Unless you are a celebrity or someone who can afford to fly Business or First Class on long-haul flights, there is nothing comfortable about flying for 15 hours – the longest route possible, I’ve been told – from Sydney to Dallas and then spending another couple of hours waiting in line to get through Customs and re_checking your bag for your connecting flight. Call me a time traveller: my plane took off at 1.30pm in Sydney on a bright Sunday afternoon and I arrived in Dallas at 1.30pm on a bright Sunday afternoon.
As if that long flight isn’t exciting enough, how’s this for fun: for anyone who has paid any attention to the news about travelling into and within the US, you are only supposed to use TSA-approved locks (these allow agents with master keys to open your lock without having to break them) on your suitcases. Well, my suitcase had 4 of those for all the side pockets. By the time I picked up my suitcase at my final destination, I noticed there was an odd lock on one of the zippers. It appears that whoever had checked my suitcase had opened my suitcase, then put someone else’s lock on my suitcase! Well, I am no master lock-picker, so I wandered around the airport asking for official-looking staff to help. Finally the lock was removed and now I am one lock short. Thanks a lot! Bye bye brand new $16 lock that I must now replace!
February is here and WHITE COLLAR is back. The upcoming episode, “Empire City”, marks the second directorial outing for its star, Tim DeKay. As a big fan of Tim’s and the show, I was lucky enough to be invited to join in the press call with him to talk about this episode, the show in general, and just how much of a fan I am (getting up at 2.40am Sydney time!). I had such a great time chatting with Tim on the phone – can’t wait to meet him in person!
Here’s a transcript of my Q&A with Tim
Valerie: Good morning Tim!
Tim: Good morning Val, how are you feeling?
VL: I got about four hours’ sleep but I’m very excited to be talking to you.
TDK: Excellent, likewise.
VL: Last season you made your directorial debut filming in Yankee Stadium and this time you were in the Cotton Club. Where would you like to shoot next time around?
TDK: I’m aiming for the White House. We’ll see if that happens…I don’t know, we’ll see…
VL: Oh, that would require you to be out of state, right?
TDK: Yeah it would…so…some other iconic place in New York City…Madison Square Garden! There you go, that would be my aim for next season – Madison Square Garden. [I hope the writers are paying attention to this one for season 5!]
VL: That would be awesome…Having played Peter Burke for four seasons now, is there anything that you have learnt about Peter or anything that he has done that has caught you most by surprise?
TDK: Hmm…that’s a good question…what has caught me by surprise about Peter…I’d have to say I’m always surprised and challenged by his ability to balance between doing what’s right for Neal and doing what’s right for the FBI. The writers have been able to have Peter continue to walk down that line between being a friend to Neal and having to answer to his job as an FBI agent.
VL: This season has been very much about Neal’s back story and I don’t think the writers have reconvened for season 5 yet but are we likely to see more of Peter’s back story? Does he have some dark and seedy past we’re going to discover in season 5?
TDK: I’ve talked to some of the writers about that and I would love to have something uncovered about Peter that would be surprising to the audience. I think we have to be careful with any back story as long as it keeps the action moving forward. I think that’s important. So how we would delve into Peter’s back story would only be so that we could keep the story moving forward.
VL: You’ve done a lot of theatre work. Would you ever consider doing an international tour with a theatre company and bring your performance down to Australia?
TDK: I would. I would love to do that. There was a very famous production of…maybe I’ve told you this before, so forgive me if I have… a very famous production of Our Country’s Good* that was done in Sydney, I think it was near the Opera House, where the back of the stage came up and you could see out into the water. The audience was looking out on to the stage – I think it was in a warehouse or something. I would love to do that play in Australia, although I don’t think that would ever happen but sure, I would love to take any play and tour the world.
VL: Well, it would be a sell-out show for sure if you do come so I hope it does happen! Thanks so much for your time, Tim.
TDK: Sure. You can go back to bed now.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.
Another year has gone by and at this time of year, “Top 10” lists abound. Well, I do not profess to be a professional television critic, and so my lists are purely reflective of the shows that I have watched and loved over the 2012 season. In TV land, many new shows make it to air each year, but sadly many don’t survive. But for those shows that have and continue to be regular staples in our homes, we welcome you and look forward to many more seasons of goodness.
And so, here are some of my favorites for 2012. If you are interested in reading through some of my past TV reviews, you can find all the links to them on this site under “TV Reviews“.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@valshopaholic) and leave a comment below to share with me your favorites!
Favorite New Shows
Matthew Perry was always my favorite “friend” on the sitcom that made him famous and in the years since, he has made it clear he can master drama as well as comedy (remember his appearances in The West Wing and, more recently, The Good Wife?). Now Perry is back in the comedy world (does anyone remember Mr. Sunshine? Anyone?), playing radio sportscaster, Ryan King, who joins a community therapy group after the sudden death of his wife. The premise may be a little predictable – from Ryan’s original dismissal of group therapy as being ridiculous and full of crazy people to his growing fondness of those crazy people – but who doesn’t need a little bit of cray-cray in their lives to make them feel more “normal”? As with any story involving a death, I have to confess, the show brings the occasional tear to my eye as Ryan moves from denial to grief. The supporting cast is funny and quirky without being annoying, which makes a whole world of difference when it comes to whether a comedy works or not. I, for one, am glad that NBC have decided that the show will, indeed, go on.
As an avid fan of The West Wing, I was excited by the return of Aaron Sorkin to the small screen (after his award-winning effort on the big screen with The Social Network in 2011). Sorkin spent a couple of years researching life behind the making of news programs. With the trademark Sorkinesque rapid-fire dialog, we are introduced to Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), a respected TV anchor and editor of News Night as he suffers a very public breakdown. The Newsroom uses real-life news events of the past year as a backdrop to the stories covered on air by Will and his team, led by former flame, Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) as his producer and Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) as his boss. Throughout the season, we have seen Will face death threats, get high and confront politicians as election time neared. The supporting cast is well deserving of every award just for being able to keep up with Sorkin’s dialog, with a special shout-out to Olivia Munn who shows off her Japanese language skills brilliantly. It is exactly the dose of intelligent news reporting television audiences have been waiting for.
Christmas is almost upon us. Whilst most of us look forward to this day, the period leading up to it can also be very stressful to some. If you are from a large family, you may have lots of presents to buy. For me, I had to start getting presents ready and cards made (card-making is one of the few creative outlets I have and is very therapeutic) a month ahead of time just so I can get to the post office and make sure everything is shipped to my overseas friends in time (at the time of writing, it would appear that three weeks before Christmas might still not be enough time!).
Usually this time of the year is also a time when many companies wind down and take a breather after a busy year. For me, I have been working on a project that is scheduled to be implemented in early February, which means that, in fact, the majority of our work had to be completed just before Christmas. So, instead of being able to take it easy, my team and I have been busier than ever, especially since most of the team will be on leave for the holiday season.
Whatever news reports may say of the retail sector suffering what with the economy being slow and people not being able to afford the indulgences of years pre-GFC, the shops are still busy and popular gifts are sold out. Everywhere I go, there are still people rushing into the shops and lining up at the cash registers. No doubt the madness will ramp up even more on Christmas Eve as people rush out to get those last-minute gifts for unexpected visitors or just because they had been too busy to do their shopping any earlier.
It reminds me of the very first record (yes, I am talking vinyl here) I owned – the Chipmunks’ Christmas. On the record, there was a song where last-minute shoppers are rushing to buy toys for their kids and complaining that they didn’t come with batteries. Amidst the madness was a poor mother who could not afford the harmonica that her sick son coveted. In the end, Alvin realised that he didn’t need the golden harmonica he so wanted and gave it to the sick boy instead.
Some call this the “silly season”. As a practicing Catholic, this is quite contrary to the importance of the occasion – the birth of Christ, our Saviour. Even if you are not Catholic or Christian, perhaps it is apt, in all your rush and madness, to take the time out and be still. Reflect on the year past; reflect on all that you have and forget about all that you don’t. On Christmas day, when it starts getting stressful about guests visiting or worrying about burning the turkey or not having enough food for all, or the dishwasher breaking down, take a deep breath and be still for a moment. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford it, bask in the joy of gift-giving. Be grateful for all the gifts that you receive. Count your blessings and enjoy the day.
Merry Christmas xox