How To Get Away With A Scandal

received_101593181821555771.jpegWhen I first heard about the crossover event between “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” like every other gladiator I was excited beyond belief. I was thrilled to see these two acting powerhouses in the same shows. Both women are exceptional actresses and play powerful and strong women. That is where the similarities end. Anna Mae aka Analise was raised in poverty and Olivia was privileged and was no stranger to luxury and power.received_10159980444480577.jpeg

Somehow for both of them, it all went wrong. Kerry Washington and Viola Davis are two of the most prolific actresses of our time. Viola has shown that age is not a barrier and inspired me as an older actress when she won the Oscar last year for “Fences.” Kerry has become an icon for black and all women everywhere with her portrayal of Olivia Pope as well as a fashion icon as well.

They have made these television characters a fiber of prime time.
Shonda Rhimes is no stranger to the crossover. She had an easy outlet when she crossed over “Private Practice” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Surgeons could travel between the two shows for impossible surgeries that had to be performed. Also beloved characters could be enjoyed by their fans and possibly gain some new viewers.

I think that Shonda should have done this before this final season. Taking an impossible class action suit case and then having two brilliant minds working together was a brilliant move and all should be commended. Special mention should go to Aja Naomi King and Cornelius Smith Jr as well. These two actors worked well together and added a little sexual tension as well. Credit should also be given to the two directors for each show, Zetna Fuentes and Tony Goldwyn (his last directing for the show Scandal).

received_10159980444485577.jpeg
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Liv no longer has the White House and her gladiators have abandoned her. She is teaching at universities and one of her fans is Michaela . Michaela has told Analise about her encounter with Olivia and reminds her this is what she needs. Olivia sits in on one of these lectures and introduces herself to Ms Pope. The case needs to go to the Supreme Court, but Liv has no clout. She takes the suit to the Grant Foundation and the former POTUS.received_10159980376665577.jpeg

Fitz is still mad at her and waits for his Liv to return. He takes the case and then the group heads for the Oval and Mellie. Mellie refuses to help and points out that the only reason she agreed to meet with them was Fitz. She threatens her if she continues her crusade. There is no stopping her , so Mellie enlists Jake and QPA to leak the story of the real reason she left the White House. Quinn is filled with revenge and agrees to leak the story for Jake.

The episode is not without humor as the two divas wage a war in a DC hair salon. Insults like “bougie” black woman and “broken down ass got on a Mega Bus” flew between the two powerhouses.

Meanwhile the gladiators try to sway the judges against Liv and the case. They almost succeed until Quinn has a change of heart and remembers that QPA is about justice. Abby reminds her that they are indeed gladiators. Everyone is convinced that Liv is just using this to get her power back. She is also defeated until she is given a pep talk by none other than her cheerleader, Fitz. He still believes in her, now she has to show the world that she is the Liv he loves as well.

Isaac overdoses and the Keating gang prepare to watch their teacher in front of the highest court in the land. Michaela helps Marcus as the two are on a stakeout where they give into their passion. Marcus admits that there was someone, but doesn’t say her name. “She went on to do great things and I couldn’t stand in her way.” Is how he describes his relationship with Mellie. Micahela also steals the credit from Connor to get to meet her idol.received_10159980376540577.jpeg

Despite this setback, the Keating gang are headed to Washington. Bonnie would have loved to come to watch as well, but she is deeply involved in finding about the mysterious funds that Lauren’s mother paid Wes. (Liza Weil could not be involved with this storyline because of her role in the first season as Amanda Tanner, Presidential whore) Analise’s parents arrive and then the games begin.received_10159980376555577.jpeg

Sharon Lawrence also shines as the defense attorney against Analise. Cicely Tyson is the bright spot in the episode as she spins wisdom and makes stew. This would be a foreign concept to Ms Pope since her parents are assassins and terrorists. The elderly woman also has advice for Liv after she spills soup on her designer duds. She tells her that she needs to take care of herself as well. Jacqueline calls Analise minutes before the hearing and announces that Isaac overdosed and it was all because of her. She ruins everything .

Analise gets scared and is unable to move off of the floor. Only one thing can help and that is vodka. Liv sends Marcus off to get some. But luckily she doesn’t need the liquor and she states her case despite her opposition.

The one judge makes a statement and asks if she is using it as a funding problem or race case. Davis makes a passionate speech about race problems in our country and also reminds the judges that Jim Crow is still alive and well. No decision is made during the episode, but Fitz said that it might go their way. Does that smile on Olivia’s face mean that a private celebration is in the cards with the former POTUS after his phone call. Unfortunately, Annalise gets some bad news from Bonnie, Simon has woke up. Annalise thanks her team and the Grant Foundation including Olivia Pope. Michaela is burned because Connor is given the credit rather than her and her tactics.

Asher has his suspicions about the chemistry between his girlfriend and the former press secretary. MVP for the “Scandal” episode is definitely Fitz. Between the White House and QPA, Fitz managed to pull this all together. He also sees that his Livvie is still there and wants her to see she doesn’t have to be evil. She can still wear the white hat.received_10159980469385577.jpeg

Advertisements

Thanks For Listening 

Yesterday the skies around Chicago seemed a little darker, and the stars seemed a little dimmer. The Chicago theatre community lost one of its own. After a long battle with cancer, Steppenwolf ensemble member John Mahoney passed away. 


Like so many others, John not only shared his gifts with Chicago, but the world. He will be best remembered as curmudgeonly Marin Crane on “Frasier” John also had memorable roles in the movies Say Anything, American President, Reality Bites, and Moonstruck. He earned a Tony for his role on Broadway in House of the Blue Leaves. 

Surprisingly, Mahoney was born in England. Following World war 2, He was sponsored by his sister. He arrived in Chicago and fell in love with the city. He hated the Hollywood scene and chose instead to stay in Oak Park. After doing “Orphans” his star started to rise. With the recommendation of Gary Sinise and John Malkovich, John was made a member of the world famous Steppenwolf Theatre Company. 

Ironically, John guest starred in the final season of “Cheers” and had a conversation with his future son. Warren Littlefield gave Mahoney the part of Martin Crane without an audition. The show was one of his proudest achievements. Some of his Frasier cast tweeted their memories and condolences. Steppenwolf also cancelled and opening night performance tonight in honor of their colleague and friend. 

We had the privilege to see John on stage. He was mesmerizing as he was on TV and could put the audience right into his world.  When he was in “The Herd” you could see him being as charming as he was on “Frasier “ We met him at The Hugo Awards a few years back, he was absolutely charming and cordial. We will always treasure that memory, John will certainly be missed. 

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? 

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.