It’s Good to Sin (Television Thoughts: It’s A Sin, BBC4)

I was right – I had a nagging feeling that the show, as I watched it, would break my heart. I can’t remember watching. show that made me cry so much. Maybe because I have some personal stake in this show, as I lived through what most of these characters did, and saw what they experienced. In a way, it was like seeing departed friends go through their experiences again, and with the same unhappy ending,

I know the show is getting accolades, and I think it’s well deserved. My most favorite actor in the series is Lydia West, who plays Jill. She is the heart of this piece, as she is the witness to how the disease has ravaged her friends one by one. I remember West from years and Years, where she had a smaller role, but she is front and center here, and well worth your time. I have to say that I found Olly Alexander more than competent as well, and frankly, I had doubts since I never saw him act before.

The best thing about the show is how it captured the spirit of the times – the way the times started as fun, how the early 80s carried over the sexual liberation of the 70s, until everything went to a halt because of the virus. I remember how the mood changed from carefree, to denial, to fear, to acceptance and the dread of what is happening to the gay community. Younger gays who are so lackadaisical about AIDS can learn or two from this show. Humanity can learn a thing or three about how to be kind to one another from this show.

Orgy (Television Thoughts: Vida, Season 2 Episode 1)

MV5BODk1NzE0Nzc1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTYzNjYwODM@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_The second season of Vida starts with a bang. Well, a couple of bangs to be exact. It starts with an orgy. The first season of Vida had a lot of unapologetic nudity, and it looks like that is continuing on the second season. To be honest, I feel like it has been a while since the last episode ended, o I had to remind myself of the story line, but after a couple of scenes, I think I can feel caught up. Lyn is still a hot mess. I thought that the orgy was some kind of dream sequence, but it is real. Emma is still a dom – she probably has more testosterone than me. The bar that they had inherited from their deceased mother is still there, prime for reopening. Eddy, their mom’s lover, is in the hospital after being beaten up, and now they are discovering that their mom’s marriage might not have been legal. I feel like this is very important information on how this season progresses. I wish there were more narrative on this episode, but I guess everything is being set up. This show is quite unique for me, it shows a world – the queer Latina experience – that is very foreign for me, and I am eager to explore it.

A Spring Comeback (Television Thoughts: Will And Grace, The Fall Season)

Will & Grace - Season 1Just finished watching the ‘Fall Finale’ of Will and Grace, and I guess we will not be seeing the show for a couple of months, though I think there is a Christmas episode coming up.  I know I wrote about the pilot, mainly praising it, and thankfully, with each week the show just brought it on. I will not lie and tell you that every joke on every show landed (for me) but the show did one thing for me – it made me want to ‘make an appointment’ with the show every Thursday night at 9 pm, and I don’t even do that with any of my favorite shows. I wanted to support it, and even though I am not a Neilsen household, I wanted my television to be on it on the actual time it was on.

And all four actors just got better and better every week – these characters are all second skin to them, but they even manage to flesh out a little bit something to them. Look at Hayes during the ‘gay conversion’ episode. When he tells his grandson that he is ok, it never sounded prerachy because one can actually see that character say the exact same words. And Mullaly on the sixth episode, when her maid Rosario dies, gives the character just enough pathos and vulnerability amidst the comedy. I know both have won Emmys for their roles, but I can’t see them not getting more next September. I give them special mention but McCormack and Messing both are as good. I know I am sounding like the biggest W &  G fanboy, but I have to say I wasn’t even a big fan of it when it was on. I stopped watching it after its third or fourth season, if I recall, so maybe there’s something here that is touching me – perhaps it’s the times we live in, perhaps it’s the political climate. And speaking of which, it was good to see that the later episodes become almost non-political, although the show is always topical, and perhaps too much at times.  I will eagerly await its return next year.

Rise Up (Television Thoughts: When We Rise, ABC)

when_we_riseIt’s a shame that apparently, ‘When We Rise,’ did not enjoy great ratings. Although Dustin Lance Black, who wrote most of it, says they count it out yet. I suspect that a lot of people, myself included, did not watch it in ‘real time.’ I don’t think a lot of people commit to something four nights in a row. I finished this in a couple of days, and just watched the last episode just now, and I must say that it is one of those things that will touch you immensely. I found myself in a puddle of tears watching the struggle for Marriage Equality, which is the cornerstone of the whole piece.

I don’t think that was a spoiler, is it? The show chronicles the fight for equality, starting in the 70s, right through the 80s as it fights ‘the plague,’ and culminating to the Supreme Court ruling on Marriage Equality. It tells the stories of different people – Cleve Jones, Roma Guy, Ken Jones. There have been criticism that there are too many characters int he show, but I disagree- each of them proved to be very essential to the whole narrative. It was great to see Cleve’s journey, as a teenager from Arizona who moves to San Francisco. We see him through the hedonistic 70s, as he finds himself a survivor of AIDS< losing friends and lovers to it. He then starts the NAMES Quilt Project, commemorating the hundreds of thousands of yougn men who succumbed to the disease. We later see him as one of the major activists fighting for Marriage Equality: indeed, we see him there at the seats of the Supreme Court. We see his most poignant ending as he sees couples marrying at San Francisco City Hall. His character mirrors all of us, well it mirrors most of my experience. Like him, I found a lot of complexity in where we are today.

I hope that a lot more people discover this series. I know it is available on Hulu, and turns up on Netflix. People on the good and bad side of history will see a lot of themselves in the stories here, and will see themselves enriched after watching.

Where Do Broken Hearts Go (Television Thoughts: Finding Prince Charming, The Final Black Tie)

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The last episodes of ‘Finding Prince Charming’ lost luster for me. The show got “real” and felt duller to me. The last two episodes found Robert whittling down his choices and getting to down to the nitty gritty of who he thinks captured his heart on the show. But really, who are we fooling? Even on the more established hetero shows like “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” I don’t think anyone is expecting these things to be really true anymore. As we come down to the final four, I can sense that Robert is just going through the motions and picking who he thinks can further his career as…something. On the last episode, he makes a confession to the suitors: that while he was in College, he was down and out and worked as an escort. To the audience, big yawn. At this point, anyone and everyone has heard this, so it sounded anti-climactic although I guess for the contestants it was a ‘shocking revelation,’ but of course, they all pretended liek it was nothing. Well, he told them while they in the middle of a swimming pool so the escape wasn’t necessarily easy.

But back to the ‘winner.’ I think all the clues had pointed to Brandon as the winner – this was even leaked on the internet when they were both seen watching Betty Buckley’s ‘Grey Gardens’ in Los Angeles, but surprise of all surprises, Eric won. I mus say even I was mildly amused/shocked. I had conditioned in my mind that Brandon would win, and I guess I come from a generation where I thought Eric’s status would be a handicap. But this is today, and rightfully so, this is not even as big an issue anymore. So yay for progress! Which leaves Brandon broken-hearted. But I felt I didn’t much care, even the love speeches here felt inauthentic to me. Maybe I checked out after Chad left, maybe reading stuff about Robert made me feel a little disillusioned. Maybe I just really looked at this show as trash entertainment and without all the trash there just seemed to be …nothing… But someday I’ll find it – the rainbow connection – the lovers, the dreamers, and me.

In Search Of (Television Thoughts, Finding Prince Charming Episodes Four and Five, Thursdays on Logo)

316021-1So yes, I have been watching ‘Finding Prince Charming’  and I would be lying if I said I haven’t been enjoying it – because it is enjoyable in a fun trashy way. Of course, I don’t take it too seriously, and I don’t think anyone is kidding anyone else if one said that these guys are really looking for true love.

I still Robert Sepulveda is kind of boring. He seems to be very guarded, but at the same time wanting – expecting – his suitors to be vulnerable to him – two way street, man. And of course, there is that big ‘surprise’ on Episode Four when Paul was eliminated – I bet no one saw that coming. And who knew Paul was such a Princess – asking his trainer to bring him chilled towels when he works out so he doesn’t sweat, not wanting to dirty his white shorts. Sure, that would be a deal-breaker for most, including the Prince Charming, apparently. But I don’t think he is as bad as Dillon, who is playing this game so aggressively – for me, that would be more of a deal breaker, and surely Prince Charming is keeping him because he brings the drama. Robby gets sent home in Episode Six, and we all knew he was just there for ‘entertainment.’  Yes, he is campy and funny, but at times he does feel like a gay minstrel show. I am sort of rooting for Chad, and I don’t know why – he seem to be cray cray, as the others have described him, but maybe I like him because he remind me of the guys from new York, where he lives.

Then of course, I cannot not discuss the bug explosive episode wherein Eric reveals to teh house – and to the Prince – that he is HIV positive. In this day and age it is not as big a deal as it used to be, but it is still a big deal, at least for me anyway. I know I am not the only one who shed some tears when everyone in the house banded together to support him. Yes these guys act catty and petty, but I know for sure gay people have a lot of compassion in their hearts. It was nice to see that reflected in the show.

So what comes next? More drama, of course, and I bet more serious now that Robby is gone. With three episodes left, I am more than curious to find out who takes the Prince home.