Saturday, August 26, 2017

Guncle

MOVIE IDEA:
'Guncle'
A body-switching movie in the spirit of 'Freaky Friday', 'Vice Versa', etc. 
The story of a typical American teenage girl obsessed with fashion and keeping up with the latest trends. She follows every move of the Kardashians and looks up to BeyoncĂ© as a role model. Because of the media, magazines, and Instagram models, she sets unrealistic standards for her appearance and spends most of her time at the gym and all of her money on beauty/skin care products. She doesn't read books, but has mastered the art of taking the perfect selfie. Most of her friends are gossipy bitches who talk about her behind her back, and she makes a fool of herself to get attention from boys who either don't notice her, or use and abuse her. 
One night, after they both drink from the same magical can of Peach La Croix, she switches bodies with her favorite uncle, a typical American gay man in his thirties. 
Nothing really happens and they don't learn anything, because their lives are basically the same.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Passed

The transition from Sixth Grade to Seventh was ROUGH.


So many changes…

Instead of one teacher and one desk, you had several teachers and a locker. 


There were stacks of books to carry around. 


Homework that was actual WORK.





All the smaller Elementary Schools funneled into the enormous Junior High School, so there were hundreds more kids. Where were all my pals from last year?! There were almost no familiar faces in any of my classes.









  







For some reason, everyone seemed 



BIGGER.
TOUGHER.

MEANER.








And no one was very helpful.



Making matters worse, my best friend Chris’ family had just moved to a new town, so he was in a different school. I had to find a new ‘School Best Friend’…quick!


I noticed Seth, a kid who was in several of my classes. Like me, he was a chubster, wore glasses, and had uncooperative hair.

He also had the same terrified look on his face that I had. We became friends instantly.


We bonded over a mutual love of comic books, and Seth introduced me to the Daniel Pinkwater novel “Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars” (still one of my favorite books of all time). 








We compared notes on how to navigate the scary hallways and avoid the dangerous corners of Kiley Junior High.









It was a relief to have a lunch buddy, because you did NOT want to be That Kid Who Always Sat Alone. There was safety in numbers, even if that number was only two.



We started hanging out outside of school, too, dropping quarters into videogames at the Dream Machine at Eastfield Mall. I was a master at Q*bert, but Seth bested me at Crystal Castles. I could never manage that tricky trackball. 



More than anything else, I was grateful that Seth and I were in gym class together. 
PhysEd was the ultimate horror of the day, from the locker room, to the ill-fitting shorts and white T-shirt, to the rowdy classmates in the throes of puberty.


Neither one of us was into sports. 
We were nerds! Plus, I had allergies and Seth had asthma.

And…we were basically just clumsy and unathletic.







The gym teacher was massive and terrifying. He had a permanent scowl and an apparent ax to grind.








PhysEd was torture every time, whether it was baseball, field hockey, football, basketball, or GOD FORBID, that most demented of 'sports', dodgeball. We prayed for rain or cold weather, because on ‘nice’ days we were forced to run laps around the football field. Until then, the only running I had ever done was after the ice cream truck.








Neither Seth nor myself could do even ONE pull-up. Rope-climbing was a new level of terror, because even on the off-chance that you were able to actually pull yourself UP, you had the added fear of losing your grip and falling…onto the one-centimeter-cushioned mat below.



When the dreaded ‘Presidential Fitness Test’ rolled around, we were timed and scored on what seemed like a military-level battery of physical activities.


The final leg of the test was the mile run. The other boys raced past us and finished pretty quickly, while Seth and I were still huffing and puffing along. The finish line seemed soooooo far away…but not so far away that we couldn’t hear our classmates laughing and making fun of us.



Seth seemed to be really struggling, 
so I kept pace with him and tried to talk him through it…


When you feel like a loser and an outcast, the ONLY thing that will make you feel better is if you find someone else who feels the same way. Life still sucks, but at least you have somebody to go through it with.



Suddenly and without warning, as we were approaching our taunting classmates and teacher, Seth found an unforeseen reserve of energy and SPRINTED toward the finish line.


I was too alarmed to react quickly, but when I realized what was happening I tried to speed up myself.

But it was too late. Seth had left me in the dust, making me the absolute last-place finisher in class.

I thought we were in this TOGETHER. I thought that we would take the insults and mockery, and then try to laugh it off later over some Twinkies and strawberry soda.

It's the first time I remember experiencing the feeling of betrayal

But, oddly, it wasn’t the betrayal part that was the most painful. Instead, it was this: I had believed Seth and I were going at the same pace, but he suddenly moved forward and passed me, leaving me alone to fend for myself.



How did that happen? How did I let it happen?

What did I miss?


That was thirty years ago. And there have been many moments in my life that have felt just like this.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Days of Our Lives: The Bo Problem

Dear NBC, Ken Corday, and Sony Pictures Television,

As a 30-year viewer of Days of Our Lives (every day, every episode, not just casually), I have some advice on how to handle the 'Bo problem'. 


As fans of the show know, the character of Bo Brady, portrayed by Peter Reckell, hasn't been seen in Salem since October 2012. At first, the show did not address his absence. Characters mentioned seeing him offscreen, so his presence was still felt. After a while it became sort of ridiculous, as he kept missing important events and holidays. 


Finally we were told that he had left town on a top-secret mission to bring down Salem's notorious criminal Stefano DiMera. More time passed and this turned into a larger, even MORE top-secret mission involving a bigger crime syndicate. Almost a year and a half later, Bo sent Hope a letter (via John Black, who hasn't had much to do himself) explaining that he did not know when (if?) he would be returning home. 



All of this extremely loose storytelling was apparently conceived to explain Peter Reckell's absence on the show. I'm guessing producers hoped they could lure him back after a year or so, so they kept the story open for his return. But it seems Reckell is holding his ground. One reason he left was because he was fed up with back-burner story lines; Reckell made it known that if he was going to appear on the show, he wanted more screen time. Being an actor, he wants to act.

Well, perhaps the silver lining in the gray, GRAY cloud of Alison Sweeney's imminent departure is that maybe there is hope for Peter Reckell's return–the loss of the show's biggest star surely means more screen time (and more money in the budget) for other cast members. I'm sure there have already been talks with Reckell about finally coming back. This would be welcome news to any true fan of Days, because it's been depressing watching Hope without Bo. Don't get me wrong–Kristian Alfonso is a superstar in her own right, owning the screen in any scene in which she appears. 


But there's just something about 'Bo and Hope', and the chemistry between Reckell and Alfonso. We don't want to see Hope getting paired with new-crankypants-guy-in-town Aiden, or anyone else. We want to see Hope with Bo.


AND NO RECASTING. It was completely unbearable to watch when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo in the 90's. Nothing against Kelker-Kelly as an actor; some roles should just NOT be recast. (Case in point: can you imagine anyone else in the world taking over the role of Sami?)

So ideally, Peter Reckell will return to Days.

But...I have a better idea. 

Why not a Bo & Hope spinoff? Back in the soap heyday of the 80's, there was talk of spinning off some of Days' supercouples onto another daily drama ('Pacific Lives'?  'Manhattan Lives'? 'The Sands of Time'?), but one would be CRAZY to suggest a new daytime drama in this day and age when soaps are getting canceled...right? So that's not what I'm suggesting. No–I'm talking about a prime time weekly series.  

Are you paying attention, NBC?

Here's how it would work, and I'll try to keep it brief: Soon after receiving the sad news of Bo's murder (by those dastardly gangsters), Hope and Ciara are kidnapped. Roman, John, and Abe set out to find them, unaware that a very much alive Bo, working with the FBI, is behind their disappearance. The Salem cops track down the building where Hope and Ciara are (supposedly) being held, only to witness the building blow up. The town of Salem is left to grieve the entire family.

Except, of course, they are all alive. In actuality, Bo DID bring down those gangsters, and as a result, has been placed in the Witness Relocation Program by the US Government. Bo, Hope and Ciara have been moved far, far away from Salem and given new identities.

And, of course, wherever Bo and Hope go, murders and mysteries follow.  One of the best times of #Bope history was when they ran their own detective agency, along with comic relief Howie Hoffstedder. This series would bring the couple back to that heyday. A new case to solve every week...


...allowing Hope and Bo to become...


...the new Hart To Hart.

The benefits of this idea:
  • Days viewers would delight in knowing the real identities of our heroes,   while new viewers would still be able to enjoy the show without knowing their backstory.
  • Peter Reckell would get to flex his acting muscles, as Bo and Hope are thrown into one undercover situation after another. Anyone who remembers the special 4th of July 2011 Days episode (in which Salem residents portrayed that year's Oscar nominated film characters in dream sequences) saw Reckell having the time of his life–and delivering a very impressive performance–as True Grit's 'Rooster Cogburn'. THIS is the kind of work he's been dying to do.
  • If the show does not perform well in the ratings–or, in a better scenario, after running successfully for a few years–the characters would be able to be folded back into Days of Our Lives, reuniting them with their Salem friends and family.
['What about Ciara?' you might be asking. 'What would her role on the show be?'  Well, they could age her to a teen and give her side stories of her own, perhaps. Or have her looked after by a supporting character (remember, we need a comic relief) while Bo and Hope are off solving mysteries. I don't know...I can't think of everything, people! I just didn't think it was right to kill her off or leave her in Salem thinking both her parents were dead.]

Please give this idea a shot, NBC! I can see it as a good Saturday night series. What do you think?!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Laverne on Death Row

Finally, the eighth and final season of 'Laverne & Shirley' is available on DVD! This season features one of my favorite sitcom two-parters of ALL TIME, the 'Death Row' episodes. Read my review on Amazon!