Can y’all believe this blog started 15 yrs ago (when I was still in my 20s)!? Whoa… Also, it has been almost 3 yrs since the COVID-19 pandemic began (March 13, 2020). I even lost my pandemic weight (12 lbs.) in 2.5 mos- YAY! I got another vaccine (bivalent booster) in mid-NOV 2022. Are some of you continuing to work from home (WFH)? My team voted to ALL do WFH; a few had been doing the hybrid work. We met for lunch (OCT 2022); it was V nice to see some of work team (esp. those who were hired in the middle of the pandemic).
Are you more comfortable being social (indoors)? I’ve been out in the past 4 mos. for a few events, mainly b-days of friends. I went to Arizona (Scottsdale) for Thanksgiving; my nephews are growing up SO fast (and looking cute, as always)! As I noted before, I was at the Noir City DC film fest (OCT 2022) in AFI Silver Spring (my neighborhood). Going to new movies about 2x/mo. (as I did for several yrs.) is NOT common anymore! Since 2019, I’ve noticed that MANY new movies have a (short) theatrical release, then go over to a streaming service. What is your favestreaming service?
You can follow me on IG and Twitter at knightleyemma. On IG, I’ve posted mostly re: beauty and food (in the past), BUT am branching off into other topics. Lately, I tweet (or retweet) re: Adam Driver’s work and related matters. The actor was shooting Megalopolis in Atlanta before the Christmas holidays; this is a movie dir. (and financed) by Francis Ford Coppola. The trailer for 65 (a sci-fi movie out in March 2023) was released recently, so do check that out (below). There will be a new podcast out soon re: Driver’s work.
Thanks for reading, subscribing to, and sharing my blog!
UPCOMING REVIEWS (2022 Releases):
Everything Everywhere All at Once (rent: Amazon Prime)
The Menu (HBO Max)
White Noise (Netflix)
UPCOMING REVIEWS (Film Noir):
Impact (1949) (rent: Amazon Prime)
Niagara (1953) (rent: Amazon Prime)
Elevator to the Gallows (1958) (HBO Max)
UPCOMING REVIEWS (TV/Streaming Shows):
House of the Dragon (E5-10)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (S4 & S5; Amazon Prime: Paramount+ Channel)
The White Lotus (S1 & S2: HBO Max)
Doctor Who (S6; HBO Max): Starring Matt Smith (recently on House of the Dragon).
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (S6): 2nd re-watch of this season.
SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read this post if you haven’t seen, or don’t want to know, details from Episode 4 of House of the Dragon.
Rhaenyra continues her search for a suitable match, Daemon returns to Kings Landing and stirs more trouble for the King. Rhaenyra learns a valuable lesson. -Synopsis from HBO
Are y’all ready for a new dating/reality show- The Bachelorette: Westerosi Edition? Warning: It will get bloody! Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) is on her “tour” (to find the husband of her choice, as her father decided in E3) w/ her loyal Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) by her side. We meet her at a castle, Storm’s End, the home of Lord Boremund Baratheon (an ancestor of King Robert from GoT). In the throne room, there is a long line of suitors (noblemen from ALL over the region) waiting to speak to the princess, as well as some onlookers. Rhaenyra looks bored/slightly annoyed; she fiddles w/ her Valyrian steel necklace (a gift from her uncle). An elderly man (Lord Dondarrion of Blackhaven) talks of his lands, home, and being honored by a visit from her grandmother/the queen (MANY yrs ago). FYI: Ser Criston is the son of the steward of Blackhaven.
Jerrel Bracken [to Lord Blackwood]: Protection? The Princess has a dragon, you dumb c*nt.
Rhaenyra [quietly w/ amusement]: I could learn to like that one.
Next, we see a young man (Jerrel Bracken) taunt a teen boy (Willem Blackwood), as the boy presents his case to Rhaenyra. At first, the princess looks amused. which makes the onlookers laugh. Then, the mood turns tense/ugly and swords come out. Rhaenyra decides to cut the interviews short; she and her entourage of royal guards start to walk out. Behind their shoulders, Willem and Jarrel fight, until (surprisingly) the older/stronger Bracken lies sputtering blood from a wound to the belly! WTH is the meaning to this, you may wonder!? Well, as Princess Rhaenys told us (E1), the young men of this society haven’t had a real war to fight in yrs. They’ve mostly fought in tourneys; of course, those could turn deadly. As one astute YT commentator noted, this also reveals Rhaenyra’s character/potential as a queen; she encourages the insults and doesn’t call off the fighting (Boremund does so).
On the trip back to King’s Landing, the boat Rhaenyra is on gets a bump from Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) atop his dragon (Caraxes). Luckily, the princess is NOT hurt, though Ser Criston is V concerned. One critic said this is was Daemon’s way of flirting- LOL! At court, Prince Daemon struts in wearing a handmade crown (made of bones); Ser Harold Westerling (Graham McTavish) keeps him from coming too close to the throne. Daemon offers King Viserys (Paddy Considine) the Crabfeeder’s hammer, saying to “add it to the pile.” After defeating the Triarchy, Daemon (now w/ short hair) was dubbed “King of the Narrow Sea.” Then, he humbly declares that there is ONLY one true king and kneels before his older brother. The tension is the court is eased when the king and prince embrace! Rhaenyra has been watching w/ interest from the back of the room.
Daemon [to Rhaenyra]: You cannot live your life in fear, or you will forsake the best parts of it.
Viserys is quick to welcome Daemon into the family’s fold; he jokes/laughs at the small garden party they have in the prince’s honor. Look carefully and you’ll see lemon cakes (Sansa’s fave food on GoT) on a table! When Rhaenyra is left out, Queen Alicent (Emily Carey) goes over to her; they have a talk about how their lives have turned out. Alicent is already a mother of 2; she feels lonely/restricted in her role as queen. Rhaenyra regrets the fact that she must marry and have children; after all, her mother died in childbirth.
Rhaenyra: Their wants are of no consequences.
Daemon: They’re of great consequence if you expect to rule then one day.
Afterwards, Daemon tells Rhaenyra she has “matured” these past 4 yrs. They last saw each other when she retrieved the stolen dragon’s egg from Dragonstone. It also confirms a short amount of time (about a year) passed btwn E3 and E4. Notice how he relaxes around her, then offers her his cup of wine to drink (treating her as an equal- as some viewers commented). Rhaenyra says that she wants to live a life of “solitude.” Daemon explains that she can marry, BUT find pleasure outside of that relationship. Their (long) dialogue is spoken in High Valyrian; I thought the actors had great tension/chemistry here!
Later that night, Rhaenyra covers her hair w/ a cap, dresses in rags, and leaves her room (via a hidden passage). The princess experiences the sights/sounds of Fleabottom; her uncle is the guide (of course). There is a fire breather, sellers w/ a variety of goods, and couples kissing in dark corners. One man walks on a tightrope above the crowd; the director (Claire Kilner) commented that “this perhaps best reflects the precarious life of girls.” They stop to watch a “mummer’s farce” (street theater); the actors wear gawdy costumes/wigs and make fun of the royals. Rhaenyra is surprised to learn that these common folk aren’t happy re: her being heir. When she retorts “I don’t care,” Daemon replies that she’ll have to care about these people IF she hopes to rule one day! Some viewers thought that Daemon was trying to make Rhaenyra feel “insecure,” so she’d “depend on his judgement.” I thought that this was also a clever way to get the (sheltered) princess to see how she is viewed outside court.
Next, we have several scenes that the internet was abuzz about! I liked the way that the tense/moody/romantic scenes were directed; we get to see two young women’s POV. Ser Criston takes a long look at his white cloak (representing the chaste life of a Kingsguard), some viewers noted. Scenes of Rhaenyra enjoying her night of freedom were intercut w/ (less than exciting) scenes w/ Alicent. Why do you think Daemon stopped himself in the pleasure house? Did you like the (playful/light-hearted) scenes btwn Rhaenyra and Ser Criston, or did you think their brief romance was a bad idea?
Viserys: Daemon and Rhaenyra share the blood of the dragon, They are restless and chaotic.
It turns out that spies (or “little birds” as Lord Varys used to saw on GoT) are everywhere to get dirt on the royals! The little peasant boy who saw Rhaenyra out on the street comes w/ a note for Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). In the early morning, he goes to see the king w/ the reports of Daemon and Rhaenyra “coupling” (and wow- is it awkward)! The king is (obviously) angered by this; he doesn’t want to believe that his brother could put his daughter in such a precarious position. Alicent overhears what her father said; she also doesn’t want to think badly of her former best friend. When she summons Rhaenyra to the garden for a talk, the princess lies (w/ conviction) to Alicent! Well, teens can rebel, cause their elders headaches/heartaches, and NOT realize the consequences of their actions.
Later, in the throne room, Viserys berates and kicks Daemon, as he lies dirty/tired/hungover on the floor. The king wonders who’ll marry Rhaenyra, now that there are rumors she’s NOT a virgin. Daemon (showing his audacity- yet again), asks for Rhaenyra’s hand in marriage! The king throws him out of the castle- yet again. This was my fave scene in this ep! Smith and Considine are a great acting pair; they’re V good at portraying the conflict btwn brothers. We learned that Daemon’s former mistress, Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) AKA The White Worm, is no longer a “common whore.” She has been working for 2 yrs (since their break-up, we assume) as a spy; that little boy was working for her. Some asture viewers said maybe Daemon wanted to get caught in a compromising position.
That night, the king and his daughter have a serious talk; she has been his “political headache” for some time. When Rhaenyra holds the Valyrian steel dagger (part of her legacy) in fire, inscribed words are revealed: “From my blood come the Prince That Was Promised, and his will be the song of ice and fire.” Rhaenyra points out the hypocrisy of this society; a nobleman can sleep w/ whoever he choses. Viserys tells her that she’s NOT man, so she’s held to different standards. He also tells her the importance of being his heir; she can’t just seek out pleasure whenever she wants! Rhaenyra MUST marry a nobleman and birth her own heirs (which will strengthen her claim to the Iron Throne). She agrees to do what her father wants, BUT he needs to get rid of The Hand- Otto!
Later that same night, Otto and Viserys meet in the Small Council room; there is tension and a sense of foreboding. This is one of the (rare) times where the camera is positioned above/to the side of Otto’s head, putting him in a subservient position. Viserys confronts his friend/associate re: (alleged) wrongs he has done. Though he handles himself w/ dignity, Otto looks hurt and (slightly) shaken by being fired. This is also a fine scene w/ two veteran character actors who know their stuff!
There is a BIT of mystery in the final scene of the ep; we don’t see Rhaenyra drinking the “moon tea” (or Plan B: Westeros version) brought in by Grand Maester Mellos (David Horovitz). The tea was prepared carefully by himself; it was ordered by her father. So, Viserys didn’t believe that Rhaenyra was a virgin after all! Don’t forget to watch the Inside the Episode; you’ll learn a LOT more re: this story! Did you agree w/ the analysis of the cast/crew?
Season 2 of the controversial (yet unique/fascinating) show returned in JAN 2013. Lena Dunham would direct 4 eps and write 7 eps in this season. The show may NOT have always had a huge audience, BUT it was written about by many journos, pop culture critics, and haters. Zosia Mamet recalled (at The Hollywood Reporter comedy actresses roundtable in 2014) that “in S1, we were shooting in Tompkins Square Park, and nobody knew who were were. Then we go back there for S2- paparazzi everywhere! It’s not just taking pictures- they’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen in the storyline.”
You feel like you are doing something that spurs a conversation, whether it’s for good or for bad. This is the first time that this has ever happened to me. It’s an amazing thing. -Adam Driver (2013 interview, FlauntMagazine)
E1: It’s About Time
Hannah throws a housewarming party with brand-new roommate- Elijah, but it’s hard to move on when she’s still playing nurse to Adam. Marnie gets bad news at work and a visit from her mom; Shoshanna avoids Ray at the party; and sun-kissed Jessa returns from her honeymoon.
The story takes place several weeks after the S1 finale. Hannah is seeing a young Black man, Sandy (Donald Glover- before he became famous), who she seems V excited about. As some of you may know, Dunham received a LOT of criticism for her show being “too white.” Hannah is helping Adam out (his right leg is in a cast); she does errands for him, though he wants her around a LOT more. She tells him that their relationship is over; he doesn’t take it easily. We meet Marnie’s mom, Evie (Rita Wilson- wife of Tom Hanks), for the 1st time. She’s worried b/c now Marnie isn’t w/ a bf, was let go from her gallery assistant job, and her appearance isn’t up to par (“you look 30”)- yikes! Evie had to raise Marnie on her own after her ex-husband left the family; she works/lives in New Jersey (and looks to be doing well).
E2: I Get Ideas
Hannah gets unsolicited musical attention from heartbroken Adam and displeasing opinions on her writing from Sandy. Elijah questions his sexuality; Marnie makes a career compromise when her curatorial dreams are crushed; Jessa revels in married life; Shoshanna and Ray make magic; and Elijah and Marnie harbor a secret.
This ep opens w/ Hannah and Elijah listening to songs by Adam; he is shirtless (of course) and playing a guitar. They BOTH look concerned as they hear this music, wondering IF Adam really is a “sociopath.” On my recent rewatch, I had to LOL at such a funny (yet awkward) situation. Sandy breaks up w/ Hannah after she makes some “ignorant” comments re: race; Dunham said that Glover contributed lines in this scene. Hannah spends some time w/ Jessa; they catch-up and play w/ puppies in the park. When she goes to a gallery for an interview, Marnie gets shot down by the owner, Patricia (Laurie Simmons- Dunham’s mother/a painter). Dunham joked that her mom “changed all her lines” and also “chose her own costumes.” Marnie (seeing no better option) takes a job as a hostess at a men’s club; she has to wear a skimpy uniform. She and Elijah are BOTH feeling down and lonely, so they decide to hook-up (super awkward)! Late at night, Adam comes into Hannah’s apt (he has a key for emergencies). She’s (obviously) surprised and tells him to leave; Adam refuses and she gets scared!
That scene was so fun to film b/c it was a sort of a real Adam Driver tour-de-force, going from terrifying to sweet, to about to cry, to raging out. I mean, the amount of emotional territory he covers in that scene is- to me- mind-boggling.-Dunham re: the pivotal scene (that ends w/ Hannah calling the cops on Adam)
E3: Bad Friend
Hannah gets a new freelance gig, and her editor suggests that she should try cocaine for the first time to write about her experience. In the process, she gets to know her downstairs neighbor, Laird. Meanwhile, Marnie meets her old artist flame, Booth Jonathan, who takes her home to show her his studio.
Hannah starts writing for a hip/young blog that wants content that pushes the boundaries. IF you were shocked by Hannah’s revealing clothes before- this ep MAY be too much. In the party scenes (filmed at Greenhouse- a SoHo nightclub) she wears a yellow mesh tank top. Hannah and Elijah do lines of coke off a toilet lid (ewww)! Then Hannah and Marnie have a big fight re: which on of them is a worse friend; MANY viewers commented that they related to this scene. Hannah turns to Laird (who has a BIT of a crush on her); she’s hooking up w/ him for the experience (so she can write about it). Putting herself in danger is NOT new for Hannah; this ep makes us worry about her perhaps a BIT more than usual!
E4: It’s a Shame About Ray
Elijah moves out, and Hannah invites a group including Charlie, Audrey and Marnie to dinner. Jessa meets Thomas-John’s parents, which finally prompts a confrontation between husband and wife. Shoshanna discovers that Ray may be living with her.
Hannah: You can’t just be a girl in this city and expect to get your way!
Marnie: But we are girls in this city!
Hannah: Not the right kind of girls!
Marnie: Girls none the less!
This is one of the highest-rated eps of S2; a LOT of stuff happens. At a steak dinner w/ Thomas-John’s WASP parents (played by veteran theater actors- Griffin Dunne and Deborah Rush), Jessa ends up revealing some dark facts (incl. her previous addiction to heroin). She lashes out in anger when she feels judged by these (passive aggressive) people. Back at their high-rise condo, we see that Thomas-John is NOT amused; they get into an ugly argument!
Dunham’s (real-life) BFF plays Charlie’s petite/bohemian gf, Audrey (Audrey Gelman). Marnie is upset/jealous seeing how close her ex and his new lady have gotten (in such a short time). Audrey and Marnie get into a big fight! Shosh and Ray have been gotten V close for the past few eps; she says: “I’m starting to fall in love w/ you” (as they wait for the subway). Rannells (already a Broadway star) left the series at this point to front his own comedy series- The New Normal (2012). This was canceled after one season, so he returned in the second half of S3.
E5: One Man’s Trash
A man comes to the coffee shop to complain to Ray that someone is leaving trash in his trash cans. Hannah follows him to his brownstone to confess and ends up spending the rest of the day, and the next day, with him.
This is the (much talked about) ep focused on Hannah’s weekend hookup w/ a handsome/older doctor, Joshua (Patrick Wilson- who lives w/ his fam in Greenpoint IRL). It’s basically a mini-movie starring 2 characters; many viewers loved it and others hated it (calling it implausible). There is a sort of hazy (dream-like) quality to this ep; one of the regular directors (Richard Shepard) did an esp. fine job here. According to Dunham, the idea for the ep and a great deal of the text came to her during a fever dream. While some viewers thought that this was unreal, others pointed out that some men would take the chance of a carefree hookup w/ a younger/willing woman. What happened to Joshua? Wait and see…
The relationship between Hannah and Joshua is quick, but I quite enjoyed it because of Dunham’s writing and chemistry with Wilson. Near the end of this affair we learn more about Hannah emotionally, as she breaks down in front of Joshua, because he has such a good life at his age while she seems to be stuck at her young age.[…] Writing was strong and focusing on only this relationship was great to watch a big move, showing this show truly is special. -Excerpt from IMDB review
When Hannah walks away from his home at the end, all I could think was how similar this episode was to Woody Allen’s style of writing. A realistic fairytale that you relate to in a way that you can’t quite put your finger on. -Excerpt from IMDB review
Hannah is hired to write an e-book, but has trouble finding inspiration. Booth asks Marnie to host a party with him for a gallery opening. Ray goes to see Adam, and they end up traveling to Staten Island to return a stolen dog.
This is the first ep in the series to have a solo writing credit to a man (Murray Miller); he is a problematic creative behind the show (as I noted in my S1 review). It focuses on my 2 fave characters (Adam and Ray); they’re opposites in some respects, BUT walk to their own drummer. Ray goes to Adam’s apt. (Brooklyn Hts) to get his copy of Little Women (which Hannah had left behind). There is a big/angry dog in the bathroom- yikes! Adam explains that he stole the dog b/c he thought the owner wasn’t treating him well. Ray convinces Adam to return the dog (he has tags); they travel via ferry (which I never did when I was in NYC) to Staten Island. I enjoyed seeing the (quirky) chemistry between Adam and Ray; they get to know each other, then get on each other’s nerves.
Adam: She’s like a carnival game, you know? It all seems so simple, but you can’t get the ring on the bottle, because it’s f*****g rigged so you try and try and try until you drive yourself nuts. Then, finally, when you walk away you realize you didn’t even want the crappy prize to begin with. I realize that’s what Hannah is: a giant Tweety doll I would’ve been stuck carrying around the carnival all night.
After Booth fires his assistant, Soojin, he asks Marnie to help host a party for his friends. Marnie is V happy to do this, thinking it’s a big step in their relationship. It turns out that Booth doesn’t think of her as his gf (ouch)! Of course, Marnie is NOT alone- there are MANY women who have been treated in the same way.
E7: Video Games
Hannah accompanies Jessa on a visit upstate to see Jessa’s estranged father, his new-age wife and Frank, their virginal teenage son.
We learn more about Jessa’s (troubled- no shock there) family when she and Hannah travel to upstate NY. Jessa’s estranged father, Sal, is played by Aussie actor Ben Mendelsohn (who later made a big impression on the Netflix show- Bloodline and played a villain in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). Jessa’s hippie stepmom, Petula, is played by a veteran Hollywood actress- Rosanna Arquette. Jessa felt physically/emotionally abandoned by her father; she tells him that she needed someone on her side when a teen (and going through a difficult time w/ her mom). Hannah is hurt and angry when Jessa leaves w/o her; she calls her parents from the train station to thank them for their support (aww). This was Kirke’s final appearance in S2 (as she was pregnant w/ her second baby). It was tough to feel empathy for Jessa until I saw this ep; her father is selfish and unreliable.
E8: It’s Back
I feel like in the second series, things start to get a little deeper into that, but he’s not someone who’s willing to share. I feel like he’s guarded on it and wouldn’t allow himself to explain himself. He always has this thing going on that he doesn’t need to explain himself at any point. -Driver on Sackler being a recovering alcoholic
Hannah tries to hide mounting anxiety about her book from her visiting parents. Meanwhile, Marnie is stunned by news that Charlie has started a successful app company; Adam gets set up on a date; and Ray’s misanthropy gives Shoshanna pause.
We learn a LOT more re: Hannah and Adam here! Hannah’s OCD resurfaces; she was affected w/ it back in HS. I learned (on the Good Friend podcast hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis) that Dunham also suffers from OCD. The ep opens w/ us seeing Hannah’s various OCD behaviors (so we glimpse into her mindset)! She is having writer’s block, though she has a deadline coming up soon. Also, her parents are coming to NYC to see singer Judy Collins (who plays herself).
After several eps, Adam is back- YAY! He shares his story at an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting; he starts talking re: quitting booze, then it turns to his breakup w/ Hannah. A petite/feisty lady named Cloris (veteran comedian Carol Kane) comments to him: “I was very impressed by your honesty.” She also asks Adam how tall he is (6′ 3″). Cloris gives Adam her daughter’s phone number, much to his chagrin. The phone call scene is cute and funny; Adam describes himself as “tall and kind of dashing.” At the dinner date, Adam and Natalia (Shiri Appleby) have fun and (obvious) chemistry.
The unexpected moment of the episode for me was Hannah having OCD which, when I think back on the show, seems to be a bit obvious how she has acted in life. It showed that the Dunham is taking risks to make the character of Hannah more interesting… -Excerpt from IMDB review
E9: On All Fours
[Sackler is] someone who follows his emotions and doesn’t pause and reflect. He’s always following an impulse and is aware of something that he’s lost – it jars with how unsettled he is. The more he tries to gain control, the more things get out of control.-Driver re: his character
The episode was so awkwardly comedic and dark in nearly everything the characters did which is what I really love about the show… -Excerpt from IMDB review
Pressure from Hannah’s aggressive publisher (John Cameron Mitchell) and a looming deadline further jeopardize Hannah’s mental state. Adam and his new girlfriend have their first misunderstanding. Marnie makes an awkward step in following her dreams.
Hannah is stressed out b/c of a deadline, so she sticks a Q-tip TOO deep into her ear (yikes)! FYI: The bemused ER doc who treats her is Ranjit Chowdhury (an Indian actor/ veteran of indies). Shosh tries to be caring gf to Ray, showering him w/ attention. Marnie decides to sing at a party at Charlie’s start-up; it’s V awkward. Adam and Natalia go to her friend’s engagement party at a bar; Angie is played by Dunham’s friend IRL- Amy Schumer. When he steps out for a moment, Adam sees Hannah walking home from the hospital (wearing just a long tee, no pants); they both look affected by their awkward conversation. This is perhaps the MOST controversial ep of the series, as it brings up the issue of consent (or perhaps more accurately- dubious consent). James Poniewozik, reviewer for TIME, called it “the most uncomfortable half hour of television of the year.” We see a dark side (pardon the Star Wars connection) of Sackler! Did you see this ep, and if so, what did you think?
E10 (Season 2 Finale): Together
In order to avoid being sued by her publisher, Hannah must write her book in a single day. Marnie misinterprets Charlie’s intentions; Ray makes a career move which he hopes will impress Shoshanna.
Adam: Is this f*****g Face Space or some s**t?
Many of Hannah’s friends and acquaintances are at a crossroads. Marnie and Charlie will find out if they’re on the same page (after several casual hookups together). Shosh isn’t sure if she can handle Ray’s negativity anymore; he sees this as critical thinking. Ray decides to be more ambitious; Hermie says he can manage the 2nd branch of Grumpy’s in Brooklyn Hts. Adam and Natalia are still together, BUT Adam is trying too hard to fit in w/ what she wants (can’t be himself). Hannah’s life is getting out of control; David threatens to sue, if she doesn’t produce her e-book (after getting an advance). Unable to reach Jessa, Hannah leaves a sad/angry voicemail. Finally, she gives Adam a call; he is breaking down some stuff (angrily) at his apt. Adam notices her OCD behavior and the (uneven) haircut she gave herself. He runs (shirtless- of course) to Hannah’s apt, kicks open the door (after she hides under the covers), and picks her up in his arms. When I saw this the first time, I thought it was quite a rom com type of ending. On my rewatch, I realized that maybe they aren’t good for each other (BUT need each other in this difficult moment).
Maybe not as good as last season’s finale, but still a great episode of TV’s best comedy. The season was less strong then the first season but still great, funny and even more dramatic as this women really faced real life problems. Dunham really showed this season she is a great actress, as well as everything she does for the show. All the women were strong… -Excerpt from IMDB review
This is the much-talked about (and criticized) sequel to SATC; writer Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), lawyer Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), and stay-at-home mom Charlotte York-Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis) are now in their mid-50s. Of course, publicist Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) is NOT on the show; many fans objected to how her character was handled. At the start of the show, ALL the pals seem happily married; we see John AKA Mr. Big (Chris Noth), Steve (David Eigenberg), and Harry (Evan Handler). Anthony (Mario Cantone) and Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson) are married, BUT don’t look too happy. As for the teens, they’re annoying AF; Miranda’s 17 y.o. son Brady behaves V disrespectfully; Charlotte’s kids- 14 y.o. Lily and 12 y.o. Rose- are spoiled and uncompromising. Why spend SO much time on kids- it’s supposed to be about adults!? Carrie is one of the regular guests on a podcast hosted by a bisexual/non-binary comedian, Che Diaz (Sarah Ramirez).
I mainly tuned in to see Carrie’s realtor-turned-friend, Seema (Sarita Choudhury) who appears starting in E4; she’s mainly a theater/indie film actor; I saw her at a play reading in NYC in 2008 (and she is gorgeous IRL). Choudhury starred opposite a young Denzel Washington in Mira Nair’s indie/drama/romance Mississippi Masala. Seema’s mom is played by veteran/international actor/chef/author- Madhur Jaffrey. Miranda’s prof, Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman), and her jazz musician hubby, Andre (LeRoy McClain), are trying to have a baby w/ IVF. Lisa Todd Wexley AKA LTW (Nicole Ari Parker) is the mom of 3 young kids; Charlotte becomes her friend (after they meet while organizing school events). LTW’s hubby Herbert is played by Hamilton actor Chris Jackson; he (sadly) doesn’t have much to do. Where is the fun (I barely cracked a smile; don’t recall LOLs), fashion (Miranda’s wig and outfits don’t suit her at all), and romance!? IF you’re a fan of the original series, I suggest avoiding this one!
Bridgerton(Season 2): Netflix
Everybody (and their mom) has an opinion on the show- LOL! Almost ALL my friends (IRL/online) were talking/messaging/tweeting about it (some more than 2 wks before S2 dropped). Since I’ve gotten a LOT more active on Twitter lately (and have some new connections), I couldn’t avoid the jokes, memes, etc. You have to shut-off your brain to enjoy shows like this (NO offense); it’s been compared to Jane Austen fan fiction and an alternate universe (AU) of Regency era England. MANY women of color (of all ages) esp. liked seeing the Indian (South Asian) representation in the Sharma sisters (played by Brits: statuesque Simone Ashley and petite Charithra Chandran)! I liked the “slow burn” romance (Anthony and Kate), the fam scenes of the Bridgertons (who all have great chemistry together), and (light-hearted/funny) scenes w/ the artist/bohemian bro, Benedict (Luke Thompson). I think the acting is stronger in this season; S1 didn’t impress me that much. There is one V powerful/emotional scene (S2 E3) that is unlike ANY I’ve seen in a period drama!
The Chair (2021): Netflix
This show was tweeted about by MANY women/POC/academics I follow, so I watched it when it came out last Fall. Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim (Sandra Oh) is the new Chair of Humanities at a small/fictional university (Pembroke); she is the 1st woman and person of color (POC) to hold this post. Ji-Yoon is single (by choice) and the adoptive mom to a bright/challenging young daughter, Ju-Hee. The “old guard” at this school are played by veteran actors: Bob Balaban, Holland Taylor, and David Morse. Ji-Yoon’s closest friend/potential love interest, Bill Dobson (Jay Duplass), lost his wife a few years ago and his 18 y.o. daughter leaves for college in the 1st ep.
This comedy/drama series (6 eps; 30 mins/ea.) was filmed on-location in Pittsburgh and nearby areas. To create Pembroke’s campus, the show used Washington & Jefferson College and Chatham University. Annie Wyman (co-creator/co-writer) was actually an academic in an English department; she earned a PhD in English Lit from Harvard). David Duchovny (playing a version of himself) earned a Master’s in English Lit (Yale); he started (but didn’t complete) his PhD. If you (or your fam/pals) have connections to academia, you’ll esp. relate to this show!
The Gilded Age (2022): HBO Max
This is the show for ALL you Downton Abbey fans; it was also created by Julian Fellows, BUT he had several others collaborating w/ him (incl. prof/historian/co-executive producer- Erica Armstrong Dunbar). Another producer (who also directed some eps) is Salli Richardson-Whitfield; most will know her from her acting days. The setting is NYC in the 1880s where “old money” (the Van Rijans/Brooks) and “nouveaux riche” (the Russells) are nabes, BUT def NOT pals! There are MANY theater actresses (over the age of 40) who appear on this show: Cynthia Nixon, Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald (who I saw once on Broadway), Celia Keegan-Bolger, Debra Monk, Kelli O’Hara, and Donna Murphy. We also see more well-known movie actors (incl. Jeanne Tripplehorn and Nathan Lane) in small (yet pivotal) roles.
In his January 2022 NYT article The Gilded Age’ Finally Arrives on HBO, Dave Itzkoff reported that the long filming hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic allowed actress Denée Benton (who plays Peggy Scott) “to seek refinements of [her role] to better reflect [her] understanding of history. Benton said she urged the creative team to provide more ways to show that there were Black people like her character, Peggy, who lived in their own affluent and educated communities. I didn’t find Louisa Jacobson (who plays Marian Brook; one of Meryl Streep’s daughters) that compelling; MANY viewers agreed w/ me on this point. Peggy is much MORE interesting than Marian. I thought that George Russell (Morgan Spector- husband of actress Rebecca Hall) was better written than his wife Bertha (Carrie Coon). Coon was written as TOO strident (as some viewers noted online). George’s full beard was quite popular on Twitter- LOL! This is a period/costume drama, BUT it also has some brains (and is somewhat educational also).
Mare of Easttown(2021): HBO Max
If you like domestic drama mixed w/ a cop/mystery show (such as Happy Valley or Broadchurch), then check this out! A detective, Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet in an Emmy-winning role), in a small Pennsylvania town investigates a murder of a teen girl while trying to keep her fam/personal life from falling apart. I thought almost ALL of the actors did a terrific job; they seemed like real/unglamorous/flawed people. There was even a (spot-on) sketch about the show on SNL. Much has been talked about re: the complicated relationship between Mare and her funny/acerbic mom (played by veteran actress Jean Smart); these ladies had great chemistry together! I was also impressed by Evan Peters (who plays the naive/younger cop- Colin Zabel); it’s rare to see a police officer w/ doubt and vulnerability. You can also check him out in S1 of Pose. Guy Pearce (who acted w/ Winslet in HBO’s take on Mildred Pierce in 2011) plays Mare’s love interest; he is a writer-turned-prof who is in town as an adjunct. The creator/writer of this show, Craig Zobel, also wrote the recent movie The Way Back (starring Ben Affleck); it received some critical acclaim also.
Law & Order (S20, E15):Brilliant Disguise (March 8, 2010)
After a young woman, Justine, is found brutally murdered in a hotel and her body stashed away on a food service cart, evidence leads Detectives Cyrus Lupo and Kevin Bernard to a young med student. When a crafty lawyer, Ray Backlund, becomes involved, the detectives realize that it is going to take more than superficial evidence to put the murderer behind bars. This quickly becomes a case of mind over matter. -Synopsis from NBC
This ep (which I saw for the 1st time last month) is based on the Craigslist Killer (Philip Markoff) who targeted escorts in hotel rooms in 2009; like his fictional counterpart, he also was engaged. This appears to borrow elements of the 2009 murder of Yale graduate student Annie Le. A suspect and coworker of hers, Ray Clark, was convicted of the homicide. Clark was a lab tech who became extremely angry when his colleagues left mouse and rat cages filthy. He also had a fiancee who was possessive/bossy. This is an interesting story about a perpetrator who thinks he’s much smarter than anyone else. I haven’t seen many eps which paired Det. Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) w/ Det. Bernard (Anthony Anderson); I’m a fan of Anderson from other series (he can do BOTH drama and comedy well).
It turns out that Justine had a secret life as an escort which her mom in Richmond, VA, knew nothing about. Initially, the detectives get it wrong when they arrest Robby Vickery (Adam Driver), a lab tech at Chelsea University who lets women assume that he’s a med student. In fact, other evidence points to Alex Conway (Daniel Eric Gold), an arrogant grad student w/ gambling addiction. To Alex, the escorts he picks up are like the lab rats Robby works w/- scary! Alex is clever, as is his defense attorney, Ray Backlund (Timothy Busfield). Also, Alex’s wealthy fiancee, Carrie Newton (Jess Weixler), is willing to do anything to help his case.
Getting a job on the L&O series was a rite of passage for up-and-coming/NYC-based actors. Driver does well in his role; this show originally aired several mos. after he graduated from Julliard in 2009. He shows Robby’s unassuming/charming side (in the opener w/ Justine); she gives him her number and wants to go out to brunch w/ him over the weekend. Then, we see Robby’s insecurity/vulnerability when detectives come to his lab. When they question him at the precinct, we see the creepy behavior he has engaged in (though exclaiming “I respect women”). As the evidence against him is circumstantial, it was the smart move to ask for a lawyer. It took me a few weeks, BUT I learned that this is where “feed the rats on time” comes from (in the Driver fan community)- LOL!
SVU tries to figure out who was responsible for the real-life rape of an actress during an interactive theater performance that everybody just assumed was part of the show. -Synopsis
This is a weird/shocking case (even by SVU standards- IF you’re familiar w/ the series); I didn’t remember seeing it when it originally aired. There are several notable guest stars (along w/ Driver): Gibert Gottfried (a police computer expert), Grant Shaud (a theater critic), Kevin Pollak (a judge w/ a secret love life), and Fisher Stevens (a controlling director). The victim is Meghan Weller (Jenn Proske), a V pretty/eager-to-please young woman who moved to NYC 6 mos. ago from a small town in Minnesota. She is stunned that such a horrible thing could happen; she was so happy/excited to get her 1st role. The men around Meghan ALL seem to be problematic in some way, BUT who is the ultimate villain!?
Jason Roberts (Adam Driver) isn’t the rapist here, BUT he is a creepy stalker. Meghan calls him her “computer guy” who “seemed harmless.” Jason is obsessed w/ Meghan, has pics of her all over his bedroom, has seen her play 12 times, and installed hidden cameras in her apt. Now some of you L&O diehards (or those studying law) will realize that everything found in that room is inadmissible as evidence. Det. Rollins didn’t have Estelle Roberts’ permission to enter her son’s room; also his door was closed (violating the plain view doctrine), so they had no probable cause or warrant. Meghan (using her acting skills) convinces Jason to meet her at a cafe; Det. Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) and Det. Rollins (Kelli Giddish) can arrest him.
Jason: If I was gonna set up Meghan, I’ve got images that are a lot hotter. See?
[shows the detectives the images]
Det. Rollins: Really? Jason, you just made bail on a surveillance charge.
When Jason is initially questioned in the interrogation room, we see the (twisted) “love” he has for Meghan. He looks shocked to learn of what exactly happened to her during the play; his eyes are full of concern (almost as if going to cry). In Jason’s mind, the cameras were “for her protection,” as she’s “naive” and “trusting.” It turns out that the video footage he captured from the play (and other instances) could be helpful in solving the case! This is a bigger/more interesting role for Driver than in his previous L&O ep. I was impressed by how he made this character (somewhat) sympathetic and even a BIT humorous (see Ice T’s reactions). You also see his quirky physicality. It would’ve been great IF he’d gotten to have a scene w/ Lt. Benson (Mariska Hargitay).