Category Archives: Television

Thoughts On Election Results Of The New York State Democratic Gubernatorial Race

Yesterday was primary day for the Democratic party in New York State.

The results surprised no one. Andrew Cuomo, who is in his second term as the Governor of the state of New York, won the primary against activist/actress Cynthia Nixon.

From my perspective, Mr. Cuomo was the best person for the job. Despite the hiccups that have come out of his administration, it was his experience that won me over. While Ms. Nixon fought well, I feel like her lack of political experience and her celebrity got in the way. After having nearly two years of you know who in office, I think I speak for many when I say that I would prefer someone in office who is not a newbie.

However, that does not mean that Mr. Cuomo is off the hook. The fact that Ms. Nixon got as far as she did speaks to the fact that there are many voters in this state who want a true progressive in Albany, instead of one who plays mere lip service to the ideals of the progressive movement. It also speaks to the list of political scandals that are attached to his name and leadership.

While we will have to wait until November to find out if Mr. Cuomo is elected to a third term, I have a feeling that he will be elected to a third term.

 

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Flashback Friday-Property Brothers (2011-Present)

Among the shows that dot the reality television landscape, shows that center around home remodeling are not only the most compelling, but also the least likely to create brain drain.

Property Brothers premiered on HGTV in 2011. Ever since then, it has become one of the network’s most popular shows.  The premise of the show that twin brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott work each episode with a homeowner or homeowners who are convinced to purchase a new home that is badly in need of a face lift. Drew is the realtor and Jonathan is the contractor. At the end of each episode, the homeowner(s) are presented with the final results of the remodel.

After 7 years on the air, Property Brothers still pulls in audience for good reasons. Their affable charm, easy going manner and extensive knowledge in the world of real estate sucks the viewer in and does not let go until the closing credits roll.

I recommend it.

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Will & Grace Character Review: Karen Walker

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Will & Grace. Read at your own risk if you have not watched either the previous series or the new series.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Will & Grace to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For every main character, there is a supporting character. Sometimes, this character is the zany and not all there sometimes, but they are just as important to the narrative as the main character. In the world of Will & Grace, this character is Karen Walker (Megan Mullally). Karen is Grace Adler’s (Debra Messing) “assistant”. Though truth be told, Grace uses Karen more for her contacts among New York City’s elite rather than her abilities in assisting Grace in the running of her business. Karen is more interested in shopping and her extensive collection of alcohol and pills rather than getting work done. Her often spoken of obese and mega-wealthy husband, Stan is heard, but never fully seen.

Karen takes great pleasure in mocking Grace for whatever she sees as an easy target. She also has a very interesting relationship with Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) that is often symbiotic and mocks Will (Eric McCormack) as much as she mocks Grace. But underneath all that, Karen is there for her friends, through thick and thin.

To sum it up: While the supporting character is not given as much of the spotlight as the main character, it is important for the writer to give him or her their due. Karen works as a supporting character because not only is she the yin to Grace’s yang, but she also has enough of a back story to be a fully fleshed out character. Without that due and that fleshing out by the writers, Karen Walker would be just another flat supporting character that is neither seen or appreciated by the audience or reader.

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The Miniaturist Episode 1 Review

Period pieces, especially BPD’s (British Period Pieces) are known pretty formulaic. As much as I enjoy a good BPD, it’s nice to watch one that steps out of the box.

On Sunday, the first episode of the three-part miniseries, The Miniaturist (based on the book of the same name by Jessie Burton), premiered on PBS.

Petronella Brandt or Nella as she is known (Anya Taylor-Joy) is a young woman who has just married Johannes Brandt (Alex Hassell), a mysterious older man who earns his living in trade. Her treats her well, but keeps her at an emotional arms length. His unmarried and religious sister, Marin (Romola Garai) rules the household. Nella’s wedding present is a dollhouse that looks too much like the real thing. Somehow, the dollhouse is telling Nella the truth about her new life and the people in it, but what message is being sent and by whom?

I loved the first episode. It was tense, suspenseful and pulled me in immediately. If I had a time machine to move ahead to this coming Sunday, I would. But I don’t, so I have to wait.

I absolutely recommend it.

Episodes 2 and 3 of the The Miniaturist air on Sunday, September 16th and Sunday September 23rd at 9pm on PBS. The first episode is available online on the PBS website for a limited time. 

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Filed under Books, History, Television, TV Review

In the Country We Love: My Family Book Review

The question of immigration has existed since the founding of the United States in the late 1800’s. These days, it has become an issue that is dividing the country. But underneath the issue are thousands, if not millions of individual stories that need to be heard and seen. Diane Guerrero‘s story is one of them.

Best known for her role in Orange Is The New Black, Ms. Guerrero is the American born daughter of Colombian immigrants who were deported back to the country of their birth when their daughter was a teenager. Her life story is detailed in the new memoir In the Country We Love: My Family. Born in the mid 1980’s to Colombian immigrants who cam to America on a visa and tried to gain citizenship up until the time that they were deported, Ms. Guerrero understood from a very young age about her parents immigration status. After her parents were deported, she survived as best she could, but the loss of her parents took a toll on her that took years to deal with. It was only with professional help and revisiting her love of performing that put the spark back in her life.

This book is amazing and a must read, regardless of where the readers stands on the immigration debate. Not only is is easy to read, but it puts the humanity and a face on a subject is often hard to humanize.

I recommend it.

 

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Flashback Friday-The Girls Next Door (2005-2010)

Sometimes, when watching a reality show, the viewer may feel like a peeping tom. Especially when the show they are watching delves into the lives of the rich and famous.

The Girls Next Door (2005-2010) was one of these shows, airing on the E! network.

The focus of the show was the late Playboy Magazine founder/editor Hugh Hefner and his decades younger blonde girlfriends. For most of the series, the girlfriends were Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson. The show basically followed their lives as they lived in Playboy mansion and shared their mutual boyfriend.

While there is something to be said about the camaraderie between the women, the show didn’t sit right with me. I don’t know if it was the fact that they all shared him or that Hugh Hefner was old enough their father and/or grandfather. Either way, it was not the way I wanted to spend my precious television watching time.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Flashback Friday-Survivor (2000-Present)

Every television genre has a handful of shows that define that particular genre.

For the reality television genre, one of the shows that defines the genre is one of its oldest shows, Survivor.  Premiering in 2000, it has not left the air in 18 years.

The premise of Survivor as follows: Approximately sixteen strangers are stranded in a remote, often tropical location with a limited amount of supplies over the course of several weeks. Over the course of the season, the contestants are put through a series of mental and physical challenges. At the end of each episode, one contestant is voted out until the final episode when the winner is announced.

I haven’t watched Survivor since the first season. Back then, it was a novelty that brought in million of pairs of eyeballs to the television every week. But looking back, it’s just another reality show that is obviously not real.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Will & Grace Character Review: Jack McFarland

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Will & Grace. Read at your own risk if you have not watched either the previous series or the new series.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Will & Grace to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In any comedy duo there are two important archetypes: the straight man and the comic. On Will and Grace,  Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) is the comic to Will Truman’s (Eric McCormack) straight man. If Will is trying to disprove the stereotype of the gay man, Jack is the iconic gay man. He is a drama queen, chases men like a dog chases a toy, loves show tunes and rarely has a serious relationship. While Jack tries to be a performer, his career in show business never quite gets to the level that he wishes it to be. As a result, he has had a series of jobs and is constantly relying on Will, Grace (Debra Messing ) and Karen (Megan Mullally) for financial assistance.

But even with all of that, Jack supports his friends and appreciates them. He is also the kind of character that helps to foster important conversations around the treatment and image of those in the LGBTQ community. Jack maybe based on a stereotype, but the character goes way beyond the stereotype.

To sum it up: Sometimes a character or a narrative, especially one based on a stereotype is not a bad thing. Especially when the character or the narrative can foster a conversation and create change that is long overdue. Jack resonates with audiences not just because he is a funny character, but because he has human qualities that many of us relate to. As writers, when we want to enact change to create a better world, we don’t get on our soapbox. We create characters and narrative that speak to and resonate with audiences or readers. That is the way to create effective change for the better.

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Throwback Thursday- Say Yes To The Dress (2007-Present)

From an early age, many women dream about their wedding day and their wedding dress.

TLC has capitalized on ideal for the last 11 years. Say Yes To The Dress premiered on TLC back in 2007 and has been a staple of the network ever since.

The focus of every episode is a handful of women who are shopping for their wedding gown. Initially filmed in Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City, the show had a number of spin offs over the years. As the brides who are highlighted in the episode try on wedding gowns, there is usually some sort of drama or an emotional scar from the past that comes into play.

I have mixed feelings about this show. On one hand, it’s just another mindless reality show that amps up the drama and the tension for ratings. It’s the kind of show you watch on a Friday night when you just want to zone out after a long, hard week. But, on the other hand, my feminist self says that the show continues to sell the myth that a woman’s happiness and success in life are solely based on her marital status or lack thereof.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Feminism, New York City, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Geoffrey Owens Has To Pay The Bills Like The Rest Of Us

The myth about Hollywood is that once an actor has a successful career, they are set for life.

The reality is much different.

The most recent kerfuffle going around the Internet is that actor Geoffrey Owens, best known for playing the Huxtable’s son-in-law on The Cosby Show was photographed while working at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey.

I’m not an actor, nor do I have the want the desire to become an actor. However, I know enough to understand that most actors are not pulling in six or seven figures. The work, if they are lucky enough to get it, can be consistent, but sometimes it isn’t. There is nothing wrong with an honest day’s work, whether you are acting in front of a camera, or if you are sweeping floors.

Everyone has to be pay their bills and if Geoffrey Owens is paying his bills by working at a retail job, so be it.

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