Thursday, May 31, 2012

From LA Examiner: Jewel Staite Teases New 'LA Complex' Drama; 'Saving Hope' Advance Review...

In the final few moments of The L.A. Complex’ summer (editor’s note: ridiculously short!) season finale, Raquel (Jewel Staite) received a bombshell by way of positive pregnancy test. The struggling actress seemed just finally on the edge of greatness-- finding a role that would be perfect for her and scraping together interest and funds at all costs-- only to have it potentially be ripped out from under her once again. How different would Raquel’s life look with a baby on her hip around The Lux!? We’re not saying she’s definitely going to keep it, but regardless, we want to know who the baby daddy is, so naturally, we went right to the source... [MORE]

"Sizzling Summer TV Preview: NBC’s Saving Hope"

The first thing you should probably know about the doctors of NBC’s new Canadian medical drama import, Saving Hope, is that they have questionable judgment. They may be noble, and they may always put their medical board code ahead of their own well being, but they are human like the rest of us, and that means they will make mistakes. Still, Saving Hope will ask you to suspend disbelief and forgive these little mistakes as just a part of the process to become better people, let alone doctors... [MORE]

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

'The L.A. Complex' "Burns Down" My Emotions...

Coming full circle with the second episode of this series-- the one in which I really fell in love with the show because it proved the pacing and colorful characters were not just a gimmick used to lure you in for the pilot-- "Burn It Down" was all about Kaldrick King (Andra Fuller) for me. Sure, on paper, it was also a lot about Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore), and Raquel (Jewel Staite), and even Nick (Joe Dinicol), and we'll get to them in a second, but after backing Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson) against a  wall in the parking lot last week, I felt like the show may have hit a wall for that relationship in general. And then they, ahem, burned it down.

Kal broke all of his rules for Tariq-- for reasons that still somewhat leave me scratching his head. Forget not getting involved with someone at California, or someone at work, how about not showing up to your D.L. boyfriend's crap shack of an apartment, where everyone knows who you are and everyone has a camera phone? And how about not disappearing inside with him where the walls are paper thin? Kal has other people to worry about besides his "boys" at the studio. He can convince them of believing anything, but if some filmmaker wannabe gets crafty with a FlipCam, TMZ would be all over that in a second.

The minute Kal and Tariq started making out in the studio, I knew an interruption was imminent. And that meant I knew Kal would out Tariq and blame him for coming onto him. I did not know he would start pummeling the kid to within an inch of his life. Maybe I underestimated his anger and how much he would do for show (he did go to prison, but that always felt more like an anecdote), or maybe I assumed one of the other guys would step in and break it up sooner, and Kal would just rant and rave and yell like a tough guy. But I guess the scene, as disturbing as it was (I mean, really, Kal is in the next thirteen episodes, but how does a character come back from that? Tariq can't have so little self-respect he takes the dude back, right? Then where does Kal fit in? No, really, where? I NEED TO KNOW NOW!), absolutely could not have played out any other way. The sheer pain on Fuller's face while he was screaming an obscenity at Tariq said more about how he feels about himself than any page-long monologue-- even any four minute song-- ever could.

Though, let's talk about "Hard Times" for a second because I need it on my iPod. I wonder how much Kal can really write about his experiences-- with Tariq or in general-- before people start to read between the lines. Hip-hop is all about being real and true to who you are and your experiences, and that means actual storytelling and limited metaphors...

Moving on to Nick, as promised, though, while I was happy to see him finally achieve a monocum of happiness in his personal life at the same time as a dollop of success in his professional one, I hate that he had to be Carlos Mencia to do so. I mean, his bedtime banter with Sabrina (Georgina Reilly) was cute and showed how he may need a writing partner to actually bring out the best in him-- and tell him when he's being lame-- but why he thought it was okay to use that material on stage was beyond me. There was literally a People's Court that started this way! Then again, when he got off-stage, she was mad because she had been planning to use it, so had she gone first I would have been mad at her. It's intellectual property; if neither of you can claim it completely, you either have to share it or agree no one can use it. You at least have to acknowledge and discuss the fact that you each want to use it because you think you can. Yikers. I like Sabrina a lot, though, and much better for Nick than Abby (Cassie Steele), so I hope he can sack up and apologize, and they can find a way to move past this. If nothing else, maybe they can start writing a screenplay together. I can see it now: quirky independent off-beat rom-com!

Oh, Abby! Speaking of Abby, her speech in the audition had me nodding along and grinning so hard. I've never attempted to be a professional actor, but I've been on the other side of the casting enough to totally get where she was coming from, and I'm sure a number of my actor friends can relate to always wanting to say the things she did but fearing they'd never work again if they did. Though because this is TV, I'm sure Abby's "spirit" will land her another audition, if not the gig itself. Hell, she managed to throw up in an audition earlier and not get blacklisted.

This show moves so fast, it's kind of crazy to think that initial audition of hers was only six weeks ago (in our timeline). In theirs, it seems to be a bit shorter. It's apropos, though: this town is all about timing, and things can literally change in an instant for a person. Look at Alicia (Chelan Simmons). She was down about not getting that Usher tour gig in the first episode, assuming they would call her immediately if she got it. Since then she released a sex tape, shot her first "real" porn, and slept her way onto a different tour. But then she did get the call from Usher-- well, his people. Clearly she wasn't their first choice since that audition was over a month ago, but still. If she had just had a little faith and stuck it out stripping a little longer, she wouldn't have had to spiral as far as she did for the same results. But hindsight, right? Or maybe she'll realize dancing background for Usher is not as exciting and lucrative as porn anyway. Maybe in a few more episodes, we'll see her making appearances at adult film conventions and winning golden phallus awards. Perspective is a tricky thing in this business, and when you lose sight of it, well, she has to hit bottom before she can claw her way back up to the top.

Speaking of hitting bottom, I just want to pick Connor up and put him in my pocket and give him hugs, randomly, to let him know he's loved. For the first time tonight, when he was lying in the hospital, humbled by the scar on his face, and he told the doctor he needed to go back on his prescription, I really saw that he had a chance. Maybe he wasn't such a lost cause after all. Of course, that was coupled with him ultimately getting rewarded for his bad behavior by not only not being fired from his show but getting an even bigger and better storyline, having his scarring written into the series. Way to enable, Hollywood! He may not have physically made those cuts on his face himself, but he still caused them nonetheless, and I cringed the minute he was released (too early, in my opinion) from that hospital-- which, I'm sorry, but this dude is a TV star with great insurance, so why was he relegated to the pop up tent hospital? That place did not look clean. Anyway, sending him home to his empty house was a recipe for disaster. They didn't magically cure him. They stitched him up and gave him a new bottle of pills, but that's just treating the symptoms. The fire seemed a tame choice thus far, yet I'm sure it's just another thing the people around him will sweep under the rug or spin to show he's the TV star who's just having the worst possible (probably victim-like) luck.

Knowing what I know now, after this episode, suddenly last week's drunken ramblings about Mansour, or however Connor would have spelled his unborn fetus' name, seem a lot more poetic than mere drunken ramblings: they were foreshadowing of Raquel's negative experience with a positive pregnancy test. This leaves me with so many questions: will she tell Connor he's the dad or will she lie and tell Gary he's the dad? Would she ever consider keeping the kid and achieving fame by being a celebrity mom, or will she see it as just another obstacle standing in her way of the perfect part? This show just got so juicy, and there's no official, confirmed return date for The CW just yet. They better get on that or I will move to Canada just to be able to watch TV.

That's a totally valid reason to apply for a visa, right?

From LA Examiner: 'Jane By Design', 'Rizzoli & Isles', and 'Franklin & Bash' Season Premiere Advance Reviews...

"Jane By Design’s return sees new complications & eye candy for Jane Quimby"

When return to the fabulous and precocious world of Jane Quimby (Erica Dasher) in ABC Family’s breakout series Jane By Design this summer, two months have passed for the aspiring fashionista. Starting to struggle a bit more at school but still strive for more responsibility at her “internship,” Jane is overwhelmed by a lot of things. And Billy’s (Nick Roux) return may make or break just how she can handle her ever-evolving crazy life... [MORE]

"Rizzoli & Isles has fun, takes lots of liberties with third season premiere"

Since almost the beginning of Rizzoli & Isles’ series run on TNT, we have been asking ourselves-- and the stars when we interview them-- just how Maura (Sasha Alexander) and Jane (Angie Harmon) manage to stay friends when Jane is as brash and eye-rolly (yes, we know that’s not a real word) towards her as she is. For some reason, we were led to believe they had been childhood friends (it must be the pictures of younger versions of them in the opening credits), and so we’d write it off as something you forgive in a friend you’ve known forever. It would take something much bigger to walk away from the relationship then. It was their differences, too, at times that made them have fun with each other, and it takes something much bigger than occasional annoyances to walk away from a relationship, especially when you are so particular about your ways and the people you let in your life. But apparently, in the case of these two women, it takes one shooting the other’s father to do it... [MORE]

"Franklin & Bash find themselves on the other side of the antics in season two"

One of the things that always stood out to us the most about TNT’s buddy law drama, Franklin & Bash, was that although the titular characters (played by Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, respectively) were laid-back guys who loved to party with some beers and babes in the hot tub, they were not completely overgrown children. When they needed to get the job done in court, they did so with flavor and fervor. It wasn’t a chore or a hassle or an exercise in physical comedy to watch these guys get up late and go to work; no, they were always prepared mentally and physically-- dressed to the nines to impress and put on a show. They just truly know how to live life: working hard and partying harder... [MORE]

Top Ten Pilots of the 2012-2013 Television Season...

This time last year I brought you my list of favorite pilots for the new television season, though I labeled it a bit more broadly to take the "I" out of reporting and hope you'd check out the trailers and my previews with less bias. They were a combination of which pilot episodes I thought were best executed from their scripts and which showed the most promise for the subsequent episodes to unfold. Admittedly, my track record wasn't great: only six of the ten shows are making it to this next television season. But there's a method to my madness, and so I am repeating the list again here and now for the 2012-2013 television season.

10) Cult (The CW, Mid-Season) - This is my 2012 Ringer, and I mean that in the best possible way for now and sincerely hope that it doesn't go the actual way of Ringer as the season goes on. See, this is one story that I think has a fascinating concept, even if it may be too meta for some. It's big and bold and can potentially be creepy and uber-fun. Is it one big conspiracy theory or some obsessive compulsive types taking things a bit too far? Admittedly the sense of questioning what's real might be nice to play with for a little while, but the audience is already ahead of the main character in the pilot, which allows us to play detective around him. It's leaning a bit more toward cheesy soap opera with a twist right now, and I'm okay with that, too, as long as the show embraces it and fully commits rather than trying to pretend it is ten times smarter than its audience. Because if any show knows how creative and crafty fans can be, it is this one!

9) Elementary (CBS, Fall) - Admittedly this retelling of Sherlock Holmes seems to be just another piece to CBS' "no risk" crime drama formula, but it is darker than the ones they are currently airing, and therefore it is intriguing all anew.  It takes the "quirky" of their Patrick Janes and mixes it with the hotness of their Steve McGarretts and wraps it up with a dense case of the week worthy of any CSI. But the lead characters are both damaged enough to keep things interesting even when away from work.

8) Last Resort (ABC, Fall) - This is one tightly written and expertly crafted pilot, but admittedly for much of the time, you may not have any idea what these characters, on-board a U.S. submarine, are saying. All that really matters, though, is that they are going rogue-- because they question an order that sounds like it will threaten the safety of thousands of innocent people. So they're heroes, too, and in today's tense political climate, don't we all want people who aren't afraid to step out of line if it means keeping their morality and sanity? Smartly, there is also no feeling of cabin fever with this pilot because they get off the sub and introduce a new island adventure.

7) The Mindy Project (FOX, Fall) - There are a couple of surprising, laugh-out-loud moments that make me think this comedy about a woman who focused hard to get what she wanted out a professional life but left her personal one in the dust can be this season's much less annoying New Girl.

6) How To Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life (ABC, Mid-Season) - This is one comedy about a woman who still has a lot of growing up to do that is quirky but not for quirky's sake. Perhaps that is a testament to the cast assembled because even when they are doing completely ridiculous things, they have no sense of whimsy on their faces; they are entirely committed to playing these off-beat characters that you can't help but go with it. It's inappropriate comedy, this season's Don't Trust The B..., and it is the most comfortable and grounded I've seen Sarah Chalke in a long time. And honestly, I'm just happy to see Sarah Chalke on TV again.

5) Arrow (The CW, Fall) - Stephen Amell is going to be a huge star. There is a lot of disbelief that has to be suspended with any superhero show, but with an actor like Amell in the titular role, it is easy to do just that. There is so much care taken with this pilot, from setting up who Oliver was before the boat trip, to the hows and the whys of his Robin Hood-ing today, this one feels like an epic, like they are already planning for an eight or nine year run. And if every episode is as thoughtful and carefully paced as the pilot, I will be wholeheartedly in for the long haul in a way I never expected. Plus, Amell and Katie Cassidy are what invented was made for.

4) The New Normal (NBC, Fall) - Ryan Murphy has created a grown up Kurt and Blaine and given them the bug for a baby in this surprising half-hour comedy. But what makes the show unique and both funny and touching is the family they create while waiting for the baby. Sure, Ellen Barkin's "Not-Nana" is sassy and uncouth, but she has her reasons, and when you learn them, you can't help but feel bad for her more than any of the other characters-- even if she would shoot you for such pity. What perhaps works best about this show is that it feels like it was an hour-long that was cut down; all the fat has been trimmed, and all that is left is joy.

3) The Following (FOX, Mid-Season) - Kevin Williamson set the bar high this year with a dark, twisted script that in no way seemed like it could work on network television. But thankfully the team assembled to create the pilot didn't f--- it up! Kevin Bacon isn't as grizzled as I envisioned him, but I have no doubt he'll get there as episodes unfold, and he has more and more trouble tracking the serial killer disciples of his nemesis. This show feeds the procedural need in much of FOX' audience by offering a "case of the week" with a murder or kidnapping, but at its core its much more about the mental games and the subconscious connection between two men who are on the edge. They say there is a thin line between cop and criminal, and you will never see that picture better painted than in this new show.

2) Nashville (ABC, Fall) - This relationship drama is set in the world of music, like Smash before it last year, but instead of New York City and the bright lights of Broadway, we get the south and country music. Rayna James (Connie Britton) is a country singer who has been at the top of her game for years but is fading fast in this new autotune sound, while the kid with the troubled past, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) is skyrocketing past her. But it's not all about the ups and downs of the entertainment industry, as there is personal tension all around-- from Rayna's emasculated husband, to the guitarist caught between both women, to the other young up-and-comers who can't quite catch the breaks these two have. It feeds my nostalgic love for soap operas without being over the top.

1) Do No Harm (NBC, Mid-Season) - Once again, I feel NBC (and many of the networks, actually) may be holding some of their best material for mid-season. This American Psycho on TV was one pilot that I was literally unable to look away from during my screening. Though the series hinges on one man (Steven Pasquale), it may be a lot to throw on his shoulders, but it is exactly that intensity, those high stakes, and yes, the duality of him shifting between multiple personalities that intrigues me. There's a little bit of the twisted Dexter superhero/anti-hero to this show and this lead character, and dark men are the most interesting men.

Monday, May 28, 2012

From LA Examiner: Matt Barr and Noel Fisher Talk 'Hatfields & McCoys"; 'Cougar Town' ABC Finale Spoilers; 'Teen Wolf' Advance Review...

"Matt Barr takes a star turn in Hatfields & McCoys

“I don’t know if it’s that the scripts are evolving or just that I’m getting older, but the characters become more interesting as you get older because you’ve lived more life at different stages. You’ve loved; you’ve lost; you have more of that journey,” Matt Barr confided in LA TV Insider Examiner... [MORE

"Noel Fisher on life lessons and tragic light in Hatfields & McCoys"

2012 may just be the year of Noel Fisher. The versatile young actor was last seen as on-the-D.L. Mickey Mirkovich on Showtime’s Shameless (and will be returning for a third season soon), and he has the rest of the Twilight saga hitting theaters this summer. But in between, he has taken the role of Cotton Top in the History Channel mini-series, Hatfields & McCoys, a character that has Fisher virtually unrecognizable and, according to him, completely outside himself as a person... [MORE]

"Danielle Dishes: 5 Themes for Cougar Town’s season finale wedding"

Grab your Big Carls (RIP) and your own best pals because Cougar Town is delivering a two-part, hour-long finale and LA TV Insider Examiner has some thematic tidbits to get you excited for the special on-air occasion. ... [MORE]

"Sizzling Summer Series Preview: MTV’s Teen Wolf"

Forget what you thought you knew about Teen Wolf. MTV’s supernatural drama series has stepped it up visually, darkened the story tonally, and raised the stakes for all of the characters for their second season. ... [MORE]

The One With The Pop Culture Wedding Toast...

My best friend got married over the weekend, and she asked me to be her maid-of-honor. I was, well, honored, to say the least, though I was extremely nervous about three things: standing still throughout the whole ceremony, my first pair of Spanx potentially cutting off my circulation, and giving a toast during the reception. I've never been good at, nor enjoyed, public speaking. I think I express myself best in writing, but even when I prepare something ahead of time, I think I lose a little bit of it in my reading aloud. I'm not a performer. And the best man was an actor, so yeah. Extra pressure. Jokingly, I said to my friend that I was going to write my entire toast using only quotes from Friends. She liked it. She said I could do it. I assumed she was kidding, but I ran with it anyway. Only to be more inclusive, I told her and her fiance to each pick three shows, and I'd work in bits from all. It proved to be more work-- but more fun-- than I expected.

With her permission, I have printed the "producer's cut" of my toast below, complete with footnotes so that those who were at the wedding and thought I was just insane or inarticulate or drunk will now understand there was a method to my madness. In all honesty, the actual toast I gave was only about half this-- to avoid boring the guests who just wanted to enjoy their beef or salmon in peace. But I figured if anyone would appreciate the full effort, it was you pop culture nerds.

At times I had to paraphrase the quotes to take them out of first person or make them about the couple, instead of just one person, or for simple grammar. Also, I didn't stick entirely to my plan of using only quotes because I didn't want it to be completely impersonal. But I think the blending of anecdotes is what makes this truly special. So enjoy! And if you would like a similar speech written, I am available for commissions. I take Paypal. And cupcakes.


Good evening y’all[1], and thank you for coming. My name is Danielle, and I am Jamie’s maid-of-honor. I'm not so great at extemporaneous speaking so I memorize quick facts that I can whip out at a moment's notice[2]. Tonight the facts will be about Jamie and Daley-- and some will be told through quotes from their favorite television shows. You may think I’m kidding; you may wish I’m kidding; but these are the fun and non-traditional parameters with which they let me run.

I met Jamie when I was a freshman in college and we were both cinema-television majors at USC. They say you don’t come back from California; it changes you[3]; but Jamie is a leader and a trendsetter. We met when she was producing an entertainment news program on our campus TV station, the likes of which was really all I ever wanted to do with my life, so I knew I had to be a part of it any way possible to jump-start my career. But what I didn’t realize was that in the process I’d also gain my closest friend. Jamie, I’ve missed you; we had it good there for a while[4].

I wish I had some fun, embarrassing stories about Jamie to share with all of you today, but the truth is, she took her studies seriously-- much more seriously than I did. She’s always been freakin’ reliable; it was just how she was raised[5]. Even when we went to Vegas, baby[6], the craziest thing we did was use cookies as forks to eat our chocolate cake on the long drive.

I’m not going to embarrass Jamie by talking about the guys she dated in college, but I will say that when I met Daley, I was relieved. Jamie didn’t really have a “bad boy” phase in the traditional sense, but with Daley, it still seemed clear from the get-go: ‘He’s her lobster[7].’

Ah, love. L-O-V-E, love. L is for life. And what is life without love?[8]

Love is a gamble, always, but waiting won't change the dice. Either you roll them or you lose your turn[9], but in the beginning, they were just friends, and they were happy to let that friendship grow. I think it’s a testament to both of them that they put actually getting to know each other first. If all Daley wanted was sex, he could get it from plenty of women without having to go through this crap. Daley was there because he liked her and he’d be psyched to be her friend[10]. He was new to her, and she was always keeping her next travel adventure options open. But it's the way of life in my findings that journeys end when and where they want to; and that's where you make your home[11]. He was calling her "baby." He was trying to hold her hands. It was getting a little relationship-y[12]. It was just a matter of time. And so it was.

I tell you what, Daley. You buy this ship, treat her proper-- she'll be with you for the rest of your life[13].

The thing is-- some relationships are based simply on physical attraction; others on common interests. In order to find something that will last, though, you have to put your hands together[14].

When Jamie said she was moving to Massachusetts for grad school-- and because Daley would be moving back there, too-- I admit I became very protective of my crew[15]. I think the fact that she’s stayed put here, consistently, for three years says a lot about how Jamie and Daley have grown together, though I know if she asked, he’d follow her to Scandinavia and back[16]. I know he knows better than to use baked chips and low fat cheese for her nachos[17]. If he was going to jump off the cliff, and she was going to be pushed off the cliff, at least they’d hold hands on the way down[18]. The only thing that matters is that is that they make each other happier than they ever thought they could be[19].

Jamie, Daley: I think good things are gonna happen to you, you just have to keep going[20]. It’s about those brief moments on this earth that we get to spend with each other. You really take those moments in … to feel them, because one of these days it’ll all be gone[21]. If I can offer you two pieces of advice, though-- 1) it’s that room in the bathroom has saved more marriages than Oprah and Dr. Phil combined[22]. And 2) never utter the phrase “we were on a break![23]

It feels a bit weird to toast to Jamie and Daley’s shiny[24] new life together when really they’ve already embarked on it. So let’s just pop-pop[25] some champagne in honor of my favorite Human Beings[26], and yours, Jamie and Daley. You’re together; that makes this the perfect timeline[27]. Clear eyes, full hearts[28], congratulations.

[1] Generic Tami Taylor reference.
[2] Gilmore Girls Ep 4.02: “The Lorelais’ First Day At Yale”
[3] Gilmore Girls Ep 4.04: “Chicken or Beef?”
[4] The West Wing E9 7.21: “Institutional Memory”
[5] Gilmore Girls Ep 5.20: “How Many Kropogs to Cape Cod?”
[6] Generic Friends reference.
[7] Friends Ep 2.14: “The One With The Prom Video”
[8] Friends Ep 10.02: “The One Where Ross Is Fine”
[9] Community Ep 1.08: “Home Economics”
[10] Community Ep 1.05: “Advanced Criminal Law”
[11] Firefly Ep 1.07: “Safe”
[12] Community Ep 1:04: “Social Psychology”
[13] Firefly Ep 1.05: “Out of Gas”
[14] Friends Ep 3.03: “The One With The Jam”
[15] Firefly Ep 1.01: “Pilot/Serenity”
[16] The West Wing Ep 3.20: “The Black Vera Wang”
[17] Gilmore Girls Ep 6.09: “The Prodigal Daughter Returns”
[18] The West Wing Ep 7.11: “Internal Displacement”
[19] Friends Ep 6.25: “The One With The Proposal, Part 2”
[20] Friday Night Lights Ep 3.11: “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”
[21] Friday Night Lights Ep 4.13: “Thanksgiving”
[22] Friday Night Lights Ep 1.01: “Pilot”
[23] Generic Friends reference.
[24] Generic Firefly reference.
[25] Generic Community reference.
[26] Generic Community reference.
[27] Community Ep 3.18: "Course Listing Unavailable"
[28] Generic Friday Night Lights reference.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

From LA Examiner: Jon Huertas Takes Flight; 'The LA Complex' Returns To The CW; Advance Review of 'Bunheads'...

"Jon Huertas on flying with the Blue Angels & getting physical on Castle"

Jon Huertas has been working closely with the military, doing charity work (he has his own cause called Puppies Behind Bars), and generally spreading awareness and the positive word, as well as bringing “military realism” to TV and films. But to celebrate this Memorial Day weekend, Huertas is lending his fame to the Navy to participate in a Blue Angels flight in New York... [MORE]

"The L.A. Complex to return to The CW in July 2012"

The first few episodes of The L.A. Complex have just been heating up here in America, but the cast and crew are already deep into shooting the next batch (of thirteen this time). Though being treated as a continuation of the first (six episodes) season, there was some debate as to when The CW would air them. After all, the show is a Canadian import that aired in the great white north in full prior to premiering here at all. But today it appears we have an answer! ... [MORE]

Amy Sherman-Palladino is back to doing what she does best with her new ABC Family drama, Bunheads. Set in a sleepy, small town (so small they don’t even have a movie theater), Bunheads follows a fast-talking young dancer (Sutton Foster) as she drunkenly marries in Vegas and moves to her new husband’s (Alan Ruck) oceanview home to try to start a life as…well, she doesn’t really know what because she left so abruptly, she didn’t even pack a suitcase. The characters are colorful, and the premise of finding a family where one least expects it are both ever-present, but the one thing the pilot is missing is the “why"... [MORE

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'The L.A. Complex's' "Home" Is Quite Tragic...

Starting on Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore) once again in "Home" just proved that in this ensemble show, he really is the male lead. His erratic POV shots were a stylish way to showcase just how off the rails he was spiraling, but they almost weren't necessary. His erratic behavior has been saying it all, and if he isn't getting the rush or the fix he needs with drinking, burning himself, or random sex, there isn't anywhere else he can look for it that's not completely detrimental. What makes his story so tragic, though, is that even with a team of people around him, no one's really looking at him. No one sees the problem; they just see a young kid partying hard in the aftermath of his first success. No harm, no foul, right? Except there's a lot of harm being done to his psyche, and the longer everyone lets it go on, the worse it's going to get. That tea kettle wasn't enough anymore, so how long before getting punched in the face doesn't do it, either? Then where does he turn? Crashing a car into a tree? It's fascinating. So many people in this town just want to numb out, and here you have a guy desperately chasing to feel.

Sending a guy like Connor home from set for being unprepared or high as a kite is akin to suspending a kid who talks too much in class. It's removing him from the environment that actually has structure and therefore is the one in which he should be because those there are ill-equipped or time-deficient to properly deal with him. So he'll go home; he'll get into more trouble; he'll show up worse the next day. If they can't get the performance out of him that they need, they'll replace him-- or they'll make excuses and suddenly his character will develop a problem so his real life "eccentricities" are explained when they bleed over on-screen. 

Taking him "home" to The Lux, though not that Teamster's fault, is also problematic. If The Lux is one non-stop party, that's the worst place for him. Whether he's high on something new or simply this unbalanced when he's off his regular meds is not really the issue. The issue is to cocoon him in safety and comfort with people who love and care for him. As selfish as she is, I think Raquel (Jewel Staite) would be there for him if she knew just how bad he was. She would provide a tough love that might not be the best approach for someone so damaged, but at least she'd be trying. 

I feel like Abby (Cassie Steele) would be there for him, too. She's equally ill-equipped, but for different reasons (she's too young and naive to really have experienced the kinds of things that are troubling him), but she's not one-track-minded enough to hear the sad, dulcet tones in his voice about being sent home and immediately have her mind job to the opportunity he is wasting that she never would, ala Raquel's thought pattern. Though, she heard how torn up he was about being sent away again, and he was so desperate to just sit with her rather than to have to do so alone and in silence, and she couldn't-- or wouldn't-- respond to it. This show really makes me reconsider just when it is we have a responsibility to step in and intervene if someone we love or even kind of know seems to be in trouble. We may not always have the perfect answer or know exactly what to say or do, but taking an interest, and acknowledging the situation, is half the battle. It proves the other person isn't really as alone as he fears. Or feels.

Though there was a little part of me that couldn't help but smirk when Connor was trying to think of where "Home" even was and then the show cut to an establishing shot of the Vivid building.

Meanwhile, these weeks have flown by so fast that had the "previously on" not included the bit where Abby points out to Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson) that Kal (Andra Fuller) would never out him because it would be outing himself, I would have spent the entire sequence in the recording studio wondering if Kal was just paranoid and then how Abby actually knew about their relationship. Sometimes a fast pace in storytelling is a double-edged sword. In this case, an important character moment got buried in my mind under a lot of other stuff, and that was a shame because it made me watch the new moments differently.

I have come to love Kal so much, I admit that I watched him threaten Abby with a slight eye-roll. Fuller may have been one hundred and fifty percent committed to showing Kal's tough side, and Kal might have been the same, but I couldn't shake the image of how sweet he can be from my mind. This isn't a case of him really being Jekyll & Hyde for me-- I really believe his tough guy act is complete persona; a facade he hides behind. I'm not saying he doesn't know guys who could make Abby disappear-- and I'm not saying Abby was foolish to believe what she saw in front of her, but I've seen more, and I just don't believe he would ever really let it come to that. And the fact that he thinks he'll get better results by threatening her than leveling with her and just having her sign some kind of NDA or something is what makes him the most tragic of all. 

Tariq standing up to Kal in the studio had to be short-lived. He's put up with worse than his friend being disrespected in order to keep his internship, after all. But Dynasty (Dayo Ade) watching the scenario play out and kind of sneering and rolling his eyes at Kal's front made me question if Dynasty has had his own suspicions about Kal's sexuality for awhile now and if this will come back to bite either of these guys in the near future. Everyone else in there is a guy on Kal's payroll, someone he tells what to think, and they just do. But not Dynasty. And what would he do if he knew the truth?

Oh but Alicia (Chelan Simmons) is a very close second. She makes the worst decisions, and even when her gut tells her something is wrong, she doesn't listen to it. I would judge her less if it was her gut telling her to do porn so at least she could put money in the bank and keep the roof over her head to continue on her dance audition quest, but if that were true, she wouldn't be embarrassed about telling people what she does-- even a complete stranger like her new car salesman. 

I'm going to tell you something I don't like telling people: I worked on a show for PlayboyTV right after college when I needed to just take any freelance production gig to get credits and cash to pay my bills. I was never on-screen, but it was still not a project I advertised. And I wasn't alone: at least one of the cameramen used an alias in the on-screen credits. I never saw the finished product, and that was the only show on which I worked for which I never tried to hunt down a copy. And I worked on some crappy shows in my day. But still, even with my limited knowledge of that business, I have to imagine that Alicia's experience was a little too cookie-cutter. When she almost broke her contract at the last second, no one threatened her; no one even reminded her of her contract. I'm glad she remembered it, but her defensiveness was so short-lived, and she caved quite easily. It was all, happy family in the lunchroom, and bonding over candy like five year-olds, and cake! Sadly, there was never any cake on the PlayboyTV set. And I bet there are no sets where people give speeches about how thankful they are to have found everyone else there and loving them and toasting the new girl, who is ultimately new competition. Just ask Jenna Jameson. If that doesn't happen in the general industry, I really highly doubt it does in the adult industry.

Alicia is this wayward flower, and though she was never taken advantage of, she still seemed manipulated. That director (who really did dress like a lawyer) may have meant what she was saying, but it was still a party line. Even picking Maggie to show Alicia around felt calculated-- like you could lead the lamb to the slaughter if the lamb was first put at ease by another lamb who had assumedly been through the same process. And because of it, it was still a bit uncomfortable to watch someone who's clearly conflicted get talked into something that 1) you know will be bad for them and 2) doesn't seem to know what she really wants. I don't believe for a second that something good is going to come out of this choreographer's meeting her on the porn set. Even if he wasn't staring creepily at her mouth the whole time they were talking.

I have to say, I'm also a pretty disappointed in Gary (Rob Stewart) this week. ...You thought I was going to say Raquel, didn't you? You thought I was going to say that was her chance to come clean to him, right? But come on, we all know her better than that by now and the most we could hope for was that she'd apologize for falling off the fake wagon, which she technically did. No, I'm disappointed that he was as selfish as he was with her. That's a true indicator of someone still stuck in his own disease, and for that, he was right about one thing: it's too early in his sobriety to be involved with her-- or her business deal. But if he thinks she's messed up and in a worse place than him-- and needs a meeting-- then isn't it his duty as someone who recognizes the signs to get her the help she needs but may not be able to admit to yet? He left her standing dripping wet at the entrance to her apartment while he drove off in his hundred thousand dollar car, judging her. So typical L.A.

The juxtaposition of her big, dramatic apology in A.A., followed by her waiting in the parking lot because she just knew he would chase her out there, and Kal and Tariq's parking lot "apology" was quite poetic, though. I saw a glimmer there-- and then one later when Raquel and Gary were in bed together-- that said she really did have feelings for him. It may have started as a manipulation, but now her emotions may be manipulating her. The moment that flashed on her face, she tried to correct it, but why? Why not give in to this relationship? Why hold onto something that isn't going anywhere-- that can't go anywhere because you're both damaged in the same exact ways. Gary and Raquel are both damaged, but since she's not actually an alcoholic, it's not in the same manner. They say relationships can't last if they start on a lie, but I'm not talking permanent, til death do them part long-term. I'm just thinking actually dating, rather than her using him to get ahead. 

Though, I do I feel like Kal and Raquel would be great friends and could probably even figure out a way to use each other to get exactly what they want, fame-wise. Of course, there is no organic way for them to interact in this story as we know it (bummer for me), but in some parallel universe...I can dream. This show has taught me that most of all.

Watching Nick (Joe Dinicol) finally sleep with Abby was a bummer for me, too. I want to see him succeed, and I loved that he finally got a moment of that in his personal life with Sabrina (Georgina Reilly). Their bedtime banter was adorable, even though I admit I went 'Really? Him?' when she wanted to jump him after just seeing him perform terrible in an Improv class. But to then turn around and sleep with Abby hours after? Gross, dude; did you even shower in between? 

Random life lesson I picked up from an odd place tonight: I think those 24-hour sobriety chips should be handed to you when you turn thirteen, and then you should have to work to keep it. It puts something very real at stake for a lot of kids who are going to think their mistakes are just immature indiscretions.

From LA Examiner: Video with 'The L.A. Complex's' Joe Dinicol; Danny Masterson Teases His New Sitcom; Missy Peregrym on The "Inevitable" in 'Rookie Blue'...

Arguably, Nick (Joe Dinicol) on The L.A. Complex is the one character who has yet to truly prove his talent in the artistic area he is pursuing. He may get on stage and perform stand-up comedy bits a couple of nights a week, but he has yet to do so successfully, save for one fluke performance where he just started venting about an “awkward sexual encounter.” Sitting down with Dinicol while he and the show were on location in Los Angeles earlier this month, the passionate actor shared that Nick’s failings may be proof he wasn’t born to be a comic, the way some of these other characters seem to be born to be in the line of work they are pursuing... [MORE]

"If Men At Work was a boy band, Danny Masterson would be “the sensitive one”

“Milo is captain sensitive, and he gets his heart broken in the opening scene…He’s a character that’s a couple of my best friends-- two of them are this guy-- and I make fun of them everyday,” Danny Masterson smiled regarding his new TBS sitcom, Men At Work, role... [MORE

Last we saw Andy (Missy Peregrym) on Rookie Blue, she and Sam (Ben Bass) were getting suspended for allowing their personal feelings for each other to get in the way of the job. In the time away, Sam has worked his way back onto the force, while Andy has fled-- keeping herself as physically far from Sam as possible because she just didn’t know how to be around him and not be with him. The season three premiere throws the two back together, and in quite close quarters, though, as Andy is still fighting for her job. Naturally, this causes all kinds of new problems and tensions, but Peregrym promised the show is not going to drag out the inevitable... [MORE

Made Possible by Pop Culture's Primetime Fall 2012 Schedule...

Based on snap judgments from seeing the new pilots, and knowing what shows have gone off the rails, and which have blissfully stayed beautiful, during this past season, the verdict is in, and I have set my official primetime television viewing schedule for the fall of 2012. Will I finally succumb and obtain a DVR or will screeners, and the usual week three fall-off of those not living up to my expectations, keep me safe another year? Stay tuned!

Sunday nights:
  • 8pm - Once Upon A Time (ABC)
  • 9pm - Revenge (ABC), The Good Wife (CBS), Dexter (SHO)
  • 10pm - 666 Park Avenue (ABC), Homeland (SHO)

Monday nights:
  • 8pm - The Voice (NBC)
  • 9pm - Gossip Girl (The CW)
  • 10pm - Castle (ABC), Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), Revolution (NBC)

Tuesday nights:
  • 8pm - Raising Hope (FOX), Hart of Dixie (The CW)
  • 9pm - Happy Endings (ABC), New Girl (FOX), Go On (NBC)
  • 9:30pm - Don't Trust The B---- In Apartment 23 (ABC), The Mindy Project (FOX), The New Normal (FOX)
  • 10pm - Parenthood (NBC)

Wednesday nights:
  • 8pm - Arrow (The CW)
  • 8:30pm - Suburgatory (ABC)
  • 9pm - Modern Family (ABC), Supernatural (The CW)
  • 10pm - Nashville (ABC)

Thursday nights:
  • 8pm - Last Resort (ABC), 30 Rock (NBC), The Vampire Diaries (The CW)
  • 8:30pm - Up All Night (NBC)
  • 9pm - WHAT THE HELL? I've never had a hole before! I feel like I did something wrong...
  • 9:30pm - Parks and Recreation (NBC)
  • 10pm - Scandal (ABC), Elementary (CBS)

Friday nights:
  • 8pm - Another hole? Oh man, I hope TBS brings back Cougar Town soon!
  • 8:30pm - Community (NBC)
  • 9pm - Fringe (FOX), Nikita (The CW)

Stay tuned for the "why" of these selections, which I will bring to you in initial reaction commentary via a brand new vodcast soon.

Now, I watch "live" whenever I don't have screeners to watch in advance of airing, but how about you? Which shows will you watch first, and which will you DVR or catch online later?

I'm exhausted already, how about you??

Monday, May 21, 2012

From LA Examiner: 'Cougar Town' Season Finale Photos; IBG Signs 3 More to "My Letter to Fear"...

What's better than a Napa wedding? How about a Napa wedding with the people who will appreciate the setting, and the product!, the most? In Cougar Town's third season finale on ABC, the cul-de-sac crew travels west for Grayson (Josh Hopkins) and Jules' (Courteney Cox) nuptials, and LA TV Insider Examiner has your first look at the joyous occasion, featuring friends new and old, in the slideshow to the left... [MORE

IBG, Inc. is thrilled to announce yet another group to their "My Letter to Fear" staged reading roster, taking place on June 24th 2012 in Beverly Hills. Lesley Fera, Mekenna Melvin, and Tamara Taylor will join the already announced Sufe Bradshaw, Jen Lilley, Elizabeth De Razzo, Charlene Tilton, Jennifer Aspen, and headliner Constance Marie live on stage in Los Angeles... [MORE

Inspirational Women in the Entertainment Industry: Kelly Clarkson...

Kelly Clarkson has come a long way in the decade since getting her start, crowned the first-ever American Idol winner in 2002. Releasing five albums, winning two Grammys, and appearing on a number of television shows and in film appearances, Clarkson’s career is now coming full circle, as she serves as mentor to other hopeful up-and-comers in the music world on ABC’s new reality competition series Duets

“I’ve never, ever in any form of my life been in teacher mode. I’m not really that person. My mom is a teacher, but it’s really hard for me sometimes to get out of my head what I mean,” Clarkson admitted during a junket for the series. 

“[But] I’m not going to do something that I feel like I don’t fit into,” she continued. “I actually would never probably be a judge on Idol…because this is not a really a judging situation as much as it is collaborative. I like being a part of it; I don’t like when people sit there and tell me stuff but then they don’t really know-- I mean, they’re not even on stage…I like the fact that I have to be a part of it, and I’m working just as hard as them. It makes it more real, I think.” 

If there is one thing to admire most about Clarkson, it is that ability to and interest in keeping things real (“That’s Texan!” she proclaimed). Though she certainly has an edge over the other superstars on Duets, simply for having actually gone through what their contestants are now, it is her determination to stay true to herself as an artist that will be the most valuable lesson she can impart. And it doesn’t just extend to the music but also to not losing one’s self in the industry in general. 

“On Idol, they would try to put me in the most ridiculous outfits!” Clarkson exclaimed. “They tried to put me in these uncomfortable shoes and this uncomfortable thing, and I’m like ‘I’m not a model! Nowhere did I sign up to be a model; everyone’s aware of that, right?’ 

“I know everybody’s looking for the best look for everyone and the best look for the show, but at the end of the day, you really have to remember it’s about singing; it’s about entertainment…You can wear what you want. You want to be comfortable. I was that kid, too, back in the day. All the other girls loved wearing all of the clothes they gave, and I just wasn’t. I was the only Southern girl who was like ‘I wear jeans. And sometimes a nice sundress.’ I think that’s cool; that’s why we have different artists like P!nks and Lady Gagas and Ke$has and me, and it’s like we all have our own thing, and everybody has their own thing to look up to.” 

Just as knowing whom you are is important, Clarkson pointed out that so is knowing “what you’re good at.” The entertainment industry, on television or otherwise, will try to fit you in a box and package you a way they want you to work. You have to be strong enough to know when you can compromise, and when you’d be giving up too much. 

“It’s a talent to know when to shine and when to step back, and I think a lot of people aren’t good at that because everybody just wants their moment on stage all of the time,” Kelly said, referencing the “sharing” mentality of Duets

“That’s a strategy. Even when I was on Idol, I held back on some things and then I’d be like I’m saving it because maybe that will impress them and save me…My mentality on Idol was not to win actually but ‘Let’s make it to the next show.’ And then if I could make it to the next show because the more shows you get on, that’s more television time where an agent or a manager or a record label could be watching me, you know?” 

Clarkson always believes the most important thing as an artist, though, is to find a balance between thinking about the big picture and the long-term, while still having fun in the moment. Hence why she can be at the top of her game and still want to take time away from recording and producing to pay it forward and help others get their start.

“We don’t need the moment; we all have careers. We’re more here because we believe in the artist development of this, and it’s fun. I love being able to be on stage every week and sing harmony with people that I love singing with. It’s just kind of a win-win.”