Deuces

In a storybook Luhrmann-esque camera style, I have been totally and completely sucked (pun intended) into the intensely naked world of HBO's new New-York-City-70s-prostitution-drama, "The Deuce." Hard to watch, even cringeworthy at times, this show is all of the oomph and gritty glamour I didn't even realize I was missing on my screen.

Featuring a double James Franco (yes, he plays brothers), endlessly alluring Zoe Kazan, and perfectly cast Maggie Gyllenhaal, "The Deuce" has all the right bait: sex, nostalgia, drugs, New York City, intrigue. And that's just the pilot. Yes, it's vulgar, it's objectifying, it's raw. But it's memorable and real. In the realm of Pretty Woman, this show portrays sex work matter of factly—gives strong women a voice, at a price. Leaves much to be desired, but so much to hold onto—which is why it will be easy to continue going back for more. 

"The Deuce" pilot is streaming now on HBO. 

An Anniversary Worth Celebrating

Nineteen years ago, a curly blonde New Yorker in a pink tutu twirled into our lives and a show hit Home Box Office that would forever change the dialogue and portrayal of smart women on television. Smart, sexy, successful American women. A show that would romanticize New York City and, in a way it had never publicly been before, celebrate casual sex. An ode to female friendship, feminism, and being single. That show is Sex And The City, but I'm guessing you knew that after I said tutu. 

"Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with." Fuck yes! These pearls of wisdom, delivered every episode from Carrie and her troop of empowering feminists, have literally seeped into our female identities—haven't they? Because Carrie Bradshaw was the foremost editorial influencer—her relatable, revealing sexscapades detailed elegantly in her New York Star sex column, and again with the ladies the next morning at brunch (us included, learning from each lesson of bad sex and broken hearts). Any woman discovering themselves in a big city would be disadvantaged not to soak in the advice of Carrie, the caution of Charlotte, the spunk of Samantha, and the charming cynicism of Miranda from 1998 to today. 

We all—male, female, anyone in between—know too well the break ups, disastrous dates and search for love depicted by this quartet. That's why nearly two decades later, the woman of Sex And The City are still on our minds and on the speed dial equivalent on our HBO Go accounts. They're so us, or the most fabulous versions of ourselves. 

So, let us say cheers. Because nothing before or since 1998 has quite come close to the stamp Sex And The City has made on female driven television. To give celebration where celebration is due, let's mark this milestone of National Sex And The City day and, on her 19th birthday, rejoice that there ever was such a wonderful celebration of women on premium cable. 

 

Crisis In A TV Show?

Despite the less than stellar reviews of Woody Allen's new show (if you could even call it a show, more a chopped up movie rife with full length Allen-isms—from the piano interludes to the credit fonts) on Amazon, there wasn't even a small chance I wasn't going to give it my full attention. Binge watch the entire series in one sitting I did, and I am happy to have done it.

I understand the critics—there's nothing extraordinary about the plot, the casting was eh (I am not very into Miley as revolution-hippie), and it was a bit lazy. "I don't feel like turning the alarm system on tonight," Allen complains within the first 10 minutes. Cue the break in. And so on with the dramatic hints.

But it was funny, it was timely (clearly demonstrating the comparisons between the radical 60s and today), it wrapped itself up in a charming way—bringing together the characters in the final episode for an awkward face off, and it was Woody Allen. His character, not J. D. Salinger but S. J. Munsinger's biggest problem in life is someone eating the chicken out of his fridge. What's not to love?

So, if you haven't begun just yet: don't have any expectations. If you like Woody, you'll appreciate the show. If you find him off putting, you won't. No big crisis. 

PS. If you have begun, did you recognize the voice of Allen's on screen wife, Kay Munsinger? She has an actress daughter who you may know from The Night Of... 

Down To Get Down

I'm not claiming to be anything close to an expert on hip hop, leaving me in no place to critique the accuracy of "The Get Down" in portraying its beginnings—but really, that's no matter here. What I do claim is a love of Baz Luhrman and an affection for the cinema that he creates. Because in truth, the pilot episode of his new Netflix adventure is just that--a real hour and forty minute cinematic experience. A story told through intense character depiction, emotion, and a dream-like camera lens. How wonderful life is when Baz is on our screens. (Pick up on that Moulin Rouge reference, kids?) 

"The Get Down" is an appreciation for beautiful on screen styling—perfectly tailored outfits and hairdos, fine-tuned acting, and cultural reference in dialogue and in tone. Reminders of Luhrman's other creations—religious centerpieces as large as "Romeo + Juliet's," tear your heart out love stories and over the top feelings a la Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby. And the music on top of it all. Plucking. Right. At. Those. Heart. Strings. 

So I guess where I'm going here is I'm excited about this show, excited to turn every episode into the full and all encompassing experience that I know it will be. 

And one more thing... #bazneedsanoscar