Monday, January 15, 2018

Media: "It's very rude of him," she said, "To come and spoil the fun!"

A weird week, from start to end.

There was the supposed support for survivors of assault and rape at the Golden Globes last Sunday -- supporting them by applauding *alleged* rapist Kirk Douglas?

  1. Twitter Calls Out Golden Globes For Honoring Kirk Douglas, Accused of Raping Natalie Wood: ‘Not a Good Look'

Apparently, Natalie Wood deserves no sympathy.

It's bad enough that TCM has been selling the great 'love' of Kirk and Ann Douglas (they share a love for money, at least), but to see so many at the Golden Globes stand up and applaud the rapist?

Did they have a clue?

No, they didn't.

Nor did the press.  Oprah Winfrey's been praised for a very bad speech that took up 998 words and was off message and factually wrong repeatedly.

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At one point, she whined, "They're the women whose names we'll never know."

But, in fact, the names the viewers would never know were the men who survived assault and rape because although MeToo#'s biggest takedown was Kevin Spacey and Kevin Spacey's victims are said to be boys and men, Oprah and the other women couldn't acknowledge these men who came forward.

Oprah was "proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories" but that pride didn't extend to Anthony Edwards (Jonathan Schaech, another high profile example, would tell his story after the Golden Globes aired).

She was especially off topic when insisting she had "gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue."

What children did Rose McGowan have?

None and she's done more than anyone.

It has nothing to do with having children -- something the childless Oprah should grasp.

She was all over the map.

And, of course, the second biggest take down, Harvey Weinstein, was her best buddy -- as countless photos of the two attest.

More to the point, where was her concern for Jordie?

Or does she think we forget him?

The child Michael Jackson had to pay millions to, the child she met before sitting down with Michael to do a puff piece posing as journalism.

What about Jordie?  Molested by Michael Jackson.  A detail never mentioned on her special with Michael that over 90 million people watched.

Oprah's no one's political hero.  She's damaged by her own relationships and could go under at any minute.

In other words, step back from Oprah lest you drown with her.

In the days after the broadcast of the Golden Globes, two themes emerged in the press.

1) Oprah for president.  Because closeted lesbians always make the best leaders?

2) Poor Michelle Williams.

That second one?  It dominated last week.

We weren't aware that Michelle was involved.  We were told she was.  But we refused to believe it because we loosely know her.

But she was involved, it turns out.

Involved in what?

We're back to Kevin Spacey.  And we'll be back to him to one more time still before this piece is over.

But for now, this is about ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.

Both the film itself and greed -- passive-aggressive greed.

Kevin Spacey filmed a role in ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, his scandal broke, it was decided to refilm his scenes with another actor.

For the reshoots, Michelle Williams went around grabbing press attention insisting she reshot for free (not really, she did take a per diem) and that she did it because it mattered to her, the principal.  She really didn't define the principal but we'll get back to that later.

Mark Wahlberg?

He got paid $1.5 million for the reshoots.


Because she has lousy representation and he had a strong contract.  (Not unlike this analysis noted early on last week.)

Mark had cast approval written into his contract, he and his representation used that to get the $1.5 million.

This was played as "poor Michelle" and as an issue of gender pay.

It wasn't.

It was a case of woman revealing she's a cold hearted bitch.

And if you think that's harsh, grasp that until Saturday we had always been Team Michelle.  The ones who never were, men and women responsible for hiring, they think she's a money grubbing blackmailing bitch and she's going to find a very harsh future awaits her.

She spent a week making Mark the poster boy for all that was wrong in Hollywood until he donated the $1.5 million to Times Up! and then she emerged from the shadows with a statement thanking her "fellow actresses [who] stood by me and stood up for me."

We call her a bitch now.  Most others in the industry use a much harsher term.

When you go for money, you get a reputation and Michelle has it now.

Lots of luck selling yourself as Janis Joplin with that new film, Michelle.

As one (female) producer pointed out, Michelle's never been bankable and she's had a few leads "but so did Carrie Snodgress and look how that career unwinded."

She tarred and feathered Mark Wahlberg and blackmailed $1.5 million out of him.

She's trash.  Watch her for the next few years as the projects she's already signed for make it to the screen (briefly) and then look for her on basic cable where she might get a guest starring arc.

You don't do what she did without paying a cost. 

And no one wants to work with her now.

At 37, she's been around for decades and never established herself as box office.  It's character parts for her, if she's lucky.  She brought it on herself and our defense of her last week is the last time we will ever defend her.

We've defended Jamie Lee Curtis for years.

Now we wonder why.

As the week drew to a close, the big talk in the entertainment industry was Eliza Dushku coming forward to explain she was assaulted by the stunt coordinator Joel Kramer while filming TRUE LIES at the age of eleven.

Where was Jamie Lee?

Tweeting about Donald Trump.

It had already been a bad week for Jamie Lee.

She had reTweeted this:

Two weeks ago a 26-year old soldier raced repeatedly into a burning Bronx apartment building, saving four people before he died in the flames. His name was Pvt. Emmanuel Mensah and he immigrated from Ghana, a country Donald Trump apparently thinks produces very subpar immigrants.

Sorry, Jamie Lee, you don't get to rehab William Kristol or any other neocon pimping war on Iraq.

In other words, f**k you, Jamie With A Penis.

On Sunday, Jamie Lee could suddenly comment on Eliza's revelations -- using the term "alleged" and confessing that a few years ago Eliza told her about what happened.  But Jamie didn't do anything, did she?


And even now, she's using "alleged.''

Alleged describes Jamie having a penis.

"Alleged" is not saying that Kelly Curtis, her older sister, looks like a woman and always has.  That's reality.

"Alleged" is not noting that as young girls -- check out the photos -- Kelly looks like a girl and Jamie looks like a boy with long hair.  Again, that's reality.

"How dare you!" Jamie Lee hisses on YOUTUBE in the hilarious clip where she's (finally) asked if she was born with a penis.

That is the rumor.  It's been a rumor for years.  The rumor's even made it into print.

"How dare you!" Jamie Lee hissed insisting she had children (adopted).

She does have children.

And there are children, to this day, born with both sex organs.

So maybe Jamie Lee should be helpful and caring and say, once and for all, "That's what happened to me" or "That's just a rumor."

Instead, she's the one treating it as shameful and embarrassing and something that can't be spoken of.

She's an adult.  She needs to learn to speak about adult topics and grow the hell up instead of hiding behind, "How dare you!"

If it's true, it's true.  If it's not, it's not.

But she doesn't need to treat the topic as though it's shameful and embarrassing.

Kevin Spacey's been shamed and embarrassed out of a career.

Should that be the case?

Here's a list of 13 accusers of Kevin Spacey.

Anthony Rapp got things rolling.  The actor came forward to say that when he was 14, he went to a party at Kevin Spacey's apartment -- Spacey was then 26 or 27.  He went off into Kevin's bedroom and watched TV until past midnight when Kevin showed up in the doorway of his own bedroom and, per Rapp, was obviously drunk.  From BUZZFEED:

Rapp recalled this all happening — Spacey appearing at the door, coming into the room, picking him up, and putting him on the bed — in one clumsy action, with Spacey landing at a slight angle on top of him. He said Spacey “was, like, pressing into me,” and that he remembers Spacey “tightening his arms.” But while he can't recall exactly how long Spacey remained on top of him, Rapp said he was able to “squirm” away after a short period.

That must have been very scary for Rapp and we don't doubt what he says happened.

But whether Kevin knew his age or not, we don't know.

We also don't know what Anthony Rapp, now well over 40, would think if he came into his own bedroom after midnight to find one of his partygoers on his bed -- after all the other party goers have left.

Rapp is gay and out.  But in his tale there's more than a little bit of homophobia in his remarks -- both in the description (that makes no sense) of being carried by Spacey (if he was already on the bed why did Spacey carry him to the bed?) and in his remarks about what happened when he was (alone) in Spacey's bedroom and saw a photo of Spacey hugging another man.

What happened wasn't rape.

If Kevin knew the age of the boy, it was more than wrong.

If he didn't know the boy's age then it was a pass.

And nothing more.

Now Richard Dreyfuss son came out and said that Spacey actively flirted with him and groped him in front of his father.  Richard congratulated his son and then found out that he could be called out for his own actions.

Harry Dreyfuss says he told his story "at parties for laughs" for years.

There's a 2008 alleged assault that's being investigated.  If it's found to be true then that's a serious issue and a crime.

We're not going to weigh in on someone who wants to tell their story of what allegedly happened when they were 14 and yet they don't want to provide their name.

We're all for rape victims filing charges and having their names protected.

We are not for someone coming forward to say "This happened to me too but I don't want to give my name."

That coming forward happened at such a time that it fueled panic and hostility towards Kevin Spacey.

For that reason, the person should have provided his name.

Package gropes?  Etc?

If we cried assault every time our ass was grabbed, we wouldn't have time for anything else.

Does that mean it's right to grab someone's ass or their 'junk' or their breasts?


But it also means that if we're against assault in the 13 cases USA TODAY provided, we're not seeing rape in one of them.  We're not seeing anything going forward once the person made clear their displeasure.

We do not think Kevin Spacey should ever be in charge at the Old Vic because one of his 13 involves him pressuring/flirting with someone working under him.

Kevin Spacey's a good actor.  He did six years on HOUSE OF CARDS.  He's not accused of anything on that set though.  Although certain parties did leak, during the Spacey hysteria, that certain young males were told not to go into his trailer alone.  What happened if they did?  Supposedly Kevin flirted and propositioned with them.

Newsflash for all the pearl clutchers, women have had to deal with men flirting with them for years.  You may not like it -- and a number of men (including two gay men) did not -- but that's too bad, that's just life.

Ben Affleck's a friend.

Ben grabbed some woman's butt and he's suddenly Butt Man and made to go into hiding.

Reality, grow up.

If you're offended because Ben or anyone grabs your butt, you say so.  You can even slap him.

Reality, Ben doesn't think he's hot or good looking.

He grew up believing he was goofy looking.  This was as a teenager and continued through his early adult years.

When he started his career, he was not cast in parts for good looking men.

When he became good looking (all it took was a stylist and some confidence), women that ignored him were suddenly all over him.  Is that an excuse for him to grab a woman's butt?


But grabbing a butt -- even our butts -- is not the end of the world.

He went through a phase and grew out of it.

That's not true of Al Franken, of course.

We've called out Al Franken and we've called out Harvey Weinstein.  We did so because we know them and we know what they did.

But  not all cases are so clear because we do not monitor the entire world.

Apparently some do -- or think they do.

Last week saw Mira Sorvino and two we-never-heard-of-them-befores announce that they would never work with Woody Allen again.


He raped them?


He assaulted them?


Because Dylan Farrow insists that she was molested by him.

Dylan Farrow?

She's not an actress.  She lacks talent and she's unattractive.

She's another in the line of Gary Crosby, Christina Crawford and B.D. Hyman.

Children of someone famous who never achieved anything on their own.

At least Crosby, Crawford, Hyman and Parker managed to produce books.

Dylan is the adopted daughter of Academy Award winning film maker Woody Allen and failed TV actress Mia Farrow.

That is what Mia is -- a failed TV actress.  She was a semi-popular actress on the TV soap opera PEYTON PLACE and that popularity was inflated with her affair with and marriage to Frank Sinatra.  After that, she starred in one hit film (and was out acted by everyone -- including Ruth Gordin and Charles Grodin) ROSEMARY'S BABY.

That one hit (in 1968) was followed by one flop after another.

Teaming, as a freak show, PSYCHO and ROSEMARY'S BABY star in ROMANTIC COMEDY, brought her to the attention of Woody Allen.

But Mia, like Mira, now disowns Woody.

A real shame since nine or ten films with Woody are classics.

Mia disowns a lot.

Like a friend.  There was a friend she had who had a big, nasty divorce.  The friend took the sole child with her.  The child missed her aunt (who lived with the couple and their child).  To 'help,' an incident was 'relived.'  The aunt, on the phone on a private call, had closed the door once and it had closed on the little girl's hand.  That moment was relived over and over for 24 hours by two adults and the child, relived and reshaped.  In 1989, Mia was fascinated by that event.

Interesting, isn't it?  How a child's memory of an even can be shaped and manipulated.

Dylan insists she was molested.

The prosecution had a New Haven - Yale team review the events and they found Dylan had not been molested.

With this contested event, Mira's decided she can no longer work with Woody.

Now to be clear, Woody and Mira last worked together on 1995's MIGHTY APHRODITE.

He's basically made a film a year during the 27 years since and never felt the need to ask Mira to do another film.

So it's sort of an empty gesture.

But if Mira wants to disown that film, it really only leaves her with ROMY AND MICHELLE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION.

We're reminded of the laughable Gloria Steinem.  MOVING BEYOND WORDS was published after Mia and Woody had their public split.  And Gloria felt the need to attack Woody in the book and insist that women should be working with filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola.

People laughed in real time -- and for good reason.

Francis (who we consider a friend) is not known for great women's films or roles.  Diane Keaton was not provided with a role in the first GODFATHER.  And let's not forget the way he brutalized (and that is the word, Francis) Winona Ryder on the set of 1992's DRACULA.

So the 1993 claim by Gloria was hilarious.

Woody Allen's provided many memorable roles for women.  Some, like Mia, achieved nothing outside of Woody's films.  Or, like Mira, achieved once or twice outside of Woody's films.

Judy Davis, Diane Keaton, Dianne Weist (whom Mia hates), Elaine May, Louise Lasser, Anjelica Huston, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Parker Posey, Penelope Cruz, Tracey Ullman, Barbara Hershey, Debra Messing, Tea Leoni, Shelley Duvall, Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Miley Cyrus, Joy Behar, Kristen Stewart, Charlotte Rae, Colleen Dewhurst, Kathy Bates, Jodie Foster, Lily Tomlin, Emma Stone, Julie Kavner, Judith Malina, Freida Pinto, Geradline Page,  Gwen Verdon, Bernadette Peters, Carrie Fisher, Charlotte Rampling, Janet Margolin, Carol Kane, Maureen Stapleton, Mary Beth Hurt, Nati Abascal, Lynn Redgrave, Mary Steenburgen, Julie Hagerty, Elaine Stritch, Sandy Dennis, Blythe Danner, Gena Rowlands, Cybill Shepherd, Joanna Gleason, Kate Nelligan, Goldie Hawn, Drew Barrymore, Natasha Lyonne, Gabby Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Mariel Hemingway, Demi Moore, Kirstie Alley, Helena Bonham Carter and Patricia Clarkson are among the women who've achieved significantly in Woody's films.

Forget Francis Ford Coppola, not even "women's director" George Cukor could lay claim to a list like that.

Did Woody molest Dylan?

We don't know.

But we do know that she's tried to act like she's Lucie Arnaz when she's not even Sachi Parker.

She's the daughter of a has-been Mia Farrow and she's a little nothing.

Unable to go after Woody apparently, she tries to attack women who've worked with him.

They don't owe her a damn thing.

And all she's done is damage her own case.

We were on her side for years.  It's only 2014 when she overplayed her hand.

She's her own worst enemy and if she truly believes it happened and she has still not gotten over it to the point that a Woody film being released 'triggers' her -- she has more mental problems than anyone we've ever known.

Mira and others like her (Ellen Page) were lucky to work with Woody.  They've burned that bridge based not on what Woody did on his sets but on what he may or may not have done in his personal life.

"Witch hunt."

People are tossing the term around.

For good reason.

Matt Damon -- an ass, yes -- attempted to help come up with some parameters.

He was slammed for it.

Liam Neeson, over the weekend, was being attacked for 'mansplaining' when he compared some of the targeting to a witch hunt.

'Mansplaining,' as one comment online noted, is the perfect way to avoid dealing with an issue being raised.

Ashley Judd, a victim of Harvey Weinstein (but not of others she apparently slept with for her career), felt the need to congratulate James Franco last week.

We love Baby Franco.

And word that he might have assaulted women has us very appalled and sad.

Franco's reaction was to acknowledge the charges and to basically say he was not going to defend himself because this was so serious  --

No, James.


If it's not true, you defend yourself.

This is national conversation.

We remember when Dylan first resurfaced and was attacking Diane Keaton among others.

Certain 'sisters' online wanted to control the conversation.

They started issuing rules.

It was not, they insisted, pertinent and shouldn't even be raised that Mama Mia had defended Roman Polanski (who committed statutory rape -- several times he committed it -- once he confessed to it) or that the only member of Mia's circle convicted of child molestation was her own brother -- a detail she and Dylan never discuss.

Sorry, but it is pertinent.

She's attacking others and that's when she lost our sympathy and made us question the support we'd given her over the years.

Diane Keaton has known Woody Allen for decades. At one point, they were lovers.  She doesn't believe that he would molest a child.  That's her right.  She knows him.  She can make her call.

That doesn't mean it's the right call.  Doesn't mean it's the wrong call.

But that's her friend, her former companion and who the hell is Dylan to try to shame her for that?

Dylan the liar who tried to pretend like she and Diane were friends when they never were.

Dylan had her case heard before the American people and in a New York court in 1992.

We've all moved on.  Most of us have accepted that we'll probably never know for sure what did or did not happen.

But here's Dylan whining again about something from decades ago.

Has nothing in her life ever gone right?

Is she forever defined by the age of five?

Many women and girls -- and, yes, men and boys -- have gone through traumatic moments including assault and rape and have gone on from that.  It's the difference between survivor and victim.

If, at this late date, Dylan still can't process what she thinks happened, she's sick beyond repair.

And our society's pretty sick as well.

Dylan has nothing to back up what she says.

But we're yet again supposed to run someone off because of the charges made by one person.

And it's someone who didn't give a damn about the boys her uncle molested.  She's never said a word about that, has she?

But she can attack this actress or this actor for working with Woody?

We're sick of it.

She thinks she can nag the country into going along with her campaign against Woody.

Assault and rape are very serious.

And we should make every effort to ensure they don't happen.

But there's a world of difference between some of what's being accepted as fact and assault and/or rape.

Michael Douglas was in the news last week as well.

He says that a magazine was about to run a story on him where a woman claims he assaulted her and masturbated in front of her.

Some of his statements were laughable.  He called the woman a "feminist," for example.  He acted like that was a good thing.  But he hates feminists and he always has and even the reporters should know that.

Some of his statements rang true.

And he certainly has a right to defend himself.

As does James Franco.

And shame on any aged sexpot whose cheeks have been stretched out with fillers who tries to say that the appropriate response for any man accused of assault and/or rape is to be silent.

That's not the real world, it's not the adult world.

It may be the world of Miss Mary's Kindergarten Experience but we're adults -- or we're supposed to be.

Aziz Ansari acted like an adult.  He still ended up in the news last week.

He went out on a date.  They left dinner early to go back to his place.  He went down on a woman.  She went to the bathroom.  She came back and went down on him for a bit.  She decided she didn't like it and left.

That's not rape.

That's not assault.

We're not even sure it qualifies as a bad date.

But Aziz has to do a dance where he walks around now saying he's considering the feedback.

What feedback?

She didn't like the date?

Oh, damn well on the woman.

A date you don't like?  It's not a legal matter.  There are lots of dates people go on that they don't like.

All of this kind of crap deflects from real assault and real rape.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

Lewis Carroll wrote those words centuries ago.

Reality, the moon has a right to be there and so does the sun.

And if that is spoiling someone's fun, too bad.  And if it spoils the fun to point out that a bad date or a groped butt is not rape, too bad. 

As the Walrus says, "I weep for you, I deeply sympathize."  But we can cry with you while also agreeing that no law was broken.  Bad experiences don't have to be crimes to be unfortunate moments.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Truest statement of the week

He was publisher when Times senior reporter Judith Miller propagandized the lies about “weapons of mass destruction” and fabricated ties between Baghdad and Al Qaeda that were use to foist the 2003 war against Iraq onto the American people. Under his stewardship, a stable of editorial commentators, among them the ineffable Thomas Friedman, were employed to cloak every US war of aggression under the false mantles of “human rights,” “democracy” and the “war on terror.”
The cost of these wars is numbered in the millions of dead and wounded, the tens of millions turned into homeless refugees and entire regions of the globe reduced to chaos and destruction. The Times, in its role as the leading purveyor of war propaganda and the trendsetter for the national media, and Sulzberger personally as its publisher, have blood on their hands.

-- Bill Van Auken, "Sulzbergers pass gilded baton at the New York Times" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

I began writing for Black Agenda Report over four years ago. As a "non-Black" identified person of color, Black Agenda Report's commitment to the Black Radical Tradition was an inspiration in a period marked by deep political reaction. Black Agenda Report did not betray its political principles in the face of the first Black President at a time when there was immense pressure to do so. Black Agenda Report not only provided a forum for Black left political thought and action, but also advanced necessary debates in service of movements for social transformation in the Black American community and oppressed communities worldwide. The conversation that has emerged from Cornel West’s critique of Coates is one that BAR has amplified since its inception and should not be left in the polluting grips of the Black political class and their white liberal allies.
Cornel West essentially outlined the political program of the Black Radical Tradition by exposing the political emptiness of Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates has made exorbitant profit from book sales and articles for publications such as The Atlantic. His recent text, Eight Years in Power capitalized on the rise of Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Obama era. Coates has benefitted from the neo-liberal brand of Black leadership that grew in strength during the era of Obama. His work on reparations, white supremacy, and the Obama-Trump phenomenon has given him a bright national spotlight. However, with one article, Cornel West illuminated how Coates has done little more than build a comfortable career in place of genuine service to the masses of poor and oppressed people in the Black community and beyond.

-- Danny Haiphong, "Cornel West Vs. Coates: A Necessary Debate That Black Agenda Report Has Amplified Since Its Inception" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

 A Sunday!!!

We pulled out all stops to finish by Sunday night.

Let's again note so 2017 review coverage in the community:

  • 2017: The Year of Chicken Little
  • Kat's Korner: 2017 in Music

  • 2016 in Books (Martha & Shirley)
  • 2017 in film (Ann and Stan)
  •  2017 in film (Ann and Stan)
  •  10 sexiest men of 2017 

  • Let's also thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

    The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
    Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
    Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
    C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
    Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
    Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
    Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
    Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
    Ruth of Ruth's Report,
    Wally of The Daily Jot,
    Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
    Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
    Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
    Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
    and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

    And what did we come up with?

    Bill Van Auken gets another truest.
    We believe this is Danny's first truest but we might be wrong.
    C.I. was at the Golden Globes and you can tell by this editorial.  She had suggested a topic about violence in Iraq.  I'd forgotten the exact details so when it was time to write, we didn't have that as a possible topic.
    Ava and C.I. completed this early Sunday.
    Trying to finish in one session and struggling for pieces, I (Jim) was thrilled when Stan mentioned that he, Betty, Ava and C.I. had worked on a piece last week but hadn't had time to finish it.  There were 7 actors for this ten list when I opened it.  We finished out the ten.
    We also wrote this one without Ava and C.I. and I think it's a strong piece.
    There were several possibilities and we went with this.
    Dona and Ty came up with this one.
    What we listened to while writing.
    And this is from the Green Party.

    See you next week.


    -- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

    Editorial: Iraq

    What we're allowed to discuss and what we aren't.

    1. WikiLeaks Retweeted Tim Pool
      Google's economic censorship of YouTube. What's OK? Video of Icelandic penises? Check. Interview with former MP who helped to produce a video on US wars crimes in Iraq? Nope.
      WikiLeaks added,

    Penises -- a-okay to expose.

    War Crimes?  Not so much.

    And you wonder why, with all this censorship, so many don't know that the war continues?

    TV: 9-1-1, please hold

    Operator: 9-1-1, what's the nature of your emergency?

    Caller: Yeah, I can't find anything to watch.  I work nights and THE CHEW, THE VIEW, 12 hours of TODAY, it's all chatter, chatter, chatter.  All my shows have been taken off the air: AS THE WORLD TURNS, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, ALL MY CHILDREN, GUIDING LIGHT, PASSIONS --

    Operator: Sir - sir -- I need to interrupt you.  This line is for emergencies and the absence of soap operas is not an emergency --

    Caller: I work a 12 hour night shift, you don't understand --

    Operator: Sir -- sir -- I'm trying to explain to you that soap operas are still on the air.  As Ava and C.I. explained at THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW for years now -- in 2010 and 2015, for example -- MTM's HILL STREET BLUES turned night dramas into soap operas by introducing the soap opera element of continuing stories. THE ROOKIES?  Self-contained episodes.  Sometimes a later episode would directly contradict an earlier one -- a character having a sister, for example in one episode and then forgotten the next.  CRAPAPEDIA has, of course, stolen from Ava and C.I. without attribution so here's a little element Ava and C.I. haven't tossed out yet -- MTM is directly responsible for soap operas in prime time.  Not only did HILL STREET BLUES turn cop dramas into soap operas, but MTM's CHEERS did the same with sitcoms.  Will Diane and Sam or won't they?  Suddenly, continuing storylines on sitcoms!  MTM's ST. ELSEWHERE?  Bye-bye MARCUS WELBY and laid the groundwork for ER and GREY'S ANATOMY.  MTM's REMINGTON STEELE . . .  Go down the list.  MTM revolutionized prime time TV by introducing the continuing storyline to every genre.  

    Caller: That I did not know.

    Operator: And you can Tivo or stream prime time programs during the day before you go to sleep or after you wake up.  Everyone of them is a soap opera -- all those NBC Chicago shows?  Soaps.  THE BLACKLIST, THE BLIND SPOT, MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD, 10 DAYS IN THE VALLEY,  THE DETOUR, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, THE MINDY PROJECT, SCORPIONS, THE BIG BANG THEORY, CLAWS, GOOD BEHAVIOR, ANIMAL KINGDOM -- Even the streaming services like HULU and NETFLIX have programs like SHUT EYE, FUTURE MAN, THE PATH, CHANCE, HEMLOCK GROVE, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, HOUSE OF CARDS, SENSE8, THE OA, STRANGER THINGS, OZARK, JESSICA JONES, IRON FIST, LUKE CAGE, DAREDEVIL, ONE DAY AT A TIME --

    Caller: Wow.

    Operator: Yeah and don't forget THE X-FILES that FOX just brought back for another mini-season or their new high profile series called, wait for it, 9-1-1.

    a new illst

    9-1-1 debuted last week -- and to good ratings.

    So good for Angela Bassett, Connie Britton, Peter Kraus and Kenneth Choi.

    But good for viewers?

    That's largely going to depend on the writing.

    Ryan Murphy's created another program.  It's his first attempt at some sort of a police-rescue procedural after success with AMERICAN HORROR STORY, GLEE, NIP/TUCK, AMERICAN CRIME STORY and FEUD.

    Connie Britton's starred in two of Murphy's previous programs and the thing to note here is that she's no Ellen Pompeo.

    Pompeo is one of the highest paid actors in TV -- or the most overpaid one.

    For fourteen seasons, the actress has played Meredith Grey on GREY'S ANATOMY.  The actress, who turns 49 this year, has never been nominated for an Emmy for her one-note 'performance' which consists mainly of snarling.  You never believe a word out of her mouth.

    Connie's the anti-Ellen Pompeo.

    She was nominated twice for FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, once for AMERICAN HORROR STORY and once for NASHVILLE.

    If that confuses you, watch 9-1-1 and notice that her 911 operator Abby is yet another new creation from Connie.  She doesn't play the same role over and over with a different character name.  She creates a different character for each project.  It's why she continues working while Ellen Pompeo has announced she plans to leave acting when GREY'S is over -- prompting wags to shoot back, "Leave it?  When did she ever try it?"

    Connie stands out and that would be the case even without her backstory -- which includes Mariette Hartley as Connie's mother.

    Being the 911 operator isn't a glamor job or an easy one.  The other actors get to do the rescues and attempted rescues, she's got to be seated and on the phone.  Take away the emergencies and Abby's basically a tele-marketer.

    It's a role that requires a real actress and Connie demonstrates how talent can pull you in -- even on stationary, talking head scenes.

    Angela Bassett has plenty of talent as well -- she's an Academy Award nominated actress and has six Emmy nominations.  On 9-1-1, she's police Sgt. Athena Grant.  She's explosive at work and at home with a strong sense of right and wrong -- both qualities may result from her husband Michael's recent revelation that he's gay.  Michael (Rockmond Dunbar) argues that she should have known he was gay even though he didn't tell her.  Athena's not having it.  She's also not having a divorce and tells her two kids that they are staying together.

    Feeling wronged, Athena's not going to be wronged again and she damn sure isn't going to be quiet when someone else is in the wrong -- like Buck (Oliver Stark) who goes all judgmental on a teen mother whom Athena yells is "a child" herself.

    Kenneth Choi plays firefighter Chimney and this is his best role so far.  He appears to know it and stretches out in in it, luxuriates in it, in ways he wasn't able to on SONS OF ANARCHY or AMERICAN CRIME.  Thus far, his character has no drama on the backburner which makes him a lot more interesting than the others and also allows him to reflect on what's going on around him -- such as with a rescue he witnesses more than participates in yet plans to use the story of the rescue -- and put himself front and center of the story -- to score dates.

    Firefighter Bobby is played by fourth series lead Peter Krause.  Krause has been nominated three times for an Emmy.  The good news here though has little to do with acting and more to do with the fact that he's not physically revolting the way he was on THE CATCH.  Krause looked bad and had no chemistry with his co-star on that show -- a major problem for the series since it was supposed to be a romantic caper show.

    Shorter hair, not greased back, and a less heavy foundation make for more a more attractive Peter.

    The role's not much.  He's basically Nurse in ROMEO AND JULIET.  In recent decades, the Nurse showed up in multiple films starring Tom Cruise.  Robert Duvall (DAYS OF THUNDER), Paul Newman (THE COLOR OF MONEY),   Bryan Brown (COCKTAIL), etc all had to wet nurse and burp Tom as they eased him into manhood.

    The self-described "punk" latching onto Krause's nipples in 9-1-1 is Buck played by Oliver Stark.  He's a youngster 'hot shot' American played by a Brit who turns 27 later this year apparently revealing Ryan Murphy's decision to take up the Aaron Spelling 90210 casting method.

    Oliver Stark may be an actor, he may not be.  No one can tell in this ridiculous stereotype that has to be the most insulting millennial caricature thus far this season.  (And, yes, we're not overlooking Ben Platt's performance as Blake on WILL & GRACE -- but that was meant to be comedic -- and was.)  He's sex-focused (using the handle "Fire hose" for his hook ups), ignorant of the world around him including pop culture -- references to films with Rambo and Conan both leave him stumped and -- shades of Mike Seaver in GROWING PAINS, he thinks the world revolves around him.

    In the infamous GROWING PAINS episode, Mike skips school and is shocked to discover the world goes on whether he's present or not.  In 9-1-1, Buck says that the world began the day he was born -- which doesn't really explain his ignorance of 2011's CONAN THE BARBARIAN.

    Buck is one of the lead roles and it's an embarrassment.  The best that could be done with Buck is to have everyone mock him.  Like with Conan, they could reply back, "You never heard of Sherlock Holmes?  Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?"

    Buck's a joke and the audience gets that, the only ones who don't get it are the characters who interact with him.  Well, they don't get it and neither did Ryan Murphy.  Buck's supposed to be hot and he's not.  It has nothing to do with the birthmarks on his face by his eye.  Though it does have to do with some weird thing going on with the lower half of his face on both the right and the left side (whenever possible, the crew 'shadows' the left side of his lower face, so they're aware of the problem).  It absolutely has to do with his chest.

    The 'hot shot,' self-described "Fire hose" has a shaved chest?


    It could go to vanity.

    But vanity would dictate that if Buck shaves his chest, he keeps it smooth.

    Instead, we're forced to witness Buck's nasty, red bumped chest, with ingrown hairs and razor burn as well as tiny whiskers popping out.

    If you're going to shave or wax your chest, do it.  But don't shave your chest a week or two before and then show up for a shirtless scene having not done any maintenance.  Can you imagine the flack Kerry Washington would get for showing up on TV with bristles growing out on her legs?

    Everything about the 'hot shot' disappoints and maybe the real answer is not to try to create a character for Buck but just killing him off.

    That would certainly allow more to be done with the woefully (and criminally) under-utilized Aisha Hinds?  As firefighter Hen, she enriches every scene she's in but gets so little to do.

    And are we the only ones bothered by the fact that she's the one who has to help 'hot shot' Buck save his job?

    He's not even acknowledged her the entire episode -- while she's getting mac and cheese, he sticks in his hand in the bowl -- but it's up to the underwritten African-American character to save his ass?

    Buck needs to go.

    The show walks a tight rope already with the storylines -- a baby -- newborn -- is in the wall having gone down the toilet into a pipe, a woman's being strangled by her own python, etc.  Ryan Murphy has insisted the show isn't "outlandish" but some of the storylines beg to differ.  Strong acting can navigate this hazard but that's made more difficult with nonsense like Oliver Stark's Buck.

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