I just watched this week's episode of "Angel". Good stuff. For the last two weeks they've taken extremely dumb-sounding story ideas and then made things out of them which turned out to be very good. Last week, the episode was mostly a flashback to Angel fighting Nazis in World War II. It seemed lazy (Ooo, Nazis... is there a less controversial villain available? A less original or thought-provoking one?), pointless (there are several plot lines dangling and several characters who've been annoying or filler lately, and a flashback episode wouldn't clear any of that mess up), and the worst kind of retconning (Angel isn't a war hero - if he was, we would have heard about it before now in the character's seven and a half years on TV.) But it turned out very well. It was a good standalone episode, and %90 of my fears completely failed to happen.
And this week, Angel was hit with a vicious, demonic curse: he was turned into a puppet. Our super-powered, angst-ridden vampire became three feet tall and made of felt for most of the episode. I was not optimistic. But it was funny and well-paced and still managed to be more serious and original-feeling than most "traditional" episodes. And none of the main characters made any of those incredibly common (in TV), really stupid choices about their personal lives because they're too self-absorbed to swallow their pride or notice blatantly obvious clues.
Actually, they did. Two of them did. But the point is - and this might have actually made the episode better - those mistakes were made and then fixed quite nicely by the end of the episode. Finally. One of those mistakes involved Angel and how he has something approaching a love interest for the first time since Cordelia last season, and even that doesn't really count since she was possessed at the time... well, anyways. I swear, I don't usually get like this over TV shows.
The other character was Westley. Early in the episode he was giving Angel advice on women (easily as funny as the whole vampire puppet thing, considering his character). He said Angel should make a move because it's very rare you're attracted to a woman "who doesn't view you as an entirely sexless shoulder to lean on," and then he made a lot of those mistakes that make you shout at the TV screen, but at the end of the episode he - FINALLY, after more than two years - got together with his own crush.
And this happened despite repeated signals - he was so resigned to staying at the "just friends" stage she used to be happy with that he wasn't noticing them. She finally had to just take the bull by the horns. And it's made better still by the fact that a song about self-esteem or something was playing in the background (from the evil demon puppets' TV show, of course.)
Yes, I was watching this episode alone in my room on a Friday night. Considering what it was actually about, if the episode wasn't so happy and funny, I'd probably be so depressed right now that I'd have to drink myself stupid. Good thing it was a good episode.
The thing is... I really don't know what it is with me. I'd give my right hand for my problem to be something easily understood, and/or easily fixed. Oh well. Maybe I shouldn't complain; I decided to take a few minutes and finish this post before going off to a game night with some friends, so that should make one small part of the problem completely fucking obvious.