Monday, January 18, 2010

The Golden Globe Winners: Did They All Deserve It?

First and foremost let's get to the most important wins of the night:
Congratulations to Michael C Hall and John Lithgow for winning awards you absolutely deserve!!!

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama

Simon Baker – The Mentalist (I don't watch this show, so I have no opinion on it)

Jon Hamm – Mad Men (He's great, but his character wasn't overtly changed this season as previous, his life's shaken up but he's still very much Don Draper.)

Hugh Laurie – House (This last season, amazing job doing the recovery/withdrawl and his work with Andre Braugher was wonderful to watch.)

Bill Paxton – Big Love (He's good, but his character is also always fighting on the defensive and while he maintains an accent and emotion, I wouldn't say he was the best, he is believable)

Michael C. Hall – Dexter (WINNER!!!!!!!)
Why Michael C. Hall Won
The win for Michael C. Hall is long overdue. The character he portrays, Dexter, is a vigilante serial killer. Each episode demands a ton of work on Hall's part to depict a man that is void of emotion, full of rage, and has a hunger for killing humans. It's a psychological mind-f*ck to play this kind of role and Hall not only does it with great talent, but in season 4 he transformed into a man with a new found consciousness. This was a huge deal for the show, and he played the part masterfully.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Michael Emerson – Lost (The role of Ben is complex, and extremely mysterious. One has to wonder how much Emerson knows about his character's motivations because they are so involved in the shows top secret story line. Whether Emerson knows how it all ends and if his characters actions justify the means he takes is unknown, but his acting is undeniably great.)

Neil Patrick Harris – How I Met Your Mother (It may be slightly controversial for me to say, but the fact that NPH is gay and plays a straight womanizer so well that you completely forget he's gay always astounds me. Aside from that his comedic timing and dedication to the continued characterization of Barny Stinson, Neil Patrick Harris is always a pleasure to watch.)

William Hurt – Damages (Don't watch it, have no opinion...yes, I do go outside and stop watching TV every now and then.)

Jeremy PivenEntourage (Let's be honest, while we all adore Ari Gold, Piven's been playing this part a long time, and by other character's names. While Piven is fabulous at it, there's not a ton of stretching and flexing of the acting muscle here.)

John Lithgow – Dexter (WINNER!!!!!!!!)
Why I Was Going to Riot in The Streets if John Lithgow Didn't Win
I won't spoil season 4 for you and tell you all the magical evils that Lithgow embodied as 'The Trinity Killer'. All I can say is, it was one of the best performances I've ever seen. The transformation into a role so purely crazed, evil, and homicidally masterminded not only brought out the best in Lithgow, but also the best from everyone who acted around him. The show's writing should also be credited.
To see more about the psychological strain and creative acting skill Lithgow brought to this role, watch this excellent interview

Best Television Series - Drama

Big Love - (Season 3 was well written, and a had spectacular ending. There was a lot of growth in characters and story development. While it belongs amongst the chosen, it was definitely not the best drama.)

Dexter (As you can see, I loved Dexter season 4. While it was wonderful as a whole, I think the actors and writers got the nodd they deserved, but ultimately weren't the best drama.)

House (Again, House was really good last season. It's a great drama, one that is worth watching, but I don't think I'd call it the best or even list it as an all time favorite.)

True Blood (The fact that this is even listed, is laughable. True Blood is a great way to spend an hour, but as for drama? That's like saying Buffy the Vampire Slayer was also a drama. It's well done science fiction/suspense.)

Mad Men (WINNER!!!)
Why Mad Men Deserved The Win
This is currently the best drama. It encompasses the best of so many characters that it does deserve the constant call outs - the costumes/writing/setting of this period piece, along with acting that never disappoints makes this show inexcusable to miss. This past season especially challenged all the actors with writing that really reflected the times, and the characters previous actions. Consequences were served up diligently and the result was compelling television.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama

Glenn Close – Damages (Don't watch it, have no opinion other than all that I read/hear about this show is that she's fabulous in it.)

January Jones – Mad Men (She's brought more to her character this season and her expressions/emotions of Betty Draper are purely fantastic acting skill. I also have to say, I'm a fan of hers and route for her because of the following story -
January Jones started out as a model, and during that time she dated Ashton Kutcher. When she told him of her desire to act he told her she was just a pretty face. Where's your Golden Globe Ashton? What's that? You're still trying to make amends for producing that awful show The Beautiful Life: TBL, we should hope so.)

Anna Paquin – True Blood (Oh, Sookie. What a fun character to play. While Anna Paquin is doing much better this past season with her accent, and her portrayl of the strong willed woman with the ability to read minds is rather good - it's not something that I'd say she's THE BEST at. With that said, I really do want to make it clear that she's wonderful to watch in this role.)

Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer (Never seen it, hear she's fabulous though.)

Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife (WINNER!)
Why I'm Not Terribly Thrilled
I feel like Julianna Margulies got this award because The Hollywood Foreign Press was just so happy that she came back to adult dramas. She's good in the role, but I still kind of always see her as Julianna Marguiles acting as a mother in a tough position. I don't think her work in the role demanded an award.

Best Television Series - Comedy Or Musical

30 Rock (Wonderful, funny - you are always guaranteed at least one laugh out loud moment, but I'm glad it didn't win. They've won enough, and this season they just kept on doing what they're good at which doesn't really merit a win - just hopefully more viewers.)

Entourage (It's a fun show, but it's not the best show. I don't think a show that does cut aways to women looking hot to set-up a scene when that's pretty much every scene is necessarily ever going to be "The Best" in my mind.)

Modern Family (While some people say that it's all about Ed O'Neil, this show is really an amazing ensemble. The writing is funny, but they really lucked out with having the perfect actors to fit the quirky characters this show creates. It is one of my favorites and I'm happy to see it called out with the nomination.)

The Office (Love it, but this past season wasn't worth awards. It's not as funny. Personally, I think we need to delve into on of the office workers more this season instead of focusing on the ones we've already seen more of - I'd like more Toby, or the shipping warehouse people's back story. We're still focusing on characters we've seen and it's a little played out.)

Glee (WINNER!!!!)
I Knew Glee Would Win and I'm Not Psychic
Let's be honest, for years it's been called in a comedy/musical, but there's never a musical. Glee comes along, and it's not only musical - but it's really fabulous at being a musical. It's a hands down winner. Creative, original, and something I can watch with my family. It's been a winner from first watch, and has won over millions of viewers to boot. I can't wait for the next season.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Comedy Or Musical

Courteney Cox – Cougar Town (She's funny, but there's not a ton going on in that character that's challenging enough to make me say, "wow she's the best.")

Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie (I wouldn't call this show a comedy, and it's definitely not a musical - but I would say that Edie Falco does a great job in the role, and has wonderful writers and supporting cast. If you haven't seen this show, go get the season 1 DVD.)

Tina Fey – 30 Rock (...isn't she just playing herself? She's great, but I'm not sure it's great acting. I think it's a lot of great job being yourself, Tina Fey - which is something to be called out for as funny, but not really enough to merit an acting award.)

Lea Michele – Glee (Amazing voice, very good at being the perfectionist, but I think it's too soon to give her an award. I do think she has a chance of getting it next season though if she keeps up the stellar performances.)

Toni Collette – United States Of Tara (WINNER!!!)
The Woman Plays 4 Different Characters
And she does each of them convincingly well. Her transitions are amazing to watch, and she makes it seem effortless. Of course she won, she's fabulous. Go watch this show and try to tell me she's not the best actress you've seen on TV.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series -

Comedy Or Musical

Steve Carell – The Office (He's a great Michael Scott, but he's no David Brent.)

David Duchovny – Californication (His actions, and reactions are constantly a source of humor and make the show one that I love to watch, but he's also kind of playing himself. I don't see a ton of range in his portrayal of Hank Moody, but what you do see from him is quite good.)

Thomas Jane – Hung (Meh, it's an ok show, he's a decent actor, but I wouldn't necessarily shout about his performance)

Matthew Morrison – Glee (Adorable, fun, and did a stellar performance in the last two episodes. I was really impressed by his growth in the role.)

Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock (WINNER!!!)
Maybe Now You Won't Give Up on Acting?
I feel like he got this award not only because he's amazing - but also because he announced that once his contract is up with '30 Rock' he's going to retire from acting. It would be a sad day for several reasons - one being that he wants to go into politics.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Jane Adams – Hung (She's perfect in this role. Her voice, her look, it's all dead on.)

Rose Byrne – Damages (Don't watch it, don't hear much about her.)

Jane Lynch – Glee (Fan-freakin'-tastic. Jane Lynch is one of the best people to watch. The role of Sue Sylvester is a comedic actress dream, and what Lynch does for the role is bring the exact amount of toughness/tenderness that the ball-busting Sue is written to be. I'm sad she lost out.)

Janet McTeer – Into The Storm (No idea what this even is.)

Chloë Sevigny – Big Love (WINNER!!)
There's Something About Chloë
It's weird, because while the character she portrays, Nikki Grant, annoys the heck out of me, there's no doubt that Chloë Sevigny is a fabulous actress while she's playing her. The character of Nikki is cold, conservative, and a little bit crazy. In season 3 she really brought a lot of wonderful emotion to the role, and deserves to be honored for her performance. I still kinda think Jane Lynch should've won though.

Not huge into this category, can you tell?

Best Mini Series/Movie - Grey Gardens (My reasoning is, it won because it's the only one I watched, it was that good.)

Best Actress in Mini Series/Movie - Drew Barrymore (She was really great in the role, it was a wonderful performance.)

Best Actor in a Mini Series/Movie - Kevin Bacon (Well, at least someone in the family won the night...he's married to Kyra Sedgwick.)

Movie winners: yadda, yadda, I'd rather sit at home and be watching TV...

Best Picture - Avatar

Best Actress - Sandra Bullock

Best Actor - Jeff Bridges

Best Comedy/Musical - The Hangover

Best Actress Comedy/Musical - Meryl Streep

Best Actor in Comedy/Musical - Robert Downey Jr.

Best Supporting Actress - Mo'nique

Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz

Best Animated Film - Up <---I'll throw in best of all time. Pixar tops themselves, again. Best Foreign Language - The White Ribon Best Director - James Cameron Best Screenplay - Up in the Air

Best Original Score - Up

Best Song - "The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)" – Crazy Heart
Music & Lyrics By: Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

I regret to say, I missed watching the awards live due to a friend's wedding (stupid love and joy celebrations pulling me away from TV). So, in award show fashion, I would like to thank the HFPA for posting all the winners on their site. Without them, I couldn't have written this blog today.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Leno v. Conan Situation, Explained

Ok pals, here's the scoop. There's this Team Conan, and Jimmel Kimmel destroying Leno, and a giant backlash against NBC that came up this week.

During the Haiti Earthquake, which you heard about as you were making dinner, and/or doing a thousand other things this week.

Good thing you've got a pal like me who's willing to explain it all out because I do nothing but watch TV, read about TV, write about TV (Oh, do you not get The Screening Room? You should.) and I've even made a habit of listening to TV podcasts (Does this obsession know any bounds? Not really.)

So, here's the slapdash rundown of what I like to call...


A long time ago, during the last decade or so, Conan O'Brien was asked to negotiate a contract. He said during that time, that he'd like The Tonight Show eventually. The date was set, and ink went to paper, and Jay Leno was on a highway to retirement.

Then, Jay realized he was not yet ready to give up television, and NBC realized they to were not yet ready to part with a chin attached to a man that brought in decent late night ratings. They decided to put together a show that would run Monday - Friday at 10pm.

Yes, that's right at 10pm. The time slot that traditionally goes to adult dramas, sometimes dramadies. The shows that content is not suitable for children, and you can actually watch because the kids just got to bed. NBC's 10 pm time slot is something of a favorite for me. I am looking right at you mid 90's - I'm talking about Sisters, Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order, ER. Oh man, just listing those shows makes me happy.

The 10pm time slot is not meant for talk shows like Leno's not just because it's not an adult drama though. It's a hard sell to put something that runs regularly in that slot because it's against the local 10 o'clock news. See, affiliate stations, or what you know as your local NBC station, has a different schedule than major cities. We (I live in New York City) and other major cities only get the 11:35pm news. To juggle the time difference local stations usually would just throw on a Seinfield repeat or something until The Tonight Show comes on, but with the obligation to play Jay, it messed up their news schedule.

NBC solution to this issue? Spend MILLIONS on advertising Jay at 10 pm so people have it ingrained, are ready for it, and want it.

It didn't work.

While the ratings for Leno were decent, it was too much for the affiliates to manage, sell, and keep up so they were dropping the show, and NBC was losing money.

Now, Conan on the other hand on The Tonight Show was getting slammed, because of the 10 pm show as well. There's a rhythme of television watching that is called into play here. It's all about your lead in, if you've got a broken schedule it's like playing incredibly loud metal music before a show that involves piano music. You've tuned away from NBC because 10pm doesn't have what you want/are used to - drama, and other networks are cranking up their dramatic television and getting you involved in their shows. You don't switch back to see The Tonight Show, because of a thousand other possibilities.

They knew ratings would dip with Conan because people don't like new things. It would take at least a year to hit some sort of stride with new location, set, formatting - but it was likely that Conan would find an audience.

The trouble is, Conan's audience is a demographic that is 18-45 and that demographic is watching The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report - and once again isn't switching over to NBC for The Tonight Show.

So, the odds are stacked against Conan, but there had to be a built in belief at NBC that this ratings dip would occur - and the way to bring it back would've been to leverage The Olympics in their favor and promote Conan during it.

The only problem is - Leno failed his slot. So, NBC lost a ton of money on that gamble. Now, the idea that the audience that is watching The Olympics would fall in love of Conan is another gamble. In NBC's mind, it's time to go with a sure thing - and that sure thing is Leno. Leno will bring back their ratings, and possibly bolster audience as a lead in for Conan and Fallon. The issue here is - that's the old line up. That is basically demoting Conan for not succeeding in doing his job within a 7 month period, when he should have had at least a year to attempt before shutting down and rolling back.

Why people hate Leno in this, is because he doesn't have to take this position. Leno is a man that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He has been on the air for a very long time, long enough to become a parody of himself. He seemed to support Conan's move publicly, so for him to not step up and say, "Ya know what, the 10 pm show didn't work. I am going to retire from TV and go do stand-up and play with my cars," or something similar showing support and self awareness is an issue.

Now, you can argue, Jay's just going for the job he was the best at. Sure, he did great in that show, but he had a rough patch after Johnny left, too. The Letterman/Leno ratings battle was a fierce one and not always the best for his ratings, but he found his voice, and audience and eventually did great. But to leave a job you achieved greatness at, try something else, and then just go back - seems a little ridiculous. Especially when you don't need the money, and the person who has that job now moved his entire life, family, and all the people that worked for him away from New York and out to LA.

If you don't live in New York, you might not understand how huge that move is. It may seem like a great move up to some. Warm weather, fabulous lifestyles of the rich and famous and what not, but to a New Yorker it's a huge lifestyle change. You go from being you v. the elements - because in NY everyone pretty much takes subways or is generally just outdoors more in horrible weather than most people in America - to being in your car going everywhere. Also, anyone who's ever had a family with kids and had to move understands that going from one place to another can be a strain on the family.

But, I digress - Conan and Leno, where are they now? It seems to be a stale-mate at the moment. Leno seems to be winning NBC's favor to go back to The Tonight Show, and Conan seems to be stuck in a contract that will not allow him to work as a late night talk show host on another network.

In the current American job market, a lot of people can somewhat sympathize with being out of a job, being pushed out of a job, and just the overall despair that unemployment can bring. It's also horribly upsetting to see men with millions of dollars seem upset about job loss. At the end of all this, we know that Conan O'Brien will work again. He is a fabulously talented and a well known personality. His staff will probably be fine as well because the quality of the show is actually not in the issue.

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien is well received by many critics, especially comedians. Conan's sharp wit and wonderful self awareness of his awkwardness is something that comedians embrace. It's not like the move from Late Night to The Tonight Show tarnished his talents.

Leno on the other hand, did have a quality issue. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno was wonderfully formatted, and while middle of the road in terms of comedy risk - it was funny. The Jay Leno Show on the other hand, was really cheesey. It was the Brady Bunch Variety Hour of television spin-offs. The quality of the show went down, and the humor went from middle of the road to pandering.

Both men though, have options at the end of the day. NBC has options as well, but what exactly happens next is subject to debate as well. There was a story on everyone's favorite pay-for-it journalism site, TMZ, that said that Leno has The Tonight Show back and Conan is out on the streets unable to do another late night show for now.

NBC denied this story.

BUT - NBC just bought @BreakingNews which is a twitter feed that used to relay stories from various news outlets at lightening fast speed. Seriously, I used to just follow it so I could bolster my "I knew it before you" in a news conversation. Since being bought by NBC it has turned into the NBC news twitter feed. It is obvious that all the stories are coming from MSNBC and other NBC affiliates, not just because it's a little slower (@nytimes is actually whooping them lately) but also because NBC is sited on most of the @breakingnews feeds.

How this plays in is- @BreakingNews submitted the TMZ story to the feed, my guess is there's a lot of truth, maybe not all truth, but at least some truth behind that story. If not, why would they tweet it?

Currently, it looks as though Conan is leaving, and Leno will get The Tonight Show back.

That's all I know about that situation folks. I hope this helped clarify some of it for you. I'll be back next week with more TV news. Till then make sure you follow me on the twitter -
and -

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tabitha Salon Takeover Tuesdays

I cannot wait for Tuesday night TV.

This is not a common feeling, and TV watchers know that. We will rarely get great programming on Tuesday. If there's anything at all, it's usually later on at night and dramatic (I'm thinking Rescue Me)

But lately, I find myself on Mondays jonesen for Tuesdays with Tabitha...

Even though Tabitha Salon Takeover is basically Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares re-purposed for beauty salon's, it's probably the best makeover show on television.
It has everything you want from a reality show:

  • Rags to Riches: They give salons that are in total debt money to restart their business
  • Ugly to Pretty: The salons are always, disgusting. Each episode without fail Tabitha will say in her charming accent that the salon she's in is, "Covered with dirt!"
  • Person with Accent Putting Down an American: We really love that. Pretty much every competition show has a judge with a charming, foreign accent.
What really makes this show fantastic though, is Tabitha. She's a lovable bitch, because she's always right - and she's fierce. I know it's so Project Runway to go there, but she is - I mean look at this:

I wish someone followed me around work shooting footage of what I do and then editing it to show that I'm just always right, always. Maybe, if I just learn an accent...hello? Fox? I've got an idea for a reality show...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why I'm Stoked on Desperate Housewives Again

You'd be hard-up to find someone who loved the first season of Desperate Housewives more than I did in it's premiere year.
I told everyone I knew about how great of an ensemble the cast was, and how quirky/mysterious the storyline was.

Then, season 2 occurred. What a difference time off made! It was horrifically boring, and instead of delving back into the characters we grew to love- it went the same way Heroes did and added characters no one really cared about with storylines that didn't really measure up.

This was a tough time for me and Desperate Housewives, until I was reunited with it via the Lifetime Channel's mini marathons. Three hours a day, while I had the flu, I caught up with this show as if it were my job, starting on season 3.

It was amazingly better, vastly improved, and the gang one Wisteria Lane was forefront again in the storylines.

Fast forwarding season 4 was absolutely genius. It added depth to all of the characters, and brought an interesting twist to every storyline.

Now, I feel like it's 2004 all over again. It's Sunday night, and I'm all psyched up for some DH. The show is coming back from it's holiday break - I'm once again hooked. I can't wait to see what will happen next - and really, isn't that what you want from a fun weekend show? (I'm looking at you Big Love to bring that in a few weeks... don't you go breaking my heart.)