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It’s official: Weeds gets renewed for an 8th season

11 Nov

My heart essentially dropped when I read that Showtime went ahead and renewed Weeds.  Again.  At one time, it was one of my favorite shows, but once Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) burned down the house and fled Agrestic, the show felt done.  When the Botwins and friends turned up in Ren Mar, it felt wrong.  It wasn’t the same show any more.  The whole point of Weeds was that we were watching the life of a soccer mom evolve into a drug dealer.  By the time she burned down Agrestic, well, she’d turned into a drug dealer. Goal accomplished.  Where do we go from there?

There are really two answers to that question.  One is let the show finish gracefully, and let the fans come up with their own fate for Nancy.  She could go down in TV history as a drug dealing mom who also is an arsonist among other things.  The other answer is unfortunately the more practical one if you are a Cable network who wants to turn a profit:  you shouldn’t care if a show turns to shit, you still want to churn it out cash for the bottom line so let’s ruin the strong character we created and let’s destroy the show.  For money.  And in Hollywood, you’re lucky if you get any sort of art since the bottom line is always about profit.

I slugged through life in Ren Mar half-heartedly.  It was no longer the same show I knew and loved.  Once Nancy hooked up with the drug kingpin I wondered if it would turn around.  Uh, no.  The only redeeming thing for me was when Shane (Alexander Gould) murdered Pilar (Kate del Castillo).  It was one of those moments I didn’t see coming and I thought, “Wow.  I just had to watch an entire season of this show for one great moment.  Maybe it will pick up next season.”  That was a gross mis-judgement on my part and when my now historically least favorite Weeds season (that is season 6 for any hard core fans) started, I saw it was going to crash and burn.  In fact, I had to stop watching by episode 5.  It wasn’t until Season 7 was about to start that I gave Weeds one last chance, for old times’ sake.  I sucked it up, watched the rest of Season 6 and prepared for the worst.  Strangely, I pretty much enjoyed Season 7.  Now, it wasn’t near the greatness of the first two seasons of the show but it felt as if Jenji Kohan and company had sat down and reflected on what made Nancy Botwin, well,  Nancy Botwin.

What initially made Weeds such as great show was taking an ordinary person and putting her in extraordinary circumstances and watching her struggle to survive.  What ruined this show was forgetting who Nancy was for, uh, about four seasons and just writing plots and forgetting that it wasn’t the drug thing alone that made the show what it was.  It was Nancy swimming with sharks while never quite becoming one, keeping a bit of humanity inside her somewhere, and somehow triumphing.  I realize characters need to evolve and grow.  But Nancy never felt that she organically evolved after she left Agrestic.  She reacted.  Nobody likes a reactor.  Then the character is ruled by plot.  Not their personality.  Nancy was ruled by plot for 4 seasons and the show floundered.  Yes, it still might have gotten good ratings but its watchability, at least in my opinion, took a nose-dive.  This season (7), Nancy was back to being proactive and the show felt different.  Not quite like it did, especially when teeny bopper queen Michelle Trachtenberg shows up as a spoiled drug dealer.  That’s when the show ended up having a nasty power struggle that I don’t feel paid off:  it became a question of what’s stronger?  Nancy as a character determining the show’s outcome, or the plot.  It felt like a stalemate.

I’ve got to admit (SPOILER ALERT) that as I watched the last scene of this season, I felt that it was the right time to end Weeds.  And what better way?  Does Nancy get shot?  I like to think she does.  Does she die?  I kind of think so.  Because you see, Nancy stopped struggling and in Nancy’s world, that really is death.  She needs to live for the next fix of drama.  So, sure, Jenji Kohan can now take her next 13 episodes and do with them what she may.  I hope it is something mind-blowing, not mind-numbing.  And… if Nancy does survive the gun shot, who does get killed?  Someone needs to die.  Maybe one of her children?  Now that might be interesting but I’m talking about an entirely different show.  How would Nancy survive the death of one of her kids?  Would she go out for revenge?  Again, not Weeds.  If Doug or Jill die, then that’s sort of a cop out.  So… what are they going to do?  Honestly, I’m not sure I care any more.  I would have rather seen Nancy go down in a hail of bullets.  An anti-heroine who could go down with some great criminals.  In my mind, there is nothing worse than going down in history as a Connecticut home owner (I lived in Connecticut for two years so I can attest to this).  How boring can you get?  If that’s how her life turned out, then Showtime and Jenji Kohan, I’d like my money back.  And my time.

When Leading Men Gain Weight: is Nathan Fillion pregnant?

30 Oct

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle in Season 1

I’ve been thinking about something a lot lately as I watch one of my favorite tv shows, Castle. Has Nathan Fillion gained weight? And I know that it not the nicest thing to think out loud, here on my blog, but I notice if any actress gains weight, she is accused of pregnancies or eating disorders. And while, yes men can have eating disorders, I can’t actually ask:  Is Nathan Fillion pregnant? Or maybe I can.  I am going out on a limb and observing: he’s gained a little weight. Now, as I said earlier, I know that isn’t nice to say. But I’m saying it as someone who has gained weight and lost weight and gained weight and lost weight at least a few times in my adult life. And yes, that is what happens to most human beings, they gain weight when they are stressed then lose it when they find an even more stressful situation. Oh yes, there is eating right and exercise as well but sometimes those are boring. But here’s the thing: when you’re an actor and you’re being paid to look good, isn’t that really part of the job? If someone wanted to pay me to be on a TV show, you bet your ass I’d being exercising and eating (mostly) right. Because at the wrong angles and with bad lighting I think the camera can add more than 10 pounds.

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle in Season 5

I just hate to see when my favorite TV stars let themselves go a little.  Because part of the reason I tune in is to see them looking good.  You wouldn’t expect a porn star to show up without her Brazilian wax.  And no, I am not comparing TV stars to porn stars.  I guess I expect my favorite show characters to consistently look great.   Because they get paid a lot of money to look great.  If they were CFOs they could be short, dumpy and frumpled and still do their jobs.  But if you are supposed to be sexy and dashing in a show, and women are supposed to fall at your feet, then you’d probably better look your best.  Unless they want to incorporate Castle’s eating into the narrative.  Perhaps he’s depressed that Beckett has not responded properly to his declaration of love (which we all know she hasn’t).   Or maybe he’s gotten so comfortable with her, he feels like he’s in some defacto marriage where both parties tend to gain a few pounds after they get married.  But she doesn’t seem to be gaining weight.

When Marlon Brando looked good

So, what’s going on with Richard Castle/Nathan Fillion?  I’d hate to see him go the way of Marlon Brando.  Because I am fairly certain that is the road Brad Pitt is traveling down.  As is Leonardo DiCaprio.  And while I’m on this tangent, I’ve got to say:  Robert Redford:  what the hell?  You might have looked great in the 1970s but by the late 1980s, going natural was very disappointing for even young female fans.  You might call me superficial.  Yes, I am when it comes to actors that start out looking great.  And while I honestly don’t expect everyone to go out and get plastic surgery or their stomachs stapled, if you’re paid loads of money to look your best every week for part of the year, I do expect that.

When Marlon Brando didn't look so good

The Playboy Club: whose bad idea was that?

7 Oct

Dear NBC,

What the hell were you thinking?  If you wanted to compete with Mad Men, then perhaps you should have thought a bit more about subject matter.  I’m not a prude.  Ask any of my friends or family.  I’m not even for censorship on networks.  I think your standards and practices usually screw up television shows.  For the last few years, I will admit, the networks are getting a bit edgier due to competition from cable, but I believe you have hit a sore spot.  And actually, quite insulting spot.  Do you think any female actually wants to actively be reminded of Playboy?  Because the majority of us women don’t.  We think it sucks.  Sure some women don’t mind it.  But I do.  And the reason I do is because it creates unrealistic expectations in men about how women should look and act.  This is no longer the 1960s.  Or even the 1970s.  Women have gone through a lot to get where they are so they can enjoy the privilege of working over 40 hours a week if they are lucky enough to be employed and still, for the majority of women, deal with grocery shopping, most household chores, decision making when it comes to domestic matters and child-rearing if they chose to go that route.  I’m not sure how watching a bunch of women dressing up in bunny costumes getting their asses pinched is supposed to make us feel better and apparently, neither did a lot of the American public (which restores a bit of my faith in it considering…) since The Playboy Club was the first drama you cancelled this season.   Maybe nobody told you because I know a lot of the guys in Hollywood do frequent prostitutes and go to topless bars and love to exploit women and it is like an open secret in the film and television business but it happens all the time.  So, guess what?  Women think that sucks.  And yeah, some of those Hollywood wives turn their heads the other way because they’d rather drive their new Mercedes or have their private dressing rooms at Neiman Marcus, but their economic greed ends up being bad for the rest of us females, who might actually have a bit of integrity when it comes to expectations of the opposite sex.  I don’t give a shit how many biologists and doctors and scientists tell us it’s different for men.  They are visual creatures.  Guess what all you visual creatures with penises… there is this scientific thing called evolution.  We all have to evolve.  Maybe you can evolve to not have to use porn as much and become a bit more human.  This is directed straight to the Hollywood guys who try to justify their behavior and then make it mainstream so the rest of the women in the world have to deal with it.  I, for one, am sick and tired of having to smile and nod my head and say it’s biological.  It’s called being selfish if you are in a relationship and constantly jerking off to porn.  Unless you are so gross your wife would rather have you jerking off to porn and then you might want to rethink your marriage.  Every time you take your penis in your hand and jerk off to porn, you are sending a message to a female who cares about you that they are not good enough and you would rather be with some whore.  So do us all a favor, if you want to do that, then go on and be with them but don’t waste decent women’s time with childish behavior.  And Hollywood men, stop acting like big babies who can get away with everything.   It’s really shameful and your mothers should have taught you better.  Lecture over.  See, this is why networks should not be bringing out misogynist crap.  It pisses me off.  And that was a calm rant.

Two and a Half Men: when hormones go bad

20 Sep

I’m feeling very conflicted about whether or not I want to watch this season’s premiere of Two and a Half Men. Because, truth be told, I really don’t watch the show that often. I tend to end up watching it when I visit my dad and step-mother and I have seen so many episodes on those visits that I guess I don’t feel the need to watch constantly. And the thing is, maybe a lot of people think Charlie Sheen is an asshole, but I don’t think he is. Okay, I know he has personal issues but I’ve worked with him in the past and while it was true he lives an unconventional life, he was always kind and respectful to me. Which is more than I can say for Malcolm McDowell. But that’s another story.

I’ve held my tongue during Charlie’s meltdown because I figure, everyone is entitled to at least one nervous breakdown in a lifetime. And until you’ve worked in Hollywood, you can judge all you want but life in Hollywood is never quite real. Working in the film or television business is almost like being tempted by the devil and you don’t always know yourself until you have been faced with strange situations like oh say… people running drugs through messenger services or little black books being hidden in places you would never imagine or the very stupid things studio heads do then try to cover them up. Sometimes it is almost like watching a TV show until you realize it is your life. So, I believe in second chances and I hope Charlie Sheen learns a couple of things along the way: first, he really needs to not hit women, that isn’t okay and if he’s angry, until he learns to deal with his rage, he could do what I did and break lots of phones and answering machines. Only walls get hurt. Well, the phones and answering machines as well and as soon as you get sick of having to replace them, you learn that maybe you should think before you loose your temper.  And, I’m truly hoping he realizes that you can only screw so many women and it’s not going to make you feel immortal or have better self-esteem. The only way you feel better about yourself is to figure out why you are feeling so crappy in the first place and discover, with the help of a licensed professional or at least a good personal coach, how you might help yourself in healthy ways. So Charlie, perhaps if you attempt to keep it in your pants and not hit women and focus on what might make you happy, you will have a happier success next time.  I’m routing for him more than I’m routing for the show because quite honestly, after hearing about Chuck Lorre trying to get him taken off the Emmy’s last night, I lost a whole lot of respect for the man who makes my favorite sitcom, The Big Bang Theory.  And just because Ashton Kutcher might have it together a bit more than Charlie Sheen, I find it bad form to flaunt it.  Who knows what may happen with him.  Hollywood’s a funny place.  One minute you’re on top, the next you mean less than shit being flushed down the toilet.  So, it’s always good to be grateful and not gloat while you’re doing good on your ride because you might need help once you get derailed.  That’s almost a guarantee in show business.  But that’s just my opinion.

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