Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Didactic Television, Coming of Age, Dead Fathers and Cockatoo

1. Had extra-strange dreams.  Some of them were related to Australia—including one in which, I start having visions.  Some of them include seeing a screen-version of myself on the wall that talks to me. I tell Tim about the visions, explaining that I don't know if they're supernatural or hallucinations. I tell him the only thing that caused an actual physical change in the environment was a banana suddenly going to mush.   

I don't really remember HOW Australia connected to it, but I do remember a connection.

There was a dream in which I am talking to someone and realize I don't remember what a map of Australia looks like. Then I remember, and I remember where Melbourne is on the map. I can't, though, remember where Sydney is.  Soon, I'm able to remember it's on the east coast. But when I try to place it, I imagine it too far north.  

I eventually remember the right location...generally speaking.  I also remember the location of Canberra.  

I also had a dream where I'm talking to someone about our friends from Melbourne. I say that I suspect they're embarrassed of us. When we spent time with them in other places, they were happy to go out and about. When we were in Melbourne with them, they rarely wanted to leave their house.  My assumption is they didn't want their friends to see us.  

We did visit friends in Melbourne, in real life, but they didn't show any signs of trying to hide us. We went out a lot.  

2. Wondered how the hell my dreams come up with their material.

3. Wished I remembered how the vision-dream related to Australia.  

4. Did my daily thing of reading and proofreading an old post.

The one I'm reading today mentions Judy Morris, and says that she played Maggie Beare's daughter-in-law on Mother and Son

It's kind of funny, because I very recently mentioned Judy Morris in a post, and I had been wondering who she played on Mother and Son.  It's quite nice that my past self answered the question for my present self.

5. Started watching an episode of Home and Away.  

This one deals with Anzac Day.

It's a bit heavy-handed—meaning it feels more like a PSA announcement than a soap opera.

That happens sometimes with television.

It's not that soap operas, dramas, sitcoms, etc. can't deal with important social issues. Many shows do it quite successfully. But there are times where it works less well.  

6. Decided I'd probably blame the writing.

Also, I think it's a matter of intent.

I think fiction works out better when the initial idea is about plot and character.  

I think it's less likely to work when the initial idea and intent is to get a message across.  

For example: some writers might get an idea about a school class going on a trip. While the class is there, a couple will have a big fight and create a lot of havoc. The teacher will have a hard time keeping things in control. She'll start doubting her classroom management abilities.  Then the writers think, hey since the episode is going to be broadcast in April, so maybe the class can go to a war memorial.  

I think these writer will create something better than writers who sit there saying. Hey, April is coming up. We need an Anzac episode. What message do we want to get across to our viewers?  I think we need to push the idea that young people don't appreciate the sacrifices of their elders.  

7. Decided to share a piece of Home and Away Anzac dialogue.

Evie (Philippa Northeast)  says: I just don't understand why we're being forced to visit a monument to a war that was forced a hundred years ago when there's real problems we can be fixing right here right now.  

I'm sure by the end of today or tomorrow's episode, Evie will realize the error of her ways.  

And after that, Nancy Reagan will come by to warn all the Summer Bay classmates about the dangers of drugs.  

8. Finished watching the episode.

Evie didn't learn her lesson by the end. But she did feel embarrassed when she learned that she had complained about the Anzac field trip to a war veteran (Ray Meagher).  

By the way, that wasn't the dialogue I quoted above. That complaint was in yesterday's episode. Evie really has a thing for putting down Anzac Day.  

9. Wondered if Evie will have a personal growth experience in tomorrow's episode.

10. Amused, because I just realized part of my fake writers' idea came to fruition.

A couple did get in a major fight—not during the field trip, but just before getting on the bus.  

11. Thought of another difference between decent storylines and PSA type storylines.

I think in well-written storylines, the storyline is ongoing.

I'd have more respect for the the Anzac storyline if Alf, the war veteran, had been thinking and talking about his war memories before the April episodes.  

The storyline involves him having a fear of visiting the war memorial. He's never seen his grandfather's name written on the monument.  He's also having issue with the fact that young people don't take the past wars seriously.

All this would have been great as a multi-week storyline.  But instead, it's all happening within a few episodes in April.  

12. Thought of 1980's Home and Away.  I think the war stories back then had more substance.  They might have put more concentration on the subject during April, but I'm pretty sure other months had storylines as well.

I remember Alf's sister Celia (Fiona Spence) mourned for the loss of her fiancĂ©e. He had died during the war.  The grief was an ongoing thing, and a major part of Celia's characterization.

Then there was also a whole story about someone's brother being disabled from a past war, and he suffered from suicidal-depression.

13. Thought of Maddie's (Kassandra Clementi) cancer on Home and Away.  This storyline has been going on for months, and it doesn't feel at all like a PSA announcement.  It would be much different if for the week of Cancer Awareness Day, they had a quick storyline about a Summer Bay woman not wanting to get a mammogram. Then she meets a guest star character at the cafe who survived breast cancer. That changes the viewpoint of our Summer Bay character.  In the conclusion of the storyline, she goes to get her Mammogram; then comes out and spreads the message to the viewer that getting a Mammogram is very easy, and incredibly important.  

Better yet. Have the breast cancer survivor be a real life celebrity who's had breast cancer.  

14. Wanted to say that I thought Neighbours also had a good ongoing storyline about war veterans.  Nate (Meyne Wyatt) had PTSD, and it brought a lot of drama to the show.  It definitely wasn't a drive-by thing.

15. Started to watch an episode of Tangle.

16. Loved this quote from Karen Pearlman in her Lumina article "The Musical is Back". 

Our films (Australian) are in a rut of naturalism so deep, that audiences might well feel it is almost more entertaining to stay home and fight with your own family than go to an Australian film about dysfunctional domesticity.  

I'd apply that quote to some of Australian television—especially things like Tangle and Love My Way.  

17. Wanted to remind people...if anyone is interested, that Lumina is available to download free on iBooks.  

I wish I could say the same for my novel. I did try. But I had Apple password issues.

Is it just me. Or does anyone else feel personally offended by Steve Jobs when something annoying happens with their Apple stuff?

Like every time, my phone autocorrects something I've texted, I imagine Steve Jobs being this annoying person who has to correct everything I say.  No, Steve! I didn't mean "I'll". I actually did mean "IXL". It's not my fault you don't know what that is.   

I was quite upset with the password thing, because I ended up having to reset my password (for the trillionth time) which I especially loved because it was Farscape related. I got a new password, and then when I tried to use it the next day to buy an iBook, it didn't work. I had to change it yet again.  

 18. Thought there was a good juxtaposition of scenes on Tangle.  

First, young, lonely, and virginal Gigi (Eve Lazzaro) is on the couch with a boy (Ben Schumann). They watch a cartoon while having a stilted conversation.  Then Gigi gives the boy permission to finger her. It seems she was trying hard to do something that separated her from childhood.

Then in the next scene,  two teens, Charlotte (Georgia Flood) and Romeo (Lincoln Younes), are walking together. Charlotte suddenly asks Romeo to chase her.  Like young children they run happily through the streets; then collapse on the ground, laughing.  Charlotte has already had sex, gotten pregnant, and had an abortion.  It's like she's trying to return to her childhood while Gigi is trying to escape hers.  

19. Finished watching the episode.

It's funny. A few days ago, I really was not excited about watching the third season of Tangle.

Now I'm feeling sad that I have only two episodes left.

I guess it's not uncommon for me with TV shows, though. It's hard for me to get into them or back into them. Then often, I fall in love. 

We watched the new X-Files episodes this past week. I wasn't very thrilled about the idea. I think I did it mostly to please Tim and out of morbid curiosity.  But now I'm into it, and I was very disappointed to learn there's only six episodes.  

20. Started watching the second episode of the Bryan and Matilda Brown series, "Lessons From the Grave"

21. Saw that, like the first episode, this one shows the death of Bryan Brown's character.  

I guess it's what they use for the opening.

22. Didn't really understand the point of the show.

I'm not sure why they need the father to be dead.  Why not have a father and daughter show with a living father?  Not that I'm against dead characters. I wrote a whole book full of them.  But it doesn't seem like there's a point to it in this series...except that it gives them an excuse to use cool death make-up on Bryan Brown.  

23. Decided to keep watching the show, because I want to see if the death aspect plays a bigger role.

24. Remembered that the death part did play a bigger role in the first episode.

A young man came forward  claiming to be the son of Bryan Brown. He wanted part of the lottery inheritance.  That storyline wouldn't have been possible if Brown's character was still living.

In this episode, though, the death seems insignificant to the story.  

25. Looked for the names of the characters, so I don't have to keep saying things like, Bryan Brown's character.

Okay.  Bryan Brown plays Douglas. Matilda Brown plays Bonnie.  

So...anyway....

In this episode, Dead Douglas helps Bonnie celebrate her birthday. They shop together.  She makes a Pavlova. He watches as the blows out the candles.  

The same story could have been done with a living father.

26. Started watching the third episode.  

27. Thought that a guest star actor looks very familiar.

I'll see who he is when I watch the end credits.

I think he MIGHT be in the short film "Cockatoo" with Matilda Brown. I saw a short bit of that in her show reel yesterday.  Then, I thought he looked familar too.

Although it could be two separate actors.

I'm not sure.

28. Thought in this episode, Douglas being dead IS significant.  Bonnie is asked how it feels to lose someone, and she has a hard time answering.  She says it hasn't really hit her yet. What she doesn't tell the friend is that it's because her dad's still around.

How do you miss a dead person if you see them all the time?

29. Saw from the credits that the actor that looked familiar to me is Marcel Bracks.   IMDb doesn't credit him for "Lessons for the Grave".  I noticed yesterday that the show lists only the Browns as actors in the film.  I'm not sure why.

30. Saw that Marcel Bracks was in the TV show Trapped. I watched a few episodes of that a few years ago.  The show was a kids show, and most of the stars were children or teens. There were a few adults, though.  I guess Bracks was one of them.  I don't really remember much.  

31. Went to the "Cockatoo" video, and saw the actor in that doesn't look at all like Marcel Bracks.

I don't know what was going on in my head.  

32. Started to watch "Cockatoo"

33. Saw that the NOT Marcel Bracks actor is named Alan Dukes.

He played Wayne Swan in At Home With Julia

34. Loved the film so far.

It's very cute and creative.

The premise is, Michael (Dukes) hires Melanie (Brown) from this company that provides non-sexual role players.  Michael wants Melanie to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend. The problem is the ex-girlfriend is from London, and Melanie is not very good at doing English accents.

35. Finished watching "Cockatoo".

I thought it was beautiful—one of the best short films I've seen.

Actually, I think it restores my faith in short films, because many of the Tropfest ones have made me lose faith.  

36. Saw that "Cockatoo" was written and directed by Matthew Jenkin. He's also the co-writer (along with Matilda Brown) for "Lessons from the Grave".  

37. Thought that Jenkins and Brown should make a series out of "Cockatoo".

I really liked Melanie.

Well, and I liked Michael too.  It's just with the premise, I'm not sure it would work to have the client return.  

38. Changed my mind.  

I thought of Rake and Satisfaction. They both involve prostitutes who have returning clients.  

Melanie isn't a prostitute. There's no sex. But her services are somewhat similar.  

Michael could return as a recurring character.

39. Started to watch the fifth episode of "Justice Lease".  I'm going to finish the series tonight.  

40. Saw that this episode features Spiderman.  

41. Saw Superman (Pail Michael Arye) get the bad news that the movie about him (Man of Steel) received a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes.  

Through out the series, he's been eagerly and nervously waiting for his movie to come out.   

42. Grossed out by vomit in the episode.

I'm used to seeing vomit on TV...pretty desensitized.  But this one involves vomit dribble on Batman's (Andrew Steel) chin.  It's very yuck.  

43. Started to watch the finale of "The Justice Lease".  

44. Finished watching.

It's a fun series.  I imagine most fans of super heroes would like it.  

43. Started to reread The Spell Book of Listen Taylor.

I remember loving the book, but don't remember much about it.

I really enjoyed reading the first chapter just now, which gives me hope that I'll re-love the whole book.  




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