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Archive for the ‘Brothers & Sisters’ Category

by Beal

In the first grade, local weatherman Kevin Orpurt visited my elementary school. The student body gathered in the gymnasium and sat on the floor (wow, this is even more low rent than I originally remembered) for Kevin’s captivating presentation about weather patterns and storm facts, probably, I can’t actually remember, because I was SO EXTREMELY PUMPED THAT I WAS MEETING A REAL LIVE TELEVISION STAR. Now, keep in mind that I was six and I had no idea what a “local affiliate” was or that MY “local affiliate” was located in Terre Haute, Indiana. What I thought was that Kevin Orpurt was the WORLD’S meteorologist and that me and my school were so special that he traveled all the way from 30 Rock to share his love of climate with us. Eventually, my excitement for meeting Mr. Orpurt turned to shame and a source of family mockery. Sixteen years later, I moved to Los Angeles where celebrity sightings are typical and routine so when I encountered one in the drugstore, the post office or a coffee shop my reaction was more of a “oh cool” than “HOLY SHIT HE’S ON TV!!!” Excitement-wise, nothing can compare to the Kevin Orpurt incident (that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever typed) but here are a few TV STAR ENCOUNTERS that come close. . .

5.  Jasmine Guy — Whitley Gilbert in  A Different World (1987-1993)

Jasmine Guy/Whitley GilbertYou know what’s greater than seeing Jamie Lee Curtis or Meredith Baxter Birney walking into an A.A. meeting? Seeing Jasmine Guy approaching the facility in which the meetings are held at the time in which they are held. See, I used to work four doors down from a church that held celebrity-studded alcoholics [not so] anonymous meetings on Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. The first time I saw Jamie Lee (who once called me “lovey”) I thought, no shit? what’s she doing walking around here at 9 a.m.? Until my boss informed me what all those people that smoked in front of the church were there for. Now Jamie didn’t smoke, and I can’t say that I ever say M.B.B. did either, and that doesn’t really matter, because the point is those two SEEM like they could be alcoholics. BUT WHITLEY GILBERT??? You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve never been closer to figuratively shitting my pants. I had roughly a solid minute of Jasmine Guy approaching me head on, since I was walking up the street towards my office and she was walking down the street, POSSIBLY towards this meeting. Now, I can’t say for certain, but she had parked up the street (meaning she didn’t live in one of the houses down the street) and the only thing between her and the church was a nail salon, a waxing store (what do you call those?) and a boutique. HOWEVER, none of them opened until 10 a.m.! So, by the powers of deduction, Jasmine Guy may or may not have a drinking problem and I [sort of] witnessed it first hand.

4.  Patricia Wettig — Nancy Krieger Wilson in thirtysomething (1987-1991)/Holly Harper in Brothers & Sisters (2006-present)

patwettigPerhaps Patricia Wettig isn’t exactly who you think of when you think “Television Star,” but she made my list because of the frequency in which I ran into her, literally one time RAN INTO her (incidentally on the same day I “ran in” to her co-star, please see #1). From what I gather, Patricia (and her husband Ken Olin) must live in Pacific Palisades, a smalltown-esque celebrity enclave nestled on the bluffs between Malibu and Santa Monica. We share a favorite restaurant, Cafe Vida, because I saw her there at least once per week. It’s a small place, less than 20 tables, so no one could come in without you noticing (which Heidi and Spencer, vomit, did on the daily). I always really wanted to approach Patricia, and tell her I really liked her show, but I could never bring myself to do it, for fear of appearing as if I cared about celebrity (so instead I am blogging about it years later). The last time I saw her was at the CVS on 26th and Santa Monica Blvd. I was visiting L.A. the week before Christmas, stopped at the drugstore for something and as I rounded the corner of one aisle I smacked head on into another person. When I looked up and made eye contact, it was none other than Patricia Wettig. We said, “Excuse me” to one another, all the while making solid eye contact, and for a brief moment I considered sparking up a conversation. However, she seemed to recognize me (no doubt from our regular luncheons) and that was more satisfying to me than mentioning that strangely (and sounding made up) I had just seen her co-star at the mall.

3. Will Smith — Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996)

Will Smith/Fresh PrinceSpotting celebrities in traffic is pretty spectacular. It’s like they think that within the confines of their $100,000 automobile, they are invisible. It’s quite the opposite actually. You see a retardedly expensive/shiny car and, as much as you wish you didn’t, you wonder who is inside. Nine times out of 10, it’s a nobody with a car payment that will bankrupt him before his cheating trophy wife can do it but once in awhile it’s Dennis Quaid or THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR! Heading into Hollywood one sunny afternoon I noticed a lustrous black Bentley convertible to my right. From a slight distance the driver appeared to be a Laker, but when the light turned red and I rolled up directly next to the vehicle, a perfect place to cock my head and stare, I noticed that it was, in fact, Will Smith. It was Will Smith, sitting in traffic next to me biting his nail. It was Will Smith spitting his finger nail into mid-air in the general direction of my car! The light turned green and, partly horrified, I continued east on Sunset Boulevard. Traffic is thick and another light turned red, aligning Smith and I for yet another couple minutes. I played it cool, nonchalantly looking to my left away from Smith and wouldn’t you know it, there he was again, this time as Hancock on an excessively large billboard. I turned back to my right, as it was exciting having both a picture of his face and his actual face on either side of my vehicle. THIS TIME, Will, a friendly guy, noticed me staring. He gave me a head nod which I returned (desperately wishing that I had “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” in my stereo) before he pulled in front of my car and turned left on Laurel where low-lifes like me, fear to tread.

2.  Ali MacGraw — Lady Ashley Mitchell in Dynasty (1984-1985)

Ali MacGraw/Lady Ashley MitchellPerhaps Ali MacGraw (no relation to Phil) is better known for her Academy Award nominated performance in Love Story than she is for her role in Dynasty, where she was killed in the Moldavian Massacre, but humor me. Now, admittedly, Ali MacGraw isn’t really on my celebrity radar. In fact, I had no idea who she was until after our chat. I was in a boutique store in L.A. trying on jeans when someone else came in to look around. I heard her tell the manager/my friend that she’d been keeping busy “working for Vogue.” Being that there was no mirror in the dressing room, I was soon forced to exit in order to use the large one located in the middle of the store. I plant myself in front of the mirror, and Ali MacGraw says to me, “Oh my god, those jeans were MADE for your body. You really have to get them.” Now, maybe she was just being nice, or maybe I was having a skinny day, or maybe the jeans were just high-waitsed enough to hide my muffin top BUT I will never be above taking false fashion compliments from a maiden of Vogue. I decide to purchase the jeans and for the next 15 minutes chat with this lady about her new home in Sante Fe, how she doesn’t miss L.A. and how much she loves this one kind of sandal that my foot is too fat for. After her departure, I was told who she was and thank god I didn’t know before or I may have had a Sweet Dee-style dry heave right in front of her or more likely done the ever-rude “My MOM loved that when she was a kid”. I still have the jeans, which I refer to exclusively as “my Lady Ashley Mitchell jeans.”

1.  Calista Flockhart — Ally McBeal in Ally McBeal (1997-2002)/Kitty Walker in Brothers & Sisters (2006-present)

Calista Flockhart/Ally McBealThe story I’m about to tell you is true. I almost [accidentally] killed Calista Flockhart. Part of me is glad that this was an “almost” situation and the other part of me wonders what doors would have opened up for me if I had, in fact, killed Ally McBeal or at least maimed her. Last December, L.A. was unseasonably cold, and rainy so instead of shopping outdoors on Melrose or the Promenade, I was relegated to the indoor Westfield Shopping Center in Westwood on Pico. Apparently the same thing happened to Calista. Now, I wasn’t actually living in Los Angeles at the time, only visiting,  and my friend Bic (you know, the girl who likes pens) was kind enough to loan me her apartment and brand new car for the week–the car that nearly killed Calista. As an Angeleno, parking AS CLOSE or CLOSER to the entrance as humanly possible is requisite. I noticed a spot and headed straight towards it at a reasonable speed. From the corner of my left eye I noticed a quick flash of a vehicle’s tail lights, no doubt the result of someone pushing the lock button on their deal. WITHOUT LOOKING FOR CARS, said person steps directly into oncoming traffic (me, in Bic’s car) FORCING me to SLAM on my breaks. This person gets out of harm’s way somehow (I couldn’t see my head was flying forward due to the violent slamming of the breaks) and is now standing directly next to my driver’s side window. I look over and wouldn’t ya know it! It’s Ally McBeal! She makes an “oops” face, smiles and politely waves. I smile awkwardly and wave back–a mutual exchange of “I’m not sure which one of our scatter brains lead to this almost tragic accident.” (Classic Ally). I quickly parked the car and spent the next hour stalking her and her family in Nordstrom.

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by Judi

Note: The title for today’s Top Five topic was clearly all Beal. I apologize for the bits of cheese that just flew out of your monitor.

5. Courtney Cox in Friends (1994 – 2004) and Cougar Town (2009)

Picture 1Sometimes, it feels like Courtney Cox has been around FOREVER. That Springsteen video, Family Ties, and then ten years on Friends, the short-lived Dirt on FX and now Cougar Town. I realize that it might be a little immature to count Cougar Town as Cox’s second iconic role but, honestly, I don’t see how we can ignore it. After just four episodes of the ABC’s Wednesday night show, my opinion of Courtney Cox has done a total 180. Not that I didn’t appreciate her character on Friends or anything. Far from it. The statement “she’s a Monica” has saved me on more than one occasion when I find myself trying to describe someone who is completely anal, a control freak and hyper-competitive. I just didn’t know if she could be funny as someone other than the Gellar-Bing we all know and love and sometimes find mildly annoying.

But she is. Jules Cobb, in point of fact, is far funnier and more real than Monica ever was (though both share a manic crazy gene) and Cox is so outrageously perfect in the role that you shouldn’t be surprised if, in a couple of years, we all say, “Monica who?”

4. Rob Lowe in West Wing (1996 – 2006) and Brothers & Sisters (2006 – Present)

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This is not the first time on this site where I have to admit that I would watch Rob Lowe do anything (ANYTHING). I don’t care if he’s a dirty tool in real life, I don’t care how many nanny scandals or sex tape disasters he falls into, I don’t care how tanned he gets. I STILL watch that “Visit California” commercial just for those three seconds where he’s sitting on that damned log. I. love him.

I hate when people refer to his “comeback” because, really, his is just a fantastic career trajectory. Teen heartthrob, Brat Pack member, evil doer in now-classic SNL movies like Wayne’s World and Tommy Boy, then a plumb role on West Wing, a few failed pilots and now Brothers & Sisters and movies like The Invention of Lying. And that commercial where he’s sitting on that damned log. He seems to have found his place as a smart, wily, hot politician which is ENDLESSLY preferable to how he could’ve ended up. [Cough- McDreamy- hack- cough.] I’ll take Sam Seaborn and Senator McCallister, thankyouverymuch.

(Ok yes, I only posted this second clip because he’s shirtless. I AM A HUMAN BEING, PEOPLE.)

3. Heather Locklear in Dynasty (1981 – 1989) and Melrose Place (1992 – 1999)

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There was a time in the ’90s when, if a TV show was starting to see a drop in ratings, a studio exec would yell, “Get Heather Locklear on the phone!” It’s hilarious that our favorite TV blond bitch has pretty much evolved into the TV equivalent of an emergency adrenaline shot.  Melrose Place needs a Joan Collins-like fix? Get Heather. Spin City suffering without Michael J. Fox? Get Heather. Scrubs needs a foil worthy of Perry Cox? You get the picture.

The guys behind the new, revamped Melrose Place obviously agreed because we’re only a couple of episodes into the first season and Amanda Woodward is already making an appearance. Not that I’m sorry about that in the least. Of all the prime-time soap characters throughout the ’90s, Heather Locklear’s Amanda is the only one fierce enough (yup. Fierce. There is no other word, sorry) to look like she actually would eat her own young for a corner office, which makes her endlessly fun to watch.

Her voice is HILARIOUS in Dynasty. Is she 15? You know that for all her posturing, Joan Collins could just destroy her from that reclining position.

2. Danny DeVito in Taxi (1978 – 1983) and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005 – Present)

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Aw, Danny. Our favorite petite scuzz-ball. On Taxi, he was Louie DePalma- gross, unkempt, lewd and slightly lovable. He secured some classic moments for my favorite cab-centered sitcom. Now, as Frank Reynolds on Sunny, he’s evolved into the kind of creature you find in a shower drain. He’s filthy, his hair’s always standing up and he’s more at home climbing through a disgusting ceiling vent than he is in daylight. God bless him. He  looks like he’s having the time of his life too.

With Taxi, he found a classic comedic role. With Sunny, he’s quickly climbing into cult icon status. How many cast members of the movie Twins can you say that about?

1. Mary Tyler Moore in The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961 – 1966) and The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970 – 1977)

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And now for something a little different. It isn’t easy jumping from a rat-infested ceiling vent to the Rob and Laura Petrie’s house, but I’m going to do my best.

Of all the classic, black & white sitcoms, The Dick Van Dyke show is by far my favorite. I never get tired of watching it, of Rob’s pratfalls, of Sally and Buddy’s wisecracking in the office and, of course, Mary Tyler Moore’s charming, classy Laura. If I had magical TV powers, I would reach through my TV set and plop Mad Men’s Betty Draper in front of her TV to let her see how Laura Petrie gets it done. It IS, after all, possible to be a stay-at-home wife and still be funny, sexy, and believably cheerful. In her cigarette-pants and Jackie O bob, she’s the Audrey Hepburn of housewives. Even her warbling cry is funny.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, in the ’70s we received spunky, sweet Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, aka TV’s Gift to Mankind, which is still as sharp and funny and adorable as it was thirty years ago. And I’m not just saying that because The Mary Tyler Moore Show pretty much saved me from going insane over my last year of unemployment.  Even though it did. It absolutely did. I don’t know where I would be without Mary Tyler Moore but I know I wouldn’t want to find out.

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by Beal

I’ve racked up about a third of a season of Brothers & Sisters on my DVR, and although I gave it my best effort yesterday, I barely put a dent in it. I feel like this program is of a bygone era. The super “serious” melodrama is reminiscent of powerhouses like Dallas, Dynasty or Knots Landing. However, there is something lacking, and I think it’s a grain of salt.

Initially, I believe that this was one of the best written AND acted shows of this genre. However, upon viewing multiple episodes in a row, including the 2-hour Brothers & Sisters Movie Event (like what? since when can shows just break into a movie just because the episode is longer, i.e. two episodes? Is this a DVD sales stunt? Ugh.) I have altered my opinion.

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First of all, the writing is only good to a point. Characters interact appropriately and story lines move along without glitches, but that’s only because they recycle the same half a dozen story lines throughout this shows three seasons. In a nutshell: constant confrontations between Nora the widow and her late husbands mistresses and possible illegitimate children/siblings from different political parties battle it out/family is wealthy so they drink a lot of wine and then argue/and my personal favorite: SALLY FIELD CRIES.

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Seriously, how many times per episode can this “strong, independent woman” break into tears? I’d love to say I could laugh when this goes down (eight times an hour), but I tell you what, these moments are generally heartfelt and admittedly, I have been known to shed a tear (or thousand) at this program. I justified this emotional outpouring because I told myself that these were great actors on a great show. And then I began to hate myself.

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I’ll give you Sally Field, she’s a national fucking treasure, but since when do I consider Calista Flockhart  (whom I legitimately almost ran over in a parking garage in Westwood) or Rob Lowe “great actors?” She’s more famous for never having eaten more than 60 calories in a day and his most noticed role was a cameo in Wayne’s World. Or maybe on that that show about politics in Washington D.C., I don’t know I never really watched it. Didn’t he get caught with a hooker once?  Either way, the point is, I recently had to come to terms with the fact that this program is in fact, exactly what I pretend I don’t love. A sudsy, sudsy bubbled up, prime time soap opera rife with corporate intrigue, criminal investigation, national politics, family business and drug abuse. Now, if only I had the time/emotional stability to view the final SEVEN episodes of this season. . .

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After a week of vacation (temporary construction induced eviction) I returned to my apartment ready to get back into my routine. Most people probably catch up with their mail, emails, yard work, what have you when they return from some time away. I, catch up with the DVR.

Nothing is better than a weekend television marathon featuring only new episodes of my favorite shows. I should have planned ahead though, made a game plan of getting through the 12% of the hard drive that recorded this week. Instead, I jumped right in and watched my favorite shows first.

Obviously 30 Rock was viewed upon first turning on the television and opening the “my recordings” menu. Next came Real Housewives of New York City followed by Intervention. Bad idea. Now I’m onto the chore shows! Are you serious? I have to sit here, pants-less on the couch for another whole day just to be caught up with Breaking Bad, Brothers & Sisters, New Adventures of Old Christine and the Lifetime Nora Robert’s collection? 

Next time I vacation, I’m saving the best for last. No more television punishment. Must. Get. Through. Unwatched. Recordings. Wish. They. All. Featured. Liz. Lemon.

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