Tag Archives: Transparent

The Emmy Awards mostly get it right, except for “The Americans” snub. And the Giants are undefeated, the Browns are still the Browns, and more NFL Week 2 thoughts

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The Emmy Awards, my favorite awards show of the year, was Sunday, and my excitement was higher than usual because finally, finally, finally!, the best show on TV, “The Americans,” got a whole bunch of nominations, after being shamefully ignored for the past three seasons.

And, well, “The Americans” got shut out. As did “Fargo,” which was incredible, and as did “Better Call Saul,” which was also fantastic. But I don’t know if it’s that the voters are getting smarter or more diverse or what, but the last few years have seen a whole lot of well-deserving shows and individuals get victories.

A not-so-brief recap of the highs (tons of ’em!) and lows (just a few) of the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted Emmys Sunday night:

— First, Kimmel. I thought his opening monologue and O.J. jokes were good, and the Matt Damon bit amused me. But maybe we could’ve heard the winner’s speeches a little more if we didn’t waste 10 minutes on a stupid PB&J bit, huh? Still, overall Kimmel was solid. Though I still think Tina Fey and Amy Poehler should host every awards show, ever, from now on.

— So many deserving winners I’m happy for: John Oliver, who does such important, meaningful and hilarious stories that shed light on under-covered issues; Patton Oswalt, who’s always been under the radar but is always good; Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran in “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” was sensational. And “Key & Peele” winning in their last season was fabulous.

— My wife nearly fell off the couch in shock when Tatiana Maslany won for “Orphan Black.” Apparently she’s fabulous in that show (my wife watches, I don’t.)

— Best dressed (again, according to my wife, the fashion expert of the two of us): Regina King, Kerry Washington, Allison Janney. Worst? Kristen Bell looked like she was wearing a leftover Thanksgiving decoration. And the Terrence Howard outfit? Yeesh.

— Great acceptance speeches by Sterling K. Brown, Sarah Paulson (trying to redeem Marcia Clark’s rep, but I wasn’t buying it, Clark blew that case), and Julia-Louis Dreyfus, who got all choked up talking about her Dad at the end. Also loved how genuinely stunned Kate MacKinnon was, shows much these meaningless awards really mean to nominees.

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— Of all the people I didn’t expect to see at the Emmys… a Jeb Bush sighting? He was great. If he had shown even an ounce of that personality on the campaign trail, America might not be stuck with the vulgar, talking yam right now.

— Solid death montage this year, but Prince as the hammer? Guy is absolutely a legend, but he’s not exactly a TV star. I guess you could say his MTV videos were revolutionary, but …

— Nice to see “Transparent” win again, and Jeffrey Tambor’s tribute to Garry Shandling was sweet. But I’m surprised neither Tambor nor Jill Soloway made mention of North Carolina’s awful HB2 law.

— Biggest snubs besides “The Americans?” Bokeem Woodbine and Kirsten Dunst in “Fargo,” and HBO’s “All the Way” not getting anything.

— Finally, you think O.J. was allowed to watch the Emmys in his jail cell? I mean, he was pretty much the star of the night.

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**One of those rare stress-free autumn Sundays for me, since the Jets already played on Thursday night (I absolutely loathe Thursday night NFL games, because they’re almost always poorly played, it’s barbaric to make these players play 2 games in four days, and when it’s the Jets, I’m usually too revved up to sleep for hours afterwards).

The early games were pretty dull for a few hours, until we got some outstanding finishes. Some quick-hit thoughts on Week 2…

— So of course the Patriots jumped out to a huge lead thanks to Wonder Boy Jimmy Garoppolo, who then got hurt which meant their 3rd-stringer, Jacoby Brissett, had to come in and the Pats hung on to beat the pathetic Dolphins, 31-24, and now of course Brissett will turn out to be the next Joe Montana and lead New England to two more wins until the ORIGINAL Wonder Boy, Giselle Bundchen’s husband, comes back. Things just always work out for the Patriots.

— I feel like every year I need to publicly thank God that as painful as it is being a Jets fan, it could be worse; I could be a Cleveland Browns rooter. The Browns grabbed a shocking 20-0 lead in the first quarter Sunday over the Ravens, and then, because they’re the Browns, proceeded to give up the next 25 points and lose, 25-20. Thank God LeBron James brought that city a title, because they sure as heck ain’t getting a Super Bowl win anytime soon.

— Great note from writer Alan M. Cole on Twitter Sunday: How old is Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri? He once tackled Herschel Walker. Herschel Walker! Who started his pro career in 1984!

— I didn’t think it was possible, but the officiating seems to be getting even worse this year. A bunch of blown calls Sunday, in the Bengals-Steelers and Giants-Saints games in particular. With replay, this stuff is NOT that difficult.

— The Giants are either the worst 2-0 team ever or the luckiest. They tried really, really hard to give away that 16-13 win over the Saints, but New Orleans refused to take it.

— Funniest part of my day: A guy in my usual sports bar was trying to explain how fantasy football worked to his girlfriend, telling her it’s better if this team’s drive stalls because his kicker needs points, and how it’s good when that guy throws an interception, yada yada yada. Poor woman had the same glazed-over look in her eyes that I used to get in Mr. Pizo’s 11th-grade chemistry class. After about 10 minutes, she gave him a look like, “Enough, I just don’t care.”

Tina and Amy, and surprise winners, make me happy at the Golden Globes. And thoughts on the end of Peyton Manning, a terrible call against the Cowboys, and other NFL musings

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The worst part of last night’s Golden Globes show for me was not the ridiculousness of “The Affair” winning best dramatic TV show, or that I got creeped out upon learning that 56-year-old Kevin Spacey is dating 31-year-old Kate Mara (I mean, that’s pretty wrong, right?).

The worst part was hearing Tina Fey and Amy Poehler say that it would be their last time hosting. Their chemistry last night was again fantastic, with my favorite bits being, of course, mocking George Clooney’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” by listing all the amazing real-life accomplishments his new wife Amal Alamuddin has.

Love Tina and Amy for their wit and charm.
Some other musings from my brain (and as always during awards shows, my wife’s brain) on a pretty entertaining Globes:

— So happy, first of all, that two of my favorite pieces of entertainment last year got lauded properly: Loved seeing “Boyhood” win three major awards, because it’s truly the best movie I’ve seen in the past five years (my original review of it here.), and loved that “Transparent” and Jeffrey Tambor took home two big awards. Tambor’s speech was terrific.

— Best dress of the night, as chosen by the wife: Jennifer Aniston, with a runner-up spot to Amy Adams.

— How hilarious is it that Alison Tolman, who played the Frances McDormand character in the “Fargo” TV show, competed in the same category Sunday as McDormand herself, being nominated for “Olive Kitteridge?” That was just weird.

— Great speeches by Matt Bomer, Kevin Spacey, and Patricia Arquette. And Clooney’s line about “if you’re in this room, you’ve caught the brass ring” and his tribute to his wife were really sweet.

— Best Twitter line I saw last night was from TV critic James Poniewozik, who said after “Transparent” won:  “Also let’s just take a moment and recognize that the award for Best Comedy was won by an online bookstore.”

–Finally, I liked how most speeches weren’t rushed off the stage. For many of these people, this is their one moment in the sun, so I want to hear people like Gina Rodriguez pay tribute to her family.

**So the NFL divisional playoffs always seem to give us a couple of great games among the four, and this weekend was no exception.

The Packers-Cowboys game, which I only saw bits and pieces of (was at my nephew’s rockin’ 10th birthday party Sunday), was a classic, and Baltimore-New England Saturday night was an old-school shootout.

But the lingering memories for me of this football weekend will be twofold: 1, The end of Peyton Manning as an elite NFL quarterback, and 2, NFL instant replay has gotten out of control, and for idiotic rules to decide the outcome of a team’s season is just ridiculous.

First, couple thoughts on Peyton: I love this guy, have loved him ever since he was in Knoxville. I’ve defended him against critics, been thrilled when he won a Super Bowl, and laughed at his great sense of humor on “SNL” and in commercials.
So it’s been really painful watching his last two playoff games, last year’s Super Bowl and Sunday’s desultory loss at home to Indy.
Peyton’s finished. He really looks done. His throws sailed high, low, all over the place yesterday; in short, he looked like Ryan Lindley or Kyle Orton on some of them.
When he really needed to make a play, he just couldn’t get it done. Look, the guy’s had an amazing career, and he’s one of the 5 best QBs to ever play. The fact he came back from four neck surgeries to be as good as he was before is incredible.
But I think it’s finally just about over for Eli’s brother. And I’m a little sad about it.
Now, for the Dez Bryant catch … and that’s what it was, it was a freaking catch. I hate the Cowboys, hate Dez Bryant and his selfish, look-at-me all the time histrionics, but if the play he made late in the fourth quarter to give the ‘Boys a first and goal and a chance to take the lead is not a catch, then I’ve never seen a catch in my life.
He leaped, caught the ball, came down with two feet inbounds, landed, reached for the goal-line as he was being tackled, and then the ball moved slightly.

The refs on the field thought it was a catch. Eighty thousand fans at Lambeau thought it was a catch. No one on the Packers sideline could honestly think it wasn’t a catch.

And then the replay official overruled the call, and the Cowboys lost a chance to score, and everybody was incredulous.

It’s just so silly. Instant replay is around to get calls right, and correct egregiously bad ones. Calls like yesterday’s on Bryant just take the game away from the players, and it’s just so wrong.

Still, looking forward to Sunday. I predict a Packers-Patriots Super Bowl.

“Transparent” is a wildly cool and different new show. Fox News has more fun lying about “voter fraud.” And “Boardwalk Empire” goes out with a bang.

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Sometimes you see a show on cable and say “Man, there’s no way this show could ever be on network TV.”
Then you see a show like Amazon’s new and brilliant “Transparent,” and say, “I can’t believe this show got made, because even cable wouldn’t take a risk on airing it.”

“Transparent” is different from any other show you’ve seen. It stars the always-great Jeffrey Tambor as a divorced man in his 60s who after years of suppressing his feelings, decides to begin the transformation of becoming a woman. In going from “Mort” to “Maura,” he encounters wildly different reactions from his three children, played by Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and the scene-stealing Gabby Hoffman.

“Transparent” doesn’t make fun of Maura, doesn’t try to sensationalize his feelings, and doesn’t go for cheap laughs. It’s a smart, funny, surprisingly warm show that Amazon hopes becomes its first major hit show, so it can compete with Netflix.

Like Netflix does with its shows, Amazon released all 13 episodes of “Transparent” at once; I’ve seen 4 so far and each one has been as good as the rest.

If you want to see a show that’s pretty different from anything you’ve seen, definitely give it a shot.

**Next, I haven’t written a lot about the 2014 midterms coming up next week, partly because I’m a depressed Democrat who feels like the Senate is sure to slip into Republican control, and partly because I haven’t had the time to follow this cycle as closely as I usually do. (And honestly, even if the GOP takes the Senate 52-48 or something, it’s not like anything’s going to really change in the next 2 years. Shoot, Congress can’t get anything done right now with a Democratic-led Senate.)

But I’ve been happy to see that Fox News, that bastion of journalistic integrity, continues, as it has ever since it was born, to just make shit up.

Specifically, around election time they love talking about voter fraud. What’s extremely scary is that GOP governors all around the country have used this B.S. “voter fraud” idea to drastically reduce early voting days and hours for citizens, because again, as I’ve said hundreds of times before, if fewer people vote, Republicans think they’ll win. And isn’t that just so damn democratic of them; let’s have less people vote!

Anyway, Rachel Maddow tore down just a small piece of Fox News propaganda the other night, with this scare piece run about Colorado’s “print-at-home” ballot, which of course doesn’t exist.

When the truth doesn’t work for ya, just make stuff up. Fox News, I bow to your greatness in this area.

**Finally, a few words about the “Boardwalk Empire” series finale from Sunday night. (SPOILERS AHEAD, STOP READING IF YOU’RE A B.E. FAN AND HAVEN’T WATCHED YET).

I’ve loved this show from the start, even through some of the bumpy patches in Seasons 2 and 3, when it wasn’t quite confident enough to go away from main character Nucky Thompson and focus on the way-more interesting and charismatic characters like Al Capone, Nelson Van Alden, and Chalky White.

The last two seasons of the show have been sensational, and Sunday’s finale was a really satisfying conclusion. The major storylines wrapped up the week before, with Nucky’s financial downfall, and empire, taken over by Meyer Lansky and Charlie Luciano, Van Alden trying to strangle Capone and go out in a blaze of glory (yeah, not so much), and Gillian rotting away in a mental institution.

But with much settled, Sunday still was a fantastic episode. I know a lot of people on the Internet guessed that the teenager who suddenly appeared a few episodes back would turn out to be Jimmy Darmody’s son, and he’d take revenge on Nucky, but it still shocked me a little to see the final bullet fly from his gun into Nucky’s face.

And there were two gorgeous, heartbreaking scenes I loved: Capone, knowing he was about to go to prison, having a heart-to-heart with his deaf son, and in the 1897 flashback, watching young sheriff Nucky decide to “give” 15-year-old Gillian to the lecherous, disgusting Commodore, knowing what she was in for but wanting to please his boss and move up in power.

It was a wonderful, explosive, beautifully acted show, and I wish it went on for more than five seasons. But it went out on a really terrific note