Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Notes on Pop Culture: 'Parenthood,' 'Shameless' & My TV Golden Globe Picks

Parenthood: Feelin’ the Guilt

The current Adam and Kristina Braverman storyline on Parenthood -- they banned their 16-year-old daughter Haddie from seeing a 19-year-old recovering alcoholic who has his own apartment and was emancipated when he was 16 -- is playing out in interesting ways.

This week, Kristina was trying to assuage her guilt about making Haddie break up with her boyfriend Alex by making her pancakes and offering to give Haddie's room a make-over. Little does Kristina know that Haddie is continuing to see Alex behind her back.

When Haddie's parents eventually learn that she’s lying to them, I’ll be curious to see what they’ll do to their class president daughter who gets good grades and is otherwise a model citizen, except that she lies to her parents about boys (and has done so in the past). Given that stern, strict parenting isn’t all that in vogue these days, where Parenthood will go with this is an open question.

My review of the latest episode on CliqueClack TV can be found here.

Speaking of Parenthood, I dedicated my pop culture column on Mommy Tracked this week to how Parenthood and other primetime TV shows are depicting the raising of teenagers as a harrowing proposition.

Shameless, Surprisingly NOT a Downer

Take an alcoholic single father of six, Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy), who was abandoned by his wife and is on disability and who drinks all the disability checks at a local pub, and the new Showtime drama Shameless has the makings for one, damned depressing show, especially when Frank is frequently brought home by the cops with urine-saturated pants and left to sleep it off on the floor.

Frank's oldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) is the only reason why the Gallagher family functions at all and why the children haven't been taken away by child protective services yet. And Fiona's a reckless twentysomething who likes to party hard. Fiona, who totes her baby brother to work with her where she cleans motel rooms, does the family's laundry, cooks and makes sure everyone, even the 8-year-old, contributes money so they can pay their electric bill when Frank's blown his monthly disability check.

So why did the pilot episode of this show surprise me? By the time I got to the end of it, I was smiling. It was actually uplifting to see that children, who are living in poverty and in awful circumstances, are somehow soldiering on, together, as a family trying to care for its own. The Gallaghers, Frank notwithstanding, have a whole lot more heart than, say, the Gavins on Rescue Me.

Image credit: AMC.
My TV Golden Globe Picks

The chatter surrounding the Golden Globe awards – slated for Sunday night -- is building in the pop culture media. Many folks are pegging The Social Network (which I still haven’t seen but have put in my Netflix queue) and Natalie Portman’s turn in Black Swan (haven’t seen that either) to receive big, Golden props.

Since I haven’t seen many of the nominated films yet (other than The Kids are All Right, Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me and The Town, which garnered a supporting actor nomination), I’ve made a list of the TV shows and actors/actresses who I think SHOULD win Golden Globes because, frankly, I don’t have to hire a babysitter and make special arrangements to see a TV show the way I do to see a movie in the theater.


Best show: Mad Men. I blog about each and every episode of Mad Men, so it’s no surprise that this is my pick for the best TV drama. The latest season was the strongest, deepest and most surprising one even when compared to its first three award winning seasons. Don Draper sinking to rock bottom and his attempts to try to resurrect himself was an amazing thing to watch.

Best actress: I’ve got to go with Julianna Margulies who carries the strong The Good Wife and occasionally delights when she breaks her self-protective icy shell and exposes her hurt and vulnerable side. However Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss did put on an acting clinic in “The Suitcase,” the Don-Peggy-centric episode when they bonded, and Don drank & vomited, while “working” on the Samsonite campaign.

Best actor: If Mad Men’s Jon Hamm doesn’t win this, those Golden Globe folks must be spending too many Vegas weekends with Charlie Sheen to think clearly.


Best show: Modern Family. If I were to pick a show which elicits intelligent belly laughs from not only me, but from my husband AND my three kids (that’s quite an age range and assortment of tastes), Modern Family stands heads and shoulders above its competition.

Best actress: The Big C’s Laura Linney deftly delivered her tough material, as a woman with stage 4 melanoma who’s trying to embrace and robustly live what remains of her life, so she definitely earned this award, however she’s in competition with the perennial favorite Tina Fey from 30 Rock who plays a more traditional funny gal role than Linney's.

Best actor: This category is, I think, a tight toss-up. However if I were to decide who should get this award, I’d give it to 30 Rock’s Alec Baldwin. He always makes me laugh. But, given that The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parson’s got an Emmy this fall, I think he has an edge.

Who are your favorites to take home a Golden Globe either in film or TV?

Image credit: Michael Yarish/AMC.


Cooley Horner said...

Best Drama: Mad Men

Best Comedy: Modern Family (surely Glee won't get it after such a maudlin season)

Actor, Drama: I want Jon Hamm to get it, but after blitzing through "Breaking Bad," I wouldn't be surprised if Bryan Cranston took it.

Actress, Drama: Elisabeth Moss

Actor, Comedy: I have some weird feeling Carell might get it, as he's leaving "The Office" soon, but I'm not sure; it's kind of a weak category with so many repeaters and weaker first timers...

Actress, Comedy: I hope Tina Fey, but I suspect Laura Linney.

Supporting Actress: Jane Lynch will win it.

Supporting Actor: I could see Chris Colfer getting it for Glee, as this whole season has been about him, but I'd like Noth to get some recognition, so...

Cooley Horner said...

Ack, I didn't mean maudlin. I meant middling. My brain is addled from all this snow!