Category Archives: TV

Attention getter

In my business writing seminar, I often get on a soap box about the resume cover letter. It should be the most persuasive bit of writing we do; instead –

It is often dull, template-driven drivel.

soap boxHere is an opportunity to sell the finest product we know — OURSELVES — and yet most of our cover letters put the reader to sleep.

Grab their attention, I tell students. Make your letter stand out from the 500 others that will probably cross the HR director’s desk. Show you did your homework and write the letter just for them.

I was reminded of my usual rant when Jamie Casino’s law office commercial went viral on the Internet.  (It aired during the Super Bowl, but only on the local Atlanta station.)

Casino could have produced your standard law office ad, and no one would have remembered it.

But this one has the world talking.

These guys

I’m spending Super Bowl Sunday with a different team…

benedict pbs

Thanks PBS!

The frighteners

I just watched the series finale of American Horror Story: Coven.

AHS Coven

I won’t include any spoilers here — for those of you who are even farther behind than I — but I will say that Coven was my least favorite of the three AHS mini-series to date.

Here’s why:

  1. It wasn’t scary enough.  Murder House and Asylum were hide-your-eyes-put-the-kids-to-bed television events.  MH was especially chilling with its basement of horrors, leather-bound mystery man and shadows darting in front of the camera without explanation.  The only thing scary about Coven were the teaser promos; the series itself was more spectacle than horror.
  2. There weren’t enough men. It’s wonderful to see all these powerful female roles, especially for actresses of a certain age. But does that conversely mean that there’s room for so few men in the story line?  MH and Asylum had strong characters of both sexes; Coven suffered from its narrow definition of witch.
  3. The finale (no spoilers) seemed a bit…familiar. I’m pretty sure that same actress was in a very similar situation at the end of Asylum.  Would be great to mix things up (including the players) in Seasons 4 and 5.

TV critics have been quick to call Coven the best season of American Horror Story based on the higher ratings alone.  But we know how long it can take audiences to find a series.  So if you are new to AHS this season, take a swing by Netflix and watch Seasons 1 and 2.

They’re so good, it’s scary.

Punking a prankster

For those of you following up on yesterday’s post, I played a prank on my best friend this weekend that was 30 years in the making.

john james youngShe tricked me into believing that she was dating John James, star of the TV drama Dynasty, when we first met in college. We have laughed at the memory over the years, but I finally found the right moment — and resources — to give her a little payback.

Her family planned a surprise birthday party for her on Friday, and I flew in as part of the festivities. Bad weather delayed the actual party, which meant my little surprise became the appetizer.

I told her I was dating someone new — ‘John’ — but was purposely vague on details.

Then my phone rang.

The actual John James was the on the other end of the line.  I had found his manager’s number, and John graciously agreed to be a part of my “wonderful, evil plot” to get back at Caroline.

John and I chatted briefly to establish our relationship, and then I passed the phone to Caroline, speaker on so I could listen to her ‘pass judgment’ on the new guy.

She soon complimented him on his ‘radio voice’ and asked if he had worked in media.  He ‘fessed up to being a producer and an actor, cleverly mentioning he once performed in the musical Promises, Promises near her hometown (where their photo was taken oh-so-many years ago).

She soon realized they knew the same musical director who conducted the same show at the same theatre…Wait a minute, who did you say you were?  

She believed he was the real John James quickly enough, and even thought we were dating for a moment.

To the victor go the spoils!

John James CarolineA huge thanks to John James for making my redemption possible.

Preppin’ a prank

Celebrities like George Clooney and Brad Pitt love to regale us with stories of the pranks they play on their fellow actors when they’re making movies.  Let me tell you –

They’ve got nuthin’ on me.

I played a prank on one of my best friends this past weekend that was 30 years in the making.

But let me back up a bit…

It all began when she pranked me only a couple of weeks after we met in college.  I was in her dorm room, waiting for her to get ready for dinner and noticed a framed photograph on her shelf –
john james youngCaroline with her arms draped around the neck of John James, one of the stars of the then hit drama Dynasty.

When I asked how the pic came to be, she confided that the two were dating, but she was keeping it quiet at his request.

Of course I didn’t believe her at first, but then she started producing a lot of convincing evidence:  her father’s pageant and production credits, connections through musical theatre friends and a well-timed phone call from John James.

I spoke to the man myself.

Begrudgingly I had to concede — the two were a couple.  He called on two other occasions when I was in her room and said hello.  But during our last conversation, ‘John’ confessed that he was really Caroline’s brother.

Why did she do it?  Especially to a friend that she barely knew?  Because she could?  Evil.

It is now a thing of legends, a story that we rehash often, laughing at her nerve and my naive acceptance.  But this past weekend, I turned the tables.  Now the story has a very different ending.

The satisfying conclusion, here — tomorrow…

Chop it off

Food Network has been the background noise in my house for a long time.

But lately I find myself losing patience with the shows that used to be appointment TV.

chopped chefsCase in point: Chopped, hosted by Ted Allen.

I can’t count the number of hours I have lost watching this program. When weekend marathons come on, my previous plans fall away. This food competition has had a spot on my DVR list since I purchased the technology.

Yet now I find myself hitting fast-forward, impatient for it to be finished. The format has become too familiar, the judges’ comments tired, the visiting chefs look-a-likes.

(And by this point, even I have a pretty good idea what to do with the basket ingredients, no matter how weird.)

I’m not the only one — Jesse David Fox at Vulture has had his own Food Network burn out.  It’s an interesting read.

Take a look.

Space cadet

If you watched Conan last night — or this morning on DVR like me — you saw his interview with astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield, who recently retired after his return from a six-month stint on the International Space Station.

While he was there, he conducted experiments on the impact of low gravity on human biology.

But that didn’t score him a guest shot on Conan.

No, Hadfield used Twitter and Facebook to chronicle life on the space station in video and pictures.  In fact, his cover of David Bowie has received over 18 million hits on Youtube.

Let’s add a few more.