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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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