Monday, April 30, 2012

Live-Blogging 'Smash's' "Tech"...

- I kind of love how close Tom (Christian Borle) and Sam (Leslie Odom Jr.) have gotten so quickly. I don't quite know what to do with this 'everyone says good-bye to NY montage, though.' Look, I grew up there, Grand Central is not that glamorous. And I don't understand why this show can't give us a little backstory-- I find myself already wondering why they're doing tech in Boston when New York is full of stages. Surely they could have thrown us one expository line! I know, I know, the fact that I'm asking for one shocks me, too!

- I wish I was savvy enough to look at that theater and recognize it from the ornate statues on the walls, but in all honesty, it could have been anything from the Nederlander to the Pantages in my mind. They're all laid out the same!

- Boo, Julia (Debra Messing). Boo at your moon eyes for boring ole Frank (Brian d'Arcy James). Also boo that Uma Thurman is still being toted around with this production. 

- Ivy (Megan Hilty) knows her stuff. I wonder why she has never considered taking charge of her work in theater a little bit more. She could be directing or teaching kids, and those could lead to directing bigger shows. I know her dreams of being on stage, being a star, wouldn't be fulfilled there, but she has so much knowledge, and so many people (Karen included) could benefit.

- Was that the first time Derek (Jack Davenport) told Ivy he loved her? He said it in such a casual, passing way that it seemed like it would have been passed back and forth a number of times, but the look on her face seemed to say otherwise.

- Ugh, Dev (Raza Jaffrey), now you're just upsetting everyone. I'm sure you think you're being sweet for calling, but it's selfish. People are trying to sleep! Gotta agree with the nameless roommate on this one: "Really?"

- What pilots shoot in Vegas!?

- Okay, Derek's my new favorite. He gets shit done; he solves problems before they can even really become problems; and HE'S BRINGING BACK MICHAEL SWIFT (Will Chase).

- It does, Uma. It does look better on Karen (Katharine McPhee).

- I'm so conflicted. I like seeing Julia smiling again (anything but those big tears), but I don't think this is going to last. I feel like Leo (Emory Cohen); I'm so on edge! And I would like some pancakes.

- Yup, Derek's my favorite. Grow a pair, Tom! You've undoubtedly talked her through worse.

- I hate all the extra crap Uma gets away with that Derek would ream Ivy or Karen out for. I get that she's a big movie stah and whatever, and everyone always kisses their asses, but he's Derek. He usually doesn't play into those games.

- Yes, they do, Derek. Everyone thinks Uma's a joke. Stop coddling her and tell her shape up or ship off to do a pilot, too.

- I do find it interesting that Uma is having such doubts and showcasing such vulnerability. I find it completely inauthentic, of course, but I'm not sure if that's my criticism of Thurman's own ability to tap into this complex character, or if Rebecca Duvall herself is just so melodramatic because that's how stars get catered to that she's pulling another one over here. In my experience in this business, those who are difficult to deal with-- who always ask for their line or reminder of where their marks are or who get nervous about a last minute change, be it casting or something much more personal-- are the ones who are insecure about their own abilities. Uma postures so much, I should probably assume the same is true of her. But I get my fill of that with Ivy, and Ivy is such a beautifully complicated woman internally, Uma just seems like a caricature in comparison. So I'm leaning toward the assumption that she's bullshitting for attention right now.

- Please, Ellis (Jaime Cepero), there are things you don't know.

- Karen seems to finally be coming to her senses. I'm not saying I want her to completely choose her work over her personal life (though I do think if she wants to get ahead, she needs to focus a little bit better).

- Oh Julia, bringing back Michael Swift makes the rest of us so in, so if you're the casualty in this war, I hate to say it, but I'm okay with that. Stop being a big diva baby. You shat where you ate, and that was your own problem. You have to be professional and think of what's best for the show. Eileen (Anjelica Huston) is being far too lenient with you. If you don't want to sacrifice your family for this business, you honestly may never work in this business again. It's a demanding, cruel mistress. BUT then you'll finally have the time and energy to devote to adopting, so it's actually not a bad thing.

- Hmm, McPhee said the person who comes between Dev and Karen is not who you might think. This is exactly what you might think from the soap opera this show has become. Stopping at just kissing still counts as cheating, and it can give her the 'out' she needs-- and finally seems to want.

- Actors can come in the night before and kill a performance, but is that really the kind of unprofessional show you want to run? And what are the odds, with all of the problems "Bombshell" has so far, that the actor you get on a whim, at the last minute actually would kill? Come on, Julia; use your head! I think even Frank can tell Michael is the best person for the job, and it will ruin the show not to have him.

- Ah, Tom, the voice of reason. Yes, Derek, why? But I like the deal you're striking. And having seen a preview of the Ivy/Karen number you're fighting for, I like it even more.

- Oh yikes, Derek, this can't possibly be working on you, can it? It's not even original! I know you have some kind of crazy Marilyn fantasy or whatever, but no.

- Sam seems kind of reluctant to see his family, but he's so insanely well-adjusted as a man, I can't imagine they're anything but angelically unreal.

- Oh God, I think Uma is going method. More method than Ivy ever went. Even with the pills. Speaking of the pills, did they just drop that or is it going on behind the scenes with no indication?

- Okay, I'm glad Julia pointed out how fast things were rushing forward with this play. It's not just me being too old for the ADD generation.

- I hope Frank realizes that Julia's reluctance to confide in him what is wrong-- or the fact that something even actually is-- is a bad sign for their relationship. I hope he'll take the hint and move back out. She's clearly still not ready to face up to that kind of confrontation.

- It is terrible, Tom; it's exposition. Exposition is always terrible. Thankfully that is one thing Smash doesn't give us, so "Bombshell" shouldn't either.

- Oh shit, Ivy; now you're a glorified costume assistant. Maybe that Hell on Earth play wasn't so bad after all.

- I'm not sure what the rules are in the theater, but why do they have to get a whole new book writer if Julia quits-- why can't they just give her partial credit with the new person as co-writer? I mean, Eileen's right in that Tom will hate it and quit, but legally, I think they're covered. It happens in Hollywood all of the time that people are brought in to punch up scripts-- sometimes with the original writer's blessing, and sometimes not.

- Derek, you BETTER just be buttering this b*tch up because she's so fragile and insecure. I don't want to believe you're just another stupid dude who thinks with the wrong head.

- Oops. Guess I spoke too soon. Gross, Derek. Why is it so hard to root for these people!?

- Tom and Sam's dad are getting along so well! It's refreshing. And a little weird since it's causing attention to how young Sam probably is supposed to be and how Tom and his dad are probably closer in age than Tom and Sam.

- A Neti pot? Oh, Ellis, that's so...cliche.

- Weird loser agent guy, you of all people know how Ellis can't handle anything!

- Thanks to the promos, I know Dev is about to propose, but a little part of me keeps hoping he's going to tell her he's dying instead.

- Say no, girl.

- I think I love Sam the most. And his adorable family.

- Oh come on Bobby, you're almost as bad as Ellis: these two were just starting to get friendly, and now you're pitting them against each other. Why not say a "duet" instead of a sing-off? Because their duets are magical. And don't imply only one of them comes out ahead.

- Holy shit. Did she really record this acapella or did they just strip the beginning of the track? Karen should just respect this one and declare her the winner without even trying to follow it.

- Okay hang on there, you're taking some liberties with the images and flashbacks Ivy actually witnessed.

- As amazing as that was, I have to point out that until two minutes ago they were at a party. Way to bring the mood down. And of course Dev is going to bring it down further. Go to Washington, dummy. So much wrong with the words coming out of your mouth. You only knew in the moment of almost sleeping with RJ that you only wanted to be with Karen? And you were supposed to be the good guy...

- Is Leo the voice of reason now, too? Something is very wrong in the Houston household. I'm going to send someone over to check for mold. Or a gas leak.

- Ah, there it is. Fun fact: when I chatted with Hilty at the end of last week for my Inspirational Women profile, I asked her if she thought having someone like Derek, who may be harsh at times but offers criticism that can be constructive too, is better than having someone like Dev who just butters you up but doesn't really know what he's talking about, in her life. The pause in her voice before she answered-- because she didn't know how I could possibly know (and truth be told, I wasn't running a hunch by her, I was just comparing both girls' guys)-- told me everything I needed to know about where the story was going. Although, shouldn't their names raise a red flag for either of them? I can't believe they're super common names, even in New York, and Karen has whined about each of them, just to the other one.

From LA Examiner: 'Smash' Photo Preview; Danny Pudi on 'Handling It'; 'Jane By Design' Casts Teri Hatcher; Whitney Cummings Returns To E!; HBO Renewals...

When Smash stages its show on the road, trouble abounds, but what is perhaps most upsetting is just how good Rebecca Duvall (Uma Thurman) looks as Marilyn Monroe. We're not saying we wish her to literally break her leg or anything, but we were hoping she'd fail as miserably on stage as she did in rehearsals so the show could go back to its workshop roots and honor the talent that truly deserves the role... [MORE]

"Community’s Danny Pudi advises how to ‘Handle’ awkward encounters"

Danny Pudi is a busy man these days. In addition to starring as fan favorite Abed Nadir on NBC’s half-hour comedy, Community, he is also a new father of twins and has an independent film, My Friend Vijay, coming soon. Riding his recent wave into the pop culture zeitgeist, though, Pudi has taken on yet another project, this time one to potentially help up-and-coming storytellers, too... [MORE]

"ABC Family's Jane By Design casts Jane's mother"

Well, for all of you Jane By Design fans who thought Gray Chandler Murray (Andie MacDowell) may be Jane's (Erica Dasher) actual mother-- the resemblance is uncanny, isn't it??-- you may not love the news ABC Family has announced today. Because the network has cast her actual, long-lost mother, and it's...drumroll please...a very special Housewife... [MORE]

"Whitney Cummings heading to E! with her own talk show"

NBC-Universal really wants to make Whitney Cummings a household name and mainstream star. Despite dismal reviews and not-that-decent ratings, the peacock network has kept her self-titled sitcom, Whitney, on-air for the duration of its freshman year, and now the parent company is giving the stand-up comedienne her own talk show... [MORE]

"HBO renews Girls and Veep"

Only three episodes into their first seasons, HBO has renewed both Girls and Veep for sophomore years! ... [MORE]

Inspirational Women in the Entertainment Industry: Megan Hilty...

Veteran theater performer Megan Hilty may have gotten her starring Broadway role at an extremely young age, but for a woman who knew this is what she wanted to do from age twelve, no matter when that break came, it had to bring with it a sense of relief that all of her wants and dreams of doing this for the rest of her life actually could be a reality. In looking back on Hilty’s plans and preparations, though, her success seemed destined from those early days at twelve, taking voice lessons, realizing for the first time this was an option and she could really do this for the rest of her life. 

“I always knew I wanted to be in the arts, and in theater, even if it was behind the scenes. Anything. I just wanted to be a part of it,” Hilty told Made Possible by Pop Culture

Hilty credits her family’s support, even at a time when they didn’t quite ‘get it’ because none of them were in the entertainment business themselves, and especially her mother’s advice of taking time to “try life out” and “do some soul-searching, essentially,” for giving her the “okay,” not only to commit herself to a life that can be traditionally unstable but also to move to Southern Oregon after she graduated from high school early and work on a small production. Hilty calls that time her “two years off,” but really, she might have been working harder than most trying to support herself and still keep feeding her love of theater. Once she realized that through it all, she still really wanted to pursue this career, then she considered herself “allowed” to go to college. Many artists feel further education is unnecessary. They prefer to just throw themselves into the industry and try to get work, rather than spend “four years of training and hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans,” but Hilty credits her time at Carnegie Mellon as everything she, personally, needed. 

“There's no right way. Everybody has such a different path. If you ask any two people on Broadway-- any ten people-- they all have very different answers on how they got there. But for me, I knew that I wanted to go to a place where I could really work on making myself better,” Hilty explained. 

“I had thrown myself into it already in the ways I could as a teenager...and I learned a great amount of things from doing that, but I wanted to go to a place where, and this is going to sound so awful and pretentious, but where I could 'hone my craft.' I wanted to be better, and I wanted to be in a place that could open doors for me that I hadn't been able to bust down myself.” 

It was during her university showcase-- something she described as "auditioning for every casting director, agent, producer, everybody!" in the industry-- that led her to Wicked, after all. But even once success comes in the form of starring roles, life in the theater, let alone any artistic medium, is never truly “easy.” When you’re still working menial or otherwise unstimulating or just plain “not for you” day jobs to be able to perform in workshops that barely pay anything, Hilty feels the drive and determination to keep going has to come from you and you alone. 

“It ultimately comes from you knowing why what you're doing and why you want to do it…Really ask yourself why you want to do this. If you just want to be a star or if you want the glamorous life, you are sadly mistaken about what this really is. You have to make sure your heart is in the right place. And then you just have to be nice to people!” She astutely advised. 

Hilty may have come along way from her days as a teenager in Oregon, but she doesn’t let her marquee status change the way she sees this industry or her role in it. Hilty shared that she still does “tons of readings and workshops” during the day while performing in shows at night. She feels it’s the only way to keep working, get ahead, and stay on your toes in such an ever-changing business. And she shared she has still experienced the whole “being replaced with a mainstream star” debacle, but even that, she said, is just something you have to accept as part of this business and not let get under your skin too much. 

“You have to have a really thick skin to be in this business…It’s a harsh reality, especially in times when people aren't as willing to spend a hundred and fifty dollars on a ticket for a show if there's nothing familiar-- there's no guarantee it's going to be good. So if you know that your favorite movie star or TV star or recording artist is in that show, you're much more likely to spend money on that ticket. I get it...but it doesn't make it any less painful,” Hilty admitted. 

Through it all, Hilty also feels that surrounding yourself with honest people, even if at times that honesty is a bit painful to hear, is much more crucial than surrounding yourself with “yes men.” 

“I would much rather honesty than just blind faith any day because even a kind of criticism, I can kind of take it or leave it, but there's room to grow. That blind faith where I'm going to be a star, there's nothing to work for, and if there's nothing to work for, it's not worth it,” she said of how she continues to grow as a performer. 

Clearly, Hilty is incomparably talented, but in this business sometimes that is not enough. Surely Hilty’s her humility and ability to tap into the positivity within herself has helped carry her as far as she has already gotten, and will continue to do so because Hilty truly is in it for the long haul. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

'On Writing' with Julie Plec...

"What makes our job so complicated is that we obviously have supernatural stakes-- the death toll is reaching a hundred, danger at every act break, and villains and people battling for life and to rescue the loves of their lives-- and in the middle of all of that, we’re still intent on telling a very human story about very human people who live in a small town and go to a high school and who are falling in and out of love and dealing with issues with their parents and issues with their friends and falling in and out of love and dealing with questions of loyalty and friendship and family. The day that we lose sight of that, I think, is the day that we have to take a step back and fix ourselves because that means the balance has shifted too far to one side, and we’re not doing what we need to do."

The wisest of words from writer and executive producer Julie Plec about her current fan favorite CW series, The Vampire Diaries. In all honesty, though, that mentality of knowing what your work is at its core and holding onto that at all costs is what separates the truly great writers from the ones who are making it up as they go along. Both always show through in the material, and the former, as evident with The Vampire Diaries, always creates a richer, fuller, more actualized world to which its audience holds on just as hard.

Nothing about Plec's job, or the stories she has chosen to tell, is easy. Yet with her fast but never frenetic pacing and deep emotional arcs, she manages to set the bar higher not only for herself but any writer who may follow her in the genre and format. Perhaps through no fault of their own, newer supernatural series are finding themselves constantly compared to The Vampire Diaries, especially in tone, snappiness of dialogue, and intelligence of exposition (or hopefully, lack thereof), and time and again, they are falling short.

What sets The Vampire Diaries apart from all of the other shows in the genre is just how high the stakes are raised. Sure, the ability to have you laughing along with a Damon quip one minute and bawling your eyes out over a character death the next is unique to Plec, too, but it is really her attitude that truly no character-- not even "one, two, and three on the call sheet"-- is truly, permanently "safe" that breeds the most realistic world.

"You have to have the risk that somebody can never be seen again or the death doesn’t matter," she pointed out.

Plec's writing immerses her audience in the world of her characters through beautiful character moments set on the backdrop of some crazy and dark times. Those are the moments-- more than any epic fights or mythology reveals-- for which she finds herself fighting hardest.

"When you hand the script over to production, and they read a script that’s too long, too many scenes, and impossible to shoot with the schedule, and they see a line that says ‘Everyone gathers...' which is two lines of a fifty-page script, that’s the first thing they say you’ve got to get rid of," Plec admitted.

"That’s the equivalent of, like, a seven-page day. 'It’s expensive; it will take six hours too shoot; it’s everybody; we can’t schedule it.' And I don’t do this very often where I pitch the ‘I’m the boss, shut up,’ but [I do say] ‘Guys, I’m telling you! This one little two-line thing is the heart and soul of this episode. And one of the heart and soul moments of the season. It’s going to stay, so figure it out.’ And...they always do. That’s what makes our show so special."

But her dedication to them-- and her determination to include them in the first place, when so many other writers are about pushing the plot along at all costs-- are what makes her so special as a writer, as well.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Live-Blogging 'Supernatural's' "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo"...

- Why is Dean (Jensen Ackles) still using that flask? Shouldn't he have some respect for the deceased? I guess it would be kind of cool if he could control when Bobby (Jim Beaver) shows up, though. Call him in when you need him most, don't tap into his energy too much, etc. Of course, that might make Bobby a magic button, and this show doesn't do well with those...

- It's interesting that Bob Singer called this episode the closest to a caper that the show has ever done, and yet it's starting with such a crash course in the Leviathan mythology and plan for the season. The latter is exactly where we need to be at this point in the story, and the pace, while a bit exposition to play catch-up, is the cylinder these boys need to fire on.

- I like the idea of Bobby being jealous of Frank (Kevin R. McNally). He's such a lovable curmudgeon! Even in death.

- Aw, Dean said "baby." I love his love for that old hunk of metal.

- Am I the only one who doesn't quite trust this email actually came from Frank? To me, that's the perfect Leviathan trap!

- Oh man, I love Charlie (Felicia Day) already. The scooter; the adolescent bopping to music, the toys at her desk, the do-gooding with charity contributions from someone else's bank account...

- Ohh, so that's what I've been doing wrong. I have a problem with authority, too, but I have not set myself up as indispensable; I prefer merely to not deal with most people.

- So fired is a euphemism for "Leviathan food," right?

- Oh Charlie, you're such a nerd (I say this with love). I fear I won't get all your references.

- I'm going to encrypt my laptop with a nice game of Oregon Trail. You know, as soon as I learn how to write real code. Remember the days when the internet was all about HTML? All this user-friendly B.S. has made us dumber.

- Wait, didn't Dean already point out the middle of the death star thing?

- Personally, I'd like to see Bobby run into Dick (James Patrick Stuart) and "go vengeful." Wouldn't that solve most of their problems? Sure, they'd have to torch the flask and send Bobby away permanently, but I hate to say it, but it might be a small price to pay. Save the world and all that. You know, what the Winchesters do.

- That Harry Potter bobblehead is going to come to life soon, right? Every time they cut to an insert of it, I smell cursed object!

- The correct response from Charlie right now would be to assume Frank is a crazy man. But she's such a genre fan, she's probably going to buy into these babblings.

- I guess it would have been overkill or just plain redundant to have Charlie believe Frank's writings because she was a fangirl. But watching her reaction to the readings couldn't help but make me wonder what Day would have been like in the role of Becky...or even Sera Seige, the Carver Edlund publisher (and big book fan). I feel like she would have added a layer of credibility and stripped a little bit of the "crazy" away.

- Was her sword toy just cheaply made or is Sam (Jared Padalecki) really that...tree-like?

- Borax may not torture humans like it does Leviathans, but it's still a chemical and probably shouldn't come into direct contact with the skin. Also, who's going to clean up her floor!?

- Well, at least you can die for a cause, right, Charlie? Doesn't make you feel better? Yeah, me either. The corporate B.S. at Google would win me over in that scenario, too.

- Wait, how the hell did Bobby put his own flask in Charlie's bag? I guess he's getting really good at moving objects. 

- When did Sam have time to read or watch Harry Potter!? Hey Charlie, can you hand over the flask? I need a drink, too...

- Aw, "kick in the ass!" What a great shout-out!

- Whoa, ghost Bobby is a little creepy when he's just lurking over an unsuspecting shoulder.

- I can't help but be super curious as to which line before this flirting scene Day was referring to when she said it was the one she laughed at the hardest. It must have been the "I was drunk; it was Comic Con" one. That can imply so many scenes-- tattoo or unspoken subtext. And if you're going to play with the fun episode title, then shouldn't her tattoo actually be what the title says it is? You know, just for *some* continuity.

- He does have boobs, Dean; he's kind of a big dude.

- Too bad Charlie doesn't swing Dean's way. They'd make a perfect couple.

- I am digging the split-screen. It fits the caper style, tech-savvy nature of this episode.

- Wait, could "W1NN1NG" be an implication that Charlie Sheen is also a Leviathan?

- Oh Bobby, let's not "Yoda" anything. It's just going to distract, and potentially scare, Charlie, who has gotten on board with Leviathans but ghosts may be just out of her reach.

- Wow, she took to the whole deception thing quite quickly now. Someone found her metaphorical balls.

- Dean knows Veronica Mars!? What is going on tonight!?

- Please forgive me, but this development is just begging for it: WHAT'S IN THE BOX!?

- Wait, a Borax bomb? But this can't possibly be the end of Dick. That would be so anticlimactic. Bobby deserves to get his revenge!

- I'm not sure, should Charlie be saying thank you when Dick says he can feed every fact in her brain to someone else, but it'd be a poor substitute, still missing something? It's obviously said to be threatening, menacing, and yet, it's the highest compliment, isn't it?

- Dick's face appears to be healing pretty quickly from that Borax, but at least he's still around for Bobby to get one final blow in. I'd love to see him strike out for once. Ever since killing his wife-- that second time-- he's seemed a bit reluctant to take down some. But Dick deserves it more than most. And then he should be able to finally be reunited with his wife, right?

- Sam scooping Charlie into his arms = L.O.L. Too reminiscent of King Kong and Fay Wray?

- Wait, can Dick even see Bobby?

- Oh, never mind. But Bobby isn't a monster, Dick! And even if he turns into one taking you down, it will so be worth it. I'm not sorry, but I love it when these guys go dark. I still prefer Soulless Sam over regular Sammy, and I think I'd love Angry Spirit Bobby.

- Charlie can create any identity for herself now. What are the odds she renames herself Hermione?

- Wait, seriously; that's your closing scene? That feels so abrupt! Did you just need to tack something on to fill the time? A seriously fun ride of an episode just went out with a whimper :(

My Five Cents: More 'Community' Homage Pitches...

Now that Community has taken on the Law & Order franchise (and done so brilliantly!), I couldn't help but stop and think about what other television tropes or genre or format homages I'd love to see the show take on, you know, assuming they get the chance with a fourth season. Personally, I think this show is really firing on all cylinders during these overly ambitious and stylized episodes because in them they are proving they can walk the walk, not just talk the talk when it comes to pop culture references. If you want to be a writer in Hollywood today, you pretty much have to have a couple of spec scripts to show around to agents, managers, and showrunners that you hope will staff you. It is proof you can adapt to different voices and further shape already created characters. What Community does when it takes on an homage is turn that notion on its head, though. The writers may adapt the Greendale world to another one that came before it-- whether it be Apollo 13 (Kentucky Fried Space Bus, anyone!?) or My Dinner With Andre or even Law & Order-- but even while plunking their very specific players into this other place, they continue to further their individual emotional growth and development, as well as their relationships within the group. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of that writers' room!

Danny Pudi already pitched (at least to me) the idea of Community taking on film noir and/or a "backwards" episode ala Memento, and I have to admit, I love both of those ideas so much I'm kind of pissed I didn't think of them first! I also still love Dan Harmon's jokey pitch about an episode entirely focused on Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), to get insight into him, that starts with the study group making big plans, then the Dean enters with a crazy announcement, and we follow him the rest of the day, utilizing the tag at the end of the show to regroup with the study group and hear them all talk about the big changes that went awry. But what else, dear Community fans, what else? I sound off on my wishlist, and you should, too, in the comments below!

  • The CW's Supernatural - Strictly thinking of Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Pudi) here, I just think it would be fascinating to watch the study group deal with some spooky goings-on in Greendale. They dabbled in the surreal when a meat-born parasite took over at a Halloween party, turning the campus into zombies, and Troy has hinted at a fascination with ghost stories before. How fun would it be if he thought the ghost of Starburns, for example, was lurking, and he and Abed went "hunting" ala Sam and Dean Winchester!? I guess that would make Jeff (Joel McHale) the Bobby of the situation, always looking out for the boys with love though outwardly begrudging helping... This also works for any incarnation of Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures or even Ghostfacers.
  • A '20s, '60s, and/or '80s period piece - Any time characters get to play in another time period, there is always a lot of fun to be had with wardrobe and props and hair and make-up, but the further back in time we go here, the more Pierce (Chevy Chase) may seem relevant and fitting in the times. Watching everyone else react to how in the zeitgeist he would be would surely provide insane entertainment. But even if they "only" flashed back to a few decades ago,
  • Another musical - I loved the glee themed holiday episode, and I want to see them do it again! Only this time, a little more widely accessible by not having it match to particular religious holiday. Perhaps it could even be paired with:
  • A modern day fairytale - To give credit where credit's due, it was Yvette Nicole Brown who first implanted this idea in my mind when she was talking about Shirley's idea of romance during an interview. I guess they kind of already dove into this world when they tackled Dungeons & Dragons, so thematically, maybe what I'm really asking for here is a soap opera. Just think of the hilarity that can ensue watching a character like Britta (Gillian Jacobs) be fit into the mold of a daytime melodrama?
  • Or even a primetime one. Like Dallas. Come on, "Who Shot Pierce Hawthorne?" writes itself! Get Sony on the phone!
  • The Ocean's Franchise (but leaning closet to Ocean's Eleven because the other two went off the rails) - I just think it would be fun to see the study group in a genuine caper. I'm not saying I want them to completely rip-off the heist idea, but I wouldn't be opposed to Pierce pulling an Carl Reiner and faking a heart attack as a diversion-- only to realize this time he didn't fake it after all. Besides, this would provide a ton of "all together" scenes, which I know are beasts to film but make the fans so happy. And I'd like to see an unlikely leader emerge so Jeff doesn't get lumped into the handsome Clooney role by default.
  • A LIVE episode - Talk about being a beast to film! But I think a lot of fun could be had here with the improv and stand-up backgrounds of Rash, Glover, and McHale, and Chase's general "I don't understand what's going on here" nature. Much like how 30 Rock utilized funny doppelgangers for the tightest change-overs, Community could have a lot of fun with finding "bizzaro" versions of their players. J.P. Manoux already appeared as a Moby impersonator when the group worked the bar mitzvah, but he's a great Dean Pelton-a-like, as well! I don't really have an idea (yet ;) ) for the plot of one like this; I just think it would be a crazy good time. And I'm sure Harmon could have a lot of fun poking at the holes in the traditional sitcom structure they'd have to borrow for sets and correct technical specs for a live show.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tonight's TV Talk: 'Community', 'The Vampire Diaries', '30 Rock', and 'Parks and Recreation'...

TV Talk for Thursday, April 26th 2012

Community (NBC, 8pm) - S3, Ep14: "Basic Lupine Urology" - I just want to put this out there: I hate Law & Order. I find it repetitive and these days, reaching-- always trying to "top" themselves with crazy twists on the cases. So I had a special soft spot in my heart for the fact that Community was going to spoof (yes, I said spoof-- I choose to believe this is a parody and not an homage) the show, and I couldn't wait to learn who would take on which procedural stereotype. Thank you for not letting me down, show! Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) is the quintessential crime drama demo, so to see her embrace that and take charge of the case as the "Chief" because she knows the genre so well was invigorating. Starting the episode off with a ridiculous death (meaning the real one was still to come!) and a Mama's Family reference was even better. Abed (Danny Pudi) should have been the obvious choice to be front and center here since he was raised on TV and all that, but it's been pretty clear that his TV tastes are a little higher brow than your usual procedural, so he fell nicely into the "simple" detective who's good for a one-liner with Troy (Donald Glover) as his even simpler "needs to be explained everything through exposition in case the audience is slow" partner. Did anyone else fear, though, that once again Troy was just the sidekick to Abed's cool, "I get the zingers" lead? Britta (Gillian Jacobs) as the stuffy lab tech, genius, because stuffy lab techs are the worst. Especially because she was playing an inept one and got "Chung chunged" out of it-- or "Chang changed." Utilizing so many beloved "extra" students as potential witnesses, persons of interest, and suspects in tiny bursts opened the world as wide as New York City, and keeping each scene super short kept up with the pacing and crazy twists of today's crime shows without throwing in the annoyances of actual insane red herrings or misdirects. Jeff (Joel McHale), the cynical, silver-tongued lawyer's heart actually grew a few sizes, and he found he cared more about someone else's well-being (it's not quite the truth, but it's a start!) than winning. But then he still managed to give an epic, classic Jeff Winger speech. And then the reveal of the actual death at the end, as an aside, was just so typical Law & Order, too (which we need to talk about-- from the way the episode was going, I was convinced it would be Neil who would bite it. Just when he had finally found some happiness. But Star Burns? Now I just feel bad for his douche bag kid! How will affect the-- well, he really didn't have any friends, did he? Still, I have so many questions!!) Everything about this homage was spot-on in execution. It made me so happy. And oh my God, the credits! How did I not mention the credits sooner!? The credits are my new favorite thing ever. I want them to be my screensaver. And my ringtone. Can you make a video clip your ringtone? You win, Megan Ganz. You win TV.

The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8pm) - S3, Ep20: "Do Not Go Gentle" - I'm only going to say this once: I don't really like Alaric (Matt Davis). Never have, probbbably never will. So I was more than okay assuming he was going to bite the bullet this season (I like Davis, and I think he is perfectly cast in Cult, which I'm really hoping gets picked up because the script was fascinatingly twisty), and quite frankly I thought the send-off they gave him tonight was beautiful. Sweet, poignant, exponentially emotional and memorable-- enough to make me miss him. But then he wasn't really dead or gone, and I felt like the big group good-bye and Alaric's brave decision, and even Damon (Ian Somerhalder) trying to do the right thing with him, was invalidated. Sure, having him around in this new super-strong form adds a remarkable amount of conflict going forward but... And I get it, if he had chosen to die and then actually did, it would be Bill Forbes all over again, so that should have been the first clue that it wasn't going to "stick." Davis did kill it in this episode, as he usually does, but still. Other than that, though, this episode was full of all kinds of thrills for me, like the nods and references to the actual '20s (another flashback to which I'd love to see!) during the '20s dance, Tyler's (Michael Trevino) silly little ways of getting jealous (it proves he's still just a boy!), Bonnie's (Kat Graham) general fierceness, and the set-up for so much to come, relationship(s) wise. Stefan (Paul Wesley) may have just been in a good mood because Elena (Nina Dobrev) was warming to him, but he was cheekier with Klaus (Joseph Morgan) than I would have expected. And as "on board" with Damon (Ian Somerhalder) as I may have gotten last week, I have to say, I totally get why Elena would lean on Stefan during this tough time: he has a proven track record of being there for her and being sensitive when Damon was just snarky. I don't want to believe she needs to lean on him all of the time, but it's nice to know she can. But can I just nitpick about one thing for a minute? The spell over the school was held in place with a salt line. Why couldn't one of the regular humans like Matt (Zach Roerig) or Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) just scratch a line down it to crack it open and let Stefan and Damon and even Klaus out? Would that have just been too easy? Or is salt stronger in Mystic Falls than in every other part of the country where Supernatural has showed us, occasionally, demons can break through?

30 Rock (NBC, 8:30pm) - S6, Ep18: "Live From Studio 6H" - In the second-ever live episode, I was just hoping for Julia Louis-Dreyfus to resume her alt-Liz, but Amy Poehler was an even more amazing, if less fitting surprise! But I have to admit, in the opening moments, I was convinced Jack (Alec Baldwin) and Liz (Tina Fey) were about to break into song...and I would have been more than okay with that. I was not okay with Kim Kardashian just wandering through. Especially since she appeared to try (and severely failed at) Sadie's "You're welcome." Ugh. Way to pander. I wonder if the east coast got someone better-- or less shaky camera work. But hey, there was Cheyenne Jackson, who I had assumed was no longer involved with the show, and then there was Kristen Schaal, who I wish was no longer involved with the show. Hazel is creepy. And not in the fun way. And there was far too much of her tonight! I don't know, maybe it was because this idea wasn't new anymore, but everything seemed off. For one thing, the basic theme of live TV changing everyone's life and therefore deserving to stay is not a given. Art evolves with the times, and if the times have evolved past live TV, we have to accept that, move over, and make room for the next wave. To stay stuck in any old medium or mentality never breeds anything good. And sometimes, a long-running show just needs something new to breathe new life into it. If TGS is as inconsistent as 30 Rock has felt this season, maybe that's what both shows need. Besides, Liz should have never fell for Kenneth's (Jack McBrayer) "Tracy found out about internet porn" because they've done story points with Tracy's internet porn habits before-- she knows he knows its there-- to get her into the episode long situation anyway. Everyone was shoved in Tracy's (Tracy Morgan) dressing room during the last live show, too, by the way. And of course, there was attention drawn to how Jane Krakowski punctuates her last line in every scene. You don't notice things like that when you have editors looking out for you. What did work for me was the simple sketch style, like a snappier SNL, namely the Leo Spacemen (Chris Parnell) commercials, rotating Fred Armisen, and Paul's (Will Forte) Zou Bizou Bizou moment (that's the right name, right?). A part of me did wish there were more special guest stars in the actual sketches to which Kenneth was calling back because for some reason it was a bit weird for me to see the usual behind-the-scenes players suddenly, well, playing on stage with Tracy. But for the record, I would watch an entire variety show from Young Tracy (Donald Glover). And I would definitely watch those sketches again with a rotating guest every week. Maybe SNL can license them from Fey; they're better than just about everything SNL has churned out recently.

Parks and Recreation (NBC, 9:30pm) - S4, Ep20: "The Debate" - I guess I had blocked out the fact that people other than Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd) were running for this election because when there were three other people at the podiums-- even though one was Buddy Garrity-- all I wanted to do was fast-forward through the crazy quips and get to the real battle. Of course, the fact that it wasn't all about Leslie and Bobby perfectly set up the flaws in Leslie's debate plan when she opened with an attack that blind-sided him, and a number of people who know her to be as in love with candy as his family is, though for very different reasons. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop-- for Jennifer (Kathryn Hahn) to not be worried about his performance because she had someone in his ear, literally feeding him verbatim lines to say aloud. I figured it would be a Surrogate situation, where the guy on the other end coughed or said something to someone else that Bobby mistook for part of the script and repeated on stage, therefore revealing the scheme. But I'm kind of glad it wasn't so simplistic and "sitcom-y" as that. Her closing speech was perfect, and Bobby's relieved reaction at the debate just being over so he could party at his dad's house like a high school kid was perfect, as well. I was also a little taken aback by how just last week Ann (Rashida Jones) said she loved Tom (Aziz Ansari) (though she may have just loved his apartment) and this week they were broken up for good. Their relationship was always hot and cold like that but with so much of it taking place off-screen, it felt a little abrupt. I hope they don't throw Chris (Rob Lowe) and Ann back together just as quickly. He seems to have made his peace with potentially losing his job if it means he can date Ann, but first of all, Ben (Adam Scott) and Leslie already did that, and second of all, that would imply Bobby is going to win. I would much prefer the complication to be Leslie wins the election, Chris keeps his job and realizes he wouldn't choose her over his job when their relationship was rocky in the past. You can't have that many "too good to be true" guys on one show! I mean, I know they're small town dudes, but come on! Andy (Chris Pratt) acting out his favorite movies was gold, and I would watch a whole web series about that. I hope there were many more-- maybe some unexpected ones, like rom-coms-- that will make the DVD extras.

Additional Examiner Notes: MTV Picks Up 6 New Shows; 'Fringe' Renewed For One Final Time; Julie Plec Teases Finale Two 'The Vampire Diaries' Episodes...

"MTV picks-up 6 new shows, announces S2 premiere for Teen Wolf"

MTV hosted their Upfront presentation earlier today, announcing the return of fan favorite summer series Awkward. and Teen Wolf, as well as unveiling a new slew of programming, which perhaps surprisingly, is an equal mix of scripted and reality programming... [MORE]

"FOX confirms a Fringe fifth but final season"

Get ready, Fringe fans: we have some bittersweet news for you. While FOX confirmed a fifth season for the acclaimed genre series will be coming for the 2012-2013 season, it is also the final one... [MORE]

"Julie Plec previews The Vampire Diaries, after the Alaric revelation" 

“Alaric wants the originals dead, and the very first thing we see at the head of the next episode is Alaric at the high school where Caroline and Rebecca are having a little post-dance clean-up, so things only get worse from there!” ... [MORE]

From LA Examiner: 'The Vampire Diaries', 'The Secret Circle', 'Community', and 'Supernatural' Spoilers; 'Saving Hope' Photos; Awkward' S2 Return Date & Teases...

"The Vampire Diaries' Julie Plec teases the kick off of Elena's decision"

"Stefan’s whole struggle, obviously this year, was that he was hanging on by such a very, very short thread for the first half of the season, and then he lost his mind for a nice chunk in the middle, and so he’s been terrified of opening back up and letting those feelings in," The Vampire Diaries executive producer Julie Plec pointed out after an advance press screening of the next all-new episode, "Do Not Go Gentle," in Los Angeles earlier today... [MORE]

"The Secret Circle’s Shelley Hennig spills about tapping into her own dark magic" 

The Secret Circle finally revealed the identity of the second Blackwell child-- and Cassie’s (Britt Robertson) sister-- to be Diana (Shelley Hennig). Though there was much speculation back and forth about who the child would turn out to be, most assumed it couldn’t possibly be Diana, since all season long we have seen her have a quite close relationship with her (now only assumed) father Charles (Gale Harold). If there’s one take-away from this season of The Secret Circle, though, it is that when magic is involved, things are never quite what they seem... [MORE

"FIRST LOOK PHOTOS: Erica Durance & Daniel Gillies in Saving Hope"

This summer NBC will be debuting a new Canadian medical drama, positively titled Saving Hope. The series stars Daniel Gillies, Erica Durance, and Michael Shanks as good-hearted, though somewhat cocksure surgeons at Hope-Zion Hospital. When Shanks' Chief of Surgery Charlie Harris ends up in a coma following a bad accident, the hospital is left in chaos. Fellow surgeon (and Charlie's fiance) Alex (Durance) is in shock, and the newly arrived "golden boy" surgeon Joel (Gillies) is thrown into action mode before he even knows the ways of their world. Sound intense? Oh, it gets more complicated! ... [MORE]

"Community's Danny Pudi teases the Law & Order homage & Greendale death"

Sing it with us, Community fans: "Troy and Abed as de-tec-tives!" That's what you can expect from tonight's Law & Order homage episode, one that series star Danny Pudi told LA TV Insider Examiner was one of his favorite storylines of the entire third season-- right up there with the multiple timelines and taking Annie (Alison Brie) into the Dreamatorium.... [MORE]

Felicia Day is the queen of geek goddessry and a self-admitted fangirl, so it makes perfect sense that she should find herself guest starring on a series known for its own avid fangirls: The CW’s Supernatural. In “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo,” Day plays Charlie, a female hacker who, in her words, “captures the real voice of a geek in a fandom" ... [MORE]

MTV heard your cries, Awkward. fans! They know just how impatiently you’ve been waiting for the second season of Lauren Iungerich’s teen comedy-- to find out what Jenna (Ashley Rickards) will do now that she knows who wrote the carefrontation letter and just how everyone at school will react to new couple Jake (Brett Davern) and Jenna. As it turns you, you won’t have to wait much longer, as today MTV announced during their upfront event that season two of Awkward. will premiere on June 28th... [MORE]

Defining Your '90s Girlhood...

Today seems to be the day for nostalgia! After taking a trip down memory lane for those FOX galleries, I stumbled upon TresSugar's own gallery of 1990s staples. At 240 photos, it ranges from everything consumer goods to teen heartthrobs that little girls (and some boys) grew up with in the decade that was my own personal heyday. I counted 189 items that I once owned and am now kicking myself for not keeping-- even if they are still not really worth anything.

Click here for "240 Reasons Why Being a '90s Girl Rocked Our Jellies Off." 

But I can think of quite a few more items and icons that I would have added if I had been the one to create the slideshow. Admittedly, some of them may be bleed over from the '80s, but hey, every generation recycles a little!

Where was Scream or California Dreams or Recess or Tiny Toons or even Ghostwriter on this list? I refuse to believe I was the only one  as greatly influenced by them as I was. What teenager making the shift from cassettes to portable CD players didn't have at least the first volume of "Jock Jams" blasting during their bus rides to and from camp!? And I was sad to see Ace of Base or the Snap! single "Rhythm is a Dancer" didn't make TresSugar's cut, either :(

(Embarrassing true story: Snap! was the first CD I ever bought...strictly for that song. This was before I knew what a "single" was. We listened to it a lot in my dance class.)

Food wise, I still wonder what chugging Clear Pepsi and Orbitz soda while crunching on handfuls of Bugles and Candy Cigarettes (gum or sugar-- the chocolate ones were nowhere to be found by the '90s in my neigborhood :( ) did to my insides, but wasn't the Good Humor truck a big deal in your neighborhoods, as well? I still eat Pringles and Dunkaroos, though I'm glad to say I gave up Funyuns a long time ago.

And while I understand Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages may have originated in an earlier decade, so did Pogs, and the latter made the list due to the popular resurgence, so the former should have, as well. I also-- and maybe this was just limited to me-- used to collect those Claire's keychains that were basically miniature versions of real working things, like the mini-Etch-a-Sketch or MagnaDoodle (the real one, like Joey and Chandler hung on the back of their apartment door).

My friends and I used to spend hours playing with Fisher Price kitchen and playhouse sets, Barbie Jeeps, and the games Crack The Case, Dateline, and Electric Dream Phone, as well as with our individual Casio "My Magic Diaries," which I still consider the very first smartphone. Sure, it couldn't actually make calls, but do any of us use our current smartphones as phones anyway!? And then as we got a little bit older and a little bit farther into the decade, there were pagers and beepers and actual brick-sized cell phones...on which I loved to play Snake.

I have to hand it to TresSugar, though. They may have started me on a tangent, but they knew the perfect way for me to relax a bit after a really busy day. And by digging up photos of Disney Handheld Games, Littlest Pet Shop, and Quints Dolls, they had me remembering not just things but actual events and moments in my life that I had long since put out of my mind and didn't even realize I had forgotten.

What were your favorite parts of the '90s, or whichever decade, really, made up the bulk of your childhood? Sound off in the comments below!

'90210' & 'Melrose Place' Blasts Back From My Childhood's Past...

In honor of FOX' 25th Anniversary, I was commissioned by my editor at to look back on two fan favorite (and generation defining) series from the fourth major network and create Where Are They Now? galleries. The casts of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place were so large, and ever-evolving, in their lengthy runs that unfortunately not everyone could make the final cut, but I still had a ton of fun on these two beasts of photo galleries, and I wanted to share them with all of you.

"Ah screw it, I [still] miss Melrose Place!"


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From LA Examiner: Photos of Felicia Day on 'Supernatural'; 'The Voice' Finalists To Meet & Greet Fans in LA...

Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) have met a lot of ordinary people that have helped or otherwise changed them along their journey on Supernatural, but they have never met anyone quite like Charlie (Felicia Day), a hacker who is currently under the employ of Dick Roman (James Patrick Stuart)! ... [MORE]

"The Voice finalists to meet & greet fans in Los Angeles" 

If you're a fan of The Voice but have been bummed to not be able to be in the studio audience for any of the live show tapings, NBC just may have the event for you! On May 3rd, right here in Los Angeles, the finalists (one performer left standing from Teams Adam, Blake, CeeLo, and Christina) will perform LIVE at Universal Citywalk and meet and greet their fans! ... [MORE]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

'The Voice' Live Performances Week 4...

Tonight, live from Los Angeles, the four remaining The Voice artists from Team Adam and Team CeeLo took the stage to sing for America’s vote, but just like Team Christina and Team Blake that came before them last week, not all eight of these aspiring artists would get the chance to see how much the public loved them. At the end of the episode, there would be only six remaining in total, as each coach was forced to cut one team member before host Carson Daly said goodnight... [MORE]

"The Voice's Pip on his upcoming album & collaborating with Ashley De La Rosa"

"This whole show has kind of just been one big launchpad, hopefully into something bigger and better," tonight's eliminated The Voice contestant Pip (from Team Adam) told LA TV Insider Examiner when we caught up with him on the red carpet here in Los Angeles... [MORE

"The Voice's James Massone: "I knew I was going home tonight" 

The smooth-singing James Massone met and worked with his idol CeeLo Green during his time on The Voice, so although tonight that experience proved to be short-lived, it is one Massone wouldn't trade for the world. Before The Voice, he was working in his family's auto shop, fixing cars, and seemed to be his future. It's a good living, but it wasn't Massone's dream. Standing on stage in front of a live Los Angeles studio audience-- and America watching at home-- and winning fans, especially a lot of young girls, Massone got to see his dream realized and was given the platform to grow and come into his own as a singer so that he could do the kinds of music he truly has in his heart... [MORE]

"The Voice’s Team Adam and Team CeeLo lose two more members"

After a two-hour television event that included throwback performances from Team Adam and Team CeeLo on The Voice last night, the coaches ultimately had to send home one member of each of their teams. The competition was stiff across the board, making very difficult decisions for the coaches, indeed, but in the end, their eliminations only made it that much harder for America’s saves later that evening... [MORE

"CeeLo Green on The Voice instant eliminations & upcoming semi-final round"

CeeLo Green has two powerhouse singers left on his season two team of The Voice and he has big plans for both of them-- on the show and after, when they make their albums. Green has kept in close contact with his finalist from season one, Vicci Martinez, during her own recording process, and just last night when he eliminated James Massone, he told him he'd be there for him in the industry. But for now, all eyes are on Jamar Rogers and Juliet Simms and Green himself as the man behind them... [MORE]

Tonight's TV Talk: 'The L.A. Complex'...

TV Talk for Tuesday, April 24th 2012 - Tonight it was all about one show for me. What was unfortunately written off as a low-rent Melrose Place reboot copy actually turned out to be the smartest new drama on TV. And the version of Melrose Place they should have made the first time. After all, it's real. It's a bunch of struggling artists doing what they do to stay afloat-- not somehow living above their means in a luxurious courtyard apartment they can't possibly afford, wearing designer duds they would have had to steal to obtain. And it's aimed at teens. Who knew!? 

The LA Complex (The CW, 9pm) - S1, Ep1: "Down in LA" - The devil's in the details in relationship dramas, and this is one is chock full of pertinent ones to the way this town works that it's a wonder the writers are up in Canada, working in a very different entertainment environment. First of all, starting with the title, it's just so smart! Yes, it refers to the actual motel complex in which these up-and-comers live, but it also points out that "complex" the city can give you. Cheeky? Clever? Or am I just giddy that finally the show I looked for my whole childhood finally made it onto TV?

The L.A. Complex writers and producers mastered what so many who are actually here in L.A. (and maybe therefore too close to it?) can't. Not only did the show match the frantic pace of this town by starting snappily, flitting back and forth to a number of its main players as we are thrust into their world, introduced to the shit they have to go through just to struggle in Hollywood, but it also shined a light on so many of the little things that people with stars in their eyes take for granted. Raquel (Jewel Staite) wanting to read for an age-appropriate role, only to be forced into a box the industry has made for her; Abby (Cassie Steele) using her sheer determination to stay another day because that next day might be "the one" for her; Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore) finally achieving what all his friends are striving for-- and first-- and being slapped in the face with just how lonely it can be (the scene at the end of with him alone in the dark, new house was eerily reminiscent of Bryan Greenberg in Unscripted). And it was all done in passing, just as parts of these people's days, rather than story defining plot points. That's what made it shine so brightly, feel so real, and yes, read so brilliantly. It's my blog, and I'll fangirl if I want to!

I didn't expect to fall head over heels in love with this show, but that's exactly what happened. And all within the first few minutes. Sure, there were some soapy elements, but even they proved to punch powerfully comedic in the end. The "I didn't use a condom because I was high so now we better get Plan B" felt a little after school special to me...until it set up a comedic complication for Abby at her audition. But it wasn't just a means to an end, in my opinion. Watching Abby perform the hell out of that song for her favorite director, even (or especially) when she wasn't feeling one hundred percent proved to me just how talented she is. And she was just lucky she happened to be in the nicest director in Hollywood's office. The man was practically Spielberg! In Hollywood there is a fine line between those who are good but haven't had the right timing or luck or connections to "break" just yet versus those who may be really hungry for it, or may just be big dreamers, but who may not have the chops to back up said dreams. This immediately set Abby in the former category and made the desire to root for her that much stronger. She's good. She may be really good. She deserves to go onto great things, and now, as an audience, we want to see her do that. She's fighting hard; she's not making dumb decisions career-wise; she can do this-- if this town will let her. For anyone who's even the slightest bit creative-- or anyone who's felt on the edge of something at all-- this is what grounds this show the most and makes the stakes so high. It's a bit of identification; you want to see Abby do well so you can believe your time is right around the corner, too. 

But of course not everyone can be as talented and just unlucky as Abby. Enter Nick (Joe Dinicol). When Paul F. Tompkins and Mary Lynn Rajskub told him to just quit, I couldn't help but nod along. Nick isn't a good comedian, and that's okay. He just needs to own up to his shortcomings and either use them to make his material better or he needs to move on and find something else he's passionate about. I don't actually get the sense that he's passionate about comedy at all; I get the sense that he was a kind of nerdy kid who made bad jokes in school to try to befriend the popular kids. They threw him some pity laughs, and he decided to go with it. But his "sets," if you can call them that, aren't real-- they're not about anything, let alone him. There's nothing to connect to because he himself feels disconnected, like he's just floating along, going through the motions. He's not good, but he's spinning his wheels. When he said "We all should have heard by now," I couldn't help but retort "Well, all but you."

Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson), on the other hand, is the one making dumb decisions. Sending his track to Drake is one thing, even though he was going behind a very powerful man's back. But putting his boss' name on it basically just means his boss is getting credit for something he did not create, and Tariq still has no proof of just how good he is. He has his name on nothing; he's still "just" an intern. That's no way to get ahead. His misguided naivety worries me for the bad decisions he will surely make in the future. 

Raquel, so far, is hands down my favorite. There's something so sad about a woman who was told she was going to have it all once, a long time ago, and is still hopefully holding onto the idea, even though everything since is proving otherwise. Some might say she needs to grow up and move on, but what is Hollywood if not a playground for those somewhat suspended in an adolescent state, even if just an emotional one? She's been hardened by her years of nothing happening, unreturned phone calls, rejected auditions from even those who she once called friends. She may be a cautionary tale, in some ways, to the rest of these kids at The Lux, but that's what makes this show so well-rounded: it shows all sides to this industry. And it does so without glamorizing any of it. But maybe she's my favorite right now because I identify most with Raquel-- the uncertainty of how good I may actually be after people pumping me up but no industry actions to prove their praise, and the sheer desire. 

The color blind casting situation she found herself in? Priceless. And something on the forefront of my mind right now as I prepare to pitch my pilot. Something I'm also working on for a feature article. Raquel was right, as inappropriately blunt as she put it in the waiting room: the sassy black BFF who helps the white girl with her issues is not a reflection of reality. As a friend of mine says: "Black girls have problems, too!" I'm not a fan of diversity for diversity's sake, but I'm also not a fan of nepotism or friends pulling favors the way Raquel wanted everyone from Connor to the producers of that (ironic) new CW show to do for her. But both are strong commentaries on the way this industry works. Does anyone really know what they're doing? Or they all just fake it, surround themselves with people they think will make them look good and support them when they don't?

Thankfully, though a little late (but still better than never, right?) Raquel is finally proving she does (know what she's doing) by taking charge of her own career by finding a script that is perfect for her and trying to get it made (even if it did kind of fall in her lap in the first place). And maybe it's because I need my own Raquel-- someone to walk my stuff into an agency or a studio and believe in me, even if it's just because I'm a way to get him or her back in the Hollywood relevancy. Regardless, Raquel is a huge part of why I'm so hooked on this show. I literally cannot wait for new episodes, and I am seriously hoping you all watched and loved as much as I did so The CW sees its appeal and picks up the next batch that are currently shooting in Canada.

But even if you're not into the whole industry insight, there are ample things to grasp onto and relate to here. You could pluck any one of these characters from their artistry and put them down in another situation, another career setting, another location, and they'd hold up just as strongly. Hollywood or not, they're only human. It seems to be a trend these days to focus on the "lost" twenty-somethings of the world, but those on The L.A. Complex aren't aimless or lazy or entitled. They're all clinging desperately to hope and a dream. It fuels them; it lights their fire; and theoretically, when they achieve it, it should make them whole. They are hyper driven and focused; they are passionate and free-spirited. In a way, they are what we all should strive to be.

From LA Examiner: Jim Beaver Spills More 'Supernatural' Spoilers; 'Veep' Deleted Scene; Jonathan Patrick Moore Analyzes 'The L.A. Complex'; 'The Lying Game' Renewed...

Now that Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) can finally see Bobby (Jim Beaver), at least some of the time, on Supernatural, it isn’t one big happy reunion. They don’t really have the time for hugs and heart-to-hearts, after all, what with the Leviathan battle staring them down the face. So the boys may be disappointed that Bobby has chosen to stick around-- and they may not be sure how much they can really trust a vengeful spirit... [MORE

"Veep Deleted Scene: Julia Louis-Dreyfus doesn't leave viewers hanging"

If you tuned into Julia Louis-Dreyfus' new comedy series on HBO, Veep, last night, you undoubtedly caught the comedy legend in what could potentially be her best role, if not yet most iconic. Louis-Dreyfus stars as Vice President Selina Meyer, a woman who puts her foot in her mouth more often than not and has staffed her support team with those who bumble in their own rights. She is politically incorrect and shrewd about the seeming ridiculous... [MORE]

If you were an up-and-coming actor just trying to land that first part that will take you out of poverty-- out of a crummy apartment and day-to-day financial struggling-- and you found yourself the lead of a network television show, you’d be jumping for joy, right? You’d be thrilled to have finally achieved the success you wanted and to be given the opportunity to show the world just how talented you know you are, right? Well, then you might not have much in common with The L.A. Complex’ Connor Lake (Jonathan Patrick Moore). Because unlike those around him who seem so gut-wrenchingly sure they are amazing, he actually constantly worries he isn’t good enough-- and that landing this role on a nighttime medical soap (he’s The CW’s McDreamy, you guys!) was a fluke despite going through eight tests and convincing everyone from casting directors to producers to the network executives themselves that he could do it... [MORE]

"ABC Family announces The Lying Game season two"

ABC Family announced today the official pick-up of the second season of the acclaimed drama series The Lying Game. The new season will begin production this summer for a winter premiere. It seemed pretty obvious the show would return, but it's nice to have official confirmation, right? ... [MORE]