Tag Archives: Entertainment

Another Two Bite the Dust…

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Speaking of entertainment trends and nostalgia, as I have been lately, it seems that yet another favorite genre of mine is going the way of the dinosaur. The longtime favorite daily escape of at-home wives and mothers (formerly known as “housewives”), the daytime drama, is being yanked from the airwaves at an alarming rate these days. While those who stay home to tend home and hearth have always loved these “Soap Operas”, when video tape recorders became popular in the 80’s, this form of melodramatic entertainment also seemed to appeal to many a working woman (and man, yes, we’re onto you guys), as well as college students. Today, die hard Soap fans record their favorites digitally to watch when they get home from work. Soaps are also now available via streaming video online, which is how I enjoy mine. I watch  “The Young and the Restless”, each evening once I finally settle down to relax after a long day of homeschooling, housework, and completion of my own brain twisting grad school assignments.

Vintage “As the World Turns” Intro

Lately, those shows that have been on the air nonstop now for 40+ years are disappearing into the ether, never to be forgotten by those of us who remember watching them, and their familiar cast of characters, literally from the playpen on… The first to go in 2009 was “Guiding Light”, the longest running daytime drama in history. “Guiding Light” was so long running that it first began on radio in 1937. This one was a favorite of my mother and grandmother, as were all of the soaps on CBS. Another long term family favorite, “As the World Turns”, began in 1956 and ended the year after Guiding Light made its final exit. The “As the World Turns” characters were like members of the family….Lisa, Bob, Kim, John and especially Holden Snyder, who kept my heart racing for decades, from the moment I first saw him jump down from that hayloft–shirtless.

Josh & Reva in a Classic Scene from “Guiding Light”

Why do I like Soaps? Well, I guess I like them because I tend to get attached to television shows and certain characters. And really, what other show can you think of that has run half a century, featuring many of the same core characters, played by the same actors and actresses? “The Simpsons” is an up and coming contender, but since it’s a cartoon, it really doesn’t count. There’s just something comforting about knowing that those people are going to be there day after day, even if they have to defy scientific law and medical reality to return from the dead multiple times in order to show up for you. And, while the storylines really are silly at times, soaps can always magically pull it off–because they’re Soaps. I’ve seen some really great performances over the years on these daytime gems as well, and obviously Hollywood agrees. Several of today’s major stars “honed their craft” as it were, on soap operas–Meg Ryan, Tommy Lee Jones, Julianne Moore, Eva Longoria, just to name a few. Now it appears that two more Soaps are scheduled to end their multi decade run on television–One Life to Live, which premiered in 1968, and All My Children, that has been on the air since 1970.

Marisa Tomei AND Julianne Moore on “As the World Turns”

So what’s going on? Reasons given by the networks for the cancellations always seem to point back to high costs of production and increasingly lowered ratings–typically a deadly combination for any television show, or any business for that matter. This might explain the demise of one show, but four in under 5 years? That tells me something else is at play here. Have we, as a nation, “outgrown” the daytime drama as an entertainment genre? I like to think not, because I really do enjoy watching “The Young and the Restless”, so I don’t want to lose it. But, in many ways, the handwriting is on the wall for Soap Operas. A few, like Y&R, “The Bold and the Beautiful”, and “General Hospital”, seem to be hanging in there–for now. And new formats for daytime drama have hit the scene as well. Martha Byrne, “As the World Turns” fans’ beloved “Lily” for several years, has launched her own web based Soap,“Gotham”, which is delivered in under 10 minute “webisodes” featuring many familiar faces recruited from her “As the World Turns” days. Is this the future of Soap Operas? Perhaps…

But really…are we just too busy multitasking these days to “waste” more than six minutes and 21 seconds on infidelity, evil twins, the ever popular logic defying total plastic surgery to look just like your arch enemy, paternity tests every time the stork visits, and the inevitable Friday afternoon cliffhanger? Let’s hope not! Because I really need somebody’s life to be crazier than mine….

Back When The Fonz Jumped the Shark

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It was September of 1977, back when school always started the day after Labor Day the way God intended, not in the middle of August before our summer was even over. And, it was also when the new season of everybody’s favorite television shows premiered in September too, not October-January, or whenever the Hollywood folks felt like coming back to work for 6 weeks before they took their first of several “hiatus” for the year. I was 12, in my first year of junior high, and like kids and adults all across America, I anxiously plopped down in the family room on the red shag carpet, glued to the one television in the house that received only three channels—ABC, CBS, and NBC, to watch The Fonz jump the shark! He did, and we watched nervously as he barely cleared the enclosure of Jaws, The Ripoff, to live to be cool another day and to also spawn a new phrase, “Jump the Shark”, which is now used routinely to describe a television series whose best years are behind it and has resorted to outrageous, gimmicky stunts to retain viewers. AYYYY!

It’s truly hard for me to believe that was well over 30 years ago now. It’s also hard to believe that in anyone’s wildest imagination, the decadent, hedonistic 70’s could be considered a simpler, more innocent time–but they really were. At least if you were an average kid growing up in the suburbs, and not hanging out at Studio 54, that is. In 1977 we were much more insulated from everything that was going on in the world around us. Television was still monitored by censors back then, and there was no way my 12 year old eyes would have ever flipped the channel during prime time to accidently witness a graphic murder, and then the victim’s corpse splayed open on the medical examiner’s table. There was no 24/7 cable news to give us overly private details of the trainwrecked lives of celebrities, some of whom are not much older than I was when I sat on that shag carpet that night to watch the shark jumping. There was no sexting, no cyberbullying on Facebook, no Internet at all.

So, while the world was not really any more innocent than it is in 2011 (it’s naïve to think there is anything new under the sun), at least we had a somewhat gentler introduction to its harsh realities than kids do today. Kids who would probably howl with laughter at me and my generation breathlessly gathered around the t.v. to watch a hokey stunt involving a grown man in a leather jacket jumping over a shark on his water skis while Opie Taylor drove the boat.

Other Noteworthy Events of 1977:

  • President Jimmy Carter pardons almost all Vietnam War draft evaders
  • Alex Hayley’s “Roots” premieres on ABC
  • Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” released
  • Bank of America adopts the name VISA for their credit cards
  • Libyan Socialist Arabs People’s Republic forms
  • “I’m Your Boogie Man” by KC & Sunshine Band peaks at #1
  • Elvis Presley Dies in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Last broadcast of “Mary Tyler Moore Show” on NBC-TV
  • TV’s Rhoda gets divorced
  • President Carter raises minimum wages of $2.30 to $3.35 for Jan 1 1981
  • Miss World Contest – Miss UK wears $9,500 platinum bikini
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas: 65 Cents

Those happy days were yours and mine…

5 Dynamic Female T.V. Characters & Why They Rock

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1)      Betty Suarez, from “Ugly Betty”

Memorable Quote: “I was thinking we could shoot the models dressed as pirates, plundering booty but also showing booty”.

Why She Rocks: Betty never let anyone or anything deter her from achieving her dreams, even though they seemed way too farfetched, especially in that first episode. Who can forget her showing up for her first day at Mode in her souvenir poncho, and slamming head on into that glass door? Ouch and ouch!

2)      Phyllis Summers Romalotti Abbott Newman, from “The Young and the Restless”

Memorable Quote:

Nick: “So we should wait here”.

Phyllis: “Yeah, we could wait here. Or we can go?”

Why She Rocks: Phyllis is one of the most unique female soap characters ever created…she’s tough, yet vulnerable, ethical, yet always willing and eager to bend the rules, etc. She made the list because she’s never afraid to say what she really thinks, or go after what she really wants and deserves.

3)      Olivia Walton, from “The Waltons”

Memorable Quote: “Bootleg whiskey. Don’t those crazy old women know I don’t allow whiskey in this house? I’ve got young children in this house! What sort of example do they think we set here? You take it out yonder and pour it on the ground!”

Why She Rocks: Aside from being a fantastic mother in less than ideal circumstances, to say the least, she appreciated each of her children’s unique personalities and talents, and took the time to nurture those to fruition in each child. She also totally rocks because of her willingness to evolve over time…and to lighten up a bit—even where “The Recipe” was concerned. 😉

4)      Nancy Botwin, from “Weeds”

Memorable Quote: “I’m not a dealer, I’m a mother who happens to distribute illegal products through a sham bakery set up by my ethically questionable CPA and his lawyer friend.”

Why She Rocks: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone her line of work or her methods, but no matter what you think about Nancy, she is and always will be one of the most interesting characters on t.v.—male or female. Her creativity knows no boundaries, and though her life is a dark comedy, and she surrounds herself with the lowest of lowlifes, she never fails to come out on top, and smelling like a rose!

5)      Daria Morgendorffer, from “Daria”

Memorable Quote: “Well, that advice should prove very helpful. Sometimes your shallowness is so thorough, it’s almost like depth”.

Why She Rocks: Daria is both the only cartoon character to make the list, and also the honoree most often compared to yours truly. 😉 She earned her place here because of her superb analytical skill set, which she is always ready and willing to apply to her exceptionally mundane life, and sarcastically share at a moment’s notice.

Who’s your pick for dynamic female t.v. character, and why? Comment below!

Authentic #Winning in a Post Tigerblood World

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Merriam Webster defines winning as, “the act of one that wins; victory”. Given that generally accepted, vague meaning of the word, I suppose it is really not surprising that this week, “winning” has come to define the self aggrandizing, self-indulgent, at times bizarre behavior of infamous man child, Charlie Sheen. Although I have thus far resisted widespread peer pressure to follow Guinness Book of World Records record-setting, @charliesheen, I must admit that this week I have made liberal use of his trending hashtags to promote my own tweets. After all, we all want to win, don’t we?

The highly entertaining, vaguely sad events of the past couple of weeks featuring the antics of Half Man Sheen (and you thought young Angus T. was the half, didn’t you? Ha!) have made me question what it means to be a winner. Sheen obviously thinks he’s winning–and if one counts 24/7 publicity, continually revolving porn star companionship, and 1M+ Twitter followers in 24 hours, he’s not wrong folks. But what does it mean to win? Really? The last half of the formal definition, “victory”, may hold some answers for those who wish to look beyond money and all of the gratification (instant and long-term) that it can bring, and attention, which we certainly all crave to varying degrees whether we are willing to admit it or not.

To be victorious is to conquer…to accomplish…to achieve…and yes, to win. These words evoke images of vanquishing foes in war, in games…earning coveted awards in life from good grades in school when we’re young, to promotions at work when we’re not…to win what you, and those around you, deem important and worthwhile. To an individual, victory and “winning” is and always will be defined by the personal demons they must conquer, disadvantages they must overcome, and the dreams they wish to realize.

In my mind, Charlie Sheen is no winner. He has certainly conquered Twitter–or has he? Chances are, someone with an even bigger train wreck of a life will come along and knock him off that pedestal. After all, Charlie Sheen is the new Lindsay Lohan, isn’t he? She herself was the new Anna Nicole, I’d argue. Accomplishments and achievements? Well, he has some, I will give him that one. Then again, how difficult is it to succeed in Hollywood when you pop out of your mother’s womb an obscenely rich and even better looking version of your already wildly famous and successful father?

I’m not here to bash Charlie Sheen. Enough people are doing that already, and their numbers are roughly equal to those who now worship and seek to emulate him. I’m just a gal, now in the blogging biz, sometimes witty, who wants more than anything to be an authentic winner. In my lifetime, and even in my daily life, I have had a lot to overcome…but who hasn’t? At 45, I’ve also accomplished a lot by my own standards, perhaps very little by others’ measure. In fact, I daresay, in Charlie Sheen’s world the very fact that I am a 45 year old woman with all her own original parts probably makes me a #loser. Because, as you see, it is all subjective.

Now that this whole concept of winning has been introduced so violently, as Sheen would say, into my consciousness, I am going to make it a point to seek out authentic winners…to feature in my blog, which is now my public voice, to admire, to model, and to appreciate for what they bring to the world. And Charlie, once you figure out what and whom you really should conquer, accomplish something of value all on your own that you and the rest of us can be truly proud of, and achieve as an authentic winner, you might just be one of them.

Thanks very much to everyone for reading my very first blog! Until next time…