Saturday, September 26, 2009

She-Wolf Live!, or How why is only singing live in the UK?

So Shakira is making the rounds promoting her hit single (and same-titled English album) She-Wolf, yet the more youtube clips I caught of her "live" performances in the US the more depressed I got: she was lip-syncing! LIP-SYNCING!

So, I was very happy to see that across the pond she actually SINGS (and dances!) live:

Dollhouse, or How let's meet the players

Dollhouse returned last night with a Whedon-written-&-directed episode called "Vows" which delved deeper into the moral ambiguities surrounding the Dollhouse (through Whiskey/Saunders' storyline) and set up the ongoing threads for season 2 (a senator-led witch-hunt against the Dollhouse, Paul & Echo's alliance, Whiskey's self-discovery). I don't know what new viewers thought (or if any tuned in) but it was a solid episode featuring a great cast:

Spoilers Ahead...

Guest Starring

Lee Adama (known as 'Jamie Bamber' outside the BSG-verse) played Echo's "assignment" - a husband whose business is a bit shady. (PS. Is Bamber hotter when he's angry/villainous or was that just me?)

Wesley Windham-Pryce (ie. 'Mr Alyson Hannigan' er... I mean 'Alexis Denisof' outside of the Buffyverse) plays (and will recur throughout) as a Senator who has it in for the 'Dollhouse': but why?

Amy Acker as Whiskey/Dr Saunders. After finding out her identity was a sham (she was the premier 'doll' until Alpha sliced her up) she's left in shambles battling with her inner-engineering.

Series Regulars

Enver Gjokaj as 'Victor' (a doll) - following the same fate as Whiskey (at Alpha's knife) we find Victor getting cosmetic surgery at the Dollhouse's expense (which irks Whiskey, but then... we all know why Ms DeWitt would want to keep pretty-Victor's face intact, no?)

Dichen Lachman as 'Sierra' (a doll) has probably the most hysterical scene in the episode where her interaction with Ivy ("Uh, could I have the other one? The man one?") showcases her imprint's racist/sexual personality, but has little to do other than hold hands with Victor at the end of the episode.

Harry Lenix as Boyd Langton (Echo's former handler and now head of security of the Dollhouse) plays the 'father' figure throughout (not just with Echo but now taking on Whiskey as well).

Fran Kranz is Topher Brink, the mastermind behind the Dollhouse's technology - who we saw wounded and damaged in 'Epitah One' begins his morally-tinged journey into ambivalence with his interactions with Whiskey.

Olivia Williams (playing probably my favorite character on the show) is Adelle DeWitt, the head of the LA branch of the Dollhouse (yes! there are more we learned!) and is intent on keeping Ballard close at hand. Good thing she knows how to get things done: by emotionally manipulating people to her advantage.

'Helo' (Tamoh Pennikett) is (ex)Agent FBI Paull Ballard who after spending season 1 pursuing the 'Dollhouse' and finding out what happened to Caroline/Echo, is now 'employed' (though to what capacity the episode doesn't reveal til the end) under the Dollhouse though as DeWitt tells us, his motives (much too chivalrous) are his best guarantee in keeping Echo safe.

And last (and most would also say least) we have Eliza Dushku (Faith herself!) as 'Echo/Caroline): the 'best' doll in the Dollhouse who's self-awareness keeps chipping away at her doll-persona ("I am all of them, but none of them is me" she tells Paul at the end of the episode)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mad Men, or How what to do with all this blood?

It's fitting that one of the opening images of Mad Men's Season 3 premiere was of a bloodied bed due to miscarriage. If the ant colony (and it's smashing) symbolised Sterling Cooper under the Brits, the image of the a bloodied bed from a miscarriage viscerally encapsulates several of the themes that have so far run through the season: the (in)ability to conceive (Betty and Trudy as mirror opposites as seen at Roger's party), the creation of new familial relations (both in Roger's new found family and in Don & Betty's household), sexual promiscuity - which bears Dick Whitman (in Peggy's newfound sexuality) and as the following images show, blood in itself comes to figure in several different contexts:

A bloody helmet became the center of a discussion on war.

Sally's bloodied face came to symbolize her inability to cope with loss.

A blood-stained floor haunted Betty's drug-induced labour dreams.

And of course, a splatter of blood took center stage in last week's episode, ruining Joan's lovely green dress.

And I have to wonder... are Weiner & co. building up for that other (in)famous blood splatter which took place in Novemeber 1963?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

HIMYM or How: oooh pretty!

Seriously, I love this stylishly gorgeous promo art for Season 5 of HIMYM (which kicked off last Monday):

[Found it here though I first saw it on iTunes but can't find a better quality pic]

30 Rock or How someone compiled the Best of Jenna!

It's like someone made this just for me!

I (HEART) you Jane!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mad Men, or How "a guy walks into an advertising agency..."

The more things change...

Can we please just talk about this week's episode of Mad Men (you know, the one that aired at roughly the same time the show was receiving its two Emmys on Sunday)?

Coming hot on the heels of what I thought was one of the best episodes this season (last week's "The Fog"), Matthew Weiner & co. have presented us with an episode that threatened to change everything at Sterling Cooper and in a 'bloody surprising' move, managed to turn everything back to 'normal' faster than you can say John Deere (if that line makes no sense to you, you need to watch the episode, as I have no desire to spoil the episode's plot-twist (though you can go here and see an animated GIF of it if you want)).

If nothing else, this episode re-calibrated much of the plot gears we have slowly been watching (Sally and Gene, Betty's (in)explicable attitude towards her family, Peggy & Pete's career aspirations - notice how McKendrick used the same line on both of them, Don & Roger's enmity) but did so in a very MadMenian way: not with grandiose changes (though it did start out that way) but by challenging its characters with what so threatened the 1960s: the status quo.

And jolly did it do it with a dose of black humour:

"I'm bored"
"Bang you head on the wall"

"He might lose his foot"
"Right when he got it in the door..."

Yet for me the question remains: what will happen to Joan who has seen (in less then a year) her hopes for marrying a successful doctor and living the/her dream dashed (not least because of her rape last season, but also because her beloved didn't make surgeon after all) - will she return to Sterling Cooper? Is there a way to do so while still being able to rule the office - not with a iron clad fist but - with a stylish silk glove?

That said, I love that she got screen time (and one of the better lines of the night):

"My god"
"I know, it's ruined"
Ah Joan, always with her priorities set.

HIMYM or How big guns and six-packs are cool

Sometimes, I wish I were Robin. I mean:

Why doesn't anybody put a gun to my face...
...and buy me a six-pack?

And then there's the whole... sleeping with NPH thing, of course...

Join the Celebration, or How look: CREEPY!

Manuel + Celebration = Andy Warholesque Madonnuel via Mr Brainwash's cover for the '34 Songs That Changed the World' Celebration.

Okay, so that picture might be the most horrifying thing I have ever posted on here (give or take a Swank picture, ha!) but I couldn't NOT share my 'Celebration'-ised picture (oh that you could also Vogue-ise, Music-ise, Erotica-ise and Hung-Up-ise yourself...)

Thanks to Boy Culture for leading me there (and sure, I could have used a non-bearded pic, but where's the fun in that?)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Parks and Recreation, or How Amy is Gay for the Gays!

Parks and Recreation came back in a big (gay!) way last night. After a clunky and uneven first season (6 eps total), this Amy Poehler comedic vehicle kicked off its new season with gay penguins who Poehler's Knope unknowingly marries (as in, she didn't know they were both male, not as in, she didn't know she was marrying them) and thus throws herself squarely into the 'gay marriage' agenda fight. Seeing Poehler tread the fine line between "The gays love me! I love attention and validation and I'm doing a cute/good thing!" and "I'm in the mainstream" was hysterical. But nothing was as funny as the gay club ("The Bulge") scene:

"You know why tonight is so fun? Cause everyone is so gay! And they know how to have fun. And dance! Everyone is who they are. And who they are is stone-cold gay."

Which of course segways into:

"Pokah-pokah-face-blah blah blah pokah-face!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Glee, or How Effie and Juanes make me happy!

Three worthwhile moments from last night's (abeit less-than-stellar) Glee:

1. Mark Salling shirtless (accompanied by Juanes' "La Camisa Negra" - only sung NOT by Juanes, how weird was that?)

2. Favorite line (though "This is a gayvention. That's a gay, intervention" and "You're freakishly tall! You make me feel like a woodland creature" and "If Josh Groban were here he'd club you to death with his Critics Choice Award" were all hilarious too):

"Yous gotta go Effie"

& 3. Mercedes going all J-Hud meets High School and belting out "I Bust Your Windows":

30 Rock, or How which NBC comedy classic will Fey recruit this time around?

I know it may be a bit too early to start obsessing over 30 Rock's impending return but... Scratch that. That would imply I haven't been obsessing over it all summer since it left us, which is of course not true! The little brilliant comedy show that could returns in October for its 4th season and I can't wait! I only wish more people watched it - not because I care about ratings, but because I do feel everyone needs more Tina Fey in their lives.

Last year, Fey's show pulled all the stunts it could to broaden its appeal (and audience numbers) not least of which it was to recruit heavy weight guest stars (Oprah anyone?) and while I do enjoy the episodes where the TGS characters find themselves front and center, there's no denying no one casts and makes use of guest actors as well as 30 Rock (Alan Alda anyone?). Yet, I have yet to hear about any "big stars" visiting the TGS set this upcoming season...

And I'm left wondering which late 1990s sitcom cast will manage to make its way (in its entirety) to Fey's zany comedy:

Jerry himself helped Fey & co open season 2 of 30 Rock, but what of the other NYC neurotics that sat next to him at the Restaurant? I mean, what I wouldn't give for a Louis-Dreyfus/Fey faceoff - they clearly have great chemistry from awards shows and interviews I've seen. Or how about a Baldwin/Alexander corporate rivalry (or would he be more suited for a page-like storyline)? And no other show could whip comedy into Richards own real-life drama than the show which spinned Tracy Morgan's own ankle-bracelet into comedy gold, no? That said, they're all probably too busy promoting their guest-stints in Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm to make this all hopeless dream-casting.

Will & Grace
Hayes played Kenneth's redneck cousin who kidnapped Tracy at the end of season 1 (against-type casting much?) and Mullally tried to help Liz adopt a baby last season, so the famed straight-gay roommate comedy only has two more spots to fill before they cross the finish line. Messing's antics would be nicely paired with Krakowski's diva fits (or maybe I just think of them together cause I love their hair so much?) and McCormack's charm could do well for a Liz romance (though it might be too reminiscent of John Hamm's) so maybe he could play gay again and mess with another guest star vet Will Arnett?

So Ross and Rachel already made their foray into 30 Rock land (as Greenzo and Liz's old roommate respectively) but I'm sure the writers at the Rock could come up with juicy roles for this crowd (though they'd have to kidnap a certain cougar now roaming ABC). My suggestions? Joey Tribbiani should pay a visit to TGS attempting to cross-over into primetime; Kudrow (the most gifted comedic thesp among the group) could do wonders paired with a great character - for kicks I'd give her a corporate role to see her play off of Baldwin's wit; Perry does well with physical comedy as well as awkward laughter so to think of him and Jane Krakowski together in a scene would be bliss (she is overdue for a good romantic storyline, no?) and Ms Courtney 'Cougar Town' Cox-Arquette does bitchy like no one's else business so I'd love to see her echo her Dirt days and have her go after TGS's reputation (or lack thereof) in print and media.

That said, if the writers want to give Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser plum roles this season I'd gladly give Mad About You the edge in this faux-contest.

That said, 30 Rock also favors other types of guest stars:

- If they go after more TV/Film veterans (like Conway and Stritch) could I suggest Lily Tomlin, Ellen Burstyn or Maggie Smith? (Also: whatever happened to that Streep rumour? She does need an Emmy you know?)
- If they go after more Broadway peeps (like Bart, LuPone and Lane) could I throw in Cheyenne Jackson, Sutton Foster and Angela Lansbury for consideration?
- And on one last note and going on nothing but dream-casting: am I the only one who dreams of seeing Julia Roberts spew Rockian one-liners? :: crickets :: Anyone? :: wind blowing :: Fine.

Tina, you have my number - call me for more tips!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

EMMY predictions, or How :: fingers crossed! ::

So every year I bemoan the EMMY's for their love of cops, doctors and lawyers (in my world they'd embrace pie-makers, Battlestar commanders and vampire slayers as well) and harbor hope that they'll hand out hardware to shows I love. Last year was a step in the right direction, what with 30 Rock and Mad Men (two of my favorite shows on TV right now) took top trophies; and this year's creative EMMYs also show that I may not be as upset with their choices (Joss Whedon, Tina Fey and Pushing Daisies won big last week). And so, here's my EMMY ballot - with my prediction (**) and my personal choice (##) for all the major categories (except mini-series and movie, cause other than a Grey Gardens - go Drew! - sweep, I'm not expecting/hoping for anything):

Drama Series:

What can I say? I love the polygamist world of Bill and his three wives (oh, that anyone were to be as lucky to have Jeanne, Chloe and Ginnifer as wives!); I am breathtaken every time I watch Rose and Glenn go head to head in the NYC corporate-law world but my heart belongs to 'Don Draper' & co. Such nuance, such writing, such drama! Such... style! Matthew Weiner improved on the almost flawless first season and gave us a great second season fo

llowing Don and Peggy and Betty.

“Big Love”

“Breaking Bad”





**/## “Mad Men”

Comedy Series:

The Kiwis make me laugh everytime they come up on my iTunes, McFarlane & co make the occasional funny skit, Barney is like no other character on TV but from this pool of nominees, there's only show I obsessively watch, re-watch, quote and re-quote and that is Fey's bumbling, crazy behind the scenes look at the cast and crew of "TGS with Tracy Jordan". Laugh out loud, zeitgesty and c'mon, they even had Oprah on this season!


“Family Guy”

“Flight of the Conchords”

“How I Met Your Mother”

“The Office”

**/##“30 Rock”


Actor, Drama Series:

Why are actor categories so boring to me? It's Bryan or Laurie's to lose (I think) but I'm rooting for John.

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”

Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”

**Hugh Laurie, “House”

Gabriel Byrne, “In Treatment”

##Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

Simon Baker, “The Mentalist"

Actress, Drama Series:

Glenn's amazing, we all know this and the slew of past Oscar nominees/winners (and Mariska) may also have deserving nods, but I'm rooting for Ms Moss's heartbreaking turn as Ms Olson. Less showy, but no less deserving.

Sally Field, “Brothers & Sisters”

Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”

**Glenn Close, “Damages”

Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”

##Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”

Holly Hunter, “Saving Grace"

Supporting Actor, Drama Series:

I just hope they don't give BL a farewell sloppy kiss in this category. Up in the air as far as I'm concerned so...

William Shatner, “Boston Legal”

Christian Clemenson, “Boston Legal”

Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”

**William Hurt, “Damages”

Michael Emerson, “Lost”

##John Slattery, “Mad Men,” AMC.

Supporting Actress, Drama Series:

First of all: where's Marcia Gay-Harden? Second of all: besides my love for Ms Byrne, I realise I don't have anyone else to root for here. Note to self: start watching "In Treatment".

##Rose Byrne, “Damages”

**Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy”

Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy"

Dianne Wiest, “In Treatment"

Hope Davis, “In Treatment"

Cherry Jones, “24"

Actor, Comedy Series:

I'm not gonna complain about Sheen. Oh wait. Too late. (I'm also sad the FOTC conchords boys couldn't be nominated as a group since Jemaine & Bret are like one). In my mind this is El Generalissimo's to lose. (To Parsons, I hear).

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”

Jemaine Clement, “Flight of the Conchords”

Tony Shalhoub, “Monk"

Steve Carell, “The Office"

**/##Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock"

Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men”

Actress, Comedy Series:

This is a smackdown between my two favorite girls in this category: will t, Buck, gimme & Alice tackle poor Liz Lemon to the ground (with a thong, a beer, some pee and a bunt-cake respectively) and garner Ms Colette her first EMMY? Or will industry good-will keep adding little winged women to Ms Fey's mantle?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “The New Adventures of Old Christine"

Christina Applegate, “Samantha Who?”

Sarah Silverman, “The Sarah Silverman Program"

## Tina Fey, “30 Rock"

** Toni Collette, “United States of Tara"

Mary-Louise Parker, “Weeds"

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series:

Yay! A Piven-less category! Hooray! Now, say it with me: En Pee Ache! En Pee Ache! NPH! NPH!

Kevin Dillon, “Entourage"

**/## Neil Patrick Harris, “How I Met Your Mother"

Rainn Wilson, “The Office"

Tracy Morgan, “30 Rock"

Jack McBrayer, “30 Rock"

Jon Cryer, “Two and a Half Men"

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series:

Best for last I always say. How do you make me choose between the embarrassment of riches that is this category? Ms Perkins aside (mainly cause I don't watch that show) I would be ecstatic if any of these ladies won. Poehler's Palin rap might edge her over her competitors, but since her darling pie-maker will never dote on her again, Ms Snook has my vote.

## Kristin Chenoweth, “Pushing Daisies"

** Amy Poehler, “Saturday Night Live"

Kristin Wiig, “Saturday Night Live"

Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock"

Vanessa Williams, “Ugly Betty"

Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds,” Showtime.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Road to Perdition, or How Mendes knows how to work with actors

The more I keep re-watching Sam Mendes' films, the more I fall in love with Mr Kate Winslet. His films are sumptuous looking and feature class-A acting. Road to Perdition, which I just revisited has great performances from Daniel Craig (pre-Bond), Jude Law (post-Ripley), as well as from two Hollywood heavyweights: Tom Hanks and Paul Newman.

"Cause it's all so fucking hysterical!"

"I shoot the dead"

"I'm glad it's you..."

Such an underrated film, that one.
(Which I could also say about Jarhead, Revolutionary Road and Away We Go - does the American Beauty 'backlash' run that deep?)