#16. Darkness, Succession Fans, and You
It's been a real mixed week of news for Sunday nights.
Hope you’re doing well! We’ve been watching a lot of heist/con movies and shows at home lately, which I love, but I feel like the amount of money being stolen and grifted in modern heist media is too much to be sympathetic or compelling. This idea has been rattling around in my brain since I watched Kaleidoscope with my in-laws last month where a team of six people planned to steal SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS. Heists are the inverse of the famous quote from The Social Network. When you’re pulling a job, stealing a billion dollars ISN’T cool! You know what’s cool? Stealing a million dollars! I had a similar problem with Sharper on Apple+, which I won’t say more about because I don’t want to spoil it, even though you’re probably thinking…wait is that a real movie?
We also watched Out of Sight (it rules, like everyone says it does) over the weekend, and the stakes are like…five million dollars, which his, in my opinion, a respectable amount to snatch from a toupee-clad Albert Brooks. Maybe I will write something more expansive about this idea in the future! (I’ve been doing so much newsletter writing and standup writing noodling on little projects with friends that may never see the light of day, and so it feels exciting to have the impulse to write something that could soon live somewhere else for the first time in a little bit!)
(I’m still enjoying logging the stuff I’ve been watching on Whatcha.)
Last week I returned to Anne Helen Petersen’s wonderful podcast Work Appropriate to talk about confidence in the workplace. Anne is so smart and her own wonderful newsletter Culture Study I think is how a bunch of new people found their way here! I also appeared on an episode of Captain Hippo Pleases the Cube with the ridiculously funny sketch group Captain Hippo. It’s one of the silliest goofiest things I’ve done in a long time, and it was a blast.
This week I’ll be in Chicago to guest host the weekend’s episode of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me (I’m a little nervous but mostly VERY excited)! Next week I’ll be telling jokes on the JoCo Cruise! And I think I’ll have a bunch of fun standup dates on land to announce soon! I know I’ll be coming back to Philly and heading down to Wilmington, NC. I’ll be going to other places too! Is there someplace you’d like me to perform? Let me know!
Okay time for the salt and pep! (???)
PEP TALK FOR THE DARKNESS
As we continue trudging through winter and towards spring (in my hemisphere at least, sorry to be hemisphere-ist), the days are getting longer . And while we’re all celebrating more daylight, it’s important to remember that longer days also means shorter nights. It’s a zero sum game. (Or I guess technically a 24-sum game?)
Everyone loves the nighttime until there’s too much of it, which is kind of messed up. There are so many benefits the darkness that descends each day: cooler temperatures in the summer, easier to fall asleep, less going to work, the good TV shows come on, drinking alcohol is not as problematic (to a point).
Side note: I went to college with a guy named Steve who got blackout curtains and painted his whole off-campus bedroom black so that he could sleep at any time of day or night when his body craved it. I think that was kind of brilliant, but society is simply not ready to accept this lifestyle…yet.
Anyway, people can’t wait for dark part of the day, until it starts creeping in before 5pm and lingering until 7am. Then they get cranky and start suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Darkness, this is not your fault! You are not too much even in the dead of winter! You’re just doing what you do, and we are the ones being weird about it. It’s unfair of us to be so inconsistent. Everyone loves Friday night! And yet we resent Sunday night, especially when it starts during what one might consider “Sunday afternoon.” (Even though that’s when HBO puts on its extra good TV shows.) Wow. Mixed messages much? You’re just doing what you do darkness, and we need to accept that if we want you in our lives. Otherwise, we should just move to one of those places where the sun doesn’t set for days at a time and everyone becomes psychologically unmoored for that reason instead. In short, darkness…if we can’t handle you at your Winter Solstice, we don’t deserve you at your Summer Solstice.
(Okay all that said, the first day there’s light past 7pm I’m going to roll around in a fading sunbeam like a pig in a mud puddle. I’m nothing if not benignly hypocritical.)
PEP TALK FOR SUCCESSION FANS
Succession creator Jesse Armstrong recently revealed that the show’s upcoming fourth season will be its last. People are not pleased. The most optimistic take I’ve seen so far is Hunter Harris’s assertion that at least the show is not at risk of overstaying its welcome. And that’s true! But there are many other reasons to feel at peace about this news. Here are a few:
A show ending because the creator wants it to is the best case scenario for a series wrapping up. Shows often end for reasons like “the ratings were low” and now they sometimes stop running before they start because “we decided it’s a better financial decision to never air it in the first place.” Both are worse than what’s going on here!
You now have more time left over to focus on screwing your own family out of a vast fortune and business empire (or amassing one for them to screw you out of).
For a show created by a British writer, four seasons of ten episodes each is an eternity. In world of British television, you can make like 80 total minutes of good material and then coast on that for the next decade and a half. Well, you probably can’t, but it has been done by certain former Golden Globes hosts.
This decision places increased pressure on HBO to find its next show where people are mean to each other in ways that are alternatingly hilarious and emotionally devastating. I think it should be set in the test kitchen for a nationwide chain of restaurants and star Samuel L. Jackson, but that’s just me!
So take heart Succession devotees! Don’t cry because we broke a few Gregs. Smile because it’s tomelette…or whatever. And if that’s not enough for you, in the words people will never stop asking Brian Cox to yell at them on the street: Fuck off.
PEP TALKS FOR READERS
I’ve done a little light condensing of this pep talk request, but this reader preemptively was cool with it. So you should be too.
I'm moving from New York, a place I have lived on and off for many many years that is also close to family, to New Orleans, a city where I know...no one. It's for a good permanent job after many years of horrible short term contracts (I know you already gave a pep talk to a librarian moving cross country and guess what....I also work in libraries) and it's a cool city etc but I am so scared! How do adults even MAKE friends? What if I'm not chill enough to laissez les bons temps rouler? How do you make a completely unfamiliar place a home? A moving company took all my stuff today, what if I never see it again? Can a neurotic Jew survive outside the northeast? I bet the bagels are terrible! Sorry that's SO many worries, you can condense that in any way you please.
Hi reader! First of all, it is nice to hear from another library professional. Personally, I have never worked in a library, but I do think I have some pretty heavy librarian vibes, so I consider myself kind of a “vibrarian.” What I mean to say is, many of your concerns are familiar to me!
Your message is, as you mentioned, full of so many worries! Some of them are (on my end) easy to address: Probably the moving company will bring your stuff to the place they told you they’d bring it. They’re not going to prank you by sending it overseas or throwing it off a bridge piece by piece and posting video on TikTok. And even if they mess up, there are avenues of redress for situations like these, however inconvenient they might be to navigate. But, most likely you’ll receive your belongings on a timeline resembling the one they gave you.
Also, there probably won’t be as many good bagels in New Orleans as there are in New York. You’ll probably meet more people for whom a good bagel is a lower priority, people who buy frozen bagels and toast them and never imagine they’re missing out on anything. But that’s the key to this whole thing! You’ve been thinking about ways your new home might not measure up, but what about all the things you’ve been missing that you might find? The bad-bagel eaters don’t settle for mediocrity in all facets of their life. There are other breakfast foods that are important to them. In time you’ll get to know what carbohydrates they have high standards for and develop an appreciation for them too. There will be new thrills (and new comforts) in your life that you can’t yet imagine.
It will be an adjustment, but the thing about an adjustment is…we adjust. You don’t have to fully embrace the laissez les bons temps rouler attitude. Because les bon temps are gonna rouler whether you laissez them or not! The freewheeling good times will happen with or without you, and sometimes you’ll be annoyed that they cause traffic, and other times you’ll get swept up in their momentum. Other times entirely, you’ll probably stay home, which is also okay. Chances are, along the way, you’ll find the other people who move at your speed or close to it. And they’ll have some tips for navigating the pace of your new city. You’ll definitely meet people who are nothing like you, and you’ll be like…oh yeah, that happened in New York also, and it can be really great! You’re giving up familiarity when you leave New York, but who knows what you’ll find when you arrive in New Orleans? Beignets, at least, I bet.
Plus, I imagine, someone will point you to towards the good bagels pretty quickly.
PICK-ME-UP SONG: Badly Drawn Boy - “Four Leaf Clover”
After last week’s stylistic departure, we are back to jaunty singer-songwriter tunes! “Four Leaf Clover” is the only Badly Drawn Boy song I know, and I only know it because my college friend Jenna put it on a mix CD called “Cheer Up, Charlie” while I was dealing (badly) with a breakup many years ago. In fact, I often mistakenly remember the name of this song as “Cheer Up, Charlie.” I know that B.D.B. (not to be confused with B.B.D., Bel Biv Devoe) has other good songs; I have even listened to and enjoyed them. But this one is the only one that stuck in my head. Isn’t it weird how that can happen? An artist writes and performs dozens or hundreds of songs and some of them just plink off your forehead and then one lodges itself in your brain forever. Anyway, please enjoy the gently encouraging lyrics and the plucky piano coda as I have done for the past 15-ish years.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
3/2 - GUEST-HOSTING WAIT WAIT DON’T TELL ME IN CHICAGO!!!
3/5-3/12 - JoCo Cruise
More info and dates as well as NYC shows available at joshgondelman.com/schedule!
Okay! That’s all for now! Thanks for reading! And as always, if you enjoyed the newsletter, please subscribe and/or share it with a pal!
Love for Out of Sight (easily in my top ten) and love for BDB (who I first saw live in Glasgow over 20 years ago, which necessitated going ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY, or less than 50 miles, to see Placebo in Edinburgh the next night) and love for Julianne Moore? I’m clearly in the right place.
thank you for all of this.
i have a question: did you know that i love heist movies and movies about con artists and we should talk about that sometime?
next question: have you seen the movie "the brothers bloom"?
thank you and love you