the defunct parachute jump at Coney Island

Tuesday August 21. 2001

depression via books

I finished Elizabeth Wurtzel's Prozac Nation in one day. It was a fragmented and incredibly self-indulgent memoir of depression. Kind of the literary equivalent of a car wreck, I could not look away from the tragedy. I was sucked in, so much so that reading about her depression actually made me feel depressed. Putting that aside, I'm still not sure if I actually liked the book or not, because it was in no way illuminating to me about depression or mental illness like I had hoped it would be.

The last chapter, the "Afterward: 1995" kind of jolted me. It seemed to finally address what I had hoped the whole book would address: why so many people in the world are depressed today, and why they're all being medicated for it. Kind of what the title, Prozac Nation, suggested. I guess I was searching for some answer, a societal justification, of why I sometimes feel the way I do, and why my mother, my boyfriend and some of my friends feel sad, overwhelmed and helpless. And instead of finding answers, I found the author sounding almost wounded in this last chapter, to the tune of "Hey, I was on Prozac before it was trendy and everyone and their cat was taking it!"

I'm not sure what to make of her. She's an excellent writer, but I think she should spend her time on more interesting subjects. From what I've read in Prozac Nation and part of Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women, she's addressing subjects that have already been beaten to a dead, bloody pulp.

God Bless HBO.

I finally, finally got to see a whole episode of The Sopranos. They're playing all the old episodes in chronological order leading up to the new season, so it was only the 2nd episode, but I felt it was a good place to start. It's kind of sad because I bought my Dad the entire first season on tape, but it sits collecting dust, as far as I know.

Uncle Pussy. Hee hee. Sorry.

All the members of my family are nuts about the show. My Mom, Dad and sister gather every Sunday night to watch The Sopranos and Sex and the City. Ah, yes. Family viewing night.

Anyway, I have mentioned my obsession with Six Feet Under. I have not loved a TV show like this since the first few seasons of the X-files (you know, before everything started going downhill). I am now fairly assured that the episodes will end up in a DVD box set, because they're a critical success and already contracted for the next season. You can bet I will be lining up to buy that whenever it comes out.

The season finale was on Sunday, and I was home to watch it. I have to say I was a little disappointed with it. I had expected, in true season cliffhanger fashion, someone would be in a serious car crash, find out they had a fatal illness or have a gun pointed in their face as the screen faded to black (or this case, white - are those white fades awesome or what?). But instead, the episode ends with a christening party, where Nate, one of the main characters, looks around at his family, friends and girlfriend, and thinks, "Aw, shucks, I'm so lucky to have all these great people in my life."

Bleeech. C'mon, this is the same guy who wrote the unlikely and bloody ending of American Beauty. It just seemed like a copout to me.

Still, this show has pushed the limits of an ensemble drama. In a place like HBO, without advertisers or censors to placate, it's not surprising that innovation like this thrives. I'm amazed at the actors - especially Frances Conroy, who plays Ruth. She perfectly portrays a woman who's trying to find an identity after her husband dies. My god. I am thoroughly amazed by her honesty, courage and depth. If this women doesn't get at least an Emmy nomination, I'll eat my hat.

One Year Ago:
"I couldn't even stay up this late at either of Dani's parties. Passed out at 10:30 and midnight, respectively. Hey, don't blame me, I started making (and drinking) margaritas at 6. Sheesh."