Good Night, Oscar Play Review

Genius and madness (for lack of a better term) sometimes go hand in hand. As much as we love this person for their abilities, we are concerned for their health.

The new play, Good Night, Oscar opened recently in New York City.

In 1958, The Tonight Show has moved from New York City to Los Angeles. The show’s host, Jack Paar (Ben Rappaport) is eager to have his friend Oscar Levant (Sean Hayes in an award-worthy performance) on the show. Levant is known for his off-color quips as he is for his piano playing.

For the last few weeks, Levant has been hospitalized due to mental health and addiction. His doctors have given him a four-hour pass to supposedly attend his daughter’s graduation. Instead, Oscar will be on television. While Oscar’s wife, the former June Gale (Emily Bergl) wants to be the loving and supportive spouse, she also knows that what can give him is not enough.

Hayes blew me away. I knew he was good (I’ve been a fan of Will & Grace for years), but I didn’t know he was that good.

Hayes’s Levant is a sarcastic blowhard who is not afraid to speak truth to power. He is also dealing with emotional scars that have yet to heal. Hiding those scars under jokes and pills, he is a complicated man who is both unlikeable and open about his mental illness. This is in an era in which the list of what was not allowed to be said on television was long and likely to offend many.

The strongest scene in terms of the writing (which is truly a hard decision to make) is the one in which Levant tells his story. In creating fiction (specifically in novels), there are two ways that a writer can get tripped up: showing vs. telling and infodumps. By its nature, a good script shows the action instead of telling the audience what is happening.

That does not mean, however, that the playwright can get bungled up and forget to show. What playwright Doug Wright does brilliantly is to unfold Levant’s biography in a way that is informative and funny without turning a dry list of dates and events.

When he finally gets to the piano, Levant is in his element. Hayes is hypnotic when he is playing. It was breathtaking, and beautiful, and will forever be burnt into my brain.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. This play cannot be missed.

Good Night, Oscar is playing until August 27th. Check the website for tickets and show times.


Sanditon Character Review: Samuel Colbourne

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last weekend. There are only 24 hours in a day.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the book and the television show Sanditon. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. 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 of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Sometimes, people come into our lives when we least expect them to. In Sanditon, Samuel Colbourne (Liam Garrigan) re-enters his brother Alexander‘s (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) life after a ten-year absence. A lawyer by trade, he knows how to make a good argument.

Knowing Alexander, he can see that he is in love with Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams). Samuel also understands that his brother has loved and lost before. Though he tries to counsel Alexander to come clean to Charlotte, he refuses. While making up for lost time with his brother and nieces, Samuel steps up to the plate for Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke). She is being used by Charles Lockhart (Alexander Vlahos) on the basis that her claim to her fortune is false. At the end of the trial, Georgiana is victorious.

But when it comes to his own life, Samuel’s arguments are not as easily made. He falls for Lady Susan (Sophie Winkleman), who is a friend of Charlotte’s. What starts out as a friendship turns into something more. High up in the society chain, she is the King’s mistress. Though they are both of similar minds and interests, she cannot so easily turn her back on her lover. When the King once again turns away from Lady Susan, they are both free to admit how they feel. When we last see them, they are hopefully headed toward wedded bliss.

To sum it up: It is easy to make the case on certain topics when your own heart/future is not in the balance. It is infinitely harder to do the same when the person you love is standing in front of you and unable to return that love. Though Alexander could easily walk away, he chooses to hope and believe that his love will be returned.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Jewish Matchmaking Review

When we think of matchmaking in our modern world, we think of couples who are forced by their families to marry due to a similar economic status or place in the social strata.

The new Netflix reality dating show Jewish Matchmaking is a spinoff of Indian Matchmaking. The series follows matchmaker Aleeza Ben Shalom as she works with Jewish singles in both the United States and Israel to find their person. As with dating (both IRL and in the world of reality television), not every date leads to a happy ending. There will be a few frogs along the way before the prince or princess comes (if they come at all).

I enjoyed the series. It was not as brain numbing as other programs of this nature. I appreciated that it is as educational as it is entertaining. The men and women who are the focus of the series come represent a range of backgrounds and levels of religious practice.

My only issue is the lack of LGBTQ singles. As great as this show is, this is the one area that I find to be lacking and hope will be recitified in season 2 (if there is a second season).

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Jewish Matchmaking is avaliable for streaming on Netflix.

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The Princess and the Fangirl Book Review

Others who are older and wiser than us will sometimes say that we cannot understand another person until we walk a mile in their shoes.

The Princess and the Fan Girl, by Ashley Poston, was published in 2020 and is the second book in the Once Upon a Con trilogy. Based on the Mark Twain fable/fairy tale The Prince and the Pauper, the book follows two young women who look remarkably alike.

Imogen Lovelace loves the television series turned film adaption of Starfield with a passion. Her goal at this year’s ExcelsiCon is to get the keeper of the proverbial keys to revive the IP’s now-dead female lead, Princess Amara.

The actor playing Amara, Jessica Stone, would like nothing more than to leave the character behind in the rearview mirror. While she wants to be respected for her work, she loathes fame and constant attention.

When the script for the next film is released, Jess believes that she is responsible for the leak. The only way to find out the truth is to switch places with Imogen. While both believe that this plan will be simple to execute, they have no idea what they are in store for.

Though the narrative starts out a little slow, it picks up at about the halfway point. Instead of putting it down and moving on to the next book, I am glad I pushed through. It is a lovely story that just because we think we know someone does not mean that we actually know them.

My favorite part of the tale was that Jessica is out and proud. Moreover, her romance proves once more that love knows no bounds.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Princess and the Fangirl is available wherever books are sold.

Justice Served: E. Jean Carroll’s Victory & George Santos Hauled Into Court

There is justice in this world. It does not always come when we want it to, but it will happen.

Earlier this week, the jury in the E. Jean Carroll case found the former guy guilty of sexual assault and defamation. He will have to pay her $5 million dollars in damages. Of course, he turned around and appealed. But what do you expect from a coward who hides behind a big ego and less-than-capable lawyers?

Yesterday, George Santos plead not guilty to accusations of money laundering, fraud, and lying on his paperwork to the House of Representatives. As usual, he proclaimed his innocence. Included in the long list of allegations is that he received unemployment benefits during the pandemic while earning a health six-figure salary.

This is the one that really pisses me off. While many were struggling to get by, he took money that should have gone to someone who truly needed it.

Given the severity of the counts, I would hope that Kevin McCarthy will kick his ass to the curb. But I know better.

Justice is always a dish served cold.

P.S. I hope no one watched the CNN Town Hall with he who shall not be named. The genius who came up with this idea is as foolish as the exec who greenlighted the 60 Minutes interview with Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Throwback Thursday: Monster-in-Law (2005)

I would love to say that those who have coupled up get along with their spouse/significant other’s family. But that is not always the case.

In the 2005 romantic comedy, Monster-in-Law, Charlotte (Jennifer Lopez) has finally found the one. Kevin (Michael Vartan) is everything she has wanted in a man. Charlotte meets her future mother-in-law Viola (Jane Fonda) just before Kevin proposes. Instead of accepting her son’s future spouse, Viola will do everything to tear them apart.

What makes this film interesting is the unique love triangle. Neither Charlotte nor Viola are shrinking violets. They know what they want and are willing to fight for what they want.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Obsession Series Review

In a perfect world, we would never stray from our spouse/significant other. But cheating on one’s partner is as old as humanity itself.

The six-part Netflix series Obsession follows successful surgeon and happily married husband William Farrow (Richard Armitage). He has two children with his wife Ingrid (Indira Varma). Their son, Jay (Rish Shah) is seeing Anna Barton (Charlie Murphy). Neither Ingrid nor Jay knows that Anna and William are having an affair.

I was waiting for the Fatal Attraction-esque anxiety to kick in. But there was none and for that reason alone, I had to stop watching. While I appreciate the top-notch cast and the diversity of the characters, those qualities were not enough to make me want more.

Do I recommend it? No.

Obsession is currently streaming on Netflix.

Sanditon Character Review: Ralph Starling

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the book and the television show Sanditon. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. 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 of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It is easy to believe that your first love will be your only and lifelong love. But that is not always the case. In Sanditon, Ralph Starling (Cai Bridgen) was a childhood playmate and first love of Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams). It was assumed (mostly by their parents) that their marriage was all settled. Then Charlotte traveled to Sanditon and their relationship was not so certain.

Then Alexander Colbourne (Ben Lloyd Hughes) breaks her heart and Charlotte accepts Ralph’s proposal. He believes that there is nothing standing in the way of their future. When he goes with her to celebrate her BFF, Georgiana Lambe‘s (Crystal Clarke) birthday, it slowly becomes obvious that Charlotte is not over Alexander and visa versa.

By the time Alexander’s niece, Augusta Markham (Eloise Webb) runs away in an ill-fated attempt to elope with Sir Edward Denham (Jack Fox), it is clear that Ralph will return home single.

To sum it up: I feel for Ralph. He is a good guy who genuinely loves Charlotte. Unfortunately, her heart is with another, sending his love life into the unknown.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Republican Fuckery XX: MTG Says That Stepparents are Not Parents & 2024 Presidential Election Nominee Vivek Ramaswamy Talks a Good Game

No one expects our politicians to be paragons of perfection. We are all human and therefore, imperfect. However, what I would hope is that we expect those in the halls of power to do what is right for the country and its citizens.

About two weeks ago, Marjorie Taylor Greene was asking questions grilling AFT (American Federation of Teachers) Union President Randi Weingarten about her “political activism”. Greene also stated Weingarten is not a mother because she is “a mother by marriage”.

Basically, what she is saying is that the only adult who can parent is one who has similar DNA. A child cannot be raised by the spouse of their parent or by one who had adopted a member of the younger generation. This is interesting, considering that the right often touts the preference for adoption over abortion. It is also curious that Greene makes this declaration after Weingarten stated that her wife was in the audience.

Last weekend, 2024 Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy was a guest on Meet the Press. Like Nikki Haley, he talked a good game. But underneath was the same old bullshit.

We have to get them out of office. There is no other option if we are to save this nation.

Flashback Friday: Who Wants to Marry My Dad? (2003 to 2004)

There is no aspect of dating or romance that reality television has not been attached to.

Between 2003 and 2004, Who Wants to Marry My Dad aired on NBC. The show followed adult children whose goal was to find their father’s next spouse.

I remember watching a few episodes. Looking back, I feel like this particular reality show was a new low. It was as if all of the good ideas had already been taken and this was the bottom of the barrel.

Do I recommend it? No.

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