I used to spend most of my time watching films.
These days, television rules my world. Lately, it has rocked it as well. After the divorce, I gave up television and cigarettes among other things that are synonymous with relationships like eating, cuddling, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. I used to be sort of a reality T.V. addict the likes of those trashy VH1 and MTV jams that have turned music video into an irreconcilable pastime. I still have my standbys: Top Chef, America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway. The latter left much to be desired. Although in my opinion (and in the opinion of much of what I’ve read and heard) the talent was lacking on this year’s fashion showdown, but still, despite the disappointing switch to that uterus-centric network, the program stayed true to its roots and didn’t delve into too much drama regarding the contestants of the show. I’m just a little disappointed that I wasn’t really inspired by much of the work even though this past season of Project Runway presented some of the most difficult and creative challenges since the series began. It is nice though to have it online on Lifetime T.V. The ads still make me feel uncomfortable though.
Now, there is a dent in my couchbed thanks to the advent of good, hearty, well-crafted television programming. Many of my friends had been insisting that I watch Mad Men for a little over a year, but I never bought into all the excitement because I really don’t enjoy the shackles of being obsessed with a television program unless I benefit in a way that isn’t strictly entertainment-based. With Top Chef, ANTM and Project Runway, I am inspired in a divine way. It helps me think about my craft, what costumes I want to design for my shows, and since I am such a food snob, Top Chef helps me learn about new ingredients and how to prepare different dishes in different styles. I lost the joy of cooking in the divorce as well.
Anyway, my appetite for television has increased thanks to the wonderful stuff being put out there. True Blood, Weeds, Big Love, The Office, 30 Rock, and Dexter have sported some of the their best seasons this year. True Blood gave us some sex fueled uncanniness. Weeds gave us some silly albeit serious sociopolitical drama. Big Love gave us some of the best acting Chloë Sevigny has ever doled out as well as an in depth look into the compelling, headline worthy issues of the Mormon community. The Office keeps getting better with age thanks to its exuberant aptitude for folly and its amazing cast. 30 Rock gave us, well, 30 Rock (at its best), and Dexter blew my fucking mind this season. I’m so happy they shed that CSI-esque, crime drama demeanor and got back to the satire, macabre and irony with a huge slice of humble pie at the end and a big old cherry on top. Thank you thank you thank you. And thank you Jon Lithgow.
No more do we have to get raped in the face by Comcast to experience the best in television. It’s not just HBO’s game anymore. FOX gave us Glee and House and AMC gave us Mad Men. I am quite sure the latter was made specifically for me with all of my tastes and preferences in mind, I don’t think there has ever been a more perfect show. The series captures the essence of the time period perfectly, it satirizes in the most divine way, the script reads like a novel that you want to curl up to every night, the actors make you forget they are actors, and the story is this piecemeal perfection that can’t be explained in words. Love love love.
I finally stumbled onto Glee, having apprehension due to the fact that I thought it was a reality T.V. show. I fell in love at first sight, although I have to say, the crazy happy musical numbers can be not only a little jarring, but just way over-the-top gay. I’ve been a huge Jane Lynch fan (who isn’t) since I first saw her in Best in Show (wait, T.V. shows get quotes and films get italicized, right? Whatever) as Christy Cummings. I’m sure I would recognize her in some of her earlier television work, but she was so randomly placed in so many awesome shows, I’d have to revisit to be reminded. Overall, Glee is a heartwarming, socially relevant, coming of age dramadey, and I hate that shit. But this is the good kind of shit. The really really good kind.
The biggest surprise for me this year was “The United States of Tara” (in quotes?). I knew going into it that Toni Collette was going to rock my world, like all those foreign actresses that play Americans ridiculously well (what’s up with that?). The ensemble cast has the kind of chemistry usually reserved for a handsome two act play about intertwined relationship and the implications and complications. And there’s little Corddry! Of course the content of the show is extremely exaggerated, but it’s so worth it. I’m sure multiple personality disorder isn’t nearly as funny as it is on T.V. More please.
There are several shows out there that I haven’t even begun to watch but I hear great things about. There’s “Nurse Jackie” and “Hung”. There’s also “Dollhouse”, “Bored to Death”, “Friday Night Lights”, “Modern Family”, “Parks and Recreation”, “V” and “Supernatural”. The list goes on and on. I know this isn’t a repeat of the Golden Age of Television, but something’s up. If you think about marketing and Hollywood money, it only makes sense that the economy is shifting film and television to this niche market of people who sit on their butts downloading 34 gigabytes of data a day. I love the fast paced subliminal marketing ploys, they are very special and dear to my heart. Especially ones like these: New Reebok EasyTone commercial.
So, long story less long, as a writer, I’m really inspired by the turn of events in television. There really is too much to choose from. There’s something for everyone, and there are so many old standards that have stood the test of time, you can’t help but to plunge into a marathon every once again. Maybe that’s why G-d invented swine flu.
Here are my predictions for the Golden Globes. Actually, I’m more of a Cassandra about the whole business, so let just call these the “who I want to wins” rather than “predictions” (especially considering that I haven’t seen a lot of these films/shows).
Best Motion Picture – Drama
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Carey Mulligan – An Education
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Best Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
I think Ms. Streep is a given at this point in the game.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy
Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Julianne Moore – A Single Man
(even though I didn’t see it. LOVE HER!)
Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones
(even though I didn’t see it. LOVE HIM!)
Best Animated Feature Film
Fantastic Mr. Fox????
(as mentioned, I don’t watch films so much anymore)
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Director – Motion Picture
Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
(la la la. Sting’s not nominated this year.)
Best Television Series – Drama
Big Love (HBO)
Anima Sola Productions and Playtone in association with HBO Entertainment
Showtime Presents, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions
Universal Media Studios in association with Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions
Mad Men (AMC)
True Blood (HBO)
Your Face Goes Here Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
(all of them really, but only one can take the gold!!!)
Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama
Glenn Close – Damages (FX NETWORK)
January Jones – Mad Men (AMC)
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife (CBS)
Anna Paquin – True Blood (HBO)
Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer (TNT)
Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama
Simon Baker – The Mentalist (CBS)
Michael C. Hall – Dexter (SHOWTIME)
Jon Hamm – Mad Men (AMC)
Hugh Laurie – House (FOX)
Bill Paxton – Big Love (HBO)
(Then, now and forever!)
Best Television Series – Musical Or Comedy
30 Rock (NBC)
Universal Media Studios in association with Broadway Video and Little Stranger Inc.
Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Twentieth Century Fox Television
Modern Family (ABC)
Twentieth Century Fox Television
The Office (NBC)
Universal Television Studios, Deedle Dee Productions, Reveille LLC
Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Musical Or Comedy
Toni Collette – United States Of Tara (SHOWTIME)
Courteney Cox – Cougar Town (ABC)
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie (SHOWTIME)
Tina Fey – 30 Rock (NBC)
Lea Michele – Glee (FOX)
Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Musical Or Comedy
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock (NBC)
Steve Carell – The Office (NBC)
David Duchovny – Californication (SHOWTIME)
Thomas Jane – Hung (HBO)
Matthew Morrison – Glee (FOX)
Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Jane Adams – Hung (HBO)
Rose Byrne – Damages (FX NETWORK)
Jane Lynch – Glee (FOX)
Janet McTeer – Into The Storm (HBO)
Chloë Sevigny – Big Love (HBO)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Michael Emerson – Lost (ABC)
Neil Patrick Harris – How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
William Hurt – Damages (FX NETWORK)
John Lithgow – Dexter (SHOWTIME)
Jeremy Piven – Entourage (HBO)