Emmy Schools Oscar: 5 More Tips to Make the Academy Awards Less Eternal

A film’s producer was asked about his DP—or “director of photography”—or “cinematographer” in case he’s nominated for anything. “He should be great,” he laughed. “But this is his first non-television gig. He might be too efficient!” Sunday’s Emmy Awards was a perfect example of the terrible crime of being too efficient. The Oscars are notoriously always late–– a tiresome joke that probably began with “Wings” in 1929. Last February I discussed kicking Oscar out of the bingo hall (link).  Not sure if anyone at ABC read it, but perhaps they noticed the show from the Fox producers of the Emmy Awards–Oscar’s “little brother on the little screen”–that now produces more quality filmmaking then any 10 hour epic created by Peter Jackson. The big winner was once again HBO.  “Olive Kitteridge,” “Veep” and “Game of Thrones” clobbered most of the competition.  ”Mad Men” did get its farewell nod as Jon Hamm took his much deserved recognition in his interesting goofy style–– so… Read More…

The Power of a Well-Placed Smart-Ass: Roger Sterling, Lord Tyrion and the Dowager Countess of Grantham

“What’s the definition of a smart-ass?” began one of my dad’s favorite jokes.   “Someone who could sit on ice cream and tell what flavor it is.” In 1998, the internet was new in our school and I was doing a demo in class of how cool it was.  We had the projector on and I was discussing how easy it was to find information. “For example, if you wanted to check out the President’s website, you just had to www.whitehouse.com,” I dictated proudly to my student at the keyboard who typed it in. I could see from their expressions that they also weren’t expecting the porn site on the big screen behind me. “Back arrow!  Back arrow!” I screached, convinced that the principal, governor or Bill Clinton would walk in on me at that very moment. Without missing a beat, a student raised his hand, “Mr. Walsh, can I… Read More…

Don Draper & Tony Soprano: Smoking Alpha-Males at Mid-Life Crisis

The pilot episode of Mad Men tracked the 1960 day-in-the-life of the smoking, charming, Don Draper at mid-climb up the slippery advertising ladders of Manhattan.  He’s confident, women roll out of bed with him and greasy-haired society boys wish they could be him; what’s not to like?  Then, in the episode’s final scene, he pulls into the driveway of his domestic life in the suburbs.  And to boot, his wife is a model and his kids are cute. It’s a great “reveal” that sets the tone for the rest of the double-life that is “draped” from the rest of the world.  As the series moves along, we discover plenty of dark secrets including a war-time identity switch and an odd California marriage to a doomed nice lady.   There’s this tightrope walk that my wife and I have with many of these successful cable protagonists.  Do we want Walt to… Read More…