Monday, May 02, 2016

Kind of Watching It TV : Grey's Anatomy

Oh hi. My new editor is cracking the whip. He wants more than a post a month or every two months. Dracionian rules. Anyway I've been watching televisions and to my surprise Grey's Anatomy is still on? How did that happen? I've been kind of watching it for years.

Grey's Anatomy debuted in March 2005 as a mid-season replacement. The show was interesting upon it's arrival and the a big show, reaching its peak in the third season with 28.0 million viewers. The tallies for 2015 are less than that, 8.0 million viewers, that's no bueno!

Here's a few reasons why this show is essentially over though its decline still provides odd entertainment in it's trying hours.


 Meredith Grey- The cast has had many overhauls--but with one constant, the character of Meredith Grey. You'd think Miss Mopey would have slid out of the cast around Season 7 but nothing doing. This character has been threw "the ringer" and her soapy existence includes a crazy father, a mother who had a secret baby, the loss of her "person" Christina Yang, babies and a relationship with a husband that resulted with him being run over by an 18 wheeler. And these are the good things! Of course, it's not all dire. Grey is playing de facto elder stateswoman to a gaggle of children in her old house. She's also building a relationship with a half-sister than a barely speak like she does. Dating? She's doing that too when she's not running dates out of the bedroom and obessing about her husband Derek's old blanket.

The actress who portrays Meredith Grey, Hermione Lancaster, Sarah Ellen Pompeo doesn't really miss her cast mate, Patrick Dempsey. Recently on the Ellen show she remarked, "It's amazing how much you can get done with a penis." Ha ha hee hee ha! I'm more amazed at what Grey's Anatomy is doing--with a brain.







Derek Shepherd- Flattened by a Mack Truck.

This happened in the 14th season. Derek Shepherd, Meredith Grey's husband and father of their 3 children met his demise in a brutal and disgusting manner. Dempsey had been having problems on the set and as well know Shonda Rimes doesn't do problems so she had a solution. And your looking at it. This episode had Shepherd helping folks in a road accident, being a TV hero and after it was all over, there was one more tragedy for Meredith and the viewers.


Part 2- Derek's death was par for the course. No one should have been surprised. What was surprising is how Grey's Anatomy chickened out of showing the immediate effects of Derek's accident and flashed up a few months. The show still isn't the same without the character--and the anchor of having Derek and Meredith together.



Dr.Richard Is Electrocuted

Never you mind about Season 8 downer ending with Lexi and Eric tragedy via the aeroplane. This Season 9 cliffhanger had our Dr. Richard almost roasted into a dumb dumb. Good lord, you know this show was really reaching when this happened. I think there was a great flood at Seattle Grace when Dr. Richard was loafer deep in water and was around "electwicity" and we know know how this works? Not good. The viewers saw Dr. Richard smoking like a cheap cigar and yet he survived without complications. Not one?
This was so silly. During the same accident Grey's Anatomy claimed the one intern who wasn't loathsome. That Shonda Rimes is a jokester!




Alex Karvey Is Still Alive- The character of Alex Karev has been on the show since the beginning of Grey's Anatomy. Shows would kill to have an expandable character like this on a show. His plot line ran out years ago and yet we're still looking at him. Nowadays Karev spends a fair amount of time as Meredith Grey's broken down pee pee person. And really if Alex Karev is your person? Your show is over.










Callie Torres: 30 Years Of An Ill-Defined Character. Fast fact. Did you know that Callie Torres as has been a character on Grey's Anatomy since Season 2? And did you know that Callie Torres has been kind of annoying for most of this time. It started off so promising, Sara Ramirez gave Torres a great confidence and charisma--and the writing continued to let her down year after year.

Problems signed were on the horizon when Torres was paired with fading character George O' Malley (T.R. Knight) and ever since then they've put her plots that really made little or no sense. The pairing of Torres and Arizona was particularly boring. After the Great Plane Accident, Torres made the call to saw off Arizona's leg, something that always brings couples together.

During season 12 we see Torres fall in love with another half-baked character, Penny--the most's most dreary person ever. What fun! According to reports, Ramirez is planning to leave Grey's Anatomy. I almost hope so.



 

Whoever This Is I Can't Stand Her


I know who she is, that's Amelia Shepherd, you know Derek's little sister. Amelia's character spent three gruesome seasons on another Shonda Rimes show, Private Practice. Since Season 11, Amelia has been bringing her toxic energy into another program, Grey's Anatomy. Amelia's luck has seemed to be worse than Meredith's with her drug and sex issues, her overall crabbiness and the fact that for all of the years she's been on televisions, the character doesn't seem a whit more defined. All of that in a show that's coasting on fumes.

Grey's Anatomy C+






Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Prince 1958-2016

I'm not enjoying the prospect of there not being any Prince in the world. It's just that simple. I liked him the first time I saw and heard him. It was 1980 and the song was "I Wanna Be Your Lover." The charts were filled with great songs  but "I Wanna Be Your Lover" was different. It wasn't disco, there was a certain vulnerability and musicality to it. And the voice. Falsetto voices were heard a lot in those days but Prince's was different, it was a new, a different projection--coming from somewhere else.

When we saw him, we knew where it came from. During his early appearances it was clear he wasn't the tallest of men, but he had intense charisma. The dots were connected. His voice belonged to the right person: A handsome man on the more masculine side of androgyny where decades of teen idols and sex symbols resided. Prince's look and style was transformative and his sex appeal would proved very interesting as early '80s were trying to roll back into the '50s. Prince made the R&B singing groups and bands of the day look old-timey and the corporate-era rockers seem especially ugly. Oddly enough they all seemed to fade away as Prince ascended--he had the coolest looking band, one more in step with where America was going.

The later work delivered on the R&B/rock on the flash of 1979's Prince. His talent was too much to contain. He was always the maverick, a genius and contemporary R&B wasn't enough to hold him--although his synth styles soon became the bedrock of the '80s R&B sound. For Prince, a blend of the styles seemed more fitting and seemed to harness some of his artistic muse. 1978's "Soft and Wet" (from Prince's 1978's For You) gave way to a mindset that was full-on sex in short order. It was fine, the best move--Prince was brilliant at writing about sex. Songs like "Dirty Mind," the riotously lewd and hilarious "Head" soon followed. His label Warner Brothers didn't try to convert him into a more accessible and cleaner act, they couldn't.

During this era, Prince was known for being scantily clad and often performed in concert wearing bikini briefs. For a lot of men, especially black men who could barely cough without being put in handcuffs during Reagan's '80s, it was liberating to see him in action. He wasn't broken-down and constantly perturbed like the first population of rappers and Prince didn't become neutered like established R&B acts trying to erase their manhood for radio airplay. 1982's Controversy was the anti-everything with its questioning and oddly pretty title track, the blistering and gleefully unsettling "Anne Christian," and the pure, up to the minute synth jam, "Let's Work." The humorous, "Jack U Off" closed the album with not only a laugh but a howl.


The pop charts soon caught on. 1999 was an early opus in even if the album was too much for some devotees, songs like "1999," "Little Red Corvette" and the deranged rockabilly of "Delirious" were as good as other artists careers. Prince truly hit the public consciousness with Purple Rain, the film and movie. It's so rare that an artist as talented as Prince actually hit even bigger with some of his best work. "Let's Go Crazy" coalesced the pure rock and funk that artists like his nemesis Rick James and Michael Jackson couldn't quite attain. The film captured Prince at a precise time and made him immortal like pre-army Elvis Presley in the '50s or Little Richard a day before he ran away to the church. Those images and times don't last long and Prince had moved on even as his work was being played in arcades, high school dances and on Beta players as his fans committing lines and riffs to memory. The soundtrack sold 10 million copies and spun the instant classics "When Doves Cry" (#1 pop) and "Let's Go Crazy" (#1 pop) and "Purple Rain" (#2 pop.)

Throughout 1984-1985, Prince and the Revolution were recording Around the World in a Day. The album was a drastic departure for them and the best thing for him and the era when many fans left him. It was too much and too weird even with gorgeous songs like "Condition of the Heart" and the pop confection of "Raspberry Beret." By this point, Prince followed his muse with a dizzying pace with Parade, tours and a movie. Prince jettisoned band members and before we knew it, he was back to being "Prince" and offered Sign of the Times with the gorgeous title track that blended ancient to the future bluesy riffs as tackled tough subject matter with a Joni Mitchell like rhyme scheme and starry-eyed cynicism.

Although albums like Lovesexy, the Black Album and Graffiti Bridge might have disappointed, Prince remained himself and Batman commercially sustained him--but often being a Prince fan meant that you were in for a lot of disappointments and got caught in the whirlwind of seeing ballyhooed albums turn into smoke and ash. Like all great artists, there was always some song to keep us hanging on, "Get Off," "Cream," the always poignant, "Money Don't Matter 2Night" or "My Name is Prince" and or "Damn U."


For a while a bit of acridness crept into his act due to his battle with Warner Bros. It wasn't enjoyable to see him performing with "slave" written on his cheek like it wasn't fun to see him stumble with rap or to see him with assless pants or performing without Wendy, Lisa or Sheila E. In the middle of red tape and label shenanigans, Prince was capable of great work like 1995's The Gold Experience, an album filled with raunch, funk and as well as his gentle hit ballad, "The Most Beautiful Girl in The World." That effort all but epitomized his label plights as it stayed unreleased for a year and how Warner Brothers co-opting it after the fact. On the other hand, Prince's new label NPG didn't have the muscle to promote it--and they probably didn't care, Prince had moved on to the next thing. This era seemed to be where Prince couldn't seem to navigate through labyrinthine corporate dealings and even his ever-changing musical direction caused problems as well.

By the mid '90s, he wrestled away from Warner Brothers and released Emancipation on EMI. 3 CD's of Prince at that point was too much but this era gave us a chance to see him in interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Chris Rock, etc. It was still great to see him. But it was hard to catch up to him in the era between labels and album and great songs like "Dinner With Deloris," "Pussy Control" all came and went. And 1996's Emancipation was so sprawling that many might have missed "Soul Sanctuary" and "One Kiss At a Time."

Like many artists of Prince's stature, he often went for grand gestures like in 1999 when he signed with Arista and delivered Rave U2 the Joy Fantastic. It was a perfectly acceptable album, but no Purple Rain Part 2 as it was tacitly presented to be. Still songs like "Silly Game," and "So Far, So Pleased" were fine entries to his theme. Prince continued to earn raves for his live performances but his albums, the sheer amount, the output--was too much to take.

By the 2000's, Prince couldn't quite replicate the commercial highs of the '80s and his greatest gift for a lot of his fans just "being" performing on the road, still recording albums. The later work had flashes of brilliance but he seemed to often be stymied within expectation and it's likely that a lot of people ever caught up to Art Official Age and HITnRUN Phase One, HITnRUN Phase Two despite of him making congenial appearances on television to promote the albums.

As Prince's natural incandescence couldn't translate to great songs, the expectation of great work and the new classics never diminished. If anything, his life, performances became the main entertainment in the best way. His fans loved it when he made an overture online or in public. A few weeks before his death, Prince was on stage and dedicated the concert and the set list to his ex-girlfriend Vanity who had recently past away. His fans just went crazy. Who would guess he'd follow her a scant few weeks later with fans, friends wondering another batch of "how's"and "why's."

 Prince's death has brought a flood of tributes from a cross-section of fans and artists. That's the mark of Prince's talent and influence.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Michael Strahan Leaves Live! With Kelly and Mike



....And earth tremors are felt from the world's collective shoulder shrug....

Oh hi. I hate to be the bearer of happy news, but this is too much. On the morning of Aprilrary 20st, one Michael Strahan dropped the "bizomb" and told the world he was leaving Live! With Kelly and Michael. You know this is big news because he's "Michael." According to reports, Strahan didn't discuss this career plan with Kelly Ripa. In his defense, Michael wrote a letter to her in his Trapper Keeper and just plum forgot to send it.


Strahan had been on the show for the past 4 years and according to my sources he's leaving because, "He tired." Strahan has become a fixture on Good Morning America since 2014. Of course he's no David Hartman but he's a pleasant addition and Good Morning America is such a happy set. On the other hand, Live With Kelly and Mike may not be as sanguine due in part to Kelly Ripa's "ol' funny moods." It's gotten so bad that Strahan's been having dreams of dancing Kelly to the desk and having her sit down without a chair under her derrière/bunz!


GMA Gate: It seems that Ripa isn't taking the news of Strahan's exit well. She played "sick"-- skyped to her bosses with a big block of ice tied around her head and didn't show up. Ripa has subsequently "missed" her shows with Strahan and they just might not host the show together again.


Scatman Crothers's Take: "I don't know why he wants to leave! He better be careful before they catch on that he's just a big damn dummy!"