Tag Archives: Michael Cohen

“GLOW” on Netflix a show with heart and humor that is well worth your time. “SNL” takes on the Cohen hearing, and it’s almost as wacky as the real thing. And Roger Federer wins title No. 100.

Sometimes, with all the glut of great TV and movies out there these days, and with my busy life helping raise two beautiful but exhausting male humans, it takes me a while to get around to watching great entertainment even when I’m sure I’ll like it.

That was the case with “GLOW,” the fantastic comedy/drama that debuted on Netflix two years ago and whose first two seasons I just finished watching last week.

If you’re not familiar with it, “GLOW” on Netflix is based on the incredibly cheesy but in its own way, awesome, 1980s Saturday morning female wrestling show called the “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” where beautiful but incredibly ridiculous stereotyped characters with names like “The Terrorist,” “Palestina,” and “Babe the Farmer’s Daughter” would perform offensive but sometimes really funny skits, put on some bad but entertaining wrestling matches, and basically play the whole thing while winking at the camera.

Not surprisingly, adolescent me ate all of this up, sparking an appreciation and love for women’s wrestling that continues to this day (Don’t judge me, Trish Stratus and Lita were as athletically gifted as 95 percent of the men wrestlers).

So when I heard that Netflix was turning “GLOW” into a series, and that “Weeds” creator Jenji Cohan was involved, I was pretty certain I’d love it.

What I didn’t know was how far, far superior it was to most every other TV show out there. Set in mid-1980s, “GLOW” stars Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin as two actresses and best friends who, for reasons you’ll find out early in season 1, have a falling out, and find their own path to this new, crazy idea of a TV show about women grapplers.

The cast is filled out by fantastic ensemble performances led by the obnoxiously insecure Melanie Rosen (of course her wrestling name is Melrose, it was the ’80s), an actual real, current star wrestler playing a “Welfare Queen,” and others whose characters and gimmicks I won’t spoil.

Season 1 of “GLOW” was terrific in establishing this world, showing how difficult it was for actresses like these to actually pretend to know what they’re doing, and giving us great dynamics between the women and the show’s director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), a former B-movie slasher king who’s embarrassed to have to do a show like “GLOW.”

The first season is great, but Season 2, which I binged over the last two weeks, takes the show to a whole ‘nother level. The character development, the relationships that emerge, and the pure insanity the writers come up with to try to gin up ratings are hilarious and wonderful. (Season 2’s 8th episode has the best “We are the World” singalong parody you’ll ever see.).

Even if you don’t care about women’s wrestling, or want to wallow in ’80s nostalgia, “GLOW” is absolutely worth your time. It’s funny, it has a big heart, and more spandex than you’ve seen since your last trip to Jack LaLanne.

Definitely check it out.

Next up today, I fully expected “Saturday Night Live” to take on the bizarre, sad, infuriating and ultimately unsatisfying spectacle that was the Michael Cohen testimony this week. What a proud day for our country, when we’re listening to a two-bit, sleazy con man of a lawyer talk about his even more disgusting, despicable client, who oh yeah happens to be President.

And, happily, “SNL” was up to the task, bringing in big guns like Bill Hader and Ben Stiller to make it even better.

Hilarious.

**Finally today, the greatness of Roger Federer is sometimes taken for granted by tennis fans, and sports fans in general, but every once in a while I like to stop and take a step back when he accomplishes another ridiculous milestone, and today is one of those days.

Over the weekend the 37-year-old won the Dubai Championships for his 100th career ATP Tour title. One hundred championships is second only to Jimmy Connors’ record haul of 109, but there are many, many caveats to Connors holding the top spot (the field of players wasn’t nearly as good back then, many more tournaments were played on hardcourts in the U.S., Connors’ best surface, etc.).

For Federer, in this day and age, to have survived and thrived for this many years, in as brutal physically and mentally a sport as tennis is in 2019, is just remarkable.

And he’s not done yet. He’s still got a great shot to add to his haul of 20 Grand Slam titles, and break Connors’ record.

One hundred titles. Just extraordinary.

Is this finally the beginning of the end for Trump? Rare footage of NYC from 1911 is awesome. And “The Americans” steaming toward a big finish

I know, I know, we’ve thought it before.
A major Trump scandal happens, we think “This the End! No way he survives this? How could anyone?” And then the temperature cools down (or more accurately, another crazy scandal happens) and the roach in the White House survives, and we get more nonsensical Tweets, and the rest of us Americans just shake our heads and wonder how he survives.

But these last few days, since the raid on his “lawyer” Michael Cohen’s office, feels different. Cohen knows ALL of Trump’s dirt, since he’s basically a glorified Fix-It man (like Mike on “Breaking Bad” but without the charm) who pays off all of Trump’s women and mistakes.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on WHY this feels different, but Adam Davidson wrote this fabulous piece  for The New Yorker yesterday that really spoke to me. He used our original thinking on the Iraq War, and the financial crisis, to illustrate how Trump will come to the end.

An excerpt:

In this way of thinking, any new information about his corrupt past has no political salience. Those who hate Trump already think he’s a crook; those who love him don’t care.

I believe this assessment is wrong. Sure, many people have a vague sense of Trump’s shadiness, but once the full details are better known and digested, a fundamentally different narrative about Trump will become commonplace. Remember: we knew a lot about problems in Iraq in May, 2003. Americans saw TV footage of looting and heard reports of U.S. forces struggling to gain control of the entire country. We had plenty of reporting, throughout 2007, about various minor financial problems. Somehow, though, these specific details failed to impress upon most Americans the over-all picture. It took a long time for the nation to accept that these were not minor aberrations but, rather, signs of fundamental crisis. Sadly, things had to get much worse before Americans came to see that our occupation of Iraq was disastrous and, a few years later, that our financial system was in tatters.

And then there was this…

Cohen was the key intermediary between the Trump family and its partners around the world; he was chief consigliere and dealmaker throughout its period of expansion into global partnerships with sketchy oligarchs. He wasn’t a slick politico who showed up for a few months. He knows everything, he recorded much of it, and now prosecutors will know it, too. It seems inevitable that much will be made public. We don’t know when. We don’t know the precise path the next few months will take. There will be resistance and denial and counterattacks. But it seems likely that, when we look back on this week, we will see it as a turning point. We are now in the end stages of the Trump Presidency.

Dear God, let’s hope so.

**Next up today, this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time: Rare footage of New York City in 1911. Originally filmed back then by a Swedish company called SF Studios, it was restored and uploaded by YouTuber and historian Guy Jones.   According to this story, “the print has survived in mint condition. Slowed down footage to a natural rate and added in sound for ambiance. This film was taken by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern on a trip to America. The sound isn’t original but adds a pleasant ambiance and realism to the City scenes.”

So many things stand out to me in this video. I love how slowly people are strolling down the sidewalk, that pace is unfathomable in NYC today. The clothes are fantastic, as are the horses. (I really wish we could wear hats like that again.)

The guy at the 3:20 mark nearly getting run over by a trolley car and not being the least bit ruffled? Very cool. James Bond cool.

Just a marvelous piece of American history in seven minutes.

**Finally, my favorite current TV show for many years now has been the spectacular FX show “The Americans,” and it saddens me greatly that every episode in this final season brings us one step closer to the end of the series. It is so beautifully acted, and plotted, and stories so wonderfully intricate, that it’s been a true joy to watch and try to decipher.

We’re three episodes into a 10-episode finale, and it’s been fantastic. We finally have what’s been teased for years, Phillip Jennings (in 1987) living the life of a normal American, while wife Elizabeth carries on her duties as a Russian spy, even as the Soviet Union begins to undergo massive change. And bringing daughter Paige in as a spy understudy has caused massive disruption for Elizabeth.

The body count this year has been high for Elizabeth (are they really going to have her kill someone every episode?). She seems miserable. Philip seems miserable. And we’ve got some incredible, strange new partnerships brewing, like Oleg and Philip.

This show is so damn good. I can’t wait to see how it’ll end, but I really don’t want it to.