1973 (Television Thoughts: Glory S01 E04, Fosse/Verdon)

fosse-verdon.w700.h467‘Glory,’ the fourth episode in Fosse/Verdon focuses on 1973, that grand year when Bob Fosse had the triple grand slam achievement of winning the Oscar, the Tony, and the Emmy all on the same year. (His Oscar win was an upset over Francis Ford Coppola, who was favored to win for ‘The Godfather’)  But this episode paints him as some kind of tortured artist. We see him tortured about how ‘Cabaret’ is being received, we see him tortured about ‘Pippin,’ which is now in rehearsals – I loved the process of how they got to the Finale. And I guess he was probably also tortured about something in ‘Liza With A Z,’  though they only show the show in a monitor. I wish the show was more abotu the process – could you imagine if this was a Matthew Weiner show? We would have a whole episode on ‘Corner Of The Sky’ alone. But I get it, though. This isn’t the kind of show, and we do need to see the story move forward.

But what we have here is pretty engrossing. And whenever Michele Williams as Gwen comes on, I perk up. I love her intimate scenes with Joan Simon (who would die the same year from bone cancer) and I love the foreshadowing of Gwen seeing Ann Reinking in rehearsals, making a comment about her being so good she doesn’t need to bed Fosse to get a solo. But Fosse’s #metoo moments are really hard to watch in 2019 lens, although I am sure that happened all the time in 1973 and people did not wince.

 

Gwyneth (Television Thoughts: Fosse/Versdon S01E03: Me and My Baby)

fosse-verdon.w700.h700On the third episode of Fosse/Verdon (‘Me and My Baby’) we learn more about Gwen Verdon.  But let me just say again and again and again that Michele Williams is really nailing her interpretation of the character of Verdon. I know that the two ladies do not really look alike, but by God Williams really got the essence of Gwen Verdon and her performance makes the story richer, and in this episode, it was so vital and is responsible for the success. We get to know Verdon’s back story, how she overcame physical liabilities to be the dancer that she became. It also touched upon her being raped by a Hollywood Reporter writer, and how she bore a child that she later gave up to her parents. All of that interspersed with her marital problems with Bob Fosse made the woman fuller before my eyes. I have read these stories before, but to see it on screen surely gave it a very different impact.  We understand why she was so overprotective of her daughter – we understand perhaps why she held on to Fosse so much, how their tortured relationship endured despite all their problems. I love the series, and by the end when we see her triumph in ‘Can Can’ we are buoyed by the success – it made her journey deeper, and more rewarding.

Fosse was so tortured by the editing of the film ‘Cabaret’ that he really needed Verdon’s ‘take’ on what to do. It’s interesting to note him criticizing ‘Two Ladies,’ as I had also read that he hated Joel Grey and wanted all the Emcee’s scenes cut – Grey apparently intervened with producers and got his scenes reinstated. i wonder if we will see that in the series.

Strike A Fosse (Television Thoughts: Fosse Version Episodes 1 and 2)

Americans S4 Transit Shelter.inddDo we really need ‘Fosse/Verdon’ in our lives? Should this television series exist? We already have the film ‘All That Jazz’ and Fosse himself envisioned that film to be the representation of his legacy.  But I knew I was going to watch this show anyway, and I will be excited about it, because I am a show queen, and this is what show queens live for.

And the first two episodes are certainly rewarding. On the first, we get to see intricacies in how Fosse shot ‘Hey Big Spender’ in the film version of ‘Sweet Charity.’ And on the second episode, we see how they got to create ‘Who’s Got The Pain’ from ‘Damn Yankees.’ And the one thing that is constant in those two scenes – Gwen Verdon. We get to see that she is just as responsible for Fosse’s artistry as he is. He has his own vision, of course, but she helped make it come to life.

And Michele Williams is fantastic as Gwen Verdon. For some reason, she nails her, without making it look like she is cartooning her. We get the essence of the woman so authentically I sometimes forget that this is a woman playing her character. I had to get used to Sam Rockwell as Fosse, though, and that’s probably because Roy Scheider’s performance in the film is so ingrained in my brain. By the second episode, I warmed up to Rockwell, and I am pretty sure as the series goes on, I will be on board.

 

Reality Is A Musical (Television Thoughts: All Star Musicals, ITV)

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I chanced upon ‘All Star Musicals’ by chance. I started watching it and saw the names Elaine Paige, Kristen Chenoweth together and ding ding , of course, it will cause a show queen alert. I had never heard of the show, of course, even though there has already been one iteration of it. Basically, it’s like ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ but instead of ballroom dancing, they perform scenes from a musical. So, yeah, right up my alley. And it is hosted by my dear John Barrowman, an old crush if there ever was one (He still looks foine!)  and the show is so gay he opens it by performing a ‘Mary Poppins’ medley – interspersing ‘Put The Light Fantastic’ from ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ with songs fromt he original score. Well, that put a big smile on my face already! The show is off to a great start.

I wish I knew who these local British celebrities, though, and if I did, I think I would have enjoyed the show more. I know there were a couple of soap stars, a presenter, a money expert. But, consistently, the production values of all the numbers are top-notch, and the ensemble is first rate – one of the best I have seen – they were all very versatile as they maneuvered into the different numbers from different shows. They were the real winners in my opinion.

And of course, the ultimate highlight was the duet with Chenoweth and Paige doing ‘I Know Him SO Well.’  There were show queen orgasms everywhere when they finished their duet.

All in all, I look forward to if/when they do this again. And is it too much to ask for an American version of this?

Au Courant (Television Thoughts: Season 17, Project Runway, Bravo)

50511835_243656843219534_2297266029219986432_nI have been watching Project Runway off and on since 2004 when it first started, and I was one of those people who thought that the show deteriorated when it moved to Lifetime. Still, I continue to be a fan of it, although there have been seasons that really frustrated me. But now, the show has moved back to Bravo, and it is new and ‘improved,’ and this show is quite different. Of course, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are no longer here (they have an upcoming show at Amazon) and the judges are all new, except for Nina Garcia who is the only one returning, so….

Well, I have to say that the show still interests me, though they are skewing the show more for the ‘new’ generation. The focus now is for the contestants and their ‘branding,’ and perhaps not on fashion for fashion’s sake. There’s more concern for appeal and sales, as opposed to creativity. Call me crazy, but I like fashion most when it’s sometimes impractical, and I know I am not alone in this. Karlie Kloss is now the host, which I guess is a less seasoned version of Heidi, and on the first couple of episodes she has nto made an impression on me just yet. I had higher hopes for Christian Siriano, but he seems to be more tempered here (he got rid of his asymmetrical haircut) and where is the sass that he was kind of known for? And the judges also have not impressed me just yet – Brandon Maxwell is barely there, and Elaine Welteroth seems more Instagram than haute couture.

But the contestants are the heart and soul of this show, for sure, and they are delivering. Kovad made me cry when he bonded with the trans model, as they spoke about their mutual oppression. The show is always best when it ventures into the human elements, and for now that is what will carry this show in its transition

When Two Is Best (Television Thoughts: The Other Two Season One, Comedy Central)

MV5BODcyYjYzMjUtNTg2Yy00OTJlLTlhODgtNTI3NjI5YTFmY2E0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjA5MDYxODY@._V1_I just finished watching the rest of the first season of ‘The Other Two’ and it is truly the best comedy show I have seen in years. I know I have written about its gay sensibility, but there’s more than that. It’s smart, funny, and topical, and it perfectly frames the times we live in.

  1. First of all, I love that it feature the Instagay generation. I thought it would be easy to make fun of them, but instead they humanize them. When Cary interacts with them, Cary is the freak, and the Instagays are the sane and normal ones. It’s Cary who wants to take advantage of them for his own benefit.
  2. The ‘Call Me By Your Name’ scene is perfection. Drew Tarver is great in that scene, and is the perfect ending to his doomed relationship. And as far as relationships, I really was feeling Brooke and her relationship with her ex, a shoe designer (Josh Segarra) but when the season ended, it seems that both Drew and Brooke are still alone.
  3. And can we talk about how the season ended (I read that the second season has already been greenlit)  Their brother Chase seems to be leaving pop stardom to go to college (!) and I think the show would transition to Brooke and Drew still being the ‘other two’ int he context of their mother having a daytime talk show. That only sets the stage for more hilarity.

The Good Others (Television Thoughts: The Other Two, Comedy Central)

MV5BNjYzN2JkZTgtNTMwZi00MTY5LTlkOTYtZTMwNTVhZGQ4MzgxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzY0MTE3NzU@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,666,1000_AL_Who would have thought that a sitcom about a tween singing sensation would be the gayest sitcom since ‘Golden Girls?’ Well, I guess I have to clarify – as the title suggests, the focus of the show is on the ‘other two,’ and int his case the ‘loser’ siblings of the Bieber-like character of Chase Dreams. Those two are played Helene York and Drew Tarver, she an ex-dancer and he a waiter-actor searching for his big break.

I am into the sixth episode now, and each one has been a winner. There’s the pilot where everything is set up, as their brother gets a barracuda of a manager (Ken Marino) who is ruthless and clueless a the same time (he tries to cover Chase’s Adam’s apple in one episode)  I especially love the mother character, Pat, played by Molly Shannon with non-sarcastic enthusiasm – you can sense that she loves her kids evenly even as her youngest skyrockets to stardom. There is a particular episode somewhat centered on Andy Cohen’s ‘Watch What Happens Live’ that is so precious, so intricately written that to try to describe it would not give it justice. I know I am halfway through the season and am already dreading the finale.