Gemma: I finally watched Insecure, which we can mostly save for a longer post if we want.
Rasha: Yes, especially since I haven’t seen most of it. Maybe… maybe the way I feel about it is the way other folks felt about Girls? How did people feel about Girls? Maybe I feel about Insecure the way that L. Lenny Dunham *thought* I should feel about Girls, which is to say: it feels like real life to me, and that makes me sometimes want to watch it a lot and sometimes makes me want to watch escapist other stuff.
G: See, it very interesting to me in that context that it felt like the heir apparent to Sex and the City, much more so than Girls ever did. Which hearkens back to our Female Friendship convos. It was portraying a settledness in adult life that didn’t make things any easier, in the end.
R: And here we are talking again about two shows (Girls and SATC) that I’ve never seen.
G: Sorry. I loved the depth and stakes of Issa and Molly’s friendship, and I loved how Molly’s romantic idiocy was written. What have you watched lately?
R: Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy…<whisper-coughs>the catch</whisper-coughs>, Elementary, and those mostly while doing other work, either at the computer or in the house. Shondaland is my NPR.
But Gina Torres is on The Catch now, and I feel torn.
G: Hey, nothing wrong with that, even The Catch. I think we should all watch more things with Peter Krause in them. And Gina Torres.
R: The Catch is pretty fluffy and bad.
R: Like, sometimes the plots barely hang together. I don’t understand why Alice let her brother get away with 3million dollars after she caught him at the airport trying to run with it.
G: There are a lot of things about family relationships that I am willing to let strain credulity, but ugh.
R: Individual actors can be fun in the show, and they sometimes have good chemistry with each other, but the scripts and plots are not good. Penny from Lost is in it, and she is delightful.
G: Idk who that is, but awesome.
R: Whenever I see Gina Torres in it, I just want to watch a show that’s all her, so that’s the torn part.
G: Well, there’s a lot more room for that prospect on TV than there used to be. Woman has a pretty serious fan base. (I knew her when I was a kid!)
R: She’s supposed to maybe get her own spinoff from Suits, which is long overdue. I tried sticking with the show after Michael went to jail, but it just wasn’t working. And now Meghan Markle will be a princess, just when Rachel’s story arc with Jessica and her father were getting interesting. How bout you?
G: Ummm, still Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless. I’ve been rewatching Angels in America for a school project, and will soon need to do the same for The Normal Heart.
R: I don’t know the last one. I am reminded again that you go with family sitcoms when stressed, and I go for night-time soaps.
G: I mean, I like me some nighttime soaps, don’t get me wrong. And I used to go to SVU when stressed. But SVU finally crossed its line with me. Long time coming. But I also like sitcoms a great deal.
R: I am proud of you for getting clean and cutting ties with SVU.
G: I haven’t cut ties. I still like the old ones, and I’ll still fight for them. Especially Olivia Benson in her early stages. If I’m at a TV that has those syndication channels, I will always look for the one with Law & Orders. But the new stuff they’re churning out just gets worse and worse. Anyway, The Normal Heart was the first mainstream AIDS play, from 1985. It was adapted into a Ryan Murphy HBO movie with Mark Ruffalo in 2014.
R: Hmm. What was that like?
G: Eh. It’s not a very good play to begin with–it was extremely necessary and historically important self-aggrandizing agitprop in its time–and Ryan Murphy was kinda the perfect adapter for it in that sense. It’s really, really well-acted, though, in some cases by people you didn’t know could do it, like Jim Parsons.
R: I could see that, actually. And I can see how agitprop might be Ryan Murphy’s perfect application in this life.
G: I mean, Ryan Murphy has the production values to take it a bit beyond agitprop. But it’s all in the production values. Even mentioning production values just made me really miss Key & Peele, though I do not envy comedians the task of this time
R: Gah. I just found this photo of Jim Parsons.
…and his wax figure.
G: Wait but no.
R: Did I tell you I watched the last season of Vampire Diaries? That might have happened since the last time we blogged.
G: You definitely haven’t mentioned it.
R: Humans, if you like supernatural wackiness, chosen family, and intergenerational witchcraft, go feast upon TVD now. I still feel like being in that show’s writing room must have been one of the best experiences available in television.
G: Oh gracious.
R: TVD managed to fulfill my lingering longings from Sleepy Hollow re: intergenerational awesome Black women witchcraft. I was crying at the end, I won’t even pretend that I wasn’t.
G: Really? That is impressive.
R: JASMINE GUY CAME BACK.
G: I didn’t know she was ever there!
R: Forget Elena, GRAMS CAME BACK.
She was in the original cast for the show, witchy grandma of awesomeness to Bonnie Bennet, one of our young teens.
R: Have you seen any movies to blog about?
G: Very few. I saw Get Out, and I watched Clouds of Sils Maria on Netflix. That’s pretty much it. Get Out was incredible, but I don’t think it’s possible for me to add anything to the canon of its critique that hasn’t already been said
R: I feel the same. I will say: if you haven’t seen Get Out, go see it. It is important cinema, and not optional if you are living in these Americas.
G: Yes. I could not agree more with that assessment.
R: For the people who don’t think it’s for them: it’s especially for you.
G: It’s important, it’s bloody incredible as work from a first-time director, and it’s unabashedly brilliant.
R: Should I see Clouds of Stewart-Binoche? is a question I have asked myself more than three times.
G: I am not sure. I liked it a lot, but I’m not sure you would.
R: Yeah, that’s what I thought.
G: I have become firmer in my conviction that KStew’s turn in the Twis resulted in her subtle brilliance being underrated. Woman is a really, really, really f*cking good actor who got slotted into something commercial that didn’t serve her well at all.
R: Shall we count Snow White and the Huntsman in that number? Her understatement and lip biting did not serve her well as a Jean d’Arc kind of character. Also, dude, admit it: you have a crush.
G: Well, yeah. I object to the framing that every time I think a queer woman is a brilliant and underrated actress it’s because I have a crush, but you are right in this case. I didn’t see Snow White and the Huntsman, couldn’t get myself excited about it.
R: I actually think her turn on SNL was some of the best acting I’ve seen from her. Did you see this:
G: No, I have not!
R: She has a power, but I’m not ready to say brilliant yet. The vid above is landmark, and would not have been possible for her when she was passing as straight. So, you should save that video for when you have some extra time on your hands because it is surprisingly steamy despite also making fun of itself. (btw, it is best watched in the series of SNL Super Bowl commercials about a wife who does kitchen things during the big game)
G: My sister and I were recasting Carol over Thanksgiving, because Rooney Mara was not the right lady for that role, and KStew turned out to be the best solution.
R: I could see that. Would you have to recast Cate B?
G: No. Never. Now that is Hollywood Crush Blasphemy.
R: I also have a crush on Cate, and wouldn’t normally recast her, but I’m curious about the possible chemistry with Kristen. Like, they each have their own kind of magnetism, but I’m not sure whether the poles would repel or attract.
G: Well, given the book, for the story to really work it has to be both, and Rooney Mara was such a vacuum. Anyway.
R: Speaking of crushes that make me want to see things:
Cate Blanchett as an Asgardian goddess of death, directed by Taika Waititi (Search for Wilderpeople, What We Do in Shadows).
G: Man. I’ve never been able to get myself interested in the Thor movies, but that is full of temptation.
R: Yeah, I’m going to have to watch it.
G: The only thing I want to mention is that I AM REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THE HANDMAID’S TALE: BUT THE RISK OF MY DISAPPOINTMENT IS TREMENDOUS. LIKE REALLY TREMENDOUS. That is all.
R: Dude, will Elisabeth Moss please stop talking about it?
G: Ugh, she has to go on the People Who Can Keep Making Art Only If They Stop Talking in Public list, doesn’t she?
R: Yeah. Like I want to say mean things about her when she talks, but I often like her work, so could she stop talking? Or maybe folks could discover some new actor who can do what she does but isn’t The Worst? Hollywood doesn’t seem to work like that.
G: Nah, not yet. My basic dichotomy on the TV show is Point: Samira Wiley. Joseph Fiennes. And Margaret Atwood approves. Counterpoint: Alexis Bledel.
R: I think J. Fiennes is a Counterpoint for me after he didn’t know on his own that it wasn’t a good idea to play Michael Jackson. Basic sense, dude, go get it. Well, I will not be watching Handmaid, but I hope you do. I will be watching American Gods soon, I hope, since Orlando Jones is in it as Mr. Nancy.
G: Okay, yeah, you might be right about that. My images of him are from adolescenthood, and he’s good at acting. But you make a strong argument. Was American Gods a preferred book of yours? Handmaid is one of my favorite books ever.
R: Not my favorite by Gaiman, it is very dudely, but I am excited to see so many juicy immortal characters played by so many actors. Bilquis! Mostly I was neutral until I heard O. Jones would be in it, and then I got very excited. K, I gotta go.
G: Alright, my darling. ‘Til next!