People say there’s no more TV by appointment, but I’m not so sure. I may not watch things at the same time as everyone else like I did when I was young, but I save my viewing of certain shows just for the good times.
I had a long and irritating few weeks as a landlord (suffice it to say, sewer pipes and tree roots are a bad combination), which I topped off with a bit of adult medical (your maintenance basic preventive). By the middle of that week, I was exhausted, cranky, tired, and generally bored with…everything. And then I remembered: I got screeners from the new season of The big pottery jet that I could watch while I was lying on the couch and trying to unnerve myself!
I was recently telling a friend that I sometimes have the uncomfortable feeling of not remembering 2020 after the hit of COVID; that because I was so alone and just trying to get by, I didn’t hold anything back. I was mentally in hibernation to save energy, if you will. So every time I look at something that was part of that terrible first year, it’s like looking at a photo album that’s well over two years old. And one of those things was my first exposure to The big pottery jetproduced by the BBC Britain’s Greatest Baking Fair cousin who has, if possible, an even more soothing and even more nourishing atmosphere.
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I wrote about Discard in 2020 after seeing him for the first time, and my high regard for him has only grown. Or GBBS has the slightly hostile, slightly snotty vibe of Paul Hollywood that throws some acid on its sweetness, Discard has Keith Brymer Jones as lead judge, joined by Rich Miller, who was the beloved four man in the early seasons before being promoted to fantasy judge. (There is now a kiln lady named Rose Schmits who takes care of taking the works in progress out of the kiln and hiding them under canvas, so the potters can uncover them and see if they are now piles of rubble .)
Jones regularly cries over the work of competitors, apparently because he has an artist’s true ability to be moved by the work of others and their progress. The whole camera crew is great, but Jones’ tears help push the show to a level of seriousness that has almost dare make fun of his aggressively nice way of treating everyone.
I love it.
There’s so much skill here, so much care and artistry, and there are so many great ideas for household items that would be fun to own. (If you’re an outdoorsy person who loves camping, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t want the tent-shaped wall clock that one of the contestants is creating this season.)
But I haven’t even told you yet about the part that made me certain that this season of Discard had been specially designed to soothe me in my precise moment of…not need, but annoyance. You see, the fourth season introduced Siobhan McSweeney – from Derry girls! – as a host. But it turns out that she unfortunately injured her leg and had to miss a lot this season. Who did they take in his place? Ellie Taylor, a comedian some of you might know best for her great work as Sassy, Rebecca’s friend from Ted Lasso. It’s obviously a bad circumstance, and I miss Siobhan, but… but they added Sassy! What more could I have asked for?
I was talking to a friend about the arrival of this season, and they reacted almost exactly like me: they immediately started thinking about when to watch it, with whom, under what conditions. Just because Americans who watch this show on HBO Max don’t have a set time doesn’t mean they watch indiscriminately. Some things need to be saved for exactly when you need them most.
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