Tag Archives: movies

Fashion vs. Trucking: behind the scenes of a marriage

When I started dating my husband, we were both 18. Babes at sea, I think now. One of the things that I loved about him was that he didn’t have an especially boy-centric taste in movies or books or music. He wasn’t a fan of shoot-’em-up flicks, and didn’t rush out to see the newest Sylvester Stallone movie (insert affectionate nudge nudge to a certain You-Know-Who)

(and I don’t mean Voldemort).

Instead, my then-boyfriend enjoyed his share of quirky movies like The Royal Tenenbaums, or chick flicks like Love, Actually or even Sense and Sensibility. Wait–did I take a vow of silence on that one? I can’t quite remember . . . oh well, too late.

The point is that for a long time, I thought that in the realm of entertainment-centered marital conflicts, I had gotten off scot-free. I heard other women talk about little spats with their spouses involving what to watch on TV, or what movie to pop in on a Friday night, and I chuckled to myself inside, feeling smug and superior.

Oh, does pride ever come before the fall.

Because then, 10 years into our relationship, while in Alaska, the show Ice Road Truckers entered his life.

The 3rd season of this show centers around the runs that drivers working for Carlile Trucking make from Fairbanks to DeadHorse, over a road literally made of ice.

Look! We spotted a Carlile truck just south of Fairbanks!

Anyway, there we were in Alaska, and my husband’s excitement about this show was gushing forth. We watched a couple episodes, I learned some interesting things, and that was that. I wasn’t a huge fan. But the next evening:

“Let’s watch another episode of Ice Road Truckers!” he exclaimed enthusiastically.

“But . . . I don’t even like that show! What about Design Star?”

“But what about Ice Road Truckers?”

“What about Project Runway? You like Tim Gunn, don’t you?”

“But the Polar Bear is about to make his first run to DeadHorse! And Jack is in the middle of a snowstorm with an oversize load!”

“But it’s just dudes in a truck, over and over again!”

Oh my word. I was in the middle of a little entertainment friction. And I couldn’t believe my own ears.

So let it be known: if you’re just beginning your relationship with a man-type person and you think he’s just into quirky indie films and chick flicks like you, beware. One day he’ll decide that he only wants to watch Ice Road Truckers. And Ice Road Truckers alone will he watch. And watch he will only Ice Road Truckers. And you’ll have to have a small show-down about whether you’re watching Ice Road Truckers or Project Runway. And you will savor a nice piece of a dessert called ‘Humble Pie.’

“But honey,” I tried to reason, “all the episodes are the same! It’s just a bunch of people driving!  And they just create all this drama from silly stuff–like that time that Lisa just slips on the ice but they make you think she’s dead or something just to hype things up before the commercial break! The drama is totally made up!”

And then I rememebr the silly drama on this season of Project Runway between Bert and everyone else . . . and I can’t really continue to debate the thing along those lines. I try to think up a different tactic. And then I remember that I married a man.

And I’m a woman.

And dude . . . we’re different. But that’s okay.

“I’ll watch Ice Road Truckers,” I’ll finally consent, “but I need to pop some popcorn, lie on your lap, and you need to give me an avalanche of back skritchies to get me through it!”

And then we’re both happy. I guess I’ll do anything for some good back-skritchy laden snuggling.

Plus, he’s kinda cute . . .

. . . I think I’ll keep him.


Centennial is two things: first, a novel written by James Michener which I haven’t read. Second, a TV miniseries from the 70s based on James Michener’s novel which I have now watched. It’s no small feat–6 discs with 2 extensive episodes on each. It’s about 26 hours long, total. Yes, this show consumed over 1 day of my life. Just look at that illustrious line-up of VHS tapes–that’s a whole shelf on your bookcase right there. My husband had watched this series as a little boy at his grandma’s house and wanted to revisit it, so we slapped ‘er in our Netflix queue, and we were hooked.

It’s my favorite kind of thing to watch: something that goes on and on . . . and on and on. I invest enough in characters, emotionally speaking, that I don’t want their stories to be over after 90 minutes. I want more! And more! And more! That explains my ertswhile addiction to the show “Alias”–it just kept going. So what if the plot was sometimes ridiculous–so what if people kept (presumably) dying and then showing up later in the show–so what if the writers were desperate for a twist in the plot and resorted to something approaching a zombocalypse–I had come to know and love the characters, and no amount of general silliness in the writing could keep me away.

My husband loves this show because it’s all about the history of this country as it plays out in the lives of specific characters. The miniseries covers the founding of a fictitious town on the plains of Colorado called “Centennial,” starting in the late 18th century and going all the way into the 1970s.  At first I was resistant to the whole show because the picture quality just looked like 70s film. There’s something about the colors, kind of washed out and brownish. But once I got over that, I realized the acting was superb, the characters intricate and well-developed, and the story sweeping.

Only a few negative things–since it was aired on TV, there are little “flashbacks” to previous episodes that can be a little lengthy and I think are just redundant. However, the little “fast forward” button on our remote fixed that with no problems. My only other hang-up is how quickly the 20th century flies by. The weight of the show is in the 19th century, and I think they cover the entire 20th century in the final two episodes (or was it 3?), in what felt like a mad rush to get to the end.

I do have to say that I actually left the room once when we were watching the episode with the Indian massacre (5th or 6th episode?), not because it was too graphic (it’s not), but because it was emotionally too difficult. The show does a great job of portraying the different prejudices that Americans engaged in over time, and the violence with which those prejudices frequently played out. And it’s not always pretty! I guess that’s history for you. Also, the show represents its characters as individuals as opposed to stand-ins for a whole people group, so there are good and bad settlers, good and bad Native Americans, good and bad cowboys, with plenty of grey areas in between. Oh, the grey areas. How true to life and confusing they are.

The show (consciously or not) really draws out the theme of American manhood, examining the spirit of entrepreneurship in both honest and dishonest characters, the seemingly necessary disregard ‘real men’ had for the law in the American West, and the desire many of these men had to leave their families and strike out on their own, fighting to subdue nature in order to forge not only a home for themselves, but also their own character and selfhood.

Let’s sum it up: it’s engaging. The acting is good. You learn a ton. So next time you’re bored out of your mind with romantic comedies (um, like that would ever happen), pick this baby up and pop ‘er in.