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Tag Archives: Friends

Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

6 Apr

It is that time of year when Emmy related activities are beginning from the Variety “Actors on Actors” series to the most recent FX Upfront screening of American Crime Story. This means a lot of TV stars out and about so along with our usual behind the scenes set antics there is also plenty of promo stuff occurring. Plus a whole array of other events from the week.

 

Confession – I still have not caught any Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (I know), but I am still super psyched about this Instagram reveal and it is up there on the former roommate scale with Connie Britton and Lauren Graham.

 

Another amazing group of women and the “Fierce Verse: Feminist as Fuck” event is everything I want from a night of entertainment right down to Amber Tamblyn, Amy Poehler and Carrie Brownstein reading an Entourage script.

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Monitors #unrealtv

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I’m already pretty sure that this Rachel/Quinn drinking/hangover scene is going to be an UnREAL season 2 highlight.

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#Monday got me like…#UnREALtv #Quinning

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Adding “Quinning” to words I want to use more often.

 

Holly Taylor has ditched her Elizabeth Jennings’ coat and poses up a pool playing storm with her onscreen brother at the FX American Crime Story event last week.

 

Also at the same FX Upfronts event another pair of co-star cuties.

 

#CoatGoals and heart eye emoji faces.

 

Cherishing these Good Wife behind the scenes photos as the end is so close and also looking for clues; is this indicating that Lucca is representing Peter? This is definitely a courtroom scene.

 

Kerry Washington’s Confirmation tour is all about the floral frocks; perfect for spring sunshine (sorry if you are currently experiencing unseasonable snow where you are this week).

 

Another shot of this fabulous Kerry Washington dress (and probably my favorite of the four) as she takes part in Variety’s Actors on Actors; Emmy discussion season is upon us and I am always giddy for these one on one conversations and forthcoming roundtables.

 

Darts are also on the menu as well as actors chatting about actorly things and Rami shines in both the scoring and stripes department.

 

Uzo Aduba is currently performing on London’s West End in The Maids along side Fresh Meat’s Zawe Ashton and Lady Edith herself Laura Carmichael. The trio hit up the Olivier Awards red carpet and do the selfie thing with Stephen Oremus. Lipstick bonus points awarded to Zawe Ashton.

 

Now for a very random pairing with Bill Hader and Marcia Clark on stage with Gil and George.

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My Khaleesi! 👑🐲

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Costume designer Jill Bream posing with Kate McKinnon who is really working the iconic Daenerys season 5 look on SNL.

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A sport huddle

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So much Duplass beard and I am here for it.

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Ross?

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Rachel Bilson takes a step back in time and while it is over 10 years since Friends ended it is still just as popular as ever.

 

Still no word on an Agent Carter renewal, but for now enjoy this incredible BTS shot of Bridget Regan looking cool as fuck.

 

Ending things this week with Lupita Nyong’o working the perfect sparkle skirt to shimmy in.

 

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Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

27 Jan

My Name is Jonas” has been stuck in my head all week and there is a very obvious reason for this as social media has been awash with a blizzard by a certain name. So yes, plenty of snow pics from this edition of Behind the Insta-Scenes. Plus Sundance, red lipstick (insert emoji here), guests stars, that touted Friends reunion and more.

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#snowzilla #newyorkblizzard

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Snow plus dogs equals all the adorable especially when the dog is also dressed for the occasion. Cush Jumbo’s fur hood/gloves/big scarf continues the theme of all things winter wear this week on TV Ate My Wardrobe.

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Wtf #newyork

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Russell Tovey’s dog Rocky has snow shoes and I can’t even with how cute this is. Rocky does not seem thrilled by this weather.

 

Diane Kruger attempts a potentially perilous jump in the air snow pic and if I attempted this the likelihood of sticking the landing would be slim. Excellent coats and mittens choice (wouldn’t expect anything less). What we really want to know is who took the photo?

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Snow day.

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Enjoying the snow also in style is Joshua Jackson. Same question – who took the pic? (This one looks like it could be a selfie)

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I❤️NYC:)

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Not often you get to stand in the middle of a New York road like this. Got to take these opportunities where you can.

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#eastside @flowereyewear #theoliveglasses

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Drew Barrymore also has the same idea and everyone is killing it with their coat game.

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Awe, in a blizzard.

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As is Mark Ruffalo.

 

Yep there really was a lot of snow as this video from Justin Theroux shows.

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Drawing Club with @justintheroux #drawingclub

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It’s not all outdoor adventures for Justin Theroux and craft day with Amy Sedaris sounds truly magical.

 

Sundance traveling treats to the festival.

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Airplane fun with #allisonjanney

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And back.

 

Popcorn selfies that also need the lipstick emoji because Jenny Slate and Zoe Kazan have picked their color well. Can it survive the movie snacks? The true test of a good product.

 

While we’re on the subject of amazing lip color…

 

We can’t not include the TV Insta photo that has been making all the headlines this week even if this isn’t a complete Friends reunion.

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I got got at Barney's Beanery @ohhelloshow

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This is definitely too much tune. Also I wonder how often this happens to John Mulaney and Nick Kroll.

 

Fair.

 

Jane the Virgin and My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend both returned this week and to celebrate the casts had a joint viewing party.

 

Broad City is back in under a month (February 17!) and this just got me even more excited.

 

Grant Gustin knows he has no chill.

 

Get ready for more Rami Malek in Dior. A brand which has already served him very well.

 

This Scandal director has me all kinds of excited.

 

From TCA part 1 of a catch me if you can shot with Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich.

 

And part 2 (it looks better in grid formation on Instagram), Photographer Maarten de Boer also has a whole lot of excellent Sundance pics.

Hello, Hello, Hello: The Comeback 2.01 “Valerie Makes a Pilot” Discussion

16 Nov

The Comeback has returned and after talking all things Valerie with Kerensa Cadenas last summer we are back to do more of the same for season 2. When we started the Summer Rewind project we had no idea that this show would get a long overdue second chance; reboots and remakes are common Hollywood fare, but it is unusual for a show to get another go this long after it has been canceled and with the creative team involved (a trend maybe developing as Twin Peaks is also getting revived).

The Comeback 2.01Emma: So Valerie Cherish is back and she’s still just as oblivious and hungry for approval/fame while trying to recreate the I’m It! glory days. And I’m so happy to see her again, even during the most heartbreaking/cringe moments.

Since we last saw Valerie she hasn’t had a whole lot of success as both Room and Bored and The Comeback weren’t picked up – it’s not surprising as Room and Bored was terrible and the reality show kind of needed the sitcom to survive – and she’s done independent horror movies (which are actually student films), a hair care line for red heads called Cherish Your Hair (which I would so go red for) and an almost turn on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. This is the one that could have propelled her back into the public eye and it’s a decision she clearly regrets as she’s trying to forge a relationship with Andy Cohen. In typical Valerie form she thinks a couple of tweets can be referred to as ‘communicating with’ about this new project. She failed to grasp the scripted aspect of the kind of reality TV that has thrived since The Comeback and her refusal to be painted in what she saw as a villainous light led to her ditching the project. Valerie has always been concerned with coming across as a good person on screen and this normally leads to her looking totally clueless and self involved. Charitable acts come across as forced and disingenuous and the image she wants to project rarely plays out the way she hopes.

This could have been her return to the big time and she knows this, which is why the offer of a HBO show is so exciting even if it is a role that is essentially a character assassination and it means she will have to work with Paulie G again. Once again just the simple act of typing his name fills me with rage. Oh and it turns out that he was a heroin addict while they were making Room and Bored, but he’s still an asshole now. The cold read is such a terrifying moment for Valerie as not only does she have to read some pretty awful things about herself, but this is arguably the biggest opportunity of her career and she doesn’t want another Real Housewives missed opportunity.

The monologue itself is a searing take on how older actress are treated and when the camera lingers on Valerie’s frozen look of slight horror as she reads it to herself we know what is coming is going to be heartbreaking and it is. Lisa Kudrow’s delivery of this “unfuckable” diatribe is incredible and cuts right to the core of Hollywood gender double standards when it comes to what age is generally considered attractive. It is moments like this that make The Comeback such a special and important show that goes WAY beyond cringe comedy. What was your take on this scene?

How do you feel in general about Valerie’s return?

The Comeback 2.01 cold readKerensa: I’m so glad to have Valerie back! Just seeing her in that opening scene to bumbling that Chateau Marmont “meet up” with Andy Cohen–who she’s been “communicating” with was all just so classic Valerie. Completely cringing, panic inducing and ultimately so deeply sympathetic.

Seeing what she’s been up to post-Room and Bored was a perfect catch up–like I would totally watch the Valerie Cherish Cherish Your Hair infomercial while stoned at 3 am and probably would end up ordering some of that hair dye. Let’s be real I’d also watch all of Valerie’s “independent films.” (Yes, I know I’m using so many quotations but they feel appropriate.)

But what got me even more excited about this return of The Comeback was the scene that you mentioned–Valerie’s impromptu audition of Paulie G’s (groan) new HBO show–it was such a fucking smart critique on Hollywood, women and ageism and Kudrow crushed it. And that just dark biting feeling that was there while she was talking about being “unfuckable” gave the show even more layers for me than it had before. So I’m really excited to see where this goes–perhaps an attack on ~~white male antiheroes?~~

The Comeback 2.01 real housewivesEmma: Oh wow I really hope so and if that is the case then The Comeback is going to be the perfect companion to The Good Wife’s ‘Darkness at Noon.’ Kudrow is in a really strong position in terms of knowing how Hollywood treats older actresses not just through her own experience, but through that of her Friends co-stars. Jennifer Aniston is still churning out the comedy movies where she is still the hot sexual object (see the strip scene in We’re the Millers) but she is also trying to do the whole being treated like a serious actress and uglifying herself with Cake. And all people are interested in is whether she will ever marry Justin Theroux or have a baby. And how she feels about Brad and Angelina. Courtney Cox on the other hand is still doing the TV thing, but she has her own aging tabloid stories when it comes to Botox (and I know The Comeback will be addressing plastic/cosmetic surgery this season) and her dating life.

In terms of how similar Valerie is she still can’t remember names of anyone, she still loves a good prayer hands and her timeout symbol indicates where she wants to cut the footage. Mark using this in the bedroom when she tells him she put the bedroom camera back in is hilarious and I’m so glad they are still together. I’m also glad Mark was pissed off that Valerie took the Seeing Red part because he knows what a fucker Paulie G was to her first time. Mark clearly supports Valerie as he isn’t that reluctant to appear on camera this time, I think he just knows there should be a line.

So here is the thing Valerie has what appears to be a pretty good life as she’s still got money, the house and the husband who loves her but there is also this desire for the fame thing. Do you think she cares more about being known or about being an actress? I tend to lean toward the former and it is why she is willing to put herself in these shitty positions. And it’s not because she is dumb, there is some self-awareness and comprehension of the Hollywood game, but she wants in so much she doesn’t care about what she has to do. As long as she doesn’t look bad.

The other heartbreaking moment for me came as she stood in the paparazzi scrum shouting Juna’s name and the dejected look on Valerie’s face that she tried to cover with sunny optimism as the car pulled away. But Juna must have heard the “Baby Girl” call through all the Juna’s as she came back and she really hasn’t changed either despite being a HUGE star. It’s not surprising that Juna and Chris are the ones who made it (and I can’t wait to see meathead Kellan Lutz once again, maybe they’ll riff on the whole Twilight thing) as they are the ones who are still doing things now (sorry Jesse and Shayne).

Mickey is the returning character I am happiest seeing and I can’t imagine anything breaking this bond. I’ve already mentioned Mark being back, so is her publicist Billy (Dan Bucatinsky) and their housekeeper Esparanza also pops up briefly. Mark’s daughter Francesca is referenced as she needs an apartment in New York where she is studying fashion and as I’ve seen a lot of Million Dollar Listing NYC recently I’m hoping for a reality show crossover here. I know Jane is going to be back and she’s definitely top of my most anticipated list and I love her relationship with Valerie.

Who are you wanting to make a comeback to The Comeback? Oh and as we had some reality figures show up (oh hey Ru Paul) is there anyone in this arena you want to see on the show? Tyra would be my number one choice.

The Comeback 2.01 Andy Cohen and Ru PaulKerensa: I think that Valerie wants to be known as opposed to being an actress and it sucks but for Valerie it seems that, especially the way I think the show has/continues to frame Valerie’s struggle as a working older actress is that is what her options are? I mean, I think depending on how this season pans out, that may change but she’s pretty much willing to do whatever it is to be known as opposed to doing good work.

I’m excited to see Jane also and the thing about this season that I’m the most excited about is that catching up with these characters from the original I think will give us more insight into their lives. I mean so much about Paulie G—that he was using heroin–was off camera on The Comeback which is going to I think add some really interesting stuff into the show.

In terms of guests–I’m not sure there’s anyone I have specifically in mind but I’m fully expecting to see some totally random people show up. People LOVED The Comeback and even judging from Ru and Andy showing up–I think we are going to see some major stars show up to support Valerie.

The Comeback 2.01 JunaEmma: When they mentioned Kathryn Hahn was in the audition room (and Chelsea Handler – IRL BFF of Jennifer Aniston – made a cameo appearance via a video audition) I was hoping she was going to be there, but alas this wasn’t the case. In somewhat related/unrelated Melanie Lynskey (another fave and star of new HBO show Togetherness) did comment on Twitter “When Kathryn Hahn walks in to an audition room you’re in, the most dignified thing to do is give her a little bow, pack up your sides & go.” Now I want to see Melanie Lynskey on The Comeback.

The well is deep as there are plenty of reality TV personalities who would be more than happy to appear on a show like this in the most meta of ways trying to clutch onto the fame. The depth of the HBO acting roster is also long and varied and as you mention people love The Comeback – and it’s definitely one of those Hollywood insider shows that show business types adore – so I think there will be a few surprises in store.

Kerensa Cadenas is a writer living in Los Angeles. She is an Editor for Snakkle. She also writes for Women and HollywoodThe WeekThis Was TelevisionForever Young Adult, and Bitch magazine. She was the Research Editor for Tomorrow magazine. You can follow her on Twitter and read her ridiculous thoughts about teen television at her website.

TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Christening” & “The Anti-Natalie Intervention”

25 Sep

Felicity, Episodes 3.1 & 3.2
“The Christening” & “The Anti-Natalie Intervention”
Original Air Dates: Oct. 4 & 11, 2000

Felicity 3.01 Ben and FelicityEmma: There are new opening credits with a brand new song and it totally threw me at first. In the space of 30 seconds I went from ‘ugh these are awful’ to ‘I totally love them’ which is a quick about turn. I like the cheese factor and how it captures the fun of the show with some of the farcical elements. There’s also some deep and meaningful hug/talking clips used and while the black and white credits captured that self-serious aspect of early college, I think these new ones represent the less precious aspects of college. They’re now more self-assured than they were and at least it’s not like the Alias season 3 disaster.

After complaining about how flaky Felicity is when it comes to decision making she went and did something impulsive in the season 3 premiere. Sadly it wasn’t a wise move as she ditched her Elena/Julie commitments and instead got an apartment for Ben and herself. She just went ahead and did it before consulting either her friends or Ben so they all kind of have to go along with it. Felicity is all excited about seeing a Ben again and her decision is tied to this romantic notion about both her relationship and the apartment in question. It’s in Brooklyn and what you would definitely call a fixer-upper.

Felicity is flaky, but she can also be single minded and it’s why she doesn’t really consider the consequences of this huge decision. First of all it leaves Elena and Julie down a roommate; this is covered as Meghan’s living plans have fallen through (she was meant to move in with Earl) and she needs somewhere to live. This is one development I am so happy with – Meghan is still with Sean and even though they’ve had an amazing summer together, they don’t decide to move into together, they are not Felicity. Ben doesn’t get a say, yes he could tell Felicity what a dumb idea it is, but he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. Instead he just bitches about how much he hates it to Sean. Standard Ben behavior. Ben takes Sean’s terrible advice because, of course. This advice includes a huge screen and I don’t even understand what kind of TV that is. Pre flat screen I guess.

It’s far too early in their relationship to take this step and there’s a difference between staying over because your dorm is flooded versus actually living together. They should still very much be in the fun stage and an apartment with a bath in the front room is not the way to go. That and everything else that is wrong with it: bugs, rats, loud pipes, a hot neighbour with no boundaries and appliances that catch on fire. Felicity mentions she has experience with fire and the new opening credits helpfully show this experience. On both occasions fire interrupts a hook up.

What did you think about Felicity’s impulsive decision?

Felicity 3.01 JulieJulie: I knew the new credits were coming, but I kind of forgot about it until you mentioned them on Twitter. I remembered hating them (and the new song) on my first Felicity go-around, but this time, I’m loving them. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s just that I love reliving all those little moments and seeing how much Felicity and her friends have grown over the first two seasons.

Felicity in the first episode of Season 3 is not the Felicity of the second episode. I don’t know what that whole “let’s move in together, Ben” thing was, but it was bad. All-around bad. She put her mister before her sisters. She didn’t consult Ben on the decision. And she was just being so “I’m Felicity and I need to feel adult.” Plus, I don’t think she considered how annoying it would be to live in Brooklyn while commuting to Manhattan for school. I am a big proponent of living as close to campus as possible, preferably on campus. There will be plenty of time for apartments and adulthood after graduation. Be a kid for as long as you can. Plus, holy geez, was the girls’ student housing AMAZING!

The whole time Ben kept talking to Sean about it, I was like, “You fool! This is going to be on the Sundance Channel! She’ll see it.” Ben is kind of an idiot. He’s an idiot about their downstairs neighbor who wants to use their living room tub, as well. He, apparently, has very little control when it comes to beautiful women, which hopefully won’t get him into too much trouble. Felicity doesn’t deserve that, apartment renting aside. Also, I don’t know what’s going on with his hair this season. I’m not sure if it was my TV, but it looked like a football helmet.

Anyway, no harm, no foul, because Felicity is back with the girls and Ben is back with Sean. And maybe Richard is living there now? Have they established that? Or is Richard kind of the Phoebe? Regardless, it’s good because it seems like the show is focusing more on the fun, social aspects of college, which is what we were hoping for during sophomore year.

I’m especially liking the girl dynamic. Elena and Julie are getting more to do, just by virtue of playing off each other. There’s some major girl shit happening there. Meghan is there to stir things up and provide comic relief. Julie, especially, has some deep things happening beneath the surface. She, apparently, took the kidney test, wasn’t a match for her dad, and got to know him a bit before he died. I’m not sure I believe her whole story at this point. She’s also having to serve as a buffer between Elena and the hot guy across the hall. Once Elena realizes she doesn’t want to jeopardize her relationship with Tracy, Julie steps in and hooks up with the guy. Is this the first time Julie’s really been with someone since Ben? I think so. I’m concerned Julie’s headed for more dark times.

What do you think about Julie? Oh, and Elena’s little crisis of faith?

Felicity 3.01 NoelEmma: Ben’s hair makes me way more sad than even the hideous Felicity top knot. I have no idea what they did to it. Maybe we can blame the helmet he had to wear on his construction job. The mid-length Felicity is sporting is not nearly as awkward as I expected it to be. You know who has terrible hair? That’s right, Noel. But more on him later.

The girls’ apartment is incredible and I’m guessing is one of these kinds of places that only exist on TV as none of our student housing ever looked like this. And there are also super cute dudes living across the hall, also in a TV fantasy land kind of way and this provides both the entertainment and the friction in the second episode. There is no way that dude’s towel would have stayed up and I love how disappointed they all were when the game ended.

Felicity does seem constantly torn between wanting to be an adult and doing the fun thing which is probably pretty accurate of most 19/20 year old’s. You’re right in that college is very much the time for fun, where you can stay over but go back to your own place whenever you want. Plus nobody wants a 20 minute conversation about where to put the forks. Especially when it’s not even innuendo. With Felicity moving into the apartment does this mean the English student who hasn’t turned up is shit out of luck? Or are two of them going to have to share? I’m going with the latter and I have a feeling Meghan and Felicity might end up sharing again, which probably won’t be too much of a big deal seeing as they both have their boyfriends’ (who happen to live together) apartment to sleep over at.

Also Felicity and Meghan make the most sense doubling up as I sense a lot of icy tension with Julie and Elena thanks to hooks up and persistent questions. Felicity hasn’t been around much to ask Julie about her depressing summer and like you I feel like she isn’t being completely upfront with what happened. It sounds super shitty and I can understand why she is being standoffish, but if you don’t want someone to ask how you are don’t cry in the communal space. Elena asking Julie to third wheel for her while she contemplates other options outside of Tracy is a bit of a dick move, especially as Julie is as she mentions always the third wheel so when Elena decides Tracy is all she wants (thanks to a well timed photo falling over that Elena saw as a sign from God), Julie puts that getting to know you with this pre-law guy to good use. Oh hey awkward morning after bathroom scene.

In terms of dudes post Ben wasn’t there that dread lock guy from the party at the start of last season? Obviously there was the sleazy A&R guy that resulted in Zach flashbacks and a Noel smooch, but no one else that I can think of. I want Julie to get her own story and for them to explore the lady friendships, but I hope Julie’s spiral isn’t just a series of one night stands; I hope they don’t use sex as a way to have Julie question her self worth all over again. I kind of hope this is just Julie being really passive aggressive towards Elena using her and rubbing it in that she can’t have sex with her boyfriend rather. This is also a dick move and one that I hope settles the score.

Elena also commits the dumb move of talking about her Tracy problems on camera and I think they’ve all forgotten what Sean is going to do with the footage. Cut to a few episodes time and the first episode airing. SO many arguments are on the cards.

If everyone was to write an essay about what they did on their summer vacation then Noel would certainly get a “huh?” in his comments section and he doesn’t show up until near the end of the premiere and when he is a very different looking Noel to what we are used to. Gone are the tees, sweaters and floppy hair and in are the highlights, beard and leopard print. They really did find the best worst attire and I’m pretty sure he is very stoned or at least high on something. As Javier predicted his cousin is some kind of whirlwind and Noel’s fallen head over heels for this lack of responsibility schtick. What did you think of Noel’s – or should I say Leon’s? – big news?

Felicity 3.02 Elena and FelicityJulie: I think Noel’s hair gets a pass for the moment. That is deep crisis hair. That’s not real hair.

Junior year is a particularly troubling time for Felicity’s hair. She seems to have it all figured out personally, but not follicularly. I think I just made up that word. The top knot is horrible. It’s a curly man bun, and it only works on Joakim Noah.

As far as the Julie/Elena fight goes, I’m squarely on Team Julie here. Elena knew she was being an idiot. She knew she was playing with fire, and she dragged Julie into it. I’m thinking at this point Julie only slept with pre-law dude as an eff you to Elena. Like, “See, Elena, if you were single like me, this could’ve been you.” I don’t know. Good for Julie for standing up for herself…in some way.

I also want to point out, as far as pre-law dude goes, he knows WAAAAAAAY too much about New York divorce law for an undergrad. It was actually hilarious. I’m pretty sure most attorneys don’t get that far into divorce law until they actually become divorce attorneys.

OK, Noel. Or Leon. He’s a hot mess. I think this whole Natalie thing was good for him in the long run. As we’ve said, Noel has always been Mr. Responsible. He had a long-term girlfriend. He got serious with Felicity right away. When he went to Europe two summers ago, he was so hung up on Felicity, he didn’t really let himself have fun. Then he hooked up with Ruby, who went and got pregnant, and who tapped Noel as her caregiver/BFF. Noel was due for some irresponsibility.

Of course, this being television, they take it to the limit, turning Noel into some skeezy guy with cool guy tips. He even elopes. At least he didn’t get a tattoo (that we know of), so there’s that.

Noel needed to go through all this, however, because 1) now he knows he can go full-throttle with his life notebook plan to be a giant computer nerd and 2) since he never figured out his living situation before running off with Natalie, he can move into Sean’s loft. Everyone’s living together! Things are perfect! Show over!

How did you feel about the Noel/Natalie situation?

Felicity 3.02 Noel and FelicityEmma: Woah that definitely tops even the Jared Leto man bun.

The middle stage of a grow out is super awkward and this is why I stick to short hair now (and I really don’t suit long hair at all). So having seen recent photos of Keri Russell has she lost the tighter curls naturally or do you think she has something done to her hair to lose the Felicity style volume? I am no hair expert so have no idea.

I am also on Team Julie on this occasion, I just don’t want this living situation to descend into bitchiness and bad feelings.

That dude definitely seemed like he was an actual lawyer posing as a student as some elaborate scheme to hook up with college girls. That or he has a photographic memory or something, Super useful having him across the hall for all law emergencies. Speaking of which – what kind of lease did Felicity get where she could move in and out of somewhere and still get all of her money back?

During the second episode I ended up writing down that Noel is the Ross of this show, which I guess is appropriately timed as it is the Friends 20th anniversary week (ahh those feeling old feelings). He ends up in these really dumb situations and gets married while drunk, there’s just something very Ross about him. I think it’s good as well that he has had this experience even if it has put a kink in his plan – it might also put Noel in the same year as the rest of the group as I guess he might have to wait until next year to do his senior year. Noel’s freak outs are also reminiscent of Ross as is his realization that their collective assets are a plate. Scott Foely once again gets to flex his comedy chops and show how good he is at this.

The initial intervention is kinda shitty and it’s similar to how they were all interfering when they found out Ruby was pregnant and they discussed it vocally while he was in the room next door. Richard has gone into overdrive and was this a high point for interventions on TV? Or did that show come later? It doesn’t go well and Ben’s the only one who doesn’t think it’s any of their business. Part of this is down to Ben’s general not wanting to get up in other people’s business kind of personality, but there must also be an element of Noel being Felicity’s ex.

In the end Noel does start to freak out about this huge life choice and Felicity’s reference to his life plan notebook basically has him shitting himself about the whole thing. It isn’t surprising that Felicity is the one that gets through to him in her Felicity way and they have a pretty sweet and open conversation about the whole thing.

Natalie discovers the intervention paperwork and she’s pissed about the whole thing; she ends up punching Noel pretty hard, but then later on she wants to get back with him. He’s still pissed but he can’t resist her pizza for breakfast moves although I am assuming this is nothing more than goodbye sex. Do women like Natalie really exist? She feels very much to me like a wild child caricature and the whole vacation every month/move every two years is far more fantasy than reality. Just how could you financially sustain this She also has some terrible clothing choices including the shirt showing her stomach thanks to an oh so classy knot and all of Noel’s hideous outfits are courtesy of Natalie. Javier’s stories about Natalie are also crazy, but hilarious particularly with the defibrillator.

More daddy issues ahoy as Ben’s dad comes into town? What did you think about the John Ritter (*sob*) guest turn?

Felicity 3.02 John RitterJulie: I’ve always wondered that about Keri Russell’s curls. During senior year, after she’s gone through the awkward phase, Felicity’s hair is much more relaxed. I’m guessing Keri does something to it. I think her hair gets wet in the new Apes movie and it looks like it has maximum curl potential. Maybe she wants to stay far away from Felicity’s iconic hair. I wouldn’t really blame her, considering all the crap that came with her cutting it. That said, is she a little less recognizable without the curls? It’s not Jennifer Grey levels, of course, but she had a signature look and she ditched it.

That was a long paragraph about curls.

Aaah! Noel IS the Ross! He’s totally the guy who freaks out when things don’t go according to his plan. He just needs a pair of leather pants. Also, I could totally see Noel going Red Ross. Actually, I would love to see (you know, in honor of Friends‘ 20th — God, am I old) the entire Felicity cast get together to do an homage to friends. Or, really, just to see Scott Foley do all of Ross’s lines, because I think he’d be great. Does anyone else fit the Friends bill? Maybe Elena is Monica, because they’re both so Type A.

I think HIMYM took interventions to their height and then back down again.

While the Noel thing was unbelievable, I am glad that it gave us some nice FeliciNoel moments again. I’ve missed the two of them being friends. They were doing so well in the beginning of last season, but then he got all caught up in Ruby and she got all caught up in Greg. The two of them really do understand each other the best of everyone on this show.

John walked in the room while I was watching this episode and was all, “Aww, John Ritter.” My reaction as well. He kind of made a habit of playing deadbeat dads toward the end of his career, what with being Ben’s dad as well as J.D. Dorian’s (I guess two makes a habit?).

It was all pretty cliche, with no new ground covered on the deadbeat dad front, but I did love seeing Ritter again as well as the adorable moment between Felicity and Ben when his dad inevitably didn’t show up. They have each other. Miraculously, Felicity’s impulsive apartment hunting and moving-too-fast didn’t turn Ben off this time. It’s almost as if she was doing it as a test…

Felicity 3.02 Noel black eyeEmma: The Keri Russell curl situation makes me think of Julianna Margulies and why she didn’t want her ER curls on The Good Wife, but that’s a wig rather than her actual hair. I really like Russell’s softer wave and it looks more grownup I guess, plus I get all the hair envy at her amazing side sweep. Hmm the mystery of where her tighter curls continues I guess but I know what you mean about how it looked in Apes (I’m still so bummed out that she was essentially just the girlfriend in that movie). Moving away from iconic hairstyles is in part about differentiating from the character and also it must be a style thing to – the Rachel haircut would look like a hot mess now for example. I’m also getting images of Gillian Anderson and her Scully helmet hair from the early seasons of The X-Files. She also has amazing hair now.

This is also a long paragraph about curls and hair.

Now I definitely want to see Scott Foley doing some Ross cosplay and Noel could definitely blow up and go Red Ross. Yeah Elena as Monica works, but I’m not sure about the others. I kind of see Tracy as a Paul – the boyfriend from outside the group who manages to stick around as he is well liked. Richard is kind of a Phoebe. Julie has the aforementioned Rachel haircut four years too late.

John Ritter is so good in a role that isn’t breaking the mold of disappointing alcoholic dad, but both Ritter and Scott Speedman elevate the material they are given to make it more than just a cliche. Oh and the opposite of deadbeat dad is 8 Simple Rules so that breaks the trend a smidge, maybe it’s just when he is guest starring? John Ritter is always an excellent performer and despite only previously hearing super shitty things about Ben’s dad in the past I instantly warmed to him because it’s John Ritter. He also wears that beard well. Ritter is great, but it was actually Speedman that really impressed me with all his nervous ticks while waiting for his dad. It looked like he wasn’t going to turn up for their second arranged meet up and he looks like a little kid while he is waiting. He does show up and he has a gift – a random CD from Tower Records, how very year 2000 of him – and they share a sweet moment with his dad apologizing for being a super shitty parent. He can’t remember a single thing from Ben’s childhood and this is pretty high on the deadbeat dad chart.

Ben doesn’t want false promises, but after this display of contrition he buys into the whole thing which makes them getting stood up later on all the more devastating as he let his guard down, but as you mention at least he has Felicity to provide some form of comfort. I’m guessing we’re going to get to see more from John Ritter at some point. Every season of this show needs some daddy issues.This will provide some excellent material for our Ben Covington thesis.

Hmm I don’t think I have anything else to add – you?

Felicity 3.02 group interventionJulie: Poor Julie with her gross Rachel hair.

I just want to say that I’ve only seen this season once, about ten years ago, so it’s not very fresh in my mind. I remember thinking back then that the third and fourth seasons paled in comparison to the first two; but this time around, I think I like where the latter seasons are going. There’s a pull-back from the seriousness of seasons 1 and 2. The comedy and situations are a little more heightened, a little wackier, which on the surface I shouldn’t like, but for some reason I’m finding that I do.

I love the angst, but like Chandler and Monica, I also like the silliness.

Julie Hammerle is, according to Klout, an expert in the areas of both Morgan Freeman and glasses. Her writing can be found at chicagonow.com/hammervision and you can holler at her on Twitter as well.

 

TV Rewind: Felicity, “Family Affairs” and “Portraits”

5 Jun

Felicity, Episodes 2.08 & 2.09
“Family Affairs” & “Portraits”
Original Air Dates: Nov. 21 & Dec. 19, 1999

Felicity 2.08 Felicity and NoelEmma: It’s Thanksgiving and Christmas on Felicity and the holiday season is bringing up some not so well-buried feelings between Noel and Felicity. The ghosts of holidays past turn up as a kissing memory turns into a kissing reality thanks to very strong punch and undeniable feelings. As you predicted, David is dunzo after four episodes; but what I didn’t expect was for it to be in such a public manner and in front of Felicity’s parents no less, not to mention Felicity and Noel’s drawing professor. Awkward.

So how did we get here? Well, it’s been clear that Noel and Felicity have been dancing around the friendship/flirtation thing and, as the eyelash moment from our last discussion indicates, these fires still burn deep even if they are both dating other people and are doing the friend thing. Ah yes, platonic love, and however much I was enjoying them as friends, this is TV and so of course romance is going to factor into it all. I’m torn in the same way I was with Danny and Mindy; they’re great as friends but they also have undeniable chemistry. Plus David is sweet, he’s also a tad boring and also wanting to take things WAY too fast. No wonder Felicity went to hide in what she thought was an unoccupied room.

Before I get into the whole Felicity and Noel of it all, let’s talk about David first and the conversation that doomed his relationship with Felicity. It’s meant to be this casual thing and so David’s constant surprise visits, coupled with his ‘falling in love with you’ remark is way more than Felicity was expecting or wants. It’s only been a month after all. As she later explains her first year at college was about these two guys and the serious relationships she had (or still has) with them. It’s too much, she never dated in high school and to bounce from one intense relationship to another is not what she’s after.

Felicity thought they were on the same page, but it’s clear they never have been, after all David is slightly older and his breakup pain is much more acute than Felicity’s. Felicity and Ben broke up because he couldn’t offer her what she wanted and now she thinks she is “the Ben.” On a surface level I guess she is, but that’s far too reductive and basically David wants something more serious because that’s where he is in his life (he’s 7 years older than her) and Felicity doesn’t want to be tied down. This also makes sense, though it’s bad timing and, eh, David was never going to be anything long term really. I just dread to think what his next dates are going to be like if his first one with Felicity is an indicator of how well he takes break ups.

Felicity’s overwhelmed feelings are compounded further as her parents surprise her with a trip to New York and David’s non-freaking out reactions at meeting them drives Felicity further away. It’s been a while since we last saw the Porters and I’m glad her mom is still very receptive to the path Felicity is taking. Her dad doesn’t flip out in the way I expected when he finds out she’s dropped pre-med and aside from the not so wonderful lunch in Felicity’s regular haunt (which by the way is not a pub, it’s just not).

And then the Noel thing happens. Before I go down that road I want to know what you think about Felicity’s reaction to David and the general set up of this year’s Thanksgiving episode.

Felicity 2.08 Dear SallyJulie: First of all, I can’t believe we’re already at the Thanksgiving and Christmas eps. That was fast.

The David thing played out really well, I think. At first I thought it was sort of a stretch that he’d be such a Stage 5 Clinger; but on a second look, it seems right. He, after all, was the one who came looking for her after she told him off on their first date. He was the one who offered to house her when the dorm was lousy with mono. He was the one who offered to take in her stray dog. Also, he’s older and he has been in serious relationships before. He was simply ready for something that Felicity was not.

I also loved the parents’ role in this. It felt so real and so cringy to me. That’s what parents do, right, when they meet their kids’ boyfriends and girlfriends, not to mention the parents of said boyfriends and girlfriends? They start trying to fit these new people into their lives. I guess there’s always that sense of, “This could be the person my kid marries. I’d better get on board.” And since David and Felicity had only been dating for a short time at this point, everything seems really early and really heightened.

The heightened emotions are not helped by David’s mom’s killer punch (which I tried to google, but couldn’t find it after searching for thirty seconds). Noel definitely gets drunk, everyone else gets a little tipsy, and he and Felicity end up “accidentally” kissing on his bed and are interrupted by David’s mom, who happens to be their art teacher.

I don’t remember what happens, but I hope Felicity and Noel kiss during every Thanksgiving episode, no matter what’s going on at the time.

Also, I’m loving the characterization in this episode. Meghan forgetting to order the food for her residents was great. (I loved the cut to the three guys sitting there in the darkness, starving.) I like that Elena, who has had to be the homemaker for much of her childhood, is a whiz at preparing a Thanksgiving meal. I like how Noel gets loopy every time he consumes something out of the ordinary. Good job writers!

So, what did you think of that kiss and the other kiss, the one between Ben and that skanky married lady he’s banging?

Felicity 2.08 Noel and MeghanEmma: Thanksgiving on Felicity is fun and messy with Noel and Felicity being at the center of these shenanigans. I’m with you on illicit smooches between the pair becoming a Thanksgiving tradition. While this one didn’t reach the frenzied making out heights of their bathroom smooch which was fueled by anger last year, I think it could have gone that way if they hadn’t been interrupted (minus the anger). I like that it directly came from this place of giggling remembrance from the previous year, plus it gives Meghan the dramaz she has been craving all evening. As with the beets, Meghan and Noel make a dynamic duo when one of them, ok Noel, is wasted. More of this please as it gets to show off Scott Foley’s wonderful comic timing. Scott Foley is also pretty damn good at performing awkwardly, as he does while entertaining the parents as Elena and Felicity at the store.

As this was so enjoyable I’m even going to forgive them for not even mentioning where Elena’s dad is after they made such a big deal of their fractured relationship during the last Thanksgiving episode. The Meghan being a terrible RA thing is wonderful, as is the mysterious reason behind her community service. Like with her box Meghan, is a huge enigma and I’m all for more random Meghan tidbits as we go along. I love how she does the fake parent thing so well as she’s been doing it for so long with her own parents.

Felicity’s mom is so adorable as she’s trying so hard with her daughter; as you said it’s cringy and so real. It just so happens that David really isn’t the long term dude for their daughter. I also love the joking around on the walk to the cab with her mom saying she wanted to hit Professor Sherman because of course. They make plans for breakfast and it’s the least stressful thing in the world, embarrassment over and I hope we don’t go this long before we see Felicity with her parents (and specifically her mom) again.

I have more to say on Felicity and Noel, but that’s more to do with the second episode so hey it’s time to talk about Ben and Teri Polo. So in a slightly contrived storyline – why would someone host a fancy benefit at D&D? Sorry, Javier – Ben ends up as a cater waiter at an event catered by Teri Polo and hosted by her husband. Awkward. It goes terribly because Teri Polo wants to smooch his face off in the back room while her husband is the least subtle flirter in the world. Guys, I think you should get a divorce. I feel a tad sorry for Polo, but hey it’s clear you’re relationship is doomed if your both fucking other people who are in the room. Julie does her best not to come across as too judgy and to her credit she isn’t, even when she sasses off a bit. She’s only looking out for Ben who really needs to stop making shitty decisions. Meanwhile Sean is still trying to pedal Smoothaise. As a mayonnaise hater every time he mentions it I gag a little. Stop it, Sean.

They end up eating Tofurkey, which sounds like they’re saying a bad word and their Thanksgiving dinner is very sweet. I just wish it wasn’t so separate to the other group on this show and the second episode we’ve watched this week also has this same issue.

What did you think of Ben and his relationship woes?

Felicity 2.08 Ben and SeanJulie: I loved everything about Scott Foley in these two episodes. It, again, makes me wish that he were better utilized on Scandal. I want more David Rosen/Jake Ballard shenanigans. Shonda needs to give those two comedic actors better stuff to work with.

I really loved how terrified he was of hanging with the parents on his own. It almost doesn’t make sense, seeing as he was an RA and probably the most adult of all the college students in Felicity’s world, but it works because of who the parents are — his professor and his ex-girlfriend’s mom and dad. And, yes, Felicity’s mom (and dad) were all kinds of great in this episode. I guess they found something to bond over — the fact that nobody liked how serious David was getting about Felicity.

The “soiree at Dean & Deluca on Thanksgiving” was crazy ridiculous. Or not. Maybe I’ll host my next black tie Christmas Day gala at the local Starbucks. But at least it got Julie and Sean out of the apartment?

I know they *want* me to feel bad for Teri Polo, but I’m just kind of annoyed with the whole “See? It’s okay that she was cheating on her asshole, cheater husband” thing. It felt a little too convenient and it makes Ben look like less of a dick for going along with it. Just let Ben be a dick. I thought Julie handled the situation perfectly, and was probably kicking herself for ever dating this moron (Ben) in the first place.

And Smoothaise needs to be killed. Mayo is disgusting, and this sounds worse. But Sean offering to spread some Smoothaise on the Tofurkey? Genius. Perfection.

Like you, I really want the two groups to reunite. I miss everybody being together. They’re running out of things for the Ben-Julie-Sean trifecta to do on their own. Ben spent the second episode working on a term paper for the wrong novel. Yawn. The Julie/Sean unrequited love story has run its course. Now Julie is dealing with skeevy record producers and I think the show is starting to recycle every storyline from 90210.

At least Noel and Felicity are doing interesting things. What did you think of their portraits? And which gift would you have wanted: The Palm Pilot, the sweater, or the hideous bracelet?

Felicity 2.09 RubyEmma: I’m so glad we share a hatred of mayo! Most people react with horror when I pull a barf face at the mention of this condiment.

The “Ben reads the wrong book” thing had me cracking up, but that was my general reaction to the second episode. Some of it was meant to be funny (like Ben’s bonehead mistake), other parts like the portraits less so (more on my aversion to TV art to come). I get why Julie got mad at Sean, but yeah that guy (I think he’s from one of the CSI’s) had skeeze written all over him so other than the fact that Sean’s motivations are maybe not that selfless I think he’s on the mark. Also it’s crazy how dated Julie’s conversation with the A&R dude sounds with talk of tapes. Even MySpace would sound out of touch now.

So yeah the Felicity/Noel angle is way more interesting, even if it’s sorta frustrating as they continue their thinking too much dance. This is their eternal problem as they have the odd impulsive moment of actual kisses and almost ones followed by so much talking that they end up right back where we started in this weird limbo. It’s why I was rooting for them as friends. However, I also just want them to do it already (actually my notes at one point are more blunt saying “just fuck already”). Do you feel the same the same frustration with Noel and Felicity?

Oh and when it comes to the gifts Palm Pilots weren’t a thing over here, I mean there were PDA’s but not that brand I don’t think, I’m glad to finally see what they are and also in my notes I refer to the bracelet as ugly (because it really is). So hit me up with the sweater, Noel. The three different gifts show his confused state when it comes to Ruby and she still hasn’t enamored herself to me. I think the writers are trying to make her likeable as she points out how she doesn’t like the “GQ guys” who hang out in her hotel lobby and that Noel means a lot to her, but, eh, I find it hard to care about her.

I know Felicity is her RA, but it’s a little weird that she still goes to her with Noel related dilemmas, I definitely want an episode where Ruby seeks out Meghan’s advice. Felicity is too nice to tell her the truth and while I think it’s good that Felicity doesn’t get involved romantically with Noel again she’s still circling around the same issues, it’s why I liked their platonic relationship. Complications can’t be avoided and conflict is paramount to drama, I dunno I just don’t want to go down the same path again. So far I do think Noel and Felicity are both being incredibly mature with how they are handling it.

What did you think of the Felicity and Noel of it all? Oh and what about the slightly goofy/trippy dream sequences?

Oh and here is a tease of why TV art generally makes me laugh hysterically, it’s from Dawson’s Creek and they pulled a reverse Titanic with Joey drawing a naked Jack.

Felicity 2.09 Julie and Sean

Julie: Also, regarding Julie: Can she learn a new song, please? It’s always the same one. But I do love the new wavy hair.

The A&R storyline really cracked me up. She sent out fliers to random offices? Snail mail? And then one of the dudes showed up? And we’re supposed to believe he’s on the up-and-up AND that Pop Rocks candy won’t sue him for using their name? I do kind of miss the innocence of those days, though. It’s so quaint how she’s “discovered” in a bar (Sorry, Felicity. A cafe). I basically want nothing to do with anything that began on YouTube or anywhere else on the internet.

“Just fuck already” could describe how I feel about many TV characters. I’ll probably start shouting that at the screen now. But, yeah. Felicity and Noel do think too much. They need some on-the-counter sex. Ben shouldn’t be the only one having on-the-counter sex.

I suppose they’re doing so much thinking because of their history and because there is an actual third person in the way, namely Ruby, our favorite. While I think Ben is a jerk for hooking up with Maggie while knowing about her husband, I wouldn’t feel the same way if Felicity and Noel did the deed. 1) Ruby sucks. 2) Ruby has been gone for, practically, months. 3) She and Noel were barely together before they left.

I do understand Noel’s reservations. He has built up this thing with Felicity to the point where it will never be as good as he envisions it in his head. We know that from his “Ha-ha! David had sex with Felicity” comment. He has put her on a pedestal. Also, Felicity is very inexperienced, but Noel is sort of as well. he was with his high school girlfriend for a long time. Then he had a chaste little relationship with Felicity before scoring a drunken hookup in Germany. Noel needs to play the field. More than that, I think he knows Felicity does too.

I still hope they kiss next Thanksgiving, though.

Since one of the three gifts was a sweater, do you think he subconsciously bought it for Felicity and not for Ruby? And way to be all, “I’d want the bracelet,” Felicity. Way to coerce Noel into giving that fugly shit to Ruby. That’s Meghan-level subversion.

Speaking of Meghan, Ruby should definitely start asking for her advice. In fact, I’d watch an entire show that was nothing but Meghan dispensing advice.

Oh my god, the dream sequences. I think the less said about those the better.

Barf on that Dawson’s art. The only good TV art I can think of happened on Seinfeld. Oh, and this.

OK, so what do you think will happen (or what would you like to see happen) during the spring semester of sophomore year?

Felicity 2.09 Noel and NoelEmma: Julie definitely had the angsty lady with guitar thing down and I totally agree with you about her hair as it looks really good – it does stray into the ‘Rachel’ while she’s cater waitering, but eh she suits it – less can be said about those chokers that she continues to wear.

I do worry that Noel and Felicity are never going to get past the conversation point of their sexual relationship and the pedestal thing is a concern. I don’t think either of them can get out of their own heads and it’s a shame because under the right circumstances they would be really great together. To invoke The Good Wife’s ‘bad timing’ Will and Alicia catchphrase, this is what they have and I’m intrigued going forward to see how they push beyond what could become repetitive or if they will get caught in a Noel/Felicity cycle. As the friend in the middle Elena is doing a really good job of offering advice while not getting too caught in the middle. This is where her blunt honesty comes in very handy. Plus I love her reaction to the near kiss she walked in on, she’s very much of a similar “just fuck already” mind I think.

Yeah that sweater was pure Felicity (official queen of sweaters) and nothing like whatever awful top Ruby was wearing when she opened the door — it looked like a scientific drawing of a womb and ovaries, which no.

The dream sequences were so awful and way to try and make it ‘sexy’ with Ruby wearing a bra in the bed sequence. So, so cheesy. Sopranos this isn’t.

Also are we done with the Sally replies? As I mentioned last season I love Janeane Garofalo, but Sally’s responses were so superfluous and lesson of the week like.

On the subject of art I love that Friends moment and my personal favorite is Jerry’s painting from Parks and Rec. I think it’s when someone is doing an art class that I can’t suppress the eye rolls and laughter. Every time they showed Felicity’s drawing of Noel (which was a lot) I had to pause the DVD as I was laughing so much, it’s not like it was a terrible drawing there is just something about it that I find very fun.

Oh and way to deliver the best bitchy response to Felicity’s gratitude Professor Sherman as she’s critiquing the art not the artist and Felicity kinda deserved that. It is her son that has been hurt after all.

So next semester I would like to see more unity between the two groups and we’ve barely seen Ben and Felicity converse since the break-up, which is pretty natural but hey who wants natural when there is drama to be had?! Oh and I’d like Elena to get her own storyline that doesn’t involve a skeezy professor, that would be appreciated. Keep up with the funny and less angst.

One other thing I did notice in the second episode is that both Noel and Felicity are wearing Tommy Hilfiger clothes – I love Felicity’s Tommy coat – and I wonder if this is a one episode thing or if there was a deal between the WB and this clothing line. It would make sense for the latter especially as at this time they had recently did a tie-in with The Faculty (I love this movie) and the commercial is pretty funny now.

What would you like to see happen when these characters return for their second semester?

Felicity 2.09 TH coatJulie: I IMDB-ed it, and it looks like Janeane Garofalo is out as Sally, except for one upcoming episode (the Twilight Zone ep, which we’ll talk about next time and about which I’m sure we’ll have lots to say).

As far as the next semester goes, we need to bring the group back together. I think all of the current pairings have run their course and it’s time to shake things up a bit. With a new semester come new classes, so hopefully Ben will wind up getting his education on with one or more of these people (I vote for Elena. I’d love to see Elena and Ben get a chance to interact. Also, it would give Elena something to do).

We’ve been very Team Noel during the first half of the season and it’s mostly because Ben and Felicity haven’t spent any time together, and all we’ve seen Ben do, basically, is dump Felicity and bone a married woman. Not exactly the stuff ships are built from.

Also, I want less Ruby, more Meghan, more Richard Coad (wherefore art thou, Richard Coad?), and less Sean mooning over Julie.

About The Faculty, I completely forgot about the existence of that movie. Before clicking the video, I assumed it was a CW/WB show that I had forgotten about. Now I just want to see a new CW drama about first year teachers in a troubled inner city high school. This has been my pitch.

Julie Hammerle is, according to Klout, an expert in the areas of both Morgan Freeman and glasses. Her writing can be found at chicagonow.com/hammervision and you can holler at her on Twitter as well.

Summer Rewind: The Comeback

25 Jun

Here at TV Ate My Wardrobe we wanted to check in with some old shows over the break and I am joined by my Mad Men chat partner in crime Kerensa Cadenas for this Summer Rewind project. First up we have HBO’s The Comeback and this discussion focuses on the pilot episode.

The-Comeback

Emma: So my knowledge of The Comeback was pretty minimal before I watched the pilot – I knew it starred Lisa Kudrow and was created by Michael Patrick King and that it features on a lot of cancelled too soon/one season wonders lists. That’s it. See I said it was minimal, I didn’t even know about the reality show format.

The first thing I did after watching it was I checked when Friends and Sex and the City ended (both 2004) and to see when Keeping up with the Kardashians premiered (2007). The Comeback aired in 2006 and it nails so much about reality show TV that has continued long after (hence why I looked up the Kardashian air date).

We meet Valerie Cherish after she has had a hit show (like Kudrow) and she has had a lull in her career since that show (it all gets pretty meta from here) and as part of her comeback she is filming a reality show at the same time as a new sitcom that she thought she was going to be the star of. Valerie has an ego like most people in this profession but l like that they don’t make her mean, she’s oblivious at times but she is never cruel. She clearly has confidence issues at times and the scene in which she is practicing the same line over and over while eating cake (filmed from the fixed camera in the kitchen, the one that she probably forgets is there and so this is Valerie at her most natural). This line becomes a moment of contention throughout the pilot; it is the reason Valerie’s character changes from career woman to dowdy aunt and it’s also the point of Valerie’s rebellion in front of the live studio audience.

The Comeback ep 1 talking head

The fixed camera in the kitchen is just one of several reality show filming techniques there is also the general film crew following her around with the producer suggesting statements for Valerie starting with “I feel…” The producer also wants Valerie to be more animated in her one on one piece with the camera – this is probably the most common set up in all reality TV where they talk about an event as if they are living in that moment, it’s also when these reality shows feel at their most false (an oxymoron I know). There is also a personal video diary which is where the person if probably meant to be at their most natural and don’t have the producer to manipulate the situation but these are also rather contrived (except for the delightful toilet sound in the background from her husband). It doesn’t really matter how authentic any of this is as the producer tells Valerie that they will edit parts.

Valerie complains that “This is supposed to be reality” and so it is clear that Valerie is unaware of how reality TV works; there are two different types of reality star those who know how it works and manipulate it to their advantage and those who trust the makers of the show and end up being portrayed in a manner they didn’t expect. I don’t think that people necessarily remain in either camp and you can move between the two. With SO many reality shows from competitions such as Top Model or Idol to family reality shows like Duck Dynasty and everything in between there is as much chance that the people involved will become a star as much as they will fade into obscurity. The idea of fame and keeping relevant is important and we see this repeated throughout The Comeback pilot.

What are your first impressions of The Comeback?

The Comback ep 1 award

Kerensa: I have actually seen the pilot episode of The Comeback several times. The first time I remember was in college and I went over to a friend’s place to drink or something and they were watching the pilot and shouting “I DON’T NEED TO SEE THAT.” And then I saw it randomly a couple other times. But I never have seen beyond that.

Watching it this time around made it SO apparent what a groundbreaking show The Comeback was when it aired. Like you mentioned it aired in a weird transitory time when it came to reality television (The Hills also started in 2006) right before it really exploded. And like you said about Valerie complaining about reality television and not understanding how it works–I think that seems super relevant for the time that she wouldn’t understand what she should have been doing. I feel like at that point maybe understanding how reality television worked, in the ways we know now, wasn’t something that would have even registered?

But like you said this idea of fame and being relevant (and especially being an aging actress) is obviously an idea that will continue to be important.

I also have some thoughts about Valerie Cherish–but I want to know what do you think of Valerie first.

The Comeback ep 1 Leno

Emma: I felt mostly sad for Valerie and her attempts to claw back the fame she once had. The “I’m It” wall of photos and its destruction later in the episode is the perfect representation of Valerie; this is her achievements and by the end of the episode they are on the floor and water damaged, she is no longer “It”. Her prize photo is a monkey shitting on her head on Leno because of how much attention it got, but it just feels embarrassing.

I’m really intrigued by her relationship with her husband as he doesn’t appear to be that invested in her latest project or her career. Valerie mentions that he isn’t in show business and this conflict is likely to be repeated, but rather than have an argument Valerie tries to put a brave face on it. This is her tactic for most situations and we see this when she is told about the character change and at her wardrobe fitting; she is good at acting fine but it’s obvious that she’s crying on the inside. I was half expecting Valerie to be a tantrum throwing diva; instead she is a people pleaser and just wants to be loved by everyone, so she’ll put on the awful ill-fitting tracksuit even though she hates it. Basically Valerie makes me feel sad at the moment.

What are your Valerie thoughts?

Ep 1 tracksuit

Kerensa: I agree with you entirely about her husband seeming completely uninterested in her career. And Valerie makes me feel really sad too. I know that this is preemptively judging a character that we don’t fully know yet but Valerie feels like a precursor to a lot of the female characters we have now–like an Amy Jellicoe, etc. Basically a messy, selfish and deeply insecure female character who just also wants to please everyone like you said. And like with Enlightened a lot of people couldn’t deal with Amy. I can’t tell whether or not she’ll fit into Emily Nussbaum’s Hummingbird Theory or not just yet.

I’m also curious how this will go throughout the season cause now I could see Valerie being pretty polarizing and right on the heels of Carrie Bradshaw–that not working well with viewers. Although of course, after rewatches, we all know that Carrie is (at least I think) a super problematic character.

What else stood out for you in the pilot? We have some weirdly familiar faces.

Ep 1 wardobe fitting

Emma: You’ve reminded me that I still need to watch Enlightened (I know) but I did find Emily Nussbaum’s Hummingbird Theory intriguing so we’ll have to keep this is mind as we watch. I do think Carrie was always problematic in SATC and even though she was the lead, I hated how everything was always about her (and it’s something I think The Carrie Diaries has avoided so far).

So many familiar faces – Kellan Lutz is playing another meathead (no surprise) and Malin Akerman plays the hot young actress Juna. As with Valerie I’m glad that they don’t make Juna mean, she’s hot and takes her clothes off in front of people (it’s HBO so I figured there would be some nudity) but it doesn’t feel false or like she’s doing it for the cameras. Juna also does the thing where she mentions how young she was when Valerie’s show was on and once again I don’t think it’s intentional (say like when Juliette Barnes does it to Rayna in the Nashville pilot which feels calculated). Juna doesn’t want to make Valerie feel bad but does so regardless.

I found the whole debate about why Valerie’s character shouldn’t have a job to be interesting, the writers clearly aren’t interested in Valerie and she’s there to serve the other characters so they don’t need to flesh out her story. Oh and the Juicy Couture mention gave me flashbacks to 2004 and mostly JLo and Britney. Do people still wear this brand?

The producer is someone I hope we see more of because she is really just focused on the job at hand; I wonder if she’ll remain this detached from Valerie as a person?

What are your other thoughts about this pilot?

Kerensa: I’m glad they don’t make Juna mean either and I hope that continues to stick. I’m liking the seeming mentor-y relationship the two could potentially have. And how trite would it be if there ended up being an All About Eve situation–beyond uninterested in that.

All I can say about Kellan Lutz is LOL.

Agreed on the Valerie thing. I feel like the writers are uninterested in her but know that this reality show will give their show leverage so they have to somewhat be vaguely interested.

People do still wear Juicy Couture and I personally think it’s one of the tragedies of our time. (JK that’s SO dramatic).

Kerensa Cadenas is a writer living in Los Angeles. She is a staff writer for Women and Hollywood. She also writes for This Was TelevisionForever Young Adult, and Bitch magazine. She was the Research Editor for Tomorrow magazine. You can follow her on Twitter and read her ridiculous thoughts about teen television at her website.

 

TV Ate My House: The Double Life of a TV Home

23 Apr

Buildings can be famous for a number of reasons and a TV character’s home can take on a double life as it plays a role in fiction and in reality. In a city like New York pretty much every street seems as if it has featured on either the small or big screen and that’s probably because it has. There are certain places that take on a larger than life iconic status and become instantly recognizable to legions of fans. Exterior shots of locations such as the Friends building that housed all six characters at one time or another and Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment (that in reality is 5-bedroom brownstone) in Sex and the City are ones that immediately spring to mind.

For the people who live in these buildings made famous by these TV characters, their home is not just theirs but also forever belongs to Carrie, Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Phoebe and Joey. Last year the brownstone used in Sex and the City sold for a whopping $9.85 million and with that price tag comes a beautiful abode but also plenty of people who want their photograph taken on those steps. A small price to pay perhaps for a beautiful home located in Manhattan’s West Village (featured in the photo below).

SATC apartment

John Jeremiah Sullivan provides an account of what living in a famous TV house is like in his book Pulphead: Dispatches from the Other Side of America. Both the exterior and several rooms inside his house were used for the character of Peyton on One Tree Hill all while Sullivan, his wife and their young daughter lived there. This show was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina a place that has been used for multiple movie and TV shoots (I automatically think of Dawson’s Creek when I hear this location). There was already an agreement in place with the previous owners of the house and when Sullivan saw how much they were willing to pay to use the space it felt like a good financial decision for his family.

At first there were assurances that they would only be using two rooms inside the house, rooms which were decorated and furnished by the studio and Sullivan says that essentially “it meant that we lived on a TV set.” By all accounts they were treated well by the crew (Sullivan calls them “hyperprofessional”) and he is especially complimentary of Hilarie Burton (who played Peyton on One Tree Hill) saying “You could see Hilarie’s sweetness in the way she humored our families.”

Peyton's house OTH

Having fans turning up daily and from all over the world wasn’t the biggest issue Sullivan encountered with his house featuring on a TV show, as the fans were always polite and generally just wanted their photo taken in front of Peyton’s home. In reality it isn’t Peyton’s home; it belongs to the Sullivan’s and this is where the lines begin to blur. In a hotel room in Wilmington that they got put up in whenever extensive scenes were being filmed, Sullivan started watching the show and he explains that “We formed memories of our house that weren’t memories; we’d experienced them solely through television. We hadn’t been there for them, yet they’d occurred while we lived there.”

This kind of association took a turn for the disturbing when a storyline was introduced with “Psycho Derek” and this character did some truly terrible things to Peyton and her best friend Brooke in the basement of her/Sullivan’s house. Inevitably there came a time when it all became too much, especially as their young daughter was getting old enough to figure out that this wasn’t a normal set up for a family home and despite the offer of more money this was the end of Sullivan’s house being Peyton’s house.

This isn’t where the story ends for this house being recognized as a piece of One Tree Hill’s history (although it was also used in one episode of Dawson’s Creek) as they still get visitors wanting their photo taken. Thanks to reruns and DVDs this means that someone can experience a show for the first time long after it initially aired and so this house will always in some way be Peyton’s place. It’s very easy with the aid of the Internet to find the address of many homes that have been used on TV shows and so once a property has belonged to a beloved (and sometimes not so beloved) character there will always be a duel history; the fictitious and the real.

Julie Hammerle

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