A Bloody Bore Telecast (Television Thoughts: The 2021 Oscars)

I know reviews are all over the map, but for me, the Oscars was a big interminable bore. It was so bad that at point I fell asleep int he middle of the telecast and I don’t even know if that ever happened to me ever during an Oscars telecast.

I miss a host. I miss someone in charge, doing comedy bits, making sure the ceremonies are in order and is moving along in a reasonable pace. The long speeches were so boring – these people so self involved wen they know they can go on and on and on. This was a weird year, yes I get it, but also, most of these films were very accessible, and people should have been more familiar with them.

The winners? Eh. I was happy for the Korean woman from Minari, but also was kind of rooting for Glenn Close. Speaking of which, her comedy bit jolted everyone out of slumber last night. I mean, she saved the ceremony, and deserves an Oscar just for that. And guess what, I was rooting for Antony Hopkins anyway, and fee his win for ‘The Father’ is well-deserved.

One For The Young (Television Thoughts: Younger S07 E01 – E04, Paramount+, Hulu)

Four episodes into the seventh season of ‘Younger,’ and I cannot believe this is the final season. Are we ready to say goodbye to these people? I think I have been writing abut my thoughts of the show since the first episode of the first season, and I don’t know if I can let go just yet. But it’s been a while since last time, and I honestly had to take a refresher on where the characters are right now.

Charles has proposed to Liza, and Josh has a kid, Check. Kelsey was head of the board but she ceded it back to Charles. Check. Diana got married to the plumber guy. Check.

Looks like Diana is honeymooning, but four episodes in and she has not come back yet (Apparently, her absence is COVID related) And Liza says no to Charles. I understand her – she has come from a bad first marriage and still has PTSD.

The first four episodes are a lot of fun – it pokes fun at a lot of things, and doesn’t even mention he pandemic, which is good, because aren’t we all sick of talking about it. Charles is broken from Liza’s rejection and isn’t taking it well, and having a fling with Quinn, played by Laura Benanti. By the way, aren’t you glad we live ina world where both Sutton Foster and Laura Benanti are on the same television show. I am sorely missing Miriam Shor, who plays Diana. I miss everything about her, including her wonderful statement necklaces, although they are giving Lauren more to do. She tries her hard, bu tit isn’t Diana. I am curious abut where and who Liza eventually ends up with – I know both Josh and Charles have fans.

Talkin’ Bout Their Generation (Television Thoughts, Genera+ion, Season One, HBO Max)

I finally finished the whole first season of HBO Max’s ‘Genera+ion’ and…well, it’s entertaining enough. I wouldn’t say it’s provocative or groundbreaking, and I may be too ignorant to say it gives teh voice of the Gen Z generation.Why? The stories are kind of generic and full of soap opera tropes, though I do admit that the way it was told is very modern. The whole series hinges on its opening sequences – one of the young girls gives birth at the mall, and we see piece by piece how it all came to be.

The strange thing about that, though, is that the pregnancy storyline isn’t really the main focal point of all the episodes, which center mostly on Chester (Justice Smith) who goes through the series with a different kind of teenage angst. He is a gay male who starts crushing on his new guidance counselor, who connects anonymously on Grindr. He in turn is being crushed by Nathan, who is bisexual, and strings a girl along to ‘cover’ his same sex tendencies. I think the MVP of the series is Martha Plimpton, who plays Nathan’s mom. The screen lights up when she is on, even if her character is a bit two-dimensional.

I wonder how the Gen Z kids are responding to this show. Did they even watch it, spending time away from TikTok?

We Are What We Wear (Series Thoughts: Work Stories, Netflix)

I bet we all have articles of. clothing in our closets that have a ‘special meaning’ for us. For me, it is a brown dress shirt that I wore when I met my last love. For some reason, I think it’s a ‘special shirt,’ one that brought me love, even if that person is no longer in my life. I cling to it, wear it once in a while, and even feel that I could meet the next person I will fall in love with wearing that shirt. My dad had a Knicks sweat shirt that he wore to death, so much so that we searched high and low for a similar one just to get him another one. Alas, it was not even an ‘official’ team item, and couldn’t one to replace it. My sister still keeps it in memory of him.

The new Netflix series explores this concept, and its a wonderful show, a definite feel-good kind of show, We hear stories from different people on how certain items of clothing have a special meaning in their lives.

These run the gamut from a woman who wears her yellow sweater when she wants to feel good, a saxophone player who used to play with Tina Turner who was given by her a codpiece that transformed his life, to a Muslim football player who can’t let go of his first football pants. These are wonderful human interest stories and at least one made me cry: a convict who finally gets to wear a shirt after coming out of prison. It shows how our lives are shaped by what we wear.

The Human Interest Story (Television Thoughts: The Real World Homecoming Episode 04 – 05, Paramount+)

I know most people watch reality television for the drama, but I have always liked the more ‘quiet’ episodes. After Becky left, it gave the roommates a little time to breathe and focus more on how they interact withe each other. Episode four is my favorite one so far. I didn’t really like the drama between Becky and Kevin – I thought i felt manufactured. I love more the human interest stories. This episode somewhat focused on Norm, who we learn has been financially hit by the pandemic, causing him to go back home to Michigan and work at the family bakery (I think he also said that his parents were getting up there and wanted to be with them, which makes me love him more) It was touching to see the roommates rally for him.

And did you know Eric was swindled $250K by a manager? Eric talks about this as one of the major setbacks of his life, one which transformed him. It was touching to see the roommates ‘visit’ him at his hotel, with him waving from his balcony. That scene and this episode in general made me miss New York, or made me miss when I was younger….when life had more possibilities.

But by the end of Episode four, we are kind of back to the becky Kevin drama, which to me was so boring and annoying. When they have the confrontation again (via Facetime) all I can do is tune it out.

Enchanted Evenings (Television Thoughts: Overserved, E!)

I am definitely Team Vanderpump, even though lately I have soured on the whole Housewives franchise. But, I was a bit skeptical when I read about Overserved, her new show on E!. But I was going to check it out anyway, and I was kind of surprised how I liked it a lot more than I expected to. Basically, it’s a simple premise – she invites two guests at her Villa Rosa mansion, and well, she (and we) hope that with the proper mix of liquor, decoration, and conversation, it turns out to be an enchanted evening. Supposedly, she and her daughter Pandora does all the cooking (I don’t know if I believe that, but okay) and, on the first episode, she invited Lance Bass (and his husband Michael Turchin) and Vivica A Fox as her guests. It was inspired pairing, as Fox was a sparkling conversant to the table. Vanderpumo has this ‘concept’ of overserving her guests so they would be oiled with liquid courage, making the conversations more sparking. Turchin was good, and you can see how he got more and more intoxicated as the evening wore on. Not all of Vanderpump’s ‘antic’ worked – a pranks he want Turchin to give Bass fell flat. But all in all, it’s an interesting shpw for me – it felt like eavesdropping on a great dinner party. I’m hooked now.

Kids Nowadays (Genera+ion, S01 E01 – E03, HBO Max)

There’s this cute kid I follow on Instagram who keeps on talking about the new HBO Max show ‘Genera+ion.’ I have been trying very hard to ignore the show but here I am, watching the first three episodes of it. I mean, kids nowadays annoy me, so why should I watch this show, about Gen Z kids and their issues? But, the + in the title (in place of the letter T) is supposed to represent the plus sign in LGBTQ+ so the kids in this show are all sexually fluid, which means anything goes. Look, I will be the first to tell you all these new gender identity business so I might as well watch the show to eductae myself, right?

Sure. I have to say, though, that I found the show…interesting. Kids nowadays really do care about sexual identity, and we get a gamut of them here. We haev Chester, who is gay, somewhat stereotypical but really not – he is kind of femme but is a major athlete. We have a bunch of lesbians, bisexuals, well, you name it. I don’t think there’s a trans, though, which I thought was weird, since they are supposed to be including everyone,

At times, I feel like I am too old for this show – these kids are acting immature, but then I realize they are kids so how are they supposed to act? All their issues are magnified a million times, of course, because that’s what kids do. But I always find youth interesting, and it’s always refreshing to see where their mind is nowadays.

Repercussions (Television Thoughts: Allen v Farrow, Episode 4, HBO)

The last episode of the series focuses on what has happened after. It starts with Frank Maco, the Connecticut prosecutor making a decision to not go ahead with charging Woody Allen even though he believes there is probable cause. His reasoning is that he does not want Dylan to go through the stress of going through a public trial. This seems to be a very difficult decision for him, and he even says that one day he will always be there for Dylan if ever she wants to ask him why he made that decision. Towards the end of the episode, we do see the two of them together, and Dylan thanks him even though she thinks a great injustice was done.

This episode also deals with the aftermath – how after this incident, Allen seems to have been untouched. That is, until the #metoo movement of 2018 happened, and people started to believe her, and publicly support her. They show the Golden Globes tribute for Allen, wherein actresses like Diane Keaton and Emma Stone praised teh director, and how that made Dylan felt small. I remember that night, and how I myself had mixed feelings about that tribute.

And we see Dylan now, with a child of her own. Is she a damaged person because of all of this? I think so, but you can see how brave she is.

Oh Becky! (Television Thoughts: The Real World Homecoming Episode 2, Paramount Plus)

After watching the second episode of The Real World: Homecoming, the first thing I can say is: Oh Becky, you should know better than to fall into the trap. You came into the first season not knowing the effects of being in a reality show, but now, really, you should know better. Of course, someone will try to create drama when you guys are back in the loft. Did you really think that they would leave you all there, all good vibes and kum ba yah? Of course not, even Jose Feliciano could see it coming, when they started to play that old clip of you and Kevin arguing from 1992. For sure, nothing much has changed, but surely you are older and wiser, right?

But then again, maybe I should be glad you fell into this trap, because it just made watching the show a hundred times better. The ‘nostalgia’ of seeing you all together would surely wear off, and we needed this to spice things up! And really, you guys ar3e still watchable thirty years later.

What’s Real, For Real (Television Thoughts: The Real World Homecoming S01 E01, Paramount Plus)

I am a child of the very first ‘Real World.’ I watched it and was obsessed with it, and saw these episodes over and over when it originally aired on MTV in 1992. It was a revolutionary show that changed the landscape of television as we know it now. felt like I knew these people, that these were my friends. I used to pass by that building on Broadway and Prince Street where they shot the show and looked at it longingly – and devoured everything I could see and read about this case.

So of course I would be on board with ‘The Real World Homecoming’ (streaming now on Paramount Plus) which is their first complete reunion since the 90s. And they all seem to be there, all seven of them, with a little twist – Eric Nies contracyted Covid shortly before the started filming, and is in a New York hotel room not far from the loft.

First, I have to admit I got teary-eyed when I saw all of them together. It’s all nostalgia, and the producers milked this – back to back shots of the cast arriving then and now – there’s so much flashback from the original footage to hammer the fact that you remember and knew them before. And the ‘where are they now’ stories emerge. Julie is married with teenaged kids, Kevin works for CNN, Andre has a daughter, Heather B brings booze. It’s all heady and nice, for now, just like the first episode when it first started. But you know, people top being polite at some point, and there will be fireworks.

I can’t wait.