Thursday, December 01, 2011

There is a new series on Starz called "BOSS" with Kelsey Grammer. This is a Kelsey Grammer as we have not seen him before---so far away from 'Frasier", is almost frightening. But he is good! Really really good! The series is about a Mayor of Chicago, who is corrupt and power hungry to the point of addiction, who finds out he has an incurable neurological disease which will end in death, (something HE cannot control), and what happens as a result of that. I just re-read this sentence and feel it is so inadequate as far as the "plot" of this series is concerned....Overall, what this series is really about----what it is really saying is that: "Everyone Is Corrupt!" Yes, EVERYONE. According to this 8 episode series...(EIGHT episodes??????? You cannot be serious, Starz!!!!)....Everyone is corrupt. The Mayor, his staff, his wife, his daughter, all the Alderman of the City Of Chicago..(it could be anyplace, U.S.A., really).....Everyone, all of us---WE, are all corrupt. How deeply depressing is that?Why watch this?? Well, as a writer myself, I am always interested in what TV is feeding us---but most particularly what the Premium Cable Channels are creating---where censorship is non-existent. They can pretty much do whatever they want.....And that's a good thing, I think, with some exceptions, of course; AND, as an Emmy Voter, I know "Boss" will come up and should, in the Voting process...This is a wonderfully written show---A wonderfully Directed show, and, with some of the best acting you will see, anywhere......Still.....I wonder about 'the message' of 'Boss'. Are each and every one of us corrupt? Are each and every one of us capable of killing and/or destroying anyone and everyone to get what we want? To get and keep "Power"? Is it really by any means necessary?
Gee, I sure as hell hope not.....On Sunday of the Thanksgiving Weekend, Starz showed a 'marathon' of these hour long episodes that have appeared so far---one right after the other---no commercials, of course----6 episodes in all---6 hours in all, so far that is, and with only two more episodes to go in their FIRST Season......(To use the word "season" is almost laughable...! Kids, I remember when a 'season' was 36 episodes...or 32...or even 24......! Now, we are at an EIGHT episode season???? As you can see, I just cannot let go of this---I'm like a dog with an 8-episode-bone.....!) Well....they may be right to only have 8 episodes. I'm not sure I can take that much more cruelty, corruption and killing, without a l-o-n-g break.....!Oh, and, lest I forget....There is more "explicit" fornicating in each hour of this eight hours than seems possible, IF there is a further message than "we are all corrupt and we are all "Eff-ing" each other in every way", I have not seen it----there is no morality. There is only corruption. Is this what television is saying the 21st Century is all about? Pretty ugly, I'm afraid..........And yet.....and yet, I kept watching. The most amazing thing about watching this "marathon" was..How much I actually had missed, when watching each episode for the last 6 Fridays.....(WHAT??? I don't remember THAT happening?, etc., etc....) The truth is, the way to see a series like this---so full and packed with important and often subtle information mixed in with the Horror-Show-Cruelty-Information, is NOT every Friday Night...but ALL 6 or 8 episodes---one episode right after the other in one sitting, or two----to remember who everyone is and how they are connected in this complex series, is impossible from Friday to Friday--utterly impossible, what with daily life getting in the way and all we have to remember about everything that happens on any given day in our real lives. Well, it's no wonder I felt like I was seeing most of it for the first time.......!Still.....why do we need a series like this? Why do we need to know and/or believe that EVERYONE is corrupt? What makes us care about these people---Well, as it turns out, very little. I almost don't care at all about these people. I find them abhorrent. I find them frighteningly horrifying and "real", too, I'm sorry to say......And, truthfully, after 6 hours of this assault, I was ready for some entertainment. You know what I mean? I needed a movie like "Somethings Gotta Give".....Please...give me Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton on the beach or in the kitchen......Or give me Jude Law & Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet & Jack Black in "The Holiday"...Both of these films were written and directed by Nancy Meyers....Good writing, wonderful acting, and you feel good when they are over---you feel hope.....!Okay.......Do I recommend "BOSS"? Well.....I'm not sure what to say---plus, there are only two more episodes, though I'm sure it will be available for rent sooner than you can blink your eyes.....It's a tough series about tough people....And there seems to be a lot of that these days, especially on the so called Premium Channels---HBO, Showtime and Starz....Is this the way of all Drama series now? Stark harsh cruelty coming at you at breakneck speed? It obviously reflects the harshness and cruelty of life in this 21st Century.....But I hate to think that possibly, as Peggy Lee once sang a long time ago..."Is that all there is?"Oy Vey!

More To Come.........

NOTE: Remembering all those dearly departed friends...43.....on this World Aids Day, 2011......You will never be forgotten and you will be in my heart throughout eternity.......

NOTE 2: 12/02/11: Another dear wonderful friend---the talented, and hilariously funny Alan Sues---has died.....He was a true "original" and such a dear dear sweet funny man, with a wicked sense of humor....Some of you older folks may remember him from "Laugh In".....I knew him from Theatre West and those were truly special heady days, I tell you.....It is getting very crowded up there in Heaven, with so many wonderfully talented people leaving us......
Rest Well Dear Dear Alan.......

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Blogger Pat
had this to say:

The moment I saw the top photo of Kelsey Grammer I felt this is what he has been waiting for throughout all the years of light comedy - it has always been lurking underneath (just my impression).
For that reason I would certainly be keen to watch it. There must be some glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel? Have you seen all the episodes yet?
Usually I can only take so much evil and then have to stop watching - one exception being "The Sopranos."
I suspect this may have the same 'must watch ' factor.

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 3:31:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I rarely watch television any more but instead watch movies. At work I listen to constant conversations about various shows and honestly none of it sounds too appealing but after reading your description of Boss, I'm curious. Truthfully reading, or catching up on blogs is so much more interesting! Just reading this post was exciting. Who knew you were an Emmy voter!

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 3:47:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

We don't get Starz, so I haven't seen any of this show, although I admit to being mildly interested in some of the promos I have seen. But if it is that depressing, I won't mind missing it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 4:26:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I think there are certain types of people for whom power is addictive. The more they get, the more they will do to obtain it. By the time one reaches a certain level, one has abandoned most morals in favor of attaining and retaining power over others. Further everyone who's reached that level in any capacity is like that, too.

That's why we at least were started with the idea that limiting power over others is a good thing. No matter the best of intentions, it eventually corrupts. I'm sure if they did a series, Boss: The Early Years, you'd find a very earnest, idealistic young man, who wants to serve the public.

That's why I don't trust any politician.

Great post, dear.


Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 4:53:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I don't get Starz so I will not get to judge the show. I do feel that a LOT of politicians are corrupt but I refuse to believe "everyone" is. I hate blanket statements. I look in the mirror and I look at my friends and I know that statement is quite false. I do believe we out number "them" by a huge margin. I find it sad that this message is being broadcast to the generation that will be leading our world.
The good need better press agents.

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 6:41:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I will have a hard time spending time watching Boss. Feeling overwhelmed with real life corruption. I applaud your ability to tough it out though. Good writing, directing, acting...what ya gonna do?!
Yes, so many good, young, people lost to AIDS and so much ugliness to reflect on...

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 6:43:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

A great review with a great underlying question. I would hope that since the Boss got a terminal illness that there would be some redemption. I think people will be drawn to it like we can't take our eyes off an accident but I still long to watch something like West Wing!

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 8:52:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, this is such a deep subject!!!

First, thank you for remembering December 1st. I made a list today of the people I lost to AIDS and it boggled my mind. Those guys were the FUNNIEST men I have ever known. So witty, soo quick. What a loss for all of us.

I like the freedom that cable has. I cannot stand censorship. I can handle bad words and a breast or someon's backside. A well chosen swear word just does the trick sometimes. As for nudity and sex...sometimes it works, most times it's gratuitous. Really though, who doesn't fantasize about their favorite actors sans clothing? It's human. Some shows overdo it. I loved it on "Sex and the City", and got bored to death with it on "True Blood".

I believe that we all have the ability to do good, or to do bad, though I do not believe that we all have the ability to kill. To kill to survive, yes. To kill for gain, no. There is a lot of grey area though as far as acting badly goes. Which beast gets fed the most? The white wolf or the black wolf? They both exist within us. Which gets more nurturing? The world is both beautiful, as your photos show, but for many it is a horrible, cruel place. I try, and mostly succeed, at surrounding myself with positive, caring people and really avoid the ones who are negative. I don't like it, but also I don't want to absorb it. And I will. So I limit how much dark stuff/people I'm exposed to.

But...I love watching the dark stuff with the dark characters but HAVE to balance it out with good, lighter fare. "Something's got to Give" is terrific. Diane is just fantastic in it. Ditto Jude Law in "The Holiday". It's my favorite of his films. Check out "Love Actually" some time. All star cast with intersecting storylines all about love at Christmastime. Emma Thompson. Liam Neesom, Laura Linney, Hugh Grant...It's a scream and will definitely put a smile on your face.

I have also discovered "American Horror Story" on FX. Being a voter, I am sure that you will hear about Jessica Lange's performance in it. Connie Britton as well. And the older actress from "Six feet Under". I'm going blank on her name. They are awesome. It's a horror tale set in a haunted house. The ghosts interact with the living. It's quite scary for TV and some of the subject matter I believe the networks would never touch. It is quite dark and disturbing, but I adore it. I love to be creeped out.

Am I rambling? Ha! Are people like the ones in Boss? Sure. Have you watched "Jersey Shore"? All they do is drink, fight, and screw. Swear, that's ALL THEY DO. I look at them and pray to God that that's not how people are.

Hope that all is well in the hills.


Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 10:00:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

sounds interesting only if we had cable to watch hope you and sweeti had a wonderful thanksgiving with friends and family..

Friday, December 2, 2011 at 3:57:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, the actress' name that I was going blank on is Frances Conroy. It's a supporting role. She plays a ghost and she is terrific. I'm telling you come voting time you will hear a lot about these women. They are all good. The poor male actors don't stand a chance around these women.

Back to the original subject....I reread what I wrote last night and was grateful that it made sense...mostly. I have seen good people go bad due to circumstance or influence, but I also have seen people who behave BADLY turn it completely around. Some of the latter have become dear, trustworthy friends.

I totally believe that most of us try to do the right thing as much as possible.


Friday, December 2, 2011 at 7:57:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I agree about all of the corrunption on tv; I just get tired of watching it. It's the same with Reality tv; I've discovered Netflix over my Wii and watch old comedy movies with Jack Lemmon, Bop Hope and so forth.

Friday, December 2, 2011 at 7:58:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

the discussion on corruption is well spoken here so I will skip it and just tell you that you totally nailed it and cracked me up with the "8 episode season"!!! Sooooooo true!! I too remember the "season was 26 or 28 episodes!!! Now I just start getting into the "new season" and they toss out the reruns!!! hello?!!! ARGH !!!!

too funny but dang it.. too true! the actors don't even get a chance to really learn their characters when they are in reruns!! *sigh*.. ok you and I could b*tch about this all day and it won't do us a bit of good lol..but it is disgusting how few shows we get now that we all have PAID TV! we had much more when tv was wutg an antenna and free!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011 at 2:37:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I don't get Starz here... so I don't watch "Boss". But I know what you mean, "why do we need a series like this?"
I like so much entertainment movies like "Somethings Gotta Give", "The Holiday", "Love Actually", "About a Boy", (based on Nick Hornby's best-selling novel) last two movies performing by an actor I love, Hugh Grant. Love Toni Collette too! Make me laugh also "It's Complicated" starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. At last but not least, I love so much a movie, (I bet you saw it) "The Edge", is a 1997 survival and drama starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin.

So moving you make a tribute to all those departed friends on this World Aids Day, 2011!
I am sorry with the death of your friend Alan Sues.

Wishing you a pleasant weekend.
Many hugs.

Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 5:42:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Oh, I do like Kelsey Grammer but not sure I would like him in this role, but he is a great actor, so I'm sure he pulls it off real well. I'm sure there are some people out there that are truly that corrupt and only out to get what they can for themselves and don't care who they hurt in the process. But least I hope...they are in the minority!

I loved your new post on the tile house! What a lovely garage to park in!! It's truly beautiful. You know I have loved all the posts you did about the tile house and think it's so amazing. George is a very talented man!!

I hope you and dear Sweetie had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope you are feeling better these days!! Lots of love and hugs dear lady!

Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 10:17:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

We don't get Starz here in Blighty, but I expect the show will be picked up by one of the channels during 2012.

You comment on 8 episodes, we still have a lot of 6-8 episode shows in the UK in any case, so this won't be particularly unusual.

And there's a few channels here that will show a whole series in a block or at least in 2 hour chunks. Actually the BBC is doing that with a US series called Pan-Am at the moment, although its pretty obvious where the advert breaks were intended to go.

As for the series being dark, that for me is the fun of drama; to be able to have light and shade and a mix of programming. In UK we are somewhat overrun with reality shows, cookery programmes and soaps on some of the main channels (and house restoration projects) so some proper drama can be a welcome change.

Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 1:20:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I've lost friends to AIDS, too, Naomi. This is a time of remembrance.

Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 7:30:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I know this is going to sound so silly but I can't look at Kelsey Grammar
I was a big fan of Frasier but even then he made me a bit queasy
then I saw a few interviews with him about politics and his ex and his kids and I just hated him
I normally can separate the person from the artist but now and then I have a really strong distaste and I just can't look at them

Oy :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 7:54:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Oh, I hadn't heard about Alan Sues -- that makes me sad. I always enjoyed him.

I keep seeing previews for this program but I don't have Starz -- I'm hoping it will show up on demand, or perhaps on video, though that's never soon. It looks terrific and I've heard Kelsey Grammar is tremendous.

Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 9:04:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I totally relate to what you said about a show where all the characters are icky. I won't see Boss probably until it's on say Netflix but it sounds pertinent to our times. I really like the two movies you mentioned and we just saw The Holiday again recently. Delightful film as is anything Keaton does. I've been into watching period drams and currently we're seeing Middlemarch based on the book by George Eliot. There aren't a lot of likable characters in it so far anyway but we're only two episodes into it. It's a long one. One thing about anything by Jane Austin is you do have someone to root for. Oh and another fill we have really enjoyed recently in the period genre is Under the Greenwood Tree. Now that was a feel good film and considering it's based on a Thomas Hardy book, it's rare but they did adapt it to their view and I think improved it for something to enjoy a lot. Great cast, naturally all English.

Monday, December 5, 2011 at 12:22:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Sounds like a great tv series Naomi - and quite a turnabout for Kelsey. He always seemed to have this 'seriousness' about him which is probably why he was cast for the role, yeah? I'll keep my eye out for it, though I doubt I will get to see it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 11:40:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I tried to watch Boss- the production values were tremendous- as was the cast.

But it was too cynical. Even for Chicago- a city whose politicians have earned over a very long time a reputation for corrupt politics.

At the end of the first program- I just didn't care about any of the people, feel like I learned anything or had a topic to discuss.

Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 8:22:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Kelsey Grammer is incredibly talented. I haven't watched the series but my husband has. He said pretty much what you've said...he just couldn't stop watching it even though it's tough to watch!

There's nothing like a Diane Keaton movie to cheer me up. Another Cameron Diaz movie that is so much fun is "In Her Shoes".

Laugh In was the best show and Alan Seus had, as you say, a delightfully wicked sense of humor. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to enjoy those great episodes!

Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 6:31:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

You write such good reviews. This show does not appeal to me but if I could watch it I would just because of what you wrote about it. I was surprised that Kelsey Grammer was a Conservative – for some reasons we always think stars are liberal. I do not believe everyone is corrupt – when one has had a long life one has known wonderful people who were kind and given. I do not watch much television, my husband does, but mostly old movies – we do not get the premium channels. A great review on a difficult subject.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 5:28:00 AM PST 

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