NEW YORK – The new HBO show Vinyl is awful, but why?
We sent the Studio Exec FACT squad into the heart of the music business to find out what went wrong with the Martin Scorsese, Terrence Winter and Mick Jagger drama.
- Martin Scorsese, Terrence Winter and Mick Jagger are too in love with their subject. What should be the background to the drama – the music – is actually foregrounded. The drama of Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) and his wife Devon (Olivia Wilde) is so uninteresting that the show runners have no compunction in interrupting whatever is happening with a beautifully shot but essentially irrelevant music video. When the artists aren’t interested in their own characters, how can we expect the audience to give a shit?
- The building collapse that ended the way too long pilot might have happened in reality – read about the true story here – but if God was a screenwriter I would have fired him. It was a lazy grab at a visually interesting WTF! moment which beggared belief and gave the feeling that Terrence Winter had decided he didn’t have a kitchen sink to throw at the pilot, but he’d throw anything else he could lay his hands on.
- Famous people clutter the scene. Vinyl is set in the hay day of the seventies as punk begins to rear its dirty head on the horizon. The legendary groups such as Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull are about to give way to the New York Dolls and The Stranglers, The Sex Pistols and The Clash. The cultural shift takes place in episode two. But we also get to see The Velvet Underground in flashback. This is essentially the same arc as Mad Men, but whereas advertising features famous brands rather than people, the constant name dropping and cameos of rock gods and punk godfathers is distracting and kind of irritating. I’ve seen the documentary footage of Led Zeppelin’s famously incendiary manager yelling backstage and it was better than the glimpse we had.
- The Seventies. Sorry to mention Mad Men again, but that shows pristine production design was entirely in keeping with the shiny lines of its historical moment. In comparison Vinyl looks to CD or MP3. It’s too glossy. The women are millennial beauties; the musicians are talent show handsome. The punk band look like Coldplay cosplaying punk. In fact this whole venture feels like a very expensive, dramatically arid cosplay.
- Enough of the Don Draper shit already. US TV has been dominated now for years by protagonists who are all powerful men who do bad shit but we end up rooting for them regardless. From Tony Soprano and Walter White, to whoever Steve Buscemi was playing in Boardwalk Empire and Don Draper, so Richie is another such. His back story demands we take him seriously as the genuine article, but he is essentially another male power fantasy, surrounded by assholes – the Germans in the Polygram subplot has to go down as the easiest kowtowing to audience prejudice ever – who gets to be at the center of things. Like with Don Draper, we are supposed to respect the machinations and ‘creative genius’ of someone who is basically a business executive. He’s honest about ripping off the artists, but we’re supposed to like him. The musicians are seen as feckless dandies who need forming by the solid acumen of Richie. This is the Steve Jobs version of history and as much as I admire the promotion of Executives as ‘the unacknowledged legislators of mankind’, answer me this. If they were so all powerful, why did they put up with Ray Romano’s supremely irritating voice?
For more FACTS on everything from this to that click HERE!
HOLLYWOOD – The 67th Emmy awards took place at the Microsoft Theatre with Andy Samberg presenting the awards, but the major upset of the evening was Manimal the 1983 adventure series that swept all the major categories.
Manimal, a short-lived adventure series started and ended in 1983, but last night it swept the Emmys due to a glitch in the voting mechanism. Beating out the likes of Mad Men, Orange is the New Black, Veep and Game of Thrones, Manimal won best drama series, best comedy series, best non-prosthetic make up and Simon MacCorkindale won best actor, beating out the likes of John Hamm and Bob Odenkirk.
Peter Dinklage – who plays Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones – spoke bitterly of his disappointment to the Studio Exec:
I’m bitterly disappointed. We were expecting stiff competition this year from Mad Men sure, but Manimal? That came from nowhere and swooped in like an eagle and took the award from my grasp. I mean was it even a good show? I didn’t even see it.
Although Manimal only ran for nine episodes in the early eighties, it received a massive cult following among internet groups and it is these groups which are thought to have interfered, or swung, the voting process. Starring MacCorkindale as Dr. Jonathan Chase, Manimal follows the shape shifting manimal as he solves crimes as a bull, or a dolphin, or a snake, or a monkey, or a giraffe. The Emmys host Andy Samberg was philosophical about the outcome and the outpouring of anger and hatred that soon followed:
It’s just like 2007 when Airwolf won everything. Or 2013 when it was Modern Family AGAIN. Nah, people bitch and complain but the fact is it is also cyclical. These things come around.
A new Manimal film starring Will Ferrell has been greenlit for 2017.
CONNECTICUT – Software designer mark Mayhew today realized that he has 3 seasons of AMC’s Mad Men to catch up on and not 2 as he originally thought.
Speaking EXCLUSIVELY to the Studio Exec, via Skype, the 43 year old Mayhew expressed his shock when he realized his mistake:
I knew that Mad Men was coming to an end and I had the fourth season box set sitting there waiting for me, but I was sure that there were only six seasons. But then I checked on Wikipedia and it turns out that they’ve done seven. When did that happen?
Are you going to marathon them?
That was the idea. But three seasons? Woof, that’s a big ask. I mean I probably will, but I just can’t believe there have been that many. I mean I was watching them every week and then my wife had a baby and a few other things happened, and I just lost sight of it. I’m ashamed to say. It’s not quite as bad as ER, which just went on and on and no one was watching it anymore. I just gave up on that. And I totally lost Lost, but 3 Seasons of Mad Men I think are doable and the design of the show is really impressive.
Showrunner Matthew Weiner personally apologized for the inconvenience:
We’ve been meaning to wrap up for some time and the scheduling has been crazy, so all I can say to Mr. Mayhew is thanks for the patience, enjoy the last seasons and we hope it’ll be worthwhile. John Hamm and Elizabeth Moss are amazing and I think Mr. Mayhew will agree at least with that.
The Seventh Season of Mad Men is the final one.
HOLLYWOOD – As more stories pour in from the Sony email hack it appears that the studio is looking to dispense of the services of Andrew Garfield and replace him with another actor.
Producer Scott Rudin and Marvel President Kevin Feige have exchanged a number of messages on the subject:
We want Spider-Man back. What do you think the asking price will be?
We want an older Spider-Man. Audiences love that stuff so we’re thinking about Jon Hamm. It’s not official as yet but he’s been approached.
I had a word. They said 500 million but that piss ant Garfield is contracted for another so he’ll have to be paid off if you want rid.
You mean the guy from Mad Men? That’s a bold choice. I hear he’s into some wacky sex stuff. You better check that out before he signs.
I looked into Hamm. He’s into sandpaper tubes and soldering irons, nothing heavy and nobody is pressing any charges. We did find this picture though. Can you get one of your guys to confirm if it’s real or not?
Yep. It’s real. Apparently those sofas were made by a Mexican company that went out of business in 1997 but you can pick one up on ebay for around $300.
A mysterious package was posted through The Studio Exec’s letterbox this morning containing an audio tape of what appears to be a meeting between Mad Men lothario Jon Hamm and James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli.
Although the pair don’t talk about Hamm playing Bond explicitly, it’s obvious their discussion is being conducted in some pre-arranged code designed to fool any potential eavesdroppers.
Below is a transcript of the sensational recording:
How’s the beef?
Good. Though looking at your plate I wish I’d gone for the chicken.
I usually order the veal but I thought to hell with it. Go crazy
I like veal but only in a lemon caper sauce.
Lemon and capers. That’s a strong flavour.
I like to taste my food. Though if you can recommend another sauce, I’d happily try it.
I might have a sauce recipe you’d like. It’s exceptionally rich though. Do you like rich sauces?
The richer the better.
Good. I’ll get my chef to make you up a batch and send it over tomorrow.
Sounds great. I look forward to it.
Lovely. So do you want to play Jane Blonde or what?
Fuck yeah. Is the Pope Catholic?
HOLLYWOOD – Jon Hamm used to be Don Draper, but Don Draper wasn’t really Don Draper so what do we really know about John Hamm?
The Studio Exec FACT Squad drank themselves to death finding out.
1. In order to disguise himself when booking into French hotels. John Hamm uses the pseudonym Jean Jambon.
2. Prior to auditioning for the role of Superman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man of Steel. Jon spent a year on Krypton learning to fly, leap tall buildings in a single bound and run faster than a speeding bullet. Unfortunately he was unable to master heat vision which gave producers no alternative but to turn him down.
3. Jon was a waiter in L.A. prior to finding work as an actor. During this period he says his biggest claim to fame was Annette Bening throwing up chicken chasseur all over his shoes.
4. He is such a big fan of Mary Poppins he spent three years impersonating Dick Van Dyke and sleeping with his friends’ nannies. This came to an end when in 1998 he was arrested in Trafalgar square for jumping on a street artist’s chalk drawing and breaking his finger.
5. Due to the excessive cigarette and alcohol consumption of his Mad Men character Don Draper. Jon has had two liver transplants in six years and is currently waiting on an 18 year old Tongan boy to succumb to his injuries so he can have his lungs.