Let’s get Interlocking! In other words, I’m up to “The Harsh Light of Day.”
And if you want even more of my telethoughts, my Glee essay, “Who’s the Real LIMA Loser?,” went up this morning on Smart Pop Books, and will remain available until Monday at 12:00 AM. (After that, the link will still work but for the excerpt-only portion.) The essay’s about the S1 Puck/Finn relationship, and is quite dated now that they’ve all graduated, but it’s still fun reading. I wrote it for the above-noted book, Filled with Glee: The Unauthorized Glee Companion.
First: Squee! Tonight we all get new Doctor Who!! And over the next month, many other good things will head back in our direction: here at Chez Dua, we’re stoked about Revenge (no, really!), Smash, and a new trio of Wallanders.
But in the meantime, we’ve been scraping the sides of Netflix.ca, and what we’ve found most recently is Damages.
Damages, like Revenge, Like Smash, is–as we put it at my house–chickly. Its alpha character is Glenn Close, who is a fierce litigation lawyer with an apparent zest for righting the wrongs of very rich men. The bright-eyed questy character, played by Rose Byrne, is a first-year lawyer named Ellen Parsons. Like Sidney Bristow of Alias, she starts off the pilot with a handsome doctor boyfriend fiancé. Like the would-be Mister Sidney, he’s gonna end up in the same place. Pretty much exactly the same place, now that I think of it.
Alias, I think you’ll agree, isn’t about much beyond “Yay, Jennifer Garner is dangling from a harness in pursuit of an improbable artifact, wearing a skimpy outfit and a new wig and fighting with her father and her love interest on comms! Go Jennifer go!” Believe me when I saw, I was all for that. And Revenge, mostly, is about opera-scale dramatics–rich-people fighting at fancy parties, wearing pretty dresses and threatening to claw each others’ eyeballs. It’s pretty much Kraft Dinner with diamonds and décolletage.
Damages, Smash and Political Animals (a recent mini-series starring Sigorney Weaver as a Hilary Clinton type), on the other hand, are all exploring the idea of women with ambition. Men, naturally, are allowed to have ambition. Nobody much questions it when some fellow wants to grow up to be a billionaire captain of industry or the star of a musical about Marilyn Monroe or a Joint Chief of Staff or leader, as they say, of the free world. It’s barely worthy of note, really, unless he’s MacBeth and ready to kill and kill again just for the throne of Scotland. But the characters in these shows I’m watching now have big dreams. The undercurrent of the story is: go for it, ladies, but do expect to pay. Your relationships will fail, your kids–if you’re silly enough to attempt to nurture life–will hate you, you’ll make enemies and move through a world full of people looking to chop you off at the knees. All for having the temerity to reach.
I’m not saying there’s never been a show that dug into this before, but this seems like a bit of a surge. Are there others on now? Are you watching any of the above? What do you all think of this?
It’s okay if the answer is Mmmm, pasta.
I am enjoying Smash a lot. I don’t know how true to life it all is, but the picture they present of a behind-the-scenes view of the development of a Broadway musical is very compelling. As is Angelica Huston, of course. Each week there’s been one new musical number for the proposed show, and some of them have been outstanding.
I like musicals, especially when they’re a little old-school.
Another element I find intriguing is that there are two actresses vying for the starring role in the fictional play the show’s about. One’s meant to be very seasoned but to somehow lack spark or star quality; the other’s meant to be inexperienced but incandescently talented. It’s an amazing thing for both actors to have to pull off, week by week–they each have to suck a little, sometimes, but in completely different ways. And, at the same time, they both have to be credible contenders for the big role.
Finally, Smash has a storyline that’s at once off-putting and completely intriguing because it’s got a one hundred and eighty degree reversal of traditional gender roles: a career-driven woman with a house-husband. The two of them are pacing through a classic storyline and she’s behaving in a very precise, classic-guy way… except with more crying.
Glee was back this week and the gap since the last (entirely horrifying) episode was long enough that I managed to take a look. The fallout from the big Cataclysmic Thingie wasn’t as bad as I’d expected, but having said that I must also say that the “Big Brother” episode was pretty much a stinker from start to finish, except for every single moment when Artie was singing. Kevin McHale currently lives in my dictionary for “Can Do No Wrong.”