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Author Topic: Horace and Pete
Tatiana
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I've gotten drawn into this series completely, in the first few episodes. Even though I generally don't like television, this is more like a series of plays or something. It hasn't ever even been broadcast by anyone, so far as I know. It's not television!

But it's so good, I think! It takes Louis C.K.'s normal ultra-honest approach to comedy and applies it to life in general. I have no idea how it might work out, but I'm definitely captured by it. I'm sure I'll finish all 10 episodes, but so far I've only watched the first three. It's totally worth the money, though. It's kind of like some Eugene O'Neill play in 10 parts. Very dense with ideas and feelings. Very thought-provoking.

Has anyone else watched this production? (Warning to anyone who might be considering it, it's full of profanity and adult situations, and full of just the general effed-up-ness quality that life can have. It's totally not appropriate for children to watch, I don't think.) I just really wondered if anyone else has watched it and what other jatraqueros think of it.

[ September 05, 2016, 10:55 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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During the very first episode, at the intermission, I had to pause it and just cry my eyes out at how hard Horace was trying to connect with his grown daughter, and how difficult it was, how he obviously wanted to be part of her life so much, and how far he was from being able to achieve that. I guess in general I was touched by how difficult families can be despite all our wishes and efforts to the contrary. It was hours later before I could go on from there.

I think this independent way of making productions, should it catch on, might usher in an era of huge improvement in the quality of the stories depicted. Like, it costs millions to make shows like this, and so everyone who is typically making them has to be careful with the money, it's some huge corporation's money, so they pretty much have to stick to proven formulas, to the standard sit-coms and dramas we've grown to expect. But this new thing, this is more like real art. It's not hackneyed, or overdone, or underdone. There's no laugh track. The acting is really incredible, with so many great people in the cast. The theme song is written and performed by Paul Simon, even! I would love it if this became a new thing, a new way of making thespian art, that made everything so much more free.

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Strider
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I've also only watched the first few episodes of this, but I think it's brilliant, though difficult to watch at times (of course, that's to be expected from Louis C.K.). You're right that it doesn't feel like standard tv at all, and much more like you're watching a small stage production. It was also released so quietly I didn't know anything about it until well after it finished airing!

p.s. - Alan Alda. Wow.

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Jake
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It's on my list of shows to watch. FYI, once you're done with it it would be worth seeking out Louis C.K's latest interview on Mark Maron's WTF podcast; it deals almost exclusively with Horace and Pete. It contains a fair number of spoilers, though, so definitely wait.
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Tatiana
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I'm having to take the series slowly, because it's just too powerful for me to binge watch. Alan Alda is amazing as Uncle Pete. He reminds me so much of my grandfather in his anger and how sure he his of his own ideas.

Today I watched Ep4 and I was about to get ragey when they talked about women's rights, or lack of. Even the one guy who stood up for women's rights didn't actually want to hear what the one woman present had to say about it. It was funny but so true. Ugh!

It's also funny how Alan Alda can be horrible, and then right in the middle of his being horrible, he says something that seems admirable in a way, so that you can't just hate him. He's really brilliant in the way he's portraying Uncle Pete.

The show makes me cringe a lot. So I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks it's brilliant. There's no doubt they're being honest to something and someone, that they're showing true human feelings.

I don't mind spoilers so I think I'll check out that podcast. Thanks for the heads up.

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scifibum
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I watched all the episodes a couple of months after they were all released.

It is pretty brilliant, I think. Great performances from all the leads, and often extremely funny in a way that feels organic. I think the themes on perspective and choice are extremely worthwhile and I think it was written and produced with total sincerity by Louis CK, which is really a rare thing in television.

There's one episode that contains maybe the best TV performance I've ever seen, and not much else - most of the episode is a monologue.

There were a few things I would have preferred to be done differently - for instance, the total silence in the bar, aside from the conversation happening on screen, broke my suspension of disbelief a number of times. And I didn't think the stuff about damn hipsters really added anything to the show.

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scifibum
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Would second the recommend for the WTF interview with Louis CK, and also the very recent interview with Alan Alda, which spent a few minutes on this show (and was otherwise a really worthwhile 80 minutes or so).
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Sean Monahan
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My girlfriend and I have watched the entire series, and we're on our second time through. I think it was brilliant.
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Sean Monahan
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Note: CK himself has warned people that this is not a comedy, it's a tragedy, so if you're looking for laughs, you probably won't find many here.
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Tatiana
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Okay, I listened to both and they were both very good. I find Mark Maron annoying for some reason. It seems like he talks over his guests too much. But even so, the sum total of the podcasts were interesting. Thanks for getting me to listen to them.

I went ahead and spoilerized myself for the rest of the whole series, because I like to know what's going to happen. I don't like suspense. But wow, just wow.
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SPOILER ALERT (EVERYTHING FROM HERE ON DOWN THE THREAD IS SPOILER TERRITORY.)

I'm not sure I'm ready for the level of tragic this is gonna be. I've already cried a lot about this show, and it seems like I'm gonna cry a lot more before the end.

There's something important that I want to repeat over and over again. Psychosis and Violence are not strongly linked. Study after study shows that. And also being psychotic is, from what I can tell, a pretty horrific experience. It's one that scares lots of people away, and yet people with psychosis need the support and acceptance of their loved ones more than probably anyone else does. It's so hard for them. If you love someone psychotic, it's really hard for you too a lot of times. And yet, the people who stick it out and stay connected are an absolute lifeline for them.

That's why I'm kind of mad at Louis C.K. for writing the story this way. What if it scares a few more people away from continuing to love and connect with and accept their psychotic family members? That would suck. So I'll repeat it over and over. Psychosis and violence are not strongly linked. That's all. [Cry]

Oh wait, there's something else important that I need to share that I've learned about from interacting with people having psychotic or delusional episodes. I've not heard this from any psychiatrist or psychologist or psychiatric nurse that I've talked to, but it's something I figured out on my own from trial and error.

1. Don't try to deny the person's psychotic beliefs and theories. You will never talk them out of them. Accept them. That's their reality. If the person says, for instance, that he prevented aliens from invading the earth, then we all should thank him for that, because it was real in some way on some level.

2. All the ideas make sense in regard to the real world, if you interpret them in a metaphoric, or symbolic, or literary way. So like, in the same way that literature is real life on steroids, it's an enhanced version of life that illuminates our own lives in a larger-than-life way, so too are paranoid, psychotic, schizophrenic delusions completely understandable in an artistic, symbolic way. So, here's the great part of this. You can still have meaningful, important conversations with someone you love who lives in this entirely different universe, this whole other plane that often seems to have no points of contact with our world. But it does!

Look for the symbol, the metaphor. The brain is doing what the brain does, and I'm convinced that psychosis is very much connected with the process by which the human mind makes art from life. If you can understand things on this level, then the psychotic person is making perfect sense. They're saying important stuff that we can understand and respond to. It completely short-circuits the frustration of trying to communicate with someone who seems to be totally delusional from your point of view. It's the key that opens the meaning of their mind to ours, so we can still have a real connection.

The psychotic person will still be totally convinced that their ideas are 100% literally true, but it becomes possible to talk about it with them if we accept their ideas as being metaphorically or symbolically true. You can't have a conversation, usually, with someone who flat out tells you impossible things. This shift in our point of view, though, makes conversation and connection possible again. We don't waste time arguing whether or not someone's mother tried to drown them when they were a baby, for instance. We can see instead that they're saying she may have wished they were dead at times during her untreated post-natal depression.

So I wish I knew a pathway by which I could share that insight with everyone who has a psychotic person in their lives, with all the caregivers and medical people, and with all the families and friends. The patients are still themselves, they are just kind of stuck in this mode where they are generating high art (or low) out of the world around them. Their reality is actually important and real, and we can understand it if we can translate between these modes of being. I think being a super book nerd and readaholic helped me make this connection.

One thing I kind of always wanted to be was ambassador to the aliens, when we meet them. And this is sort of similar to that. It's a key of how to translate between us so we can still love and understand each other.

[ September 07, 2016, 06:46 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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scifibum
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quote:
I find Mark Maron annoying for some reason. It seems like he talks over his guests too much.
Definitely! He's terrible about interrupting, and he is often trying to impose a framing or a narrative on their words that doesn't quite fit. It makes me squirm all the time.

But he has a knack for compelling interviews, all the same.

I've decided that his annoying tendencies reflect a compulsion to relate to the interviewee as much and as often as possible, coupled with a pretty strong narcissistic bent. In other words, he really wants to understand how other people's experiences align with and validate his own experiences. He's seeking connection and understanding on his own terms.

So it's annoying, but that continuous effort to examine and compare, even in a self centered way, still brings out a lot of interesting stuff, and makes it worthwhile for me when the subject is someone I'm interested in.

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Sean Monahan
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SPOILER ALERT
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Hi Tatiana. I just wanted to say that I don't think the series is meaning to draw a connection between psychosis and violence. The first (of two) times it happens, Horace is shocked and surprised, because Pete had never done anything like that before. (ETA: If I remember correctly, Pete's first psychotic episode was when he was 16, and at the time of this series, he's 52.) And also, if you want to see loved ones sticking it out and staying connected, keep watching, because I think you will appreciate Horace's relationship with Pete, despite what happens.

[ September 06, 2016, 06:47 PM: Message edited by: Sean Monahan ]

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Sean Monahan
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One more thing (I apologize for the double- and triple- posting): Don't get ragy about the coversations that take place at the bar. These conversations don't really have anything to do with the overarching story, and I think they are just there as a window into the kinds of chit-chat that happens in these kind of establishments. Especially when *SPOILER* in the last episode, we flash back 40 years and see that the patrons are basically having the *same conversations*. As opposed to a bar show like Cheers, for example, where all the dialog the audience is exposed to has to do with the plot of the episode, Horace and Pete makes the audience a patron in the bar who is just overhearing the conversation next to them from time to time.
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Tatiana
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
There's one episode that contains maybe the best TV performance I've ever seen, and not much else - most of the episode is a monologue.

If that's episode three you mean, when Horace's ex-wife is talking, I completely agree. It surpassed my already high (by that point) expectations for the series.
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
... the total silence in the bar, aside from the conversation happening on screen, broke my suspension of disbelief a number of times

It didn't break mine, probably because as an old person myself now, who can't stand anymore to have music constantly going in the background (though I still love to listen to it and actually pay attention to it, if it's good music), I assumed it was one of Uncle Pete's quirks. He even unplugged it in the first episode
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:

... I didn't think the stuff about damn hipsters really added anything to the show.

That part didn't annoy me at all, I think because it seemed like it was meant to be characterization for Uncle Pete, to show how irascible he was, or just comic relief, and I did get a laugh out of it when Horace said it. I've noticed that Louis CK gets a huge pass from me on saying offensive stuff in jokes, just in general. I'm not sure how he pulls that off, really. Maybe because he's so honest and kind of vulnerable about it? Other times I just dismiss him as a jerk, though, too. Like, some of it comes across as funny-not-funny.

ETA: One other purpose the anti-hipster material might serve is to distance Louis CK himself from the critical acclaim the show will attract, from the charge of being pretentious or of making high art, and to reassert his blue-collar ordinary-guy roots.

quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:

But he has a knack for compelling interviews, all the same.

He does seem to bring out something in the guests, it's true!

[ September 08, 2016, 06:48 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean Monahan:
Hi Tatiana. I just wanted to say that I don't think the series is meaning to draw a connection between psychosis and violence. The first (of two) times it happens, Horace is shocked and surprised, because Pete had never done anything like that before. (ETA: If I remember correctly, Pete's first psychotic episode was when he was 16, and at the time of this series, he's 52.) And also, if you want to see loved ones sticking it out and staying connected, keep watching, because I think you will appreciate Horace's relationship with Pete, despite what happens.

Hi, Sean! I'm not sure this helps because it's kind of saying even after someone psychotic has been peaceful for many years, they could still get violent if something triggered them. And while it is possible, it's not *more* (or only a little more) likely, I don't think, than a neurotypical person suddenly becoming violent after a lifetime of peacefulness. I may be wrong, and anyone who does self-harm is violent on some level, but I don't think it's at all a common thing.

I'm going to finish watching the whole series, and I may feel differently about the story when I actually see it. For now, that's just one deep reservation for me. We don't need to be increasing negative stereotyping.

I was actually very happy after the first episode that Pete's mental illness was treated so kindly (by Horace at least) as just a normal part of life, which it is. It can be terrifying at first, and terribly difficult, but it's not shameful. And in some cultures, psychosis is honored as a form of prophecy or art, which it is in some ways. There are spiritual things to be learned from interaction with someone with psychosis that may not be available to us any other way.

My friend Steven Peck, an author and BYU professor and brilliant scientist, had a temporary psychosis once from some bacterial infection in his brain, and he wrote about the experience here. In particular, from this episode, the Satan Wal-Mart Organization (or SWO) has a lot of explanatory power, and has become a shorthand in my family for just the nebulous-evil-capitalist-corporate-greed machine. [Big Grin]

Another deeply thoughtful paper on consciousness from Steven Peck.

[ September 07, 2016, 06:47 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean Monahan:
Don't get ragy about the coversations that take place at the bar. These conversations don't really have anything to do with the overarching story, and I think they are just there as a window into the kinds of chit-chat that happens in these kind of establishments. Especially when *SPOILER* in the last episode, we flash back 40 years and see that the patrons are basically having the *same conversations*. As opposed to a bar show like Cheers, for example, where all the dialog the audience is exposed to has to do with the plot of the episode, Horace and Pete makes the audience a patron in the bar who is just overhearing the conversation next to them from time to time.

Sometimes it seems to be comic relief, other times just wry commentary or asides on various topics. In particular, the anti-feminist rants both of Uncle Pete and of the bar patrons are meant to be laughed at, I think, in a sort of "can you believe these people?" way. However, I still get ragey in proportion with how true to life it is, because I've been a feminist all my life and we've made so little freaking progress since, say, 1963 when I first started encountering these issues. Maybe that's just the point that he's trying to make, even.

I mean, in Dostoyevsky books set in the later half of the 19th century, the students and intellectuals were always discussing "the woman question", by which was meant "are women actually sentient beings or not?" I guess we've made a little bit of progress since then, but it's frustratingly little, to tell the truth. So if you're male, which I think you may be, and if you're younger than me (58) by several decades (which statistics would argue you likely are) just realize that we have a totally different reaction to depictions of sexism, whether they're integral to the story or not. [Big Grin]

Also, don't worry about double or triple posting. It's Hatrack tradition to divide up longer ideas into manageable pieces. I try to keep mine around a screenful at a time or less, and break when the subject changes significantly. Also, I do much of my reading, thinking, and posting in the middle of the night, which helps me formulate complete ideas. So I might respond to a half-dozen posts from different people at one go, and edit multiple times to add nuance or new thoughts. It's all good. [Smile]

[ September 07, 2016, 06:49 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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I had another thought from the synopsis of the show I read to spoiler myself. The history of abusive behavior in their family is something my family shares. We've learned a lot about abuse since those days, when it honestly was just considered the right way to raise a child. I think my father's childhood was filled with beatings and harshness from his Dad, who was a world-class jerk on the same level as Uncle Pete, or moreso. But people truly did believe in "spare the rod, spoil the child" in those days. My own parents spanked us routinely, though they restrained, for the most part, from what I would call actual beatings. Apparently my older brother got a lot more of those. (I'm a third, and parents mellow out as they age and get more experience.) But my father was unable to control his own anger. It got the better of him quite frequently.

So when we raised our kids, we never hit them, which was far superior, and likely caused a lot less childhood trauma. We learned the difference between abuse and discipline, and we learned a lot more about how to correct problematic behavior in kids. But still we did get angry at times. I can control my anger far better than my father could, but still not as well as I'd like. I saw how destructive that could be, and never wanted to repeat that, but it took me a while to learn how, and I'm still not perfect.

From what we know about ACEs now, and what we're learning about therapeutic parenting, it seems that future generations will be raised much better than we were, even. We the parents will be on their side all the time, 100% of the time, and really be able to help guide them with love and confidence, and never any harshness or yelling. (I'm still working on the never yelling thing.) Stuff I'm reading about discipline in schools lately says that reaching out to help the kids control their own behavior in various ways, and never with anger or negative consequences, is much more effective. It actually works, unlike classic negative discipline, which relieves the parents' feelings but actually makes the kids' behaviors worse.

I wonder if one of the main drivers of the precipitous drop in violent crime in our society is this improvement in the way we raise kids. And I wonder if it will continue dropping as we keep improving. That seems quite likely to me.

When we look at this intersectionally, it seems poverty also plays a role in how many ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) kid tend to receive growing up. Also, it might be that race and culture come into it too. Immigrants from many societies may come from cultures in which child discipline is strict, or even what we could consider abusive. And society is much harsher on some kids than others, due to race or ethnicity, as we see from the news.

Obviously girls get the harsher end of some sticks (more sexual abuse and assault) and boys others (culture of toxic masculinity). When we fix these things, if they're fixable, might we have a much less violent world to live in?

[ September 07, 2016, 08:33 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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On the interview, Louis CK said he wanted to open-source the making of the show, so that anyone else can do the same thing. It sure is a lot less like tv and a lot more like art than anything I've seen like this before. Does anyone think this sort of show (sit-trag?) will catch on? I would love that, and it does seem like the technology to do it will keep getting cheaper and better. Is it possible, you think?
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Tatiana
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Great line from Ep5: "Bye, everyone, and when one of you dies, I'll see the rest of you." [Big Grin]
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Sean Monahan
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I'm not sure if it will catch on, but I certainly hope CK will continue to do things like this. [Smile] He has made mention earlier this year that he has ideas for a second season of H&P, but doesn't know if it will happen.

Also Tatiana, if it matters... I'm male and 48 yrs old. [Big Grin]

I personally would be very much interested to hear your impressions of each episode as you progress through the series.

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Tatiana
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean Monahan:
I'm not sure if it will catch on, but I certainly hope CK will continue to do things like this. [Smile] He has made mention earlier this year that he has ideas for a second season of H&P, but doesn't know if it will happen.

I would love to see as many seasons as he wants to make, if they're this high quality. Maybe the next season will take up the story with the son Horace.

quote:
Also Tatiana, if it matters... I'm male and 48 yrs old. [Big Grin]
So only one decade behind me. It doesn't matter, of course, but does help illuminate our points of view, and where they come from. Helps us fill in some blanks with stereotypes of each other. [Big Grin]

I'm also a white lady, for what that's worth, but one who's interested in racial justice, the history of the civil rights movement, and its continuation today. I'm also conscious of my own mixed status, as I had at least one great^3-grandfather who was African-American, though in the social construct of race in the US, I count as white. By the one drop rule, we all are black in the South, when you ask geneticists what they know to be scientifically true, and I'm proud of and grateful for that part of my ancestry as well as the rest.

quote:
I personally would be very much interested to hear your impressions of each episode as you progress through the series.
And I would be very interested to hear yours too.

First episode made me cry, as I mentioned up thread, over how hard Horace wanted to be part of his childrens' lives and how difficult that all is. I was flabbergasted at how good this production was, and how painful and true. I think LCK is invested in helping people heal through truth, openness, and laughter. So the series is raw and real, but it's just so good I'm hooked right away. The family depicted is messed up even beyond the level my own family was messed up, but there are enough connecting points that it's very personal to me in various ways, in particular psychosis, abuse, and alcoholism.

I was just reading on HONY about Iraq veterans with PTSD saying that their therapy of processing and reliving all the tragedy is painful and difficult, but that it actually works to help them heal and to make their symptoms better. I think art serves much the same function in our lives, and H&P is art with a capital A. So even though I'm crying through most episodes, watching the series is a good thing for me, I think.

[ September 09, 2016, 06:12 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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I'm going to skip around in giving my impressions of the episodes I've watched so far, but for the future ones I'll take them in order.

Episode 5: I was very upset about Uncle Pete's suicide when I read the synopsis, so that I couldn't even go on watching for a day or so. I had to reconcile myself to it. I did feel it was NOT in character for Uncle Pete, maybe because he seemed like he was just too mean.

Aside: I have several family members who lived to an advanced old age seemingly by being too mean to die. My great Uncle Albert was an alcoholic who smoked 3 packs of unfiltered Camels a day all his life and lived far into his 80s. He used to shoot the tails off neighborhood cats who came to stalk the birds they fed in their backyard, (he and my great Aunt Druce). He also shot the bluejays because he said they were mean. They had lived on the borderline of two now-quite-tame suburbs near us since the time when they were way out in the country, but word was that the police departments of each of the two suburbs claimed he was the responsibility of the other one. So he was allowed to shoot his shotgun unmolested. This is the kind of thing that's completely authentic, but that you might read about in a William Faulkner book and think it's exaggerated. Uncle Albert was only one generation removed from Boon Hogganbeck. But I feel like he would never ever have shot himself. So he was one of many Uncle Pete types in my family. I feel like they could and had faced everything from angry bears to great depressions, wars, their own families melting down a million different ways, and who knows what else. But then again my great-grandfather on my dad's side did succumb to suicide after a business loss, so I guess you never really know what's going on inside people.

So I accepted Uncle Pete's suicide. I thought it was cruel how they kicked Marsha out. She was considered family by Uncle Pete and Horace Sr. obviously, so that made her family in my eyes too. But I guess she'll quickly find another guy to support her. I thought LCK didn't do enough with her character, for how talented Jessica Lange is, but maybe she can be part of some future seasons. One thing I did think about her description of her life is that her alcoholism was shown to be mostly benign, a way of protecting herself. But my experience of alcoholism in my family and family-friends is that it's profoundly destructive both to the alcoholics themselves and to their loved ones. I accept that it can be a useful type of self-medication for drinkers, but I think it only makes every problem worse, that the best way to deal with it in our communities is through voluntary abstinence and self-control. If nobody ever drinks, then would-be-alcoholics among us get their lives back, so to speak. When I think of how many tears and how much suffering resulted from the drinking in my extended family, how many early deaths, accidents, and destruction of property, not to mention the sheer waste of resources spent on this expensive poison, I feel like the plusses can never begin to outweigh the negatives. But I'm the only teetotaler in my family, the only one who seems to have come to that conclusion.

I loved the line from Horace's daughter that I mentioned above about seeing the rest of them the next time one of them dies. I'm tempted to use it at my next family funeral, which seem to come too often these days.

By this time in the series, I'm starting to really like Pete, because he seems to deal with all his difficulties with so much grace. He seems to be the least mean of all of the family members. I like Horace too because he's usually a peacemaker.

Sylvia, though, is just mind-bogglingly cruel, I think. I guess I don't give her enough slack for being deathly ill and financially desperate, which both can exhaust people to the point where they have no more effs to give. I'm probably harder on her, too, because she's female, and females are always supposed to be caring and kind, right? I'm sexist too. I don't just not feel those things that are embedded in our sexist culture, though I try. So I'm going to try to like Sylvia more.

Thinking about all this stuff makes me want to go watch kittens. Seriously, part of how horrible we humans are to each other, I think, is just that we get too much of each other. We need each our own private Walden Ponds (complete with meals delivered, but this time by robots and not sisters). This is all resonating with my new-found misanthropy, in fact. Kittens are so cute. They are great therapy. People suck sometimes, but I try to remember that hurt people hurt people. I try to respond with love.

[ September 09, 2016, 07:06 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Tatiana
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I apologize that my thoughts seem scattered tonight, going a million different directions, but this series is prompting a lot of different ideas.

One early theme, shared between Horace with his sexual fantasy, and his ex-wife and her infidelity, is Why is Sex Dirty? We crave this purity, this cleanness in our lives, which LCK characterized, aptly I think, as being like the Obamas. So why is everything so tainted?

Horace had a great insight he shared with his ex-wife in episode 3, that the reason she was doing what would certainly destroy her new family horribly, was because she needed to get out, and this was how her subconscious was going about it. I think he realized that about his own story, that the reason he began the affair with his wife's younger sister long ago was because he had to get out of his marriage, and that was the way that expressed itself.

It seems true about the ex-wife's infidelity with her new husband's father, too. That she's doing it in some sense because her marriage is erasing her, and she has to get out, though choosing to leave, with all the hurt that would cause, seems impossible to her. So our bodies in a sense choose what our minds and hearts can't bring themselves to choose. And that seemed like a deep insight Horace had.

The dirtiness of sex, the meanness of families, the cruelty, the abuse, seems so ugly and wrong. It hurts so much. It makes me want to lie down and die. It takes all my energy and spirit away. How do we build lives without that in them? How do we not drown in the filth?

Some ideas about that have occurred to me while thinking about the series.

1. What I said above in joking is true in seriousness, I think. We can reserve more time apart for ourselves, in nature, or with kittens, or with meditation or prayer, to dwell with Christ (for instance) who is innocent not through ignorance but in a true and deep sense from understanding and choice. We can renew ourselves in divinity, with which we share an essential nature.

2. We can restore our families and relationships through more love, service, understanding, and forgiveness. The more we learn about human psychology, the more we see that people struggle with all kinds of back-story, childhood trauma, physical illnesses that affect the brain, attachment disorders, stuff that none of it is their fault. Not any of it is their fault. And yet they deal with the aftermath their whole lives.

We understand so little, but we can get glimpses behind the whys. We see frank mental illness which is undeniable and on a clinical level, but also we all have various subclinical mental difficulties and differences that go into making up our whole selves. Seeing that, realizing it on a gut level, really helps us to understand and forgive one another better. And we're growing all the time in the knowledge of how to heal from it, and help each other heal from it.

3. That understanding, in turn, helps us feel less hurt from the buffeting we get from those around us. We see it as the empty boat in the Buddhist story, that bumps our boat through drifting rather than by intention. We can't be angry about it anymore, since it's not people choosing to be cruel so much as people just reacting to their own lives and their own internal storms and sea changes.

4. For every single time someone does something hurtful to us, either deliberately or through thoughtlessness, our own fears and insecurities multiply that by 100 in our hearts. And every kind thing people do, every compliment, is similarly divided by 100 in our subconscious. So to counteract that, to be truly just to those around us, we should deliberately skew our ratio of kindness to hurtfulness by a factor of 10,000 in favor of kindness. Just to reflect to them how we really feel about them honestly we should do that. Christ's number of how many times we should forgive was 490, right? That leaves 10,000 - 490 = 9,510 episodes left for showing love, gratitude, appreciation, service, and empathy. Divide that up however you like, and it seems about right. [Smile]

5. Work is also purifying. What Alvin would call Making. Building things. Crafts and artisan skills. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, household repair. Anything creative like drawing pictures, making music, designing and building machines and stuff. Exercise and physical training. Gardening and landscaping and growing things. All that is beautiful and positive and pure. This is a joy and a deep well from which we can renew ourselves.

6. Learning is another way of making. It's how we make our minds and our selves, I guess. There are always more things to learn, more books to read and engage with, more skills to acquire. Online now we are in the age of teaching ourselves anything from languages to computer programming to how-to videos on practically any skill or subject we can imagine. Lifelong learning is such a huge privilege and it's so much fun.

7. Scheduling play-time and fun into our lives in regular episodes is a great idea. If we cruise along on the default of work, chores, food, sleep, bills, all that is sad can pile up and up and overwhelm us. Joy doesn't happen on its own all that often, the way sorrow does. We can be intentional about building joy and laughter into the fabric of our everyday lives by scheduling it, making time for it, and following through with it. I wonder if there are some fun team-building exercises out there that would help families feel like they had each other's support, acceptance, friendship, and love. Not just individual families but the entire family of humankind might benefit from those, come to think of it. [Big Grin]

What are jatraquero's thoughts and ideas about this list? Do you have things to add?

[ September 09, 2016, 09:41 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Stone_Wolf_
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I barely skimmed...as I haven't watched the show yet, but my wife and I are down to watch this in spades!

We both like C.K.'s stand up, and basically anything Steve Buscemi does.

Will watch, read and report back!

Thanks for the tip...there is SO MUCH great content out there, that it can be hard to kno which shows to invest time in.

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Tatiana
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Awesome! Come back and talk to us about it when you finish watching. Would love to hear your impressions.
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Tatiana
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I thought the sixth episode was brilliant, and sets up the ending. First of all, Pete's date with Jenny was acted so well that I completely believed in the love story part. That's one of the hardest things to show believably in a book or movie, I think: the process of two people beginning to like each other and have feelings for each other.

Then the scene in which his siblings sabotage him in front of her was so painful and unnecessary that it made me want to scream. You can see that Sylivia's motivation is that she's angry at how often men date younger women as they age and don't even consider women her age to be people. Then when Jenny reveals herself as not at all a feminist, that makes Sylvia mad too and really annoys her. How dare these young girls repudiate feminism when they benefit from it every day of their lives? But in the process of striking out at Jenny, Sylvia seems not to even notice that she completely eviscerated Pete, who didn't at all deserve that. Then Horace piles on, seemingly for no reason at all. This is truly how siblings act, in my experience, and it sucks.

Aside: On one of my first Sundays at LDS church, I was invited home for lunch by a nice sister in my ward. She had a big family, 8 kids maybe, and the missionaries were eating there too. One more for lunch was no big deal to her. While we were at her house helping get the food ready, the oldest, a teenager, came and started making the salad without being asked, then two of the younger ones, maybe around 6 and 8 years old began very lovingly and kindly helping their 4 year old sister to wash her hands and sit at the table. They were so sweet about it, something that sibs had never been like in my experience, that tears sprang into my eyes. I wanted a family like that so much!

I really like Pete by this point, and yet he knows he's dependent on his sibs for his support. So he has to just eat that humiliation day after day after day for all the years of his life. They frequently seem to treat him like dog vomit, and he has to swallow his pride and his dignity, and just take it. Because otherwise he has no job, no place to live, no way to get a steady supply of the medicine he needs. No wonder he loses it in the last episode.

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Sean Monahan
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One of my favorite scenes is in episode 7 from the guy who tries to hit on Sylvia. His monologue after she rebuffs him is fantastic.
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Sean Monahan
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"I raised my brother on my own, only two years older. Just like how I gave him the strength to neglect me... I put you on a pedestal, and now... you can't see me."

"People don't like to look at the weak, and the struggling, because it reminds them of their own weakness. But the weak don't suffer... they just die. And... I'm alive."

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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
Then the scene in which his siblings sabotage him in front of her was so painful and unnecessary that it made me want to scream. You can see that Sylivia's motivation is that she's angry at how often men date younger women as they age and don't even consider women her age to be people. Then when Jenny reveals herself as not at all a feminist, that makes Sylvia mad too and really annoys her. How dare these young girls repudiate feminism when they benefit from it every day of their lives? But in the process of striking out at Jenny, Sylvia seems not to even notice that she completely eviscerated Pete, who didn't at all deserve that. Then Horace piles on, seemingly for no reason at all. This is truly how siblings act, in my experience, and it sucks.

This was a super well done scene, a perfectly executed performance by quality actors displaying their craft in a scene so cringeworthy, I can barely watch. The offensiveness of Sylvia and discomfort of Jenny is so palpable, I was so glad Jenny stepped up and repudiated them for it afterwards.
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Tatiana
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I finally was able to pick this series back up and watch the next episode, the seventh. Sean, the monologue you quoted above was really great. It reminded me of how skeezy guys who are always hitting on people, especially for reasons that are not any reason whatsoever that I would be interested in reciprocating someone's interest, do still have their own stories and are humans. I think women get into the mindset of blowing off completely all those skeezy guys, and seriously we have to because they are always, always selfishly intruding themselves into our day in some way or other, and think we should care about them and like them and really they have zero interest in us as human beings.

But this bit was kind of interesting because it showed me that I do the same thing. (Did, I mean, I'm too old for that now.) I don't see the human being there, inside skeezy guys. I just put them in the category of skeezy guy and dismiss them as forcefully as it seems necessary to make them go away and quit bothering me. Don't get me wrong, I don't think skeezy guys deserve womens' time or attention, not in the least. One of the most annoying things about them is they feel like somehow they do. That being female means I owe them something, means they're supposed to compete for me and treat me like a prize, a thing, an object. I remember a guy interrupting my dinner once to tell me my hair was so beautiful that he just had to speak to me. No, just not. My dinner is so nice that I just have to enjoy it without seeing your face here, dude. If you like hair that much, go buy a wig and tell it how you just had to speak to it. And get away from me. Right now. There was a very ugly subtext to that guy's quote in the show, too, of I'm alive and you're dying, so there! It's almost like he can only like dying women because he knows he's better than them in that way, that at least he's alive.

But to sum up the episode, first of all, I think it was a fantastic episode. Again I cried at the end. I thought the attraction between Horace and Rhonda was handled just perfectly. And the uncomfortable -- I've pretty much come to terms with the fact that everything here will be uncomfortable, that Louis C.K. is interested mainly in exploring what makes us uncomfortable in life, and finding out what we really feel and think about stuff, and us seeing those truths -- the uncomfortable questions Rhonda brought up smacked me right in the face with my prejudice. I felt just like Horace did that trans people are the sex they say they are, but that they would have to tell any potential lovers first. But why?

I even follow the you tube channel of this dear boy who has transitioned, and he went through the whole process with taking testosterone, and posted once a month and answered everyone's questions and it was fascinating. I'm super curious because I never conformed to gender expectations, though I always felt it was society's problem, not mine. Like, I don't feel like a man at all, but I just don't think women should have to fit into this box that society puts us in. It always, always, my whole life long from earliest childhood to now, felt like the box was very much too small for me to fit into.

Anyway, this sweet boy transitioned, and told us what it was like along the way, and one thing that happened once was that he fell for this young gay man, they were in that stage where they were starting to get interested in one another, and then he felt he "had" to tell the man he was falling for that he was trans and not born male. Because he can totally pass now. He had his top surgery and he totally looks like a guy physically. He's fine with his penis/clit as it is so he doesn't plan to get bottom surgery. But anyway when he told this guy he was falling for, the guy quit liking him. So Owen (the trans guy) was crying on one video saying he wished he wasn't transgender, that he hated himself for not having been born male, to reflect the sex that he was inside, and I felt so bad for him and it broke my heart. So this is a real life question. Are trans people really the sex they say or not? I would have said that I believed they really were, but I didn't at all question that they need to be up front to potential future lovers about their history. First of all, why not be proud of who you are and how you got there? It obviously takes so much courage and heart to transition. And even the terrible experiences they go through on the way to understanding who they really are and beginning to live their truth obviously can grow people's hearts and make them deeper, kinder, better people. So I am in awe, in a way, of anyone who has experienced all that. And that's also what hooked me on Owen's story on youtube. He's just an amazing person, and I have to admire him for that.

So it was surprising to me to be hit smack dab in the face with my hypocrisy over this, because I never questioned that someone would have to tell in advance anyone with whom they might become involved. I see now that the revelation will turn away about 99.9% of the people who receive it, and that sucks for trans people. So maybe they shouldn't have to tell, if they don't want to. Maybe we should just accept people as they are. But attraction is weird and has its own laws, so trying to force ourselves to be attracted to someone we aren't is also not an answer. It's all a very thorny and sensitive issue, and I love that Louis C.K. continues to bring these up and make us explore them.

[ December 29, 2016, 08:56 AM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]

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Sean Monahan
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Tatiana, the idea that the guy hitting on Sylvia thinking he's better because he's alive and Sylvia is dying is one that had not occurred to me before. (I almost wish you hadn't brought it to my attention now!) I just saw it as him having overcome hardship in his life, and feeling strong about it. Because I have been in that position myself. My life is a victory to me, because when I hit the bottom, I decided to live. And a lot of this guy's monologue resonated with me. I didn't see him as taunting Sylvia with the "I'm alive" statement, I took it as his victory cry over his hardships.

I have mixed feelings about the scene with Rhonda. I feel like she was trying to pick a fight with him. Granted, this is a subject that Horace has not dedicated a lot of thought to yet. But I felt like everything he said, Rhonda responded with, "So, you're saying..." and then she would say something argumentative that Horace didn't say. And he would say, "Well, no, I just mean..." and then she would do it again.

I will admit I myself am in the same state of mind as that of Horace in this episode - it's a subject to which I haven't dedicated much thought in my life yet.

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Tatiana
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Did you notice that he was obviously interrupting something important she was trying to do? And that he didn't take her obvious wish not to be hit on seriously? That he ignored all her cues (not subtle) and kept on? That made me feel like he was seriously skeezy, and so that probably helped me impute bad motives to him. And really, why would someone be attracted specially to women who looked like they were dying? What kind of an attraction is that? That also came across to me as intensely skeezy. I'm kind of surprised you feel so benign toward him. Men who hit on women persistently even when rebuffed are also potentially violent. So I thought my concession that we was still a human being, still had an interesting life story, was quite empathetic and generous of me. =D
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
I'm kind of surprised you feel so benign toward him.

I don't. Before his monologue, I saw him as a bar room lowlife trying to hit on a woman in a very inappropriate and weird way. After his monologue, I saw him as a person with a history and a story.
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Tatiana
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I felt the same, though he doesn't get a pass from me on his behavior.
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