Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I've decided with this blog each week, maybe, I will look at an old episode of a TV Series and discuss it. Mainly the writing, acting, background, etc. I was inspired by one my favorite websites AVclub.com to do this (great site by the way, check it out here.)

Dynasty(to watch episode click link). A term used to describe a political or wealthy continuation of power. However, in the 1980s the television series by that name was one of the most popular shows on television, known for it's costumes as much for it's storyline, which is straight-up soap opera. Airing on ABC, the show was produced by Aaron Spelling (Charlie's Angels) and was known for it's on-screen catfights between dark lady Alexis (Joan Collins) and pure lady Krystle (Linda Evans). The former a vengeful wife of patriarch Blake Carrington, the owner of an oil conglomerate and the latter his new wife, a Madonna vs. Whore concept if you will. And yes, the titular patriarch Blake was a oil company CEO; this show definitely would not be on today. It's a time capsule from the excessive and money-obsessed Reagan-era eighties, a gilded age best displayed in Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities. Today, the show would have to display the family, made wealthy by oil, in despair and apologetic for their family business or else as plain villains for anyone to have interest. Instead Dynasty shows them mostly in a sympathetic light as to make one care about their trials and tribulations, and there were many, inthis fucked-up family. Oil and overly rich families with all kinds of problems are just not a good fit today in the economic depression we live after the crash of '08. But I'll save the sociological comments for another post.

The episode I chose to to view was "Foreign Relations" which aired January 23, 1985, and it's an important milestone in the show's history. It was in this season 1984-85 that the series finale was the famous Moldavian massacre; a definite cliffhanger because the star's contracts were in negotiation at the time and it wasn't decided who would come back for the next season. Dynasty was at the height of it's popularity; after this season the ratings began to slip and story lines got more and more over-the-top. This episode sets up all that would come together in the infamous season finale, most especially by introducing an enticing figure to make Blake Carrington's heart palpitate: Lady Ashley Mitchell. Lady Mitchell is introduced as a wife of a former friend of Blake's who helps Blake out in Paris with some Chinese business people (I have no idea what business they were in). Played by Ali MacGraw, Lady Ashley is also a famous photographer.

The episode has also set Krystle up with a flirtatious horseman played by Rock Hudson. This would be the most talked-out guest star as it was revealed midway through the season in the press Rock was dying of AIDS, which just had been discovered in the early 1980s and was creating quite a paranoia at the time. He is noticeably gaunt in the episode, and it's sad to watch. Anyways, his character has been designed to sway Krystle away from Blake, which isn't hard since both Blake and Krystle seem to be hitting a rough spot in their marriage, despite their new baby. How convenient then that Lady Ashley and Rock (I can't remember his character's name) come on the scene. Soap operas, geez.

In other sub-plots Alexis is jealous over her new husband's(Dimitri from All My Children) relationship with her daughter, played by Catherine Oxenberg. A little tidbit: Ms. Oxenberg later married former Paramount Pictures production head (1967-1980) Robert Evans, but would very quickly divorce him because she didn't realize he wanted a sexual relationship!

Fallon's husband has gotten married to a woman who is jealous of Fallon's portrait. Also, Blake and Alexis's gay son is starting to see men again even though he is still married, which causes him to get into a fight with his wife's male friend who seems overly protective of her. I found the relationship between gay son and his architect potential boyfriend credible and not shown in a negative stereotypical man's sorrow at being homosexual, and gay son's relationship isn't pronounced as gay son falling from grace into purgatory.

This about wraps it up for "Foreign Relations" plot points. In terms of acting, one would expect overwrought performances but most were good with the material. Only Fallon's husband's new wife's performance was cliche. Joan Collins was playfully manipulative; you have to love this scheming bitch. Linda Evans is restrained and she is the best actor in the episode; less is more. Rock is not very good, which is understandable and Ali MacGraw's eyes are so entrancing it's hard to judge her performance, I mean the way she flashes her eyes at Blake! Gay son looks like Sting, so it doesn't matter if he can act. Gay son's boyfriend shows credible anguish at his situation being a home wrecker. Only gay son's wife is the truly terrible actress here: hopefully gay son and this whiny thing will get a divorce and she gets off the show or she is killed in the Moldovian massacre.

Technical aspects are unimpressive; television has certainly come a long way since 1985. Hair and makeup and costumes are top-notch.

Until next week (maybe) bon voyage!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Who is Alvin Greene and Why is he saying all these Dumb-ass Things?

Alvin Greene. Perhaps, besides Sharron Angle, Alvin Greene is the most talked about primary winner in the country right now. For those who don't know he beat a Charleston City Council Member, with much more name recognition, in the race for U.S. Senate in the Democratic Primary to run against Republican Jim DeMint in November. Greene, who had been arrested for lewd behavior, and dishonorably discharged from the military, nobody knew, and he didn't have any money or even campaign. Yet Greene won. Strange. How could this be?

Reading his interviews Greene comes across like the Peter Sellers character in Being There. For those who haven't seen the movie, which includes me, Peter Sellers plays a simple gardener who becomes a celebrity in the political world of Washington, D.C. for all the wrong reasons. For instance, his simple comments about gardening being interpreted as great words of wisdom. However, we could go a step further and compare him to Andy Griffith's character in A Face in the Crowd, but Greene has hardly amassed any seriousness beyond conspiracy theories.

Why would this man, recently arrested, and having to have a public defender because he couldn't afford a lawyer, just suddenly out of the blue walk in the Democratic Party headquarters in Columbia and deposit a filing fee for candidacy? Furthermore where the hell did this money come from?????

Looking at South Carolina's dirty political gamesmanship, see Nikki Haley's troubles or John McCain's run-in in 2000, one doesn't have to think out-of-the-box about this one. U.S. House majority whip Jim Clyburn believes Greene was set-up to make S.C. Democrats look like idiots. So far this has been true; S.C. Democratic Party chairmwoman Carol Fowler, has announced her retirement. There has also been speculation about Jim DeMint setting Greene up to ensure a victory in November. If this is true, how would DeMint know if Greene would actually win? Furthermore, how could so many voters, 100,000, vote for this man who didn't even campaign?

In all honesty, when voting in the primary, I don't remember if the two candidates were on my ballot or not. God, did I vote for this man? In an editorial for The State, the Rev. Dr. Jones says this:

Mr. Greene won because most voters did not know whom they were voting for in the U.S. Senate race. They were uninformed and unaware, and their ignorance dictatedtheir voting. Many apparently voted for Mr. Greene for no better reason than that his name appeared first on the ballot before Mr. Rawl’s name.

Whenever the people are well-informed,” observed Thomas Jefferson, “they can betrusted with their own government.” When they are not, they vote for candidates like Alvin Greene.

In an interview with The Guardian, Alvin Greene had this to say about running for senator:

I was hoping that it would be big so I would be able to get my message out to as many folks as possible: getting South Carolina and America back to work,bringing South Carolina and America back. And it's not just America. We have gotto get the world back to work and bring the world back. So it's a message that has to reach folks and it's something that I'm pursuing and it's going good.

Then here is the bombshell:

Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an army uniform, air force uniform, and me in my suit. They can make toys of me and my vehicle, especially for the holidays and Christmas for the kids. That's something that would create jobs. So you see I think out of the box like that. It's not something a typical person would bring up. That's something that could happen, that makes sense. It's not a joke

Oh. My. God. Well it certainly looks like DeMint will be in for another six years (shit). I think this time I just won't vote in the Senate election. It seems like the only responsible thing for a Democrat to do.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July to all those American citizens since 1776 who have been trampled on, beaten up, killed, dragged through the streets and hanged for fighting for their rights under the "all men are created equal" Declaration of Independence.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Contemplating Michael Steele

So it seems RNC chairman Michael Steele has put his foot in his mouth again. However, the statements he has made are so enlightening that is makes me wanna dance like Fred Astaire in The Gay mutherfuckin' Divorcee.

Some of the highlights:

"This was a war of Obama's choosing.This is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in."

"Well, if he's such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that's the one thing you don't do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan, alright, because everyone who's tried over a thousand years of history has failed."

"The [General] McChrystal incident, to me, was very comical. I think it's a reflection of the frustration that a lot of our military leaders has with this Administration and their prosecution of the war in Afghanistan."

So Mr. Steele thinks Obama is no student of history eh? Well Mr. Steele is no student of recent history. Let's not even began with the fact his own President from the Republican party basically entered into a land war in Iraq, because, as he says, "everyone who's tried over a thousand years of history has failed." Right.

Mr. Steele bashing Obama for Afghanistan's failures is like the pot calling the kettle black. Puhleeze.

Add this to the fact that a great many Republicans are supportive of the Afghan war and even want to stay beyond 2011 to "get the job done." There are Democrats too, but there are a significant many now opposing the policies in Afghanistan.

Hopefully, with a top Republican official denouncing Obama's Afghanistan "war", there will be more recognition of the hopeless situation there because it just doesn't get so much attention when Democrats voice their displeasure with Afghanistan.

Inevitably, Steele has released a statement about-facing everything he stated at the fundraiser. Too bad it's all on tape.