Thursday, November 3, 2011

Unhealthy Obsession #2

Unhealthy Obsession #2: The series Homeland  ( on Showtime.  Seriously, this is the best series I have seen since The Wire.  I know, Connie Stidham, that is a strong statement.  So, let me state my case before you go all Woodford-fueled, ape shit on me.

First of all Homeland comes on Sunday nights after Dexter.  Seriously, y'all.  I would choose Showtime over HBO in a heartbeat.  They just have better shows and better movies.  HBO hasn't really been good since The Sopranos.

Oh, and by the way, the season finale, and really the entire last season, of Entourage SUCKED.  There, now I feel better.  What a sellout piece of shit show. It just turns my stomach. Whatever happened to writers having a responsibility not to tie everything up into a neat little bow, so that people can feel good.  We didn't.  We all felt bad, because that is not the way life turns out.  Turtle doesn't become a millionaire.  Get real, Turtle ends up turning tricks for smack on Hollywood Boulevard.  That is real life. And THAT would have made me feel satisfied. But, hey, I am just one person.  Mine are obviously acquired tastes.

ANYWAY, Showtime has A-list actors, not celebrities,  but actual character ACTORS, that are headlining EVERY SINGLE ONE of their series.  They even have Academy Award winning actors as guest stars and in supporting roles.  Here is a line up of shows on Showtime that I adore:  Homeland, Dexter, Californication, Shameless, United States of Tara (see post: ) , The Big C, and Nurse Jackie, of course.

Gigolos is good for a laugh, if you are entertained by the stupidest men on the planet conversing with one another, while they glisten from baby oil. One of the gigolos' name is actually "Brace".

No, it is not scripted (if you believe reality T.V. does not have scripts), it is a reality show - and people, gigolos have real problems, just like the rest of us.  They are just are tan year round, and have whiter teeth.

Gigolos definitely has it's place in my heart.  It is also extremely kinky, almost embarrassingly so - I am blushing a little just recalling some of the content, as I recommend this to you.  Let me just leave you with this, I had no idea executive assistants and paralegals had such large disposable incomes. I guess it's all in the budgeting, really. 

Oh Gawd, I just realized that with my readership base, I have just done a post promoting Gigolos, and not my favorite show, Homeland.  NIIIICCCCCEEE. Oh well, I can just do what I do here, what you choose to take away from my art is your own business.

Back to Showtime and their stellar lineup.  I think that House of Lies looks really enticing.  It's debut season begins in January.  It features Don Cheadle, who I am a HUGE fan of.  Shameless is headlined by William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum.  It just aired it's first season, and it is uniquely unapologetic. 

Homeland is on its 5th episode and I am positively obsessed with it.  I have actually caught myself wondering about character arcs and developments, while I am driving the kids around.  I have loved Claire Danes since My So-Called Life.  She had a little personal hiccup, when she took up with Billy Crudup (of Almost Famous fame) who had impregnated Weeds' (also on Showtime) star Mary Louise Parker, just a short 8 months before that.  She is now married to Hugh Dancy, who is British and HOT, and she seems to be on the right track with this series called Homeland.

Homeland is about Carrie Mathison (Danes), a bipolar FBI agent, in the anti-terrorism unit.  During her assignment in Baghdad, she caused an International incident, when she infiltrated a prison to extract intelligence information from an inmate and source there, and the last words he said to her as she was being dragged away by guards were, "An American Prisoner of War has been turned."

Fast forward to Marine Sergeant "Nick" Brody (played to perfection by Damien Lewis), is discovered in an underground prison in Afghanistan.  After eight years of captivity and torture, he returns home to two teenage children he does not know, and a wife who was just recently having an affair with his best friend.

Carrie (Danes) is convinced that Sgt. Brody is hiding something and may very well be the "turned P.O.W." described in Baghdad.  This series tackles so many issues that one would think that the viewer would get lost in the detail, but the characters are so believable and vulnerable and human, that although Brody may be a budding terrorist, you actually find yourself empathizing with him. (Listen, I would NEVER normally find a terrorist sympathetic, you just aren't convinced he is one.)

Homeland is a thriller in every sense of the word, as it presents you with each piece of the puzzle, accompanied each piece's opposing sides, and the emotions and situations that can blur a person's definitions of right and wrong. 

And when Carrie (Danes) breaks about a hundred laws by running her own personal surveillance on the most intimate and heartbreaking moments between a family that is trying to acclimate to their new broken situation, you are rooting for her, even though she is admittedly bipolar and prone to obsessive compulsiveness.

The back stories of each of these characters are fascinating and realistic and the series, itself, just makes for good storytelling, while tackling modern issues like The Patriot Act, torture, and corruption and politics within the military and governmental agencies like Homeland Security.

This is a suspenseful, intelligent, and well written and acted piece of material.  Give up your usual stupid reality show one night and give it a try.  All of the episodes are ON DEMAND and it's not too late to catch up!

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