap-esque cliffhangers is really good on the original series, so I have no doubt that Wonderland will shine. I wonder what the production budgets for these shows are; they look extremely expensive for network television.

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#3 – Under The Dome (CBS)

Official Synopsis – “Set in the not too distant future, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine, who suddenly find themselves cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious, impenetrable barrier that surrounds the town. As the town begins to tear itself apart through panic, a small group of people attempt to maintain peace and order while also trying to uncover the truth behind the barrier and how to escape from it.

Thoughts On The Trailer -Based on a Stephen King story? Good so far. Developed and Executive Produced by Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man/Lost)? Holy shit! While this is technically a Summer series, I’m looking forward to Under The Dome in a big way, provided it doesn’t fizzle out the same way Jericho did years earlier.

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#2 – Resurrection (ABC)

Official Synopsis – “The series follows the residents of Arcadia, Missouri, whose lives are about to take a surprising turn when their loved ones suddenly return from the dead after an 8 year old boy who had drowned 30 years earlier is found alive in China. This sudden surprise causes the local sheriff, whose wife drowned in that same pond trying to rescue the boy and his daughter, to find out the truth behind the mystery.

Thoughts On The Trailer -Watch the trailer. Either this is going to stink, or it might be the most brilliantly executed drama of the season. There’s going to be absolutely no middle ground with Resurrection. That’s exciting.

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#1 – Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)

Official Synopsis – “Agent Phil Coulson puts together a small team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange new cases.”

Thoughts On The Trailer – Here’s the deal, kids; I don’t really like Joss Whedon. I’m not a fanboy, I don’t give a shit about Buffy and I think he’s extremely overrated in nearly everything he gets his hands on. However, I’d be a fool to miss out on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.– This is clearly the most intriguing, buzzworthy and original new series to premiere this Fall, and I’m genuinely excited to see how it plays out.

What are your thoughts? What did you think of the trailers? What are you most looking forward to watching this season? Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

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The LaCrosse Incident (Redux).

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(Time to dust off a classic CDP mystery. The following is a transcribed conversation on my Facebook wall on the night of April 16, 2011. I was alone in a hotel room in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, when this took place.)

April 16 at 8:39am – Ryan wrote:
Question Of The Day: Can somebody tell me what this is a picture of?

April 16 at 8:46am – Dawn wrote:
Well, its measuring megahertz or radio frequency…and decibels or strength of sound. I’m guessing its testing a ham radio’s receptivity. Wait…is it on a TV?

April 16 at 8:47am – Ben wrote:
Is it a VU meter?

April 16 at 9:01am – Ryan wrote:
So can anyone tell me why it was on my hotel’s television last night? I ran into it at about midnight, on a channel that wasn’t part of the guide. You obviously can’t see it in the photograph, but the graph and all of the numbers were spinning around like crazy. Creeped me out.

April 16 at 9:20am – Ben wrote:
VU meter wasn’t what I was looking for, but it looks like a meter that monitors the image being broadcast by a television signal. I’m not sure what it’s called. that might explain why it was on the television.

April 16 at 9:25am – Ryan wrote:
Okay. The graph was moving around for the time that I watched it (about 5 minutes), but it’s weird that it randomly showed up in my guide. Why does it need its own channel, specifically one that I (a random d-bag) can see? And why have I never seen it before in my life?

April 16 at 9:36am – Ben wrote:
It might have been a mistake and it was accidentally being broadcast. Weird.

April 16 at 9:44am – Ryan wrote:
Okay, I just checked my TV and it’s not there anymore. I had my own personal ‘Wyoming Incident‘ last night, apparently.

April 16 at 12:02pm – Ryan wrote:
In a moment of paranoia, I actually wandered around the room and jumped around and made noise just to make sure it wasn’t reacting to me. You can never tell in these hotel rooms.

April 16 at 2:43pm – Caitlin wrote:
Is it something to do with the Dharma Initiative?

April 16 at 2:52pm – Ryan wrote:
I kind of hope so.

April 16 at 3:32pm – Aaron wrote:
Is it a network analyzer?

April 16 at 3:35pm – Ryan wrote:
Would a network analyzer be something that normally appears on a (supposedly) blank TV station in the middle of the night?

April 16 at 3:40pm – Aaron wrote:
Nope!

April 16 at 3:56pm – Ryan wrote:
Yeesh. This is officially the 9th weirdest thing that has ever happened to me at a hotel.

April 16 at 11:53pm – Ryan wrote:
11:50pm, and the mysterious broadcast is BACK. Most of the numbers and patterns are identical to last night. I’m going to keep an eye on it, because I literally have nothing better to do.

April 17 at 12:09am – Ryan wrote:
Okay, check this out – http://bit.ly/f2ebNX

This is a picture someone else took of the same station at a DIFFERENT hotel in the La Crosse area…almost two years ago to the day. This city is beginning to freak me out.

April 17 at 12:19am – Ryan wrote:
Here’s a clip someone shot; yes, it’s exactly this creepy: – http://bit.ly/fQlDdL

According to a weird message board I found, this channel is analog, so you can’t see it unless you remove the box and hook the coax directly to the TV (like at this hotel). Basically, it’s supposed to be hidden, and you can only see it if you hook up the TV wrong. That may explain why the only other photo I found was in another La Crosse hotel; maybe they were all installed wrong by the same people?

April 17 at 12:28am – Ryan wrote:
Here’s a similar photo – http://bit.ly/gaUFlq

…In San Juan, Puerto Rico. These are literally the only photos I can find. I…yeah. I don’t know what the deal is.

April 17 at 12:37am – Ryan wrote:
That’s enough for one night. I guess the mystery isn’t so much what it is, but what the magic circumstances are (time, location, hookup) that allows someone to actually SEE it. What a bizarre thing.

La Crosse gives me the creeps. That same weekend, I saw someone at their mall that looked so much like my sister that I stopped walking and almost said hello. Then this woman, this freaking doppelganger of my sister if I ever saw one, started slowing down and walking towards me in the same fashion, like SHE recognized ME. We got about three feet away from each other before we both realized that we didn’t know each other. It was like double mistaken identity. Unbelievable.

Any information you can shed would be helpful as to why this showed up on my TV. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Give Life Back To Music.

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(I was not compensated in any way for this review. I wouldn’t do that.)

Guess what? Random Access Memories is awesome.

RAM is the smoothest, funkiest, chillest, sexiest and most beautiful Daft Punk album to date, and easily the best album I’ve heard all year. A game changer that lacks cohesive description (having the best marketing campaign in recent memory didn’t hurt, either).

While the tracks flow seamlessly, each seems to speak to a different specific feeling (every reviewer seems to have a different favorite track, which is almost unprecedented). It’s not so much a Daft Punk album as a love letter to the last six decades of Pop Music. More soul/jazz than EDM/techno, it’s a masterwork of audio engineering and (ironically) human emotion. I came in with unrealistic expectations, and they were completely turned on their ear with the throwback direction taken by our beloved robotic Frenchmen. I loved it in a way I couldn’t have predicted, which as a music fan, is all you ever ask for.

A new Daft Punk record is sort of like a new Daniel Day-Lewis film or Beastie Boys album; they show up once every six years if you’re lucky, and it always kicks ass. The soundtrack to the Summer has arrived early, yo. Go pick up this album and enjoy your weekend.

The Finale.

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A few thoughts on tonight’s Office series finale. It’s a bit jumbled, but whatever.

In 10 short days, the Netflix gods will smile upon us when they bless us with 15 brand new episodes of Arrested Development, one of the funniest, sharpest and most critically-acclaimed comedies in recent memory. A show that some believe wasn’t given enough chances in their three short years on FOX. Not given enough time to flourish and gather an audience.

While I’m excited to see AD back, I feel it always got exactly what it deserved. Arrested Development was just a little too smart, self-referential and groundbreaking to ever be a ratings darling, and the move to Netflix where it can be digested by hardcore fans at whichever pace they choose (binge, probably) seems to be a compromise everyone can agree with. AD was never going to do anything to pander (unless they were satirizing the notion), and the depth of their world was so deep that even Lost seemed more understandable at times. AD was never going to be Everybody Loves Raymond, and I think we all realized that from the get-go.

The problem with what Arrested is doing lies in what we think we want as fans, versus what’s best for the legacy of the show (as well as our memories of it) in general. AD seemed destined to fade away with legions of fans wondering what might have been, and sometimes that’s better than sticking around and overstaying your welcome. In just a few days, we’ll have a rare opportunity to see a resurrected series give the fans exactly what they asked for; whether they enjoy it is left to be determined.

This, of course, brings us to The Office.

Nearly every longtime fan of The Office agrees that the series should have ended on April 28, 2011, the date of Steve Carell’s final appearance as Michael Scott. While The Office has always been boosted by an ensemble cast and relatively deep character development (for the main players, at least), Michael Scott was clearly the comedic and emotional lifeblood of the show. He was arguably the whole reason The Office survived past its six-episode Season One order. In Michael Scott, The Office did something that almost nobody predicted it would do; break from the looming shadow of the British version to blaze a new trail of cringe humor and documentary-style sitcoms in America. In Scott, we had perhaps the most memorable (and certainly quotable) sitcom character of the new millennium. Where he went, the show went, right?

However, by Carell’s exit, The Office was a ratings hit and NBC Thursday night staple, and it’s hard to bring new viewers to new sitcoms. They decided to ride it out without him, lasting another 50 episodes before tonight’s finale. The fans and critics unanimously declared the show dead (Robert California?), yet in terms of ratings, everyone continued to tune in. NBC’s gamble paid off.

You also have to remember that when The Office premiered in 2005 (on Tuesday night), the only remaining fragments of NBC’s ‘Must-See Comedy’ lineup were Will and Grace and Friends spinoff Joey. One was a traditional sitcom on the way out, and the other was a flop to begin with. They both had laugh tracks. Now, there isn’t a single comedy on NBC Thursdays that doesn’t employ the modern, single-camera style with no canned laughter to speak of. It shaped the new landscape of NBC’s Thursday nights, so by all accounts, they deserved whatever they asked for.

Again, The Office had a six episode first season. Nobody expected it to succeed. Nearly a decade later, and not only did it become one of the most influential comedies of the last 15 years, but we’re actually debating whether or not it was on for too long. Quite the reversal of fortune.

Series Finales are intensely tricky, but I think we all know what we’re going to get when The Office signs off. 30 Rock, for example, came from the ‘no hugging, no learning’ school popularized by Seinfeld, and unlike Seinfeld, they targeted comedy gold in their finale with one of the funniest send-offs in TV history. The Office‘s roots have always been in emotion and how we feel about the characters, so we probably won’t see too many laughs tonight. We’re all gonna cry like bitches, and we’re gonna love it, and we’re gonna proclaim it a perfect send-off, regardless of the last two seasons that none of us particularly asked for or wanted. All will be forgiven, I’m sure.

As fans, we’ve been through a lot this season. From the reveal of the documentary filmmakers (which I disliked), to an emotional tease between Pam and boom mic operator Brian (which I disliked), to the entire show-within-a-show aspect becoming the centerpiece of Dunder-Mifflin’s excitement (which I disliked). I really had a logistical problem with the breaking of the fourth wall. I mean, you wouldn’t do this on Modern Family, would you? No, because it would expose that the whole premise makes no sense, just like in this circumstance (which seemed to cause a lot of scrambling and suspension of disbelief this year). I’ve let most of this go, however, because I’ve accepted it and focused on the same thing they want us to be focused on as the finale draws near: The future of Jim and Pam Halpert.

The Jim/Pam courtship ranks among the most realistic and expertly-played in all of sitcom history. Jim’s pining for Pam was flagrantly Emo, yet handled in a way so much more delicate than other comedies. There were hardly any laughs drawn from their early storyline; it felt real. As a guy, I felt for Jim in every misstep, every time he had to watch Pam kiss Roy as they planned for a wedding that neither of them really wanted. The missed opportunity after missed opportunity. It was raw. And in Pam, we felt the hesitancy of what it truly means to follow your heart, and the potential disasters that may follow. Even now, after years of marriage and two kids (also handled quite well, I might add), they still managed to add a wonderful new element to their storyline in Season 9, as Jim once again made it clear that he hasn’t forgotten what he fought so hard for (after a while, that is). It’s an incredible love story on its own; how it managed to wedge itself so nicely into a mockumentary sitcom is borderline phenomenal. It’s also why we stuck around.

Tonight’s finale takes place six months after the airing of the ‘documentary,’ as the Dunder-Mifflin gang (past and present) reunites for Dwight and Angela’s wedding. It’s an hour-long epilogue (with an hour-long preshow), and we can reasonably assume that some of the current Scranton Branch employees will no longer be working where we last saw them. I’m sure Dwight and Angela will. Kevin and Creed? Sure. Stanley and Phyllis? Potentially. Hell, I wouldn’t even be surprised if Michael and Holly paid a visit to the East Coast.

But all that really matters is where Jim and Pam end up, and in last week’s episode, Pam asked Jim the question we were all asking: “Are you really happy here?” When the series began, Jim and Pam were a bit younger and more apathetic, neither of them thinking that Dunder-Mifflin would be the place where they would be employed for the next decade. And yet, that seemed to be where they ended up, although in a perfect world, they have moved on to a place where they are both happier. Perhaps Pam has a new career in art, while Jim finds a way to continue working in sports marketing in Scranton.

This is also a microcosm for the cast and crew themselves. Surely nobody thought that The Office would be their place of business for nearly 10 years after their invisible first season, but here we all are, excited and optimistic of what the future holds. I guess it all worked out.

The issue of bringing back Arrested Development lies in what we think we want as fans, versus what’s best for the legacy and our memories of the show itself. With The Office, we thought we wanted it off the air two years ago, but what we’re going to get will remind us that it’s nice to not always receive what you asked for.

The Great CD Swap Of 2000.

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(CDP Headquarters CD collection, present day.)

By January of 2000, the Missus and I were a young couple, but not in a way that either of us really wanted to admit. Sure, we had smooched a few times and exchanged around ten letters a day at school, but this was all prefaced by the notion that we were merely enjoying each other’s company and nothing more.

By no means (none!) were we boyfriend/girlfriend; neither of us wanted to be in a committed relationship at that particular point in time. Celia had just broken up with someone, and I had been single for about a year and quite enjoyed the freedoms that accompanied the status (as many bacheloresque freedoms as a 17-year old could logically have, mind you). We treated our relationship as one would treat a gentle new friendship, and took careful steps to preserve its fragility and not scare the other away.

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(Celia is wearing her school band uniform; she didn’t make a habit of wearing tuxedos to school.)

As you can tell, this was a damp load of horseshit and we both knew it. Whether we ‘wanted’ to be in a committed relationship at the time was completely out of our hands. This was the woman I was going to marry, after all; we only continued to spout nonsense like ‘let’s just see where this goes’ because we were both justifiably terrified of the avalanche of emotions we were feeling for each other. We fell in love hard, but we held back as a courtesy during the feeling out process to test the ice a bit, before we inevitably clasped hands and fell straight through. We didn’t have a prayer.

I’m sure she still has the letter I wrote to her when I came clean. It was manic. Probably one unbroken sentence with reckless disregard for punctuation as I feverishly told her how I didn’t want to be just friends with her and I could no longer pretend that we were just acquaintances that made out all the time and I wanted to spend every waking moment with her and I’m sorry if this scares you away but I needed to tell you because these feelings were killing me and I’m hopelessly desperately and wholeheartedly in love with you forever and ever until the end of time and I want everybody to know.

She concurred. So far, it’s worked out quite well. We got cats and stuff.

One of the initial things that brought us together was our mutual love of music. After all, this courtship all started when I begged Celia and her friends to come see my band play MxPx covers in someone’s backyard. My friends all listened to the same music that I did, but I always felt that I listened to it differently. More passionately. My motives seemed distinctively purer. I understand how egotistical and judgmental these thoughts were, but it appeared from the onset that Celia functioned on a similar wavelength as well. I have no doubt that she felt the same divide between her close friends when it came to the way she consumed music and how it legitimately shaped her life. We were always elitists that way. Still are.

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And even though I’m holding 90’s punk rock in an almost supernatural regard, you have to remember the context. I was 17, Celia was 16. This was indeed the driving, defining force of our existence. All of my income went to music and concerts and new drum heads and cargo pants. All of her time was spent in her room dissecting lyrics, scribbling in notebooks and forgetting to feed her goldfish (I began to assume it was immortal after awhile). At that specific point in time, there was no better way to learn about who we were as people than to learn about the music we liked the time.

And that’s exactly what we did.

In a move that I still feel was equal parts clever, romantic, risky, potentially voyeuristic and possibly unprecedented for its time, I proposed a full, 100% swap of our CD collections for one full month. For as much time as we were spending together, we still couldn’t spend every waking moment together, and the Great CD Swap would fill those quiet moments while turning us on to new music (and each other). What better way (besides sex, I suppose) to pull back the curtain and reveal yourself entirely to the person you love?

I cannot remember where this idea came to be, but like most good ideas at that time, I believe it happened in my car. We would take turns playing CDs for each other (I had a blue Discman with a cassette adapter for the first couple years), sometimes appreciating, but usually arguing merits in a way that we both mutually enjoyed. During those early years, I wasn’t interested in Twee and dense, female melodies (Go Sailor, Tiger Trap, The Pooh Sticks, etc.). She had a specific hate for songs about ‘leaving town’ (Less Than Jake, Less Than Jake, Less Than Jake, etc.). I thought the Swap would curb some of these musically xenophobic thoughts where we could find more common ground.

I recall thinking this was a good idea right up until the night I drove all 400 of my CDs to her house. It wasn’t the OCD (“She’s gonna break ‘em. She’s gonna break all of ‘em.”). It wasn’t that I’d miss them (“How will I live without Monkey Kong?”). It was the sudden realization of just how personal a CD collection can be, and how this could potentially affect our relationship in a negative way.

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Until this point, she was unaware of my penchant for early 90’s gangsta rap, which was littered with misogyny, violence and homophobia. Would she think this was how I defined myself? Or how about all the George Carlin and Bill Hicks albums, comedians she simply thought were vulgar and substanceless? After several long nights sifting through my past and present, would she start to piece together a synthetic version of me that didn’t quite match up with how I was presenting myself? Could it be that my CD collection subconsciously spoke more about me than my words could ever accomplish? Even though it was too late to back out, I started to seriously believe that this may horribly backfire.

But hey, Celia had skeletons of her own. For her rigid, punk rock exterior, her collection (of about 200) was loaded with a surprising amount of boy bands and female pop vocalists. For every Mr. T Experience or Zoinks! album, there was a 98 Degrees or O-Town there to throw me off. Furthermore, I knew that she made no secret about her Christianity (at the time), but I couldn’t believe just how many Christian punk and ska bands existed on Earth. I swear she owned every Christian 3rd Wave Ska album ever recorded, because after all, how many of them could there have been? (Answer: A shitload.)

Any apprehension I was feeling melted as soon as I got Celia’s CDs back to my house, and for this next part of the story, you have to remember something extremely important: It was the year 2000. In the pre-Napster/iPod/streaming music days, you rarely came upon 200 brand spanking new albums to listen to. It was an embarrassment of riches. If you wanted to trade music with someone at the turn of the Century, you still had to trade physical property, and if you had friends like mine, you learned not to do that pretty goddamn quick. For a music lover, it was a buffet of new and interesting sounds that were more or less already on my taste wavelength.

Also, the fact that these were exclusively Celia’s made it all the more special; it was like digging directly into her brain. When I listened to each album, I thought about what her mindset was when she decided to purchase it. “Oh, I’m sure she bought this one the day it came out. I bet she bought this one at a concert for the sole purpose of getting to talk to the cute lead singer. She probably bought this album because it was listed in the Thank You section of this other album.” Again, this was 2000; the best way to find music was to look at the influences and labelmates of bands you already liked by checking liner notes, a process I miss way more than I thought I would.

I also paid attention to the shape that some of these CDs were in, which was a more CSI-level approach to understanding her tastes. For example, Love Is Dead was scratched to pieces and skipped uncontrollably on a few songs. And her copy of the Angus Soundtrack (easily the greatest film soundtrack ever in both of our opinions) was literally unlistenable by the time it got to me. This pleased me; everything on my end was working out perfectly. I was learning about awesome bands and my new girlfriend at the same time, and more or less reveling in the genius idea that was the Great CD Swap.

Over at Celia’s house, there was a bit more filler for her to sift through. I had this idea that in order for me to be a better DJ at parties (something I ended up never actually doing), I needed to consistently buy more Pop and Top 40 records- records I didn’t even necessarily like. I was probably the only person who actually played by the rules with Columbia House and BMG, scoring such 90’s classics as Cracked Rear View and Jagged Little Pill. I also liked to buy albums on a complete whim under the most bizarre criteria. For example, I once picked up an Acceptance record because I thought they looked like nice guys.

Tell me they don’t, though!

But hey, this was inadvertently a better snapshot of my personality than I could have created purposely. I’m like that; sometimes I’m superficial and can’t explain my actions, and do things out of spite and pity and because there is absolutely no way I’m leaving Camelot Music without a CD and I don’t care what it is. If Celia was going to accept me weirdness and all, she might as well know about my love for Polysics and Softball right off the bat (I really miss Softball).

Celia’s foraging tactics were a bit different than mine. Instead of looking at my CD collection as an extension of myself, she looked at it as a way to find more common ground (ie: she played by the rules). For example, in early 2000, I was listening to Saves The Day so much that anyone within a mile of me probably hated them only because of their constant rotation in my car. Celia tolerated my obsession, but their style wasn’t exactly in her wheelhouse. However, once she discovered their acoustic EP I’m Sorry I’m Leaving, in particular their cover of Modern English’s ‘I Melt With You,’ her thoughts changed.

Another band she plucked out of sheer curiosity was Republica. I bought the album after seeing the ‘Ready To Go‘ video on M2 during a sick day from school (watch the video and you’ll get it), along with a list of other albums scribbled down following an afternoon discovering new, Alternative music. Again, this was literally the best way to find new stuff at the time; the Internet was slim picking and MTV still mattered a tiny bit. Why Celia decided to listen to Republica above any other band is anyone’s guess, but she must have found it endearing, because it was the first thing she quizzed me about once we traded everything back and started discussing our findings.

It wasn’t long afterward that a noticeable change began to take place when Celia and I would drive around and listen to music. Every now and again, she would ask to listen to one of my albums, or I would request she bring along a few of my favorites. Our tastes began to meld in a way I could have only hoped for, and it’s a good thing, too. No less than two years later, our CD collections became permanently intertwined when we moved in together, and that’s how they have stayed. The Great CD Swap Of 2000 was a rousing success, and so was our decision to jump head-first into an emotional relationship.

Even now, 13 years later, remnants of the Swap still exist. We’ll sometimes find ourselves singing along to an album during an evening drive, when Celia will look at me and inevitably ask: “Is this one yours or mine? I can’t remember anymore.

Neither. It’s ours.