Tag Archives: tv

“I Can Tell That We Are Going To Be Friends,” Maggie Smith

What’s your favorite TV show? Mad Men or Millionaire Matchmaker? GIRLS or Bad Girls Club? Downton Abbey or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?

I find the teenage mothers on Teen Mom to be immature, UNrealistic (ironic, huh?) and incredibly annoying. However, I can easily escape into the aristocratic world of Downton Abbey, imagining being BFFs with the Dowager Countess of Grantham. I can’t even laugh at Honey Boo Boo because I find it so ridiculous. On the other hand, I identify with a lot of the struggles that Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa deal with on a weekly basis in the HBO hit GIRLS.

Why is that? Why can’t I watch TV just for entertainment purposes? Why can’t I just turn on the boob tube and zone out? I think it’s because I want to watch things that I can imagine — but don’t exist for me. My utopia. Utopia is a place with perfect qualities — that doesn’t exist.

Dystopia is an undesirable or frightening society. Nothing describes this idea to me more than living in a house with seven strangers — and having our lives taped. You couldn’t pay me enough to move to the Jersey Shore or compete on The Bachelor.

I love Mad Men because of the formal dress, the formal language, and the simpler times. You don’t see men walking around dressed head to toe like Don Draper and Roger Sterling. Women may stress about clothes — but aren’t expected to wear a dress/skirt every day and heels. I wish we did.

In my mind, Downton Abbey would be an amazing place to live. Someone else to help make my hair look perfect every day? Okay. Walking around on those gorgeous grounds with that perfect Labrador Retriever? Count me in. Calling lunch luncheon and having tea every day? Swoon.

Each of our ideas of utopias are relative. What works for me, doesn’t work for someone else. What is euphoric and relatable and realistic to me isn’t necessarily the same for you.

In American Utopias, Mike Daisey explores the ideas of three different utopias: Disney World, Burning Man, and Occupy Wall Street. Chances are the people who enjoy a character breakfast at Disney World don’t like sitting in a cuddle dome at Burning Man. Likewise, those of us who love The West Wing don’t enjoy Kourtney and Kim Take Miami.

– Robbie Champion, Claque member

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An Interview with THE CONVERT playwright Danai Gurira, by Robert O’Hara

ROBERT

How does it feel to be famous?

DANAI

(laughing)

Who told you I was famous?

ROBERT

(laughing)

I was wondering has anything changed for you?

DANAI

Well yes and no. There’s nothing that different about me to Me…  I think I’m a little too old for it to affect me much. So the feeling is interesting, it is new but I’m not changed.

ROBERT

Do you feel that people have changed around you? Or towards you?

DANAI

Not the people who matter to me. The people who have always been my people they’ve always believed in me regardless of any of this stuff.

ROBERT

Do you feel that the industry treats you different? Do you have more access now?

DANAI

Yes. Yes. Yes and No. Definitely there is more access and attention paid even in the social realm of the industry.  But there isn’t like there are roles that are just handed out as a result. There is still work to be done  and all of that still has to go down and occur. That doesn’t change.

(laughing)

Or hasn’t changed for me yet. I haven’t felt a change. In that area.

ROBERT

Are you at all concerned with sort of being typecast? Is there any concern for  you in being trapped inside this?

DANAI

I think I would feel that if I didn’t have other work. Just the sheer fact that the film I did last year and was received so well at this past Sundance, where I’m the lead role and I’m playing this Nigerian Woman who’s trying to get pregnant to save her marriage, that totally puts me in a whole other realm but another thing is the fact that I’m a playwright. And so I never feel like I’m just this one thing. And so I can’t imagine that’s how I could be perceived.

ROBERT

So the light that is being shined on you. You can sort of direct it towards your other projects.

DANAI

Right.

ROBERT

Now would you ever agree to do IN THE CONTINUUM again?

DANAI

(long silence. )

…. Sure… Sure but only with Nikkole. And only under certain circumstances. I mean you don’t want to be that athlete who comes back to their sport and attempts to regain their former glory. You want to be able to find something new in it. So in the right circumstance and with Nikkole. Sure. Sure. Of course.

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