In the deepest darkest winter, viruses and disease are bound to find temporary accomodations at your house and mine. We encourage these weary travelers as best we can by stumbling around sick and refusing to stay in bed, even when the tissue box attached to our sinus cavity obscures our vision. But there are microbes that defy socialization and sniffling over the office water cooler: Chicken Pox. The common Poxis Uponus rears its ugly head even in the direction of adult males of the species who should have been there and done that when they were in short britches. Alas, DVD rental to the rescue.
Once the intensive "remain in bed until at least one part of your body doesn't hurt" stage is over, patient is free to roam to the couch and find a way to make bearable the next 10 days of waiting for the euphoric scabbing-over. In our house, this includes lots of hallucinogenic drugs in televised format.
It is always best to start with a walk down memory lane. "H.R. Pufnstuf" is not a gateway drug, it is it's own final destination freak out. Aside from the lovely Puppet land country roads of a back lot in Hollywood, one watches H.R. for the character depth. A giant, southern accented, roly-poly, cloth covered mayor saves our scampy human friend Jimmy from the big bad witch, and all sorts of adventure follows as she pursues Jimmy and his magic flute. If you were raised by leftist librarians, like my husband was, or are new to the world of TV, like my 7 year old is, H.R. will either make it plain to you why Hard Core Punk was inevitable for a generation of wild childs nursed on said Saturday morning TV, or offer you the golden key to incredible silliness and laughter. Either way I say "go there, go". Apparently, HR of the Bad Brains agrees with me.
Next stop: Jane Austen. screeeeeech....!?!! No amount of Chuck Norris campaigning for Smuckabee can take away the deep seated yearning for a little period dress and exacting society of years gone by. Oh wait, that's my reason for watching Jane Austen. Whereas, a man with chicken pox is going to tune in for the piercing social commentary and zingers of old English speech. At least if you're my 21st century man, you are. Masterpiece Theater has recently remade the complete Jane, (good), and is presenting them all in 90 minute packages, (bad) every Sunday night in NYC. Jane is Jane because of her outstanding language and the marvelous frisson between characters. Unfortunately, the brevity of these episodes lessens that and substitutes love story: ick, phooey. My capital friend Denise, superlative knitter and knower of all things mid-19th century literary, assesses these remakes as a Readers Digest version of Jane. But if you like a good regimental uniform, and could improve your vocabulary with phrases like "vexing" and "Capital!", tune in to witness the shape shifting of Jane Austen. For those uninitiated to her pleasures, please don't be put off by the supposed chick-flick nature of Jane's writing. Those ideas are heresy. To read Austen is to be transformed. Her summation of life at that time is breathtaking in its acute depictions of the scuttles between the sexes over who has more money, and who is to inherit next. She will make it clear to you why 20th century Mods and Rockers clashing at the British seaside was destiny (aside from obvious musical differences...).
And if it is not your husband who is home with the chicken pox, but your child, I can offer no higher spiritual sustenance than a good box of Pippi Langstrump TV shows. Pippi Longstocking as she is known to the English speaking world, is a charming, feminist prototype of oversize strength and cunning, able to outsmart bandits and social workers looking to plop her in the big house for having no parents or other visible means of support. But let's not get bogged down with Pippi's colorful past. If only as a fashion inspiration to the next Project Run-away contestant, Pippi is the best friend we all want to have, with a house in the Swedish country and a good do. But her 1969 1/2 hour TV shows, which were later strung together to form cinema release 'movies', (in addition to being remade again and again, with not so nearly charming an actress as Inger Nilsson) are diversionary TV at its best and most silly. Unless of course you feel that following the media hype around the upcoming presidential race to be TV at its best and most silly. And in that case, click on.