Sunday Evenings are for Mad Men

April 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Bliss
April 14, 2014

When I first heard about Mad Men and all the rave reviews, my reaction was “a show about a bunch of smoking, boozing, sexing, chauvinistic, high-powered ad executives from the sixties? No, thanks.”

Then I Netflixed the pilot, and it was all over.

Turns out I get a perverse pleasure out of watching expecting mothers smoke cigarettes and toss back glasses of wine. I mean, pregnant women don’t get to do anything anymore. No cocktails, no pain killers, no cold medicine. Is this some sort of punishment for post-sixties liberation?

Screwdriver, inspired by AMC’s Mad Men Cocktail Guide. I even used fresh-squeezed orange juice. Yum!

Screwdriver, inspired by AMC’s Mad Men Cocktail Guide. I even used fresh-squeezed orange juice. Yum!

Haven’t we all had those moments where liquor at the workplace seemed like a really good idea? I can’t tell you how many times my frazzled boss has emerged from yet another hour-long teleconference, wishing I had a flask hidden somewhere in my desk drawer.

As for the sexism, well, some of that really hasn’t changed much. When my girl Joan has to stoically mask her face after her intelligence is insulted or swallow yet another instance of her authority being undermined at the whim of a male superior, I empathize one hundred percent. Because something similar usually happened to me just last week.

Then there are moments like these, from the Season 7 Mad Men premiere:

Nashville, Please Don’t Dress Up the Black Girl and then Give Her No Place to Go

February 12, 2014 § 2 Comments

Write
February 12, 2014

Dear Nashville,

Don’t turn my girl Zoey into the token—and thereby annoying and dispensible—black person. Give her a goal, a conflict, and reaction that any reasonable person would have.

So she decides she wants to be a backup singer. I can get behind that.  She goes to audition and the gatekeeper tells her that she needs a headshot and a demo, but she doesn’t have those things because she’s never auditioned before and doesn’t know what she’s doing. I can get behind that, too.

But if our protag wants to be a backup singer and lack of headshot and demo are keeping her from auditioning for the role of backup singer, what should she do? That’s right, immediately go out and get a headshot and demo.

She’s already pressed out her hair. That shit alone took an hour, minimum, and needs to be immortalized. And her just-coming-into-his-own-as-a-producer friend Avery would be happy to put together a demo for her.

Are these the most thrilling and gripping of activities? No. But she’d be doing something towards achieving her goal. And it would provide just another excuse for the photo shoot montage and singing session that you, Nashville, are known for. How are we supposed to believe our girl can sing and root for her to get her big break as a singer if she never once sings during the entire episode?

But Zoey doesn’t go out and get a headshot and a demo. Instead, she goes home and lays around on the couch—messing up her hair!—and feeling sorry for herself.

This does not make her a sympathetic protagonist. It doesn’t make her any kind of a protagonist. It makes her the only character on the show who is coming across as totally lame, as well as the only character who happens to be black.

20FeetStardom

I am not feeling the love here.

If you’re going to move forward with this whole backup singer thing, I suggest some storylines and actual conflicts specific to her character:

  1. The whole preacher’s daughter trying to break out of the constrictive “good girl” box
  2. The gospel music vs. secular music battle
  3. The girl with the powerhouse voice playing backup to a mediocre but more commercially viable lead.

Watch 20 Feet from Stardom to get some real world inspiration on what to do with this character.

Now, if Zoey had gotten her gorgeous pressed-hair head shots and her Avery-fairy-dusted demo and then gone back to the audition place all confident and optimistic, only to have the gatekeeper tell her, “Sorry. You’re just not the right fit for us,” now, that’s a conflict I could have related to.

Size and Superpowers Aren’t Everything

November 18, 2013 § 4 Comments

Bliss
November 18, 2013

I got my new iPhone! I'm sad for my Blackberry, though. I bond with my phones.

I got my new iPhone! I’m sad for my Blackberry, though. I bond with my phones.

I met my favorite filmmaking duo, Dia and Allan of Cheza Jouer Films, for dinner on Saturday night. Talk turned to our favorite TV shows, and Dia inevitably shared her off-point observations.

Dia: I really like Sleepy Hollow, but Nicole Beharie is so petite. Don’t you think that makes her unconvincing as a police officer?

Me: No, I think she projects strength and presence.

Dia: But she’s so tiny. Even in heels. How would she get somebody in a headlock?

Me: The goal of law enforcement officers is to not let anyone get close enough to have to put them in a headlock. That’s why they carry guns.

Dia: And the teddy bear in Grimm —why doesn’t she have any powers?

Me: Rosalee has powers. She’s the potions master.

Dia: Monroe and Renard turn into creatures and have superpowers. She turns into a creature, nothing.

Me: She makes the kick-ass potions that save peoples’ lives.

Dia: Sure, she cooks in the kitchen. Anybody can do that.

Me: Did you miss the part about saving peoples’ lives?

Dia: When Monroe and Renard had to take Nick down, they could have used her help.

Me: When Sgt. Wu collapsed and his entire body erupted like a volcano, who made the potion that saved him?

Allan: I love Sgt. Wu.

Dia: All I’m saying is, if Rosalee had superpowers too, everything would get taken care of a lot more efficiently.

Me: Except when someone gets poisoned or hexed and needs one of Rosalee’s antidotes.

Allan: You two are going to be doing a lot of fighting in the writer’s room.

Fall TV Redux

October 21, 2013 § 4 Comments

And by the way, my only bliss this past week  

Bliss
October 21, 2013

Sunday night TV with Witches of East End

Sunday night TV with Witches of East End

Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. I got hit with a family crisis—I didn’t even get to go to the art exhibit I’d been planning on for the past three weeks. It looks like everything is getting resolved, though, and for the best. Through all that,  the joy I did get during some troubling hours came from my shows. Yep. The TV.

Sleepy Hollow
Fox, Mondays

It is crazy-ass good times and the right blend of funny and freaky-deaky. Not to mention the two leads are a pleasure to watch together. It’s already been renewed for a second season. The only complaint I have is no new episodes until November 4th.

Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
PBS, 10/15

Superheroes! It came on at the same time as Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. so thank goodness for DVRs. I sat down for all three hours of this one.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Fox, Tuesdays

Text from Dia:

Have u seen a new show called Brooklyn 99? It is hilarious. . . The chief of police reminds me of you.

This is the second time Dia has said I remind her of a dry, sarcastic, male who is a police officer. And I’m totally okay with that. Besides, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is hilarious. I mean laugh out loud.

Scandal
ABC, Thursdays

‘Nuff said.

Witches of East End
Lifetime, Sundays

I’ve been longing for a show centered on witches who aren’t getting their broomsticks handed to them by vampires. I got what I “witched” for on this one.

What TV shows have stuck with you so far this fall? Which shows get you through the hard times?

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