Category Archives: Television

Will & Grace Returns 

After plenty of speculation surrounding a possible “Will & Grace” revival, NBC has confirmed that the series is officially coming back for a 10-episode run. The network shared the news on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest, and most defining comedies in NBC history is coming back,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement obtained by Variety. “This groundbreaking series for everything from gay rights to social and political commentary — all disguised as a high-speed train of witty pop culture — is coming back where it belongs.”

As of now, there is no date set but Sean Hayes, who plays Jack on the sitcom, said it will air during the 2017/2018 season.


Discovery

Last summer’s Star Trek Beyond revealed Hikaru Sulu — the character originated by George Takei in the original 1966 television series — is gay, a development that left Takei with mixed feelings.

But he’s quite excited that “Star Trek: Discovery” will prominently feature a gay character.

“I’m eager to see him,” he says of Anthony Rapp, who’s set to star as a gay Starfleet science officer on the upcoming CBS spinoff.

While being presented with the ICON Award at Saturday’s Unforgettable Gala, which honors Asians in entertainment, Takei talked about gay characters in the Star Trek universe and beyond.

When I was informed they were making Sulu gay, I said, ‘It’s wonderful that they can deal with the gay issue. But honor Gene. It’s not about me. It’s about Gene’s vision and respect him and respect the characters that he created.’”

“But be as imaginative and creative as Gene was. Create a new character and make him or her gay with the issues he or she might have to deal with in the 23rd century. That would be exciting. That would be paying tribute.”

As for Sulu being gay in 2016’s Star Trek Beyond?

I wasn’t persuasive and they made Sulu gay. They said it was a tribute to me, so I appreciate that part. But now Gene is really going to be honored by ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ by having that original character, played by a wonderfully talented actor. I think it is the way it should’ve been done.”

Later, Takei revealed that he tried persuading Roddenberry to incorporate a gay storyline into the original series, but 1960s audiences simply weren’t ready for that.

Gene created all of the characters as straight characters. Because of the times, it could be not be on the air if you have a gay character. In fact, we had one episode where the white captain, Kirk, kissed the black Uhura, and that show was blacked out — literally blacked out — in the Southern areas. Stations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia refused to air it. We hit rock bottom.”

I was lobbying Gene to do an episode that deals with LGBT issues and equality. He said, ‘I’m aware of that and I support that but I’m walking a tightrope. I can’t step a little too far or the show will be canceled.’

But those days are past.

According to Variety, he’s clearly extremely excited about “Discovery,” which will premiere in May.

“I want to know what they’ll do!” he says.


Medici

This weekend, I watched Medici: Masters of Florence on Netflix. It is a television drama series about the Medici dynasty starring Dustin Hoffman as Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, Richard Madden as Cosimo de’ Medici, and Stuart Martin as Lorenzo de’ Medici (The Elder). Florence is one of my favorite cities in the world. The series is set in the 15th century Florence, the protagonist is Cosimo the Elder, who was elected head of the Florentine Republic in 1434. Cosimo has inherited the Banco Medici from his father Giovanni, who has been mysteriously poisoned. Through various flash backs (20 years ago), we are introduced to a Florence at the time of Giovanni and his relationship with his sons, Cosimo and Lorenzo.

Historical accuracy is not one of the strong points of the series. During an interview at the Roma Fest panel in 2015, Frank Spotnitz, co-creator of the series, stated, “the season will be more thriller than historical saga . . . we begin the show with a ‘what if’ because we don’t know how Giovanni de’ Medici died. One of the questions that haunts Cosimo, is whether his father was murdered.”

I very much enjoyed watching this series. The beauty of the scenery is magnificent, while the drama is quite compelling. I don’t think anyone would guess the culprit of the primary mystery of the season. I certainly didn’t. It came as quite a shock, and I hope that doesn’t give too much away. If you love Florence, the Renaissance, or historical drama, this is a show for you. I loved it and hope you will too. It really does have a great cast and Richard Madden does not meet the same horrible fate as he did in Game of Thrones. He’s a lot smarter in this series.


Gilmore Girls

I don’t know if any of you were a fan of the show Gilmore Girls but I remember watching it when it was first on. I was so happy when Netflix announced that it would be doing four more episodes of the show, and I spent this weekend watching those four episodes. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed and cried some more. It was a very satisfying end. If you were a fan, don’t miss it.


Jack Falahee 

“How to Get Away with Murder” star Jack Falahee responded to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the U.S. presidential election by coming out as straight.

The 27-year-old actor plays Connor Walsh, an openly gay law student on the hit ABC series, and has engaged in plenty of steamy, same-sex love scenes on the show. He’d previously dodged questions about his sexuality in interviews, noting that the subject seemed “reductive.”

On Tuesday, Falahee posted a snapshot on Twitter of a short essay he’d written, recalling how he’d watched the Nov. 8 election results with a group of dismayed friends. He said witnessing one pal, who identifies as gay, break down in tears after learning that Trump had been elected president, inspired him to offer his support to the LGBTQ community as a straight ally.

He wrote:

While I’m not gay, on HTGAWM I play a character who’s in a relationship with an HIV positive man. However, in the past I’ve declined to discuss my own sexuality in an attempt to try and dismantle the closet. Opponents to my ambiguous answers to questions surrounding my sexuality argued the importance of visibility. Ultimately, I think that may stance has been unhelpful in the fight for quality.

Falahee then added, “I feel that I’ve sacrificed my ability to support the community for a more theoretical discussion about sexuality. Now more than ever, I want to offer my support to the community as an ally.” You can read the full tweet here.

In a second tweet, he laid out his plan on how to get better educated about the country’s political system as well as issues pertinent to the LGBTQ community, and invited his fans to follow in his footsteps.

1. Educate: I’m going to be come more informed about our political system and its shortcomings. I’m going to read more about social equality and how I can help achieve it.

2. Engage: I’m going to engage in local elections and actions. I intend to participate in direct action more than once every 4 years.

3. Support: I will certainly mess this one up, but I hope to support the LGBTQ community, as well as other communities jeopardized by this election, to the best of my ability. This includes giving my time, money and body in support. As allies, I believe we have a duty to stand up to discrimination and hate.

4. Listen: I’m going to listen to the other side. I’m going to listen to opinions that challenge my own.

5. Donate: I’m going to set up monthly donations to a variety of statewide and nationwide organizations that help protect the rights of those threatened by the new President-elect.

We’ve always loved Falahee as Connor on “HTGAWM,” and his willingness to embrace the LGBTQ community, as well as other minority groups, outside of the confines of the small screen feels so refreshing as we move toward an uncertain future. Hats off to you, Jack!

Source: Huffington Post


Timeless

I’ve recently been watching a new show on NBC called Timeless. There are several reasons this show appeals to me. First, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of time travel. As a historian, who wouldn’t want to travel in time and see things as they really happened. Second, one of the main characters is a historian. It’s rare that a historian gets to be the exciting lead in something. Third, Matt Lanter (above) is one of the stars of the show. So far the shows have been fascinating. Small changes in history are shown to have a ripple effect and it’s a mystery as to how or if it is even possible to put things correctly.

The show isn’t perfect though. The changes to the timeline are hard to believe when there is no apparent connection to the events that are changed. Maybe this will be a mystery that is solved later in the series. Furthermore, the historian on the series is able to recall the dates of important events in history, no matter how insignificant. Historians have specialties, usually very minute items in history, but the historian on the show seems to be a master of all of history. Unless she’s a savant, I don’t see how she can know all these dates without doing a minimal bit of research, yet she seems to know dates and facts right off hand. The last thing that isn’t perfect is that Matt Lanter seems to always be fully clothed. That really should change. He’s a gorgeous man, and I want to see more of him.


The Weekend 

I had a pretty laid back weekend. Not by choice but by necessity. Starting last Wednesday night, I had a bad headache. It lasted through Sunday. After working with this headache Thursday and Friday, I needed the weekend to recuperate. So Isabella and I took it easy. As most cats do, she has taken over the apartment. She knows who is the real queen around here, and she’s let me know it. Thankfully, she’s a benevolent, kind, and loving ruler. She enjoys watching TV, and mostly she seems to enjoy what I watch. 

Last night was the season finale of Game of Thrones, so we spent much of yesterday rewatching the season leading up to tonight’s finale. What a finale it was too! Next season should be very interesting. You may think that I am joking about Isabella watching TV but she sat right next to me with her eyes glued on the screen. She was sitting on a pillow and seemed to quite enjoy the season finale as much as I did. There were parts that I was disappointed about but I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but overall, it was mostly what I expected.

I’m hoping to wake up this the morning refreshed from the weekend and ready for the week ahead. Hopefully, it will be a headache free weekend. We will see how it goes. I hope each of you have a great week too.


Heavens to Murgatroyd!

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Does anyone remember the cartoon character Snagglepuss? Snagglepuss is a character created by Hanna-Barbera in 1959. He’s best known for his famous catchphrase, “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”, along with phrases such as “Exit, stage left!” (or stage right, and sometimes even up or down), a phrase used in theatrical stage directions. Finally, Snagglepuss tends to add the word “even” to the end of his statements.

He first appeared in several episodes of The Quick Draw McGraw Show and became a regular segment on The Yogi Bear Show. Daws Butler based the character’s voice on Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, which at one point caused some confusion to the point where Mr. Lahr threatened legal action against Hanna-Barbera and Kellogg’s. To resolve the matter, it was decided to include the on-screen message “Voice of Snagglepuss–Daws Butler” during the commercial segments.

I remember Snagglepuss mostly from his appearance on Scooby’s All-Star Laff-a-Lympics in 1977 and 1978. Of course all of these were seen in reruns, as I was born in 1977, but I was always a big fan of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, especially Scooby-Doo. My love for Scooby-Doo probably is the reason I still love to read mysteries.

The thing about Snagglepuss is that he was an effeminate, pinkish lavender lion who many have assumed was gay over the years. While gay-pride and gay-rights activists and folklorists will like to use Snagglepuss as a gay icon because of his pinkish lavender fur color, his lisping speech and his fondness for the theatrical, Joe Barbera was once quoted as denying the likelihood, insisting that the character (and voice) were modeled on Bert Lahr (adding that Lahr “once beat up on his wife!” which I guess was supposed to make Lahr more manly, but seems cruel and silly to me). Too, there were at least two episodes involving a would-be girlfriend, Lyla, who rejected Snagglepuss as too boorish. Haven’t we all (gay men, that is) though had “a would-be girlfriend” to hide our sexuality.

On a Season 34: Episode 8 “Weekend Update” segment on Saturday Night Live (November 15, 2008), Bobby Moynihan appears in costume as Snagglepuss to comment on California’s ban on gay marriage. During the segment Snagglepuss is outed by anchor Seth Meyers and then confesses that his domestic partner is fellow Hanna-Barbera cartoon character The Great Gazoo, who also makes a cameo.


Downton Abbey

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I know that I am behind the times on this, but I have begun binge watching Downton Abbey. I had never watch the show before because my local PBS station never really advertised when it first started being shown. I tried watching an episode out of sequence, but I just couldn’t get into the show. I recently started from the beginning and I’m totally hooked.

First of all, I’m a big fan of several of the actors in the show. How can you not love Maggie Smith? I am also a big fan of Penelope Wilton who played the recurring role of Harriet Jones in Doctor Who. 

However, for years I have been an admirer of Allen Leech. In 2003 Leech played gay fashion designer Vincent Cusack in a little known gay movie called Cowboys & Angelsn 2007, Leech appeared in the HBO drama series Rome (another favorite show of mine) as Marcus Agrippa, Octavian’s top soldier and friend. In 2010, he appeared on the small screen in The Tudors as the doomed Francis Dereham, former lover of Catherine Howard. Leech, of course, appears  as chauffeur Tom Branson, whose political ideologies clash with the upper class, on Downton Abbey. As an Irish actor, I figured it was appropriate to pay homage to Leech in this post on St. Patrick’s Day.

I am about halfway through the third series, but I’ve fallen in love with the show. Each time I say how much I like the show someone asks me if I have seen the finale, but like I said, I am only halfway through the third series, so no spoilers please.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you are wearing your green.


Offensive, Deplorable, Insensitive, Cruel, and Insulting

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Last night I was watching the World Series (I’m rooting for the Royals). I just couldn’t handle watching the Republican debate. I find all of the candidates offensive, but I didn’t expect to be offended during the World Series. However, a DIRECTV advertisement with Peyton Manning came on. I’ve seen it before, and its incredible offensiveness and makes my blood boil every time is see it. I never have particularly liked Peyton Manning, but even if I had been a huge fan of his, this commercial would have made me hate him with a passion. Before I say more, I’m going to let you read what the commercial says (I could have posted a YouTube video of the commercial, but I find it too offensive to post):

Hi I’m Peyton Manning and I have DIRECTV.

And I’m really high voice Peyton Manning and I have cable.

Only DIRECTV lets you watch NFL Sunday Ticket games live on all your devices.

With cable I can’t do that it’s like – ahhhhhhh! [high-pitched]

I get to take all the games with me.

I sing with the Four Tunesmen.

Camptown ladies sing a song
Doo dah, doo Dah
Camptown racetrack five miles long
Oh the doo dah day

Don’t be like this me get NFL SUNDAY TICKET only on DIRECTV.

To understand why I find this really offensive, I have to tell you something about myself that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned on this blog before: I have a high voice. My voice is the stereotypical “gay voice.” I get mistaken for a woman on the phone and at drive-thru restaurants. All of my life, bullies have imitated my voice as a way to call me a faggot, usually while using the word fag or faggot and limp wrist hand gestures along with it. My voice has been an embarrassment to me all my life, but I am learning to accept it. It does help that with my new job, my voice plays a major component in said job. However, every time I see this commercial, it brings up all the bullying I faced in my life, and I’m not just talking about my teenage years but my adult life too. It still happens. Imagine calling your bank to straighten out an issue that has to be done over the phone and the person you are speaking with refuses to believe you are who you say you are. They thought by your name you were a man, but when they speak to you they are sure you are female and cannot be convinced otherwise. So they try every security question they can think of and after you answer all of them promptly and correctly, they reluctantly agree to speak with you, but remain skeptical you are who you say you are.

So when I see this commercial and I hear, “And I’m really high voice Peyton Manning and I have cable,” what I really hear is “And I’m faggot Peyton Manning and I have cable.” I don’t know how many of you watch NBC’s The Voice, but this season there is a male contestant named Jordan. He also has a high voice and during the blind auditions, everyone turned around and was shocked that he was a guy. Then they all said, especially Adam Levine, how important a contestant he was because he was so brave. I admire Jordan immensely for having the courage to stand up there knowing the judges would turn around and be shocked that he was a guy. I couldn’t have done it. Sadly, I don’t think he will make it far when America begins to vote because guys with high/effeminate/”gay” voices are discriminated against everyday. We constantly have our manhood questioned because we don’t have a deep voice. We are constantly discriminated because of it. We are made fun of by athletes and bullies, and now even on a national television commercial.
I find this commercial to be one of the most offensive, deplorable, insensitive, cruel, and insulting commercial that I have ever seen. DIRECTV has been called out before on these types of commercials, but they continue to make more of them. Who else will they be allowed to insult before they stop using these commercials? I find this one even worse because without saying it directly, it hits on two major stereotypes of gay men: that we have “gay voices” and we don’t like sports. After all, this is a commercial about NFL Sunday Ticket on DIRECTV. This commercial invites ridicule for those men who don’t have deep voices. DIRECTV should be ashamed of themselves for such a blatantly homophobic commercial. The sad thing is, I doubt DIRECTV nor Peyton Manning realize just how hurtful and insensitive this commercial is. They merely think it’s funny. There is nothing funny about condoning bullying and homophobia, directly or indirectly.


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