Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Evolution of 'The Carol Burnett Show'

Lately my favorite YouTube subjects are clips from The Carol Burnett Show (1967-78). Someone has even posted full episodes which can be found in a DVD Collectors set. Unfortunately, the copyright to the first four or five years of the show is shared with a different company than the one distributing the DVDs, so those shows are much harder to come by. But those are the ones I especially would like to see since I was too young to stay up late and watch them when they first aired. By the time Burnett was on Saturday nights at 10 PM, my sister, brother, and I were allowed to watch the show every week. One magical season in the early 1970s the entire CBS line-up was classic-All in the Family, MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and then Carol.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Project Runway Season 12: Episodes 5 and 6: Ken as the New Diva?

Glamping in the woods
I've been on vacation in upstate NY and New England for the past two weeks, so I haven't been as obsessed with Project Runway, but I caught up with the last two episodes last night on my laptop and sad to say, I miss drama queens Timothy and Sandro. Yeah, I know, all I did for the first four episodes was bitch about them and now that they're gone, I complain about it. Ken almost took Sandro's place as combination bat-shit nutjob and attention-sucking diva in Episode 5, but he settled down in Episode 6. There's weepy treacle and bitchy catfights, a glamping trip (this is one of my new least favorite made-up words), and a pair of drop dead, drop-crotch pants, but nothing could match the climax of Sandro having a Russian fit and destroying camera equipment or pathetic Timothy clutching a stuffed unicorn while sobbing over his model's letter.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Broadway Season Update: Carole King, Dames, and Tyne Daly

Tyne Daly and Manoel Felciano in Terrence McNally's
Mothers and Sons at Bucks County Playhouse
Credit: Mandee Kuenzle
New Broadway season updates: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical has moved up its opening and announced a theater; a revival of Dames at Sea directed by Randy Skinner will open sometime in 2014; The Bridges of Madison County has settled on an opening date; and Tyne Daly will star in Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons, opening in the spring. No specific dates yet. This play premiered at Buck County Playhouse in New Hope, PA, earlier this summer and concerns the mother of a gay man who died of AIDS 20 years ago visiting her son's former lover who is now married to another man and has a young son. It's acceptable to be gay now, but the mother doesn't quite see it that way. The characters are based on those in McNally's one-act play Andre's Mother which was part of the Off-Broadway revue Urban Blight at Manhattan Theatre Club. McNally later expanded the story for a TV script which starred Sada Thompson and Richard Thomas and aired as part of PBS's American Playhouse. He won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing. I have a feeling this will be the play to beat for the 2014 Tonys. It's topical and emotional and only about 80 minutes. Below is an updated calendar for the NY 2013-14 theater season: 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Project Runway Season 12: Episode 4: Tie the Knot...Around Sandro's Neck

Sandro losing it
I was so confused by the opening of this week's Project Runway I didn't know which end was up. We opened with the climactic screaming match between Ken and Sandro with the latter stomping out into the street outside Parsons and threatening to smash the camera following him. This is the clip we've been seeing in promos all season and at first I thought this was all a reaction to the end of last week's episode. But then we flashback to "36 hours earlier" and learn this was just to whet your appetite for the big heapin' slice of drama pie to come.

The real action begins with everyone ruminating on Timothy's departure on the end of episode 3 then we cut to the workroom and find out this week's challenge consists of using bowties as a take-off point for a dress. The inspiration is from guest judge Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his Tie the Knot organization which sells bowties and gives to proceeds to the fight for Marriage Equality (which still needs to be fought; this weekend in upstate NY, I actually saw a bumper sticker with M = and then a stick figure of a man and woman; the elderly couple owning the car were at a yard sale and I felt like asking them "So is your marriage endangered because of mine?").

Monday, August 5, 2013


The Big Bang Theory is among the few CBS shows I care about.
I really don't care about the war between Time Warner and CBS. TWC blacked out all CBS programming as well as Showtime which CBS owns. It's summer and there's nothing good on anyway. But if this drags out into the fall when there'll be new episodes of The Amazing Race and The Big Bang Theory, there will be hell to pay. TWC has just put an offer on the table that CBS be offered a la carte and the Big Eye network can charge whatever it wants. Of course that will be rejected. CBS knows they'll lose millions of viewers if it means we'll have to pay an extra $5 just to get Big Brother and 2 Broke Girls. The digital landscape is changing every day. No longer are the big broadcast networks giving their shows away for free and earning their money from advertisers. TWC is telling complaining customers CBS programs are available for free on the web, but then CBS blocked TWC subscribers from accessing their shows on their laptops. (If CBS did agree to a la, I would pay it just during new episodes of The Amazing Race and watch The Big Bang Theory during that period and then cancel it once TAR ended. I would catch up with Big Bang or watch on DVDs through Netflix.) I think both CBS and TWC are coming across as greedy corporate media hogs charging exorbitant prices from us poor entertainment leeches.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Project Runway 12: Episode 3: Dysfunction Junction

Alexandria and Dom's
super-cute sweater dress should have won IMHO.
I half-agreed with the Project Runway judges this week. They got rid of someone who should have been eliminated a while ago, but that person didn't make the worst dress this time. It all started when Heidi Klum burst into everyone's room at the fancy hotel (not the Atlas Apartments) and wakes all the designers up for their next challenge which involves a field trip. Ken is shocked out of his mind and pulls off his sleep mask like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's to reveal a second mask of skin cream. So that's his beauty secret. Side note: there are far fewer pajama-party scenes with the contestants dishing each other over white wine this season. Much more time in the workroom and on the runway, perhaps this is to make room for the "upclose" segments after the the runway show.