The Borgias

Apr. 8th, 2012 02:50 pm
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (SHOCK DISMAY WHAT WHAT)
Holy shit, how did anybody not tell me that somebody made one of those gorgeous-looking steamy historical dramas about the Borgias, the first season of which is now available to my non-cable-having self via Netflix? I am all over that shit like white on rice! Top o' the Netflix queue to you!

And yes, my Borgia-obsession is explicitly because of Cantarella.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (all the space between us doesn't matter)
The Greenlee and Leo scenes, specifically.

Fucking killed me. Killed me. It was so intensely emotional that I cried through the whole thing, even all the smiles and laughter and happy memories. I've been waiting since 2003 for that scene, and it was gorgeous and heartbreaking and perfect and NOT ENOUGH. Greenlee and Leo, the couple that drew me into soaps and made me love them, and then went away, never to return. Until now. For just this one little moment. It actually felt like a miracle.

Thank you Rebecca Budig and Josh Duhamel for having the most amazing romantic chemistry in television history, and Lorraine Broderick for knowing how to write for a soap, especially this soap, and this couple. The only thing I want that you didn't give me is more.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (I think I saw a unicorn?)
Ok, so. The night before last, I was watching the Xena pilot. And I noticed three things:

1) it was horribly, horribly, awful in almost every regard, except for
2) Lucy Lawless, who was not awful, and was, in fact, good, and,
3) despite the not-good-ness of Gabrielle's actress*, the Xena/Gabrielle chemistry was damn straight already there, boy howdy, and, and, and how. Yo.

Given items 2 and 3, no wonder this show didn't die the horrible death at birth that no. 1 ought to have dictated.

And so, I was trying to watch the second episode just now, and thinking, glorioski, this is still really really bad, and it's going to be bad for awhile. There's 24 whole episodes in season 1 alone, and we've got six seasons to navigate, and I have no idea when the craptastic production values are going to ease up and the storytelling is going to put it. Be somewhat less bad.

I know there is goodness ahead. I am not in doubt that Xena: Warrior Princess will bring me many moments of happiness. I just don't know how and when.**

So, the question is--no, not, "should I keep watching," as I know that there is stuff in Xena that is well worth watching, or at least, stuff I want to see--the question is, should I blog about Xena? Will the pain of early Xena be mitigated at all by complaining about it in enormous detail on LJ? Please keep in mind that my progress through any show, awesome or awful, is slowed by about 80% when I try to regularly snark blog about it.

*I know that Gabrielle's actress gets better, so don't bother telling me. I'm not worried about that part.

**Please don't tell me to just OMG wait for Callisto! or to skip ahead to anything pertaining to Callisto. It's not gonna happen. I am not watching Xena for Hudson Leick. I will experience the agonies and ecstasies of Xena, whatever they are, as god intended, in the order that they aired.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (dattebayo!)
Is anybody going to think less of me if I admit that sometimes, when I'm listening to the Doctor Who theme song, I totally do want to do the wave?
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (singing down the moon)
There is, as always, something to be said for a show that, in the last twenty minutes of its season finale, can prompt you to say, at first, "Oh god, this whole season just a work of art," and then, three minutes later, "Oh no, bite me, you fucking fuckers."

What precisely is to be said, I am not sure.*

*Possibly: "Joss? Is that you?"

Fabulous props, by the way, to Karen Gillan, and her unfailing ability to weep on command, which, to date, has never failed to make me sob incoherently in response.

(Oh, and if the show then saves it in the last six minutes--I'm still unclear.**)

**Maybe: "Joss! Sorry, wrong number."

Other slightly spoilery notes. )
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (love at the carnival)
For most of this, I was all EEEEEEEEEEE FIVE STARS FIVE STARS FIVE STARS. !!! This is Doctor Who at its finest! Pulpy science fiction adventure! Britishisms! Wit! Classic, memorable Doctor/Companion interactions! FIVE STARS SIR. Then in the last five minutes I was all RAWR YOU LOSE A WHOLE STAR for throwing Christina under the bus. So to speak. And besides, god help us all, could your Magical Negro be any more magical.* I appreciate that you tried to humanize her with the pork chops and the twice-weekly ten pounds and the spouse--and some fiddling props for not killing any minority extras--but come the fuck on.

The final two minutes saved it for me (saved it, I mean, from the five-minute-mark fail; it was doing beautifully until that point**). I forgive, on behalf of Christina, who's as perfect for the Doctor as she thinks she is, only because I know that David Tennant was already planning on leaving the show, and this particular brilliant Doctor/Companion pairing had no future anyway. But, damn. First Donna, now Christina--why does this show keep waving perfection in my face, only to whisk it away, at the last second? Stop that!

In conclusion: my favorite piece of Who in ages***. (Yes, I'm behind. I'm catching up.) (The Next Doctor was cute enough, but, weirdly enough, I liked the wormhole and the desert planet and Michelle Ryan more than steampunky London and identity theft and...whoever that dude was. I know, it's weird. Ryan, and the writing, just hit all the right notes for it to work.)

*She had great hair, though.

**Besides the Magical Jamaican Psychic Negro with great hair.

***Granted, it's been awhile. I'm kind of behind. God, I miss the Donna years. The Donna year, I mean. And the Martha years. Year. And the Rose years. And the Jack half-year.**** I can't really miss Torchwood, which was, at its best, still not good--which is what you get for designing a show to minimize the best qualities of your talented-and-charismatic-leading man, and to make a major character out of a rapist asshole, and generally, to suck--but I do miss Captain Jack on Doctor Who. He was good there.

****You may have noticed that this show goes through companions waaaaay too fast.

I will delete that last sucker whenever LJ stops breaking.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (a brief detour to the sandburg zone)
Mikke and I were also chatting about The Sentinel, which I have been forcing my poor darling [ profile] mikkeneko to watch, because I love her, and The Sentinel is thing of beauty:

mikke: although it depends on who's writing any given episode, I'm surprised at how mellow Jim is towards Blair
mikke: he puts up with a lot of crap from him
ceru: in my head, I like to smooth it out and sort of assume that's the baseline
mikke: blair thinks of jim as a guardian angel
mikke: and jim thinks of blair like a cuddly security blanket
mikke: it's cute!
ceru: hee hee
ceru: it's true
ceru: Blair gets scared when people shoot at him
ceru: I mean, he's still totally functional
ceru: he's extremely brave
ceru: but you know, he's a grad student
ceru: he has a normal, healthy reaction to danger
ceru: I appreciate that
ceru: no macho shit about it
mikke: one of my favorite Blair moments is when blair is hiding behind the vending machine in the siege episode
ceru: he's very secure in his masculinity
ceru: probably because he gets laid a lot
mikke: doing meditation and breathing exercises to try to calm himself down
mikke: lol
mikke: in a way I think fic for the sentinel has an advantage over the show
ceru: somewhere along the line I think we find out he used to have panic attacks as a kid
mikke: because it's a lot easier to portray senses other than sound and sight in a written medium than a visual one
ceru: and it is canon that he's has massive amounts of therapy
ceru: probably just because he and his mom are all into the head trips
ceru: rather than in reaction to trauma
mikke: yeah, I sort of got that impression about his mom
ceru: yeah
ceru: oh god, she's hilarious
ceru: Blair is a Jewish neo-hippie witchdoctor punk anthropologist who has definitely smoked things on expeditions
ceru: he has piercings and hair down to his shoulders
ceru: he's certifiably weird
mikke: yes
ceru: oh, and tim leary might be his dad
ceru: no one's sure
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (shut it)
Specifically, jumping off from The Zanzibar Marketplace Job:

Okay, I had a problem with this episode: that it was so unfuckingbelievably awesome that I couldn't help thinking that I wouldn't mind at all if the show was always like this episode, with Nate and Maggie as an on-again-off-again couple getting into scrapes and Tara as the team's grifter. I like Gina Bellman as Sophie quite a lot, so I feel super-bad saying this, but I did not miss her at all in this ep, or for that matter in The Bottle Job or in The Future Job. Nate and Tara work well together, and the fact that they're strictly professional and not romantic at all is actually a bonus--I just watch them work the room as partners and delight in how good they are at it. I also like the way Tara interacts with the other cast members--I dig that she's not part of the family, but instead, the outsider they call in for special jobs; she also has fabulous chemistry with everyone; I think TV producers cry at night hoping to get this kind of strong chemistry with their regular casts, never mind the guest stars. I've always liked Jeri Ryan, but I'm surprised by just how much I like her in this role; I will be genuinely sorry to see her go when Gina Bellman comes back. I'd settle for Tara sticking around when Sophie returns, but I know it won't happen.

I don't dislike the ship of Nate and Sophie...but I ship the hell out of Nate and Maggie, because Timothy Hutton and Kari Matchett have that once-in-a-lifetime chemistry that you can see for your own damn self in the multiple different roles where they've worked together (A Nero Wolfe Mystery, 5ive Days to Midnight, and, y'know, here). Goodness knows, Nate and Maggie's history is at least as tangled and compelling as Nate and Sophie's, so for sheer dramatic material, it's kinda just a matter of preference. But Nate/Sophie is the endgame, I know, so I will not let myself get any more maudlin about Hutton and Matchett and how they are screen magic, baby...

Other unworthy thoughts: I totally love that Nate's drinking again. As some commenter on John Rogers' blog put it, he's more interesting as a functional alcoholic than he is sober. Self-destructiveness can be very painful to watch--in real life, it pretty much always is, unless you carry a major hate for the self-destructive person--but under the right circumstances (with a well-written character, a good actor, a convincing scenario) nothing in fiction is more compelling. To me, Nate and Nate's issues and Nate's drinking are definitely in the camp of compelling. I could and will watch Timothy Hutton in anything; he's such an interesting actor, and usually the most powerful actor every scene he's in (tho' he's a consummate pro, and does not steal focus when he shouldn't); sober Nate is thus still interesting. But I think the absolute highlight of Hutton's performance in the show was in The First David Job, when we were seeing his drinking and his self-destructiveness and self-delusions pretty much at their peak. It's a killer part, and he nails every second of it.

(Okay, he might have topped it with that absolutely devastating scene in The Second David Job where Nate tells Maggie the truth about the death of their son--it's rawly painful, and I have never been able to watch it without crying. But any decent actor should be able to go to town with material that juicy, and I think it's a little more difficult to hit the right notes in portraying someone who's spiraling out of control, but not yet hit the bottom.) Watching Nate transition from being a (presumably) reasonably happy person (successful in his job, married to the awesomeness that is Maggie, raising their much-loved, late-life son with her--Nate's obviously always had issues, but it does seem like he enjoyed his life at that point) to the staggeringly messed up person we know--well, seeing that would have been hard. But we got to skip it; we were introduced to Nate as a mess, so instead of watching him go through the initial, awful decline, we've just watched him struggle along in the dirt, sometimes getting his head up and even looking approximately in the direction of okay; mostly not. That mess is just fascinating to me. Nate needs to wallow in it? Hell yeah, let's wallow.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (greenlee and david)
You'd basically have to be dead inside not to love watching li'l Budig scampering around on those especially click-y heels--so inappropriate for a woman supposedly recovering from major back surgery--and struggling, adorably, to open the heavy wooden lid of a crate to reveal exactly what Adam did NOT want to see: David Hayward, the snarkiest ethics-challenged cardiologist on the east coast.

(By the way, smuggling your husband-of-convenience, who's wanted by the police, from the office of your cosmetics company back to the mansion of the corporate mogul--who he's been doctoring on the down-low--in a giant wooden crate that's disguised as a shipment of make-up samples supposedly meant to demonstrate the new line for the corporate mogul's fake multi-million dollar investment in your company is

a) PURE SOAP, and

You cannot get this on prime time.)

And David and Greenlee, standing side-by-side behind the crate and cutely poking at each other as they failed to blackmail Adam, induced some kind of petit mort of the entertainment muscle in me. If Budig and Irizarry weren't having a blast during the filming of that scene, I will eat my big floppy green straw hat, which I just pulled out of the closet on account of it's definitely now spring. (It's past the vernal equinox, it's been warm on and off for weeks, and the crocuses are up. The calender, the weather, and my aesthetic sensibilities are all in alignment on this one.)

Re: attic scenes, wherein David tries to convince Greenlee that it's time to give him up to the cops, and she refuses: David is toooooootally falling in love with Greenlee. His self-sacrificing impulses have kicked in, and that never ever ever ever ever ever happens with David unless he loves someone. Greenlee isn't in love with David yet, but the depth of her emotional investment in keeping him around makes me squee inside. She's right, her stubbornness is her best quality.

So I guess that Greenlee is still staying at Wildwind? Weird. For the better part of a decade, she's been in that same apartment, with a revolving door of guests, lovers, roommates, and occasional tenants. (Although, come to think of it, she was probably in Ryan's apartment in the years they were married...most of which I skipped, thank god.) Anyway, it's nice to see her on a new set, although how in hell David got Wildwind, which last I had heard belonged to Maria and Edmund, is beyond me. Was it something Anna-related? I'm also not clear on why David's so obscenely rich these days, although I'm willing to roll with it. When you take yearlong+ breaks from a soap, these things happen.

Note for the day: I so dig that in between all of her futzing around, aiding and abetting her awesome criminal spouse, Greenlee actually LOOKS like she's working her ass off on Fusion business--not just showing up at the office to order around the staff, but also hauling around paperwork wherever she goes, generally looking like she knows what the fuck she's doing, and reminding me eerily of a former store manager I once worked for, who was equally tiny, stylish and insanely competent. She had that same air of drive and intelligence, and the same vaguely brittle quality. She was the best manager I've ever worked for, and I would have walked across hot coals for her. (Unlike Greenlee, my ex-manager never yelled at the staff for dumbshit mistakes--though I think she sometimes wanted to--because an employer's verbal abuse, a la The Devil Wears Prada, is something less than entertaining in real life.)
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (greenlee and aiden)
I don't know what was awesomer about the Greenlee-at-the-Chandler-Mansion sequences today and yesterday:

A) Greenlee and Adam arguing! Rebecca Budig and David Canary in the same room? HOMG. Why didn't anybody think of doing this before? I literally cannot remember the last time they shared a scene, and I bet it wasn't a scene like this--one where they get to snipe and scheme and generally clash like two really willful people with overabundances of personality and a very small set of intersecting goals should. I pray for many more such scenes.

(And even if the idea was just a ruse, Greenlee and Adam as business partners would rock so hard that the structural integrity of the Chandler mansion might actually be compromised--please, please, PLEASE let Greenlee decide to actually badger Adam into investing in Fusion! Just think of how many people it would fuck up! It could put Greenlee back in Scott's orbit--I never saw any of their original interactions when Greenlee first came to the show to make Scott's life hell, but it could make for fun times now!--and in the vicinity of craaaaazy Annie,* who hated her with a literally murderous passion. Even if Adam is going to leave the show, a partnership with Greenlee now could set up some awesome shenanigans for later.)


B) The way that David and Greenlee are gradually moving beyond "touchingly sweet familial friendship" into "surprisingly affecting romantic partnership." It totally makes sense to me that David would start to fall first (Greenlee's still got feelings for Ryan, gag, even if she's done with him), that he might kiss Greenlee in a moment of delighted inspiration, while Greenlee likes things the way they are right nor--platonic and simple and trustworthy. But Budig played the scene where Greenlee found David with such a genuine want to see him, relief at finding him, and determination not to let go of him, that it really feels like deeper, more romantic feelings could follow naturally on that foundation. Man, Irizarry and Budig are so frickin' good together! I loved that scene.

*And I must say, while even as a Greenlee fan, I WTFed over the crudeness of the writing that torpedoed Annie as a character in order to free Ryan up for Greenlee, the fallout of that was that Melissa Claire Egan got to play a hell of a lot of really interesting stuff. It was watching Annie spin out of control that made me a fan of both Egan and her loon of a character. I can't help but feel that a decent writer could give both actresses and characters some worthwhile scenes with that history, if they wanted. Assuming Ryan was left out of it. He's toxic to both of them.

Side notes:

1) It's just incredible how gorgeous Rebecca Budig is. When she was in her twenties, she was very pretty, but she's thirty-six or thirty-seven now, and she's stunningly beautiful, more beautiful than I can ever remember her being before. She's one of those lucky people who looks ten times better without the baby face of a teen.

2) And I keep meaning to mention how much I fangirl Greenlee's ridiculously enormous rings. I have rings like that, too! I can never get married, because there is no way I could work a wedding ring into my Ginormous Ring rotation. I generally totally dig her style--the wardrobe they've provided for Greenlee in this stint and during the last one has been insanely flattering (although her wedding dresses for the weddings to Ryan were so hideous it was hard to imagine anybody as stylish as Greenlee permitting anyone to put them on her body, much less actually having picked them out).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (greenlee and david)
I, the enspoiled, thought David was in the the Chandler Mansion tunnels during that match-striking-maybe-a-Greenlee-metaphor-episode, but it turns out that he was actually in Leo's tomb (sob). Oh, Leo. Never gonna get over that. David's mournful mien in that scene is now doubly justified. For good or for bad, they never did recast Leo, so he never had the chance to be trashed, although he is largely forgotten, which merits a grudge on my part towards the producers.

So David was hanging out, all sadlike, in his dead brother's tomb, and it was wicked mournfully understated, for Leo has been dead now for most of a decade (sob). I love you, Lorraine Broderick. I bet this show will suck again once you're gone, but you're here now, and we love you for it. There is absolutely nowhere in the universe better than the sadly departed Leo's grave for his self-centered-traumatized-spitfire-cosmetics-exec widow and his manipulative-amoral-fugitive-from-justice-cardiologist brother, now linked by a convenient marriage, to meet up. Are you made of magic? Soap magic? Did you meet with a soap unicorn, and frolic, and go on to bear soapy centaur offspring?

David has finally made it to those Chandler mansion tunnels which I was spoiled unto--once again, anyone know what up with them? I mean, just, why?--while the delightfully bitter-and-broken-yet-unstoppable Greenlee is waging snarky corporate war on her mortal enemy, Erica, being aided by Greenlee's lawyer bio-dad, Jackson, who is a) Erica's ex, three or four times over, and b) the (woulda-been-awesome) father Greenlee never knew as a child (because Greenlee's mom was a jerk who married a jerk, and Greenlee is exactly the kind of fab soap diva who merited a few of the retcons that help to tie her permanently onto the soap's canvas).

Even when they aren't on screen together, David and Greenlee are both so hot that I worry that, like soap-vet-corporate-mogul-Adam, I will develop an accelerated heart rate and someone will need to shove my head down into ice water to slow my racing pulse. Nothing this good can last.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (greenlee and david)
Sez a YouTube commentor: "rebecca budig´╗┐ u were born to play greenlee smythe...u r carry this soap on ur back right now, girl. "

Truer words were never typed.

David, if you keep standing around the Chandler Mansion tunnels with that match, you're gonna get burned. As burned, physically, as you already have been, metaphorically, by all the gallivanting the fuck around town you were doing 'afore Rebecca Budig came back to the show to play Greenlee and save you from the deep dark hole the crapass writers put you in.

But I get that you are now symbolically sittin' alone in the dark with only that match you just struck to guide and cheer you, and the currently-much-better writers may or may not have intended said match as a metaphor for the-very-very-intense-Greenlee, she who lights your way through the blackness now, but may not last the night, on account of she burns her candle at both ends.

Oh, but, man, she gives you a lovely light.

P.S. Why does the Chandler Mansion have tunnels, anyway? Anybody know?
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Spoilers abound. )
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (tra la la)
Rebecca Budig has come back to All My Children. I care, but I know you don't, so I am cutting this.

Read more... )

The other day, I saw, somewhere on the vastness of the internet, someone complaining about TV in public, specifically in re: TVs in public are always tuned to things like soap operas--yeah right--which apparently offend his delicate masculine sensibilities. Oh yes, they offend him. Dude, aside from being a sexist twit, you're at least a decade out of date, and if you really wanted to keep your cultural elitist cred, you'd be bitching about reality TV or Fox, not daytime soaps, which are a) dying and b) still more awesome than anyone you will ever know.

I can pretty much never take soap-haters seriously, because the things they say they hate about soaps are pretty invariably either not actually universal characteristics of soaps, or are perfectly unexceptionable genre characteristics (a strong emphasis on personal relationships, decompressed serial storytelling, etc), and thus are silly to hate. Like hating musicals because they're full of people singing. And that's just. So! Offensive! How dare they! If you want to hear some good reasons for hatin' on a soap, go hang out on a soap message board and listen to the complaints of people who watch them. You will learn more about the genre and what makes it tick (and what makes soaps fail) than you ever knew you could.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (woman with hamster)
I mean, we're talkin' major time commitment, here. Even with fast-forwarding, or in my case, skipping around on YouTube for the clips I want, this kind of thing adds up, and daytime soaps are generally on five days a week, with about thirty-five minutes of content, maybe a little more, every day that they're on. But yeah, I kept seeing all those damned promos for the epic Dante/Sonny shootout thing on General Hospital, and instantly fell in love with Dominic Zamprogna, and the next thing I know, I'm reading the Dante Falconeri--great name, by the way--bio on Wikipedia and digging back through GH clips from last June, obsessively following his storyline. He is like the hottest sexiest good cop character on TV, and I am massively in love with him. Last year it was Jessica on One Life to Live, and Rebecca Budig just came back to AMC, and that makes three soaps, THREE, and I am NOT ALLOWED TO PICK UP ANYMORE SOAPS. If/when Dante leaves the canvas, I'll probably be able to drop GH without any regret, though (the same way I drop AMC whenever Greenlee leaves)--people are not kidding when they talk about how misogynistic and violent it is, and mob worship is not my bag.

This always happens when I'm in the middle of writing a paper. I have seriously come to believe that developing a sudden new fandom crush seems is a part of my writing process.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Spoilers abound. )
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (tra la la)
Spoilers for the first two Twelve Kingdoms novels, possibly the third as well, and for episodes 1-22 of the anime.

Read more... )

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