Posts Tagged With: television

directed by James Burrows

I just read a memoir, Directed by James Burrows.
You know his shows…
If you love (or like, or even just watched) any of them it’s an interesting read.
If you don’t it’s still an interesting read.

I remember my dad loving Taxi and Cheers.

I was seven when Taxi began and twelve when it ended. I remember being smart enough to understand how good it was, but young enough that most of it went over my head. I remember not getting Latka at all. I remember wondering why Louie was always so dang mad about stuff. I remember thinking there was something about Reverend Jim that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I remember being fascinated by Carol Kane’s voice. I remember not getting why it was funny but oh my goodness, did I love to sit with my dad and listen to him laugh.

By the time Cheers came on I was eleven so I was a teeny bit more savvy than I’d been at the start of Taxi. I remember feeling somewhat ambivalent to begin with. I remember wondering why Coach was so dumb. I remember wondering why we couldn’t see Sam play baseball instead of be in the bar. I remember liking Norm from the first episode. Carla was mean in a way I understood and could almost relate to. Diane was snooty and I didn’t like that. And I could not even with that damn mailman! Yet I continued watching. I grew up with the people in the place ‘where everybody knows your name’. That show helped shape my sense of humor through my teenage years and into my early twenties. I especially remember laughing with my dad as the jokes landed for both of us.

When Will and Grace premiered, I was a twenty-seven year old mom of two young daughters.
I didn’t watch this show with my dad.
But I did watch it religiously.
It remains one of my most favorite shows of all time.
Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack are selfish and flawed, but their love for each other is real. And because they love each other, we loved them too.
I didn’t love the three season reboot as much as I loved the original eight, but I gotta tell you I was so damn excited when it came back I could hardly contain myself!

Obviously Jimmy Burrows directed many more shows…but these are the three that are most special to me.

If you look at these shows you’ll find they all have the same underlying theme.
Your family is the people you choose.
Those people in that garage were a family.
Those people in that bar were a family.
Those people in 9C were a family.

Blood doesn’t make a family.
Acceptance makes a family.
A magical combination of compassion and selfishness makes a family.
Choice makes a family.
Love makes a family.

The ability to choose your family is one of the universe’s most precious gifts.
I encourage you to choose wisely.

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fictional faves

I haven’t done a favorites list in quite some time and I realized I missed it.
So, I thought: what the hell, let’s do one.
This favorites list focuses on all things fictional. Any- and everything made up.
Buckle up for my fictional faves.

fictional place
The Wood between the Worlds
(The Magician’s Nephew, Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis)

fictional fam
The Dashwoods
(Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen)

fictional couple
Gomez and Morticia Addams
(The Addams Family – Charles Addams)

fictional animal
Appa
(Flying Bison from Avatar: The Last Airbender – Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko)

fictional character – male
Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce
(M*A*S*H – portrayed by Alan Alda in the television series)

fictional character – female
Pippi Longstocking
(Pippi Longstocking, et al. – Astrid Lindgren)

fictional villain
this one is a no-win tie between:
Iago
(Othello -William Shakespeare)
and
Maleficent
(Sleeping Beauty – Disney 1959 animated film)

fictional world
Neverland
(Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie)

fictional name
Ramona Geraldine Quimby
(‘Ramona Series’ – Beverly Cleary)

fictional duo
Margo and Eliot
(The Magicians – Lev Grossman)

AND
Sherlock and John
(BBC Sherlock)

AND
Jay and Silent Bob
(Clerks, Dogma, et al. – Kevin Smith)

Yeah, I know. There are three fave duos…
But I honestly couldn’t choose!

What are some of your fictional favorites?

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y’all gotta watch Crashing

Crashing
2016
6 episodes
BBC Channel 4

I binged this show on Netflix Wednesday in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep.
I absolutely adored it!
It’s an early work of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Fleabag and writer of Killing Eve.

Crashing seems to be Fleabag’s slightly more appropriate older sister. (Fair warning, you’ll experience the C word on this show too.)
In some ways, I actually liked it more than Fleabag, I found myself laughing out loud more. I also found myself enjoying the other characters more than I did on Fleabag. (With the exception of Andrew Scott, of course.)
The ensemble cast made the show for me. I absolutely adored how these strangers all living in a disused hospital (disused may be my new favorite descriptive word) ended up becoming a weird little dysfunctional family. And the moment you’re completely committed to them, and their story, BOOM! It’s over. But that’s actually the way it should be. We don’t really need to know what happens to these people. We’re just amused by a glimpse into their lives for a moment.

It was an inappropriately playful romp and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Thanks, Netflix!

Adi Tantimedh writing for Bleeding Cool had this to say about the show and it’s creator.

Crashing can be seen as an apprentice work. The media and PR agents like to present the myth of a unique genius who just shows up out of the blue and fully formed – but that usually isn’t true. Everyone has to start somewhere and make their “mistakes” before they create the good stuff. Crashing feels like the show where Waller-Bridge learned the rules of TV writing before she could bend and break them to unleash the innovation of Fleabag.
Crashing does not lessen the impact or brilliance of Fleabag. It shows the missing stepping stone in Waller-Bridge’s evolution as a comedy storyteller – and viewers are all the better for it.

If you liked Fleabag, do yourself a favor and check out Crashing, I promise you it won’t disappoint!

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y’all gotta watch Fleabag

Discovered this show quite by accident. (Thanks, Prime!)

Initially I was like, WTF!?! This chick is effed-up beyond reason. But the more I watched, the more I considered that there is a bit of Fleabag in each of us. We all have secrets. We all do stupid things. We’re all gorgeously flawed in one way or another. And it helps to remember each one of us is impacted differently by grief.

I laughed till I cried. I covered my eyes in horror. I may have shown the TV the back of my middle finger when I realized there was only 6 episodes.
But then…

Andrew Scott as the priest is life!

These characters are of questionable moral fiber.
This show is raw and in your face. (I’m talking ‘C word’ raw)

I felt all the feels.
I honestly haven’t laughed this much in longer than I can remember.
Some of the best fourth wall breaks I’ve ever seen. (sorry, Deadpool)

If you’re not easily offended, get on your Amazon Prime and watch this show!
If you are easily offended, well, I’m actually quite sad for you.
Black comedy is an acquired taste.

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“Honey, what’s this, what’s happening, what’s going on here?”

Honey, what’s this, what’s happening, what’s going on here?

A little #TBT today.
Well, throwback AND what’s yet to come.

There is no shame in my love of Will & Grace, and I’ve often said that Karen Walker is my spirit animal.
Will, Grace, Karen, and “Just Jack” return to NBC this fall.
And I can hardly wait!

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thanks Joss

Friday, March 10 marked the twentieth anniversary of the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, I’m talking about the television show, not the feature film. The film was not at all what Joss intended. Lucky for us, we had seven years of Buffy on TV to experience his vision.
(Though in all honesty, I could have done without most of the last season…the potentials nearly ruined everything for me.) 

This is not the first time I’ve written of my love of Joss Whedon. From Buffy to The Avengers, I’m a whore for his use of language, for his ability to really get down to the grit of what it’s like to be human. His unique way of looking at the world and our place in it is why there are legions of Whedonites on the planet…and these ‘Big Damn Heroes’ (ain’t we just) helped create a feature film from a canceled television show.
“We did the impossible, and that makes us mighty.”

Celebrating twenty years of Buffy got me thinking about Joss’ shows. I’ve seen the complete series of Buffy more than a handful of times, Firefly possibly eight times (easy to do when it’s only fourteen episodes), and Angel from start to finish twice, and a few more of individual episodes.
There are “definitive ranking” lists out there of all Whedonverse characters, lists broken down by show, and lists of secondary characters. It can be fascinating reading, it can cause great debate, These idiots rate Giles below Adelle DeWitt. (WTF?) And this guy pulled characters out of his bum to create the number 117. (can’t handle the odd number)

In celebrating twenty years of Buffy, I put together my own ranking of Whedonverse characters from Buffy, Angel and Firefly. With a bonus character honorable mention. No ranking other than my own personal affection for the characters.
Here’s my most beloved Joss Whedon characters.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander

“The one who sees everything”, Xander truly is the heart of the Scoobies. His honest love and genuine kindness keeps you rooting for him even when he does boneheaded things. Xander is the only Scooby sans superpowers, he doesn’t need them, his quiet strength supports them all. He also has some of the best lines in the entire seven seasons.

Spike

I’m a Spuffy shipper x infinity. But even before that story line became a thing, I loved Spike. His brash irreverence. His complete disregard for…well, anything really makes him deliciously fun! Even as a demon without a soul, he still has the heart of a poet, he has a real capacity for love.

Giles

I love Giles.
That is all.

Willow

Shy and smart, Willow could have been a sad, stereotypical high school nobody. But once she flashed that smile, all bets were off. She really kind of was the audience, if it happened to Willow, or Willow believed it, it happened to us or we believed it. The whole magic as metaphor for being gay seemed acceptable to me, but later when it was a metaphor for addiction, well I feel like that slapped us upside the head. And Willow’s character development in season seven leaves me disappointed.

Faith

What if you were the chosen one but didn’t have the love and support of family and friends? Faith tells this story. I love this character. I love her flaws. I love her story of being seduced by the darkness and her decision to seek redemption. Faith never got enough credit for doing the job she never asked for. I think she and Buffy could have really become soul sisters if they kept trying.

Buffy

The girl with an “inferiority complex about her superiority complex”. Buffy is at once likable, relatable, and ‘every girl’ but she’s also whiny, selfish, and dramatic as all hell. This is actually why she really is all of us. The phrase ‘What Would Buffy Do’ exists for a reason, y’all. I think it’s hard to be the titular character of any work of art, and though she’s a bit annoying, she’s our connection to Sunnydale and we’d be worse off without her.

It’s just funny.

Angel
Cordelia

In Sunnydale, Cordy was just a mean girl. But then she began to develop as a character, she became one of the Scoobies she was the voice of the audience asking WTF? and expressing “I don’t see what this has to do with me.” On Angel, the character really came into her own. Cordelia’s arc was a beautiful thing to watch. (we’re going to disregard season 4 here, people) She offered desperately needed sarcasm and her own special brand of heroism.

Wesley

Wesley has the best character development in the whole of the Buffyverse.
That is all.

Lorne

It ain’t easy being green.
It seems to me that Lorne began as a plot device, (he can read your aura while you sing?) But he became an integral member of ‘Angel Inc’ in his own right. I like how Lorne is the sort of ‘Jiminy Cricket’ of the group. He was quick to question motives and outcomes when it’s clear someone should do. His disillusion in the way Angel goes about ‘fighting the good fight’ is palpable and in it we see he’s lost a bit of himself. His ‘one last thing’ line breaks my heart.

Angel

Angel became so much more enjoyable when he got his own show. Less whiny, broody ‘woe is me’ than on Buffy. We got to see Angel’s wry humor and his teeny bit of playfulness. He never stops searching for his redemption however questionable his methods can be.

Fred

Fred is more than a damsel in distress. She’s more than a physics whiz. She’s the little sister of Angel Investigations, hence, the little sister of us all. Fred is kind of the Willow of Angel with her gentle ways but fierceness when it comes to fighting for what she believes in.

Gunn

From start to finish, Gunn went farthest from where he was, yet never really changed who he was. The character as written wouldn’t have been as good or believable without the actor’s nuanced performance. Gunn is one of those guys you want to kick in the head and hug at the same time.

Love how no one takes himself too seriously.

Firefly
Mal

Flawed up one side and down the other, this man never stops trying to what it takes to keep his crew flying. His heart is in the right place though his motives are sometimes…um…curious. Mal is dedicated to the people he loves and doing what is ‘right’ in his own twisted way.

Jayne

His name may be girlie, but he surely is not. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but you want him on your side in a fight. Keeping him on your side might be a bit trickier. He goes where the most money is. He looks out for number one. Jayne isn’t afraid of saying or doing something stupid, though he’s not always aware that he appears stupid. Yet, when it really matters, he could make the “smart choice” and he really is somewhat lovable.

Wash

I’ve written of my love of Wash and Zoe more than once.
Wash ranks above Zoe only because I think he’s funnier than she is.

Zoe

I love this bad ass warrior woman.

I love the portrayal of a happily married couple. That isn’t to say that they don’t have their issues, but they share strong genuine love and humor.

River

When it comes to River, we start with questions and are left with questions. She is something to watch though, her chronic confusion and brief moments of lucidity are absolutely beautiful. I especially love the scene in Shindig where she dresses down Badger and then says, “Call me if anyone interesting shows up.” over her shoulder as she walks away.

Kaylee

Kaylee is voice of optimism and love aboard Serenity. She keeps her flying even when the “catalyzer on the port compression coil blew”. She is the light they need on that ship, she is the heart of the crew. Nothing in the ‘vers can keep our Kaylee from being cheerful.

We should all have this much fun at work.

Honorable Mention
Dollhouse
Topher

The neural science genius of the LA Dollhouse, Topher is as self-centered and glib as your average middle schooler. He’s completely amoral and arrogant and cares nothing for the humanity of the people he helps program. However one might question his morals and actions, he’s a delight to watch.
This comment from Adelle sums up Topher perfectly.
“The cold reality is that everyone here was chosen because their morals have been compromised in some way. Everyone, except you. You, Topher, were chosen because you had no morals. You have always thought of people as playthings. This is not a judgment. You’ve always taken very good care of your toys, but you’re simply going to have to let this one go.”

Thanks, Joss, for all these outstanding characters. Thanks to the team of writers who follow Joss into the fray. Thanks to the actors who brought these characters to life, they would be nothing without you. If you’re not a Whedonite, that’s OK…you have time. If you’ve never seen any of these shows, you’re in luck! They’re all on Netflix. Check them out!
If you are a fan, I’d love to hear your thoughts on your favorite Whedon characters. Let me know in the comments.

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