HBO's new comedy Silicon Valley has been enjoying a great freshman year: a second season pickup, a plum spot after megawatt hit Game of Thrones, and generally warm critical response. However, as the show approaches its first season finale it's becoming clear there's a bug with the tech world comedy: the show has a real woman problem.
When the show premiered, one of the only criticisms leveled against it was the not-so-surprising lack of female characters on the show. To date, there is still only one recurring female character, the straight-laced and professionally competent Monica, assistant to venture capitalist Peter Gregory. Monica has gotten scant development in her time on screen, mostly popping up to play mother hen to the Pied Piper guys or taking on the role of put-upon assistant to Gregory. While her competent energy is much appreciated on a show involving so many screwups and socially awkward bro-grammers, she's not exactly blazing a new path for female characters on male dominated comedies. Aren't the female characters in most "dude" comedies kind of always the straight (wo)men?
Throughout the first season's seven episodes, other women have also appeared on the show. This is unfortunately not the great news you might think. Before the gang caravaned down to TechCrunch Disrupt the only women who popped up on the show were a stripper and a scantily clad girlfriend, whose entire storyline revolved around which of the housemates she would sleep with.
The TechCrunch Disrupt storyline only served to highlight just how poorly women are portrayed on the comedy. At the conference the ratio of women to men improved slightly, but their characterization did not. We met a girl who claimed Richard was "obsessed" with her, a girl who used her feminine wiles in exchange for code, and the wife of a judge Erlich has sex with, multiple times. The only woman, besides Monica, who speaks and is not entangled in a romantic subplot is a panel judge, not exactly a fully-dimensional character. In the world of Silicon Valley, women are around to be eye candy or romantic partners, and not much more.
Preparing for the conference, Monica tells the man-children in her care that while normally the tech world is about two percent women, at Disrupt it will jump to a staggering 15 percent. In point of fact, rough figures put the number of women coders at somewhere close to 12 percent; still low but not exactly the nonentities they've been on the series so far.
And that figure only takes into account women who code; it doesn't consider all the women in other roles within the tech world, meaning we should be seeing more than one woman with a regular speaking role on the show. Women might not dominate the tech field, but they're certainly not the unicorns Silicon Valley has made them out to be.
To be fair, the real Silicon Valley is also extremely male. And the show has given nods to some of the most egregiously sexist nonsense that has gone down in the real tech world. Take Bighead's app "Nip Alert," which lets you know when the nipples of a nearby woman are erect. Even a stripper dropping into the episode pegged the app, correctly, as horribly sexist. You'd think that's something only the twisted and hilarious mind of Mike Judge could conceive, but the app actually has its roots in reality. At TechCrunch Disrupt 2013, controversy erupted when a similarly sexist app called "Titstare" was unveiled. As bad as things seem to be on the HBO comedy, they might actually be worse in real life.
Silicon Valley, the television show, has an opportunity to do what Silicon Valley, the location, has not: include women in the conversation. The show is smart and funny and painfully aware of the world it is satirizing. But despite what the writers seem to think, the world of Silicon Valley isn't a world without women. Thankfully the show has been renewed for a second season, and if Pied Piper takes off (despite its thus far horrendous conference announcement) there will be opportunities to bring new women characters (and coders) into the mix. Just like the socially awkward men that populate Silicon Valley, there's plenty of humor to be mined from the women who call the Valley their home. If only the show would make room for their stories, and their voices, to be heard.
What do you think? Do you think Silicon Valley needs more women in the cast? Sound off in the comments!
Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images
From the neon brights and fingerless gloves of an '80s era Carrie Bradshaw on The Carrie Diaries to the high-class couture sported by your favorite Gossip Girl, costume designer Eric Daman has certainly left his mark on the small screen. He's also made the fledgling CW network a much more stylish destination, turning the little network into a big name when it comes to fashion. With The Carrie Diaries ending its run and Gossip Girl having signed her last "xoxo," Daman is likely to be in high demand for productions looking for his magic touch. Until he finds his next gig, the viewing public will remain in desperate need of styling tips from our television fashion idols. Thankfully, we managed to track down Eric Daman to ask our most pressing fashion questions, from how to adopt '80s trends without looking like a throwback, to what our favorite Gossip Girl characters would be sporting in 2014.
The weather is finally warm and spring has sprung, so what are your top tips for killing it sartorially this spring? What trends should we all keep an eye out for?
ED: "For spring this year, what's trending are pretty pastels in hi-tech silhouettes. Vintage bomber jackets are getting a modern makeover. Skirts are getting longer (the retro tea length is gaining popularity). And boxy tops in shift shape are giving the body con trend a run for its money. Carrie's 'Carrie Bag' would certainly be on trend with the giant designer DIY movement underfoot. The low heeled pump is seeing a moment in the sun, while the kaleidoscopic print is still on trend and being mixed with other print patterns for emphasis. Tribal stripes and fringe are enjoying worldwide appeal. Lace and open-weave are on board this spring, and metallic hasn't lost is foot-hold either. My top tip is to be mindful of what I call the allure of the hybrid: structural, material, visual, and cultural hybrids are the name of the game overall this coming year in style."
If you were still dressing the characters of Gossip Girl today, in 2014, what would today's Serena outfit look like? What would Blair be wearing? How about Chuck?
ED: "Serena would definitely be hanging out at Coachella, in maybe a soft-hard beautiful broiderie anglaise Isabel Marant top in soft pinks and whites with layer-cakey ruffley details, a lite-puff shoulder and see-through seams. She'd pair it with something by Emilio Pucci, either black-and-white graphic shorts or a rainbow metallic mini with Nicholas Kirkwood sleek pointed zig-zag leather and suede pumps in orange, turquoise, and pink. She'd throw on a shaggy Proenza Schouler coat if the evening got a little chilly, with a pair of retro-deco earrings that sparkle by the light of the bonfire."
"Blair would be having lunch at the Pierre Hotel, very much in a calf-length Burberry pencil skirt in structured lace with Byzantine inspired crystal cluster embellishments. She'd wear an Elie Saab watercolor shouldered top, under a floral embossed Christian Dior vivid orange half jacket, with an Alexander McQueen studded black nappa leather knucklebox clutch and Christian Louboutin Bollywood Boulevard PVC pumps."
"Chuck would be at the cricket club with the urban daddy crowd for a quick round in a Bastiaan Van Gaalen polo shirt, summer weight Moncler blue quilted blazer with white trim, a Salvatore Ferragamo vest, Louis Vuitton plaid trousers, and a Jimmy Choo tassled summer loafer."
What's one current trend you think the Gossip Girl characters would love? You're always taking trends and making them your own. How would you have made the trend Upper East Side worthy?
ED: "I can see a 2014 version of Uptown meets Downtown in looks where Renaissance-inspired maximalism meets tribalistic geometry."
What are the challenges of working with time period costuming for The Carrie Diaries? How do you keep things fresh while still staying true to the '80s?
ED: "We knew we had to be honest and address the '80s, but we had to be honest in a selective way from an editorial perspective. The term 'aspirational authenticity' was a guiding mantra that served reliably. I wanted to do justice to styles of the '80s that were inspiring designers from Calvin Klein to Dolce and Gabbana to Balmain to Marc by Marc Jacobs to Charlotte Ronson to DKNY, all the way down the fashion food chain to include fast fashion purveyors like TopShop, UrbanOutfitters, Zara, and H&M. There was so much '80s inspired fashion available by contemporary designers and retailers, the opportunity to select the most flattering of the range of choices was clearly the best direction."
For people who love The Carrie Diaries fashion but don't want to look like they just walked out of a vintage MTV video, how can you translate that killer '80s fashion into a more modern look?
ED: "I know what you mean. I made a point to keep it a camouflaged combination of vintage and contemporary designs, which is kind of a very '80s approach to begin with. I indulged a bit in my irresistable desire to mix and blend actual vintage pieces from the '80s, which we acquired from Bill Blass, Norma Kamali, Thierry Mugler, Arnold Scaasi, and Sonya Rykiel, with modern fashions like Missoni, American Apparel, Modcloth, Nasty Gal, and Mara Hoffman. We used accessories by Alexis Bittar, Alex Woo, Swarovski, Alex Woo, and Magdalena Stokalska among many others."
As a huge fan of Gossip Girl and an even bigger fan of the fashion, I have to ask what some of your all-time favorite looks were from the series.
ED: "That's a tough one. I'll make a deal with you. I'll tell you some of my favorite episodes and you can extrapolate the outfits from there...Season 1: 'Hi Society.' Season 2: 'Summer Kind of Wonderful.' Season 3: 'Last Tango, then Paris.' Season 4: 'The Undergraduate.' Season 5: 'GG.' Season 6: 'New York I love You XOXO.'"
What were your favorite looks from Gossip Girl and The Carrie Diaries? Share in the comments!
NBC Universal Media
Pass the fava beans and pour yourself a nice chianti, because our favorite cannibal is back when Hannibal returns for its second season on NBC. The show has been a surprising cult hit, with “fannibals” popping up on social networks like Tumblr and Twitter.
One of the ingredients to the success of this strange, macabre tale is the beautifully realized and atmospheric world of the show. Much of that world, from death tableaux to interior design, is created by production designer Matthew Davies.
Hollywood.com was lucky enough to talk to Davies about creating the world of the show and even got him to dish (pun intended) on his favorite death tableau:
How does production design help in creating the creepy world of the show?Every genre has its own aesthetic vocabulary, and Hannibal's world is especially rarified. The colour palette is tightly controlled, the death tableaux are carefully designed to invoke a kind of macabre beauty, and all our sets are designed from the ground up to meet the needs of character, camera, and narrative.
Can you talk about what went into making Hannibal's favorite rooms: the kitchen and the dining room?There is a lot of theater in Hannibal's world; the dining room has a baroque palette of deep cobalt blues, chocolate grays, and emerald greens. The language is laden with hedonistic excess, in addition to the vertically-stacked herb garden that grows from a massive 19th century etched mural, we have a gilt-framed painting of Leda and the Swan over the fireplace and themed floral displays that change and rotate throughout the episodes. If you look closely, you'll see that these displays include taxidermy animals, feathers, animal bones, insects, and other exotica.
The Kitchen is a professional chef's kitchen, all stainless appliances are working and the overall feel for performance is consistent with Hannibal's status as a master chef.
Additionally, Hannibal is intimately connected with a new environment: his bedroom. The walls are entirely upholstered with wool/cashmere suit fabric and the floors are antiqued, cerused oak. Either side the bed are old Japanese prints (Hannibal's aunt was Japanese) and the room is filled with other ephemera that true fans might recognize from Hannibal's literary past in Thomas Harris' novels.
There are a lot of over-the-top death tableaux on the show. What goes into creating those?With each new script, we meet with our showrunner Bryan Fuller to discuss how each tableau should look. Concept illustrators create finely detailed renditions for approval and then our Head of Prosthetics Francois Dagenais begins work, supported by Construction, Props, SFX, and Set Dec. Each tableau takes a couple of weeks to produce, and we will often re-shoot elements on special "insert days."
What was your biggest challenge so far on Hannibal?Time is our biggest worry on Hannibal: every episode shoots in just eight days. Imagine trying to shoot a feature film in eight days, coupled with immense set builds, SFX rigs, and planned VFX sequences.
On occasion, we've had as little as 48 hours to design, build, dress, light and shoot elaborate sets in studio. Conflicting actor availabilities, weather and all sorts of other obstacles often force us into around-the-clock schedules. At any time of the day or night, someone, somewhere is busting their gut to be ready for camera.
What's been your favorite moment working on the show?I really enjoyed the first season's episode in which we touched on human musical instruments - the prosthetics were macabre in the extreme and we researched and re-created an entire world of fabricating gut strings from raw material. The same episode also had a great fight sequence - I liked the spectacle of Hannibal's office becoming a fighting pit for the scene.
How do you use production design to visually tell the audience something about the characters?Think about it like this - in any single frame of the show, everything that is not the actors, is the design. It is quite literally everything that we know about the story and characters, other than what we perceive through performance.
It's the flesh on the bones; it's what makes the entire world of Hannibal feel plausible and yet so creepily peculiar. Bryan Fuller really believes that audiences demand good design in the shows they watch. I hope he's right!
Hannibal can be a pretty creepy show. What has been the creepiest assignment you've gotten on the show?We have scouted so many dark and disturbing locations, researched enough macabre story-lines for a lifetime's worth of nightmares, as well as pushed the envelope of television horror. We've had tapestries and totem poles of dismembered bodies, monsters and cannibals, killer pigs and dinosaurs. However, the creepiest place by far is inside Bryan's Fuller head. We're all his prisoners!
Hannibal returns to NBC on February 28 at 10 PM.
Bernard Walsh/History/A&E Networks
Vikings began its raid on the small screen last season, coming away with a bounty of ratings riches. Surprising everyone, the show became the number one new cable series of the year with an average of over 4 million viewers. Now Vikings is sailing back to the small screen with an ambitious, dark, and dangerous new season.
When we last left off our favorite raider Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) was battling with brother Rollo (Clive Standen) while complicating his love life. On a raid he spent time with the beautiful Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) while at home his wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) was dealt the crushing blow of seeing daughter Gita die. And former monk Athelstan (George Blagden) was finally starting to take to the Viking way of life.
Hollywood.com was lucky enough to chat with Vikings stars Travis Fimmel, George Blagden, and Alyssa Sutherland to get the scope on Season 2. Here’s what they let slip:
Athelstan has embraced the Viking way of life... or has he?As the season begins, Athelstan has seemingly thrown his lot in with the Vikings entirely. But has he really given up on his Christian faith?
“We leave Athelstan in Season 1 in a very conflicted place. The most interesting characters to play as an actor and watch as an audience are the ones that have deep conflicts running throughout. It would have been far too easy to make Athelstan a completely converted pagan and gung-ho into Viking life,” actor George Blagden said about his character.
“What you see throughout the first few episodes of Season 2 is an attempt and potentially a bit of a bluff on his part. Hopefully what we’ve been able to capture this season is the ongoing conflict that Athelstan has.”
Ragnar’s love life gets complicatedWith his relationship with the tough-as-nails Lagertha on the rocks, Ragnar spends some quality time with the beautiful Princess Aslaug. The repercussions of their momentary fling are far-reaching in Season 2, especially when Aslaug shows up in town pregnant.
“He wants it to be like the Brady Bunch, Ragnar does,” star Travis Fimmel said about Ragnar’s hope of combining both families. “People are putting 21st century values on it, but that stuff happened back then. He had to give it a shot anyway, you know?”
Bjorn grows upSometime in the first four episodes, we jump forward in time four years. This allows little Bjorn to grow up into The Hunger Games actor Alexander Ludgwig.
“We loved Nathan O’Toole, he’s such a great little actor and we were really sad to see him leave. But Alexander’s fantastic too, so he was very well replaced,” Fimmel said. “And he’s a big, big boy. He grows quick in four years.”
Lagertha changes in Season 2Her husband’s betrayal and her daughter's death lead to a much different Lagertha in Season 2.
“Lagertha seems to be chasing a bit more power now,” Fimmel said. “She wants to be Earl. She’s had a taste of power and she’s more about that now.”
Aslaug isn’t a homewreckerAslaug’s appearance on the scene broke up power couple Ragnar and Lagertha, a relationship fans were already deeply invested in after only nine episodes.
“I think it’s really cool that we get to bring this idea to modern audiences,” actress Alyssa Sutherland said. “It’s interesting to me how they struggle with the idea and dilute it down into Aslaug being a “homewrecker” or the other woman, and I question whether that concept would have even existed back then. I like the complication of that storyline.”
Sutherland points out that Aslaug’s goal wasn’t to break up Ragnar and Lagertha when she shows up in town pregnant.
“It seems like a bold move, but what other pregnant chick wouldn’t chase down the baby daddy?”
But Aslaug might have special powersThe world of Vikings has always been filled with mysticism and Princess Aslaug is no different. In Season 2, we find out she might have the power of second sight.
“What I love about the way [writer and creator] Michael Hirst does it is you’re not totally sure if these magical elements that he weaves in every now and then are really happening or if it’s just what they believed at the time,” Sutherland said. “I like that it’s left up to the viewer to decide. I certainly think that Aslaug, whether she was a seeress or not, she certainly believed it and the people around her believed it.”
The season starts with a dramatic battle sceneSeason 2 gets off to a action-packed start with a full-tilt battle between brothers Ragnar and Rollo. But they’re not the only ones doing battle.
“The director shouted ‘cut’ and there was silence and you could just hear this giddy laughter soaring over the forest. And it was me, standing amongst the shield wall, just off my face on some adrenaline high,” said Blagden of his first Viking battle. “Because there’s no pretending; when they smash into the shield wall they really smash into the shield wall.”
Series star Fimmel remembers the dramatic season-opening battle a little differently though.
“Those two days we shot it were some of the hottest days on record in Ireland. A lot of people passed out that day and there were a few injuries,” Fimmel said. “That’s what I remember most about that day.”
Things remain complicated between Ragnar and Rollo How do you fix a relationship like Ragnar and Rollo’s? The two brothers have found themselves almost consistently at odds since the series began, since Rollo’s jealousy often transforms into betrayal.
“It’s going to be pretty hard to ever trust Rollo again,” Fimmel says. “But he’s blood and that’s an important thing to Ragnar. There are certainly big obstacles to overcome with Rollo. The two brothers have a good arc this season, and it’s a lot different from last season.”
Vikings returns for Season 2 on February 27 at 10 PM on the History channel. Will you be watching?
TOP BUNK LLC
What comes after YouTube stardom? For YouTube darlings Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, and Mamrie Hart (no relation) the answer was the silver screen. Making a movie might not seem like the most natural fit for YouTube vloggers like Grace Helbig (It's Grace), Hannah Hart (My Drunk Kitchen), and Marmie Hart (You Deserve a Drink), but their film Camp Takota came together as if by fate. And it just might help pave the way for other digital superstars to make their filmaking dreams a reality.
When producer Michael Goldfine was looking to make an indie movie, he knew he didn't want to go through traditional channels. Instead, he started searching YouTube chanels. What he needed to make Camp Takota a reality were a few stars with passionate and excited fanbases to leverage.
Enter the "big three" of YouTube: the two Harts and Helbig enjoy a combined 3.5 million subscribers. All of that Internet love made it much easier to build buzz and raise money for the movie. Releasing the film online was always the plan, and Camp Takota even took a few pages out of the Kickstarter playbook, including Camp Takota care packages with varying levels of rewards.
With the film set for release on Valentine's Day (Febuary 14) on CampTakota.com, Hollywood.com caught up with stars Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart to discuss the future of indie filmaking and reveal some shocking camp revelations:
What made you three want to make a movie?Helbig: Mamrie and I have always had hopes of one day making a movie, but we had no idea it would happen last year. The project came about so organically. Hart: I've always wanted to make a movie with... uh... what are their names again?
How did this project come together?Hart: Barely.Helbig: Hannah had a meeting with a producer named Michael Goldfine. She introduced him to me and I introduced him to Mamrie. Mamrie had been working on a script about a girl going back to camp, and Michael happened to have a raging nostalgia boner for a movie about camp. And the rest is history.
Do you think this method of distribution will be a viable model for other small-scale filmmakers? Helbig: I'd like to say yes, but to be honest, this whole process is an experiment for us. We've been lucky to cultivate a very loyal, wonderful audience that we were able to bring into the filmmaking process with us. If this is a success, I think the idea of "traditional media" distribution will start to morph, but who knows. I know I've enjoyed the process and the subscribers seem to as well, and that's success for me. Hart: I think this method of distribution is valuable for niche markets and independent creators who have an audience that they are bonded with. Personally, I think it's great for projects that would normally get rejected by traditional forms of investment and distribution.
How was the film making process different from running your YouTube channels? What lessons could you take from vlogging and apply to movie making?Helbig: One: You don't look into the camera lense. Two: You don't edit the movie yourself. Hart: It was different because our lighting technician didn't use lamps like I do. Also, they had tripods that weren't just stacks of books.
What are you most excited for audiences to see? Helbig: I'm excited for our audience to see us as actresses. We're not playing ourselves, and that'll be (hopefully) new and exciting for them. Hart: I am most excited for my audiences to see me try not to look directly into the lens of the camera to explain the plot!
You all have huge followings, what have your experiences with fans been like? Helbig: The fans are tremendous, sweet human cupcakes that I want to binge on. Every now and then you get a cupcake with a weird choice of frosting, but overall they're delicious. I think I'm hungry.Hart: My experiences with fans has been very positive. I mainly use them to cool down. Especially in summer time.
Since Camp Takota is obviously a movie about a summer camp, what are your funniest camp stories? Helbig: My funniest story is that I've never been to camp. I missed that memo when I was a child. Pardon me while I text a long-winded post-childhood rant to my mother...Hart: I never went to camp! But I have been camping. My favorite part was coming home and taking a shower.
If you got to run your own summer camp for one day, what would that day be like? What kind of activities would your campers have to do? Helbig: I'd love to provide a lot of activities for kids to be as creative as they want to be. Painting, writing, music, yo-yos, etc. And trampolines. Lots of trampolines.Hart: If I ran my own summer camp it would be like Burning Man without the drugs. Lots of things to build and people to hug!
Check out the new trailer for Camp Takota:
Will you see Camp Takota? What do you think of online distribution for indie movies? Share in the comments!
FOX Broadcasting Co.
On paper, Sleepy Hollow sounds like a hot mess. The show reimagines the old legend with a sexy Ichabod Crane, a headless horseman charged with ushering in the apocalypse. Toss in John Cho from Harold and Kumar as a zombie, and a liberal sprinkling of clues found in the Bible of George Washington. Yes, that George Washington. But in practice, the show has become one of the biggest hits of the season. With the finale notching nearly 7 million viewers, Sleepy Hollow was certainly one of the most unique, entertaining, and audacious offerings of the season.
At the Television Critics Association press tour, Fox chairman Kevin Reilly declared the death of Fox’s traditional pilot season. Pilot season is when most networks choose their shows for the new season. Some of the pilots ordered will go to series and some will not, but the process is harrowing for creatives. Reilly pointed out this process isn’t conducive to the kind of interesting, ground-breaking, and watercooler chat-worthy programming Fox wants to develop. Instead, the station is going to adopt a cable approach to programming.
What does this have to do with Sleepy Hollow? As one of the most original offerings of the new season (and one of the best), Sleepy Hollow rose above the fray of new shows because it was truly audacious.
While Fox is throwing away their pilot season, they should also be taking notes on what makes great shows like Sleepy Hollow into critically beloved smashes. Here are four important lessons from Ichabod and Abbie:
1. Don’t be afraid to get weird.Sleepy Hollow has far and away one of the weirdest premises of any show on television. Most networks shy away from anything too crazy. They instead look for TV comfort food, something audiences are familiar with. The problem? Competition from an expanding cable universe, and now even streaming sites, mean audiences are becoming less interested in comfortable. Don’t be afraid to embrace concepts way, way left of center.
2. Do something no one else is doing.There are a million shows on television about cops, lawyers, serial killers, and doctors. There’s no way to stand out from the pack in this format. Those professions are interesting, sure, but those stories have been told a million times and a million different ways. One of the reasons Sleepy Hollow stood out this fall season is because it looked like nothing else on television.
3. Promote diversity.Diversity on the small screen is important, yet television is still overwhelmingly white. Sleepy Hollow is an incredibly diverse show, with actors of all different colors playing major roles in the narrative. The small screen needs more figures like Abbie Mills. The characters of color on Sleepy Hollow aren’t just sidekicks, like you might find on most other programs, they’re three-dimensional people. As mentioned, audiences are tired of seeing the same thing every week on screen. Representation is important, and diversity opens up new avenues for storytelling.
4. Have fun.During Sleepy Hollow’s first season, Ichabod Crane wore skinny jeans, bonded with an On Star agent, and was downright horrified to learn what Thomas Jefferson was up to in his free time. The show might have been non-stop action and adventure, but it wasn’t afraid to have fun. Some television shows take themselves much too seriously and drown in their own dour glominess. Sleepy Hollow reveled in its camp appeal, while always staying true to its story. If Fox is looking for another audacious hit, fun should be part of the equation.
What do you think? What are some lessons Fox can learn from Sleepy Hollow? Share in the comments!
Showtime’s hit serial killer drama Dexter may have ended recently, but the show is about to enjoy a second life in syndication. Starring Michael C. Hall as the titular serial killer with a day job as a blood splatter analyst at Miami Metro police department, Dexter became a breakout hit for Showtime during its eight years on the air.
Now the creepy, morally ambiguous drama is heading to NUVOtv, the English-language destination for Latino entertainment. Audiences will be able to relive every kill, or discover the bloody fun of Dexter for the first time.
Before airing the first back-to-back episodes on January 13 at 9pm, Hollywood.com was lucky enough to hop on a call with Dexter stars David Zayas and Lauren Velez. Zayas played the laid-back, Hawaiian shirt-loving detective Angel Batista, while Velez played politically-minded Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta.
Here’s what Zayas and Velez had to say about being on Showtime’s most popular show, the fates of their characters, and what they thought of the controversial series finale:
On favorite behind-the-scenes moments from the show:Velez: I always sort of jump back to the first season with “The Ice Truck Killer.” We came back from some awards show—I think we were all shooting very early that morning—and we’re looking at a box with cut off fingers, and it was such an intense scene. I think Jennifer started laughing, and it created this ripple effect. I mean, we just laughed for a few minutes, and they had to hold the cameras. It was very funny, and we had a lot of moments like that, which were just completely different from what you see on screens.
On diversity in the Dexter universe: Zayas: What caught me about the story was that they kept the integrity of the characters that were Latino. They were in powerful positions—like a detective, lieutenant, district attorney—and they maintained that for the most part throughout the eight years, and that’s something rare. You don’t see that on television too much. I was very proud of the fact that I was part of a show that was multiethnic.
On Dexter’s moral ambiguity: Zayas: I think that not everything is black or white. I think that you see a show about a serial killer, and your initial reaction is that this man is bad. This man is evil. And in watching this show and watching how they’ve created this character, it is not black or white. You do go on the journey with him. There are aspects of his decisions that you agree with, not that you condone what he does, but you start agreeing. You start seeing his world the way he sees it, and you start to understand—not what he’s doing is right—but you start to understand how his brain is working, and you start to understand how society is affecting that.
On LaGuerta’s shocking death:Velez: You know, it was difficult leaving, but I felt it was the perfect time for her to leave. I feel like it was a natural evolution for the character. Somewhere in her she always knew that she was going to have to face this particular evil, not necessarily Dexter, but that’s why she became a cop. There’s something really wonderfully fulfilling about it and bittersweet about leaving my Dexter family. But I’m glad that she left the way she did—not that she was shot, but willing to die for what she believed in.
On the somewhat controversial Dexter series finale: Zayas: As an actor, I’ve always found that my job is not to judge the content in which I’ve agreed to perform in. What I try to do is just find the truth in every moment that they’ve written. So yeah, there was a number of different ways it could’ve ended, but this is the way they chose, and I think the way it was done was very good. But when it comes to how it could have ended, everybody has an opinion, and that’s what makes this medium of television so interesting.
Velez: I don’t know how else it could’ve ended, in truth.
On the high female body count:Velez: What I found fascinating is that we started with three women, and all three of them were dead by the end of the show’s run. I don’t know what that says, but Rita, LaGuerta, and obviously Deb, all because of Dexter — whether directly or indirectly — died.
One of the things about the show that I found absolutely compelling is that there’s no sugar coating it. At the end of the day he is who he is. The episodes can be funny; they can be horrible; they can be tragic-- whatever they are, it never gets away from what Dexter is, which is a killer. We get a glimpse into his life and who he is, and that this could be the average person next door, which I think makes it so fascinating.
What’s Dexter’s weakness? Zayas: As a viewer of Dexter, probably his weakness would be his family. His family has always been a weakness, because to me that’s what has always confused him. When something happened that involved his family, that was always what raised his blood pressure up.
On the fan response at San Diego Comic-Con: Zayas: Well the weirdest thing for me the first time I was at Comic-Con was seeing a bunch of people dressed up like my character. That was kind of jolting to me and kind of weird. But you know, it was interesting, and it was definitely complementary. But I had never been at Comic-Con before, and seeing people dressed like characters of our show was—it took me aback a little bit. I had to get used to that.
Velez: I think the thing that struck me the most is the commitment of the fans, not only to dressing like their favorite characters, but when they came to the panel discussions of the show the questions were so specific and really intelligent. All of them had to do with the moral ambiguity of the show and how it affected their morality. They were just really wonderful insightful questions, and I was sort of floored at how committed the audience was to the show.
Dexter airs every Monday night at 9pm on NUVOtv. Catch a preview below:
Are you excited to catch Dexter from the beginning? Still annoyed at the series finale? Share in the comments!
Courtesy of HGTV
HGTV makes shows that are so addicting you can’t seem to flip the channel. At least that’s what always seems to happen with their flagship series House Hunters and its globetrotting spinoff House Hunters International. HGTV is hoping for another addictive hit with its new reality realty competition Beat the House.
Before the competition to find the best home commences, Hollywood.com talked to stars and real estate experts JoJo Jones and Christopher Kromer about what to expect from the new show:
1. Two Realtors Compete To Find The Ultimate Dream HomeA couple might think they’ve found the perfect house, but that’s before they’ve met JoJo Jones and Christopher Kromer. Jones and Kromer use their real estate know-how to ensure buyers are getting the best house possible. The one catch? Jones and Kromer have very, very different real estate styles. While Jones focuses on getting buyers exactly what they’ve always wanted in a dream house, Kromer takes a more hard-numbers approach to finding the best home for the lowest price.
2. JoJo Jones Sells With Her HeartJoJo Jones has a big personality, a warm heart, and Southern charm for miles. Before jumping feet first into the real estate game, Jones owned a local clothing store in George called The Midnight Pickle. Her focus is to find couples the home of their dreams, everything included.
“I don’t think anyone has ever seen someone really sell a house the way I do,” Jones told Hollywood.com. “I am truly passionate about my mission to find my clients a house that will make them happy.”
3. Christopher Kromer Is All About The DealMeanwhile Christopher Kromer worked as a financial consultant before throwing his hat into the real estate ring. As a real estate broker in New York City, Kromer has closed some massive deals on luxury properties. His style focuses on finance, ensuring buyers don’t break the bank on their dream home.
“A house can be a wonderful expression of our personality, but it’s also a huge financial investment and you want to find something at a price you can manage,” Kromer said. “You should own the house – it shouldn’t own you.”
4. Buyers Are Making Big MistakesThe one thing both Jones and Kromer can agree on is that buyers are making some big mistakes in their home owning quest. Kromer sees buyers who are far too focused on a static set of criteria, and end up missing some great homes.
“It’s similar to dating. Many of us think we know exactly what we’re looking for, but sometimes we end up finding love in the most unexpected place,” Kromer said. “The same goes for house-hunting – maybe the perfect home is in a neighborhood you might not have initially considered.”
While Jones sees buyers compromising on what they want because of the price tag as a major error.
“Many times buyers lose the house that is perfect for them over such a small amount of money,” Jones said. “If they would just understand that in the long run that little amount of money might cost you the home of a lifetime.”
5. Beat the House Has A Healthy Dose of CompetitionWhile Beat the House has an educational element for home buyers, what’s likely to keep audiences coming back for more is the excitement of the competition. Will the buyers choose JoJo’s house or Christopher’s? Or will they ignore both real estate experts and go with their initial choice?
“Beat the House is a battle of experts against a couple seeking the house of their dreams. It’s a game!” Jones said. “Our differences in style will make you gasp for breath by the end of the show!”
Check out a sneak peek of the premiere episode below:
Beat the House premieres January 7 at 11pm ET on HGTV.
Are you addicted to HGTV reality shows? Will you be checking out Beat the House? Share in the comments!
Angry squirrels, happy camels, and sports superstars: what do they all have in common? They’re key ingredients in some of the funniest commercials from 2013. You might have missed some of these gems while you were fast forwarding past them on your DVR, but there were some very funny ads in the year just past.
Tonight (January 5), TruTV's Funniest Commercials of the Year! will count down the top 20 funniest ads. We were lucky enough to speak to host John Henson about the highly scientific process for determining the year’s funniest spots and whether animals or babies make for funnier ads.
What's the process for finding the year's funniest commercials?The producers look at commercials from everywhere. Not just from the United States, but from all over the world. They're looking for the most irreverent, creative and hilarious spots of the year. You're talking about 1000s of commercials ... so spots need to be pretty inventive to stand out from the crowd.
Obviously you can't reveal the number one commercial, but what was one of your favorite funny commercials of the year? I'm always fascinated by commercials from other countries. Different cultures have different sensibilities and different standards, so European commercials tend to be much racier than commercials here in the US. And in Asia, they have can get pretty crazy. If you've ever seen Japanese TV, you know they love absurd humor. It's pretty amazing.
Important question: what makes for a funnier commercial, animals or babies? Good question! There's an old saying in the entertainment business ... never work with animals or babies. They both steal focus. So by that logic, baby animals would be the funniest of all, right?
What's your favorite part of hosting Funniest Commercials of the Year? This is my second year doing this special and I LOVE it. Doing a clip show like this reminds me of my days on Talk Soup. And the producers and the execs at TruTV are really generous with allowing me to try new jokes and improvise, etc. So the tapings are a lot of fun for me. Hopefully, they end up being half as much fun to watch so they'll let me do more!
TruTV’s Funniest Commercials of the Year! air January 5 at 9pm EST.
What were your favorite funny commercials from 2013? Share in the comments!
If you live on the east coast, odds are that part of your Christmas Day might have been spent in front of a crackling fireplace listening to holiday songs. This is true whether you owned a fireplace or not, since the Yule Log has been beamed straight into tri-state homes since 1966.
The idea to point a camera at a roaring fireplace and then show that footage on a loop for four hours originated with local news channel WPIX. The New York TV station first showed the fireplace footage in 1966 and since then the little log that could has made it to Philadelphia, New Orleans, Sacramento, and Seattle, among other destinations. The holiday tradition is so beloved the burning log even has its own fan page!
Every superhero, from Iron Man to Superman, has an origin story. So how did the Yule Log go from being a piece of timber to a holiday tradition? It all started in 1966 when a crew from WPIX traveled to Gracie Mansion, the residence of New York’s mayor. In their enthusiasm for capturing the beauty and majesty of fire, the crew removed a protective screen from the fireplace.
As with most superhero origin stories, the Yule Log had some growing pains. A spark from the fire jumped ship and damaged a valuable rug in the mansion, so when the WPIX team wanted to reshoot footage in 1970 they weren’t exactly welcomed back to the mayoral mansion with open arms.
Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, or a log burning merrily in a fireplace, the Yule Log was reborn. An identical fireplace was eventually found in California and the crew captured a 7 minute loop of pyrotechnic perfection. The modern day Yule Log was born.
Since then we’ve been watching pretty much the same 7 minutes of wood burning since 1970. It’s become a holiday tradition, not just on the east coast anymore, but throughout the country. So on Christmas Day when you flip on the TV and see the Yule Log burning merry and bright, you’ll know the untold story of how one little log became a Christmas fixture.