Tag Archives: More4

Nashville. Yee, and indeed, haw

nashville chairI tuned into Nashville with low expectations, thinking I’d be watching a kind of soapy, sexy Jilly Cooper-esque Dolly Parton-themed Dallas-type show. Boobs, hair and country music (not knocking Dolly. Love Dolly. Anyone who doesn’t is clearly a fool). But much as I loved Dallas in its day for being such splendidly camp tosh, it quickly became clear that Nashville isn’t a glamorous soap at all. Well, not just that anyway. You have boobs and big hair, it’s true. And some splendid country music. But, actually, it’s a classy-as-heck drama and it’s beautifully written. And why this is so quickly became clear when I realised who the writer was – it’s the woman who scripted Thelma and Louise, Callie Khourie. And she’s done a cracking job here.

As you might expect, at the core of Nashville is the relationship between two interesting, complicated female characters. Country singing legend Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) has just hit forty, and her power is beginning to wane. Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) is a successful, thrusting minxy young up-and-coming star, with a huge teen following (including Jaymes’ daughters). Their male (shared) record label bosses want them to tour together with ‘joint billing’. But, of course, someone has to go on first, and they want it to be Rayna, which would be a huge come-down for her. Plus the women can’t stand each other.

But (and this is where the classic C&W backstory comes in) she’s saddled with huge debts because her husband did some dodgy dealings a few years before. Rayna has a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with her scheming, manipulative Daddy Lamar Wyatt (Powers Boothe), a quite JR-like patriarch, who wants to control her via her weak husband, getting him to run for Nashville mayor as his puppet candidate. Continue reading


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Brothers & Sisters: Robert wasn’t the only fatality in that car crash

Happier times... lovely clean shirts

It pains me to have to admit it, but I think Brothers & Sisters may have jumped the shark. Only a couple of weeks ago I was celebrating because the Walkers were back, but by the third episode into the series (I must have missed ep.2, because Rebecca was mysteriously back in Justin’s bed at the start of ep.3, and she certainly wasn’t there last time I looked) things are not looking good.

For a start, everyone was scattered all over the place, and we know that the Walkers work most entertainingly as a unit. And the things that they’re separately getting up to are just plain silly.

Kitty has, post switching off Robert’s life support, gone to “find herself” at a woodworking camp in the middle of a forest, run by a man who is so nice that everyone assumes he’s gay, but so un-gay that he’s, of course, irresistibly attracted to Kitty. I found myself quite reassured by this – in a changing world, it’s good to know that Kitty’s feminine allure is as deadly as ever.

There was some very stupid stuff about Sarah getting all competitive with some mummies-from-hell at Cooper’s school, which revolved around Cooper playing Romeo in the school play (yawn). Did it feature awkwardness at having to kiss Juliet? You betcha. Was this resolved by a pep talk from mum’s hunky French pants model boyfriend? Of course it was. And was scenery demolished during the play? Are you kidding me? Do you think they would pass up the chance to hilariously demolish scenery in a school-performance-of-Romeo & Juliet scene?

At least this provided an opportunity for Saul, Kevin and Saul’s boyfriend to gather round Sarah’s table for some needlework while making the costumes. How handy these gay male relatives are.

The Radiant Holly had a little blast of being radiant, but although she can remember Rebecca, she can’t quite remember how to love Rebecca, so she pretty soon stopped smiling. Justin can remember how to love Rebecca, but he may forget again as she is taking a job on a magazine in New York. You can’t blame her.

To be honest, I can’t really remember what Nora was up to, apart from trying to stop Holly “doing something silly.” But I’m not heartened to see on my Sky EPG that in this week’s episode, a radio show host is going to be so impressed by Nora’s mothering skills that he’ll offer her a phone-in show so she can share her wisdom. Oh my good lord.

Will I be watching to find out how this works out? Possibly, but with not a great deal of enthusiasm I think. It’s not just the loss of Robert, the nicest-smelling man on TV. It’s probably that you can only wring so much drama out of one family, and short of finding any other long-lost siblings, this family seems, dramatically, pretty much wrung dry.

Posted by PLA         (more Brothers & Sisters posts here)


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Brothers and Sisters: We haven’t had a Walker-fest for so long

(Series 5, Ep.1) We haven’t had a Walker fest for so long,”  says Sarah, echoing the thoughts of us all as we snuggle down for another dose of Californian fuzzy-focus hand-wringing.

This was a somewhat low-key episode, which is not surprising as it had to catch us up on what had happened to everyone during the year following the horrible car crash. This would be anguish enough for even the most stoical and stiff-upper-lipped of families, but this is the Walkers we’re talking about, the family who can’t even choose a new pair of shoes without a conference call followed by a family dinner followed by a family argument.

So first of all (because she’d sulk otherwise) – Kitty. Robert didn’t die in the car crash, but has been in a vegetative state (so vegetative that we didn’t get to see his face, presumably because it wasn’t worth paying Rob Lowe’s fee for thirty seconds of him lying with a tube in his mouth) for a year. Kitty won’t switch him off, because she can’t bear to say goodbye. And she blames Justin for leaving Robert while he looked after Holly at the crash site (though Robert and Justin both knew there was nothing Justin could have done, and Robert told him to go to Holly, but you’ve got to have someone to blame).

Justin, unable to cope with his feelings of guilt that, just maybe, he could have done something for Robert, has spent the intervening year in the army, where at least a lad knows what he’s supposed to be doing. But he returns to sensitively help Kitty make the decision to let Robert go.

While he’s been away Justin has acquired some distinguished grey hair about the temples, but he’s also apparently lost his wife, as he returned to the marital home to find Rebecca and her possessions had left the building.

I was pleased to see Rebecca’s father, the lovely David, is still around, but the radiant Holly is less radiant as she lost her memory in the crash and now can’t even remember that she’s meant to be Nora’s friend. Her mind has gone back to the days when she and Nora were sworn enemies which, let’s face it, was a far more fun time.

Kevin hasn’t taken the loss of Robert well, either, but he always did have a bit of a bromance going with his former boss and brother-in-law. He’s squabbling with Scotty (adorable as ever) and they can’t decide whether to go ahead with their plans to have a baby with a surrogate or not. Perhaps in this regard it was significant that a boy Kevin was defending in a trial (he’s a trial lawyer now) ended up on their doorstep. Have they done got themselves a baby after all, or just a whole heap of trouble?

Scotty’s restaurant is now quite successful, and his front-of-house manager is none other than Uncle Saul, whom we learned at the car crash is HIV positive.

Sarah, meanwhile, is poised to make a lot of money selling the underground lake that the Walkers own. Then she’d like to move to Paris, France, with French boyfriend Luc, where they will eat croissants. Even after more than a year with Luc, this seems to be as much as Sarah knows about France, but she thinks it sounds fabulous anyway. Luc isn’t so sure, what with scoring a gig as LA’s premier underwear model and everything.

So what of Nora? Well, she’s been working in a flower shop, but has been a shadow of her former self and can’t even be bothered to keep much wine in the house. However, after Kitty “forgave” Justin for abandoning Robert then abandoning the family to go to Iraq, Justin paid the love forward and gave Nora a pep talk.  “We need the most overbearing, in your face, nosy, hovering…” (he did say hovering and not hoovering – I’ve never seen Nora push the Dyson around, although the house always looks spotless even when there isn’t any wine)  “… in other words,” continued Justin, “the greatest mother in the entire world.” He meant Nora. “We need you come home.”

Oh my dizzy lord. Let’s just hope they’re back bitchin’ next week.

Posted by PLA            (more Brothers and Sisters here)


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