I don’t know what compelled me to start watching Viceland’s ‘Hollywood Love Story.’ Maybe the allure of Paris Hilton? I doubt it, but by the way, she is older-looking now, and while still gorgeous, is looking a little bit like Kyle Richards. The show is a bit confusing for me – I read that these are about Instagram celebrities wanting to make it in show business. The first episode focuses on Riott, a wanna be singer with neon green hair. I live in Los Angeles, and you see these struggling artists everywhere, and it’s so tough to make it in the business, for sure, and this show showcases them. Anyhow, Riott lives in Silverlake, sharing an apartment with four other people. She documents everything on Instagram and has thousands of followers (other people are identified by their names and their numbers of followers) But, we never really hear Riott’s music – she kinda vocalizes and raps but when she had a performance, the series focused more on her tantrum about her friends not coming to the show rather than the music. And Paris is barely on – she just has these small snippets of dialogue to the camera. And by the end of the show, we see Riott moving to a new house – so is this like a ‘Real World’ type of deal where we follow her and other people in the house? Above all, though, do I really care?
I have binge-watched the rest of the first season of Vida – with only a sex episode first season, it wasn’t difficult – and I love it even more. I think I even like it more than its companion show on Starz, which is Sweetbitter. Vida is richer, and it successfully says something else besides your usual soapy situations. I mean, it has those, too but Vida also addresses issues like gentrification, immigration, and how people shy away- and come back from their cultures. I knwo some people have accused me in the past of being “too american,’ whatever that means, and I do feel like I am still very much attached to my original heritage. But back to the show, I love that it explores sexual orientation in a very frank manner. The sex is on the saltier side here, and is part of the overall tone of the series. The Latino characters here are not stereotypical ones – though some of those are here as well – but these are full living, breathing people. They start at as cliches – the icy older sister, the slutty younger one – but writer Tanya Saracho gives these people real depth, and we get a sense of who they are as the first season ends. As a matter of fact, we are really getting a sense of these characters now, so I hope this comes back for a second season (I hope Sweetbitter does, too)
It’s Pride month and I am just now realizing how appropriate it is that I just started watching the Starz series ‘Vida’ this month, as it centers around a lesbian character. A pair of sisters go home for their mom’s funeral, and they find out that their mother was a lesbian, who was running their family business (a bar) with her wife. Of course, this becomes the catalyst for the series. Plus, it raises the questions of how neighborhoods are being gentrified to become the next hot neighborhood, leaving out its residents, out the door. In this political climate, this is a great series to provoke your mind. For example, when one of the series suggests that they sell their building, the other asks, “and what about the other tenants here, you do know they are mostly undocumented, and they will never find somewhere to live.’ These make me like the show right away, and from the first scene I am emotionally invested. The sisters have a very complicated relationship, and the actors (Melissa Barrera and Mistel Prada) are competent, and instantly, we feel the complexity of these people, which makes them more real – it seems like nothing is cardboard here.
I have watched Episodes two and three of ‘American Woman,’ and I like it a lot more. I know this was originally billed as a comedy, but it’s more a soap, and also I think it is evolving into a ‘Sex and The City’ type of series, with minor emphasis now on the other female character. Bonnie, at the end of the first episode, finds not only her husband cheating on her, but that he has squandered other people’s money and she is left with a mostly empty checking account. While the house is in her name, she can no longer maintain it (Her pool is turning green and she has to clean it) Silverstone makes the character sympathetic, although should you really feel sorry for a rich housewife. Remember, though, that this was another time, and we see her having difficulties looking for a job due from her lack of real experience. Bonnie ends up working for May Co, at the branch where her old rich friends are shopping. As I said, Silverstone is mostly fine, but she has this habit of mouthing her words like she just swallowed chewing gum, and it is distracting me. But that’s a personal thing. I like the fact that the show is 22-26 minutes long. The commitment per episode isn’t as exhausting, akin to ‘Younger.’ This makes it easy for me to give my time to the show, and it is getting interesting to me as these episodes roll.
I have watched the first four episodes of Season Five of Younger, and I am back into it, because I have to say that the past two seasons have disinterested me quite a bit, but for me, I think it’s back in fine form. But not the first episode, though. The show in trying to be topical joins the “Me Too” movement. Its most profitable author has to deal with sexual harassment issues and had to be dropped by Empirical. This causes the company to lose some cash. But by the end of the first episode, we get a bombshell revelation: Charles finds out that Liza has been lying all along. This puts him in a tailspin – he doesn’t know how to deal with it and gets passive aggressive before finally revealing to Liza that he knows. Is this the end of the love affair between Charles and Liza? Charles admits that he has fallen for her, but now doesn’t know if he can trust her.
I have read that the show will be consciously trying t steer from all these ‘romance’ episodes but it seems like the coast is clear, too: Josh, who was newly married goes home from Ireland without his bride – she left him too. And Liza meets the character of Christian Borle, and something may be brewing there, too. (Curiously, Borle is Sutton Foster’s ex-husband, and I know it really doesn’t matter, but these things excite me)
So I feel invigorated with this new season and this show is again on my radar. Have at me, Younger.
With Pride Month starting, I guess it’s just fitting that I write about ‘Pose,’ the newest and gayest show this season. It’s from Ryan Murphy, so you know at least it will ahve a very good start, and this is also his swan song show for F/X as he will be producing shows for Netflix after this.
I love this show. It starts off with a bang – the ball festivities in Harlem of the late 80s. I have a great kinship to this era as this was also the start of my New York Years: i.e. that time when I was starting to go out in the city and experiencing life. This is a splashy production, but the story telling is pretty straightforward – it’s about how a new house starts under a new mother, and how she brings her family together. This show is about trans people, and Murphy has cast it with a trans cast. And while the idea is fantastic and welcome, you can sometimes see the greenness of the cast. But the best of the lot is Indya Moore as Angel, a transgendered prostitute who finds home with new mother Blanca. There is even a sweet storyline of her meeting a ‘straight’ white family man (Evan Peters) who works for a Donald Trump-like character (played deliciously by James Van Der Beek) Not everything worked for me – towards the end of the first episode. a Flashdance style audition underwhelmed me. But already I am hooked. This will probably, no make that surely, my go-to show this summer, and I will relish writing about it weekly.
‘American Woman’ is co-produced by Kyle Richards (of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’) and is supposedly partly based on her life so I figure, there must be something kind of fun here. I know that this is one of the reasons why Kyle has not spoken to her older sister Kathy – apparently the latter disapproved of her making their life a series. So all this juicy back story made me look forward to seeing the show more.
And…? After the pilot episode, it definitely whet my appetite to see more. It stars Alicia Silverstone in the mama role, and she plays one of those rich housewives who has to ask her husband for money as she plans for a party. The episode is set up for her to be a single mom to her kids (Kathy and Kim?) as she catches her husband cheating. Silverstone seems to be the right fit of the role, and she attacks it with gusto. This show is billed as a comedy, though it feels soap-y here, but the pilot episode most of the time serves as a set-up for things to come.
The costumes and hair are all fab – Farrah Fawcett in steroids, and I was glad to see gay content within the first ten minutes – so Kyle definitely gives a nod to her audience. I’ll be watching.