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Archive for the ‘Women of TV’ Category

masters-of-sex-1-03-virginia-and-dr-depaulMan, this week’s episode of Showtime‘s Masters of Sex, “Blackbird,” really got to me.  I absolutely loved season 1, and while season 2 has been a bit uneven, there has still been some dynamite performances by the leads, as well as some of the secondary characters– in particular Julianne Nicholson as Dr. Lillian DePaul, Virginia Johnson’s colleague and friend.

Below the jump are spoilers, but I consider them pretty small spoilers.  If you haven’t seen the show yet but plan to in the future, I don’t think anything I’m talking about will ruin things for you, but I did want to put the warning out there… here be spoilers!

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I resisted watching Californication for quite a while.  There were a couple reasons why I didn’t want to give the show a chance.  First was the name of the show.  I thought it was a pretentious and juvenile name when the Red Hot Chili Peppers came out with the song years back, and found both the music and lyrics supremely lame.  It didn’t help things that the song was a radio “hit” and I heard it all the time.

Second was that it struck me as weird and strange that the role on its surface seemed to hew so close to star David Duchovny’s personal life.  He was married to Téa Leoni, an actress who I’ve always thought was both beautiful and talented, and his marriage fell apart due to his sex addiction.  Duchovny’s role on Californication, Hank Moody, ruins the most important relationships in his life in large part because of his inability to stop sleeping with any willing woman who crosses his path.  Like, if you’re struggling with sex addiction I’m baffled as to why you would take such a role?

So I resisted for six years, despite quite a few actresses on the show that I find gorgeous (Natascha McElhone, Madeline Zima, Mädchen Amick, Eva Amurri, Carla Gugino, Natalie Zea).  Then about a month ago while channel surfing I ran across some reruns on Showtime and, since there wasn’t anything else on settled in and watched a couple shows.

Somehow, I got hooked and went back and started watching the show from the beginning.  I mean, Hank Moody is an emotional wreck, an alcoholic womanizer, self-destructive and emotionally devastating to the people he loves.  But damn it, David Duchovny is so charming and charismatic in the role that I kept finding myself rooting for him despite his many, many flaws (though I did find out later that it’s not just Duchovny but his acting and the writing together that makes the character appealling– the writing took a noticeable dip in Season 3 and the Hank Moody character wasn’t nearly as good as the 1st two seasons, but thankfully the writing seems to have picked up in Season 4).  And the other main characters are largely quite colorful, engaging and entertaining as well.

As I realized that I really liked the show and was going to be watching all the seasons On Demand, I pondered why the show had really hooked me so and realized that it catches me from a lot of different directions.  The core appeal I think is the relationship Hank has with his daughter Becca, and how much he desperately loves her and attempts to keep that relationship alive despite the chaos he brings into his life.  It appeals to me as a dad who tries hard to stay close to my own children despite not living with them.  It also resonates as the son of  an alcoholic womanizer, who was just as self-destructive and emotionally devastating to the people he loves… only my father didn’t make nearly the effort with his kids that Hank Moody does.  So I can watch Hank Moody from his daughter’s perspect as a sort-of “do over” as to how it might have been if my father had made the effort.

Also, Hank Moody is a writer–  a novelist who has also dabbled in screenwriter.  I have long had aspirations of doing both myself, so it’s nice to see a little bit of writers-craft popping up here and there in the storylines.

He’s also madly, deeply and thoroughly in love with fairer sex and admires everything about them, an outlook that resonates with me as well.  Of course, Hank Moody looks like David Duchovny so with those looks and that attitude the character has women dropping their clothes for him far more often that most of us mere mortals out here in the real world.

There are quite a few layers to Hank Moody that make for a compelling character.  At his core, Hank is a damaged boy looking for love and acceptance, which makes him sympathetic.  Wrapped around that core is a self-destructive alcoholic that doesn’t seem to really want to change his ways, which makes him unsympathetic.  Woven into this layer is the womanizing, which taken as a whole is a bad thing, but individually it generally plays into Hank’s love of women and fascination with every woman he meets, which makes it feel less bad and more sympathetic.  The writers also tend to use his encounters with women to generally wreck major havoc in Hank’s life, often in quite humorous ways.

Draped over top of those layers is a mix of funny stuff — a healthy dose of life knocking you down when things are looking up, life kicking you when you’re down, and a revolving door of hilarious recurring characters and guest stars.  Rob Lowe in particular is fucking brilliant in his over-the-top role as a big name Hollywood actor.  And then there are some people who play twisted versions of themselves– Rick Springfield had a recurring role as a total degenerate version of himself.

Particularly fascinating is watching daughter Becca grow up, from a pre-teen in Season 1 to a college freshman in Season 4, and how her relationship with her father has evolved.

When I started watching the show I thought that the series had ended, but I’ve now learned that there will be a final season next year.  I’m certainly curious to see how the stories end for Hank Moody and the characters in his life.  I suspect there are going to be at least a few sad endings in store, but the eternal optimist in me is hoping for more happy endings in the balance.  It’s been a heckuva ride so far.

Have any of y’all watched the show?

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I debated putting this post up on my Talking TV blog since it’s about the HBO’s series Girls… but ultimately my thoughts on the show circle back to dating, relationships and love and so I thought it more appropriate here.

The thing I love about the series Girls is just how flawed, fucked up and real the main characters are.  When the show premiered there was a huge backlash of people complaining that the characters were unlikeable and doing stupid things.  Well duh– young adults are often unlikable and do stupid things when they first leave the bubble of youth and fly face-first into the harsh realities of life.  So many things they’ve always taken for granted or expected as true prove to be fleeting, difficult, or just wrong.  It ain’t pretty, and Lena Dunham and her crew aren’t afraid to show it to you, warts in all.

A lot of what they’re going through resonates with me, because I went through similar things at that age– I think most of us do, and while many people probably try to forget that time in their life– or at least, whitewash their memories– I tend to believe that mistakes you make are just as important if not more so than the things you did right the first time.  The person you are today was directly shaped by those events in your life, bad or good, and it can be sometimes amusing and sometimes illuminating reflecting back on them while watching these characters go through some of that stuff the first time.

I think it resonates with me on another level too, as a middle-aged man recently divorced.  So many things I had taken for granted or expected as true proved to be fleeting, difficult or just wrong.  The bubble of “happily ever after” has been burst, and left me face-first into the harsh realities of life.

On my “About” page I talk about the focus of my blog:

“My Ideal Woman” isn’t a checklist or goal; it’s a celebration of all the things I love about women, expressions of my enthusiasm and delight of the female mind and body.  Very few are the women I see in person, in passing, in print or on screen who don’t have something to wonder, cherish, ogle or fantasize about.  This blog is dedicated to expressing my appreciation of the fairer sex.

The girls of Girls are a bundle of flaws, and they do stupid things, sometimes mean and selfish things.  But so many of those flaws illuminate the path that they’ve traveled.  As the season progressed, I found myself drawn in, wondering why they’re doing these things, how they got here, and wondering what lessons they’re learning right before my eyes.  In the spirit of the focus of my blog, I wanted to talk about each of the main characters of Girls and what I love about them.  [SOME SPOILERS BELOW THE CUT] (more…)

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Great effin' show!

I kept hearing the praises of the Showtime series Shameless– TV critics swoon, I’ve got friends that tell me how good it is… so I finally started watching it and man– they are right, what a great show!  I’ve been trying to put my finger on what it is about this show that I really enjoy so much.

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New Years Day always gives us a chance to reflect back on the things we did in the previous year.  One big thing I did was create this blog.  I’ve been a writer at heart since I was in middle school, with dreams of being a published author, and years later, dreams of being a screenwriter.  Things didn’t work out that way (as of yet) but I did get into writing about a hobby of mine, and have proudly been a paid professional hobby writer for well over a decade.

Even though it’s a lot of fun to write about a hobby you love, it’s a pretty narrow niche potential audience, and it occurred to me last year that starting a blog might be a good way to stretch my writing chops and expand my audience and network of readers and other writers.  When I was contemplating what to write about, the fact that I was going through a divorce and needing to start my life over seemed like the perfect thing to write about.  Not only would it be much more accessible to readers, but it could also be cathartic to write, providing me with a way to shape my thoughts and feelings going forward, to help me learn from mistakes in the past and focus on the sorts of people I want to be in my life going forward.

The concept was that the blog name “My Ideal Woman” be the first part of an affirmative sentence, with each blog post title “… She’d be (something something)” as the second part of the sentence.  Eventually ideas for posts came that didn’t exactly fit the paradigm but that was my original framing.

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The other day I was in a discussion about girls with my 9 year old son Aaron, and he brought up how cute girls are when they have “off” eye/hair color combinations, such as brown eyes & blonde hair instead of blue eyes & blonde hair, or blue eyes & black hair instead of brown eyes & black hair.  For so many of us, the little touch of “different” draws us in you know?

Like most adult American males, when thinking about girls with blue eyes and black hair, my mind immediately go to Zooey Deschanel and I swoon just a little bit.  Not only is she gorgeous with that little “different” look, but she’s a singer, songwriter, and musician in addition to being an actress.  She’s all sorts of artistic yumminess! (more…)

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I have to say I’m very concerned about the fate of humanity on AMC’s The Walking Dead.  As Season 2 begins, the ratio of adult female to adult male survivors is 3 to 6, which is bad enough without one of the female characters having at least more than a passing interest in killing herself.  From a pure “survival of the species” perspective, if people couple up you’ll have 3 dudes left out in the cold, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for guys who have to deal with with the stresses and adrenaline bursts that daily life in a post-zombie apocalypse world presents.  “Can you keep watch for zombies while we procreate?” would wear thin pretty fast.

Right now the women of The Walking Dead are Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Carol (Melissa McBride).

Melissa McBride, Sara Wayne Callies, and Laurie Holden

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Have you been watching Pan Am?  I have to admit to being hooked by the show.  As a fan of Mad Men, I thought it would be fun to have another show that looks at modern day dilemmas through the lens of the 60s (even if you can’t be quite as true to the times on network TV as you can on cable), and I’m glad the show seems to be succeeding on that front (as opposed to The Playboy Club).

But what really drew me in was the cast, specifically the women.

Kelli Garner, Christina Ricci, Margot Robbie and Karine Vanasse

First and foremost, I was excited to hear Kelli Garner would be spending time with me every week.  I’ve been smitted with Ms. Garner ever since I first saw her in Thumbsucker.

Kelli, you had me at Twizzler...

I also loved her in Lars and the Real Girl and Taking Woodstock.  I tuned in to the short-lived TV show My Generation simply to see her, but if ever a show deserved cancellation for being horrible, that show was it.  But now she’s back on TV on a decent show and I’m thrilled!

We got a weekly date...

I’ve just always found her so physically attractive– a distinct look, gorgeous mouth, lovely curves, adorable smile, eyes to die for.

Sigh.

Kelli looks AWESOME in the 60s garb...

I like her character on Pan Am– she plays Kate, a rebellious daughter of wealthy parents who end up being recruited to be a low-level Cold War spy while being a stewardess.  It certainly adds an interesting bit of flavor among the more mundane daily dramas that populate the rest of the show.

Margo Robbie as Laura

Margot Robbie plays Kate’s sister Laura.  The “good daughter,” she ends up running off with Kate to be a stewardess in the pilot episode.  I like her character, and Margot is obviously a lovely woman… but she’s got that “stock” beauty look to her that I can appreciate but doesn’t really linger in my mind once I turn off the TV.

could you pick her out of a lineup of models & actresses?

Then there’s Karine Vanasse as Colette, a stewardess from France.

Oui oui!

She’s got a cuteness and Euro beauty about her, but man… I have to admit that French accent just ramps her sexiness into the stratosphere!

The brunettes of Pan Am

Last up is Christina Ricci.  In her younger days Ricci had this awesome “va-va-voom” quality that I always found drop-dead sexy– she was this tiny siren that was all eyes and curves.  In recent years she’s apparently gotten on a big health kick and has really cut way back on her curviness.  She’s still cute.

scheming to meet Jack Kennedy

But I kinda miss her old look:

Mmmmmm....

I like her character on Pan Am– a feisty, independent bohemian who doesn’t appear to let many things stand in her way.

I heard that ratings were falling a bit on Pan Am, but I hope it turns things around.  It’s got a pretty fine creative pedigree– from the writer of ER and the director of West Wing.  The Association of Flight Attendants made a statement regarding the series: “The premiere episode of the new Pan Am drama on ABC may be a nostalgic escape to the days before deregulation, but it also highlighted the myriad of social injustices overcome by the strong women who shaped a new career. Weight checks, girdle checks, the no marriage rule, sexism, gender discrimination, racism – all of this was challenged by intelligent, visionary women who helped to usher in the call for social change throughout the country and around the world.”  Hopefully the show will continue to focus on these women and their struggles.

The show is fun to watch, with decent plotlines and a very attractive cast.  Have you seen it?  What do you think?  Who’s your favorite actress?

 

 

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I was very happy with the pilot for 2 Broke Girls.  Despite a few uneven moments, I think it did a great job establishing the premise for the show and both of the leads are appealing and fun.

Personally, Kat Dennings could stand there reading her grocery list and I’d smile and just enjoy watching her.  I find her just lovely– dark, curvy, with a unique look that distinguishes her from most Hollywood actresses.  I presume that her given name is Katherine, and I just love the nickname Kat over Kate or Kathy.  I just want to snuggle close and see if she purrs.

Her character Max is tough, funny, quick-witted and hard-working.  She’s got a sweet heart inside that she tries to hide behind a sharp tongue, but her caring nature keeps peeping out.  After the pilot episode, I want to know more about Max and her back story.

Beth Behrs is perfectly cast as wealthy scion Caroline Channing, a super-rich socialite who suddenly finds herself penniless and working as a waitress to get by.  She’s blonde, trim, and well-groomed, and I was totally prepared to not like her character very much… but her Caroline has a tough interior and a positive attitude that gave me sympathetic hooks to latch onto.  After the first few minutes, I found myself enjoying most every moment she was on the screen, and thought it was cool that at the end of the pilot it was her character who ended up launching the framing for the series going forward.

There were certainly some uneven moments in the show, and anyone who gets offended by stuff that’s not exactly politically correct (especially stereotypes) might be a bit off-put by the pilot, but I’m hoping that the show will move beyond that.  At this point I’m giving the creative team some credit that the stereotypes were to quickly establish some of the secondary characters while spending the bulk of the time getting the two leads together and framing the series, with the hope that the secondary characters will grow beyond the initial shallow brush.

There’s a lot going for 2 Broke Girls and I’m looking forward to seeing the next episode this week.  Have you seen the show?  What do you think?

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My life is too busy and hectic to sit down and watch some of my favorite television shows at airtime, but thanks to the miracle of DVR I can still enjoy them during what free time I can eek out here and there.  I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the shows here but given the theme of my blog, I’ll be doing it focusing on the actresses and the characters they play on the show (similar to what I did regarding my post on Happy Endings).

First up, Parenthood, which just fired up Season 3 this week.  I’m a total sucker for this family-oriented show, which has just the right mix of humor, drama, and sentimental moments.  If you are a parent it’s hard to resist this show’s charms.

The center of the show is Sarah Braverman, played by Lauren Graham.  Her character is very appealing on the show– quirky, creative (last season she wrote a play and got it produced) and smart, and Lauren Graham is far from unattractive.  And yet she stirs no amount of lust in me and I can’t figure out why.  It’s like she’s my sister or cousin– I can acknowledge her fine physical features, but she doesn’t enter into any fantasies and or naked imaginings.  She’s got nice legs (as featured in the photo above), a nice body, and that killer combination of light eyes and dark hair.  So what’s wrong with me?  Anyone out there have lust in their heart for Ms. Graham?

Next up is Sarah’s little sister Julia, played by the luscious Erika Christensen.  Mmmmmm, I loves me some Erika Christensen!  Her character Julia is a high-powered lawyer who’s high-strung and is nearly always dressed in very conservative business attire… and I have to say it’s a damn shame to cover up a body as delicious as Erika’s… I mean, just check her out:

I mean, I guess it’s okay that she’s usually extremely covered up in the show– I have a pretty good imagination.  Erika is only 29 and has no kids, but she does a nice job of playing a mother in her mid-30s.  Her character is appealing– smart, driven, compassionate, a feminist, with some flaws and insecurities that bubble up sometimes.  And when she had full-on babymaking fever last season, several of those scenes were smoking hot!  I can attest that few things are better in a married-man’s life than when his wife has the fever.

Next up is Sarah & Julia’s sister-in-law Kristina, played by Monica Potter.  I’ve never seen Monica before Parenthood.  She’s a very attractive lady, as we can attest here:

The thing is, Monica gives me much the same sister/cousin vibe as Lauren does.  What’s wrong with me?  Hot bod, not too skinny, nice curves, cute and quirky face.  I guess I blame the role, Kristina is so very married, so very much the frazzled mom, I suppose there’s not much erotic material for my gray matter to latch onto?  Anyone out there hot for Monica Potter?

Next up is Joy Bryant, who is Sarah’s brother Crosby’s baby-mama Jasmine.  Joy is hot, and Jasmine is hot.  Oh yes indeedy.

It’s certainly not difficult to summon up erotic scenarios with Joy, dark and sultry good looks, nice curves, athletic and strong… and yet last season Jasmine’s character burned away any vestige of lust from my brain.  Why?  It was like the writers had a psychic link directly into my ex wife’s psyche– everything that Jasmine did was like a page torn directly out of my life with my ex, and most of the pages weren’t good pages.  It made me paranoid that there’d been some sort of covert recording of the last 10 years of my marriage.  Much of the sentiment I expressed in ...Would Be Strong Not Stubborn was Jasmine.  I kept shouting at the TV “Run, Crosby– ruuuuuuunnnn!!!!!”  She was stubborn, prideful to a fault, she’d overreact and take things the wrong way, lay down My Way or the Highway laws… I mean, it made for good drama but it was like I was living through a horrible flashback.  So when Crosby had an affair with a minor character named Gaby played by Minka Kelly, I was rooting so hard that he’d dump Jasmine in the dust and live happily ever after with Gaby.  Gaby was sweet, smart, good with children… and she looked like Minka Kelly.

Mmmmm…. Minka Kelly….

Oh my.....

Gaby didn’t show up in the new episode of Season 3, but Crosby and Jasmine are still on the outs, so I have my fingers crossed that Charlie’s Angels will fail miserably and Minka Kelly will come back to Parenthood.  Hey, a lonely guy can dream!

I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on two other lovelies in the cast.  They both play teenagers, which makes thinking of them in that way a bit awkward, but thankfully both of the actresses are in their 20s so if you want to go there you can.  I don’t really look at them as hot per se because I didn’t really become aware of them until these roles so I still a bit hardwired to see them as teenage kids.

Sarah Ramos plays Haddie, a smart and headstrong teenage girl who’s a pretty cool character when she’s not driving her parents nuts being a smart and headstrong teenager (which is most of the time).  And girl– whoever advised you on the perm you sported for the first episode of this season needs to be fired immediately– it looked awful, and you’re a very attractive gal.  I mean, I really don’t care about hairstyles but YIKES!  Here’s a pic of her (with an older hairstyle):

Then there’s Mae Whitman, who character Amber spends most of the time on the show wearing all-black frumpy clothes… she’s cute and I know if she wore more flattering clothes she’d be quite attractive, but for the first two seasons I just saw her as the sullen, smart and headstrong teenager who drove her mom nuts.

When she's out she lightens up

Then I saw the awesome, amazing, funny, awesome Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and saw Mae in a whole new light… the lesbian ninja evil ex with orgasmic knees… aye karumba!

You punched me in the boob! Prepare to die, obviously!

I’d like to see more of this Mae Whitman!

So anyway, that’s the Women of Parenthood.  What do you think of Lauren Graham, Erika Christensen, Monica Potter, Joy Bryant, Sarah Ramos or Mae Whitman?  Do you watch the show?

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