Hello, boys and girls! Apologies all around for the lack of updates lately, and for the following:
Glowy Box will be on a temporary hiatus for the next month while I transition into a new job and take a much-needed vacation. I will be back and posting by the end of March (when there's actually stuff to post about). In the meantime, I encourage you to read the many fabulous blogs linked in my sidebar, and to enjoy the following video of what may be the awesomest thing to ever grace my TV screen. Seriously, Victor Garber is my hero.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Hello, boys and girls! Apologies all around for the lack of updates lately, and for the following:
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Tonight on Lipstick Jungle, we rejoin our three heroines as they learn for once and for all that they absolutely cannot have it all. Or even a little, in fact. Disaster looms at every turn in the form of bribable nannies, picky princes, and thieving assistants. And yet, as the plot flies by fast enough to make my head spin, I'm still very much un-grabbed. Maybe it's the sometimes painful dialogue, maybe it's the sometimes painful acting, maybe it's the danger zone between tongue-in-cheek and taking itself too seriously, but Lipstick Jungle isn't nearly fun enough. Too bad...the cast, at least, definitely had potential. And the pedigree isn't something to be scoffed at, either.
In our most time-consuming plot, Wendy's former nanny has written an unflattering novel based on Wendy's life, calling her "shallow as a bedpan and twice as cold." You know, I could probably say the same about this show. Even worse, an old enemy of Wendy's is publishing the book. (Of course.) And when Wendy relates to her husband that there are anecdotes in the book that she didn't even think the nanny knew about, his absurdly overemoting face tells us that he has something to hide. At least, I think that's what he was trying to convey. It also could've been terror, shock, or possibly his "O" face.
At any rate, things continue to flow downhill when Wendy drags Shane to the possibly penitent nanny's house, and he admits to her that he told the nanny a bunch of damaging stories about Wendy's mothering skills when he was venting. Un! Comfortable! And wait, he somehow thinks that Wendy should leave it alone, since it should be enough that he and the kids know she's a wonderful mother? Um, I think it's probably still worthwhile to avoid slander and public humiliation. But that could just be me. We end with Wendy trying and failing to deliver a smackdown to her enemy publisher, which means that we're stuck with this plot for at least another week. Sigh.
In Nico-ville, she's got a prince to land. Prince William, to be specific. He's supposed to be photographed for the cover of her magazine, but is backing out. And, of course, the photographer's assistant is Nico's new boy toy. Awkward. At least, until the inevitable crazy sex in the photo studio. Which is immediately followed by the completely avoidable post-sex photo shoot. Um, what?! Why would you POSSIBLY let some guy you barely know take naked photos of you? WHY??? Sigh... As far as Prince William goes, it seems that he's really into softcore porn. Starring himself. Okay. So she lands him for the cover, but her boss isn't into the semi-nudity. It seems Nico is officially on notice. Best line, courtesy of her boss: "It doesn't take much for a halo to turn into a noose." Those are words to live by, you guys.
Victory is also having career troubles, and has been forced to fire most of her staff and move her office into her apartment. Her "loyal" assistant is taking a new job, and steals Victory's latest sketches on her way out. Which Victory somehow doesn't notice. SIGH. Later, Victory is reduced to stalking a drag queen and an old lady to get a hat she designed in fashion school, in an elaborate metaphor about how her career isn't moving forward. Don't ask. Trust me. Her rich boyfriend asked and is sorry he did. The words "live out loud" were involved. Later, though, he pays her back in full as far as clichés go. She's all, "I'm not usually the girl who needs to be saved," and he's all, "Who says I'm saving you?" Yes, really.
So, um, apologies to anyone who's getting into this show, but I'm just...not. At all. Can we transplant the entire cast into a new show, as a sort of scientific experiment? Because I really think the problem is the writing, but there's no way to know for sure, since it seems to be making the actors suck, too. Ah, wasted potential.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
...Which means that someday, somehow, I will actually find something to write about here again. Because seriously, I've watched, like, three hours of new television in the past week. If that. Bring on the new episodes!
In the meantime, there are several new interviews up on Adopt A Writer, which will be continuing post-strike, since introducing viewers to writers is certainly a worthy cause. Sandie, from Daemon's TV, interviewed Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who has written for Lost and Medium, among others (interview here). She also interviewed Cathryn Michon, who has written for Side Order of Life and Designing Women, among others (interview here).
Therese, from Writer Unboxed, interviewed Ellen Sandler, who has written for Everybody Loves Raymond, Coach, and many other sitcoms (interview here). Jill, from Criminal Minds Fanatics, interviewed Debra J. Fisher and Erica Messer, who have written for Criminal Minds, The O.C., and Alias (interview here). Dan, from TiFaux, interviewed Michael Jann, a writer for The Tonight Show (interview here).
Check back as the week continues--we've got great interviews to come!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Tonight on Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, the show finished up the season in Miami, where we were treated to a hefty dose of drama as Janice and Peter finally settled their differences with a winner-takes-all cage match. Okay, okay, it was more of a quiet lunch where Janice's lawyer did most of the talking. But a cage match would've been way better, if you ask me.
We begin, though, with the Midnight Lingerie Show: The night before the big Custo Barcelona casting, Janice ambushes her models with an Ed Hardy Intimates fashion show. At 1 AM. Riiight. After a frantic hour of preparation, the models strut their almost-naked stuff in front of 1,800 screaming fans. Janice is thrilled with the results, as are the models.
Custo Barcelona Casting: At the big casting, everyone is excited, nervous, etc., etc. The Custo reps say that they’re looking to shoot four great girls, and two great guys. Kehoe makes the mortal error of wearing aussieBum underwear, forgetting, perhaps, aussieBum’s big fight with Janice. Janice, labeling it an intentional slight towards her, cuts the underwear right off him in front of the client. They choose Chris Jones and J.P. for the guys, but pick Payton as a backup to try on the clothes as well.
The photographer is extremely picky when it comes to women’s bodies, and suggests that Janice import more girls. She convinces Custo to give Alexis, Nadia, and Desirée a second look, but when they want to bring the girls in for a fitting, Janice suddenly demands that they pay the models for it. Peter worries that the client will walk, but Janice is adamant. And yes, of course, it wouldn’t be Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency if they weren’t fighting about it in front of the client, with Janice squawking, “New rule!” over and over again. Professionalism, thy name is Janice. Janice completely fails to learn her lesson, of course, as Custo ends up booking all six models, since they would’ve been paying for them anyway.
Custo Barcelona Shoot: The morning of the shoot, Janice does a very poor job disguising her open disdain for Peter. The models, in the meantime, are a bit pissed that they haven’t been told what the pay for the shoot will be. And Alexis has some new scars, which worries Janice (and me). But she should have bigger worries, since her models stayed out late the night before and are totally sucking hardcore in the eyes of the picky photographer. Oh, the life of the World’s First Supermodel is not an easy one.
Luckily, the models pick up their game later in the day, pleasing the client. Alexis, especially, is a standout for the photographer. Janice fishes for details about Chris Jones and Alexis’s relationship, but is quickly distracted when she discovers that it’s a two-day shoot, which was news to her, and news to her models (but not news to Peter). No one is happy. Especially since the models still aren’t sure how much they’re being paid. The models head over to Peter’s room to stage a mass protest that night, and after waking him up, they threaten to skip out on the shoot in the morning. Peter’s pissed, but still doesn’t give them a solid answer on the rate, leaving it at “at least $600.” Obviously, they end up showing up at the shoot anyway, and it goes very well despite Peter’s and Janice’s absence.
Janice v. Peter: Total Smackdown: : In fact, while the models are shooting, Janice is meeting with Peter and her attorney in order to dissolve her partnership with Peter. She leaves it to her attorney to break the news, possibly because it’s tough for her enormously swollen lips to form words. Peter takes it pretty well, leaving Janice to repeatedly say things like, “It’s over,” and “Please go,” in an attempt to create some drama. Peter reminds us in an interview that there could be a fight between attorneys over everything down to the rights to the agency’s name, but Janice has already moved on, calling this the happiest day of her life. (Don’t listen, Nathan and daughter who’s never mentioned on the show anymore!)
We end the season with Janice announcing to her models that she’s asked Peter to leave. HOW will they respond? WHAT will Peter do? WHY do I watch this show, again? Find out next season, on the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Buzz wonders how many '80s TV references you can pack into one little Ben Lee music video. (BuzzSugar)
Araya tells us why Friday Night Lights is number 2 on his Top 10 TV Shows list. (Daemon's TV)
Mikey was relieved to see Ricky finally get auf'd on Project Runway, but he still has considerable beefs with the current season. (Mikey Likes TV)
Pop Vultures interviewed writer Eric Estrin and got his perspective on the WGA strike. (Pop Vultures)
To explain her love for Anna Fricke, Rae channeled her Dawson's Creek fangirl of television shows gone by. (RTVW)
Much like the chick from Girlfriends, the dude from Live, and Puff Daddy's man servant, Scooter McGavin now supports Barak Obama in the Democratic primaries. Because seriously, who is not swayed by an endorsement from one of the Pussycat Dolls? Yes We Can!! (Scooter McGavin's 9th Green)
Vance skipped The Super Bowl but loved all the super bawling on Friday Night Lights which deserves a bit of that 97 Million Super Bowl football audience. (Tapeworthy)
Jace was all about advance looks at British telly this week, with reviews of new series That Mitchell and Webb Look and Last Restaurant Standing on BBC America. (Televisionary)
Dan interviewed Tonight Show writer Michael Jann about the WGA strike as part of the Adopt a Writer project. (TiFaux)
Jennifer questioned whether Nip/Tuck should be renamed “Nip YUCK,” after the latest developments. (Tube Talk)
Kate picked the five best and five worst looks from this season of Project Runway. (TV Filter)
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Following on the heels of Cashmere Mafia, Darren Star's post-Sex and the City series about four career women supporting each other through thick and thin, we have Lipstick Jungle, Candace Bushnell's post-Sex and the City series about three career women supporting each other through thick and thin. I'm actually glad things are trending this way, because I've got a great series idea about two career women supporting each other through thick and thin, called Stiletto Hailstorm. One of them will be a high-powered but sexually frustrated sports agent, and the other will be a free-spirited gallery owner who's thinking of leaving her husband...for another woman! I'm guessing CBS and Fox will get into a bidding war.
Moving on, let's meet the Lipstick ladies:
Victory (Lindsay Price): The faltering (and ironically-named) fashion designer who's suddenly dating a reclusive gazillionaire. Can she possibly have it all? (Probably not.)
Nico (Kim Raver, who was awesome on The Nine): The fashion magazine editor with a sexist boss and back-stabbing co-worker. Oh, and she's in a failing marriage with a boring professor, but having an affair with a hot young stud. Can she possibly have it all??? (Not so much.)
Wendy (Brooke Shields, wasted in this lame part): The high-powered but frazzled film executive. She's a mom, she's a wife, she's a career woman. Can she possibly have it all?!?!?!?!?!?!?! (No.)
In the first installment, Wendy has a crisis at work when she can't get Leonardo DiCaprio to sign on for a project. Luckily, she brilliantly fixes everything, though she's still got a problem with the director she "fired," since he's refusing to shut down his shoot. Which may or may not have anything to do with the fact that she hugged him while firing him. Sigh. Meanwhile, her husband is sick of being a houseboy, and of playing second banana to his well-known wife. Looks like someone's going to need the support of her two best friends to get her through this!
Nico is being held down at work by a sexist boss who thinks he can't promote someone who might start popping out babies and lose focus. The joke's on him, though, because she hasn't had sex with her husband for ages! Luckily for Nico, a steamy younger man seduces her at a party with his sexy, sexy ways. She's completely powerless once he starts calling her hot, overlooking her elderly age.
Victory's fall line has failed miserably, and her commercial partners aren't pleased. Things are looking up, though, now that she's being courted by an adorable billionaire who just happened to notice Victory at her fashion show. Victory, it should be noted, is partial to cupcakes when she's feeling down about her career. Because god knows women love their baked goods.
It should also be noted that all these women seem to inexplicably have time in the middle of their day to have champagne lunches and go street-shopping together. Um, what? I'm not a high-powered anything, but my job is demanding enough that I eat lunch at my desk almost every day. How are these women tearing themselves away for at least an hour in the middle of the workday? Maybe it really is possible to have it all...
As far as the obvious comparison goes, I haven't actually seen Cashmere Mafia, so I can't speak to the differences beyond the obvious. I'm mostly just hoping that now that all the exposition is out of the way, the show will take a much-needed turn for the interesting. Because otherwise, some mighty good actors are being wasted on some mighty weak material.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Nina Bargiel, interview by Kimra for BuzzSugar.
Recent reports that the writers’ strike could be nearing its end are good news for TV and movie fans, but they’ve got to be even better news for folks like Nina Bargiel. As a member of the Writers Guild of America, Bargiel — who wrote 17 episodes of Lizzie McGuire and has worked for several animated shows — has been on the run since the writers’ strike began in November, working three part-time jobs, blogging on a couple of websites, and marching on the picket lines. (Click here to read the full interview.)
Eric Estrin, interview by Fergus and Marcia for Pop Vultures.
Eric Estrin is a long-time member of the WGA, with television credits going back over twenty years. He has written for such diverse shows as Miami Vice, Murder, She Wrote and The Outer Limits and also served as writer/producer on V.I.P. (Click here to read the full interview.)
Stay tuned here and at the central Adopt A Writer site for more!
I'm gonna make an executive decision here and say that Kate Walsh's presence (among many others) in the following super-inspirational video makes it TV-related. Also, it's an awesome video which allows me to remind you that if you live in one of the states listed here, you should be voting today. And if you want to vote for Obama, all the better! But seriously, the most important thing is that you make an informed decision and VOTE, no matter who you decide on. So get out there and make it happen!
Monday, February 04, 2008
The WGA has been there for Sam’s wife as she’s battled cancer for the past eight years. With a ticking clock on their health care eligibility, Sam worries that their insurance benefits could expire before he has the opportunity to land another writing job, leaving his wife without treatment. Despite this heart-wrenching situation, Sam and his wife both stand behind the WGA: “This strike is about more than just us. Hopefully it will end soon, and I'll be able to secure a job that will keep our benefits going. Until then, I'll get out on the picket line and do my duty.”
Sam’s courage and sense of humor during such difficult times made me grateful for the opportunity to interview him, and I am proud to introduce him to all of you:
SAM KASS (Pictured at left with Larry David) – Arli$$; Hudson Street; Seinfeld; The Search for One-eye Jimmy. Sam’s latest project is the soon-to-be-released mockumentary Naked Movie, starring Sam (he also wrote and directed) along with Carmen Electra, Tori Spelling, Lou Diamond Phillips, David Carradine, and Jeff Garlin.
Did you always want to be a writer?
This whole thing started because of my mother. I was a terrible student growing up in Brooklyn, failing class after class. One of my teachers suggested to my mother that perhaps I could use a little structure. That somehow got turned into being sent to the New York Military Academy at West Point, which was not my idea of a good time. I would write my mother letters, begging her to get me out of there. My mother decided that my letters were so creative and well done that she proclaimed I would become a writer. And for the next ten years, all she'd ever buy me would be pens and notebooks. Basically, I had 435 pens and one pair of socks...
What was your first writing job? From there, how did you get your first big break?
I started off in New York as a playwright. By Off Broadway standards I was fairly successful, meaning that I only needed two part-time jobs to supplement my income. Here's a little story—my play Lusting After Pipino’s Wife was a big Off Broadway hit. It ran for almost 2 years. I was driving a taxi at that time, and one night I picked up a woman several blocks from the theater. She was carrying my playbill and raving about the show. She never looked at the license on my meter, nor realized that she was being driven home by the playwright... That's when I decided it was perhaps time to investigate Hollywood.
About a year later, in 1994, I had just written/directed my first film, The Search for One-eye Jimmy. It had a great cast; John Turturro, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Beals, etc. At the time, Laurie David (Larry David's wife) was a producer at Fox. She saw my film, and came to New York to offer me a pilot deal. I didn't know what a pilot was, I didn't know who Larry David was, I had barely heard of Seinfeld. I was a playwriting cab driver, living in a Brooklyn tenement with a wife and two little kids. Laurie convinced me to come to L.A and "pitch" my story to the executives at Fox. She was actually talking about my life story. So I did. And they bought it. And then we made perhaps the worst pilot ever. Laurie even brought in Larry to "consult." If memory serves me correctly, he made it worse...if that was even possible.
The lead was played by an actor named Lew Schneider, who was so terrible he gave up acting after that pilot, and became a writer. To this day Lew still apologizes for "ruining" my pilot. Lew went on to write for Everybody Loves Raymond. I happen to know this because we were on a plane together; Lew in first class, and me in coach. Episodes of Raymond played throughout the flight…6 hours of shows executive produced by Lew Schneider. In one episode he actually appeared....a nightmare at 30,000 feet.
How did you become a writer on Seinfeld? What was it like to write for one of the greatest shows of all time?
After the pilot debacle, I moved back to Brooklyn—for about a week. Then Larry David called and asked me to write for Seinfeld. I turned him down. Four times. My mother said that if I didn't take the job, she'd kill herself. So I turned it down again—the funeral was the following week. (Just kidding.) Eventually, I relented, and we moved to Los Angeles. I kept my tenement apartment in Brooklyn, just in case. And 14 years later, I still have my taxi license—just in case. And with this strike, "just in case" could be here any moment.
Not many writers can boast that their first TV gig was perhaps the greatest series of all time. Mine was. In retrospect I realize that Seinfeld was the purest of all TV writing gigs. There was no "table," where writers auctioned off lines in an attempt to one-up each other. Writers were actually allowed to write here. …At my ex-agent's urging, I left Seinfeld to work on a new Tony Danza show. [Hudson Street] was his comeback vehicle after Who’s the Boss? We both look at each other today and laugh. Actually, he laughs and I cry.
I have to ask, since you wrote the Seinfeld episode in which Kramer’s first name was revealed to be Cosmo. Who came up with Cosmo?
Larry actually came up with Cosmo, but there were several other names in the running. It was a huge secret up until tape night, and we blacked out all the Cosmo references in the script. NBC paranoia...
What is something you think people might be surprised by in terms of your lifestyle in Hollywood and your life as a working writer?
The biggest misconception is that TV writers are all rich. There are a lot of people on the picket line who laugh at that notion. I actually own a boutique in Santa Monica called Marcia Bloom. That's my wife. She makes all the clothes herself, and now and then I'll work behind the counter. Come on in—I'll sign your Seinfeld memorabilia, and I'll sell you a dress.
It seems like many writers have additional careers to supplement their writing income—your boutique is a good example. Would it be difficult for you to provide for your family on a writers’ salary alone?
Of the 14 years that I've been a member of the WGA, I'd say only 6 or 7 of those years I made enough money to support my family. There were 5 years that I made a lot of money, and that's been a nest egg (although dwindling) throughout the years.
Can you explain why the issues surrounding the strike are important to you?
The issues we're striking for are so basic-- A tiny little piece of the Internet, and a couple of extra pennies on a DVD sale. Come on, guys! Are you kidding me?
Because of the strike, you haven’t been able to sell anything for three months. What has that meant for you financially?
Let me just say this-- Eight years ago, my wife was given 6 months to live. She's still here. Breast cancer, lung cancer, stem cell transplant, chemotherapy every week for 8 years. The WGA has been there for her. During the strike, the clock continues to tick on your health care eligibility. Your health care can expire without you having the opportunity to secure a job that would extend your benefits. Depending on how long this strike lasts, it is conceivable that our benefits could expire. My wife is uninsurable. No other company would take her on at this point.
We both stand behind the WGA during this period of uncertainty. This strike is about more than just us. Hopefully it will end soon, and I'll be able to secure a job that will keep our benefits going. Until then, I'll get out on the picket line and do my duty.
There's no doubt that my wife and family face a serious problem with her health, but it's in no way any more ominous than what many Americans face today—there's a health care crisis that affects one and all.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
- Buzz suggested some books for fans missing their Gossip Girl, Brothers & Sisters, Heroes, and more. (BuzzSugar)
- This week, Daemon's TV introduced their new regular feature, DVR (Daemon Video Recap), a fun video recap chipmunk-style of your favorite TV shows. (Daemon's TV)
- Liz enjoyed a hefty dose of manufactured drama (with some crazy bitch, to boot) on the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. (Glowy Box)
- Be it mere Sports Night nostalgia or something greater, Mikey is digging Thursday's session with In Treatment. (Mikey Likes TV)
- Marcia explained why Supernatural is one of the most underrated shows on television. (Pop Vultures)
- Feeling nostalgic, Rae recalled favorite childhood TV shows and moments from Buffy and Dawson's Creek among others with a TV meme. (RTVW)
- For those that want to relive the show before its second season premiere March 2nd or if you just need some scripted television to watch before it goes the way of the dinosaur, Scooter is giving away Dirt Season 1 on DVD. (Scooter McGavin's 9th Green)
- Vance admits to liking guilty pleasures like the movie 27 Dresses, the new single by OneRepublic and the TV show Carpoolers. Yes, Vance is that one person watching that show. (Tapeworthy)
- This week, Jace was all about Lost, with exclusive interviews with Matthew Fox, Josh Holloway, Elizabeth Mitchell, Michael Emerson, and Yunjin Kim, advance reviews, and morning-after analysis. (Televisionary)
- TiFaux got naughty and kinky this week by offering up the Top Ten TV-Related Safe Words. (TiFaux)
- Tube Talk celebrated the new season of Lost with a hilarious parody starting the Lost action figures. (Tube Talk)
- Raoul found out the crazy things people say when they file complaints to the FCC about your favorite shows. (TV Filter)
- Thanks to some shameless in show advertising, the TV Addict deems NBC "Nothing But Commercials." (TheTVaddict.com)