January 2011


Last April, when it was announced that History Channel was planning to feature an eight-hour miniseries on the most famous American family in 2011, I mentally plotted the show as a “must-see.” I am a Kennedy watcher and I love checking out vintage images (of JFK, Jackie, etc.) and the modern pictures (of Rose Schlossberg). I’ve seen “A Woman Named Jackie”, “Jackie, Ethel, Joan,” and regret not having seen “Kennedy”, starring Martin Sheen and Blair Brown.

I liked the idea of Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper playing the brothers Jack and Bobby and even welcomed Brit Tom Wilkinson to play the indomitable Irishman, Joe Kennedy, Sr. But Katie Holmes as Jackie is quite the shocker.

Sure, they are both brunettes and they both have round eyes and square faces but the presence and the aura is just not there. Blair Brown, Roma Downey and Jill Hennessy are also doe-eyed brunettes but they certainly projected a semblance of Jackie’s aura.


Throughout the rest of 2010, pictures of the principal photography were posted online. The most easily recognizable re-enactments were that of the 1958 Hyannis Port beach scene with John, Jacqueline and Caroline Kennedy and the assassination and funeral of JFK. Readers caught a glimpse of Katie playing dress up (yes, with real-life daughter TomKitten, I mean, Suri) on tow with Isabella Cruise. The hair was properly amplified into the bouffant and the clothes were cheaply made. The pink suit worn in Dallas was poorly made for the min-series – it had very little to nothing of the texture of the original suit. Worst of all was a shot of Katie’s pigeon-toed stance – one never saw Mrs. Kennedy stand in that manner.

So limping towards 2011 was a much scrutinized, much-awaited mini series – then History Channel dumped it by saying the material was more drama than history. Well, we are talking about the Kennedys – it is drama enlarged by history. How can you not when you have womanizing politicians, sex goddesses, fashion icons and orphaned children coupled with conspiracies of the highest levels? Anyway, the producers have shopped the mini-series to Showtime, who has reportedly junked it as well.

I saw the trailer just two hours ago and Katie Holmes is every bit as terrible as I thought she would be. The voice is Joey Potter and the look is one of the millions of Jackie Look-alikes from the ’60’s. Barry Pepper, who I most vividly recall as Sniper Jackson from “Saving Private Ryan”, came across as intense as RFK and Greg Kinnear had JFK’s presidential eyebags down pat.

Here’s the trailer and judge for yourself

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Am still hooked into this Desperate Housewives-meets-Gossip Girl TV show, thirteen episodes aplenty. The following are my observations

I’ve always found Aria as the most interesting dresser (and Spencer as more my type) but this animal-print/ short denim shorts ensemble left me cold. I found it downright trampy looking; it’s a good thing Aria does not have the slut aura (Sasha Pieterse as Ali has that vibe nailed down).

I did adore Spencer’s ’20’s inspired look (with the cloche hat). It was such a classic yet it came off as so contemporary.

And Alex and Spencer are my favorite love team 🙂 They look so good together one forgets that in real life, the girl is five years older than the guy.

 

So the big surprise that left PLL fans dangling on a cliffhanger for three months is that Noel Kahn was the one who wrote “I SEE YOU” on Mr. Fitz’s rear window and so Hanna mistakenly thought he was A. Don’t get me wrong – Noel does turn out to be something nasty yet I still have an incredible crush on him (right after Andrew Garfield). But his character is not as sharp as A; I never thought for one minute that he was A.

Am not a huge fan of Ezra-Aria since I always thought Ezra was a geek who gives English teachers a bad name. But… I did warm up to that “last night” Aria and Ezra had in his apartment and I appreciated that touch when A saved the relationship by slipping in midterm answer keys in Noel’s locker. However, it might be some curse in disguise.

Hanna as an invalid is not a good look for her plus I could totally relate to Ashley Marin when mother and daughter uncovered that the (stolen) stash of cash was missing. Really, a lasagna box was the safest place? I did feel sorry for her when she was eating Hefty Hanna’s cupcake order (but who creates cupcakes topped with frosted piglets, anyway?) The paper towel dispenser was an excellent touch – A. expecting Hanna to throw up the food but then she failed. The girls really should be less predictable; Hanna threw the first challenge her way.

 

So far, the show has also explored the saga of Emily and Maya. Frankly, as a girl, seeing their make-out scenes and footsie sessions and candle-light moments makes me squeamish. I find Emily the most conventionally attractive and Maya just has this unlikeable vibe.I totally side with Mrs. Fields: “The whole thing makes me sick… sick to my stomach!”

Another shocker was the sudden marriage and subsequent family planning of Ian and Melissa. Of course, that Hilton Head resort tag coupled with the video of Alison with Ian, ending with Alison’s still arm puts him right at the center of all the mystery and intrigue. I applaud that porch scene with Jenna and Toby Cavanaugh – when he stood up to her and she slapped him. At least that relationship has been cleared up.

Can’t wait for the next episodes – what else would Hanna do for the cash, the Ian element and the continuing Ezra-Aria saga.

 

I’ve come to anticipate Modern Family the way I wait for my birthday- I love the witty repartee and (subtle) life lessons, not to mention character development. The following are my impressions of each family:

I love this family most -Jay’s no-nonsense, down-to-earth, frank approach to fatherhood (at least the second time around) commands my respect. Sofia is just hilarious in her approach to motherhood and to Claire (especially in that first dance episode in season 2). Usually one dislikes the gold-digger stereotype: young, pretty and poor. Gloria embodies all that (though I find Sofia Vergara sexier than she is pretty) but she is just so warm-hearted and genuinely lovable that she transcends the concept. As for Manny – he may come across as full of it to some but I would like to have a big-hearted, quirky kid like him.

I love the Cam-and-Mitchell duo – for the simple reason that I can relate to their temperaments (and since they are essentially feminine…). I can be pretty anal, like Mitchell – all cautious, bossy and paranoid but I can definitely see a bit of myself in Cam’s antics. I’m also the sort who would fight for a loved one… which is why I limit myself to a few loved ones, tee hee. The repartee is at its best with these two because they are of equal intellect (unlike Claire and Phil and sometimes, Gloria and Jay) and there are so many pop culture allusions in their conversations. The one weak link for me is Lily, who always seems so sedated. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had more character on Full House two and a half decades ago!

 

So we move on to the Dunphys – the family with majority of the drama (i.e. the Minnie Driver episode) and all the negativity. I used to find Phil endearing but as they started to establish that Luke is his mini-me, I started finding him equally annoying. Luke grates on my nerves for some reason – as the special child, he has all these quirks that rubs me the wrong way. Claire has her good moments but I cannot understand her insecurities around Gloria and “her thing” – how Halloween, and then the school dance, are all under the category “her thing”. I do appreciate the “thunder” convo she had with Gloria in the school wash room. Some people dislike Hayley and I did at first but, she’s really just your regular, popular (oxymoronic, much?) firstborn. Alex I can relate to for her squeaky sense of evil… and the element of poetic justice. She’s mean but then nature exerts its retribution by making her inept around social situations.

Lately, however the show seems to be losing steam; the first season was crammed with snappy exchanges and hilarious moments. Now, it seems to be trying too hard… hope this is just a temporary slump. How I Met Your Mother has been on a slump since the fourth season.

I cannot wait for January 3!

Okay, so it’s the first day of work but it’s also the premier of the second half of the first season of Pretty Little Liars. I spent about two days watching my favorite episodes – namely, all except the one when Ali’s brother returns and the memorial gets trashed anyway.

I also caught some interviews of actresses Troian Bellisario (Spencer), Lucy Hale (Aria), Ashley Benson (Hanna) and Shay Mitchell (Emily) and these are my observations:

I have a hard time imagining Ashley as the “it” girl of the group because she seemed terribly ill at ease and totally unspontaneous.

Lucy was very perky and friendly while Shay came off as warm and upbeat. Troian is my favorite because she was very self-assured yet spontaneous. All in all, only Ashley was the disappointment.

So, I hope the next episodes are as promising as the show’s first ten 🙂