It’s All About The Sale (Series Thoughts: Making the Cut Season Two, Amazon Prime)

I just finished the whole second season of Amazon’s ‘Making The Cut’ and of course I have thoughts.

First of all, I still love these fashion-specific centric competition shows. I always loved ‘Project Runway’ (and still do despite the new host) but I do have a special fondness for Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. While watching this, I thought to myself: they really make quite a good team, and they do make a difference. There’s no charm like Gunn charm, and Klum’s fearless hosting is still unparalleled, at least compared to that Trump-supporting Karli Kloss (I don’t think i will ever warm up to her) You can actually tell the difference. In this show, the designers were not as talented, and sometimes the challenges feel forced (the Covid restrictions this season did not help) but the show never was less than very entertaining. As a matter of fact, it became appointment viewing for me (I would rush home every Friday to catch new episodes) I love shows wherein you have to have some kind of pracrtical talent/skill to win – you just aren’t the most popular.

I still root for the ‘wrong’ person, though. Just like last year, I was rooting for someone who I think is the most unique, and for me displays the most talent. I keep on forgetting this competition is looking for ‘the next global brand,’ and in this case, it goes to the designer/brand that is most sellable. In my book, that may not necessarily be the same. I was rooting for Gary. Graham, who had a very specific and artistic point of view in their fashion choices. I take comfort in the fact that Jeremy Scott, the only fashion designer in all of the judges, is on the same side. For me, it’s all about what they bring to the table. His stuff probably won’t sell as much as Andrea’s, whow on, but then I always want more distinct points of views in my clothes anyway.

But – it’s all good. It will make me just want to root for these ‘underdogs’ more. Maybe one of these days, my bet will win.

Row Two Rivers (Series Thoughts: never Have I Ever, S02 E01)

I am so happy that the second season of ‘Never Have I Ever’ is here, as I binge-watched the first season quickly. This time around, I will savour the series slowly, and I won’t be as greedy consuming it. I just watched the first episode and love it – the zing is still there, and the it hasn’t lost any of its wit and intelligence. The action starts literally where it ended the last time: Devi is kissing Ben after she has scattered her father’s ashes, and it looks…promising. But that’s just the beginning of her dilemma – he asks her to be his girlfriend, and she is receptive.

But everything isn’t as easy, though. Paxton is also now showing interest in her and now she…has two boyfriends? Devi has decided that she will row two rivers, as they say. And thats where teh fun begins – this Indian who was once a nerd now has two hottie love interests. But wait, isn’t her family moving to India? At least, her mother is threatening that, even selling her patient list to a rival dermatologist, played by Common.

It is kind of pissing me off – should I be rooting for Devi and her American dream? All I will know is that it will be a lot of fun finding out.

Musical of Musicals (Series Thoughts: Schmigadoon S01 E01 E02, Apple TV+)

Apple TV’s ‘Schmigadoon’ was made for someone like me. I mean, where do I start? It’s a show about a musical, and it is itself a musical. It has musical numbers, with references to famous musicals in almost every frame. Sure, it pokes fun of them, too, but in a cute ribbing way – and you have to get the references anyway to feel any kind of sting. It’s truly wonderful.

I have seen the first two episodes and I am in love with it (I had to rewatch them right away) It is about a married couple, both doctors, who go on some kind of couples retreat to add some spice to their relationship. And wonder of all wonders, they get stuck in a place called Schmigadoon, a town stuck in the musical wonders of the 40s and 50s. Think an amalgamation of ‘Oklahoma!,’ ‘Carousel,’ and ‘The Music Man.’ It’s the kind of place where people burst into song and just burst into full-blown production numbers instantly, and you will either love it or hate it (I say you love)

The highlight for me, in the first episode anyway, is a scene reminiscent of the Carousel bench scene, with Aaron Tveit starring as Danny (think Billy Bigelow) falling madly in love with Melanie, one of the doctor visitors. It’s corny, it’s cute, and Tveit is just pure perfection. The musical numbers are all great, Christopher Gattelli’s choreography is spot on. And spotting all the references will be such a good ‘game’ to spot for a musicals nerd like me.

I am so in love with this show that this is probably never going to be renewed.

The Problem With Harvey (Series Thoughts: Catch and Kill, S01 E01 E02, HBO)

HBO’s ‘Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes’ is based on Ronan Farrow’s podcast, which is an offshoot from his book which is an offshoot from the NewYorker article that he did exposing Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault cases. I know that the whole premise sounds like it is beating an already dead horse, but there’s something about this case that is still quite interesting for me. Maybe because it has very famous personalities in it, and seeing the case in a new medium (this time, a television series) makes it even more animated. I have only watched the first two episodes of the series, and it has captivated me.

On the first episode, we get Ambra Battilana, the Filipina/American actress who finally broke the big case. The star of the episode is her audiotape. When she went to report Weinstein assaulting her, the police asked her to wire tape their next interaction. She did, only to find her case being thrown out for lack of evidence. Through her resourcefulness, she found that she has saved a copy of the tape and we get to hear parts of it on the episode. It’s fascinating.

On the second episode, Farrow interviews Rowena Chiu, a young British woman who was a junior assistant to Weinstein. She was then assaulted while attending Venice Film Festival with him. In both cases, he goes and tries every trick in the book to hide all evidence and silence the accusers by paying them and having them sign NDAs. The shows go through the process he takes to get these done.

A Royal Win (Series Thoughts: Young Royals, Netflix)

I’m on the fourth episode now of Netflix’s ‘Young Royals’ and… I am hooked. First of all, I had no idea that this was a ‘gay’ series. Well, a series featuring gay main characters. I thought it was a kind of serialization of a Prince Harry type of character (bratty prince and his plight) but it is much more than that. It is a show about young members of the royal family – this time it’s Prince Wilhelm, and it’s also of his first love, and yes his first gay love. I like the fact that the attraction is like a bit of a slow burn, as it is in real life – there is the period wherein the Prince tries to reconcile what he feels, and there is uncertainty. That comes because of different factors – family, sexuality, society (even race) Sure the format is really soap-y but there’s never a dull moment in the show, and it moved fairly quickly. For me, it’s a winner

Where There’s Love (Television Thoughts: Love Victor, Season Two)

I just finished watching the rest of the second season of ‘Love Victor,’ and I, of course, have thoughts. All in all, I still love the show, and there were various moments in the show where I tore up. I thought it was wise to have the show deal with life after coming out. At times, as in real life, things don’t necessarily improve – you have to deal with the ‘fallout’ from it. In Victor’s case, his mom is at first reticent to his coming out: she is a devout Catholic, after all, and has all those ‘values’ behind her. Speaking of which, the Catholic church does not come off well in the show – their bigotry and hypocrisy is shown here, and frankly, it’s not a good look. I like the fact that the show did not shy away from that issue.

There is a little bit of lazy storytelling, though. The main conflict between Victor and Benji could have been more imaginative. Sure, any relationship can go through rocky times, but what happens between them is very similar to what happens in another relationship in their group. Maybe they are trying to do parallels (and showing how similar all relationships are) but it just felt too familiar. And I liked the addition of Rahim (Anthony Kevyan) and he is a breath of fresh air, but I felt things happened too quickly for him just to have some kind of cliffhanger dilemma for Victor. That situation felt rushed. I do like that the show tackled sex issues head on. I wasn’t expecting it to be ground breaking and edgy (I’ll leave that to ‘Euphoria’) but this is real enough,a nd not as white-washed as I thought it would be. All in all, quite an enjoyable watch for me, and I am game – very game – for Season Three.

Hustling (Television Thoughts: The Housewife & The Hustler, Hulu)

Even though I only watch’Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ fleetingly, Erika Girardi was never my favorite – I always thought something was off about her – she was clouded not in enigma but inauthenticity, and her self-righteousness to e was off putting, to say the least. After watching ‘The Housewife & The Hustler,’ now on Hulu, I still fell the same way, and could even say that I felt some of my instincts were right. Her husband, Tom Girardi, is accused of stealing money from clients he represented, and the stories of these victims are heartbreaking, and you think to yourself, how can he have the heart to steal from these people? And living the lavish lifestyle, I don’t think there is a way that Erika did not know that something was off there. Okay, so I may not be totally convinced that she knew everything, but she knew something, and in my opinion, she is not innocent. This documentary mostly focuses on the stories of the victims, and as you see it with clips showing their lavish lifestyle, you cannot help but be mad. I really do think Bravo is a co-conspirator here. By showing and focusing on Erika, they glamorize her, and help her. I have already soured on the franchise, but now I want to spit on it.

The Things We Did Last Summer (Series Thoughts: Love Victor, S02 E01)

I had been so looking forward to the second season of Love, Victor. I devoured the first season and it was one of my favorite shows from last year – a welcome treat during the pandemic. And the second episode starts exactly where it ended, with Victor finally coming out to his parents the night of the prom. They are shocked of course. In a lot of these cases, parents can be in denial and they blame themselves even though more often than not, the signs have been there all along.

And then the summer of love comes. Victor and Benji are together – they are calling each other boyfriends now. Wew get back to the action a week before school starts. The summer is almost over, and our characters are faced with different dilemmas. Victor’s mom is having the toughest time with hsi coming out – she just can’t accept it and is avoiding the topic altogether. The father is a little more understanding, but on top of their separation it’s all a bit too much (Victor can’t even mention it to his younger brother)

Mia comes back from camp with mixed emotions. She has a little bit of inkling for Andrew, but then finds out he has started dating someone else since she left for the summer. Lark and Felix are going strong as well, but Lark is caught between Mia and the lovebirds, and Felix is dealing with landlord issues. There’s a lot of things to ponder for the new season, and I will try my hardest to not try to watch it all too fast. I wanna savour this.

Coming Home (Television Thoughts: Friends The Reunion)

I am not the die-hard ‘Friends’ fan that some people are. I know there are those who are such fanatics they have memorized whole episodes and dialogues from the series. I do admit that I used to watch the show Thursday nights, though I think later one I found it tedious. But I concede how the show is part of a lot of people’s consciousness – I won’t begrudge them for that.

And this reunion show comes in with so much hype I can’t help but feel somewhat cynical about it. Money, money money – I read that each casy member got paid 2.5 MM for their appearance here, this on top of the supposed $500K a month they get from residuals.

But I am a sentimental sap, and this show is chock full of them that I couldn’t help but really enjoy it. The show has a lot of poignant moments – you rally feel the love among this group of people (and it does feel either genuine, or they are much better actors than I think they are) Some have aged better than others, but their over all joy is still there. Clearly, they look at their time on the show with fondness, and now that their audience probably does as well.

Some bits work better than others. The script re-read through was great, and they even did my favorite episode – the one when they find ojut Monica and Chandler have been shagging each other. Some of the bits seem s little too obvious, but if you are a fan of the show, I am sure there was not a wasted moment. I enjoyed it well enough, and yes, I shed a tear, but then I cry about anything nowadays.

When I Grow Too Old To Dream (Television Thoughts, Season Seven Finale, Hulu)

I finished the seventh season/series finale of ‘Younger’ and… I miss it already.

I have been watching the show since it first started so obviously I feel a kinship with these characters. I read the book and feel like I know these people intimately, and I relished living in their world. Sutton Foster makes a great Liza, but the people around her just as easily colored the show and made it moren appealing.

But it was touch and go therefor a while. I really did not cherish a Liza and Charles ending. It felt too ‘fairy tale’ for me, and if I remember correctly, wan’t faithful to the spirit of the book. But it saved itself the last minute, and I actually loved the way it ended with Liza and Josh maybe getting an open-ended ever after. But the best thing for me this season was Laura Benanti, who plays Quinn. She is such a charming presence that she was a little like the villain you rooted for. And seeing Foster and Benanti together doing scenes is sheer Broadway heaven.