It Was Quite A Night at the White House

The show may have mostly been a big yawn fest. Well actually, I was curious to see how a WH State Dinner was going to go in the Grant 2.0 White House. After all, there is no First Lady and the President and Chief of Staff are both women. Liv seems to become a new person (Has she ever gotten help for that PTSD from the kidnapping? Doesn’t look like it. ) The show opens with Liv leaving her hotel room with her new boy toy still in bed. Are the two of them using each other? She is using him for some good press for Mellie and he is using her for some WH scoops.

Remember how much Liv hated pulling together events when she was trying to be a First Lady? Well nothing has changed. She also has to tell Cyrus that he is being seated by a big fat cat that will benefit him when it’s his turn to run for the Presidency. Mr. Glacklan also has requested Cyrus since he is also gay. Is this the beginning of another Cyrus Beene relationship?  Matthew Del Negro is no longer in the cast so Michael is gone. (Unless Shonda wants to resurrect James from some hole in B613.) Mellie is busily getting ready for the dinner and from this scene comes one of the best Mellie monologues of all. Mellie talks about her loneliness and how she has a burning in her loins. She sees how Fitz sees the office and actually calls it prison. It is obvious that both Mellie and Liv are lonely.

Abby has a date to the State Dinner, courtesy of her ex David. She also wants to get the other gladiators in so they can drum up some business for QPA. The problem is that two of the gladiators are murderers and can’t go into the White House as themselves. Fake invites are drawn up for Charlie and Huck. The guest of honor is the President of Bashran. There is friction between the two countries. Everything is going well for the gladiators, except Huck. Quinn plays the Ivy League wife and paints a rosy picture of her Stanford educated hubby that loves polo. Huck has trouble chatting and getting people to talk unless he is torturing them.  He does find a fellow serviceman to talk to, but then he notices something weird. The man was never in the service , he is a plant. Huck asks Abby if she misses the White House, she smiles and then admits she is happiest as a gladiator.

Cyrus has his guest want a tour of the White House, rather than listen to the music. He takes him to the Oval and the gay millionaire tells how he wouldn’t mind being President  as he forces his way into the President’s chair. He makes it seem like any millionaire can be POTUS and Cyrus explodes. It is his dream and passion that chair and he doesn’t appreciate that he talks about million dollar paintings and Presidencies like they were nothing. Cyrus has worked hard to get his people there and he is so close himself. He has the second best monologue of the evening  .Cyrus receives a gift from the man. It’s the painting he admired. Is this the start of a new relationship?  The writers definitely went back to the old formula of Season One “Scandal.” There was definitely plenty of OMG moments , mixed in with some couple moments as well. It is obvious that Shonda is trying to wrap things up .  Jake also shows Liv the new “secret” room or B613 ‘s White House headquarters. Liv is also trying to dig up some dirt on the POTUS of Bahrain. That back fired on her because of the PM telling him about what Liv was really like. He called her the devil.  That beautiful gown was designed by Stella McCartney.

But romance isn’t dead on the show. The featured singer begins to sing and then David takes Abby’s hand. It is obvious that he still has feelings for her. Is there hope for these two? Quinn and Charlie have a moment at QPA. She wants to get married, now! Even the President of Bahrain starts to flirt with Mellie. But thanks to observant Huck, the President of Bahrain is saved by Jake and his men. Mellie gets the POTUS to think about the peace treaty. Over “Hooch” , she gets him to agree if he can get his enemies to the table as well. He agrees.


Liv gives her “Boy toy” reporter the scoop of the century about the peace treaty. He dumps his date and the two of them celebrate by going to her apartment. They kiss in the elevator , but Liv gets a surprise. It’s FITZ!!!!

“Pressing the Flesh” was directed by the awesome and star of next week’s episode … Tony Goldwyn

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The Truth is Out There… “Mark Felt”  Informs and Entertains with All Star Cast

The country is in turmoil, the war at home and abroad rages on. The government and the President are involved in one of the biggest cover-ups in history. Many officials have either been given subpoenas or resigned, in lieu of jail. The White House finally admits their sins and then a President is forced to resign. This may sound like the times we are living through, but in reality, it is one of the most tumultuous times in US history. It is the Watergate cover up and the hero that brought down the White House was Mark Felt or “Deep Throat.”  

Peter Landesman has succeeded in bringing an all star cast together to tell the tale of Watergate and the man who brought down Nixon. Liam Neeson leads the cast as the man who held the FBI’s secrets and was J Edgar Hoover’s right hand man. Felt also had his own secret and did everything he could to find answers to it. Felt remained loyal and faithful until Hoover’s death. Feeling that he is being edged out for Nixon’s men, Felt becomes the “voice” that tells all. Neeson  brings it to the table with a very complex role. He is a traitor, but you also can’t help but root for him. Diane Lane accompanies Neeson as the dutiful wife who follows him from assignment to assignment. She shines when she is reunited with her daughter.  Felt’s right hand man is Ed Miller played by a man who is no stranger to political roles, Tony Goldwyn. Goldwyn’s long career playing politicians ranges from Chief of Staff in “Pelican Brief” to his current role as Former President Fitzgerald T. Grant on ABC’s “Scandal.” Goldwyn’s authoritative presence is definitely noticed in the movie. There is also a bond between Miller and Felt that is conveyed very well by the two actors. Fellow “Shondaland” alumni and Piven standout, Kate Walsh charms as the fun loving Pat Miller. Broadway standout, Brian D’ Arcy James shines as Robert Kunkel. Marton Csokas captures the treachery of acting FBI director, Gray. Gray is Nixon’s pick for the replacement of Hoover following his death. ABC seems to be well represented also by Wendi McLendon Covey  or the mom from hell on “The Goldbergs.” . She is the loyal secretary to Felt and seems to adjust to drama just fine. This is a good showcase for her as well. Josh Lucas is also a standout as the confused agent who was forced out , Charlie Bates.  Bruce Greenwood and Noah Wyle round out the cast as Prosecutor  Stan Pottinger and Time Magazine editor, Sandy Smith.

Neeson shows all facets of the character from the tough , loyal FBI agent to the father who is looking for his daughter.  He has a very good chemistry with Goldwyn, almost reminiscent of the relationship he had with Steppenwolf’s Jeff Perry on “Scandal.” Lane shows the inner workings of a deeply troubled character who has embraced her position and money to make up for thinking she was a failure as a mother. Even though she is young, Maika Monroe goes straight for the heart as the young, hippie daughter of Felt. Bravo to costuming for this movie . They seemed to capture the fashion mode of the period very well. Some of the daughter’s clothes were so cute , I wanted to run out and get them for myself. The hairstyles for the period were right on point, except it seemed like Lane’s wigs were leftover from Scandal’s hairdresser for Bellamy Young.

Whether you were alive or just studied about the events in school, “Mark Felt” is the perfect movie for people who want to learn more about the “Watergate” scandal. It is also a great movie because it is a showcase for actors that the audience is very familiar with. Who hasn’t seen “Grey’s Anatomy” or “ER” or “Scandal?” It is no wonder that this movie was one of the standouts of the Toronto International Film Festival. So for an intense film that shows a different view of history, go and see it.


 

The Gladiator Report

 Well gladiators,  the Gladiator Report returns with some good news and bad news. Our show has finally returned for the seventh season, the bad news is that this is it. We are now beginning the final season of the show and we are so sad. So many adventures, so many romances , and you can be sure that in this seventh and final season that we will look at the best of Scandal. There is also a few changes in the background of the show. Kerry is now a producer on the show. Tom Verica is gone so he can prepare to be executive producer of Shonda’s new show. There will be some new directors this season as well . Kerry shadowed Scott and will be directing her first episode. Darby also will be testing her directing chops. But have no fear, there will be episodes directed by old favorites Tom Verica, Scott Foley, and Tony directs the second episode.  There will only be eighteen episodes as well, with a lot of breaks in between.  But enough of that, let’s get to the premiere.

It is a new day in Washington and a new White House. With the death of Luna Vargas, a new Vice President has been sworn in.  Cyrus has almost reached his dream and is just steps from that Presidential seal. The Democrats are already courting him for the next election as their candidate. OPA has converted to QPA and the gladiators are trying to think of ways to get clients. David reminds them that OPA is a legend and no one knows about QPA. Olivia is running the show with blackmail and getting things done.  Hurray! A client comes in and she is looking for her missing father.  Rowan sits down and warns  Olivia that her day is coming, she can’t have it all. So much for the Sunday father and daughter dinner. Olivia has fallen off of the rails and is full blown cray cray. She can have it all and she has had cameras watching her father. But QPA has been doing their homework and find out that the father is a spy. Quinn goes to tell Liv the news, but she is a little busy….we won’t go into that.

Jake is her boy and that is obvious. She is the one calling the shots and she is now Jake’s boss. QPA finds out that the professor has been compromised and Jake recommends that he is killed. This is Olivia’s first order as Command and even though she has Luna killed, she doesn’t favor killing Americans. Quinn knows what goes on and is prepared to accept the man’s fate. Huck isn’t , and he goes to Olivia to remind her that the girl deserves a happy ending. At  least, she can be happy . Jake reminds her that she is rebuilding B613 and then goes to Mellie  Mellie has learned manipulation from the best and takes care of Cyrus.  Apparently, the Bashrami ambassador  doesn’t think that Mellie can handle the Presidency. Olivia isn’t playing games with the release of the CIA agent and has Huck take aim at the Ambassador’s son . He aims at his son , who is five and then he is forced to release the spy. The episode wraps up with Olivia calling Mellie on the carpet and says that they are a team. She can either make her asterisk or monument, her choice. Mellie is not stupid , so she wants it all. Cyrus returns and the college bill passes.But what does Olivia have planned next?  Why is she meeting men at a restaurant and then sending them to a hotel room? Meanwhile, someone is laying low right now and letting his ex wife have her day. But is he pining for Olivia while he settles in Vermont?

Meeting of Command,  Father and Daughter 

The Gladiators have a new boss Quinn!

President Grant, Vice President Beene and Chief of Staff Olivia Pope
 

 We’re Glad You’re Back!!! Season Premieres are Full of Surprises and Shocks

This has been an exciting week when it comes to television. It’s a week of season premieres and the returns of old friends. Premiere week started on Monday.

The big question was answered on “The Big Bang Theory.” Dr Amy Farrah Fowler is now set to become Mrs. Sheldon Cooper. Sheldon went all the way to New Jersey and proposed to Amy Farrah Fowler. But that wasn’t the only other surprise on the show. It looks like that Howard and Bernadette are expecting another little one. Bernadette is pregnant. The couple was begging Leonard and Penny to join them in the maternity ward. Will there be another BBT baby? Time will tell.

It is a time for celebration on “Empire.” The record company is taking its cues from the real “Motown” and televising a show celebrating 20 years. Luscious still can’t remember his life, but he is surrounded by the love of his family. But there is an unwanted guest at the party, Claudia. She never leaves his side and that pisses off Cookie. Is Claudia really helping or is she part of a plot to ruin Empire?  The Du Bois clan continues their revenge . Jamal is the unwitting victim by Diana Dubois sending in her son to break Jamal’s heart. There is a possibility of a “Star” and “Empire” .crossover in the future. It turns out that Carlotta and Luscious knew each other back in the day. She was there to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Empire” . Is Luscious faking this amnesia and will Claudia be kicking rocks? If Cookie gets her way , it will be , bye bye Felicia.

“Grey’s Anatomy” begins its 14th season with a two hour premiere. TGIT returned with a vengeance , except for the tent pole of the evening, “Scandal.” The political soap opera returns next Thursday for it’s final season. It is a time of reconciliation as Grey Sloane is rebuilding following the explosion which ended the show last season. It was also old home week as Kim Raver returned as Dr. Teddy Altman. Arizona hasn’t recovered from Eliza being fired, but she might be mending her broken heart with DeLuca’s sister. Owen’s sister, Megan has returned to the states following her rescue. Unfortunately, she has been injured in her stomach and has a colostomy bag as well. Meredith saves the day with life saving surgery. There is only one problem , no one has told Megan that Nathan is in love with her surgeon. Nathan remains conflicted about his feelings for each woman. The Hunts are worried about the state of Owen’s marriage. Teddy’s feelings remain unchanged about Owen. But along with Amelia, and Teddy, another woman from Major Hunt’s past is mentioned. Meredith was quite excited when she came across an article written by Cristina. Does this mean that the cardio goddess is returning to “Grey’s”? It’s reconciliation time for JoLex. Where does this leave Meredith since Megan was Nathan’s fiancé and Alex is returning to Jo?  The Chief doesn’t know what to do with the new class of interns that Minnick brought in. They are not a perfect fit and then he is reminded that none of the doctors started out to be the super surgeons they are today.  Amelia has rocked a surgery and in celebration she joins the new Ob-Gyn ‘s  MRI scan. There is only one problem, Amelia spots a beautiful tumor. Does this mean that the rock star neuro surgeon ‘s days are numbered?

The “Fab Four” returned last Thursday night . It was a ratings bonanza for NBC as viewers were rewarded with the same hijinks of Will, Grace, Karen, and oh just Jack that had made us laugh for eight years. It was as if “Must See TV’’ . Starting next week, Will and the gang will have a formidable rival. The long time show will be pitted against Olivia Pope and her gladiators. But in the meantime, the fun continues.

Continuing the creators campaign to slam the Trump administration, last week’s show included Will’s crazy efforts to get a congressman to date him.  Karen further cemented her relationship with Melania and the Donald by getting Grace to decorate the Oval Office. Forget the final episode, the gang is still together. There are promises of recurring characters like Vince and Leo, but we have to see them. The writers further poked fun at the scheduling dilemma by having Jack utter one of his “Jackisms” . He laughed and said “OK Shonda, now we’ve got a “Scandal.” It had a touching  “Will and Grace” moment as well as the typical Karen quips and plenty of White House jokes. A fun time was had by all.

We complete preview week with “How to Get Away with Murder.” It is an interesting turn of events for Annalise and her team. The law professor takes a trip back home to deal with a typical problem for most adults and that is the problems of an aging parent. Shonda just loves her dementia storylines (Kate Burton’s brilliant performance as Ellis Grey) Cicely Tyson knocks it out of the park with her dementia and Anna Marie’s family. A highlight of this episode is the man who Annalise meets on the plane and then proceeds to go to bed with. Viola Davis’s real life hubby  Julius Tennon played the stranger on the plane. Lauren has hidden the fact that she is pregnant with Wes’ baby. She enjoys a reunion with her follow as she examines her options. Connor turns down Oliver’s proposal. He would much rather wait until things are better to think about marriage. He wants the white picket fence and the kids, but not now. Annalise begs for her job back when she goes before the Pennsylvania Bar Association. The decision is to give her another chance and she sees it as a new beginning. At a fancy dinner, she releases the kids and apologizes for ruining their lives. She has written a letter of reference for each of the Keating kids because she sees a bright future for them all. In a surprising move, she also releases Bonnie as well. Is this the end of the Keating five?  

What Makes A Legend Most-  A Review of Young Sheldon

Ever since I witnessed the beheading of Zoe Perry’s evil bitch on “Scandal”, I have been waiting for the premiere of “Young Sheldon.” Perry is a true thoroughbred coming from award winning actress Laurie Metacalf and Steppenwolf theatre founder and Scandal star, Jeff Perry. She has the task of playing the mother of the Cooper clan, Mary. It is almost scary how much she sounds just like her mother in the role of Mrs Mary Cooper, the Jesus loving mother of Sheldon Cooper of “The Big Bang Theory.”

Zoey Perry plays Mary Cooper, Sheldon’s Jesus loving mama. 
Parsons is producer of this new CBS offering as well as off screen narrator. The real star of the show is the young actor who takes the physicist geek back to the late eighties when he enters high school  at the tender age of nine. Ian Armitage captures the innocence with his smart aleck comments. He is naïve and does not realize that he is not the normal one and the rest of the world is off balance. Sheldon doesn’t fit in with a brother who is a football player or a father as a coach. 

Ian Armitage shines as young Sheldon 

Lance Barber is truly an unsung actor who has shined in quite a few recent roles. Barber shines as the father who can’t understand his son’s genius.  Barber’s last role was on the HBO series “The Comeback.” He was the cynical comedy writer who wrote Kudrow’s comedy show , “Room and Bored.” He embodies rural Texas bravado to a tee. 

Lance Barber portrays George Cooper Sr.
Morgan Jordan and Raegan Revord complete the Cooper clan as the two children that Mary once described as “dumber than dirt.” Raegan is the twin to Sheldon and is so glad that her genius twin is no longer in her class, on the other hand, Georgie is terrified that his nine year old brother is going to be in the same class as him. The parents and the school have no idea how to handle this genius. Sheldon survives by bonding with his mother , even though he doesn’t accept her Christian ways.  Perry is perfect in the role as the loving, Christian mother. It is such a contrast to the evil character she played last season on “Scandal.” You couldn’t expect anything less than someone as talented as her. Armitage is the charming typical television tyke and harks back to an age with such actors as Danny Bonaduce and Michael J Fox. He captures your heart , but you never know what is going to come out of his mouth. This is definitely a show to watch. 

Cooper family dinner. 

Sheldon has a special bond with his mama.

“It’s Just Like Returning to Home”   Sitting Down with Music’s Own Marc Nelson

 

 

One of the most influential music groups of the past decades was the legendary group out of Philly, “Boys 2 Men.”  Their mellow sounds and hit songs like “I’ll Make Love to You” and “Song for Mama” made the group one of the most popular of the era of the boy bands. Surprisingly enough, one of the co founders of the supergroup , Marc Nelson didn’t stick around for the ride. He chose to work with the iconic  music producer, Kenneth “Babyface.” Edmonds and is responsible for such hits as “Count on Me” 15 Minutes” and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” . Recently, I had the chance to sit and chat with Marc about his incredible journey through show business and his expectations for the future.

“I don’t consider myself an actor.” Marc explained. This is how he views himself as an actor compared to people like Denzel Washington and Idris Elba. He seems to like theatre very well and fits in very comfortably as a dramatic actor. Currently he is in rehearsal for “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” which opens on September 9 in Indiana. With his musical background , he has two dream roles. He wants to play Jean Val Jean in “Les Miserables.” He also said that he has always loved the music from “West Side Story” and would love to play Tony. “I have always wanted to sing , “Tonight.” on stage. With his experiences on stage and film, he wouldn’t mind trying television next. “I definitely wouldn’t  turn down a role on Empire.” he laughed.

We also discussed Marc’s music as well. His musical influences include Babyface and the group New Edition.  He considers Babyface his mentor and greatest influence. “He taught me how to write a song and put together an album. One of the greatest honors of my life was when he asked me  to write a song for him. I remember calling my mom on the phone and screaming it to her. It was one of the most exciting days of my life.” After leaving Boys2 Men,  Marc continued his music with the group Az Yet. He has also just dropped his newest single, “Wishing You the Worst.”  “It’s about a man who lets a woman go to another man and has the hope that she is treated rotten. If she is treated rotten, then she will come back to him.” Marc has also returned to his original creation , Boys 2 Men for the purpose of touring.  He considers his return to the group,”surreal,”a healing experience” and a series of blessings.”

In the future, Marc plans to be the host of a show called  the “Nineties R and B Experience.” It plans to spotlight great groups of the nineties. He also will be hosting an open mike night where the winner will get the honor of performing with one of those groups. When he isn’t performing , Marc likes to just do housework and cook. That includes his favorite type of food, soul food!  But Marc also enjoys reading and learning . “Right now I am learning French.” For this super talented performer, the sky is truly the limit.