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.

Fashion Show (Series Thoughts: Halston, Netflix)

Ryan Murphy takes on Halston in Netflix’s ‘Halston,’ and just like a lot of things Murphy, it isimperfect with flashes of brilliance and mediocrity. I know I should commend him for dealing with gay and gay-adjacent subjects, buT i just wish they were all good. Serviceable won’t cut it, and ‘Halston’ is just barely serviceable.

Based on Steven Gaines’ biography so it’s not like they don’t have a lot to work with. Halston’s life is brimming with glitz, glamour, and more than enough drama to fill seven series of Netflix episodes. But we get five here that focus on different things, and shows a couple of obvious sides of this genius. We never see what made him tick,. we never really see anything beyond the surface.

Ewan McGregor tries very hard to flesh out the character but is left floundering in the air. he nails his voice, but somehow reads ‘older.’ Rebecca Dayan steals her scenes as Elsa Peretti, and I rally like Krysta Rodriguez’s Liza Minnelli, which really could have gone so bad.

The show could have been a camp classic, but it’s too shy to be that. It’s also not a blushing wallflower, it certainly can’t be described as square. the latter episodes fare better than the first ones, a conundrum for Murphy who almost always does things in the opposite direction. It’s not boring, for sure, but I found myself wandering at times. Or maybe I just can’t make up my mind? It is pretty to look at, and they nail the costume and production design. Still, it feels a tad hollow.

Dating Sport (Television Thoughts: Dating #nofilter, E!)

I just discovered, via Hulu, this new ‘dating’ show. Well, it’s sort of a dating shoe, but it probably is more of a comedy. A bunch of comedians watch couple go on blind dates, and well, do I even have to spell out the endless hilarious possibilities that can ensue if you make that a television show. Look, an eternally single person like me can relate. It’s tough out there, and sometimes you just have to laugh it off. On the first episode I saw, a materialistic young woman is so clueless that she doesn’t even realize how stupid she sounds (and looks) on national television. And a gay blind date gone wrong is one of the most hilarious and cringe-worthy things I have ever watched. I am digging this shpow immensely – watch it get cancelled since I love it so much.

Old Spice (Television Thoughts: Girls5Eva, Pilot, Peacock)

From NBC’s Peacock comes ‘Girls5Eva,’ a funny new show from Meredith Scardino, and executive produced by Tina Fey. One minute into this show, you know it’s by Fey – witty dialogues, characters who celebrate their quirkiness, and topical jokes. And I must say, I just saw the first episode, and I laughed more than I have in a long time. It’s irreverent, inside-y, and just my vibe. It’s about a former girl group in the early aughts who have seen better days. The girls are now middle aged and basically has-beens. When a hot rapper samples their biggest hit, they get ‘rediscovered,’ and become suddenly the old new hot thing. The jokes write themselves, and they are hilarious.

It’s stacked with a great cast – Busy Philips is the ditzy blonde, Sara Bareilles is the flower who finds her new bloom, Paula Pell is the gay now-out member (you know there is always one) And Renee Elise Goldsberry is the Diana Ross/Beyonce of the group. There’s a fifth member, and she dies via a infinity pool accident.

By the end of the pilot. we see the group reunited. And we root for them because finally in their middle age, these women are able to maybe get success in their own terms. Will they suceed? I just might subscribe to Peacock Premium just to find out,

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.

Bad Boss (Television Thoughts: The Big Shot, HBO Max)

I don’t know what compelled me to watch ‘The Big Shit,’ which is Bethenny Frankel’s new show on HBO MAX. I only barely tolerated her on Housewives, and only kind of liked her when she made fun if Ramona Singer. But sure, why not? I should have known to just steer clear of this. This is just a copy of the ‘The Apprentice,’ and I am proud to day I never watched that show. This seems like her bid to be a Cheetoh in training. Disgusting. I mean, it makes sense now why on Twitter Frankel was making fun of Meghan Markle.

What a mean spirited woman. Whether it is real or not, she just does not come off appealing here, and in this day and age where there are unemployed people because of the pandemic, it is disheartening for her to treat employee candidates like crap. I bet few people would warm up to this. I barely finished the first episode – that’s how loathsome I thought she was. But the worst part for me? That it was executive produced by Mark Burnett, who is responsible for enabling the Cheetoh.

Hard Pass.