Short Shorts and Thursday Night Television

Posted by Tobias Carroll

I’ll be thirty-four in October, and I came of age watching a certain era of comedies on NBC. Looking at the titles of some of the stories in Mary Hamilton’s chapbook We Know What We Are, I’d wager that Hamilton came of age under similar circumstances: Bull Shannon is referenced repeatedly. And given that Malcolm Jamal Warner receives a hat-tip, I could venture a guess as to the last name of the “Theodore” mentioned a few times here.

The stories themselves are mesmerizing: some, like “Hey there stranger, come on over and hold my hand” surround and mood and encompass it. Others — the title story, “Something smells like rotten poison on fire: An ode to Bull Shannon” — read like modern myths, surrealism coexisting with awkward moments and the occasional shocking moment.

Her conversation with Ben Tanzer at What to Wear During an Orange Alert touches on inspiration, Egon Schiele, and flawed television characters; it’s worth a read. And her bio mentions that Hamilton maintains a blog about inspirational sports movies. This is no joke.