Thursday, May 31, 2018

TMP Television Edition: Entertainment Business


Well, hey stranger! Haven't seen you in a month of Thursday Movie Picks (hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, of course). Been a bit hectic, lately. The Man constantly has his foot on a brotha's neck, holdin' me down. He kicked me out of Starbucks, shot me out of Waffle House, and won't even let me barbecue in peace. If any part of my reality follows me out to the football field, there's hell to pay, and God forbid I have the audacity to walk around in a white neighborhood, or ask why I'm being arrested.

Well, not me, per se.

Us.

Me, personally? I've been grinding through the last few months of the school year, grading papers and lesson planning on an endless loop. Endless until now, that is. Summer is here. And I can get back into this blogging thing. I especially like Thursdays, when I get to hang out with you guys.

So here I am, aaaaannnnndddddd, not even discussing movies. Nope, we're talking TV shows about the entertainment business. And I'm all about this topic. Ready? Five, six, seven, eight...

Josie and the Pussycats
(1970-73)
Imagine Scooby-Doo with a girl group and without Scooby. If you can do that, you pretty much nailed Josie and the Pussycats. In case that isn't clear enough, it was three girls traveling around the country...later the galaxy as it became Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space...performing gigs and solving mysteries. Or dealing with their arch-nemesis, the brother-sister duo Alexander and Alexandra. I used to watch this early every weekday morning while shoveling some sugary cereal down my throat before heading out to school. Talk about getting the day started right. And those costumes!


Empire
(2015-???)
The Lyon family is hip hop royalty and runs their record label, the eponymous Empire much like a crime family. It's a full-blown soap opera that just so happens to feature original R&B and hip hop better than most of what's on the radio. To that we can end an impressive list of guest stars, many of whom wind up with recurring roles. Forest Whitaker, Nia Long, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria, Rumer Willis, Mariah Carey, are but a few along with a slew of actual music artists. However, it's real drawing card is the turbulent relationship of its two main characters. The ever-slimy patriarch of the bunch, Lucious Lyon is played wonderfully by Terrence Howard. He is only outdone by the true love of his life, the incomparable Cookie played with an unquantifiable zest by Taraji P. Henson. This is trash-TV, done right.


Star
(2016-???)
Star is actually the name of the main character, a young white girl who will do anything to achieve R&B superstardom. Much like Henson in Empire, Jude Demorest goes all in on the role and it pays off big. Of course, Star has had a troubled youth beginning with the death of her mother, also a singer, when she was very young. Along with her even more troubled younger sister Simone (Brittany O'Grady), and Alexandra (Ryan Destiny), the daughter of a legendary rock star she's managed to hook up with, Star forms the hopeful girl group Take 3. We follow them through the ups and downs of trying to become stars, deal with each other, and deal with all the mayhem surrounding them, all with the help of mother-figure/manager Carlotta, played in series-grounding fashion by Queen Latifah. What I didn't mention in my Empire entry was that it was created by movie director Lee Daniels. He may have found his niche, as he also created this show. Like the other, Star also features original music every week that's as good or better than what the rest of the sub-30 crowd is churning out these days. This is more very good/bad trash-TV, but with its own calling card. Every episode somehow works in a full-length music video as part of the narrative.



20 comments:

  1. Josie and the Pussycats is a great choice. I was racking my brain this week for a final pick and that one didn't even cross my mind.

    damn it. lol

    I've never seen the other two, though I know a lot of people who love Empire.

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    1. Yes! Glad to see some love for Josie and the Pussycats.

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  2. I stopped with Empire at the end of last season. I love Love LOVE Taraji's Cookie, but everything else on the show was exhausting and/or just bad, so I didn't tune in for this most recent season. To be honest, I haven't really missed it, even though the music was great and a lot of the performances were juicy.

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    1. I can see that. Like I said, it's great trash.

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  3. Josie and the Pussycats! I use to watch that every Saturday morning too. I'm not for animation but it was goofy and fun enough for me to enjoy. It's the only one of your three I've seen though.

    This week was tougher than usual but I managed to come up with three though to be honest only my first is one I truly loved.

    Buffalo Bill (1983-1984)-Unconventional and innovative comic drama of Bill Bittenger (an award level Dabney Coleman), an insufferable egotistical Buffalo talk show host and his long suffering staff (including Geena Davis, Joanna Cassidy and Meshach Taylor) who he thinks nothing of treating like dirt. Sharp, incisive and critically adored this always struggled in the ratings because despite his brilliance Coleman’s Bill was nearly impossible to warm to.

    Good Morning, Miami (2002-2007)-Lightweight comedy of hot shot producer Jake Silver (Mark Feuerstein) undertaking the reconstruction of one of the worst talk show on TV, a Miami morning chat show with a blowhard host and a nun for a weathergirl. The series followed his attempts to improve the show and the wacky cast. Never a huge hit but it had a decent group of performers including the late great Suzanne Pleshette as Feuerstein’s plain talking grandmother.

    Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006-2007)-Behind the scenes comedy drama of the chaos that goes into making a Saturday Night Live type program. A lot of high grade talent (Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, Sarah Paulson etc.) in front of and behind (Aaron Sorkin created this) the camera but it never found its footing or audience and the cast never truly gelled.

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    1. Cool. More love for Josie. I only vaguely remember Buffalo Bill, but don't think I'v ever seen it. Haven't even heard of your other two picks.

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  4. Welcome back and missed you! I have a couple of friends who are teachers and this month has been crazy for them. I used to watch Josie & the Pussycats which seemed right up there with many animated TV shows that had to have some band. Scooby, well, his friends were part of a band because Daphne played the tambourine. Even Pebbles and Bam Bam had a hit with "Let the Sunshine In." I love Empire but I have missed many episodes which is a shame. Taraji is a great actress and a true force. I also enjoy Terrance Howard and think he is under appreciated as an actor...he is also a smart dresser. I haven't seen the last choice but love Queen Latifah so i should try and see it.

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    1. Thanks! The end of the year is a hectic time for us teacher folk. Yes, I forgot about "Let the Sunshine In." I think Howard is very underappreciated. And Queen Latifah needs you.

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  5. Oh my, how could I forget Josie and the Pussycats? I actually thought about using the Jackson 5 animated series, but came up with three relatively more conventional choices.

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    1. I was this close to using J5, but I realized I've used it before, maybe even more than once. I used to love that show, as well.

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  6. I haven't seen Empire nor Star but I do remember the cartoon for Josie & the Pussycats (which is still better than the film version).

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    1. I skipped the movie version because I heard it was bad. Lately, though, I've become morbidly curious about how terrible it is. I think I'm going to watch it.

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  7. When you get the chance, look up a show called "A Year at the Top." It has one of the strangest premises ever, especially from 40 years ago.

    And yes, I remember watching it.

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    1. Cool. Never heard of it, but I welcome the challenge.

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  8. Oh, jeez...don't watch it. It was terrible. Just find it on IMDb or Wikipedia or something.

    Seriously, dude. I'm not trying to cause you permanent damage here.

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  9. interesting choices as ever. Got me wondering what mine would be. Larry Sanders Show would be in there. Extras. Sports Centre perhaps.

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    1. Thanks. Of the ones you mentioned, I'm only familiar with Larry Sanders Show. Not a big fan, but I didn't hate it, either.

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  10. I think I've seen the Josie and the Pussycats cartoons.

    Have you seen Riverdale? They're in it too.

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    1. I have seen Riverdale. My daughter is a big fan and iveI watched a few episodes with her and saw them.

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