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.

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.