Smash

Apr. 17th, 2012 12:55 am
elegantpi: Karen Cartwright (karen)
Lately, I've been watching a show called Smash on NBC. It got a lot of comments when it was being advertised: "OMG, it's totally copying GLEE" and so forth. I was skeptical (which is pretty much every tv show these days - I've got "trust no network" tattooed on my face at this point), but we recorded it to dvr and watched the first episode. Since then, we haven't missed a single Monday.

Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough, but I'd love to see more conversation about this show, because it has SO MUCH to offer. It has a cast of several well-rounded and, for the most part, complex characters.
It features a deep, loving, platonic friendship between a gay man and a married woman who are song and script writing partners.

It has a canonically gay character whose gayness is not a pivotal plot point, yet he is show to have an active dating life that has its ups and downs.

It has a canonical gay character of color.

It has strong women, driven women, talented women, women who make good choices, women who make bad choices, women who own their choices, women who take responsibilities for their choices.
It has women who are friends.
It has women who are professionals.
It has women who are successful.
It has women who are rivals.
It has women who are rivals who are also friends.
It has women who are rivals who form alliances and their own particular kind of friendship.
It also has Anjelica Huston.

It has unwise relationships and sweet relationships and could-be relationships, budding romances, fading romances, hidden romances.

It has gorgeous voices and fun songs and sometimes silly song sequences.

It has cheese, and it has something that feels very real.

It has. so. much.

Let me tell you a little bit more about the plot. The two writers/composers - Tom and Julia have been taking a break from doing a job that they both love so that Julia can devote some time to her family and hopefully get through the process of an international adoption. Suddenly, an idea drops into their lap - a musical about Marilyn Monroe - and it proves too much to resist. Despite it probably being a bad idea, they launch into the project, meaning to keep it a secret.

Tom's new assistant, Ellis, uses his phone to record Tom and Julia singing one of the songs they wrote and emails it to his mother, who posts it to YouTube. Suddenly, everyone wants to know about Marilyn the musical, and Tom and Julia reluctantly put together a team.

Anjelica Huston's character, Eileen, signs on as a producer, despite being in the middle of a rather messy divorce. Derek, a cantankerous, been-there-done-that stage director is convinced to join the team, despite his and Tom's past differences. Karen Cartwright and Ivy Lynn compete for the part of Marilyn; Karen as an inexperienced ingenue, and Ivy as a girl who has been waiting a long time for her big break.

Everyone is passionate about the Marilyn project for their own reasons, and in putting together a workshop, it becomes the focus of their lives and intertwines them in some very intense ways. Ivy and Karen start out as rivals but form an uneasy friendship as time goes by.

This show is so big that it's impossible for me to hit every point of it, but here's a list of things I love.
  • Karen (played by Katherine McPhee) and her voice.

  • Eileen and her sassy, vulnerable way of handling things, and how she's willing to do just about anything to see this production all the way to Broadway.

  • Tom and Julia and their relationship. Their dialogue is just filled with all the snappy, almost-inside-joke things that close friends say to each other, and when things go bad, they have each other's backs. They pick each other up and just hold on. Love it, love it.

  • Derek. I haaaated him at first - because we're meant to hate him at first. But as you get further into the show, you see so many different sides of him. Where we are now with Derek - I absolutely adore him despite his faults. He's grumpy and brilliant and everything I love about people who have a passion for doing something well. I've also been loving the way he's sort of been losing his mind over the production, giving the show writers the opportunity to write these weird hallucinatory sequences that end in Derek with a "freshly kicked in the balls" expression on his face. Priceless.

  • Ivy and Karen. The writers could so easily have made their relationship a catty, ugly mess, but instead have shown two women in the hyper-competitive, highly stressful world of stage acting who put aside their differences at critical times in order to help each other out. Neither one is a villain or an angel, and I love this portrayal of talented and complicated women whose lives cross in different ways.

  • Julia herself. She's a writer, and I relate to that in many ways. She's intelligent and vulnerable and she makes a huge, life-shattering mistake, but she doesn't shake off responsibility or make excuses for herself. She owns it.

I could say so much more, but there would be massive spoilers. It's true that the show has its share of cheese - you can't have musical numbers without a little cheese. But it doesn't take the cheese to anywhere near GLEE levels. It just seems to me that this show offers a lot that fandom is often asking for - canonically gay characters whose gayness is not the whole point of their character; gay characters of color; strong women who have friendships (many, many scenes easily pass the Bechdel test). If you love music and great characters and storylines, give Smash a try! If you're watching it, I'd love to chat with you about it!
elegantpi: (Quill)
This is indeed the most exciting time of year!

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for writing a gift for me! <3 The thing I want most of all is for you to have fun writing a story that speaks to your heart as much as it speaks to mine.

Likes, dislikes, specifics, and such )

That's all I can think of for now, and I hope this is helpful and not too very long, or too much information. :) Happy Yuletide, and happy writing!
elegantpi: Elizabeth with coffee, White collar (El)
So, someone put together a My Little Pony generator (warning: addictive). Since I just finished watching the latest White Collar episode (MY HEART, SHOW - YOU SQUISH IT), I had to put Neal into pony form. And immediately, my brain began contemplating fic. I cannot write any other fic until I finish my ABB draft. >.> But here, have pony!Neal, just for kicks and giggles. I hope they add ties to the "accessories" section, eventually.

Eventually, I'll get around to pony-izing the whole cast... )
elegantpi: Elizabeth with coffee, White collar (El)
Mostly, [personal profile] sholio is to blame for my sudden onset of rabid White Collar fannish-ness. In reading her posts about this series, I became mildly intrigued, and when I saw season one going for $15, I picked it up. And the first episode led to marathoning our way through the first season and paying full price for the second season because 2-day shipping from Amazon was too long to wait.

It really is some of the best television I've seen this year! I've caught up on season 3 (all but episode 2) from my parents' OnDemand, and I'm going to get the s3 eps from iTunes for David to watch. And we're DVRing the rest of the season, of course!

I wish I had time to make an enormous post on all the things I love about the series, but I've got some... stuff going on that requires me to get up earlier than I would like. So, maybe later, although I make no promises since I've been a truly crappy journaler lately. In the meantime, general bullet points! And then some spoilery musings under the cut.

  • Jeff Eastin is a Frank Abagnale fan. He HAS to be.

  • EL AND PETER FOREVER. Seriously. They are tied with Sheriden and Delenn from Babylon 5 as my favorite tv couple. I love everything about them, as individuals and as a couple. I love, love, LOVE Elizabeth's intelligence and the way she so easily navigates the currents of Peter and his job, and the complications that Neal brings into their lives. She is awesome. And I love Peter for his genuine goodness and honor and rightness without righteousness. I love that he is always, always willing to see the good in people, the possibilities. ♥♥♥

  • I can really get into the Elizabeth/Peter/Neal OT3, but ONLY in future!fic when Neal is out of the anklet and truly free to do his own thing. My interpretation of Peter's character is that as long as Neal is in his custody, the power dynamic between them being unequal, Peter would never enter into any kind of relationship with Neal. Nor would he bring Neal into his and Elizabeth's lives so long as any doubts about Neal remain. And, canonically, Peter has a LOT of doubts. But I do love putting the three of them together under the right circumstances almost as much as I love Peter/Elizabeth.

  • Mozzie and Elizabeth's friendship. So. Adorable!

  • Mozzie in general. David and I called him "Marty" through the first half of season one. The actor gives us Stargate SG-1 nostalgia! Marty was a favorite of ours.

  • The playfulness of the whole cast. They all have great chemistry.

  • The writers know how to sell the material. There have only been a couple of episodes where I had suspension of disbelief issues. Leverage needs to hire some of these people. Oh, Leverage, I have so many thoughts about you, but I'll save them for another post. The White Collar writers turn out consistently good stories and great dialogue. And believably human actions and reactions.

Some thoughts on Season 3 and where it's going )

Conclusion: Love the show.

Also, crossovers with Castle are an absolute MUST. There are so many ways the characters' lives and the show stories could intersect. And so many ways for Detective Beckett and Agent Burke to bond. I have one quick rec for this. My soul, it cries out for MORE.

Five Ways Crime Does Pay by [livejournal.com profile] celli - Impossible to read without laughing loud enough to wake the house.
    "Jimmy Ellery!" Castle said, jumping up and holding out a hand. "I haven't seen you in years. How are you?" He turned to Beckett. "He sold me that Lorado Taft bust."

    "You sold him what? As who?" Agent Burke rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, then back down again. "Allow me to introduce my consultant, Neal Caffrey."

    Castle froze, his hand still held out in front of him. "Neal Caffrey the con artist?"

    Caffrey tilted his head in an aw-shucks gesture. His hat remained tilted rakishly on his head.

    "Neal Caffrey the forger?"

    "Alleged forger," Caffrey said.

    Burke groaned.

    "Awkward," Ryan muttered.

    "Oh, my God," Castle said. His face lit up, and he reached out to Burke and shook him by the shoulders. "I got conned by Neal Caffrey!" He let Burke go and grabbed Caffrey's hand. "This is awesome."

    Burke looked at Beckett. "I don't even know what to say to that."

    "I never do," Beckett said.
elegantpi: (Quill)
Nominate!

My Nominations:
  • Dangerous Beauty
  • Edward Lucas White - The Unwilling Vestal
  • RPF - Heian Japan (for me, this is Sei Shonagon and her Pillow Book)
  • Rubicon
  • Sailor Moon (anime or manga)
  • Twin Peaks
I waffled about Dangerous Beauty and The Unwilling Vestal, especially the latter because I've only run across two other people in my entire lifetime who've read it, and I've known a lot of people, most of them readers. But in the end, both of them won out over Louise Marley's Nevya series, which maybe I'll nominate next year. I will be so surprised and pleased, though, if The Unwilling Vestal makes it in.

Very excited about participating in Yuletide for the first time ever. :)
elegantpi: (Reading)
[community profile] fannish5: Which 5 persons from any fandom would you place on a lonely island to get the most interesting reaction?

1) Peter Kavanagh, Stargate Atlantis: If a Kavanagh complains in the wilderness and no one is around to hear him, does he make a sound? I've always been interested in Kavanagh's character. As unlikeable as he is sometimes, I never perceived him as evil. (I know people a lot like him, actually.) He's obviously a capable scientist, or he wouldn't have been offered a place on the expedition in the first place, but he's got this thing where he gets wrapped up in every worst case scenario ever. He also seems to feed off the energy of conflict, taking an active role in stirring the pot. So... what happens to Kavanagh when you isolate him from everyone else and make him fend for himself with no one to complain to but his own self? How long does he contemplate the unfairness of it all before he sucks it up and starts dealing with the situation? And then, how does he deal with it?

2) Angus MacGyver, MacGyver: Do I need to give a reason? How long would it take him to build a super rescue radio out of driftwood and random metal bits?

3) Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks: I just love his running monologue. Would he write notes to Diane on palm fronds?

4) Higgs, Sammeeeees: (this may be one of my very smallest fandoms. If you want to know more about the wonderful Sammeeeees story, go here, watch the intro video, and click through the links below it. It was a non-linear experience, so putting the pieces together might take a little work, but the story is well worth it. The digital prequel is an awesome read, as well. And I'll be happy to answer any questions! I'm working on a fic to post to AO3, but it's taking forever to finish.)

OK, new paragraph after that long intro. Before his involvement with the Sammeeeees, Higgs (not his real name) was a brilliant physicist. He experienced a sort of breakdown before falling into the clutches of Mr. Alan Johnson. I'm not sure what he's doing now, but last I saw of him, he was free, and, I hope, happy. I would choose him to put on a lonely island because I'd be interested in what he would do when left to himself, out of peril. He thinks a lot. Would he write out theoretical physics equations in the sand? Would he be glad of the silence and peace? Or would he try to escape the island and go back to civilization?

5) River Tam, Firefly: Away from the pressure of people's minds, thoughts, terrible deeds; left alone, what would she do? River seems to me to be a character who, if she had not been so horribly tampered with, would have been content to live a life of the mind. I can see her on a lonely island, easily adapting to the ins and outs of survival, and, once she had her routine in place, exploring, creating art, and building her own world. I don't think the loneliness would harm her, as long as she knew her brother was somewhere safe. But if she wanted to leave, there would be no stopping her.

ETA: The more I think about it, the more I want fic about all of these characters together on the lonely island, just to see how they interact with each other, deal with their situation, etc. I may have to add this to my "to-write" list. :D

elegantpi: (Default)
If you loved Dollhouse and haven't seen this beautiful video yet, you should. If you can watch in HD, do - it's extra gorgeous.



Also, the Dollhouse Season 2 DVD set went on sale today. I need to go pick it up tomorrow; I still haven't seen the final episode, by the way. We didn't have cable right as the show season was ending, so I missed Epitaph 2. I so wish we could have had more of this show. Like so many others, there's so much left to tell. I need to find some good Dollhouse fanfic. Or write some.
elegantpi: Jeannie - math skillz (Jeannie)
I so much enjoyed reading gamerchick's 30 Days of TV meme that I decided to do my own. There's no way I'll make a post every day - I can barely make a post a month!! - so this will be 30 non-consecutive days, for sure.

Day 01- A show that should have never been canceled.
It's hard to judge which tv shows *should* never have been canceled... )
elegantpi: (Happy Birthday AO3)
AO3 just celebrated its first birthday! If you like reading or writing fan fiction, have you visited Archive of Our Own, lately? If not, please think about dropping by! 5585 fandoms across all genres, with over 105,000 stories - it has something for everyone, and more fic being posted every day. Eventually, the archive will open to other fan creations like vids and artwork.

If you think you'd like an account with AO3, I have one invitation to give away. First come, first serve!  Claimed!
elegantpi: (Quill)
This is just me exploring Yuletide suggested fandoms and fills, and thinking about what I would request or offer to write if I participate. If I do, it's going to be so difficult to choose just six to nominate! I've just finished reading the Yuletide FAQ, as well, and I'm about to stroll over to AO3 and read some of last year's fic.

Oh, how my list reminds me that I need to re-read some dear old favorite books. :) I can see the cover of Taliesin peeking out from under a pile of books near the wall - I think I'll spend the rest of the night reading it over again. It's my favorite of the Pendragon cycle. I've been watching Merlin lately, so Arthurian legend is on my mind.

Read more... )

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