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“And the award goes to…”

I’m starting to get sensible. Heaven forbid. My newfound sensibility meant that I went to sleep at a decent hour last night rather than staying up to watch the 1st Annual Indie Soap Awards. So it’s not the Oscars, or even the MTV Awards, but I’m not invested in the nominees for those awards as much as I am in the Indie Soaps.

I’m not quite so sensible that I hadn’t asked a friend of mine who was in the right timezone to try wake me at 2am. Nor am I that sensible that I didn’t wake up around 2.20am and then again at around 5am with the obvious need to tweet my congratulations because yes…ANYONE BUT ME WON!!!

Of the ten that they were nominated for they walked away with four awards. I know that people who are nominated for awards are very much, ‘It’s an honour just to be nominated…’ and I know that the mere act of someone acknowledging your work is an amazing feeling, but thankfully I’m a fan so you know I can cheer as loudly and unapologetically as I like!

Firstly, hats off to Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward for winning Best Writing and Best Storyline. The screenplay awards are always the ones that I pay attention to during awards season. I know that film and tv are visual mediums but without the basis of a great story then all the visuals in the world aren’t going to do you any good. I love the writing on this show. That’s not a secret. That they can deliver a story that completely engulfs you in those moments that it’s on your screen is testament to how excellent the writing is. Truly thrilled that they won this over all the other ones they were nominated for.

Again, it’s no secret that I believe the ABM cast to be amongst the most ridiculously talented concentration of people in any one place. I’m not the only one because Jessy Hodges, Nicole Pacent, Josh Holland, and Rachael Hip-Flores were all nominated for awards, as well as a nomination for the entire cast. Now, unfortunately they missed out on the ensemble award and Jessy Hodges and Nicole Pacent also lost out in their categories, but then Laura Linney’s been nominated three times for an Oscar and still no gold statue on her mantlepiece so you know, sometimes it takes time. I am sure there are many awards in the future of this great group.

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Fix You

I have a friend, she calls me a Socialist. When she says it though it comes out like a dirty word. I suppose when I say Capitalist sometimes it comes out sounding like that too. I’m not a fan of labels, but if you have to then yes – I am a Liberal.

I think as an idea, Communism isn’t a bad thing. I don’t think it would work, and I know that when society has tried, it hasn’t. However, I believe that’s more down to human nature than the ideology though. At it’s simplest, a world where people give according to their means and take according to their needs – does it sounds so evil? I don’t think so.

Self-confessed Idealist. I know that there is enough food in the world that no one should writhe with hunger pains. I know that we have made the medical advances that certain diseases like malaria should not kill as many as it does. I know that we have the resources enough to provide a roof so that no one falls asleep on the street. All you need to do is listen to the words of ‘Imagine‘ in order to see what kind of world we could live in.

I know that some may try to tear my argument down with the statement, ‘We don’t live in an ideal world.’ Stick a ‘Why’ at the front of that sentence and a question mark at the end of it and you have my response to that.

You still can!

You still can!

My friend, who thinks I’m a dirty Socialist, and I are currently having a “heated discussion” about US healthcare reform. We’re discussing, not arguing. We have to make the distinction clear, despite the fact that she seems to have gone silent on me. She’s an American, a NYer at that so you know she has an opinion, who doesn’t believe that the health reform the President’s proposing should go through. I’m a Brit who’s never had to worry about the cost of getting fixed. I’ve always found it difficult to understand how healthcare isn’t universal, particularly in a country like the US. I’m sure there are reasons, I’m sure none of them are any good.

The US is not a third world country. It has the resources and the knowledge to provide its people – all of its people, with free healthcare. Yet it doesn’t. I admit that our healthcare system isn’t ideal. We have waiting lists. Some hospitals are better than others, as are some doctors. Sometimes things are missed. I don’t think that would change if we stopped having a national healthcare service. For all its faults, if you are broken – we will fix you. I have yet to hear an argument that convinces me we should do otherwise.

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“Crisis”…I don’t know when the next ep is!

Anyone But Me is turning me into a quasi-insomniac. Oh I sleep. I sleep particularly when I know that the tomorrow on the other side of it brings a new episode of ABM. However, it is not at all restful. I’m not sure how many times I woke up in the early hours of Tuesday to check whether it was morning yet. Well, not so much to see if it was morning. I reached out to the Crackberry and focussed enough to see whether the, ‘New episode of @AnyoneButMe up now!!!’ tweet had been posted. At 4.45am it hadn’t. I was beginning to worry.

By about 6.30am – significantly earlier than my usual wakeup call, I had woken myself up for perhaps the 8th time. This is not a restful night’s sleep by anyone’s definition. Still no tweet. So I thought let’s check the website. One thing I will say about the Crack, it’s proper speedy with the surfing of the internets. Somehow navigating to the S2 link I count, one episode, two episodes, three episodes…THREE episodes! That’s my cue to go bang into my door again. However, I’m getting better and I managed to avoid the door. I didn’t quite manage to avoid the rather large box that’s in my hallway though. D’oh.

I saw a tweet the other day from @RevRunWisdom, ‘You are who you are when nobody’s watching.’ That’s currently resonating with me a little too much for a multitude of reasons, but as I write this I’m thinking that in terms of ABM, when no one’s watching – I probably look like a maniac. If it wasn’t for the fact that I watch ABM at 7am I’m sure some of my friends would be quite amused by the sight.

I am by no means a morning person, the synapses in my brain must have to gear themselves up in the space between eps to prepare. A dozen thoughts are normally going through my head when I’m watching, especially on first viewing. Not least of all is my internal whatever telling me to keep the volume down so I don’t wake everyone up.

I text. I tweet. I post on Facebook. I now also BBM thanks to the Crack to let people know a new ep has been posted just so I have someone else to talk to about it. As much as I want to tweet through the episode as I watch it – normally on the second viewing, I am very aware of spoiler issues. I recently had the ending to a mini-series called ‘The Mist‘ spoiled by reading a ‘Best of’ list. I was not amused. So I avoid tweeting. However, if you want my twitter-tary then scroll to the bottom. If you want the long version…

I don’t think we’ve seen Vivian’s dad – Gabe (Dan Via), or Aunt Jodie (Barbara Pitts) since ep7 if I’m correct, I could check but I’m pretty certain that’s the last time we saw them. Gabe’s story has always been one of the one’s I’ve been more interested in. So much of who we are is defined, whether we like it or not, by the job that we do.  Perhaps less in some occupations I know, but Gabe was a firefighter. This man went into flaming buildings to save lives. He was there at 9/11 – it’s the very reason they had to move to Westchester.

Everyday heroes like Gabe are a different breed, mostly because they carry themselves with a humility that shames so many “heroes”. Being that person defines you. As much as we are preoccupied with how Vivian is trying to define herself in this new town, I think Gabe is having just as much trouble trying to figure out who he is now. That’s not something I’ve seen often on screen, and I think it’s a story that would be told very well and I would like to see more of Gabe. Also, I  think that in terms of the back story with Vivian’s mum as well as the fact that Aunt Jodie had a crush on him (and possibly still does) when she was younger, there is a lot that could be done.

I like the dynamic between the two adults in Vivian’s life, with each other and with Vivian. I really enjoyed the scene between Gabe and Aunt Jodie. Finding a job is difficult at any age, and the way Aunt Jodie encourages him because this is what he needs to do is so supportive and you see why he’s chosen this person to be an influence on Vivian’s life. May I also say that I think sliding down a fire pole is an excellent way to decide whether or not to hire someone. I remember once we were deciding on two applicants who had near identical resumes – down to the fact that they had the same name. They were also both dancers so of course the only fair way to decide who got the job was to have a dance off. Unfortunately one of them couldn’t make the interview so the other one kind of got it by default. Fire pole though, that’s gonna separate the wheat from the chaff.

I think it’s sweet how Aunt Jodie tried to get to know Vivian throughout S1 and I think the two of them have had to do a lot of adjusting. I’m guessing awkwardness is a family trait. We still have the whole issue of Vivian coming out to her aunt  to see as well so that’ll certainly be interesting. I love that Gabe trusts Vivian, I think that it allows her a certain freedom but she’s not reckless with it because she wouldn’t want to disappoint him. I think who she is has a lot to do with the person he has raised her to be. So yeah, I’d like to see more of them.

Gabe & Aunt Jodie

I am aware that I am asking a lot from a show that kills most of its viewers with the length of the eps, but I touched on that last time so people know what they have to do. I have faith that this show is going to be around for a while. The talent pool is ridiculous, the stories are relevant, and quite simply, it’s too important not to be. So we have time.

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“Quickly, to the Exits”…Not THAT Quickly!!!

It’s becoming my Tuesday morning ritual to reach out and grab the Crackberry and through blurry eyes search through my twitter feed for that one tweet I’ve been waiting for: “AnyoneButMe Episode 2! Watch it now! http://tiny.cc/2m3nG“. Up I get. Seriously, I’m not even like this on Christmas morning, any morning for that matter. Given that I’d just had four days away from the job and the sun hadn’t even thought it was a decent enough hour to rise my getting out of bed without hitting the ‘snooze’ button five times is a feat nothing else could manage. Thankfully this morning I managed to do it without banging into the door. I’m improving.

Okay, so when last we left our favourite couple our heroine Vivian was hanging perilously from the edge of a cliff as Aster raced through the forest to try and rescue her. Her trusted sidekick Archibald enchanted by a magic spell cast by the lovely Elisabeth. Oops sorry, completely wrong story. Too much ‘Enchanted’ for me this Christmas. Writers of ABM – completely disregard the Vivian in peril remark. That is NOT a good idea!

So really, when last we left my favourite couple they were in a very good place. Thankfully (I do beg the powers-that-be to keep it this way), this is how we find them at the beginning of ep2. Of course, in the last episode written and directed solely by Tina Cesa Ward (S1 ep4 – Vivian and Aster) we also found them very happy, unfortunately that’s not how they ended the episode. However, this time they stay happy. With Vivian making weekday trips up to the city to visit Aster it looks like things are really going well with them. I tremble as I write that because if years of watching dramas has taught me anything it’s that when your favourite people are the most happy – this is when writer’s like to rip your heart out! For now though I’ll just exist in this happy place. I like the happy place writers!

I’m curious to see what part Aster’s parents are going to play this season. As in Tina Cesa Ward’s previous episode, Aster’s parents are mentioned although we never get to see them. Now that they’re coming home at “human hours” we might actually meet them. From what I recall in the Writers on the Lam bit, we could be in store for some recognisable faces. Heck, they got Sylar to say he’s addicted to it I’m sure there’s a bunch of people wanting to be a part of this show.

There are definitely some parental issues there and as much as I love seeing Nicole Pacent and Rachael Hip-Flores on screen together, it’d be nice to see Aster have some proper screen time away from Vivian just so we can get to understand her more. I imagine they could be some pretty heartbreaking scenes because the writing is first class and Nicole Pacent is generally amazing. Plus, if Aster’s upset then you know she just might have to go spend some time with Vivian in Westchester. Again, happy place!

What's in store for Sophie (Jessy Hodges)?

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“You know I want it!”

Forty days ago shooting started on the second season of Anyone But Me and this morning just before 7am I scrambled to my PC (banging into my door on the way) to watch where my favourite show was gonna take me. My love for ABM is no secret. I’ve written about it. I’ve Facebooked about it. I’ve ABM-ed my friends to death about it. And Lord knows I’ve tweeted about it. Ever since I knew the date for S2 a little subconscious clock in the back of my head has been ever so painfully counting down to the moment. This morning it finally came. Short version: I haven’t stopped smiling since. If you want the long version, keep reading.

Episode one. Where do I start? Like a lot of ABM fans out there, in fact fans in general, I did the whole rewatching of the previous season marathon. Logistically a lot easier than for most shows – this is possibly the only time I am thankful each ABM episode is so short, although should the creators (you know who you are) wish to make them longer I’m sure I would cope. However that didn’t seem to matter because as the recap was happening I was getting increasingly excited even though I’d just seen it the night before! This is what this show does to me. In fact, another thing this show does to me is make me not eat. I had my breakfast right there with me and I just couldn’t eat because I was so full of excitement! Then it came, Rachael Hip-Flores‘ voice, ‘And now, season two of Anyone But Me…’

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Loving Anyone But Me

There are some shows that change your life in the most obvious of ways. For me two of the most recent shows to do that are West Wing and Six Feet Under. Then there are other shows whose effect you never saw coming, that have a profound affect on who you are and how you come to see life. That’s what Anyone But Me is for me, and I’m pretty certain several other people too.

The story starts with Vivian McMillan, a 16 year-old girl forced to move away from New York and the world she knows because of the respiratory problems of her father, a firefighter who was part of the 9/11 rescue effort. Hard enough for a teenager to do but compounded with the reality of having to leave her girlfriend – the love of her life, behind. The fact that she has a girlfriend is not the story here, it is much more about trying to figure out where you belong. Every character in the show is trying to find out who it is they’re supposed to be when their worlds are changed.

This show is truly my addiction. There’s no other word for it. I can’t explain why else I would put myself through the (albeit exquisite) pain of waiting for each episode. All but one of my converted friends were fortunate enough to not have to experience the agony of waiting months between each episode for the next 10min segment that would leave us screaming, ‘NO!!!!’ as the titles came up. The wait, however, is part of why I love the format of ABM. There is no other show that I watch where you can watch every single episode before the next one comes on without losing a significant and possibly unhealthy amount of time. Every time you know a new episode is going to be aired you can literally do a mini ABM marathon.

So why do I love it? I’m not a NYer and I’m certainly not a teenager anymore. I grew up with Angela Chase and Daria Morgendorffer as my models for what it was to be a teenager, this probably explains a lot. One of the reasons is that there is an unbelievable amount of talent on this show. The way the stories and the characters are written is outstanding, Susan Miller deserves (and has rightly been awarded some of them including an Obie) every writing accolade there is. She crafts dialogue and situations which ask important questions and raises issues that should be at the forefront of our minds without ever making you feel as though you’re being preached to. All of this is brought beautifully to our screens by Tina Cesa Ward. I don’t know a thing about directing but whatever instruction she is giving the cast it works. Absolutely. And what a cast! Continue reading

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