TV Draft Round 10 – Pick 6 – Paula Selects – Frasier

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Paula at http://paulalight.com

FRASIER

Frasier is a spin-off from Cheers, starring Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane, a psychiatrist who leaves Boston (where Cheers was set) to return to his hometown of Seattle as a radio show host. Costarring is David Hyde Pierce as Frasier’s brother Niles, also a psychiatrist, and it’s amazing how much the two actors resemble one another. They’re both drolly hilarious as well and play off each other superbly ~ though the writers didn’t originally intend for Niles to have such a large part, they reconsidered after discovering how much Niles added to the show. John Mahoney (RIP) plays their father, Martin, a retired cop, who frequently argues with his sons, and there are two funny women on the show in recurring roles ~ Peri Gilpin as Roz (Frasier’s producer) and Jane Leeves as Daphne (Martin’s caretaker/physical therapist). The show won 37 Primetime Emmy Awards, which was a record at the time. It also won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for five consecutive years. Supposedly there is a “revival” coming at some point, starring the brothers. The original ran for 11 seasons, beginning in 1993 and ending in 2004.

If you recall, during Cheers Frasier was married to fellow psychiatrist Lilith (wonderfully played by Bebe Neuwirth), and they are divorced when Frasier begins, with Lilith having primary custody of their son Frederick. Immediately thwarting Frasier’s plans for a wild single life is his father, injured on duty, and requiring 24/7 assistance. Frasier brings Martin and his annoying dog Eddie to live with him, and they hire Daphne, a British caregiver. Niles makes frequent appearances, and one recurring motif is that his wife Maris is an impossible person, whom he constantly complains about, yet we never see her face (same as Norm’s wife on Cheers). Niles falls in love with Daphne, and eventually he leaves Maris and marries Daphne. Frasier and Niles are snobby intellectuals (though endearing in their inability to solve their own problems while helping others), and Martin is more of a “regular guy,” so that dichotomy generates clashes. Lilith makes several appearances on Frasier under various premises, from calling in to his radio show to sleeping with Niles due to despair that her next husband left her for a man.

One amusing piece of trivia is that Frasier had announced on Cheers that his father died. That had to be retconned into the Frasier universe by revealing that Frasier had lied about his father dying. The fab theme song “Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs” was composed by Bruce Miller and sung by Grammer. Though the show is very Seattle-centric, only one episode was actually filmed there; the rest were shot at Paramount Studios and around Los Angeles. (All info from Wikipedia.)

~*~

Paula Light is a poet, novelist, flash fiction fan, cupcake connoisseur, mom, grandma, cat mommy, etc. Her blog can be found at http://paulalight.com.

TV Draft Round 9 – Pick 7 – Paula Selects – L.A. Law

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Paula at http://paulalight.com

LA Law

LA Law

 Welcome back to Max’s Power Pop! Today I am discussing the legal drama series LA LAW, which ran for eight seasons – from September 1986 to May 1994 – and was based around a fictional Los Angeles law firm called McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak (later Becker was added to the name). Filming took place in downtown Los Angeles. Steven Bochco and Terry Louis Fisher created the popular show; it won 15 Emmy Awards, four of which were for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. Fisher was fired from the show during the second season and filed a lawsuit against Bochco and the studio, creating a legal drama within a legal drama.

“The show contains many of Bochco’s trademark features, including an ensemble cast, large number of parallel storylines, social drama, and off-the-wall humor. It reflects the social and cultural ideologies that were occurring when the show was produced in the 1980s and early 1990s, and many of the cases featured on the show dealt with hot-button issues such as capital punishment, abortion, racism, homophobia, sexual harassment, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence. The series often also reflects social tensions between the wealthy senior lawyer protagonists and their less well–paid junior staff.” ~ Wikipedia

The eight main characters on the show pictured above were played by the following actors (first row, left to right): Jill Eikenberry as Ann Kelsey (associate/partner), Richard Dysart as Leland McKenzie (senior partner), Harry Hamlin as Michael Kuzak (partner), and Michele Greene as Abby Perkins (associate). On the second row, left to right, we have Michael Tucker as Stuart Markowitz (associate/partner and husband of Ann Kelsey), Alan Rachins as Douglas Brackman, Jr. (managing partner/interim senior partner), Corbin Bernsen as Arnie Becker (partner), and Jimmy Smits as Victor Sifuentes (associate).

Additionally, there were a number of recurring roles, such as Susan Ruttan as Roxanne Melman (secretary), Susan Dey as Grace Owens (deputy district attorney, etc.), and Blair Underwood as Jonathan Rollins, an associate who cross-examined a man to death (one of my favorite scenes!). The show also featured relatively unknown guest stars that went on to greater success, such as Jeffrey Tambor, Kathy Bates, David Schwimmer, Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey, William H. Macy, Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, and Lucy Liu. There were also some famous faces who appeared as themselves in cameos, such as Buddy Hackett and Vanna White.

The show presented so many interesting and varied storylines about the law, business practices in general, romantic and other relationships, and family life. I particularly enjoyed the episodes where Roxanne had a significant role. Unfortunately, LA Law ended abruptly after the eighth season without any wrap-up or finale. Shows about lawyers remain a popular theme though, and there have been many other legal dramas since LA Law, including Suits, with our favorite duchess Meghan Markle, and Better Call Saul, the prequel sequel to Breaking Bad.

~*~

Paula Light is a poet, novelist, flash fiction fan, cupcake connoisseur, mom, grandma, cat mommy, etc. Her blog can be found at http://paulalight.com.

TV Draft Round 8 – Pick 8 – Paula Selects – Curb Your Enthusiasm

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Paula at http://paulalight.com

Curb Your Enth

Curb Your Enthusiasm

 Omgosh I love this show! Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld, created the Curb concept and launched the show post-Seinfeld in October 2000. He stars in every episode as a fictionalized version of himself ~ a wealthy entertainment professional living a posh life in Los Angeles who doesn’t quite get the hang of social interaction and focuses on what he considers insults while committing many missteps himself. I guess fictionalized Larry might be “on the spectrum,” though that isn’t discussed. Cheryl Hines stars as his wife/ex-wife and Jeff Garlin is hilarious as his manager. Susie Essman plays Jeff’s wife and imo she is the funniest character with the best lines. Also very funny is J.B. Smoove, a hurricane refugee whom Larry and Cheryl shelter; he ends up as a regular, living in Larry’s guest quarters. The episodes where Smoove tries to find a “Mary Ferguson” to take the place of a Mary Ferguson who ditched him and their travel plans are absolutely side-splitting.

But I’m jumping ahead ~ the MF eps are in S11 (the latest one). Yep, Curb goes up to 11, and Larry has confirmed that there will be a Season 12. I’m so excited! If you don’t watch this show, but are a Seinfeld fan, I highly recommend catching up. Curb is also about the minutiae of daily life and the small misunderstandings that can morph into big dramas and ruin relationships. The show was developed from a one-hour comedy show that Larry did in 1999, which was shot as a “mockumentary.” Curb continues that style, with Larry outlining each ep and then relying on the actors to provide funny improvisational dialog, which is called retroscripting (all info is from Wikipedia). The show has been a huge success ~ nominated for 47 Emmy Awards and winning the 2002 Golden Globe for Best TV Series (music/comedy).

One of my favorite eps is S3e9 when Larry and Cheryl are still married and she has her family over for the Christmas holidays. Larry is Jewish, and he has no idea that the cookies Cheryl and fam have baked are for a special manger scene they’re going to set up. He eats the baby Jesus and everyone is mad at him. Season 4 starts out with several great eps, including such fab guest stars as Mel Brooks and Ben Stiller. This Season features a theme of Larry getting one “free pass” from Cheryl to be unfaithful during their marriage and he wants to cash it in, resulting in several hilarious attempts. Cheryl and Larry renew their wedding vows during this season and have a big argument over whether to love each other until death (Larry’s preference) or for all eternity (Cheryl’s). In S6 and beyond, Cheryl and Larry split up for good, and we get to see Larry going on dates, getting served with a fatwa, opening a spite store, and being forced to cast a terrible actress in his new show when her burglar uncle drowns in Larry’s unfenced pool. Larry ends up trapped in a relationship with an unattractive city council member (Tracey Ullman) in hopes of revoking the law about fencing pools, and Smoove says Larry is putting “bad miles” on his penis.

Can’t wait for S12!

~*~

Paula Light is a poet, novelist, flash fiction fan, cupcake connoisseur, mom, grandma, cat mommy, etc. Her blog can be found at http://paulalight.com.

TV Draft Round 7 – Pick 1 – Paula Selects – All In The Family

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Paula at http://paulalight.com

I’m extra-excited to do this write-up because not only was All in the Family one of my favorite shows way back when, but it’s also one of the few that stands the test of time. So many other shows that I enjoyed in my youth are impossible for me to watch now because they are so full of sexism and jokes that just fall flat. AITF was unique in that it took the common bigotries and stuffed them into the character of Archie Bunker so the rest of us could see how ridiculous they were. (Sadly, many of them persist regardless.) But in his way, Archie was lovable, and he did end up changing, especially after his wife Edith died and he went on to the spin-off Archie Bunker’s Place.

AITF was a sitcom created by Norman Lear. It debuted on CBS on January 12, 1971 (over 50 years ago!) and ran for nine seasons. The show was based on a British sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, and it was produced by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin. Carroll O’Connor played the main character Archie Bunker, Jean Stapleton played his wife Edith, Sally Struthers played their daughter Gloria, and Rob Reiner played Gloria’s husband Michael Stivic. Most people will recognize the opening theme song “Those Were the Days,” which Archie and Edith warbled off-key, thus beginning each episode on a funny note. [My source for this post is Wikipedia.]

The writing touched upon many issues that had previously been avoided on network comedy: abortion, anti-Semitism, homosexuality, rape, religion, cancer, menopause, etc. Due to its bravery in tackling these topics, AITF has been regarded as one of the greatest series in history. It also went from meh Nielsen ratings in the first season to No. 1 during summer reruns and afterward. The Writers Guild of America ranked it as the fourth-best written TV series ever.

The premise of the show is that Archie, a middle-aged working-class white man in Queens, NY, has the perpetual grumps toward his family, his neighbors, and the world in general. He is narrow-minded and conservative, and he views people strictly through his prejudices and stereotypes. One of the most frequent targets of his snide asides is his son-in-law Michael, a graduate student with a Polish background. Archie calls him “Meathead,” and Michael earnestly tries to enlighten Archie about new cultural ideas resulting in much hilarity for the audience.

To save money, the Stivics live with the Bunkers, so there are plenty of opportunities for the two men to butt heads, over topics major and minor.

Gloria is often exasperated with their arguments, but since she’s a feminist, she’ll take a stand on issues relating to women’s rights. She also gets particularly incensed at the inconsiderate way Archie treats her mom. For her part, Edith tries to keep the peace in their home by ignoring Archie’s nasty comments.

Another frequent target of Archie’s snark is a family of black neighbors, the Jeffersons. George Jefferson (played by Sherman Hemsley) is hilarious in his own right and ends up successful and wealthy enough to move out of the neighborhood to a posh place. The Jeffersons is a spin-off of AITF (there are many!), with George and Louise living in a luxury building (kinda similar to the one in Only Murders!).

If you’ve never seen AITF, I highly recommend checking out a few eps. Personally, I never get tired of stumbling across a clip here or there. This is one of my favorites, and it never fails to make me laugh.

~*~

Paula Light is a poet, novelist, flash fiction fan, cupcake connoisseur, mom, grandma, cat mommy, etc. Her blog can be found at http://paulalight.com.

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 2 – Paula Selects – Tell Me Your Secrets

Tell Me Your Secrets

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Paula at http://paulalight.com

Tell Me Your Secrets

I recently binged this thriller drama series on Prime, and I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with it. None of the characters are likeable, not even in a Tony Soprano funny but loveable mafia thug way, but it was hard to look away from the show. The story was strangely compelling, and I needed to know what happened to these fictional people I didn’t like at all! I guess that makes the writing successful.

The series was created by Harriet Warner and premiered on Prime in February 2021. There are four main characters: Emma Hall (played by Lily Rabe), Mary Barlow (Amy Brenneman), John Tyler (Hamish Linklater), and Peter Guillory (Enrique Murciano). I would also argue that there is a fifth main character, shown only in flashback, and that is Christopher (Kit) Parker, played by Xavier Samuel.

The show begins with the imprisoned Karen Miller agreeing to give up some info on Kit Parker, her former boyfriend who is also in prison for murder, and thus Karen is rewarded with a new identity as Emma Hall and placed into witness protection. One of the first problems for Emma is that due to PTSD she is able only to summon up vague flashes of unreliable memories, though it appears she is trying to cooperate with Peter, her parole officer. Some of her flashbacks make her appear to be an accomplice to Kit’s abductions/murders, and other times she seems like a victim who narrowly escaped, though Emma isn’t sure and neither are we. Peter sets her up in an old house in Saint James, Louisiana, which is located conveniently close to his own residence. It turns out that he has an unsavory history involving some other locals, and this takes a while to untangle, and he seems creepier as time goes by. Emma finds work in her former profession as a hairstylist, and she makes a few friends as well as enemies. Soon Emma becomes romantically involved with a local police officer, Tom Johnston (played by Marque Richardson), which brings a new set of complications. We also discover that Kit killed himself in his cell after reading a goodbye letter from Karen (who is now Emma), and Emma’s reaction is confusing. Did she love him, or was she terrified by him? Maybe both.

Simultaneously, back in Texas, Mary is obsessed with finding her missing daughter Theresa. She believes that, unlike Kit’s other victims, Theresa is still alive somewhere. Her husband and son disagree and urge Mary to accept that Theresa is dead and move on, but she refuses. John Tyler, a convicted serial rapist who has done his time, shows up at Mary’s foundation one day for a meeting and offers his services to help women feel safer, as he says he knows all an abductor’s tricks, and supposedly his motivation is redemption for his past crimes. Mary says no thanks because he won’t specifically focus on Theresa, but a bit later in the episode when Mary offers him a job with an expense account to find Karen (Emma) instead, John agrees. It is driving Mary nuts that the system is helping Karen (Emma) create a new life after they failed to find Theresa ~ and Mary believes that Karen (Emma) helped Kit with his abductions.

OK, so this might be an unpopular opinion, but I actually found John to be the most interesting character, though of course he’s still a bad guy overall. But his motivations are layered, while the other characters are much less complex. Mary is just an annoying beyotch, though I can certainly understand her unrelenting focus on her daughter. Emma grates on my nerves with her wishy-washy behaviors and bad decisions. Peter begins to seem more and more sinister as the episodes roll on and not in a sexy way despite his appearance. Some of the side stories are fascinating in their own right, such as the complex dynamics within one of the town’s prominent families, the Lords. Bodie Lord (played by Richard Thomas) has an increasingly dramatic role in the second half of S1. Emma has a run-in with Bodie’s daughter Rose (Chiara Aurelia), due to breaking up a fight, and her mother Diana (Katherine Willis), due to a hair coloring mishap, but Emma and Rose eventually become friends. The girl Rose was fighting with turns up dead, and when Emma shows Pete where she found the body, the body has disappeared. Meanwhile, John methodically runs down every possible lead within Karen’s former life to try to locate her in the present time with her new identity. It’s fascinating how he manipulates people, and you can easily see how his skills can be used for bad or good.

But what absolutely blew me away, and made the whole series worthwhile, was the E10 season finale. In no way did I ever see that coming! Honestly, I don’t know how the writers could top that shocker in a second season, but we’ll see. So far, no word on whether S2 will be happening.

Side note: some may find the storyline involving Bodie particularly relevant due to the current SCOTUS leak regarding Roe v Wade.

~*~

Paula Light is a poet, novelist, flash fiction fan, cupcake connoisseur, mom, grandma, cat mommy, etc. Her blog can be found at http://paulalight.com.

TV Draft Round 4 – Pick 4 – Paula Selects – Six Feet Under

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 7 rounds will be posted here. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Paula from http://paulalight.com

Six Feet Under

Six Feet Under is probably my favorite television series of all time. But do you know what? I never want to rewatch it. I’ve rewatched Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, etc., but I prefer that 6FU remain pure in my mind without getting tarnished by new thoughts. Because I always have new thoughts about old faves! (Info source for this post is from Wikipedia.)

Anyway, 6FU was created by Alan Ball and premiered on HBO June 3, 2001 (my mom’s birthday). It ran for five seasons with 63 episodes. Each show begins with an unusual death of some kind and continues from there. The pilot kicks off with the death of Nathaniel Fisher, Sr. (played by Richard Jenkins), patriarch of the Fisher family, as he tries to light a cigarette while driving. Fisher is the owner of a Los Angeles mortuary and leaves behind a wife, 2 sons, and a daughter. The eldest son, Nate (played by Peter Krause) is estranged from the family but still returns for the funeral ~ on the flight he meets Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) and has sex with her. This isn’t a one-time fling, as she is a recurring character with interesting storylines of her own, including some with her psycho brother Billy (Jeremy Sisto).

Probably the most interesting character is the second son David (Michael C. Hall), who seems to be a straight-laced, rule-following conservative, but he is actually leading a double life as a gay man with a sexy boyfriend, police officer Keith (Mathew St. Patrick). David wants to keep the funeral home going, but Nate wants to sell it and skedaddle… he has second thoughts when his father’s ghost appears (perhaps his subconscious, as the show generally does not dive into the supernatural). David fights to keep his sexual orientation a secret, which upsets Keith to the point that he breaks off the relationship. David then goes on a series of dates, which I found personally amusing, as they mirrored my own horrifying dating experiences.

The mom Ruth (Frances Conroy) has a secret boyfriend and decides she doesn’t want anything further to do with the mortuary, though as a psychologist, she has opinions about everything. I found her character to be annoying and my least favorite, while others I’ve talked to about the show have the opposite opinion! Claire (Lauren Ambrose) is still in high school and consumed with the typical drugs and boyfriend gossipy drama as one might predict. She becomes more interesting as the episodes roll on and develops an attraction to Billy, which is scary. I don’t want to give away too much, but the Brenda/Billy situation is bizarre and fascinating. Federico, the corpse artist (played by Freddy Rodriguez) is interesting as well and has some funny lines.

While this show is obviously about dealing with death and the practicalities surrounding funeral arrangements, it’s also about family and relationships, and how complex and interrelated life events can be. I highly recommend it ~ and oh my gosh the finale is to die for! I’m sorry but no one can touch this ending, which is the best episode in TV history. Six Feet Under rightfully received high praise for both writing and acting and drew high ratings for HBO. It won many awards ~ 9 Emmys, 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards, 3 Golden Globes, and a Peabody. Fabulous show!

~*~

Paula Light is a poet, novelist, flash fiction fan, cupcake connoisseur, mom, grandma, cat mommy, etc. Her blog can be found at http://paulalight.com.

TV Draft Recap Rounds 1 & 2

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 8 rounds will be posted here. We will have 64 different TV Shows by 8 different writers. I hope you will enjoy it! 

This is a recap of rounds one and two that were held earlier. Hope you will join us on April 11, 2022… Monday at 9am CST to kick it off. 

Round 1TV ShowWho PostedHome Site
1.Doctor WhoVichttps://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
2.The Sopranos Mikehttps://musiccitymike.net
3.Bozo’s Circus Johnhttps://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
4.Barney MillerMaxhttps://powerpop.blog
5.The WireKirkhttps://slicethelife.com/
6.Police SquadKeithhttps://nostalgicitalian.com/
7.Only Murders in the Building (OMITB)Paulahttp://paulalight.com
Round 2
1.The Odd CoupleMikehttps://musiccitymike.net
2.Cartoon TownJohnhttps://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
3.Fawlty TowersMaxhttps://powerpop.blog
4.Rockford FilesKirkhttps://slicethelife.com/
5.Mission ImpossibleKeithhttps://nostalgicitalian.com/
6.FireflyVichttps://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/