…and the quest to see everything

Posts tagged “2010’s Television

Seminal Television: “Girls”

I first heard about Girls from Barbara Walters on The View of all places, talking about the controversial second episode and its frank sexual content – my sister walked into me while I was watching that. Later that month Ryan McNeil discussed it at a function we were both in, telling me and three other people about how nihilistic it is – I know. Then Spin’s Chandler Levack tweeted about the scene when Elijah (Andrew Rannells) comes out to the show’s protagonist Hannah (Lena Dunham) as well as how Dunham’s split second reactions to it.

From I thought ‘eyeroll into tears’ is humanly impossible and acting marvels make me say ‘I have to see this now.’

Watching that scene now, I though it was not what I expected – I thought the lighting, the setting and the writing would be more bittersweet but it,s nastier than that in a good way. That John Ford shot countershot between them just makes Dunham look like shit. Dunham makes herself seem unattractive and cartoony (her voice particularly fits this description). Hannah is kind of like in a Georgy Girl situation where the person in lead is the best friend type who we feel sorry for because the worst things happen to her.

It’s about sex and messed up, foul-mouthed girls who look too good to say ‘like’ a lot and secretly – or not so secretly – attracted to the rapey stuff spewed by the men around them. How fucking liberating. What Marnie (Allison Williams) tells Hanna in the fourth episode, that ‘you’re smarter than this’ is a mantra that young women and gay men tell each other, as we in our twenties can’t possible learn how not to make sex-based mistakes while getting our BA’s. Although some audiences who can’t relate to the show in a cultural sense will take the step back and call these characters stupid and just turn off their TVs.

I’m not sure if I’m in the place to do that – I know that the dialogue can make a case for the show not being rooted in reality. It’s sort of that trend now in television when characters are sexually sadistic or masochistic and say words like ‘asshole’ and that’s supposed to be funny (in this sense the actors serve the writing as opposed to the writing showcasing them). I thank or blame Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski of 30 Rock for proliferating that trend, or maybe it’s because I saw it in 30 Rock first that makes me prefer that singular tone that I like hearing stays on that one specific show. I’m just cautious when I hear that kind of humour, no matter how fun it might sound.

One thing that does strike me as real is the middle class women walking around a city getting dirtier and dirtier by the day, the latter being just the way I like it. I resent having to do the comparison but I don’t remember Sex and the City dressing down New York and its women like that. I don’t really have the lifestyle to follow television but in many accounts, this show passes for honesty and bravery and vulnerability, and I didn’t waste my time watching these girls.

Seminal Video: The Muppets

Here’s a video of Swedish Chef (Chef?) doing things with his married man hands. You know how you wanted “The Muppets Show” to come back last American Thanksgiving? Do you still want that? This I think is one of the official Muppets videos in years, or at least that’s what it looks like on Youtube. I don’t even know if this is happening or if it already has but we can do that online instead of on the networks. Short is sweet. Goodbye!

Seminal Television/Theatre: Les Mis

I’m a “Les Mis” noob and a musical noob, so don’t take the bad parts of this post seriously. In a time of rock and cabaret musicals, it’s kind of refreshing to have a traditional musical like “Les Mis.”

ph. PBS

Marius (Nick Jonas) sings a stanza or two and Eponine (Samantha Barks) belts out one line and blows him out of the arena. Although Jonas can sing if he’s alone on stage. Did you know that she was on a reality TV show before this? Also, I like her Eponine even if that means its treasonous to like her rendition’s over national treasure Lea Salonga. Barks’ Eponine is melancholy and mature while Salonga’s Eponine fifteen years ago had this childlike glow but singing as if she’s already fleeting away.

Before I get to Salonga I keep thinking about how many fangirls are there who are on team Eponine. There are a handful of supporting characters in a musical dignified with “It’s my song about dramatic solitude/before I exit and go to craft services/And ignore insignificant bit players….” But the sweeping notes and poetry of ‘On My Own,’ ‘A Little Fall of Rain’ or even Fantine’s ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ trump some of the leads’ songs.

Speaking which, I do like Salonga as Fantine. If she is singing lower because of age, that doesn’t stop her emotion from pouring into the songs. She’s best when admitting about her daughter Cosette (Katie Hall) to the Foreman, or showing her hatred while immersed in the world’s oldest profession. She gets cool points for playing the latter. The book for this musical’s very angry, emo and sad even for my mom, and thankfully the score balances most of the anger out.

Either way, I’m hooked on the musical now. There’s a greenlit film version scheduled for a 2013 release. I guess they have to get stars to play Valjean, Javert and Cosette, but Barks and Salonga better be there, Heck, you can put Jonas in the movie version too. Also, if you have YouTube clips to prove me wrong about who is the best who, go ahead.