Northern Exposure is Identity

We’re working through Season 3: Disc 5 of Northern Exposure (specifically My Sister, My Mother). In it, we find a nameless baby, Adam riding a roller coaster of emotions, and Shelly’s mom pretending to be her sister.

Add these story-lines to the series’ general fish-outta-water-ness and there’s a lot of identity theory – Jewish or otherwise.

A Perfect Day for Cicely, Alaska

“I have grown really tired of contact sports…you can break an ankle, but can you die?”- Joel Fleischmann

It’s -1°F this Saturday in the Twin Cities (weather.com says ‘feels like -18°F’, Thanks). Fortunately, NetFlix sent over Northern Exposure Season 2, Disc 2 this morning.

This disc contains “All is Vanity”, the episode where Maggie has Joel play her boyfriend in front of her father, Holling ponders circumcision, and a dead John Doe infatuates the town. Wow. Fantastic episode.

Reflections on Northern Exposure

“Football’s a good enough sport, but can you die playing it?”

More than a decade ago, while flipping channels, I was first exposed to Northern Exposure. Maggie asked Joel to have dinner with her football-loving father under the pretense Joel was her extreme sports-loving boyfriend. (Not sure I got the above quote right, and google wasn’t helping. Found it.). As soon as Joel spoke that line, I was hooked.

In an effort to actually track down that scene, Jen and I are watching the series via Netflix. About a disc and half into Season 1, and I’m impressed how all the characters (except Joel) are so fully formed even from the pilot. Unlike other shows where all the characters are developed as you watch, the citizens of Cicely, AK are already mature – like old growth timber.

It’s Joel that is formed and molded, epsisode by episode, by his interactions with the other characters.

Also, feels like the exchanges between Joel and Maggie – especially in “Dreams, Schemes and Putting Greens” – seems unnecessarily antagonistic. Hopefully that’ll turn down just a notch or two as the season progresses.