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Posts Tagged ‘TV’

Top 10 Onscreen Couples July 11, 2009 3 Comments

My Aunt Brenda and Uncle David are celebrating their 30th (!!!) wedding anniversary this month. 30 years! They are an amazing example that true love and soul mates really do exist and are a real inspiration to me. After all this time, they are quite delirious about each other and still manage to embarrass their kids with loving displays of affection. Hooray for them! As their one-time flower girl, who was christened ‘Lampshade’ at the ceremony for my fantastic pink meringue-dress that I picked out myself, I wish them a very happy and beautiful anniversary. In their honour, here’s a list of my favourite onscreen couples from film and television:

secretaryMr. Grey and Lee Holloway – SecretaryMy Dad used to say; “For every old sock, there’s an old shoe”, meaning that there’s someone for everyone. Or, as an old friend said to me at a college party where we hid behind curtains in order to leap out and ’scare’ people; “I need to find a ‘curtain-er’ of my own”. There’s a shoe or curtain-er for all types. Lee finds hers in Mr. Grey. There’s something romantic and balanced in this unconventional relationship. He’s the S to her M. That he puts so much thought into her ‘punishments’ thrills her, particularly when her family treats her like a fragile piece of glass. Expressing affection can be tough, so when you find a way that works and someone willing to bring that out in you, no matter how weird to outsiders, you should fight for that. Even if it means relieving yourself at a desk and sitting there for 2 days straight in a wedding dress.


Marge and Norm Gunderson – Fargo: Marge married Norm ‘Son of a’ Gunderson and while there’s murders, stolen cars and Mike Yanagita afoot, she still makes time to hear all about the painting he’s going to enter for a stamp competition and he always gets up to make her breakfast. It’s not sexy, it’s not ‘hot’ but it’s true love – it’s a marriage. When everything has been solved and the bad people have gone to jail, Marge comforts Norm, who’s upset about his 3rd place in the contest and that his painting will only appear on the 3 cent stamp (”People always need the little stamps when the postage gets raised, Hon”) and they get back to what’s important; waiting for their baby to be born. They’re content with their lot and represent the happy ending that none of the other characters will find.




Top 10 Character Actors June 13, 2009 7 Comments

character-actorThese are the workhorses of the acting industry – the actors who work almost everyday of their lives. As an actor making a great living – this is where you want to be. You work constantly, rarely get bothered in your daily life by strangers when you walk to the shops and if the movie/TV show/play tanks, nobody blames you. Usually, these guys have many other strings to their bow – some are also stunt men, writers, directors, musicians but all possess a chameleon-like quality, making them utterly invaluable. They can hop from stage to film to television to adverts to voice work and it’s never frowned upon. Sure, you’re ‘That Guy From That Thing!’ to most people but quite a few on this list have cult followings, which is always WAY cooler than being common or garden famous. Your fans will seek you out in whatever your latest project is, and, in reality, your more well-known colleagues are normally jealous of your freedom. Also, if you have a opportunity to play a really juicy part, there’s every chance you’ll get nominated and since you’ve probably worked with everybody, you’ll have loads of mates that’ll vote for ya. This is why the ‘Supporting Actor’ Oscar so frequently goes to ‘That Guy From That Thing!’. You go with your practically-anonymous selves!

Clint Howard -A child actor, he started before younger brother Ron and then watched Ron zoom into roles like ‘Opie’ and ‘Richie Cunningham’ that brought Ron much fame. However, the Howard Family must be the nicest, most stable and loving family in the world because there’s no jealousy or bad vibes – only public displays of support and strong familial bonds. Now that Ron’s a big-time director, he puts Clint in practically every movie he does. Not that Clint needs the work, he’s a favourite of so many other directors but because they actually like and respect each other. When MTV began their Movie Awards show, the first recipient of the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ went to Godzilla. The 2nd went to Chewbacca. Clint collected the 3rd and the entire Howard clan, parents and kids and all, showed up in formal wear to cheer him on. Clint took his award so much to heart that MTV quit giving it out. Clint couldn’t be topped.


(Rock on, Clint!!! I’m not putting this here as a joke, I really, really like this. Hey, if Warners wants to go with an older ‘Joker’ sometime, I have my hand up for Clint in a ‘Yea’ sort of way.)


Top 10 TV Sidekicks April 30, 2009 8 Comments

Can you make the ladeez knickers come of like that, He-Man? Yeah, that's what I thought.

"Can you get the ladeez knickers off like *that*, He-Man? Yeah, that's what I thought".

The Sidekick – Our heroes and villians would be nothing without them. Sometimes, they’re the ones we really tune in for; to see what they’ll get up to, cos they can often be more fun. Here are ten that have seared themselves into the collective pop-culture conciousness:


Baldrick – Blackadder – As Blackadder grew smarter with every incarnation, Baldrick got thicker. But Baldrick had his moments – he thought if he wrote his own name on a bullet during wartime that he wouldn’t get shot, cos he’d have the bullet with his name on it. Makes sense, really. So he threw the first dictionary in a fire; who can say they wouldn’t have done the same, given the situation? And, fair enough, he rumbled Blackadder’s plan to marry the cuckoo Queen Elizabeth. Perhaps he meant well? Say what you’d like about his stupidity but I’d bet money that ‘Baldrick’s’ grand-daughter ain’t sleeping with Russell Brand.



DJ ‘Jazzy’ JeffThe Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – A testament to never leaving behind the folks that made you what you are, Will Smith brought Jazz, part and parcel, onto his network show. And in return, Jazz made it funnier, more heartfelt and funky. In love with Hilary, constantly being thrown out by Mr. Banks but always ‘workin’ it’ in his Cross Colours gear, Jazz was the ‘Philly Element’ in the Prince’s  new ‘Bel-Air Lifestyle’. Doncha forget, home-fry.  



Top 10 Movie and TV Firsts April 22, 2009 5 Comments

"Open hailing frequencies, Lieutenant."

"Open hailing frequencies, Lieutenant. Heh-heh-heh"

A lot of the visual mediums and standards we have today have roots in some of the weirdest places. TV can sometimes trump film for branching out and taking risks, which is why I’m mixing them together. These are all random but interesting bits of trivia. As Bob Marley once said, “In this great future, you can’t forget your past”.

The First Interracial Kiss On TV- Star Trek – Lt. Uhura and Capt. Kirk – Episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” – The actual ROLE of Lt. Uhura was a first in and of itself, where a black woman had a commanding part on the bridge of the Enterprise and wasn’t a maid, a slave or a nanny. Originally, Spock was supposed to be the one to kiss Uhura while under alien influence but Shatner fought them on this saying, “If anyone gets to kiss Nichelle, it’s going to be me. I’m the captain!”  The network was extremely nervous – and in 1968, who could blame them? Kudos to them for letting the creators go ahead with it at all, and may have only allowed it because Star Trek wasn’t very popular during its initial run. They shot two versions of the scene; one where Kirk is fighting the mind control and they-almost-but-don’t and another where he really, really isn’t fighting very much at all and it’s Snog City. Shatner crossed his eyes during the former, rendering the take useless so the network had no choice but to air the kiss. (Some might argue that a kiss – a peck on the cheek-  between Nancy Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. a year before on a variety show was the first but the Trek smooch was scripted and thought-out) This episode was so volatile at the time it wasn’t aired in the American South and was banned in England for 25 (!!!) years. When Nichelle Nichols was thinking of leaving the show because she was sick of playing a “telephone operator in space”, it was Martin Luther King Jr. – no less -  who convinced her to stay. He told her; “For the first time the world will see us as we should be seen — people of quality in the future. You created a role with dignity and beauty and grace and intelligence. You’re not just a role model for our children, but for people who don’t look like us to see us for the first time as equals.”  MLK – Freedom-fighter, orator, symbol of equality and peace among races and… Star Trek geek.

First ‘Talkie’ – ‘The Jazz Singer’ – 1927 was the end of one era and the beginning of a new one in filmdom. The Jazz Singer mesmerized movie punters who lined up around the block to hear their silver screen idols actually speak for the first time. The opposite of video killing the radio star, ‘talkies’ were bad news for stars with less than dulcet tones. This was cleverly outlined in Singin’ in the Rain and for some jobbing actors, being a voice double became a new way to pay the rent.

First Woman Nominated For A Directing Oscar – Lina Wertmuller – The name Lina Wertmuller isn’t very well known nowadays but in 1976, she made history as the first woman to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar for her film, Seven Beauties. She was a protégée of Federico Fellini and an Assistant Director on his classic, 8 1/2 Weeks. Since then, only two other women have achieved this honour – Jane Campion for The Piano and Sofia Coppola for Lost In Translation (Sofia probably would have won but Peter Jackson’s work on The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was due that year) Among her other accolades, she holds the Guinness World Record of ‘Longest Film Title’ – Un fatto di sangue nel comune di Siculiana fra due uomini per causa di una vedova. Si sospettano moventi politici. Amore-Morte-Shimmy. Lugano belle. Tarantelle. Tarallucci e vino (Translated and shortened to ‘Blood Feud’ or ‘Revenge’ for us English-speaking types) and was sufficiently famous back in the day to be parodied on SNL by Laraine Newman.


The Companion Piece or Why I Don’t Like the Kissing Doctor Trend April 12, 2009 5 Comments

Since writing the article about the impending Tennant/Smith change over, I’ve gotten some emails from people about this subject. Thanks, by the way. I always enjoy constructive comments, even if you happen to be utterly wrong and disagree with me. (I jest. For the record, I’ll approve all comments that aren’t hateful and miserable.) It’s not because I don’t like change, that I’m a ‘Who’ traditionalist or a prude. It’s down to a couple very simple facts. Well, they’re facts in my world, to others they may only be opinions.

A myriad of mostly female Companions.

A myriad of mostly female Companions.

When I was a little girl, there wasn’t a lot of female characters on shows that weren’t there primarily for eye-candy purposes and to be the hero’s make-out partner. Naturally, I didn’t consciously know this at the time but there’s a reason I loved Sarah-Jane Smith so dearly growing up. She was spunky, brave, compassionate, funny, clever, resourceful and….much further down the line in importance….attractive. I always felt that The Doctor picked his Companions based on the junk your parents insisted mattered most – your inner self, not what you look like. He did this because he’s better than us, more evolved and much much smarter. Like, if The Doctor had a choice between Kate Moss and Dawn French; there’d be no contest – he’d pick Dawn. Not to say that Ms. Moss is devoid of smarts or that Ms. French isn’t pretty but I imagine that Dawn would be handier in a crisis on Planet Scary and then she’d make a funny joke which would crack him up after said crisis was averted. I liked Rose and Martha, both of them were mostly positive characters but the ‘I wanna get in The Doctor’s pants and have his intergalactic time-babies’ shtick that permeated through their story-lines got, well, kind of boring. It introduced a ’silly, fawning girlie’ side to them that was pointless. Then, Donnas’ too-often insistence that she and he were not a couple; no way, no how, was too much in the opposite direction. Why make sex a big issue at all in this programme? One of the major factors of the show which I’ve enjoyed all my TV loving life was that it wasn’t like every other show on TV, it was engaging and imaginative enough to forgo that easy route. Don’t give in now, Writer-People! (more…)

Why David Tennant Leaving ‘Doctor Who’ Kind Of Sucks April 9, 2009 9 Comments

Billy, Paddy, Johnny, Tommy, Petey, C-Dog, Sly, Paulie, Chrisy and Davey.

Clockwise from top left: Billy, Paddy, Jonny, Tommy, Petey, C-Dog, Sly, Paulie, Chrisy and Davey.

(And why Matt Smith deserves a decent chance)

As Easter approaches, so does the beginning of the end for one of the most beloved actors to play The Doctor – David Tennant. The girls love him and the blokes feel that he could be their mate. He dresses like a dandy yet exudes a shambolic ‘Gen-X’ vibe. He’s an incredibly gifted actor and his comedic and dramatic work on Doctor Who, film, other TV and the stage, is pretty damn exceptional.  He gives lots of time to charities and seems to have his head firmly on his shoulders. He attracts most demographics. He’s been an amazing Doctor. He’s probably a dead-on person, the sort that would buy you a pint if you were short on cash. But those aren’t the reasons why it kind of sucks that David Tennant is abdicating from ‘Who’. It’s a good time for the torch to be passed to another; that’s the enduring, fascinating element of the character. It’s a tough old life, being Gallifrey’s Prodigal Rebel Child, and the nature of the beast is all about change. You can’t fight nature.

(The mantle must be passed but it doesn’t mean that Blast-From-The-Past-Doctors can’t return. NOTE – I made a donation to the CIN charity for using this clip. Cos I’m a nice, moral girl (stop snickering, People That Know Me) and it’s a good cause. Karma, baby.)

Why it kind of sucks is because Tennant was really the first actor that made public what every ‘Who’ fan already suspected but couldn’t get confirmation on- that being The Doctor is a bloody brilliant gig. If you can’t be an actual Timelord, then playing him is the next best thing. He treated the role like a treasured heirloom that had been passed down to him and declared happily, “it’s the best job in the world”, “a dream come true” and “I have my own TARDIS!”  He spoke about running amok in a long, multi-colour scarf and standing in line for Tom Baker’s autograph as a boy. Tennant was one of us, a true ‘Whovian’, and he flew his geek-flag proudly. Not for him was the exasperated head-shake, eye-roll and subtle (or not, in some cases) put-downs that some of the other actors partook in when asked about their time as The Doctor. Funnily, his example has led some of those very same actors to do a complete 180 and now wax lyrical about how enjoyable their turn was; Tennant made it okay to be proud of it. Either that or they have mortgage payments coming up and need some ‘cameo-cash’. He described obsessive fans as ‘exuberant’ instead of ’sad’, ‘annoying’ or ‘pathetic’- personally, I love the show, obviously but I don’t always like the more ‘exuberant’ fans. For some, ’scary’ and ‘needs to get a life’ doesn’t begin to do them justice. Apparently, he’s a good sport for posing for pictures with people that ask politely at appropriate times and he routinely and profusely thanks his many admirers for being so generous towards him. Eccleston revived the part and saved it from the barrel marked ‘Jokey Pop Culture References’ with his Proper Actor status and gave it gravitas. Tennant then took that a step further and made being a fan-boy (or girl!) enjoyable. Basically, it was cute to hear him talk about writing essays in school about how he wanted to be The Doctor and all that lark. He’s had to tell stories like that so much that I kind of cringe for Tennant when an interviewer asks him to tell these anecdotes yet again. Fair play though, he always reacts like it’s the first time. Like I said; he’s a good actor.

Is it any wonder he is the only Doctor, since the hey-day of the 70’s, to topple Sir Tom of Baker in the ‘Favourite Doctor’ polls? (more…)