Must Say Goodbye TV

Four beloved, buzzy and award-winning television series air their final episodes this week so it seems only fitting we use this space to leave space for everyone to indulge in peak TV.

And say so long to:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Succession (HBO)

Ted Lasso (Apple)

Barry (HBO)

Going, Going, Gone

There is a lot of content out there, a word I always hesitate to use because it defines high bar creative endeavors such as these primarily as corporate assets. 

I mean, it’s not as if many of the higher-ups at their aforementioned studios/platforms don’t ultimately think of them that way, when push comes to shove. 

And God knows there has been a lot of pushing, not to mention shoving, in all directions lately. 

Never forget

Witness the current WGA strike and potential breaks with both the DGA (directors) and SAG (actors) as their agreements with the too many to name who now call themselves producers soon ends.

Yes, without platforms, networks and producers you don’t get the unprecedented access to these creative marvels. (Note:  Though predictably none come from the Big Four networks). 

Still, one wonders why it is so difficult for the powers-that-be to give just a little to support many of the first in line people who’ve made them billions.

…. and it’s not a good look

All the creators are really asking for is a fair shake so writers, actors and directors in the future, who are not at the top of the food chain, can make a decent enough living to ply their craft and learn the ropes so they, too, can scale the heights with something as original, or more original, than those aforementioned series.

What will happen is anyone’s guess. 

But chances are, left to their own devices, the creatives would come up with a more satisfying ending to this dilemma for their audiences than the producers. 

Because if the latter group had their choice, the entire field will permanently remain wide open for Chatbot gpt and its ilk to be the principal creators of all we will watch with perhaps some side assists from human beings to fix the shortcomings in their stories.

Not cool

I’m certainly not Zoltar, but it doesn’t take a clairvoyant genius with a turban and an earring to predict that the aforementioned method would ever produce anything as powerfully addicting in future moments in time as the series we are being forced to say goodbye to this week.

– Midge “Muriel” Maisel wouldn’t…have broad enough appeal!  And why does she have to be sooooo Jewish?  And isn’t period more expensive?  Why couldn’t it take place today so young people could relate to it?  At least she’d have a cell phone.

I think my brain just short circuited

– There is no chance a character as wholly unsympathetic as Logan Roy could possibly sustain a multi-year run in an inside baseball series about corporate greed and the communications business in today’s world.  Sorry.  And with people who communicate in their own withholding language…please!  Even if it could, to surround him with not one wholly sympathetic character the audience can relate to is to create economic suicide for us and our shareholders.  Nothing computes – on ANY level.

Couldn’t have said it better myself

– We do like the idea of taking a character our network first conceived to promote football and making him the lead in one of our shows.  But the execution in this pilot script was suicidal.  The guy’s a one-off moronic fairy tale of a man who’s Just.  Not. Funny.  We hire humans to humanize a person, not make him more like a chatbot creation.  Dirty up Ted and give him a few more flaws, for goddamn’s sake.  Throw in a little Logan Roy!

Not. Gonna. Happen.

– While we sometimes think of our own actors as high-priced hit men (Note: And women, we don’t want to appear sexist), we believe sullying the representation of veterans worldwide by making this guy an aspiring actor will totally alienate red states.  Are we saying military guys like these are creative snowflakes deep down??  Really?  Plus, Barry is such a loser name.  What about William?  Or, um, Marshall?  Or even….John!!

OK now my head hurts

That’s an approximation of the conversations you’d get.  And I’m being conservative, which rarely happens.

So while our current world, creative and elsewhere, is far from perfect, it did manage to give audiences who appreciate unique and eclectic storytelling a cross-section of unexpected and riveting representations of ourselves.   Kudos to that.  And to:

  • The tortured violence of sweet, unlikely Barry.
  • The relentless optimism of dumb as a fox Ted Lasso.
  • The ugly, unvarnished self-reflective contempt of men, and certainly women, that is Logan Roy.
  • The female empowered ambition and hilariously funny infectious energy, and yes, style, of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

They may all be made up, but none of them are artificial. 

Millions of us believed every one of them each week we saw them.  And look forward to more like, but unlike them, in the future.

“It’s A Long Way to Tipperary” – Cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Notes on Timothee Chalamet: The Commencement Address

This is college graduation week around the country and I have a message to all those graduating –

Do not try to be Timothee Chalamet.  That’s already being done. 

And quite well.

Sorry everyone

I was reading a piece in Vulture the other day that he’s been cast as the young Bob Dylan in a biopic that centers on the moment in 1965 when the already-famed folk singer transitioned to superstardom legend by picking up an electric guitar at the Newport Music Festival and slaying an unsuspecting crowd.

Yes, Timothee Chalamet can sing.

And sing well.

Yeah… this works

That just sucks, right?  Is there anything he can’t do? 

Well, maybe he’s a jerk.

Not really.


A dear friend of mine was at an event a few years ago and approached TM (Note:  Even his initials personify relaxed ease.) for a selfie because her teenager daughter had a massive crush on him and the photograph would make her year.

Yes, he obliged. 

But not only that, he impishly followed it with:

 Let’s call her!

OK we love him already

At which point, the number was dialed, he got on the phone and they had a fun, cool and sassy conversation.

What’s next?  Well, he doesn’t have an Oscar.  Yet. 

That is if you don’t count the Oscar that was stolen from him for his utterly raw and original performance in Call Me By Your Name by Gary Oldman for his mumbly, blustery portrayal of some weird version of Winston Churchill in the somewhat forgettable The Darkest Hour.

But that’s only my opinion.

Which is really the point.

It’s only a matter of time

See, I recount all of this not to anoint TM as any kind of creative Messiah, modern day personal deity, or even an individual incapable of having a bad day and being a jerk. 

I mean, given the demands of being an A-list actor, he likely is not ideal relationship material  (Note: Don’t worry, I have no stories).

Instead, I merely bring it up to state that the only way to happiness and success is:

You do you.


It may sound snide and corny but, sadly, so are a lot of phrases that are… true.

Something else:

Don’t worry about how well Timmy or any of your other more successful than you friends and peers are doing.

It’s not a race, despite all appearances to the contrary in everything you see, hear and read.

We Americans in particular, and I unfortunately count myself among them, can’t resist a good competition.  And we loooooove a scoreboard.  Because it means in those moments we are out in front, everyone else is a looooooooooser.

and you’re a star!

But if you subscribe to that kind of logic the reverse is true.  You’re a loser the moment you’re not in the #1 position out in front. 

Which, if you consider all of the categories in life under which you could be rated, is most of the time.

The real task now is what do you do with the time at hand?  Well —

What do you like to do?  What are you good at?  Who do you want to be around?  Who makes you laugh?  What do you want to get better at?  Who believes in you when you don’t believe in yourself?  And —

Who is smarter, more talented or simply wiser than you? 

Chain smoking teen reading Howard Zinn?

Go find those people, in whatever form they are available to you, and figure out what you can learn from them.  Ask them questions, if possible.  Better yet, ask yourself questions and then try to figure out the answers.

And here’s a hint:  You likely won’t find the answers sitting alone in your room.

No one, not anyone, does life alone.  That’s not the way it works.  You need a core group of those you can trust, learn from and be your nutty self with.  That’s how you get ahead and that’s how you discover and hone your talents.

You know… like this

I was watching Rainn Wilson, the Emmy award nominated actor from The Office, being interviewed while promoting his Peacock documentary series, Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss.

Admitting he suffers from lifelong anxiety and depression that has taken him down some dark roads, the effort takes him around the world seeking to figure out the answer to happiness.

Spoiler alert:  There is none.

I imagine this was also part of their discussion

But the one thing he noted that happy people have in common are that they are part of a community.

Yes, I rolled my eyes too. And I’m many decades past graduation.  Until I realized that community doesn’t necessarily mean being a member of a church, community organization, political party or even your traditional family.

What it means is compiling your own group that helps to support you, advise you, tell you the truth, see you and yeah, love you. 

Slow teardrop. (Note: Snide).

OK but real tears too!

And know, none of this has to be said.  You just feel it.  (Note: Corny).

That’s the road to dealing with the world and achieving what you want.  Which is not the necessarily the same thing as what you think it is right now. 

Though it could be.

Yeah, you’re gonna make a ton of mistakes.  You will hurt people you don’t mean to and be a real asshole to them and others at times. 

Mistakes of all kinds are inevitable, messy and…welcome.   Don’t beat yourself up for them.   

Just do better.  

…and enjoy your good hair

Your crap and the crap will never end but neither does the good stuff.  Focus on the latter and keep moving forward.

And please floss.

Timothee Chalamet – “Everything Happens to Me”