Category Archives: Television

The Greatest Television Characters Of My Generation

As a child, I loved to watch Nick at Nite. I’m not sure why…maybe it was because when I’d sleep over at my grandma’s, she’d let me stay up till 2:00 in the morning watching it with her, or maybe it’s because I’ve always had an affection for the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s (those were the shows that were airing at the time of my childhood…now shows from my childhood are airing….it all comes back around), or…maybe…it’s because Nick at Nite revealed some of the greatest characters of the era before me: Mary Tyler Moore – So progressive, and beautiful, and such an amazing wardrobe. I can only imagine that women back then strived to dress just like her. Lisa Douglas from Green Acres – ”Darling I love you just give me Park Ave…”-lllloooovvvveed her and her awesomely hard to understand accent. And Lucy…who didn’t, doesn’t, couldn’t…love Lucy. Lucy and Ricardo had one of the greatest couple dynamic ever. This is making me want to watch old school Nick at Nite.

While those characters of my parent’s era were great, I have to say, in the new millennium, television characters have gotten even better. There are a number of shows that I am a loyal viewer of that I find myself saying, “This is the greatest character of my generation.” I of course say it about more than one, so it’s really just a phrase, but you get the point. Below is a list of a few of what I believe are the greatest characters of my generation.

Nancy Botwin: Weeds

In 2005, Showtime debuted their new show Weeds. The short premise was that a suburban housewife loses her husband to a sudden heart attack while still in his 30’s, leaving her with a large home, 2 kids and no skills. Somehow, this was all many seasons ago, she got into the business of dealing weed to the local suburban parents who bought at school PTA meetings, soccer games, and other, wildly inappropriate places to purchase drugs. From this, Nancy Botwin, the world’s greatest drug dealing mother, came to life.

Sometimes there are characters that you watch that you find yourself thinking, “there is no one else on earth who could play this part like her.” After a few episodes of the first season of Weeds, that was exactly what I was thinking of Mary Louise Parker. Her large, doe eyed glares, her long fingers that always griped iced coffee awkwardly, and her wavy hair, porcelain skin, and long legs that get her out of one drug related incident after another, could only be achieved by Ms. Parker. Nancy’s character is the perfect combination of femininity, motherly instinct and love, and bad-assness. I always appreciated that she utilizes her sexiness, but is smart, and knows when she needs help, or a gun, or a plan. Even though her children are constantly doubting her, as a viewer, I never have. She always prevails, and sometimes it’s completely crazy, and always awesome, but beyond that, it is always so “Nancy.” If I ever have to be a drug dealer, I aspire to be just like her.

Ari Gold: Entourage

I’ve always loved Jeremy Piven. I remember watching him in one of my favorite movies, Serendipity, and thinking, “Why isn’t he a leading man?” I was impressed by his ability to give a very good ( and long) and moving speech. This ability must have contributed largely to him taking on Entourage’s Ari Gold, agent to the main character Vinny.

The truth is, I didn’t love this show at first. I rented the first season, and one evening, popped it in hoping for a funny new show I could catch up on and become a fan of. Instead, I made it through the first few episodes and realized it was crass, and lewd, and sometimes down right disgusting…I didn’t like it…at the time. A few years later, I started dating a guy I like to call Dan. Dan didn’t have cable, and you can only watch so many Seinfeld reruns before you become desperate for a change of scenery. So, due to boredom, lack of options, and three whole seasons to watch consecutively, I gave it another shot.

Needless to say, this shot went over far better than the first one did, and I found myself hooked on this very boy oriented, still crass, and still pretty disgusting, show. But once I got beyond the lewd humor, it was the characters that kept me interested. I loved “E”, and Vince, and loved to hate Johnny, and Turtle, well, he’s Turtle. But, after a couple of seasons, I realized that it wasn’t the main characters that I loved the most. Jeremy Piven’s character, Ari, was starting to dominate the show (and award shows), and I found myself caring more about his story line than the others. Ari has some of the best one-liners on television, and no one can deliver them the way Piven does. Season after season, he outdoes himself in becoming a bigger and bigger character, and now, I’d say, his story line is much more important than Vince’s. I care more about Ari’s (self-destructing) career, than I do Vinny’s, or E’s, or Johnny’s, and especially Turtle’s. I think Ari Gold’s character is the perfect example of a supporting role taking over the show, and for that, he has to be one of the best characters of my generation.

Michael Scott: The Office

While I am sure that Ricky Gervais is the greatest television character of all times in England, in America, he is only the guy that always bitches about being first when Steve Correll is up for awards for The Office. Michael Scott, the American office manager, has to be one of the greatest male character on Primetime. I can’t think of another character that makes you laugh, cringe, gag a little, and cry every once in a while, than Michael. He’s a character that you look forward to watching every episode because you can’t predict what he’ll do next. He’s absolutely despicable, but you still pity him. He can be such a jerk, but still the nicest guy in the world, and he can be what seems like the worse employee ever, but still be the best at his job. There is no other character on TV today that I can say evokes so many emotions out of me as a viewer.

All that said, I don’t think anyone could achieve all this but Steve Corell. One of the best parts of the show is that you know a majority of it is improvised, and there are not too many actors that can improvise as well as Steve (Maybe Will Ferrel and Vince Vaughn). Michael’s stupidity and ignorance is played out so well by someone who in real life is nothing like this. I think beyond being one of the funniest characters on television right now, the reason I had to put him on this list is because Steve Correll has done what very few successful television actors have done, and that is create a character that is so memorable and loved, but one that is not associated with him as a real person. I can’t think of anyone that believes that Steve Corelll is anything like Michael Scott, yet he is believable and successful as the character. As an actor, this is an invaluable trait in going on to do something beyond the one show (case and point: the entire cast of Friends, besides Courtney Cox would did had a career before the show). Though Correl is leaving the show, and as I predict (and probably most people), before long, this will be the end of it altogether, Michael Scott will remain one of the greatest characters of my generation because of Steve’s acting, improvising, and all around hilarious portrayal of a pretty horrible person, while not being one, or being mistaken for one, himself.

Carrie Bradshaw: Sex and the City

I almost didn’t list Carrie for one reason: they came really close to ruining her character with the second Sex and the City movie. Despite the last taste in my mouth being that of microwaved dog poo, I had to dig deep, and go back to to 2005 when I first discovered the show.

I came in on the show when it was probably in its third or fourth season, and watched the ones I missed while working on my degree in English down in California. There was something so comforting and familiar about watching this series while typing my Critical Theory papers on feminism and women in the media. Like most fans of the show, I felt like I related with the pleasantly neurotic writer as she explored life through lunches with friends, shopping when she couldn’t afford it, and lots of trail and error. What women doesn’t relate with that.

The character of Carrie Bradshaw was genius on so many levels. For one, the great Sarah Jessica Parker was the only person who could play this role. Parker herself is charming and graceful and has a comedic timing not too many women possess. While the other characters were interesting and viewers cared about them and their stories, Carrie always remained the center of the show (much to the distain of Kim Catrell as rumors revealed). Viewers were always most interested in who Carrie was dating, how she was feeling, and what she was wearing. A good main character will maintain the pivotal story line season after season, unlike Vince in Entourage.

Carrie Bradshaw revolutionized the female television character and created a fan base that might be hard to beat. People tried to dress like her, they tried to talk like her, and they tried to drink like her. Cosmo sales all over America skyrocketed as a result of Carrie. I don’t know that there is a television character that has even been as influential as Carrie Bradshaw. Just her scope of influence alone is enough to put her on this list.

I still love this show and this character, but I do severely disagree with their movie portrayals, and wish they could undo what they did in the second movie altogether. But…I still love watching reruns even though I’ve seen them all about 15 times, and there is still a part of me that hopes they’ll make a movie that does the show and the character justice.

Donald Draper: Mad Men

I love Mad Men so much, at the end of every season, I mourn its departure. As soon as they start to advertise the season finale is approaching, I’m filled with sadness. This is due in large part to the leading character, Don Draper. John Hamm, a completely unknown actor in his mid 30’s landed the role of his lifetime, his big break, and one of the greatest characters on basic cable, when he was given the lead of this new show, revealing the life of a 60’s Madison Ave. advertising executive, with a dark past, a beautiful wife, and every man’s dream job. If I were listing the best shows of my generation, Mad Men would definitely be on that list as well (oh wait, I think I did that one).

Don Draper is one of the most complex and well acted characters I’ve seen on television. He plays the many roles of an advertising genius, husband, adulterer, father, and boss, all while being someone he’s not. If that’s not deep, I don’t know what is. Jon Hamm is shockingly good looking, and has inspired a revival of 60’s men’s fashion with his gelled over hair, skinny ties, and perfectly pressed suits. He delivers his pitches with passion and conviction, and makes you forget that smoking cigarettes and drinking scotch all day is not a good idea (the power of advertising…). He somehow makes me want to erase 50 years of women’s rights progression, pin my hair back, and type in a room filled with smoke and sexist assholes: Genius. Draper is a character who came from nothing, gained everything, but is never satisfied, so he slowly self destructs little by little each season. One minute you think this character is invincible, and the next, you pity him. Draper has so many layers, and Hamm reveals them each flawlessly and with such ease. Mad Men hosts a cast of interesting characters, but the show would be nothing without its leading man played by the now very famous and admired Jon Hamm. His big break was good for everyone.

There are a number of others that definitely deserve shout outs: Dexter, Danny Devito’s character on It’s Always Sunny, Betty Draper on Mad Men, Dwight on The Office, Gemma teller on Son’s of Anarchy, Tony Soprano, but I have to say, the characters listed, are truly the most impressive, well developed, and well acted characters in the history of television. Years from now, I’m sure my kids will watch Weeds and The Office on Nic at Night and say they were good characters for the 2000’s, but I believe, like Lucy and Mary Tyler Moore, Nancy, Ari, Michael, and Don will always remain television’s classics and will be appreciated for years to come. I just hope TV execs can keep coming up with more shows like Mad Men and The Office and less like The Gates, Undercovers, and Melrose Place Part II.

The Female Don Draper

I knew that I wanted to create a new blog that I could condense all my posts in (I couldn’t figure out how to actually transfer them, so they literally just got reposted…) and have just one place to write about all my interests; fashion, television… informing people on how to not piss off their bartenders (my favorite topic). As I thought about what I wanted the picture for it to look like, I knew I wanted to incorporate my typewriter first and foremost. Then I added my vintage cigarette holder, and before I knew it, I had my inspiration; a female Don Draper.

Draper is one of my all time favorite television characters. I don’t know if it’s his shocking good looks, his mysterious demenour, or the fact that I love the 60’s and copywriting, but whatever the reasons, I find myself more obsessed with this era and this character with each season.

So when I came upon the female Don Draper concept, I knew there had to be the typewriter, the cigarette and a glass of scotch. Dating a photographer lends tremendously to indulging my photo shoot brainstorms, and one normal Monday evening, Dan and I transformed the living room into a our studio and began shooting. While I am always amazed by Dan’s work, there’s something extremely satisfying about coming up with an idea in your head and then seeing it realized perfectly. I got my new blog picture as seen on the actual blog, as well as some shots just for fun. Disclaimer: totally not a model, so don’t expect too much. Everything I’ve learned, I learned from watching all 45 seasons of Top Model. Thanks Tyra! And thanks Dan for being my personal photographer!




Photos by Dan Poss Photography

Sucky Summer TV

Everyone loves summer; sunshine, swimming, sandals…and plenty of other things that don’t start with an “s”, but my degree in English forces me to list in alliteration. The one thing it is not good for, besides snowshoeing, is TV. In the past, or from what I can remember, there was no “summer” TV at all. Season finales were at the end of May, and then you watched movies and reruns till September. Or maybe I just didn’t notice summer TV as a child because I was playing outside and didn’t require the 2 hours (okay 3) of down time each night in front of the TV to recover from my day and relax me enough to actually fall asleep. So I suppose for the record, TV execs have taken some steps forward in regards to actually creating a summer season, but they haven’t figured out how to make that season very good.

Since this summer was less than impressive on the weather front, TV was a bit more important to me than the last. At the start, I was quite excited for the line-up. HBO had the return of Entourage, AMC had Mad Men, Showtime had Weeds, even Oxygen had Drop Dead Diva, Bravo had a bunch of Housewives, and ABC had Bachelor Pad. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, Bachelor Pad was my favorite show of the season…seriously, that has to say it all.  But again, that darn degree in English eliminates any hope of keeping is short. Here’s the break down of my opinion of summer TV.

Entourage: One of the 10 hot days we had this summer, I sat on my dock and hand wrote an entire entry about how horrible this show was this season. Because I hand wrote it, I lost that yellow note pad in the abyss of stacks of note pads, and didn’t want to rethink the whole thing again, so I’ll write the abstract. The show sucked. At the end of the last season, it appeared each of the cast members were moving on with life. I predicted this story line would make for a boring show the following season, and though it didn’t take the turn I expected….it did stay true to my prediction of boringness. The season was all about Vince going off the deep end. While this is pop culturally relevant and more likely than not what would really happen to him, it isn’t how we like to see Vinny. We love the fun loving, happy-go-lucky, generous Vince, that doesn’t let anything get to him, and doesn’t turn on his friends. This season, he starts doing drugs, dates a porn star, and goes crazy on his best friends, apparently cutting him out of his life for good. To keep this short, I’ll just say, if I wanted to watch a show about a young actor doing drugs and screwing up their promising career, I’d watch Showbiz Tonight’s nightly update of Lindsey Lohan’s life.

Mad Man: I think Mad Man deserves its very own entry. More to come.

Weeds: As one of my top 5 favorite shows of all times, I was pretty much counting down the days to the end of summer premier of Weeds. I literally subscribe to Showtime for this show alone (until I discovered Dexter, and now I have 2 reasons). But this season, though still going, has fallen sadly short compared to the others. After one of the most shocking seasons finales on TV last year, I was more than hopeful that Weeds would be able to deliver yet another, brilliant season of drug dealing, violence, and all around inappropriate behavior, but apparently being on the run and attempting to live a normal life is not good television. I hate Nancy’s wig, I hate that Shane is now a real psycho and not just a creepy kid, and I hate the boring story lines of hotel jobs, mini vans, and new identities; boring. I still think Nancy is one of the best female characters of all times, and I have great hopes that season will get better, but as of now, another disappointment. P.S. Did anyone else notice the superimposed “Seattle” scene in the first episode? You can’t view the whole Space Needle driving north on the 5, coming into the city…Come on Showtime.

Housewives: Another blog of its own to come shortly.

Bachelor Pad: So on a good note, ABC introduced its most brilliant idea since Dancing With the Stars (which I don’t watch, but apparently has a huge fan base and re-launches loosely named “celebrities” little careers into another couple minutes of fame), Bachelor Pad. The idea was to take previous contestants from past seasons and put them into the Bachelor house and make them compete for $250k. As we found out on the show, someone (not sure if it is actually ABC or not) hosts bachelor reunions, where contestants from all seasons are invited to engage in the same debauchery as on the show, just not on camera. As a result, the cast mates of Bachelor Pad already had relationships, again, a term I use loosely, with other cast mates. Throwing some of the show’s past most ridiculous characters into the house and then adding the incentive of money is pure genius. I loved every episode and it restored my hope that maybe they will either produce another good season of The Bachelor, or they will just ditch that concept altogether, and stick with the Pad version. Good job ABC.

Like I said before, The Bachelor Pad being the best show of the summer is a pretty good testament of how pathetic the season really was. But summer is over, and the Fall lineup is so huge, I think I’m going to have to upgrade my DVR space to accommodate all the new shows. I can only hope that the writers of Entourage, Weeds, and The Real Housewives (don’t act like they don’t have writers) will get inspired and do a better job next season. In regards to Mad Man, there are parts I love, and parts I hate, so I can’t simply lump it in with these other 3 failures. On a positive note, because the new summer seasons sucked so badly, I renewed my love for The Golden Girls. I can’t decide if I want to grow old and be the real life Betty White, or the Golden Girls’ character Sophia; it’s really a toss up.

Originally posted September 28, 2010

Gleeful Ending

As mentioned in my previous posting, I have been sent into a post-finale depression with all these deaths, chronic illnesses, and divorces. It’s bad enough that my favorite shows are ending for the season, but the creators have to leave me crying on my couch as the credits roll, backdropped with sappy music.

So I was pleasantly surprised with Glee’s finale that aired Monday night, and of course, watched today on my DVR.

I’ve been a fan of Glee since Fox so geniusly (not a word technically…) aired a sneak peak episode around season finale time, getting us viewers excited for the fall premiere as if we’ve been watching the show for seasons. Over the past year, we’ve watched the misfits become friends, Mr. Schuester and Sue Sylvester go head to head, and lots and lots of singing. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t downloaded some of the Glee covers. In the process, I’ve become a fan of Glee (though I won’t go so far as to call myself a “Gleeker”), and have been looking forward to regionals perhaps as much as Schuester himself.

Although a bit disappointed (but not surprised) that New Directions didn’t even place at regionals, I was thrilled that the season was left on a happy and conclusive note. Sue showed yet another glimpse of humanity by convincing the principal to extend New Directions one more year, and a lovely rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow duet played the show out by Schuester and Puck.

All I’m saying is, season finales can end on happy notes, without cliff hangers and dead people, and I’ll still look forward to the next season…

Originally posted June 9, 2010

The Boring Housewives of New Jersey

I don’t know if it’s because we’re coming off the most dramatic Housewives season ever with the New York ladies, but so far, the New Jersey season has been nothing but boring. While babies are cute and cuddly, it turns out they are not as entertaining as nervous breakdowns, and bar brawls. New Jersey hasn’t been my favorite of the bunch, but they have always been good for one thing: drama.

So far, the season seems to be more about the housewife’s kids than anything else. Danielle’s daughter is modeling, Jacqueline’s daughter is still annoying (her new baby boy has adorable cheeks though), Caroline’s son is opening a strip car wash (if that isn’t a mafia move I don’t know what is…), Teresa just whined out her fourth girl, and I’m not really sure what happened to Dina’s daughter…Didn’t she have one? While kids are nice, this isn’t The Real Spoiled Brats of New Jersey.

But there appears to be hope…at least in one episode. Since Bravo started promoting this season, they have rolled the same clip of some huge dramatic scene involving Danielle  (of course) and the other ladies, and apparently the police and some crazy ex felon. While this promo helped perk my interest in the season, if this scene doesn’t air soon, and deliver, I might use my 10:00, Monday night DVR slot for something else.

Originally posted May 26, 2011

What The Kelly

Ahhh, the Real Housewives. Though I am a bit ashamed at how entertained I am by this show, I simply have to admit that I look forward to Thursday night at 10:00 all week. And though I watch all the cities, this season of New York is by far the best.

When Kelly appeared out of nowhere last season, I immediately did not like her (much like everyone else on the show). I watched in total disbelief at the stupid things that came out of her mouth, and felt horrible for Bethenny as she was the brunt of Kelly’s craziness. I wondered all season if anyone, other than Bethenny, was aware of Kelly’s insanity, and then was relieved at the reunion show, when it appeared that they were. So I was a little surprised this season, when all the housewives seemed to put that in the past and befriend her all over again. But it appears it all blew up in their faces, and we saw it last night!

She’s totally nuts. Really truly nuts. I have yet to hear a whole sentence come out of her mouth that makes sense, and if she messes up one more saying, I’m going to send in a letter to Columbia asking them to revoke her degree, as it is really hurting their reputation (making lemonade out of lemons is taking a bad thing and making it good. Making of mountain out of a molehill is taking something small and making it a big deal…Pretty elementary idioms.). Though it makes for good TV (based on the amount of people that have blogged about the episode!), she still makes me want to punch her in the face. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t watch and re-watch her go bananas on all the ladies, because I definitely did. The best part was how they were all talking about her like she wasn’t there….any she didn’t even realize it. Actually, my absolute favorite part was when Bethenny told Kelly that Sonia thinks she’s crazy, and at the same time, Sonia says, “I do,” and Kelly says, “No she doesn’t.” I howled.

But entertainment aside, what is the deal? Is this woman really this nuts? Is she really so delusional that she has no idea what a lunatic she looks like? Could she really believe that anything she says makes any sense? I’m baffled by this whole situation. I do have to say though, I was thrilled for Bethenny, that everyone finally “was watching the same channel” as she’s been since the beginning. I feel your vindication Bethenny! And no, I also do not think you are trying to kill her…

Originally posted May 24, 2010

Stop Killing Off Important Characters On Season Finales!!!

I thought it was perfectly ironic to start my TV blog with an entry about this years season finales. Traditionally, this is my least favorite time of the television season, being that all my favorite shows come to end, and sometimes unexpectedly do not return. The month of May becomes a nightly tear fest as some characters leave, some reunite, and some die. But this 2010 finale season has been particularly sad, as it has apparently become required to kill off at least one important character.

Though I am fully aware that these are fictional character, after months, and sometimes years of watching these people, I become somewhat emotionally attached. I know, kind of sad, but if you were honest with yourself, you’d admit it too. So when creators kill off beloved characters, it really puts a damper on the show’s future.

Killing characters off at season finales is nothing new. I remember all too well when Marissa died on The O.C. I wondered how the show would go on when Buffy died. And I stopped watching 24 when Jack Bauer’s wife died at the end of the first season. But some shows offered some emotional relief with promises of a baby, lingering proposals, and unexpected returns. What has happened to all these cheerful endings that left me excited for the next season rather than sad?

As the end of May approaches, the majority of the season finales have aired, and I find myself in a television depression. The last scene of Gossip Girl showed a dying Chuck, laying on the streets of Europe, after being shot and mugged. Private Practice forced us to watch poor little Betsey get the bad news that she is now an orphan as her adorable father Dell took an unexpected turn for the worse and died on the operating table. Brothers and Sisters, in their uber dramatic form, got all of us excited at the discovery of water on the hidden property, and therefore, saving all their financial futures, and crushed that hope with a 30 person pile up, including almost every single family member and the alleged deaths of Robert, and maybe Holly. Oh and Uncle Saul has aids…can’t forget that one. On 90210 Liam beats Casper to death…thank God, that kid was a horrible plot choice…but what will that mean for him? But in all the dramatics, I have to give one show props on the death choices: Gray’s Anatomy.

Although last season they killed off George (though not unexpected as the plan had been leaked all season), and this season Katherine Heigl ditches out for her movie career (which I don’t think anyone cared about after all the press of her being a snotty bitch), this season they created what I believe the perfect way to kill off characters and provide a dramatic ending, without leaving viewers depressed and not excited for the next season. At the start of the season (or end of the last…not totally sure), creators introduced the “merger” story line in which another hospital merged with Seattle Grace. As a result, all these new residents joined the staff, but were not welcomed…by the characters, or the viewers. These new characters were sooo annoying. I’m not sure if they did this on purpose or what, but none of the new characters were able to blend (wait, I stand corrected. The hot black guy with the blue eyes seems to be working out OK) with the others. So as the season came to end, creators simply killed them off. I was thrilled to see that annoying Reed shot at the start of the episode, and a little disappointed that the other annoying girl lived, but either way, 2 deaths, no main characters! McDreamy and Karev were shot, but they pull through at the end.

All and all, Grey’s season finale provided a suspenseful 2 hour episode, packed with twists and turns, and satisfying deaths. I recommend other creators taking this approach; creating annoying characters and killing them off at the season’s end that is. I figured out something was wrong when I started looking for satisfying episodes in Reality TV, instead of prime time. The ironic thing is, I’m always hoping someone dies on reality shows, but they never do.


Originally posted May 22, 2010