…and RIP Nan.
During my screenwriting class last semester, our professor showed us the teaser to Aaron Sorkin’s pilot for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and I was in awe. First of all, they introduce us to flustered production assistant, scurrying around the studio moments before the broadcast of a fictional variety show – think SNL on the West Coast…and on Fridays…and on a fictional network, NBS. Anyways, this PA turns out to be none other than my favorite actress at the moment, Merritt Wever! But back in 2006, she didn’t have her Emmy.
Anyway, the show follows veteran comedy duo Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) as they are called back to the variety show that helped define their careers. Matt is somewhat hesitant to return to Studio 60 because his ex, Harriett Hayes (Sarah Paulson) is now the show’s star, alongside Simon Stiles (D.L. Hughley) and Tom Jeter (Nate Corddrey).
To complicate matters, NBS has just hired a new president, Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet), an attractive, young, sensible woman who doesn’t have the social wits about her. Sound like another Aaron Sorkin character to you? Sloan Sabbith, anyone? And that’s not the only Sorkin staple he throws into this show. The power outage right before airtime? The same problem plagues The Newsroom staff before News Night with Will McAvoy. The show also executes Sorkin’s famous “walk and talk” scenes, as made famous in The West Wing.
The combination of writing in acting in this show is surprisingly succinct for an NBC drama, but the lack of ratings and the promising comedy 30 Rock kept Studio 60 from being renewed for a second season. In its one season, however, Sarah Paulson was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, a well-deserved nod that put the show on the map too late in the game.
If you’re interested in watching, you’ll have a tough time finding it online. I found the complete series at Newbury Comics for nine bucks – quite the bargain compared to my subsequent Chipotle lunch.
This week, we celebrated the birthdays of our two favorite “girls,” Jess Day of Fox’s New Girl and Hannah Horvath of HBO’s Girls. Granted the audiences of the show have little overlap, it’s no surprise that these two girls had quite different birthday parties.
New Girl: Nick plans a surprise party for Jess, but forgets to take into account the many hours leading up to his seven o’clock gathering. He stalls by taking her to get a diabetes test at the drug store, and then challenges her to find the heaviest rock in the park. When she’s had enough, a teary-eyed Jess heads to the movies, where her friends give her the surprise of her life.
Girls: Marnie hosts a party for Hannah in a dive-y bar, at the expense of Mr. and Mrs. Horvath. Guests were welcomed to an open bar, using the password “banana.”
New Girl: Nick puts together a touching video montage of all of Jess’ friends, co-workers, parents, and students, each saying what they like most about the quirky teacher.
Girls: After Charlie posts Marnie’s embarrassing music video on YouTube, the absentminded friend decides to prove her singing abilities at Hannah’s party. She invites Hannah on stage for a surprise duet of “Take Me or Leave Me,” something Hannah swore to never do again. And by the look on her “Birthday Bitch” face, she’s not having it.
New Girl: While I’m glad the writers have picked up on the conflict between Winston and Coach (now there isn’t a single “token black guy” on the show), I’m not sure their cake-bake-off was the best way to show their division. However, I’m glad that they’ve finally settled their differences in the name of Jess Day’s birthday.
Girls: After telling off Shoshanna for doing nothing (literally, he started the conversation), a drunk Ray gets into a shouting fight with Hannah’s editor/Edward Norton lookalike, David because the bartender changed the song during Ray’s request. Ranting about “song cues” and “what’s right,” David shoves him into a coffee table and they tussle.
New Girl: Everyone is happy in the movie theater! Yay! And then Schmidt’s epic green screen moments happen, and it gets even better.
Girls: Hannah and Adam return to their apartment to find Adam’s deranged sister, Caroline, naked and cutting herself in the bathroom. Hannah and Adam agree it would be inappropriate to have sex in this situation, so they don’t.
When I posted this, I thought it would be creative and witty and never-before-seen. Then I saw other people blogging about the same birthday parties and I felt inadequate. So, take this with a grain of salt…or two.
After four weeks of bumming in front of the couch, with my only exercise being the mindless operation of the four clickers (that could be replaced by one universal clicker (or remote – whatever you want to call it)), I am back on campus and ready to assimilate back to society. But before I do, I figured I would post about the shows I watched over break. Think of it as a form of procrastination before I have actual commitments. And I’m being lazy so I’m just going to do bullet points:
-Merritt Wever is the greatest actress on television. She demonstrates tremendous growth as Zoey Barkow, from her skittish days standing up to Dr. O’Hara after her stethoscope was stolen, to the kimono wearing, devil-may-care diva who goes home with Dr. Prentice.
-Peter Facinelli was in Twilight? And also played a doctor? That’s funny. But Coop, too, has changed a whole lot – especially after his moms file for divorce and he is subsequently stood up at the alter. The scene when he buys O’Hara two baby carriers is one of my favorite scenes.
-Eve Best needs to come back to the show. Season Five seemed difficult because Jackie didn’t have anyone to talk to – so she resorted to dead Charlie’s voicemail. Everything she says is funny in her British accent.
-Ruby Jerins is a pretty great child actor. Much better than some of her contemporaries – you go, Gracie.
-Fiona is still better than Gracie.
-When we find out that Gloria Akalitus doesn’t have Alzheimer’s – television gold
-Thor’s one-liners are perfect – and makes up for Momo leaving unexpectedly after the first season.
-Michael Buscemi is AMAZING as God – a disgruntled New Yorker who looks down upon the city screaming at pedestrians on the street.
-Best Episode: Season Four Finale, in which O’Hara goes into labor as Jackie sneaks back into the hospital after being fired by Dr. Cruz. However, Cruz catches our heroine right as his son, Charlie, is wheeled into the ER for an overdose. Cruz clears the stabilizing bay as he and Jackie attempt to unsuccessfully resuscitate Charlie. So many feels.
-Edie Falco = television goddess
-Laura Dern stars as Amy, a manic businesswoman who is sent a holistic healing program and returns to her job in an attempt to mend her work and home life – all while trying changing the world. She’s pretty cool and starred in Jurassic Park.
-Mike White writes and stars as Tyler in this rather poetic project. All though it only lasted two seasons, there are many universal truths unveiled through his mellow storytelling. We learn a lot about the human condition and what it means to change and just BE. Very meta shit going on, but I like it.
-These two unlikely friends attempt to take down their cosmetic company, Abbadon
-Molly Shannon guest stars as Eileen, the secretary for Abbadon’s CEO. Amy and Tyler befriend her to gain access to the CEO’s corrupting emails, but Tyler falls for her timid ways. If you watch any episode, go watch “The Ghost is Seen.” It will give you a new perspective about all the people you have ever made fun of…ever.
-Overall, the show is kind of like a poem. It can be a light, breezy watch, or you can look further into it to find the discreet symbolism and social commentary.
-Aaron Sorkin is a master storyteller – but I didn’t have to tell you that.
-I only knew Jeff Daniels from Dumb and Dumber, and my god how people can change. He is compelling as controversial news anchor Will McAvoy, who vows, under the guidance of his executive producer and one time lover Mackenzie McHale, to bring unbiased news to the voting public.
-Allison Pill as Maggie and John Gallagher Jr. as Jim are the new “Jim and Pam;” let’s hope season three has something more in store for this duo.
-The way Sorkin handled the Gabrielle Giffords shooting was impeccable. It shows how our divided nation came together to support one of our Congresswomen. And Coldplay’s “Fix You” didn’t hurt either.
-Dev Patel finally shakes his stereotypical Indian character. He literally bears none of the stereotypes in these two seasons. We need more of this.
-Sloan Sabbith is the greatest name in television, and Olivia Munn plays her perfectly – nerdy, socially uncomfortable, etc. And she arcs thanks to Don – who we all hated up until we found out he bought her book at the auction, right?
-Jane Fonda as Leona Lansing = A+, with a bonus for being high as a kite
-Speaking of being high as a kite… “We caught Obama” – McAvoy
-“Unintended Consequences” (the episode of flashbacks to Maggie’s trip to Uganda and subsequent hair cutting) got the best of me.
Zoe or Zoey or Zooey is a pretty unique name. And it’s no wonder why all the most compelling characters on television today bear this name. Let’s take a look:
Show: Nurse Jackie
Actress: Merritt Wever
Occupation: ER Nurse
Description: This fun-loving, colorful scrub-wearing ball of fun scored an Emmy this past year for taking her character to a new emotional level. When taken home by Dr. Ike Prentiss, she confesses that she’s “not the nurse that goes home with the doctor.” But we’re cheering for you, Zoey. We’ll watch the edited-for-television version of Dirty Dancing with you and attend your Nurse’s Appreciation basement bash. And maybe we’ll throw in a driving lesson if you promise to wear your kimono to work.
Show: House of Cards
Actress: Kate Mara
Description: She’ll blackmail you until the day you die, but she won’t kill you – so that’s a plus! With the nation’s most prominent media outlets at her fingertips, she will do whatever it takes to make a name for herself. And she’s not above sleeping with members of Congress – I’m looking at you this time, Francis Underwood.
Show: American Horror Story: Coven
Actress: Taissa Farmiga
Description: With a vagina that kills, this is one witch you do not want to mess with. I didn’t mean for that to sound crass, but Zoe Benson’s super power in this horror thriller is to take the life of any man she has sex with. Tragic, yet she works it. When she’s not out protecting the coven, she can be found having a three-way with her undead boyfriend and undead classmate. If they’re already dead, she can’t kill ’em!
Show: Zoey 101
Actress: Jamie-Lynn Spears
Occupation: Boarding School Student
Description: By joining the first ever class of women at Pacific Coast Academy, it’s not an overstatement to say that Zoey Brooks is truly a pioneer. From the spacious dorm rooms straight out of a PB Teen catalog, to the mouthwatering dining hall food, she made us all want to go to boarding school. Until she got pregnant and ruined everything!
And because I couldn’t resist:
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