TGIT Returns

Christmas is over. New Year’s is done and it’s time to get back to business. That means it’s time for TGIT! Tomorrow night our Thursday ABC faves return.  Special kudos go out to Joe Morton for his NAACP award for Best Supporting Award in a Drama for his role as the evil Rowan on “Scandal.” Also catch that sexy ex POTUS , Tony “Fitz” Goldwyn on Jimmy Kimmel tonight.

When we last left the staff of Grey-Sloan on “Grey’s Anatomy”, a computer hacker had put a ransom of bitcoins and locks on the patient files.  Bailey races to try to save the computers as well as the drugs that require computer codes to dispense. This precarious situation jeopardizes a peds patient as Karev and Jo try to track down the last nurse to take care of him. The young boy requires a drug dose and no one is sure when or what his last dosage was. Finally tracking down the last nurse, Jo texts Alex the important message that they need. But before she can do that, she finds out that her ex hubby has arrived in Seattle. Will the young boy die? What does Jo’s ex arrival mean for the young couple? Will Alex lose in love yet again?

With nine episodes and counting down, the clock winds down for “Scandal.” We are looking forward to the upcoming cross over with “HTGWM” . With these two powerful women, it promises to be an episode to be remembered and will be directed by none other than TG. Olivia is truly at the crossroads as the search for Quinn continues. Thinking the worst, the gladiators search through dead bodies for her. Alliances are formed as well as reunions. David admits why he is scared to reunite with Abby since she is constantly surrounded by danger. The walls finally come down.  Marcus talks to Mellie and convinces her to work with the Grant Foundation. Together the two Grant Presidents work to bring criminal reform to the table. Mellie is in her glory as she succeeds to do what six Presidents have failed to do and that is bring peace to the Middle East. She tells Olivia there is nothing they can’t do. Olivia is playing a dangerous game with her father. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” She reminds him. She also tells him he has destroyed her and made her in his own image. He also made the fatal mistake of taking away the only man she ever loved and killing his son. Don’t test a POPE! The next thing we hear is two shots. Is Quinn dead? And can Olivia be saved by her white knight?

It’s business as usual as usual on “How to Get Away With Murder.” The Keating Four  is trying to avenge Wes’s death. They have hatched an elaborate plan to put a firewall up  and bankrupt Laurel’s father’s company. Analise is still trying to exoricise some old ghosts and reconcile with Bonnie . Oliver admits the truth to Connor and then he promises not to tell her the whole plan. Simon gets in the way of their plans and admits his feelings to Oliver. Simon finds the gun in Laurel’s bag and shoots himself . Laurel flees the scene and then goes into labor. She gets stuck in an ancient elevator which leaves Analise to save the lives of Laurel and Wes’s unborn child. Frank has also been trying to reach her. At the party, Asher is questioned in Simon’s shooting and arrested. The surgeons fight to save Simon’s life . Will Asher pay the ultimate price? Will Laurel’s baby live? 

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Learning is Fun at the School of Rock

There has been a trend to turn popular movies into musicals.  I have seen quite a few of these shows. Some of them have translated over well, others not so well. Just because a movie was a big hit at the theatre, doesn’t mean it will be the same on stage. Reluctantly I attended Broadway in Chicago’s latest production of the hilarious Jack Black vehicle “School of Rock.” As I waited for the show to begin, I listened to conversations around me. Conventional theatre critics were also skeptical. But then the curtain rose…

Music al director Martin Axe had his work cut out for him. But the music was the star of the night with rockin tunes and an energetic cast. Rob Coletti was definitely not the typical Webber star. He was not a romantic lead or a tragic cat. He embodied the fun loving Dewey and even resembled Black in mannerisms and looks. Hurray, hope for us actors that aren’t a size two. He embraced the character and looked like he was having fun. Lexie Dorsett Sharp portrayed the stick up her butt principal, Rosalie. She didn’t make the portrayal a carbon copy of the Cusack role. She made the part her own. Another highlight was her beautiful operatic timbre and soprano voice.  Emily Borromeo played Patty with the same caliber of evil as Rita Rupalsa of the “Power Rangers” . nemesis. She was the perfect foil to her formerly cool boyfriend played by Matt Bitner with an incredible comic sense of timing.  Everyone was laughing as the panicky Ned inhaled with every word Dewey said.

One of the hardest parts of a show is when you involve kids in a cast. I can say this with all of the musicals and children’s theatre I have done. It conjures up images of precocious children and their stage mothers from hell. You also have a tendency to envision every production of “Annie “ that you have ever seen. This was definitely not “Annie.” These kids had real musical talent and they looked like they were having fun up there jumping around and dancing. It was the perfect show to take budding performers to rather than some dried up play. Ava Briglia was charming and terrifying as Summer. She portrayed the bratty know it all to perfection. The other kids to note were the “band.” And the backup singers. The kids actually played the instruments thus showing their talent and bravo for keeping up energy during this fast paced show. Gianna Harris stole everyone’s heart as Tomika, the girl with two daddies. Her lyrical voice further cemented her endearing qualities. Each young cast member brought their own to the production and gave the individual characters their own touch.

The show runs through November 19 at the Cadillac Palace, get your tickets at broadwayinchicago.com

 The Runaway Gladiator

What is with Scandal and weddings? In 300 episodes, we have had many happy occasions and weddings on “Grey’s” . (Although we can count on one hand how many have lasted.)  With all of the shit going down, everyone thought that tonight Quinn aka Lindsay and Charlie aka Killer would be getting married. At least someone on this show could commit. It was a bad sign when evil Olivia showed up to calm Quinn’s nerves. After all, what does Olivia know about weddings? When she was the bride, she ran away as well.  But that isn’t how this fairytale wedding episode started.

Surprise! Liv and Jake were behind the explosion. They had made a deal with the rebel forces that Bashrani was to be killed so they could sign the nuclear treaty. Mellie was truly developing feelings for this guy. Poor Madam President does not have much luck with men.  I mean she starts to get the hots and he Is blown up. Another boyfriend turns evil and has to be killed with a chair. Lets keep our fingers crossed for her and Marcus. Quinn agrees to meet with Liv on the premise that she has cold feet. Ms. Pope alias Jekyl and Hyde turns all sweet and gooey and tells Quinn she is there for her and even presents her with a token from the Smithsonian . These people love to give historical presents to each other.  But Quinn is wise to Liv and knows she had something to do with the plane blowing up. She will prove it. Uhm Quinn, on this show everytime someone tries to cover something up, someone dies. Just ask your former boyfriend Gideon and James Novak. In that grand tradition , Quinn disappears on her wedding day. Curtis is now also in danger when he says that he has been getting phone calls from Quinn. But he can either be disposed of or punched out by the former POTUS. Fitz is a very jealous man.

Olivia is playing it so cool, but in truth she is fearing that they all will find out the real truth that she was behind the plane blowing up. Huck is playing detective and finds out that the computer hid some clues. She was investigating the explosion and finds out that one of the airmen on the tarmac had a record and previously worked for Fenton Glackland. They put two and two together and Charlie heads off to torture Fenton-gladiator style. In the end , they discover that Quinn is on the elevator and no one had anything to do with her disappearance. This was a convenient way for Katie Lowes to take her maternity leave before the hiatus. Charlie is crushed. It isn’t the first time, Abby holds the ring. She was also the witness at the ill fated White House wedding.

As we count down to the end of the series, Shonda has obviously made Olivia a dark shadow of herself. The white hat is long gone. She has lost it. She is ten times worse than her father, and has made him proud because this is what he has wanted all along. Girl, you are headed for a fall . No one can turn this evil without someone either dying or repenting. It would be nice if Shonda turns this into a Dickensonian piece with Olivia seeing the error of her ways and makes restitution for them. But I can’t see that happening. Or she could go ala “Dallas” and say that the past eight years were nothing but a bad dream . The last show would take from Aaron Sorkin’s view of the Bartlett administration and the dedication of his Presidential library. Maybe Liv wakes up from her bed in Vermont, and turns to Fitz and he soothes her and tells her that his son being murdered, him being shot, her being kidnapped were all a dream and cast members that were deceased stand with him at the dedication of the Fitzgerald T Grant 3 Presidential Library.  Whatever will happen on that terrible day not far into the future,  we all still hold that word hope in our hearts. Well ,Abby told David to not hold hands. Tonight when they found out that Quinn was gone, the two of them held hands. That my friends, is hope.

Next week the winter finale…it’s OMG time gladiators and someone’s day of reckoning.  


Well…. Olivia Pope is the Biggest Bitch in the Whole Wide World

Well gladiators, have you recovered yet?  Last night had to be a new low in Shondaness. Rule Number One in television has been broken, never make your hero or heroine the most hated character on the show. Everyone hates Olivia. Even Rowan isn’t immune and Olivia has become her father.  Worst of all, Fitz is not welcome.  The most popular line of this week is go home Fitz! But does he ? No, Fitz will have Olivia and  he  is the only one who recognizes that this isn’t the real Liv.

Meanwhile Mellie is trying to sell a war. But that might not be so easy. President Rashad is willing to work with Mellie to get back his country. There is only one problem, his niece must be removed from Dartmouth and will be under the watch of QPA. Olivia is playing a very dangerous game and even though he wont leave, Fitz goes and tells Mellie all about the assassination of Luna Vargas and B613. Madam President orders her to shut it down. Cyrus is beginning his political lessons for his new boyfriend. Things are definitely heating up. Fenton has also been doing some homework and telling Cyrus that a war will be a waste financially.

“I want my bones.” Is what Rowan screams. Has Olivia actually “Outpoped”  dear old Dad? ‘

The two Naval buddies meet and share a drink. Fitz and Jake at this point are being civil , but how long will that last?  It is no surprise that Jake wouldn’t want Fitz in DC. The two of them trade jabs , subtle as they may be. Jake says callously that Fitz can’t accept who Liv is and wants her to fit his image of her and go back in time. He tells Fitz that this is where she is destined to be and that is command. Olivia continues to use her boy toy for Mellie  and her war.Liv is fearful of the budding relationship between the two leaders. The President ‘s niece runs away and she has a little secret, she is a lesbian and ran away from QPA to say goodbye to her girlfriend. Liv and Cyrus have it out as well. Cyrus tries to appease Liv as her friend.Fitz knows this isn’t her and no matter how rotten she is to him, he isn’t going. She asks when is he going to go back and he says “when I see someone I recognize.” Mellie discusses things with the President Rashad and the conversation heats up to a steamy kiss.

In a conversation with Quinn , Liv gets the message and goes to talk to Mellie. In asking her, she finds out that Mellie wants the peace treaty and President Rashad safe. Liv is very ominous about handling the problem. Mellie sends her new lover and his niece back to his country via Turkey. The two part with a promise that this relationship will not end.

Olivia has taken care of everything , except now Mellie tells her ex to go back to Vermont. He has lost the privilege and listening to her talk to him this way, sounds like she has taken a page from the book of Olivia. Cyrus hates to admit that his new boyfriend will make one hell of a politician. Quinn and Charlie take the President’s niece to the plane and watch her get on only to see the plane blown up. But who did it and did the two some get out of the explosion?  Liv has also some bad news, her fuck boy has dumped her. He said she was not human. Now she truly is alone… will she sit down and search her conscience. ?

You have to admit that when someone is in love, they don’t care how they are treated or what people say. They are addicted to love. For more than ten years, Fitz has been in love and he has suffered for this love. He has had many people as obstacles trying to pull them apart. He has had the optics and prison of the Presidency to pull them apart as well. He has had to watch the love of his life suffer and be kidnapped and tortured because of him. He had to save his Presidency by having a child , which meant more time apart and he also lost his son at the hands of Command. If that isn’t true love, then I don’t know what is. Tonight, we saw a man who was insulted and harassed and basically told he wasn’t wanted anymore. But will this man give up? He should have long ago and also he should have torn down or sold the house in Vermont. Vermont is not a place, it’s a dream that he had a million years ago. He can’t see himself as the bitter old man with the gun and living alone, he sees himself with his Liv and two or three kids. He sees her making jam and at this point, it is just a fantasy. Is this what this show has come to because of the embittered creator who can’t seem to find happiness , so she transfers it to her characters. Cristina Yang of “Grey’s” is another character who can’t be happy , so she works. With Amelia gone, Owen should pack a bag and head to Switzerland. Is Fitz wrong for the way he is acting or is he just a fool in love? No , he has hope. Let’s try to have a little hope too, gladiators. And that is why my MVG this week for his treatment , persistence, and love is Fitz.

 

Will and Grace Midterms…A plus for Laughs

Well , NBC has a hit again. It is taking over all of the numbers and it has even toppled over ABC’s TGIT lineup. Who would have guessed that a 90s reboot would topple the mighty Shonda Rhimes and her gals? “Will and Grace” is back and better than ever. It is like they never left the air. The chemistry is there as well as the laughs. Forget about the finale premise. No one is married or mommy, they are still the same Fab Four as before.

The cast may have done other things or had other shows, but this is where they belong. Debra Messing did not belong on a police show. Sean cannot play straight and Megan shouldn’t try to be Rosie O Donnell.  Eric had the misfortune of his “Trust Me” being scheduled in a year with “Mad Men” . However, Sean is a brilliant producer. Try not to laugh during “Hollywood Game Night” . He was also brilliant when he produced the classic “Hot in Cleveland.” Yes, they can be what they wanted to be, but bottom line is that we liked them as the insecure fruit fly, the flaming actor, the insecure lawyer, and of course the drunk. And to think, we have Hillary Clinton to thank for this. Something good came out of that mess.

The original team have also let the show make fun of the current situation without getting too preachy. They have lambasted Trump as well as making fun of the competition. I could picture the foursome sipping wine and watching the ABC shows. They have also let some fan favorites return to the delight of the show. So far, Harry Connick Jr. and Leslie Jordan have come back. They also have had some fun guest stars like Jane Lynch as the head of a camp to pray away the gay. Will and Jack have to stage an intervention to get Jack’s grandson back to his gay roots. The whole episode balances humor without sounding too preachy about letting people be themselves. In the pilot, Will and Grace have a pillow fight in the Oval. Karen gets Grace the job of decorating the Trump White House. Will has a thing for one of the congressmen. Hey just imagine if Will could have met Cyrus ? Talk about power couple.

The show has proven that funny is here to stay and that you can go home again. But before you start planning that reboot of “Friends”, understand that the cast had no regrets about the show. They all accepted their failures and embraced the fact that they were a team that worked. So if you are having a bad day and the boss gave you a hard time, the kids won’t behave, and you are just plain mad about Trump…pour yourself a martini , sit down and get ready to laugh. Thursday doesn’t have to be about incredible surgeries, murders, or illicit affairs. It can just be about boyfriends, acting, or just having fun.


 

Fitzgerald Grant—Gladiator

I hope you have all have not overdosed on last week’s episode . It had to be one of Shonda’s more brilliant episodes.  It also wasn’t hell to have to look at Tony Goldwyn at all. Looks like Fitz isn’t happy at all and we all knew it. But we never expected Poppa Pope to be the one to send him back to Washington. He certainly knows Liv’s  Achillies heel  and  that is Fitzgerald Thomas Grant 3.Fitz also has a purpose again and that is get his Livvie back. And that is where our story left off. Liv was making out with Cable Boy and she turned around and there was the love of her life. Don’t listen to any of these Olakers how she belongs with Jake and Fitz is mediocre, entitled, and all the other poison that Shonda has fed us for seven seasons. At least Cable Boy knew that when he saw the former POTUS, he had better leave.

Is this the happy reunion we waited for? No! Olivia is not happy to see him. But Fitz, has a plan. He wants her to find these black girls who have been missing and it seems no one cares. She takes the file and then says how she wants to hand it off to Quinn and the gladiators. Fitz shakes his head. No! he wants her. His motive is to let her see the Liv he fell in love with. The gladiator with the white hat. Since she has taken over as Command, that has went right out the window. Or maybe once again, she is still reeling from the effects of that kidnapping. It seems that it changed her and not for the better. PTSD is permanent. But why is she the only one on this show that suffers from it? Every character has been traumatized in some way from Mellie’s rape to Abby’s abuse. Jake, Fitz and Huck would definitely be feeling it because of the military. It wasn’t too long ago that Fitz was shot and Cyrus was facing being a widow after his hubby was murdered. One thing that was also proven last week, is that Fitz is not a superman. He is just a normal man and he finally realized that fact.

Mellie is going through her own catharsis as well. She may be the POTUS, but she is also a woman and that is brand new territory. She also still feels the effects that people will compare her to 44 or her ex hubby. Mellie , like Olivia is in denial too. She is still in love with Marcus. She misses the love she felt for the first time in years. She has feelings for the President of Bahrain and she is trying her best to be all business. But there is another who is also dealing with his own feelings. Cyrus has been alone for a long time as well. Michael was never the love of his life. He was a solution to a problem. If Liv would have went through with the wedding so she wouldn’t have to testify, it would have been the same .story.Liv felt that she wasn’t ready and neither was Fitz. It was just a solution. The true love of his life is gone and that was James. Now he is being courted by a very rich but lonely man,Fenton. It is adorable how we forget that Cyrus is a man and he has the best talks with Mellie. I can remember when Cyrus called her the “Wicked Witch of the West Wing.” Maybe Shonda had the right idea from the 100th, Cyrus and Mellie would have made a great power team. They are a great team anyway. But she is excited because today she is going to make history.

Olivia has taken the file to QPA and they are all working together as a team. They have to find a poster child for this cause. But in the meantime, Fitz knows that it is also his mission to save Liv and that is why Rowan recruited him. “He is the cheese and Liv’s weakness.” This is why Rowan has always hated him. Liv is suspicious of the whole reappearance of Fitz and goes to talk with Jake about it. I can’t understand why it has always been Jake. Jake and Fitz have probably been competing with each other since the Navy. I can see the boys competing to see who could screw more girls than the other. Liv has always been just another part of this competition. The gladiators find a girl and recruit her mother. The mother, Fitz, and Cable Boy appear on his show. Craig grills Fitz about why now for this cause and why he didn’t do anything during his term. Fitz can see right through it and realizes he wants to fight him for Liv.He shows him that he is up for a fight and announces that Vermont can wait. Liv sips her wine as she watches and a smile comes to her face. Has Rowan’s trick worked?Plus, A two bit cable reporter competing for a woman who was the fiancé of the leader of the free world? I don’t think so, Cable Boy. Plus this is the final season, and no matter what there is a happily ever after at this point. Any man who was with Liv would realize this as well as anyone who is the person chosen as an obstacle between a loving couple. Edison? Russell? Joke? FBI whore? And even Mellie knew that their days were numbered. These two are meant to be. Liv gets a visit from Marcus who gives her an invitation to come help at QPA. He also tells Olivia that Fitz misses her. She is still cautious about this cause until Marcus says that if it is just an excuse to see her, than finding just one of these missing girls is a good excuse. She digs right in and helps the gladiators.

There is trouble at the Peace Summit. The Prime Minister thinks that Mellie and the President of Bahrain are in cahoots. He doesn’t trust him at all and thinks Mellie used her feminine wiles on him. Liv can see that there are feelings there for him. They share some of that famous Mellie hooch and talk about things. His hand brushes hers.  The leaders go back to the table and there is progress. Unfortunately, there is a military coup and the President has been overthrown. Mellie wants to help him. Liv tries to stay focused and Jake chastises her for allowing the coup to happen. “You can’t be command and be someone’s girl.” Liv has a lot on her plate and then she has a visitor. She argues with Fitz as they dance around the elephant  in the room. He declares his love in that Fitz way and says that neither of them were better off when they weren’t together. Liv takes down her defenses and lets him in. The two do what they do best -make out. Liv goes into the  Oval and Mellie tells her that she wants this to be her call. Liv agrees and gets the funding for Fitz’s project. She also informs her that she is never alone, she has her. The two women face the same battles. Usually the show is scored with some Motown, but I so got into the 90’sR and B with TLC singing “Waterfalls.” ( Crazy Sexy Cool was one of my favorite albums and I was supposed to see the girls in concert in Cleveland., it was cancelled because of Left Eye and the sickle cell) The words were so relevant as Quinn gave the mother the happy news her daughter was alive. Cyrus decided to give love another try as well. But all is not well with Rowan, Jake informs Liv that Fitz was indeed the bait and Rowan was the fisherman. …Liv is ready  to confront Rowan.  

The MVG is once again Fitz. He let Rowan think that he was doing this for him, but in his own defense. Fitz lets his heart rule his mind. He wants her back and he doesn’t care how he has to do it. He tied all of the old elements that we love together by bringing Liv back with her gladiators as well as that old time romance. The sun may be setting , but Tony proved that this show has a little ways to go yet. Fitz could be a very valuable source when it comes to this Middle East situation as well. Him and Mellie work well as a team , as long as they don’t let clashing egos in the way. Fitz can be seen as the perfect man if it wasn’t for that whole man child thing. It is obvious he is man used to getting his own way. But we shall see if this plan of his and Rowan’s works , or will it just tear Olitz further apart. Congrats are in order for Scott Foley. He has been tapped to star in a new series called “Whiskey Cavalier.” In it , he is a CIA agent. But instead of killing and stealing his buddy’s girl, the show is a comedy from Bill Lawrence who Foley had worked with previously when on Lawrence’s “Scrubs “ and “Cougar Town.” It will be great to see Scott handle comedy because it seems he is a very funny guy. I loved to see him in Jimmy Kimmel’s skits featuring the cast. Let’s hope that the powers that be can see enough to cast some of the others of this talented cast.

Television and Broadway Actor, Robert Guillaume Succumbs to Cancer

I got the saddest news today  that actor Robert Guillaume died. Now before there was “Glee” , and “Will and Grace,” and Shonda Rhimes, television had no gay characters on it. Television series had gay characters and Norman Lear broke through the ceiling with his series. In 1977, ABC had introduced  SOAP on September 13, 1977. What made this show so different is that along with its alien abductions and exorcisms, it introduced Billy Crystal as Jodie Dallas. For the first time on American television, there was a gay character in the cast. Not only that, the rich Tate family had an African American butler that talked back to his employers. Benson Du Bois was a hit. It was hilarious to see Robert mouth off to the high and mighty Tates. He didn’t care what he said. The show was a hit with the critics and the audience. “SOAP” made Guillaume a star and garnered an Emmy for his portrayal of the Tate’s butler. Benson was also such a hit that ABC gave Guillaume his own spin off “Benson.”  Once again, Guillaume was the voice of reason in a house of idiots. This time it was Jessica’s cousin , the Governor. He was basically running the state from the kitchen.

Guillaume was African American entertainment. He had appeared on some of the most controversial shows of the time. He appeared on “Julia” , which was the first modern show to have a black female lead on network television. Dianne Carroll led the way for Kerry Washington and Viola Davis as female leads on hit network shows. He also appeared on “Sanford and Son”, Lear’s “All in the Family.” and “Good Times” . He was born in St Louis on November 30,1927 as Robert Peter Williams. He also served in the US Army and attended  St Louis University and Washington University.  Following the Army, he changed his name to the French Guillaume and pursued an acting career. The career began in Cleveland with the Karamu Players. He made his Broadway debut in 1961 and was nominated for a Tony for playing Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls.” He was also the first black actor to play the Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Guillaume replaced Michael Crawford in the role. 

Guillaume was also well known for his singing voice and made several records. Surprisingly,Guillaume won an Emmy for his speaking voice in a read along for “The Lion King.” He was also known for using his voice in many animated projects as well. This includes Disney’s “The Lion King” as Rafiki. 

Following “Benson”, Guillaume had several television series including “Pacific Station.” “The Robert Guillaume Show” and Aaron Sorkin’s  “Sports Night.” “Sports Night” also starred Josh Charles of “The Good Wife” , Felicity Huffman, William H Macy of “Shameless” and Joshua Malina of “The West Wing “ and “Scandal.” While on “Sports Night” , Guillaume had suffered a stroke and then had the stroke written into the script as he recovered.

Along with his two Emmy awards and Grammy award, Guillaume was honored with a star on the St Louis Walk of Fame. He was also honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was first married to Marlene Williams who gave him two sons.  One of those sons, Jacques died of complications of AIDS at 33. He then married Donna Brown who gave him a daughter. Guillaume died of complications from prostrate cancer. He was one month from his 90th birthday. Billy Crystal, Felicity Huffman, and Joshua Malina have all said how they were affected by this man on Twitter. We are all sad tonight and am sure that Guillaume is singing in the celestial choir . Chitownstarconnections gives sympathy to his family.