Our pre-teen and early teenage years are some of our most trans-formative years. The growth from childhood to young adulthood can be traumatic, but also life changing.
The short-lived television series Flash Forward (1996-1997) told the story of four best friends, two of whom have known each other since they were little. Tucker (Ben Foster) is the goofball. His best friend, Becca (Jewel Staite) is the serious one. Miles (Theodore Borders) provides the reality check. Christine Harrison (Asia Vieira) is the listener.
While this show only lasted one season, it still stands out because it spoke to the audience, who were the same age as the characters. It spoke to the audience because the audience understood the characters and visa versa. Unfortunately, the show was not given the opportunity it could have had.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Before Trevor Noah succeeded Jon Stewart as the host of The Daily Show, he was a biracial child growing up in apartheid era South Africa.
Last year, he published a memoir of his very unique childhood entitled Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. Noah’s father, a white man of Swiss/German descent, was in his son’s life as much as the white father of a biracial child could be back then. His black mother, whose ancestry in South Africa went back generations, was his main parent. Loving, but strict (and perhaps a bit intense), she raised her son with a firm, but free-spirited hand. In the book, Noah talks about what it was like to grow in South Africa when the country was divided by very firm and enforceable social, racial and economic borders.
What I really loved about this book is that unlike other celebrity memoirs, it felt authentic. There was nothing forced or fake about his stories. It was as if he was sitting in front of me and we were having a conversation about his childhood. I also loved that there is a universal quality to this book when it comes to childhood, growing up and how our perceptions of us, our world and our parents change as we get older.
I absolutely recommend it.
Many of us associate our childhood memories with Jim Henson productions.
In the early 1980’s, he broke away from his well known characters, The Muppets, to create a new world and a new group of characters. Fraggle Rock was on the air from 1983-1987.
Fraggle Rock is about creatures who live in a wall behind the home of Doc and his dog, Sprocket called Fraggles. Living with the Fraggles are Doozers. They all go to the Trash Heap for guidance while one of the Fraggles is exploring the world of humans and writes back to his family.
This show is an integral part of my early years. It was educational without the young audience knowing it (which is the point of this type of programming). It was also fun to watch.
I recommend it.
Last night, talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel spoke to America about gun violence and the unnecessary loss of life that occurred in Las Vegas 48 hours ago.
The man was visibly crying and pleading with not just the ordinary citizen, but our leaders in Washington D.C. It was as if he was speaking for everyone who was watching the news and felt angry and powerless at the same time. We need sensible gun laws, now. We need to talk about this openly, we need to make sure that this epidemic of mass shooting ends with our generation. If it doesn’t, our children maybe asking us tough questions one day that we wish we had the guts to answer here and now.
Warning. This review contains mild spoilers. Read at your own risk if you did not watch last night’s episode of Poldark.
The thrill and the danger of a beloved television show returning for a new season is that it must equally expand both character and narrative while keeping the same elements that hooked the audience during the previous season or seasons.
Last night, the third series of Poldark premiered on PBS.
The third series picks up a few months after the second series. Ross (Aidan Turner) and Demelza’s (Eleanor Tomlinson) marriage is both happy and stable. While all seems well in Nampara, the opposite can be said at Trenwith. Elizabeth Warleggan (Heida Reed) is pregnant and near her due date, but she is unsure if the child’s father is Ross or her husband, George (Jack Farthing). As per the previous seasons, there continues to be no love lost between Ross and George.
Meanwhile, there are new characters. Elizabeth’s son by her first husband, Geoffrey Charles (Harry Marcus) is becoming a young man who is feeling stifled under the control of his mother and stepfather. Morwenna Chynoweth, one of Elizabeth’s cousins (Ellise Chappell) is brought in as Geoffrey’s governess. When Demelza’s younger brothers Sam (Tom York) and Drake (Harry Richardson) join Ross and Demelza at Nampara, they bring trouble and a bit of excitement to their sister’s house.
I have not read beyond the 4th book, (which coincides with the ending of the last series), but I have a feeling that this will be a good season. It has the drama, the romance and roller coaster ride the fanbase is eagerly looking forward to.
I recommend it.
Poldark airs on PBS at 9PM on Sundays.
Late last week, Seinfeld and Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced via her twitter account that she has breast cancer.
My thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family as she battles this all too common disease.
Her announcement reminds me and should remind all of us how sadly precarious the health insurance system in America is. While she is one of the fortunate who has access to reliable medical care, many women in her same situation are not as fortunate. The fact that some Republicans continue to waste time, effort and tax payer dollars on repealing Obama care, in spite of the fact that there are millions of American citizens living and potentially dying from disease because of the lack of healthcare is heartbreaking.
The fact that we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world and we cannot provide universal healthcare to all citizens is disgusting. We have to open our eyes as a nation and face reality. Otherwise we maybe cutting off our nose to spite our face.
Last night, Will And Grace returned to our television sets after an 11 year absence.
Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is still a gay lawyer. Grace Adler (Debra Messing) is still his neurotic, straight interior designer best friend/roommate. Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) is as rich and boozed up as she ever was. Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) is still the Jerry Lewis to Will’s Dean Martin. It’s as if the 2006 series finale never happened.
I have been a fan of Will And Grace for a very long time. Needless to say, the hype and the pressure to re-create the success of the original series was palpable. The cast, creative team and the crew succeeded with flying colors. Last night’s episode was pure Will and Grace, it was everything I hoped it would be and much more.
I absolutely recommend it. Welcome back Will And Grace, you’ve been sorely missed.
Will and Grace is on NBC at 9PM on Thursdays.
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner passed away yesterday. He was 91.
I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about the man.
There is no doubt that he is one of the reasons that we are no longer living within the same social and moral constrictions that existed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was a progressive who believed in free speech and civil rights. Depending one’s position, one could also argue that Mr. Hefner helped to empower women to move beyond the traditional confines of marriage and children. His organization employed many women, including his own daughter, who ran Playboy for a number of years.
But….he also published a magazine that was known for pinups of nude or nearly nude women. He dated multiple women at the same time, some of whom were young enough to be his daughters or granddaughters. I’ve heard that the magazine also features articles by some of the best writers, but honestly, when we think of Playboy, most people conjure up the image of women being photographed in their birthday suit. The main goal of feminism is for women to be seen and respected as full-fledged human beings, not as individual body parts and not as a convenient sex partner when one has the urge.
To be honest, I’m kind of straddling the fence on this topic. I will let the ladies of The View weigh in on the topic.
What do you think about Hugh Hefner? Was he the icon of a progressive ideal or just another man portraying women as mere sexual partners without brains or ambitions? Leave your comments below, I’m curious to know what you think.
We have two choices when life throws us a curve ball. We can either roll over and take it or see the opportunities in the curve ball.
In 1921, future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was crippled by polio. He sought treatment in Warm Springs, Georgia.
In 2005, this period of FDR’s was dramatized in the TV movie, Warm Springs. Stepping into the fictionalized shoes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon. While FDR is being treated for polio, he is helping to revitalize the spa and inspire the other patients, in addition to trying to keep his marriage afloat.
In American politics and American history, both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt are giants. In humanizing the main characters, the audience sees another to the late President and First Lady that only a select few during his time in office saw.
I recommend it.
Full House premiered 30 years ago today.
Full House was the story of a widower, Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) who needs help raising his three young daughters, D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and Michelle (Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen). He turns to his best friend, Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier)and brother-in-law, Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos). Full House was sort of the late 80’s reboot of the classic 1950’s comedy. It was the standard family sitcom, but also represented the modern era with men taking a larger role in what was once considered to be women’s work.
Is it corny and predictable? Yes. Does it have the “very special episodes” and the sappy music that tells the audience that the child is about to learn a lesson? Of course. But it is also a show about a family and that is where the audience is hooked. We all have families and we can relate to the family we are watching on-screen.
Happy 30th anniversary, Full House.