Monday, July 17, 2017

TV: On HOOTEN & THE LADY and the Emmys

Last week, HOOTEN & THE LADY debuted on THE CW.  Though promoted as a new CW show, it's actually a show that debuted on Australia's SKY TV last September.

It's not ground breaking TV.

THE CW is capable of that and demonstrated that with THE ORIGINALS whose season four was the strongest of the series thus far and also the strongest season of television THE CW has offered.

It did that without The Water Cooler Set applauding or doing head stands.

They won't be going ga-ga over HOOTEN & THE LADY either.

There's nothing new about the show.  It doesn't create a new genre.

Michael Landon plays Hooten and Ophelia Lovibond plays Lady Alex Lindo-Parker.

They star in an action adventure storyline as old and as basic as a 1920s serial -- say THE KING OF THE KONGO -- or Nell Shipman's BACK TO GOD'S COUNTRY:  Throw some locations into an adventure mix and cast two desirable leads as characters at cross purposes.


And thank the heavens for that.

a new illst

Water Cooler Shows are all about hype and timing.

Not comic timing, you understand, political timing.

Political timing is the equivalent of clapping at a stand up comic routine.

The natural response is laughter but when you're not laughing but instead 'affirming' the politics, you clap.

Political timing explains how Katharine Hepburn -- coming off like a lesbian coach when she was supposed to be playing Jane Fonda's mother -- wins an Academy Award for ON GOLDEN POND.  It wasn't about acting, as Pauline Kael observed, it was about 'breeding.'  (And that win was theft.  Katharine Hepburn's limited talents had eroded but Diane Keaton had stunned in Warren Beatty's REDS and deserved the award.)

Political timing explains much of last week's Emmy nominations.

Samantha Bee is neither fresh nor funny.

She's an ugly woman who thinks screeching is what the world needs.

The same way John Oliver thinks Americans have been waiting for a thumb-up-his-ass smug Brit whose selective editing is comical.

Neither have anything to offer.

Jon Stewart?

He was an original who paved a road at least.

But, reality, even his best days at THE DAILY SHOW don't make for good TV or TV that COMEDY CENTRAL reruns.

If you're not getting how far from excellence -- what the Emmys are supposed to celebrate -- the nominations were this year, think of one program: TONY BENNETT CELEBRATES 90: THE BEST IS YET TO COME.

That special featured performances from Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Lady Gaga, k.d. lange, Bob Dylan and several others -- including Tony Bennett.

Somehow this didn't qualify for a nomination for best variety special.


Who's going to clean up this sh*t?

That's actually the question the Emmys should be asking.

We have no quarrel with NETFLIX's two variety nominations -- LOUIE C.K. and SARAH SILVERMAN: A SPECK OF DUST.

Those are comedy concerts.

From celebrated comedians who offer their look at life.

Not a bunch of sexual put downs of a politician.

Stephen Colbert has always had the problem that he comes across like a child molester.

It's why his acting career never took off.

And Samantha Bee?  How that woman ever snared a man (let alone a semi-attractive one) is beyond us.

They don't deserve to be nominated as they wind up their rants and their hysteria preaching to PANIC NATION in their attempts to alarm us all.

If you're not getting how bad it is, Bill Maher got an Emmy nomination this year: Outstanding Variety Talk Series.

Bill Maher.

Bill Maher who used the n-word again this year.

Bill Maher who preaches hate of Arabs.

Bill Maher who is sexist.

Bill Maher who is racist (his offensive Tweet about Asians being yet another example).

But, see, that's okay.

He puts down Trump.

And, for the voters on the coast of Panic Nation, that's enough.

They're not left, they may be 'liberals' with air quotes, but they're not left.

They're uninformed and uneducated little idiots.

They can't offer anything but comic book versions of reality because they're so stupid.

They applaud Barack Obama, for example, these Meryl Streeps (talk about another ugo) as though he didn't kill people with drones, as though he didn't save the banks while failing the home owners, as though the largest transfer of wealth didn't take place on his watch.

They're not left.

They're dumb idiots who couldn't hold a political conversation but let Stephen Colbert say Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are same-sex lovers and suddenly the homophobia gets ignored so they can hoot and holler.

And then they look down on the residents of so-called fly-over states?

They don't know the first thing about art which is why these disposable programs are nominated for excellence awards.

This year, they found a 'woman's forum' to rally around: THE HANDMAID'S TALE.

The project has not aged well.

The novel is still a classic but it made for a so-so movie with Natasha Richardson (who gave a great performance) and an even worse HULU series.

Is no one going to question this?

Of course not, they're all too stupid and politically ignorant.

The show got the Emmy nominations not because it's some breakthrough for women but because it puts sexism right there on the screen.

The Emmy voters chose to applaud restrictions on women.

There were plenty of pro-women roles they could have supported.

Instead they went with, as Janis Joplin once sang, "Women Is Losers."

That song captured a feeling in 1966.

But we're not really seeing it resonating in 2017 -- nor should it.

But put a bunch of women into roles where they have no power and are demeaned in episode after episode -- shades of MAD MEN -- and you've apparently got Emmy click bait.

It's disgusting and so are these ignorant assholes who choose to ignore excellence to pimp partisan bulls**t.

The Emmys are a joke.

While the Academy Awards attempts to do self-reflection on its past history of ignoring people of color, the Emmys is fine and dandy with shutting out people of color.

And that includes the disgusting Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

She has already won more Emmys for lead comedy actress than Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore and Bea Arthur.

She's won five already for VEEP.

And now she's got her sixth nomination.

Let's be really clear, Julia is funny and deserved one, maybe even two Emmys for VEEP.

But when she's got five -- and headed for six -- it's not just about greed, it's about denying other women -- including women of color.

We've had a problem with VEEP from day one -- it's not that funny and it's highly sexist.

When we called it out for having only men directing and writing, we hurt Julia's feeling.

Guess what?

We don't give a f**k.

The fact that women now direct and write episodes of VEEP?

That's worth hurting Julia's little feelings.

We can point out that it's still not even half -- half the episodes aren't written by women and half aren't directed by women.

In other words, Julia, you're still full of s**t.

You sit there with your stupid fund raisers for politics -- for women in politics -- when you have the power to increase women behind the camera and don't.

So, Julia, f**k you and your feelings.

Shut the hell up about politics in DC and start addressing politics on the set -- specifically on your set.

If every woman did what they could in their own world to help other women, equality would be much closer at hand.

And speaking of the progress of women, we're David E. Kelley friends and fans.*

And we bring that up because we have no problem with Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon being nominated for FEUD.  They deserve those nominations just as Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon do for BIG LITTLE LIES.

But FEUD did not deserve 10 nominations -- it especially did not deserve a nomination for writing.

It should have been a lot more lively than it was.

It also shouldn't have lied.

Yes, Academy Award winner Oliva DeHaviland is suing for the way she's portrayed.  (Hint to Catherine, next time don't base your performance on your father-in-law's 'recollections' -- Dorthy Dandridge and Natalie Wood are only two victims of your father-in-law.)

But we're referring to the nonsense in the series.

Pauline Jameson was not a real character.

And the scene where she supposedly has a script that's great for Crawford but Joan Crawford's not interested because Pauline is a woman who wants to direct?

What a loaf of s**t.

Not only did Dorothy Azner direct Joan in THE BRIDE WORE RED, Joan hired her to direct 50 commercials for Pepsi Cola.

In what world was it right so slime Joan Crawford as unwilling to work with a woman director?

And as William Castle could and did tell, if you told Joan you had a good script, if it was a good script, her reply was always, "When do we start shooting?''

We have no idea why Ryan Murphy felt the need to drag Joan Crawford through the mud over something that never happened but we also fail to grasp why we're the only ones pointing this out?

The idiot Amber Dowling did a whole Q&A with the actress who played the non-existent Pauline Jameson and talked about Crawford turning the mythical character down while never once noting that this never, ever happened.  That THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER considers that journalism goes to sorry state of journalism.

It also goes to the sorry state of the entertainment industry and the Emmys that this kind of writing could get nominated.

You can be damn sure that next go round, when the anthology series focuses on Prince Charles and Princess Diana, they will not be given the wide berth by the press or the entertainment industry.  No, they'll be called out for every inaccuracy and also challenged on events that they can document.

HOOTEN & THE LADY doesn't strive to be anything but amusing.

Guess what?

That's more than fine.

That's what entertainment is supposed to do.

And when it's done well, it's art.

It's something The Water Cooler Set can't grasp because they're lives are so empty and their opinions so shaky that they must have outsiders repeatedly confirm their political beliefs to help them struggle out of the depths of their insecurities.


* Disclosed repeatedly over the years.  Disclosed here because Kelley is the chief rival to Murphy this year.  BIG LITTLE LIES is the first David E. Kelley show we've reviewed.  We avoided his other shows for the last 12 years because we didn't want a conflict of interest.  While this was shooting, Laura Dern told us about the project and raved over Nicole Kidman (a mutual friend) so when it came on and was everything TV needed, we made an exception and reviewed the series.  If people want to see this as us trying to tilt the awards to Kelley and away from Murphy, that's probably correct.  If they want to argue it's because we are close with Kelley, they can argue that.  We don't think that's why.  We think he did amazing work and deserves recognition.  But we are disclosing that because some may feel it is a conflict and needs to be noted -- Ava & C.I.

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