Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Matthew Weiner on screenwriting

I sympathize with feminism the same way I identify with gay people and with people of color, because I know what it’s like to look over the side of the fence and then to climb over the fence and to feel like you don’t belong, or be reminded at the worst moment that you don’t belong ...

Of all of them, Peggy is my favorite. I identify with her struggle. She is so earnest and self-righteous and talented and smart, but dumb about personal things. She thinks she’s living the life of “we.” But she’s not. And every time she turns a corner, someone says, “You’re not part of ‘we.’ ” “But you all said ‘we’ the other day.” “Yes, we meant, ‘we white men.’ ”

Here's the full interview Mad Men fans: You're welcome.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Flashback Friday: The stunt cast

Why? Why would they? There's no surer sign that a TV show is about to hurl its ass Fonzie-style across shark-infested waters than the stunt-cast.

It's never good. It never works. The pop cultural graveyard is littered with the corpses of TV hacks who in their last gasps were heard to utter, "You know what Ugly Betty's been missing all these years? Post Spice!"

Whether it's Nancy Reagan warning Arnold and Willis to say no to drugs or Brad Pitt's wooden banter and woeful in-jokes on Friends (hahaha he hates Rachel ...) or Color Me Bad and Jeremy Jordan thrashing out early-90s R&B in the Peach Pit, stunt casting is just awkward and embarrassing.

Suddenly the characters in this neat little self-contained universe are turning to the cameras and giving us the big wink and nudge and asking us to revel in the hilarity of oh look, it's Mrs. Cunningham on Drew Carey!

 It's not clever, meta, postmodern, self-reflexive or any other dumb things you spouted in cinema studies tutes. It's just dumb. It's lame. And Jessica Alba and Jack Black belong nowhere near Dunder Mifflin. That is all.

(First published December 16 2008)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Things achieved today due to getting 6.5 hours sleep in a row

Showered and blow-dried (BLOW-DRIED, I tellsya!) hair

Cleaned kitchen

Baked banana bread

Visited friend

Went to gym

Certified Quality Time with baby

And it's only 3.30pm.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thank you for being a friend

Ok, so I am SO EXCITED that the Queen Mother was a fan of the Golden Girls. I mean really, can you imagine? Do you think she chuckled at Blanche's bawdy jokes? Did she and Liz and Phil guffaw as Dorothy did her withering middle-distance glare after yet another of Sophia's zingers? I like to think that the QM took respite from Fergie'e toe-sucking or Di's histrionics or Charles banging on about horticulture by pouring herself a tall glass of G&T and settling in for a re-run of the one where Dorothy, Blanche and Rose are mistaken for prostitutes and hauled off to jail. Really, this has made my day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Reality bites

To say that watching the Real Housewives franchise is a guilty pleasure is not true. I feel no guilt about it at all. If these women want to expose their lives in this way, leaving themselves at the mercy of ruthless editors and the braying masses, so be it. And there is something weirdly compelling about the US Bravo franchise. Camille Paglia is a fan: "I love the frank display of emotion, the intricate interrelationships, and the sharp-elbows jockeying for power and visibility."  I'm with Camille. Is reality TV really all that different from your average episode of Australia Story, albeit with a hokier soundtrack and more downmarket demographic? We're all voyeurs and we all love the insight into other people's private lives, especially if they're rich and vain and fame-hungry and utterly, utterly shameless. 

But the local critics are right - Real Housewives of Melbourne is a horrible misfire. The women's behaviour is dreadful and the feminist cause dies a tiny death with every lame insult hurled. Can you really hang a whole series on a dispute over heels on a Peninsula tennis court? Please. Enough. Let's leave reality TV to the Americans and get back to doing what we do best - watching celebrities on a slip'n'slide.

See also: Real Housewives of Melbourne? Frankly, we deserve better (SMH)

The Real Housewives of Melbourne is awful, and I don't want to write about it any more (Mama Mia)

Monday, April 28, 2014


Back from holidays, avoided dengue fever and drunk Australian airline hijackers, now savouring the crisp Melbourne autumn air.

It's a sad day in my life-long quest to be "with it" when I've never seen nor heard of the Gold Logie winner. *Sobs into Lisa McCune commemorative hankie*

Alas I missed Australian TV's "night of nights" last night. I do love the Logies. I love the liquored-up guests and the bewildered overseas ring-ins; the off-key musical numbers and the seventeen-year-old soapie starlets convinced that Hollywood beckons rather than a career in real estate. I love Bert's double entendres, Kerry O'Brien's high spirits, Maria Venuti's bosoms. Don't ever change, Logies.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Melbourne vol. 2: Melbourne vs Sydney

Well of course Melbourne is on track to become Australia's biggest city. I conducted my own investigation into the Melbourne - Sydney divide many years ago when I packed my bags and moved north. Having grown up in Melbourne, I decided it was time for a change of scene. Sydney seemed so inviting - the glamorous harbour, the tranquil weather, the beautiful people with their tans and their little dogs and their weekender yachts.

Turns out Sydney is a lovely place is you're stinking rich but pretty tough if you're semi-broke, in your twenties and living in a share house. I lived in Newtown - described to me soon after I arrived as "the suburb you live in if you wish you lived in Melbourne." The tranquil weather turned out to be hot and humid and left me with a permanent sheen of sweat and a bad attitude. The public transport was great if you didn't mind endless delays and line breakdowns and getting on the train to Bondi only to end up in Bankstown. The pubs were full of pokies and the beers (sorry, midis) too pricey. I stuck it out for two years and then flocked back to the loving embrace of that grand old dame, Melbourne.

Sydney had its upsides: Glebebooks, Bill's, the Bondi to Bronte cliff side walk and Mardi Gras. I'll give it its beaches and its beauty. But give me the Merri Creek over the harbour, the roar of the MCG over the clamour of Coogee and the Palais Theatre over the Opera House. Sydney, you're beautiful but you drive me wild. Melbourne, be mine. x

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

MICF must see

So yes, we're off to the tropics and yes, it will be fabulous and will involve G&Ts and poolside massages and maybe a little sunburn and hopefully not a henna tattoo and/or an obnoxious conversion to yoga.

But missing Marty Sheargold and Tony Martin joining Glenn Robbins and Dave O'Neil at MICF on Thursday night is making my heart ache just a little.