Sunday, September 21, 2014

TV: The pack goes after Debra Messing and mothers

Joshua Logan was a real bastard.  It's one of those truths everyone's supposed to smooth over and ignore.  Like the fact that his homophobia was probably related to his sexual attraction to men -- an attraction he fought desperately to conceal.  So on every project, play or film, he'd find a whipping boy.  He'd go after that man with the bitchiest remarks ever, ridiculing and questioning the subject's manhood and, because he was Joshua Logan, he got away with it.

The mediocre talent (another truth no one's supposed to note) is long dead but how his spirit lives on.

Debra Messing, Emmy award winning actress,  has a new show -- The Mysteries of Laura premiered on NBC last week.

And Debra Messing sucks.

That's what many reviews insist.

Which puzzled us because we'd heard nothing but good things.  We were also surprised that Debra could suck because even when she's attempted to stretch and failed (as we all have) she's found a way to pull it off to a lesser degree.

Then we watched The Mysteries of Laura and it all made sense.

Debra doesn't suck.

She's wonderful in the role.

What sucks are the critics.

Whereas Logan was ruled by homophobia, the Water Cooler Set's ruled by sexism.

Each year, they choose a woman -- sometimes several women -- to go after.  Their pack mentality guarantees not only that women are trashed but also that TV just gets worse season after season.

In the time we've been reviewing, we've seen them dog pile one woman after another.

And what have they praised?

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.  We were the heretics who called that show out immediately and noted that it would not connect with audiences, that Sorkin's sexism was on full display and so much more.

When Sorkin's awful The Newsroom debuted on HBO years later, we were honored to see our early worked mined by reviewers who suddenly noticed Aaron had a woman problem.  He went on to hire Jane Fonda for the awful show, give her a bit part and pretend that made up for so much.  All it did, as one of Jane's film co-stars pointed out, was take Jane into Joan Crawford Trog territory.

Trog territory is where an actress is involved in such an awful project that you wonder if they shouldn't have just gracefully retired instead of trashing their image.  In fairness to the troglodyte from the 1970 bomb, we should note he had much more sex appeal than Jeff Daniels -- but then who doesn't?

Josh Lucas oozes sex appeal -- even with the bad hair in his first scene.  He's playing Debra Messing's estranged husband.

Debra's detective Laura Diamond and he's Jake, a lieutenant  with another precinct as the show kicks off.  They have two kids -- holy terrors who are kicked out of school and who do things like pee on one another for fun.  Laura and Jake are in such disagreement over how to raise the kids that you can't imagine how they ever managed to even share a bathroom, let alone a bed.

But some of Laura's no-give position now probably stems from the fact that Jake cheated on her (he insists he got it out of his system).

And maybe some of the hatred of women Vinnie Mancuso (New York Observer) offers goes to his own issues?  He is obsessed with Laura being a "bad mother."  Poor Vinnie, despite all the Craigslist postings, he still can't find anyone to diaper him while reading out loud from Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs &  Steel: The Fate of Human Societies.

It's really amazing how Messing's Laura is repeatedly judged -- by one man after another -- to be a bad mother.  Like Vinnie, Andy Greenwald (Grantland) whines about Laura being a bad mother and frets over her wearing a bathing suit.  Did Andy grow up with a Mommy who dated?  Poor little tyke.  All he wanted was June Cleaver, asexual, robotic and hovering.

James Poniewozik (Time magazine) is so impressed with his sexism, he's basically a weinie wagger with it, writing, "All it ends up proving is that it can shoot the bacon, fry it up in a pan–and then whack you over the head with it."  Reaching, as he's had to for that tiny button penis all these years, James tries to pit Laura against the overly praised Alicia of The Good Wife and insist that The Good Wife has already addressed women's second shift of work as mothers.


Alicia's life is not a normal one or even realistic and this is probably the season that the backlash sets in (the show jumped the shark when it tried to show Kalinda turned on by domestic abuse at the hands of her estranged husband).

What is this obsession with Laura's parenting?

And this need to call her a bad mother?

The shaming her because her twin boys can't read?  The slamming her because she gives her sons pizza for breakfast?

First off, you know what's worse than pizza for breakfast?

No breakfast.

If the little boys trapped in men's bodies can take their hands out of their pants for just a moment, we're about to do the work women always have to do because if women don't do it no one does.

A lot of women could have already stepped up to the plate but if, for example, NPR's horse faced Linda Holmes took the time to decry sexism, she couldn't join in and compose 'songs' ridiculing the show, now could she?

Linda, take your hands out of your pants too.

So Debra Messing's Laura is a bad parent because her twin boys can't read?


So if a child has a learning disorder, that's the mother's fault?

That appears to be the argument the critics (noted above and many more not noted) are making.

We don't buy that.

We also think you need to forget sharing what you think  women need to do   when you clearly can't do your own job.

All the men and men wanna-bes (horse faced and otherwise)?

Do you know a damn thing about children?

We do.

We're mothers.

And children in pre-k?

They don't usually read.

Laura's kids?

They're in pre-K.

Critics have slammed the show and called Laura a bad parent because her children can't read -- her pre-K twin boys can't read.

The above (and others) should all be embarrassed by their gross stupidity.

They should also be ashamed of their sexism.

They may try to insist this isn't sexism.

Laura is with the boys pretty much all the time.  In the first 20 minutes, Josh Lucas' Jake bails on his scheduled evening with his sons.

While Laura attempts to provide discipline, Jake applauds their unruly behavior and encourages it.

So which of the critics slamming Laura as a mother took a moment to call out Jake as a father?


Not one.

How can they be trusted to evaluate anything when they're such rank sexists?

And how do outlets, in 2014, justify running this sexist crap?

The Mysteries of Laura is a charming comedy mystery series.  The Water Cooler Set doesn't like it.

But we can remember this time last year, when one of the worst sitcoms ever began airing.  We called it out.  The Water Cooler Set praised it until NBC finally pulled the plug.  The Michael J. Fox Show?  They applauded it.  They didn't have the guts to tell you the show was crap because the lead actor had a disease.

Again, how can they be trusted to evaluate anything?

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