Online Submission #14

A Resurgence of Happy, Fictional Couples Means Babies Close Behind

[Warning: Spoilers]

Loco Mag

Once upon a time, in an era known as the 80s, a fresh-faced actor named Bruce Willis played a private detective alongside Cybill Shepherd on the TV show, Moonlighting. Lasting for five seasons, it would go on to create one of the most cited and worst followed excuses on television: the Moonlighting curse. Two decades have passed since its cancellation, yet the show has managed to find a second life in the interviews of actors and showrunners alike, who continually namedrop it as a viable reason for ignoring the chemistry between their leading men and ladies. The argument stands that making your stars a couple is a show killer, because that’s why Moonlighting got the ax. Never mind all of the backstage drama that was taking place on that set—clearly it got canceled because they bowed down to fans’ desire to see the crime-fighting partners together.

Moral of the Story: if you want your show to last, avoid declarations of love. Include lots of break-ups. Stall, stall, and more stall (see The Big Bang Theory, Scrubs, etc.)

Unfortunately, some shows seem to have taken this advice to heart. In an attempt to circumvent Moonlighting’s fate, happy, stable relationships have become the bane to TV’s existence. Their replacement—unresolved romantic tension—has transformed into a crutch for maintaining viewer interest. Courtships intended to captivate get dragged on past reason, actually hurting their shows by preventing them from moving past “will they or won’t they” tropes. If you’ve watched an episode of Castle lately, you know what I mean. The once delightful mystery drama about a dashing novelist and his NYPD cop muse waited until season seven to have them tie the knot. Considering it was clear from the pilot they were soul mates, that’s too much time, and after the canceled wedding day fiasco that was the show’s season six finale, season seven was really too late. The show’s final shreds of realism were already gone.

Unrequited love stories aren’t the problem. Neither are bumpy road sagas (look at how Ben and Leslie learned to balance feelings and career ambitions on Parks and Recreation, or how Axel struggled with destiny dictating his love life on the New Zealand import, Almighty Johnsons). It’s the stories that don’t recognize the need for characters to take the next step in their relationships, or ignore the need out of fear of change, that cause a show to fall apart. And while these complaints aren’t new and have been voiced before, television is finally responding with a slowly increasing willingness to experiment with their love timetables. Superstitions over the Moonlighting curse have far from disappeared but—thanks to a few pregnancy twist compromises—are beginning to lose their potency.

Continue reading


Online Submission #3

Narrative Rising

The Compass

In recent years television has become infamous for making the likes of Snooki famous. At the same time, the late twentieth century onwards has been one of television’s brightest stretches, an ongoing era of narrative that consists of more than arguing about a show’s romantic leads, chuckling at stereotypes played for laughs on sitcoms, and listening in awe to a wise, loner detective solve his case in the final ten minutes. All of a sudden, viewers have to remember what happens from week to week, look up charts online to keep track of characters and their allegiances, feel compelled to buy t-shirts with quotes and logos plastered on the front. New technology has made that kind of commitment viable but it is these narrative shows that deserve all the credit for generating such strong fandom responses. The industry is taking notice, too, realizing the profit and loyal audience that comes from airing programming with a little more depth than the typical standalone-episode dramas or comedies. Paid cable may have gotten there first, when the widely considered leader of the pack, The Sopranos, first premiered in 1999, but now basic cable and network channels are moving in pursuit of this growing television trend. The question is, what exactly makes up this elusive narrative format, and why does it reap so much popular and critical appeal?

Continue reading

My Picks for the 2014 Golden Globes Awards

Best Motion Picture, Drama

12 Years a Slave
Reviewers have said it before but it’s true: this is a great film, with a lot of small roles filled by immensely talented actors, not to mention the stars themselves (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Lupita Nyong’o). It’s also, as it should be, harsh, and not a movie you are necessarily motivated to watch twice. But since that’s not at all reflective of the quality of the film, it should win best drama. Feel like Gravity is going to be a real contender since it also received a lot of talk but for whatever reason that film completely didn’t appeal to me. I haven’t seen it so have no room to say anything for or against it. Indeed, everything I have heard is praise. The trailer clearly gets across the point that the style in which it was filmed, in an attempt to replicate being in space, was state of the art, yet for me, personally, it didn’t seem real.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

Kate Winslet (Labor Day), then Judi Dench (Philomena)

Best Actor in  a Motion Picture, Drama

Matthew McConaugheyMatthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), then Robert Redford (All is Lost)
Dallas Buyers Club was the film that truly floored me this year. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. I wanted everyone to go see it. One of the top three films of 2013. Was never a fan of Matthew McConaughey’s. After seeing this film I get excited every time I see him pop up in a trailer*. To sum it up: Ron Woodroof was a fantastic role. McConaughey’s performance was likewise fantastic.

* Like Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, or the awesome sounding new show, True Detective

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

A feel-good movie with thoughtful depth.



Wrongfully Not Nominated for Anything: Lake Bell’s comedy, In A World…


Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Adams is fire in this movie (and no, that’s not simply a lame reference or play off of the fact that she has red hair and looks completely comfortable in dresses that would cause me anxiety).

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
His expressions throughout, especially after his son offers to help him look for the letter that claims he won a million dollars, are so perfect… Bruce Dern is an actor.

Best Animated Feature Film


Best Foreign Language Film

The Wind Rises
Can always count on Studio Ghibli.

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Jennifer LawrenceJennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lawrence is one hyped young actress who deserves all the attention she gets, with the range of characters she can turn out. In fact, give her more hype. You never wanted her to leave the screen. Clearly director David O. Russell realizes this, using her sparingly throughout, making every scene she’s in richly worth the wait. And this is one of the year’s best casts period, yet this twenty-something year-old distinguishes herself from all the rest. She is gold. Silver Linings Playbook may still be her masterpiece** but Lawrence shines in this fun period piece***.

** Playbook technically ran during the previous award show circuit but counts as #1 in 2013, when most of these nominees were released in theaters/aired on television.
*** Who doesn’t love the 70s?

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Watch Dallas Buyers Club and you will love Rayon.

Best Director- Motion Picture

David O. Russell (American Hustle)
This is a guy on the rise (or he’s risen… whichever). The Fighter was great. Silver Linings Playbook was out of this world. After those I had no doubt that American Hustle would be phenomenal and it was. The fact that he writes many of the screenplays too… and he already has a troupe of repeat actors, currently making Bradley Copper and Jennifer Lawrence the new Hepburn and Tracy… Not to jinx it, but he is only going to keep releasing hits.

Best Screenplay- Motion Picture

NebraskaBob Nelson (Nebraska)
Every character decision made by David Grant (played by Will Forte) made me so happy, with the loyalty and willingness he shows to go along with what everyone else around him discourages and calls crazy. I love how this film plays out and identify with it immensely.


Best Original Score- Motion Picture

Alex Ebert (All is Lost)

Best Original Song- Motion Picture

Atlas (Hunger Games Catching Fire)


Best TV Series, Drama

Masters of SexBreaking Bad OR Masters of Sex
Have not seen the ending of Breaking Bad yet (went on a media black out for a while after the finale). Don’t have a subscription to Showtime but was able to watch Masters’ pilot when it was free through Comcast On Demand. Both are great shows and wouldn’t be disappointing wins. Point for Breaking Bad as this is their last shot at (more) recognition. Point for Masters for being a very pleasant surprise nomination, securing a spot so quickly out of the gate in a very competitive category.

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama

Juliana Margulies (The Good Wife) OR Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
Margulies is a stalwart, and while I became frustrated with Orphan Black’s season finale Tatiana Maslany herself is a powerhouse, with all the different clones she plays.

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy

Parks and Recreation

Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy

Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), then Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), then Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) (then Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie))
Either Amy Poehler or Julia Louis-Dreyfus could win and you wouldn’t see me upset, but Amy Poehler hasn’t won and that’s just wrong. Zooey Deschanel’s always marvelous (and if New Girl for “Comedy” or Jake Johnson for “TV Comedy Actor” had been nominated, I would have given them nods). Haven’t seen Nurse Jackie but assume Edie Falco is cool (her previous acting credits of Oz and The Sopranos tell me it is so).

Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy

Michael J. Fox (Michael J. Fox Show), then Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), then Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) (then Don Cheadle (House of Lies))
Michael J. Fox truly seems like a wonderful person, and his new, self-named show only continues to get better week to week.


Best TV Movie or Mini-Series

Top of the LakeTop of the Lake

Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

Elizabeth Moss (Top of the Lake), then Helena Bonham Carter (Burton and Taylor)
Another case of didn’t love the finale of her show but Elizabeth Moss (whether on Top of the Lake or Mad Men) is a pleasure. Also, thought Helena Bonham Carter’s stylish portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor was really well-done. It certainly wasn’t an easy person to take on, and I can’t say I would have ever pictured her for the part, but she pulls it off with panache.

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

Idris Elba (Luther)
I will miss Luther. I still remember watching season one, thinking man, this is too disturbing. I’ll keep watching it live and that’ll be the end of it. By the end of season one, I couldn’t wait for the DVD.


Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie

Hayden Pannetiere (Nashville)
Juliette Barnes can get stuck in some soapy subplots (money stealing boyfriend, the other woman in a billionaire’s marriage), but Pannetiere always makes the most of them. Also, can she sing.

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie

Aaron PaulAaron Paul (Breaking Bad), then Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Will Gardner is a cool lawyer on The Good Wife but Jesse Pinkman is the absolute best part about Breaking Bad.


Here are all the official nominations. Be sure to tune in for the Golden Globes this Sunday at 8 PM ET on NBC, and post your picks in the comments below.

– all pictures are from the Golden Globes Awards web-site


My Dream Emmy Ballot 2013: “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series”


Again, picking comedy nominees has not been my strong suit.
The Emmys seem unperturbed by the fact that The Office had its final season and will never have a chance to be given any awards again.
Congratulations Anna Chlumsky for your first Emmy nomination! You are my favorite character on Veep and that show is packed with funny characters.
Maybe next year Amy Poehler won’t have to be the only representative for Parks and Recreations. True, Poehler is a genius, even providing the best moments during actual award shows, but so are many of her colleagues (Aubrey Plaza!).
Alas, far less surprised that Cougar Town has no Emmy representatives, but that doesn’t make it right.
Here is the official nominations list.


Here is what the “Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” category would look like if I was in charge of the Emmys (unfortunately, you can only nominate six people, and even my honorable mentions section is missing worthy individuals).

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

– Anna Chlumsky (Amy Brookheimer, Veep)

– Jenna Fischer (Pam Halpert, The Office)

– Kaley Cuoco (Penny, The Big Bang Theory)

AUBREY PLAZA (April Ludgate, Parks and Recreation)

Was I excited when I realized I owned the same sweater as April? Yes. Yes, I was.

Source: Uploaded by user via Maria on Pinterest

– Busy Philipps (Laurie Keller, Cougar Town)

– Merritt Wever (Zoey Barkow, Nurse Jackie)


Runner Ups:
Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry, Community)
Hannah Simone (Cece, New Girl)
Melissa Rauch (Bernadette Rosenkowski, The Big Bang Theory)
Alyson Hannigan (Lily Aldrin, How I Met Your Mother)
Angela Kinsey (Angela Lipton, The Office)
Christa Miller (Ellie Torres, Cougar Town)
Eden Sher (Sue Heck, The Middle)
Cobie Smulders (Robin Scherbatsky, How I Met Your Mother)


Honorable Mentions: Kristen Bell (Jeannie van der Hooven, House of Lies), Mayim Balik (Amy Farrah Fowler, The Big Bang Theory), Eliza Coupe (Jane Kerkovich-Williams, Happy Endings), Retta (Donna Meagle, Parks and Recreation), Alia Shawkat (Maeby Fünke, Arrested Development), Catherine Tate (Nellie Bertrum, The Office)

And let the debates begin! Do you agree with my choices? Voice your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to organize your own nominee list using the official Emmy ballot.
(P.S. It doesn’t matter if your choices are long shots (certainly many of mine are) but it’s nice to pretend they have a chance anyway.)

My Dream Emmy Ballot 2013: “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series”


This category was a wash, so go Tony Hale (Gary Walsh on Veep)! You are the best assistant a VP could have.
Here is the official nominations list.


Here is what the “Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” category would look like if I was in charge of the Emmys (unfortunately, you can only nominate six people, and even my honorable mentions section is missing worthy individuals).

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

IKE BARINHOLTZ (Morgan Tookers, The Mindy Project)

Ike Barinholtz as "Morgan Tookers"

– Max Greenfield (Schmidt, New Girl)

– Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation)

– Danny Pudi (Abed Nadir, Community)

– Chris Pratt (Andy Dwyer, Parks and Recreation)

– Brian Van Holt (Bobby Cobb, Cougar Town)


Runner Ups:
John Krasinski (Jim Halpert, The Office)
Neal Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother)
Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz, The Big Bang Theory)
Chris Messina (The Mindy Project)
James Van Der Beek (James Van Der Beek, Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23)
Jason Segal (Marshall Eriksen, How I Met Your Mother)


Honorable Mentions: Josh Hopkins (Grayson Ellis, Cougar Town), Will Arnett (Gob Bluth, Arrested Development), Echo Kellum (Tommy, Ben and Kate), Atticus Shaffer (Brick Heck, The Middle), Lamorne Morris (Winston, New Girl)

And let the debates begin! Do you agree with my choices? Voice your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to organize your own nominee list using the official Emmy ballot.

(P.S. It doesn’t matter if your choices are long shots (certainly many of mine are) but it’s nice to pretend they have a chance anyway.)

-picture from here