Tag Archives: Jim Parsons

The Emmys are here! I make fearless predictions. And a 9-month pregnancy video in 6 seconds

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So it’s a great and happy Monday for two reasons: The U.S. Open starts today (yay!, always my favorite event of the year, and I’ve got tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday, provided my wife doesn’t go into labor on either of those days), an d at night, for those of us who love TV, it’s the Super Bowl of TV: The Emmys, seemingly forever held on Sunday nights but for some reason this year being held on a Monday.

The major categories seem even more impossible to predict than usual this year, partly because there was so much fantastic TV in the past 12 months, and also because there’ve been lots of new winners in recent years who are nominated again.

Herewith, my totally amateur handicapping of the Emmys, with who will win and who I hope will win:

Best Drama Series:
WHO WILL WIN
: “Breaking Bad”
WHO I WANT TO WIN: “Breaking Bad.”
A brutally tough category. As someone who just finished the entire run of “Breaking Bad” (probably going to be a blog post on this epic series sometime this week), and considering how much amazing press the show got from critics and fans when it ended, I can’t see how anyone beats it. “Mad Men” was terrific this year, and I know lots of people loved “True Detective,” but it’s Heisenberg’s world and we’re just meth customers looking for the blue stuff.

Best Comedy Series:
WHO WILL WIN
: “Orange is the New Black”
WHO I WANT TO WIN: “Silicon Valley.”
This really wasn’t that great a year for “Modern Family,” and “Big Bang Theory” is on a major decline, so I expect the hot Netflix show to win (I didn’t love OITNB as much as I thought I would). “Silicon Valley” has zero chance, but I loved it.

 

Best Actor in A Drama:
WHO WILL WIN
: Bryan Cranston
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Bryan Cranston
Incredible performances by all the nominees; Kevin Spacey will get some love, as will Jon Hamm, but there is no way on freaking Earth that Cranston doesn’t win this. Walter White was one of the best TV characters of all time. I know everyone is giving this to Matthew McConaughey, and I’m sure he is fantastic on “True Detective.” But it’s got to be Cranston.

Best Actress in A Drama:
WHO WILL WIN
: Kerry Washington
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Lizzy Caplan
If Claire Danes from “Homeland” wins again I may hurl objects at my TV. Caplan is sensational in “Masters of Sex,” but I don’t think enough people watched it for her to win.

Best Actor in a Comedy:
WHO WILL WIN: Jim Parsons
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Louis C.K.
Parsons is practically an Emmy institution by this point, though his Sheldon character is long past his expiration date.

Best Actress in a Comedy:
WHO WILL WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
I could see Lena Dunham or Amy Poehler winning here, too.

As for the other categories, Aaron Paul will definitely win for supporting actor in a drama, while Anna Gunn or Christine Baranski should win supporting actress.
Comedy supporting nods will probably go to Ty Burrell (though Tony Hale is awesome on “Veep”) and the incredibly awesome Allison Janney for “Mom.”

**Finally today, I rarely post Vines on here because most of them are pretty entertaining but not usually worth sharing.
This one, though, I love love love, and not just because I’m living with a person who has just gone through nine months of being pregnant.
It was posted on Vine by a man named Ian Padgham and a woman named Claire Vasquier, and it’s just fantastic. Enjoy.

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“The Big Bang Theory” stars want more money: I ruminate on TV shelf lives. An incredibly cool soccer goal. And Jim Kelly keeps fighting

The Countdown Reflection

Sometimes you just don’t know which side to take in a contract dispute. Like this one:
In news that matters only in the entertainment world, the cast of the “Big Bang Theory” is holding out for more money. Production on the upcoming season of the show has been delayed, and Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, etc. are asking for up to $1 million per episode (right now Parsons, Cuoco and Johnny Galecki get about $325,000 per.)

CBS has balked, thinking those demands are a little outrageous, and so now the show’s 8th season may be delayed.

When I saw a news story about it, I kinda shrugged, because contract demands made by actors are pretty common. But I started thinking about it and I realized that each side has a really good argument.

First, the actors: Cuoco and Parsons and Galecki were pretty much nobodies before “Big Bang” started; I mean, Galecki was Becky’s boyfriend on “Roseanne” but that was way long ago. So to them, “Big Bang” is their only shot at the big-time, and they want to earn as much as possible before doing Lifetime Movies of the Week for the rest of their lives. (Parsons would be the exception; dude has shown he can really act, in “The Normal Heart” and other projects.)

So sort of like athletes hit their primes, these actors are in their prime and want to make as much money as possible. They also know they’ve got huge value to CBS,  as a bona fide hit program the network wants on the schedule that brings in millions of ad revenue.
So yeah, I totally get why the actors are holding out for more money.

Then, though, I’m with CBS, too. These actors were nothing without this show, and if they really are stupid enough to throw it away because they’re not quite rich enough, let ’em.
Show them the career trajectories of David Caruso after leaving “NYPD Blue,” or Rob Lowe after leaving “The West Wing,” and watch how quickly they fall. You think Galecki or Cuoco are irreplaceable? You think a hit show is irreplaceable? No way.
So if I’m CBS, sure, I’d be pissed if I lost or delayed the season of a hit show over the stars’ salaries, but I’d also ask the actors how greedy they really need to be, and if it’s worth throwing away the best thing they’ll ever do just for a few more dollars.

Anyway, I’m rambling here, but I think stuff like this is fascinating. Who will blink first?

**And now, a pretty incredible soccer goal by a guy named Junior Dutra, in something called the Jupiler League.

Best bicycle kick I’ve ever seen.

**And finally, I’ve written about Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly’s battle with cancer before, and now ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” show has put together a fabulous piece on Kelly and his struggle, told just through the eyes and voices of Kelly and his family.
Get the Kleenex out, this is a beautiful piece. (If the embedded video doesn’t work anymore, try this link.

“The Normal Heart” a near-perfect HBO movie. The Chilean miners film a moving commercial. And “Billie Jean” played on beer bottles

normalheart

It’s very easy, from the year 2014, to think about how many incredible advances that’ve been made in the treatment of, and prevention of, HIV and AIDS in the past 30 years.

Breakthrough medicines, a much greater awareness of how the disease is contracted and spread, and just plain smarter thinking have, at least in America, led to a much longer life span for AIDS patients and a reduction in the number of positive tests. (At its peak in the 1980s, 130,000 new AIDS cases were diagnosed each year; now we’re at 50,000 per year.)

But recent movies like “The Dallas Buyers Club” and now,  HBO’s awesome adaptation of Larry Kramer’s groundbreaking 1980s play “The Normal Heart” very, very quickly bring you back to the reality of the early ’80s, and how incredibly scary and helpless it was to have AIDS.

I finally watched “The Normal Heart” last weekend, after not having seen either version of the play on Broadway, back in 1985 or the 2011 adaptation starring Jim Parsons of “Big Bang Theory.”

It was… superb. The tale of Ned Weeks, an openly gay man in 1981 New York City screaming, shouting, pounding his fists on the table trying to get anyone to care about all of his friends dying of this grotesque disease all of a sudden, is beautifully acted by Mark Ruffalo, Parsons and Matt Bomer, among others (Julia Roberts, in a small but pivotal role, is sensational).

It’s truly remarkable storytelling, with one of many fantastic moments coming when Weeks and others berate a member of NYC mayor Ed Koch’s staff for not funding AIDS treatment at all, all the while Koch was known to be a closeted gay man (I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but trust me, everyone in New York in the ’80s thought Koch was gay.)

This plague wrecked so many lives, and in “The Normal Heart” those lives are portrayed tenderly, and bitterly, as the disease takes its course.

In 2014, with gay marriage becoming legal everywhere at once, it seems, and a gay NFL player and so many other breakthroughs, the horrible dark period of the ’80s fear seems so long ago. But it’s really not ancient history.

“Thank God for activists like Kramer who fought tirelessly for this cause. “The Normal Heart” achingly, beautifully, harrowingly tells their story. I expect Emmys for Ruffalo and Bomer; the movie, and their performances, are that good. Definitely see it if you can.

**Next up, this is an incredible commercial filmed by the Chilean miners who were rescued two years ago, created to inspire Chile’s World Cup soccer team, which starts play as a big underdog in two weeks.

The translation of the commercial is posted below; it’s really pretty great. (“Group of Death” is an old soccer term referring to the preliminary group each country is put in; the “Group of Death” is always considered the hardest one, though every country thinks they’re in it.)

We were trapped in this place for 70 days. The earth had swallowed us and it was there, where we had to prove what we were made of. We knew that outside, there were millions of Chileans waiting for us, and this dirt, was witness to it all. Thats why we will take this dirt to the pitch where OUR team will practice to fill it with hope and courage. And to show the world, that for a Chilean nothing is impossible. Spain is difficult, Ireland is difficult, the group of death does not scare us! We do not care about death! Because death has not beaten us before!”

**And finally, because why not, the Michael Jackson classic “Bille Jean,” played on beer bottles. Very cool…

 

Ranting about “Parenthood” and “The Big Bang Theory.” And a beautiful photo exhibit of life with cancer

Parenthood - Season 4

Haven’t done a “ranting about television” post in a while, and it just so happens that two of my favorite shows got me riled up this week.

First, “Parenthood.” As I’ve maintained since the beginning of the show’s run five years ago, I love it, and even when I’m mad at some of the choices the writers make with it, I still love it. I think the acting is terrific, it’s got great heart, and the show always makes time for all of the characters to get their own storylines and great moments.

And this year has been great… I love what they’ve done with Zeke and Millie and their struggles with each other, and selling the house. I am enjoying the Amber/Ryan story line (he’ll always be Luke Cafferty from “FNL” to me), even though I know it will end badly for Amber, the best actress on the show, IMO. Even the Joel/Julia stuff with their son has been solid, though it looks like the writers are taking the lazy way out by having the threat of infidelity be a wedge between the couple.

So it’s been terrific… except for the completely ludicrous and stupid “Kristina running for mayor of Berkeley” storyline. So many reasons to hate this: First of all, the woman just survived cancer, and now she’s got the energy and strength to run for mayor with zero political experience? Because that’s good for a cancer patient, running a major campaign.
Then there’s the way the writers are trying to make Adam, her husband, look like the bad guy for putting on the brakes on this. The dude is worried about feeding his family (and baby daughter, who conveniently is absent this year) and that his wife might collapse under the strain, and they paint him as the bad guy?

Then there’s the pathetic double standard in last week’s episode, where Kristina feels bad about taking campaign money from a developer she disagrees with, but is totally fine with getting money from a rapper who’s a felon? Ridiculous.

Like I said, I still love the show. But it seems like every year they have to give us one storyline that completely defies belief (Sarah and Ray Romano’s character having a tryst, Adam and Crosby not selling the Luncheonette for millions).

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**OK, on to “Big Bang Theory,” which for years has been the best thing on broadcast TV. Four perfectly drawn male characters, the females who love them, and so much quirky fun that even in reruns I find myself laughing really hard.

But here’s the problem: Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon, has won all kinds of Emmys and other awards for his fantastic job playing the role. And the writers have completely gotten sucked into his awesomeness, to the point that they make nearly EVERY episode about Sheldon.
Which wouldn’t be that bad, if we saw any change, any growth, any sign of human development from him.
But nope, this season he’s exactly the same as all the other years: Completely oblivious to others’ feelings, totally self-absorbed, and having no clue about how to have a relationship with the awesome Amy Farrah-Fowler (I couldn’t love Mayim Bialik more).

I mean, no human being could really be this static for this long, and their constant focus on Sheldon treating others horribly, and everyone just accepting it just fine, has gotten really stale.
The show has become a lot less funny, and simply stupid at times tis year. There’s so much material they can still mine with Howard, Raj, et al., but by continuing to give us the same tired old Sheldon behavior and stereotypes, they’re really getting close to jumping the shark.

Whew. OK, I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

cancerphotos

**Finally today, a beautiful and heartbreaking photo essay by a man named Angelo Merendino, who took the time and endured the heartache of photographing every stage of his girlfriend’s long battle with cancer.

The pictures are beautiful and terrible, and nearly impossible to forget. The one above is my favorite, but I strongly urge you to take a look at his beautiful images here.

A great night at the Emmys. And rude service-people do so much damage

Love the Emmy Awards. Always one of my favorite TV nights of the year. And yet I’m always disappointed and angry when my favorite shows don’t win.
Except Sunday night, they almost all did. Stunning to see quality rewarded. Thrilled that “Modern Family” and “Mad Men” both took home the big prize.

A few rambling thoughts from my brain from last night’s show, which I found very entertaining:

**Very nice job by Jimmy Fallon. Surprised at how good he was. The opening sketch was great, and I loved Fallon’s musical tribute to the three shows that went off the air. Brilliant.

**LL Cool J. As my wife said, “Dude, you’re like in your 50s. Time to take off the Kangol hat.”

**Jane Lynch had to win for her role in “Glee.” I only wish she wore the track suit and did a “Sue’s Corner” while she was up there.

**Great speech by Eric Stonestreet, Cameron from “Modern Family.” I loved that he said he’s giving the Emmy to his parents so they can see it every day “and realize what they made possible for me.” Very touching.

**January Jones is beautiful, but that was a pretty awful dress, I think.
**And Lauren Graham, sweetheart, I love you, but what the hell were you wearing? Not good.

**So glad Al Pacino won for the Jack Kevorkian movie “You Don’t Know Jack.” Although that was a rambling, weird speech, Al.

**I’m a huge fan of the death montage every year, and I loved this year’s, with Jewel singing along with it. But Dennis Wolper is the last person we see? He’s the most important death of the last year? And yeah, I moaned a little seeing Boner Stubone and Corey Haim in the montage. So sad.

**I like George Clooney more and more these days, because he can laugh at himself. That’s rare with famous people.

**Guess I should see that “Temple Grandin” HBO movie. I think it won like 412 awards.

**Finally, a long overdue win for Jim Parsons, Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory.” Such a great show, and such a great part. Really, it was a terrific night for people who like good TV.

**So I found myself in a department store in the mall the other day, and I had a pretty crappy experience with a saleslady.
This woman was rude, dismissive of the story I told (that a product I was told was in stock by another employee a short time earlier on the phone, now wasn’t in stock, it appeared), and just extremely off-putting.

And I wonder if she realizes how uncomfortable she made the situation for me. And how I simply won’t shop there again, because of her attitude. And that for all she knows I could be a big spender.  Just like I would patronize a store that gave me great customer service, just because they were nice, customers like me avoid stores because of one bad attitude from one employee.

I know retail work isn’t easy; I’m not saying every person should be as enthusiastic and helpful as Richard Simmons on a case of Jolt cola (do they still make that?).

But the damage one person can do to a store’s reputation is unbelievable.

Obedience school for women, suggests two South Carolina cops. And “Big Bang” rules again

You know, sometimes these blogs just write themselves. Like tonight. My old friend Mike Voorheis, a damn fine tennis opponent and Boggle player back when I lived in Wilmington, N.C., alerted me to a lovely tale of a North Myrtle Beach, S.C. public safety director who has some newfangled ideas of combating domestic violence.

Yep, Maj. Walt Floyd has all kinds of wonderful ideas and thoughts. For example, when deciding whether a 17-year-old boy should be charged for having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend, he replied (according to a tape recording made by another office), “Damn if I wouldn’t have screwed her if I was that young.”

But the real class statement comes a little later in the tape, according to this story in the Myrtle Beach Sun-News. A police lieutenant named Don Repec and Maj. Floyd are discussing the rise in domestic violence cases reported.

“All these criminal domestic violences in here, can the victim advocate start enrolling people in, some of these women, in obedience school so they don’t have all these problems with their men,”” Repec said on the recording.

“We probably need to,” Floyd said on the recording, in response to Repec’s repeated request to enroll the victims in obedience school.

Could these two be any more disgusting, backward, or offensive? Not sure. Maybe there are more tape recordings where they advocate children prevent abuse from parents by running away from home. Or where they blame rape victims for being so darn alluring that night at the bar.

I know it’s South Carolina, the state that has given us Mark Sanford and Strom Thurmond, but if these two have their jobs for more than another week, it’s an enormous slap in the face to women, and to the citizens of that town. (UPDATE: They’ve been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. What, exactly needs to be investigated here?)

It’s 2010, for God’s sakes. How much longer does moronic, backward thinking get allowed from those entrusted to lead and protect the public?

**And now, a few more words about “The Big Bang Theory.” What another outstanding episode Monday night. Can’t remember the last show that consistently brought the funny every week. Don’t give me “The Office,” because I never got into it. Maybe “Seinfeld?” Or “Cheers” before that?

They’ve clearly moved the show around Sheldon, which is smart because he’s the best character. But everyone else plays their role so perfectly on that show. The scene with the ball pit Monday night had me in stitches, partly because I remember how damn difficult it is to get out of those things. And Sheldon as a busboy? Genius.

How this show hasn’t won an Emmy yet blows me away.