Posts tagged ‘Ally McBeal’
Facebook is filled with quizzes. In case you haven’t already figured it out, the reason there are so many (often lame) quizzes is that this is a way of accessing all of your personal information. You give permission before you take the quiz and publish the results. There have been quizzes to see which Friends character you are (Monica), which Desperate Housewife you are (Lynette) and which Sex and the City character you are (Miranda).
I know you thought I’d say Carrie, being a writer, but I don’t identify much with Carrie and find myself falling most accurately somewhere along the Miranda/Charlotte spectrum. My favorite of the men on the show were John Corbett’s Aidan Shaw and Evan Handler’s Harry Goldenblatt. I never understood how Carrie could so callously and thoughtlessly cheat on the Holy Grail of Kind and Hot Men. However, I think I actually preferred the bald guy that was Charlotte’s husband. I couldn’t stand Mr. Big. There isn’t enough money or dick to make me put up with someone who’s as selfish and narcissistic as Mr. Big. And Samantha’s Richard…don’t get me started.
We all love finding others to identify with. We love seeing ourselves magnified larger than life on a television or movie screen. The movies and books and television shows we most identify with are frequently displaying some side of our very own personalities.
On Sunday Lubbock was dealing with some particularly dramatic family crises, and we were talking on the phone from where I was hanging out at the Mr. Brewsters. Lubbock was saying that I quit drinking and gained a social life, which was the opposite of how she thought that would go. I told her I supposed that was true since I spent Thursday through Sunday in one social opportunity or other. I told Lubbock that I primarily hang out with her and the Mr. Brewsters, and she said, “Your life is Will and Will and Grace.” And I thought, well, that’s pretty accurate, and I guess that makes you Karen.
Actually, the fictional characters I’ve most strongly identified with in my life I could make a list of, and I think I will:
Anne of Green Gables
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Dawn Weiner (Welcome to the Dollhouse) – If you’re ever just dying of curiosity about my junior high school years, please rent it. It’s like a black comedy documentary.
Mary Richards (The Mary Tyler Moore Show)
Laura Holt (Remington Steele)
Christy Huddleson (Christy)
Scarlett O’Hara – I always wanted to be Miss Melly, but I fear that I am more like Scarlett, and by that I’m not referring to my stunning beauty; not a good thing.
Felicity Porter (Felicity)
Mary Ann Thorpe (Cybill)
I could probably go on, but that’s enough for now. Feel free to leave a comment about the fictional character with whom you most strongly identify. I’ve included a clip of Mary Ann for your viewing pleasure.
I was sad to read about the passing of Jill Clayburgh, an iconic actress of the 1970s who almost always played strong women’s roles. Strong women’s roles are something that we don’t see enough of today. I can’t say that I strongly identified with Jill Clayburgh. She’s roughly my mother’s age. She was a cultured, pampered child who grew up in a wealthy home in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. She became a famous actress. We’re pretty far removed from each other.
However, she did find herself cast in roles that furthered the feminist agenda and made it popular and acceptable for a brief moment in American history. All women owe her a debt of gratitude for playing those characters so well.
The performance of hers that I like best is from the first season of Saturday Night Live when she plays Jill Carson: Guidance Counselor. That’s pretty funny stuff.
There is nothing that I could write about Jill Clayburgh that couldn’t be said more eloquently by those who knew and loved her and people who are more familiar with her work. Jill’s death got me to thinking about my favorite movies. If I had to make a list of those movies that I really, really love, the ones that speak to me or that I never get tired of watching, what would that list include?
The Sound of Music
The Wizard of Oz
Imitation of Life (the Lana Turner version)
People Will Talk
Parent Trap (the original)
The Philadelphia Story
The Fisher King
Requiem for a Dream
A Time to Kill
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Hiding Place
Band of Angels
Gone with the Wind
My Best Friend’s Wedding
Casualties of War
A Summer Place
The Quiet Man
Miracle on 34th Street (the original)
A Christmas Memory
The Empire Strikes Back
The Mosquito Coast
I Want to Live
Dead Man Walking
What Dreams May Come
I’ll Cry Tomorrow
It Happened One Night
Welcome to the Dollhouse
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
On Golden Pond
Never Too Late
Thelma & Louise
No Time for Sergeants
The Breakfast Club
The Hills Have Eyes (the original, not the remake)
An Affair to Remember
I could probably go on. What are some of your favorite movies?
Rest in Peace, Jill Clayburgh
My favorite television shows when I was a kid weren’t very sophisticated. I liked Batman and Get Smart, Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. I loved variety shows like Sonny and Cher, The Donny and Marie Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. I still like The Carol Burnett Show, not that you see it anymore except for in late night infomercials for DVDs from Guthy-Renker. I loved The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Marlo Thomas in That Girl, because they represented, for me, single career women who were independent, happy and fabulous. I looked up to them and wanted to be them one day when I grew up.
I didn’t care for The Dukes of Hazard or A-Team, but I loved The Bionic Woman and Charlie’s Angels. I had Barbie dolls of Cher, Marie Osmond, and The Bionic Woman growing up. When detective shows were everywhere I loved Hart to Hart and Remington Steele. I loved both The Cosby Show and Family Ties. Don’t get me started on Michael J. Fox. I’ll never stop. And then when I was in high school there was a revelation of what might be the greatest TV show of all time.
I remember my first viewing of Moonlighting. The pilot. It was greatness. The writing was great. I was too young and unsophisticated to realize they were ripping off the screwball comedies of the 1930s that I also loved. I just knew that it was wildly funny and entertaining and imaginative. And the sexual tension was palpable. Ah, Bruce Willis with hair in Ray Bans and a suit, in a BMW. His impression on my formative adolescent years was so strong that that image is like sex on film for me. When they finally got together to Ronnie and the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” it was thrilling. Even when I viewed the entire series on DVD as an adult a few years ago I still thought it was marvelous and fresh. There’s never been anything on television like it, before or since.
After Moonlighting, nothing really caught my imagination to the same degree until Ally McBeal came along. And I loved that show. People had a hard time with that show to some degree. There were criticisms and articles about how she brought back feminism by several years. How? Because she liked to wear mini-skirts and look attractive? Because she was obsessed with her married ex-boyfriend, Billy? Because she saw hallucinations of Dancing Babies accompanied to B.J. Thomas’s “Hooked on a Feeling”? Because she represented independent career women who still wanted to find love and raise a family? How very offensive! Everyone knows that true feminists should look and act and feel and have all the same opinions as Norman Lear’s Maude.
I liked a show called Christy that was based on a book by Catherine Marshall about a young woman who volunteered as a missionary teacher in the Appalachians. But like so much TV that I find watchable and worthy of praise even, it didn’t last.
The next show to hook me was Felicity. Over the years, it evolved into more of a soap opera, but in the beginning it was really wonderful. Felicity was about a freakishly intelligent woman with a famous head of curly hair who moves to New York from California to run after a boy from high school that she had a crush on. She does this because he “encourages” her by writing in her yearbook that he always wished that he knew her better. This show also had a lot of great writing and great actors. It was one of Jennifer Garner’s first acting roles of any consequence, and John Ritter and Chris Sarandon both had lengthy guest roles. It introduced us to Keri Russell and Scott Speedman and Scott Foley. It was created by J.J. Abrams, the man who brought us Lost, my favorite television show of the present.
I didn’t watch Lost for the first season. I caught on in repeats that were shown during that first summer hiatus. I loved it for the mystery and the characterizations and the fantastical plot that seemed to almost rival anything that Days of our Lives has ever done. My favorite characters are not Jack, Sawyer or Kate, although I like them okay. My favorites are John Locke and Sayid, followed by Desmond, Rose, Hurley and Ben. They are much more interesting to me. And I think that both Sayid and Richard Alpert are sexy as hell.
I could go on, but these are the stand outs in my mind. With the possible exception of Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier, the British show Keeping Up Appearances, and the super funny Arrested Development I think I’ve made an almost exhaustive list. But maybe I’ll think of some others later.