Posted: 13 Sep 2011 06:49 AM PDT
Can TV be helpful to you when it comes to getting along with your family?
I WAS watching Game Of Thrones the other day and thought to myself, that whether you lived a hundred years ago (in real life or in fiction), parents everywhere have the same problems. Ned Stark (played by an ever so grim looking Sean Bean) says at one point in the series, when his two offspring are ready to tear each other's hair out: "War was easier than daughters."
I'm inclined to agree though I've never actually been to war. I often wonder how my mother ever put up with four daughters! Indeed, there appears to be a constant power struggle between children, as well as between parents and children ... a battle as metaphorically treacherous as that for the Iron Throne, if you will.
I especially enjoy the fact that there are so many familial ties to analyse in the 10-part series based on George R.R. Martin's novel of the same name.
The father-daughter relationship between Stark and his youngest daughter Arya (Maisie Williams) is a warm one that many would appreciate, I think. But the more I ponder it, the more it confronts and confounds me.
Arya is a sprightly nine-year-old tomboy who'd much rather be outdoors shooting arrows and wielding a sword than combing her hair and perfecting her needlepoint skills. Unlike her elder sister Sansa, whose sole ambition is to marry a lord someday (it's all she's ever wanted, she pleads with her mum ... and you have to roll your eyes), Arya has no intention of ever becoming a lady and marrying for influence. She believes her destiny is in her own hands and has no qualms about speaking her mind, no matter what the cost. Dad knows what a dangerous thing this is and yet he allows her the room to be different.
I find the conundrum exists for most parents – you give children access to things (be it a sword or information – think television and the Internet), you may even encourage them to learn all they can from it (a master sword-fighter, Syrio Forel, is hired to train Arya in the art of combat) but at the same time, you expect your children, nay, you demand that they follow a destiny that you have chosen for them. How many of us parents walk in Stark's footsteps every day?
Catelyn Tully (Michelle Fairley), his wife, does the same with her little son Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright). She tells him off for climbing and even though she's sure he's going to run off and do it again, she allows him the freedom to do just that even if it spells impending doom. You want to grab hold of her and say: "Cat! What are you thinking? Don't you realise he's going to fall off the next wall he climbs?" And yet, as a parent, I find that's exactly what I do as well! This art imitating life is sometimes a little too close for comfort, methinks.
There are numerous brother-sister relationships to consider in the television show. Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen are not the best of friends, but there is an underlying bond that holds them together.
Similarly, the Lannisters – Cersei, Ser Jaime and Tyrion – are uncomfortably closely knit. The most normal sibling relationships are that of the Stark children. But all the families are loyal to their own blood (well, so far anyway, I'm only midway through the series and I haven't read the books). And there's something strangely reassuring about that – blood is thicker than water.
Television has provided a huge amount of family fodder which has been a great mirror to view one's own life, in comparison. I loved watching sitcoms while I was growing up – Growing Pains, Family Ties, The Cosby Show – but always viewed them from the child's point of view, and often wondered why my parents weren't as cool as the ones on TV.
I think after my own kids grew into teenagers, I finally started identifying more with the parents on TV, and indavertently learning a thing or two from them in the process.
Granted, the family ties on shows like Desperate Housewives are a little too contrived, and plights of parents and children far too over the top. Although truth be told, I have found myself agreeing or empathising with Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) once too often. Lynette has four kids, including twins who were really hyperactive when they were younger, earlier on in the series. Lynette once started taking pills that were prescribed for her twin's ADD so that she could keep up with all her chores and responsibilities. Sounded like a good idea to me!
And once, when she was freaking out while driving because they were making such a ruckus in the car, she ordered them out of her SUV and drove off, hoping to scare them into compliance. Just one hitch though, when she drove around the corner and back again to pick them up where she left them off, the twins had disappeared! Err ... there were shades of déjà vu right there for me.
I like the weekly family series Parenthood, because I think there's a dash of realism in the pitfalls and triumphs the Bravermans face. While they are not my favourite characters on the show, I can most identify with Adam and Kristina Braverman (Peter Krause and Monica Potter), who have a teenage daughter, Haddie (Sarah Ramos) and an autistic son, Max (Max Burkholder). Once, the couple removed the door to their daughter's room ... and I can't tell you how close I've come to doing the exact same thing!
Several of the conversations in that household involve everyone talking at the same time ... again, it is strangely comforting to know that this happens to people other than me.
Another show I really like when it comes to analysing relationships within the family is ... (cue: theme music, boy in detention, then on skateboard, dad driving car into garage and everyone congregating on couch in front of TV) The Simpsons.
Now, they may not be the best family to gauge oneself by, but The Simpsons are really a valuable source for learning ... well, in a weird, dysfunctional, zany sort of way. The fights between Bart and Lisa often remind me of my own childhood (ahhh, there's a tear in my eye ... wait a sec while I reach for a tissue), the romance between Homer and Marge, flawed as it may be, is inspirational. And granted, Homer's parenting skills may leave a lot to be desired, but at the end of each episode, you kind of come away with a moral that leaves you a better person.
And it's nice to know, when you turn off your telly each night, that whether you're living in 21st century Subang Jaya, Selangor, or Springfield, in The Simpsons' universe; or heck, even if you're stuck in medieval times in the seven kingdoms of Westeros and winter is well on its way, family life can be challenging, but, boy, does it make for good entertainment.
Indramalar is readying herself for a trip to London; and as such Ann Marie, with glee, hijacked this week's instalment of Sofa Spudniks. The duo will be back in action, wielding their remote controls and fighting over column space, in a fortnight's time.
Posted: 13 Sep 2011 02:31 AM PDT
DJ Linora serves up all things hot!
WHEN those dreary mid-afternoons hit you, take a break and tune in to Red FM's Eleven 2 Three with Linora (Monday to Friday, 11am-3pm) as she serves you a plate of Today's Best Music, hot gossip and a dose of retail therapy to get you through the day.
Each week on Red FM's Top of the Shops, this sub segment covers a range of lifestyle needs and will feature a place, product or trend. From restaurants, fashion lines, gadgets to spa treatments and much more, the bubbly Linora will bring you the latest on what's at the Top of the Shops. In addition to that, you get the opportunity to try it out for yourself.
Tune in this week as DJ Linora (pic) checks out Celsius Restaurant + Bar located in Farenheit88 shopping centre, Kuala Lumpur. With its mind-meltingly hot and astoundingly uber-cool fusion décor, you can set your desired temperature with a choice to unwind or crank it up after a long day at work. Celsius Restaurant + Bar also serves an extensive selection of food and beverages that will send your taste buds soaring to stratospheric heights. You get to try it out just by listening out for the cue to enter and win a RM200 dining voucher courtesy of ilovediscounts.my, Malaysia's favourite discount website.
In the meantime, temperatures are on the rise with the Red FM's Runaway DJs as participants race to track them down. If you have yet to win anything on Red FM, you still have the chance to win cash, gadgets and even a car with this lucrative contest.
The Red FM DJs will be going around to secret locations on weekdays in a Proton Inspira. Clues to their whereabouts are given out on air and online to help you find them. Join in the hunt and you could drive away in a brand new Proton Inspira of your own!
Log on to red.fm for more information on the contest. Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page (facebook.com/redfm.my) and follow us on Twitter (@iloveredfm) for the latest updates of the contest.
Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.
Red FM's station frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1 FM; George Town and Seberang Prai: 107.6 FM; Ipoh, Perak: 106.4 FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9 FM; Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6 FM; Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9 FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8 FM.
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