Another Angle

I do not know when season three of Broadchurch became available on Netflix; I know only that I stumbled upon it several days ago. The series is one of a few British television series I find absolutely riveting. When I learned season three was available, I started watching immediately. I tried to pace myself because I didn’t want to rush through it and be left bereft that it’s done. It was a valiant attempt, but it failed. I finished watching episode eight, the final one of the season, last night.

The degree of interest I have/had in the series is evident from my viewing habits. I’ve begun a habit of watching the program in the afternoons on occasion, a time span in which I’ve always avoided television.

Afternoon television brings back memories of my mother, after she retired; she watched soap operas and other such swill in the afternoons. Her unexpected habit of watching what I considered mindless crap bothered me. I had always thought she was an unusually bright person whose taste in literature was superb. But then she started watching Days of Our Lives or some other such miserable mindlessness and my assessment of her intellect changed. I hated that I was disappointed in her for doing that, but I couldn’t force myself to forgive her for it. I should have said “to each her own.” I tried. Yet I could not accept the legitimacy of her television preferences until years later. At any rate, afternoon television, to me, long equated to televised ignorance and willful stupidity. That unforgiving and uncharitable has since changed. I now realize television is simply an escape. Sometimes, an escape that requires absolutely no critical thought is just what we need. My wife now watches some television I consider utterly mindless. But, then, so do I. I no longer make the mistake of correlating intellect with television viewing habits. Well, I try to avoid making that mistake, though I sometimes fail.

If I look carefully and honestly at Broadchurch, I can see elements of ignorance and mind-numbing gullibility. But Broadchurch is most assuredly not Days of Our Lives. While I’m writing about non-US television series, I’ll touch on some of the series on my list of “must see television.” Based on what I’ve read and what I’ve been told by my wife, I need to include Dicte on the list. (I’ve already included it, but I’m including it here as a ready place to keep my “list.”) Dicte is a Danish story of a journalist who returns to her hometown from Copenhagen and investigates murders, alongside a local detective.  And I want to return to the Dutch Department Q series so I can refresh my enjoyment of that superb set of programs. Another series I have tried to find but haven’t yet is Borgen. She mentioned the program (though she couldn’t remember the name of the series) yesterday, imploring me to keep looking until I find it because, she knows, I will enjoy it.

One day, but today is not it, I will compile a complete list of “want to see” foreign television series, along with those I’ve seen and enjoyed but the titles of which I frequently forget. It seems to me I should have an easier access point to my memories than the results of a search of this blog using multiple search terms. I suppose that item on my wish list should fall someplace below “finish the deck” and “fix the leaking faucets in the bathrooms” and, perhaps, below the “buy replacement hose bibs before the very cold weather hits.”

My new angle of looking at Broadchurch is this: It’s just entertainment. It is not a mind-expanding experience. It is simply an enjoyable way to pass the time while allowing my simpleton’s brain to be massaged into semi-conscious appreciation of the world around me. It’s much like meditation in that sense, I guess. Or medication. Or alcohol.


Yesterday, we drove to Mena, Arkansas. Our objective, aside from simply getting out for a long drive, was to view fall foliage. We saw some beautiful foliage, but I suspect we went a bit early for some areas and a bit late for others. The leaves had turned brown and were falling in high volume in Queen Wilhemina State Park, near the lodge. And the lodge was absolutely swarming with people and cars; we couldn’t get away from there fast enough. But at lower elevations, some of the leaves were gorgeous. And the views of the surrounding Ouchita Mountains, covered with multi-hued trees, were spectacular.

We had lunch at a strange little place in Mena, Chiquita’s Tex-Mex restaurant. You order from a menu above the cash register; they take your name and a few minutes later they deliver your food to your table. The menu was a touch odd, but the food was tasty (if not necessarily “normal” Tex-Mex). My tacos were tasty, but the filling was not the usual picadillo I have come to expect in Tex-Mex places; it was not very spicy and had a “filler” of flour, I think. The beans were good, though, and the salsa delivered to the table with our meals was tasty. The taco shells and the chips were the thinnest I have ever seen; I don’t know how they are able to make chips and shells so thin! And my wife’s taco salad was laced with Fritos. Fritos! But she liked it.

Later, we stopped in at Myers Cruizzers Drive-In, which is an old-style drive-in diner. But it’s a one-of-a-kind place, not a chain. My wife wanted a pumpkin pie spice milk shake, which we saw advertised on their flashing sign as we drove past. I had a plain vanilla milk shake. Both were tasty. And as we scanned the food menu, we decided the place was unique, indeed, and worth a stop next time we’re in Mena.

Dinner last night was spectacular. My wife made a wonderfully spice Neopolitan sauce with Italian sausage which we ladled onto spaghetti. It was the perfect way to cap an enjoyable day.

And today we go to church. Hmm. Do I really want to go? No. Will I go anyway? Yes.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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