Rosie Narasaki
  • 'Mad Men' Smackdown: Peggy vs. Joan
    By: Rosie Narasaki Apr 10, 2014
    AMC Now, before I get in trouble for pitting two women against each other, I just want to point out that Peggy and Joan are the most oft-mentioned favorite characters on Mad Men, male or female. As such, we must know which of the top-rating Sterling Cooper & Partners mainstays really takes the crown. Here, we've got two equally awesome characters, with two equally vocal fan factions: so who will walk out of this cage match alive? Let's take a look at the categories: Level of Badassery Well, when it really comes down to it, let's remember that Joan broke a vase over her rapist husband's head, and Peggy stabbed her soon-to-be-ex boyfriend with a makeshift spear. B**chface They're certainly formidable opponents in this category, but it's important to remember that Peggy learned from the very best. Fashion Is this even a question? Though to be fair, with Joan's recent shift into more menswear-inspired looks (think vests, suits, etc) she's faltered more, just as Peggy's shift into swingy A-line minis is a vast improvement over the unsightly plaid of yore. So, we're effectively on a more even playing field these days. Taste in Men This one's another tough category, though not in a good way. When you look at their dating history, you've basically got Dr. Rapist vs. Pete Campbell (gosh, they're both so horrible in their own unique way), and Roger Sterling vs. Ted Chaough (better, but still generally untrustworthy). Oh well – best of luck in future romantic endeavors! Professional success Now, this is truly tough. Joan just signed Sterling Cooper & Partners' biggest account, but when we last saw Peggy she was interim Creative Director, literally wearing the pants as she enjoyed her view from her corner office. I guess what I'm saying is, I'm all for that Peggy-and-Joan-open-their-own-agency spin-off. I'll always have pro-Peggy leanings, but I can't deny the awesomeness that is Joan either.  What do you think? Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //
  • An Appreciation for Noel Fisher on 'Shameless'
    By: Rosie Narasaki Apr 10, 2014
    Showtime You got us, Noel Fisher. You got us right in the heart. It's been quite a season for Fisher, who portrays Mickey Milkovich on the vastly underrated Shameless. Over the past several weeks, we saw Mickey and Ian's relationship take center stage, offering quite an evolution for Fisher's character. He has taken Mickey from ultra-closeted thug to the man in the most fiercely committed relationship on the show. There's no denying the magnitude of his series arc – his Season 4 story alone is nothing to sneeze at. The audience was in Mickey's thrall from the moment he first butted heads with his Russian prostitute wife and began not-so-subtly pining for Ian. We drew in further once Ian was back on the scene: fans cheered when Mickey finally relented on his self-hate enough to admit that he and Ian were together. His coming out brawl was even better – Mickey regaling his father with details from his love life, all while the pair was handcuffed on the hoods of adjacent police cars, was a scene for the ages. In fact, the scene was only topped by the ensuing head-kiss/profane banter with Ian, which was plentiful in "aww" factor. And to think this time last season, he was brutally beating Ian to a pulp. That's some character development, y'all. Shameless is a show of highs and lows. Of juxtaposition – more specifically, of how much awfulness you can temper with just a little sweetness. And Fisher's Mickey has become the embodiment of that contrast that the show has so carefully created. It's not a balance easily maintained, but Fisher does it masterfully. It's generally the big stars like William H. Macy and Joan Cusack that tend to pick up the accolades, but Fisher has more than earned his place among the greats: his Mickey is fascinating, from everything from what has become an endearing capacity for violence and foul language, right down to the way he haphazardly swings his arms as he walks.   We can't wait to see how he weathers Ian's bipolar disorder in Season 5. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //
  • Mr. Darcy vs. Mr. Knightley: Pemberley Digital Edition
    By: Rosie Narasaki Apr 07, 2014
    Pemberley Digital/Emma Approved/The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Ah, the age old question: Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley? For the non-literate, we are referring to the debate between which of Jane Austen's dreamboat characters — Fitzwilliam "Mister" Darcy from Pride and Prejudice or George Knightley from Emma — is the superior male specimen and ideal romantic partner. Though both are intelligent, brooding Austen heroes, they're really like apples and oranges. While Darcy makes some pretty grand gestures (to the tune of £10,000, in fact), there's no denying the power of Knightley and Emma's history – they've known each other their whole lives (or, at least, Emma has known him all of hers). And while Darcy and Elizabeth share obvious attraction and mutual respect, there's just something special about the combative camaraderie between Knightley and Emma. Pemberley Digital's delightful modern takes brings the difference between these two love stories into light: in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Darcy (played by Daniel Vincent Gordh) doesn't actually appear in person until episode 59 – before that, he's only a presence in Lizzie's costume theater, where Jane (Laura Spencer) does a particularly hilarious impression of him. It's also worth pointing out that he only ever appears in nine episodes out of a hundred. Emma Approved, on the other hand, features Knightley (played by Brent Bailey) in almost every episode, giving the two leads more time to interact – add that to the fact that the characters often reference their history together, and you've got the basis for a more compelling love story. I think it can be safely said that Knightley has a bit of an advantage here in terms of screentime, which is generally spent creating a witty rapport with his yet-unacknowledged true love. Don't get me wrong; I love Darcy as much as the next gal, but Emma Approved (along with Brent Bailey, of course) is making a Knightley convert out of me. Though I suppose in the end, it really comes down to, "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you," or, "If I loved you less I might be able to talk about it more." (Though, based on the image above, it should really be "Whose b**chface is better?") Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //
  • 'Shameless' Season Finale Recap: Fiona Goes Down a Good Road, Frank Goes Down a Bad One
    By: Rosie Narasaki Apr 07, 2014
    Showtime After a fantastic season, Shameless delivers a (mostly) fantastic finale. Let's take a look: Surprise, surprise! I thought Fiona was going to stay in prison until next season, but she gets out early due to over-crowding. Her parole officer gives her a firm talking to, and sets her up with a waitressing job with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (whoa!), as well as the nearest NA and AA support groups. Fiona returns home late to a silent house (a conceit that's quickly becoming all too familiar) – but after yet another chilly homecoming, she wakes up to the hero's welcome she always wanted. Unfortunately, the happy reunion is somewhat tempered with news of Ian's bipolar disorder. As she talks it over with Lip, we get another heart-to-heart between them: she finally admits that she is the one driving the bus that is her life, and vows to take responsibility for her actions from here on out. And with that, character growth and a light at the end of a long tunnel finally come to be. Here's to Season 5! And guess who else is back on track? Frank... and unfortunately not in a good way. He manages to sneak out right under Sheila and Sammi's bickering noses, and appears to be off the wagon once more. He has Carl (his one remaining enabler) wheel him out over a frozen Lake Michigan, where he proceeds to cuss out God ("I'M STILL HERE, YOU F**KER!"). Sure, it makes sense for the character, but watching him take that first blissful gulp of booze was shades of heartwrenching and disappointing. Guess Frank is back to square one. Now, after the events of last week, Mickey comes back to the Alibi Room, fully armed and ready to brawl again – and he's surprised to find, with the notable exception of his incarcerated father, nobody cares that he's gay. The Alibi regulars return his volley of, "If anyone's got anything to f**kin' say, then f**kin' say it!" with a laundry list of all of their favorite gay celebrities – Mickey's still reeling a little when Kev pours him a beer on the house and toasts to "butt buddies." But alas, it's not happily ever after for Ian and Mickey, just as we expected. First, Mickey's wife rather convincingly threatens to stab them both in the heart with screwdrivers if he doesn't take on his fair share of parenting. And then things take a serious turn for the worse when it becomes clear that Ian has finally crashed into the depressive stage of manic depression. Mickey's flummoxed, but the Gallaghers spot what's going on right away. When Fiona informs him that Ian will need medical attention, maybe even a stint in the psych ward, Mickey insists that he be the one to personally nurse Ian back to health. Which is sweet, if ill-informed – here's hoping that the two of them can weather it together. Oh, and they just had to end the season on a cliffhanger: it turns out that Jimmy/Steve (now known as "Jack," ugh) is still alive. To which, I say, "Meh." I was never a huge fan of Justin Chatwin's, and honestly wasn't too bothered that he was gone, especially since he had such an outlandish offing. But, grumblings aside, I'm already counting down the days until Season 5. Stray observations: * How come we never got closure on Debbie/Matt? * Also, what's going on with Lip and Amanda? The music swelled romantically when they kissed at her creepy sorority event, but then he's quite shaken at the sight of Mandy (someone I never thought he seriously cared for) at the local diner. Guess we'll have to wait until next season. * Ah, poor Carl. The first heartbreak of many. * Speaking of heartbreak, Sheila broke mine when the council refused her petition to adopt, though I'm honestly glad we're not going down that road. * Also: hello, Dichen Lachman! Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //
  • Why the 'Dancing With The Stars' Switch-up Is a Bad Idea
    By: Rosie Narasaki Apr 02, 2014
    ABC As a show in its 18th (!) season, it makes sense that Dancing with the Stars decides to revamp and retool as it goes along. In fact, just this season, they replaced host Brooke Burke-Charvet with Erin Andrews – a change welcomed by many fans, who had taken to referring to the former co-host as the "Brooke-bot." Among other changes new to Season eighteen, DWTS has also decided to add a fairly revolutionary twist: with the advent of the "Switch-Up," fans were able to cast their votes via Twitter for new pairings – in other words, they're choosing the dancing partners for Episode 4. Now, DWTS has always been a show that relies heavily on fan input – it's one of the reasons the show is filmed live, unlike other reality competitions like America's Next Top Model, or Project Runway. When it comes to judging and eliminations, fan vote makes up a whopping 50 percent of the final decision, which allows technically less gifted dancers to progress quite far in the season. It's a great way to keep viewers on their toes, and give them a real input into the season – and now they have even more. Which should be good, right? Making fans more invested should be a good thing! But there's something else to consider: dance competition though it may be, DWTS is really all about the chemistry. And we don't just mean physical or romantic chemistry, either – using last season as an example, Bill Engvall and Emma Slater's charming father/daughter feelings helped them get almost all the way to the finals (and Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke's brotherly/sisterly relationship wasn't too bad either). Already this season, there's a flirtation (scripted or otherwise) between a few of the pairs (most notably between Maks Chemerkovskiy and Meryl Davis), and is that really something we want to tamper with? They say no – in this week's episode, Maks said, "The worst thing that could happen is the switch." He said it with a twinkle in his eye, but there could be more than a grain of truth in that comment.   What do you think?  Will the switch-up liven things up, or grind things to a halt?  Vote below: Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //
  • 'Shameless' Recap: Emily
    By: Rosie Narasaki Mar 31, 2014
    Showtime Even by Shameless standards, this episode has a lot going on. To recap the recap: Frank gets a new liver, Fiona goes to jail, Lip cons a cool $10,000, Debbie gets Carried by Matt's girlfriend, and Mickey comes out and a full-out brawl ensues. Whew. With Fiona in the "pokey," it's all up to Lip to keep the family running – and with their sole breadwinner gone, they're in a bit of a jam. So Lip bails on meeting Amanda's parents – and she's correspondingly angry at him, until they come up with the perfect solution: since she wants to use him to scare her parents, they decide to all have dinner at Chez Gallagher, for maximum scare-factor. It works – especially seeing as Bonnie's entire cadre of homeless siblings are screaming in the living room, whilst a put-upon social worker surveys the whole scene. It works so well, in fact, that Amanda's dad pulls Lip aside and offers him 10 grand in cash. What's a Gallagher to do? He takes it. Amanda storms out, smug father in tow. Things aren't looking good, until it turns out that the whole thing was a set up. Apparently, Amanda's dad has a habit of bribing her boyfriends – so voila! The Gallaghers are golden for Fiona's remaining 80+ days in the clink, and Lip might just have a real girlfriend for once. Lip's not the only Gallagher headed for a happy ending (pun intended): the Ian/Mickey romance has building all season to stunning (and gory) heights. Tired of being blackmailed by his wife, and faced with an ultimatum from Ian, Mickey reaches boiling point at his father's jail-release party. He comes out to the entire Alibi Room, and subsequently gets attacked by Terry. Ian in turn attacks Terry and the whole thing has to get broken up by the cops. Luckily, one of the gay cops gives Mickey a free pass, while Terry gets hauled back to jail for violating parole. Bloody and beat up, Mickey and Ian engage is some profane witty banter (as only they can), and the scene might just be their sweetest to date. The whole episode is delightfully framed with its titular character Emily. She's a little wisp of a girl who's hoping for a heart transplant. Oddly enough, when Frank wakes up with his brain "screwed on backwards" (in the ever-eloquent words of Carl), he mistakes her for a decades-younger Fiona. He gives her what must be a long-awaited apology, and she, thinking of her own abandoning father, forgives him in Fiona's place. In an ultra sweet moment (Shameless is a show of contrast, isn't it?), they even hold hands across hospital beds. It's not a surprise when her flat-lining gurney is carted away, but she serves to create a beautiful tableau for Shameless' least beautiful character. Stray observations * Poor Debbie. Matt's girlfriend employs her half-brother to seduce her and humiliate her in front of the whole school. Upside? Matt dumps aforementioned girlfriend, and agrees to take Debbie to the dance. Yay? * I laughed for a full minute when Carl suggested that the Asian-American social worker might be Amanda's real mom (not only was she far too young for a college-age daughter, it had just been established that Amanda was "bought" from a whorehouse). * Also, Lip and Amanda's celebratory kiss after seeing his stellar report card was adorable, especially as we pan out to very disapproving looks from both of her parents. * Frank offering to take "Fiona" to Claire's to get her ears pierced: aww! * Mickey taunting his dad with tidbits from his sex life while both of them were facedown on the hoods of squad cars getting handcuffed was kind of epic. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //
  • Why Aren't More People Watching 'Shameless'?
    By: Rosie Narasaki Mar 27, 2014
    Showtime At a distance, Shameless looks like it's got all it needs to be a smash hit/critics' darling: superb acting (performed by a cast of fresh talent, with a few seasoned pros leading the way), a down-and-out underdog family, expertly written black humor, and sensitivity to delicate subjects like drug abuse (and people abuse), alcoholism, and mental health. In short, it's got the makings to sweep some major awards, in addition to being a prime watercooler topic. But is it? Don't get us wrong, its ratings are more than respectable, and it's also critically well-received: it's just that it doesn't have that same sort of buzz that surrounds its more popular contemporaries, nor the awards that generally follow. Joan Cusack received guest star Emmy nods, and William H. Macy scored a Critics' Choice nomination, but other than that, it's shockingly under-decorated. Perhaps moving over to the comedy category can help the show, but then again, it's an increasingly dark hour of TV (though it should be mentioned that John Wells is the man who deemed his shockingly unfunny adaptation of August: Osage County a comedy). So why isn't Shameless getting the recognition it deserves? Well, first off, there's the gross-out factor (some of my friends who are fans joke that they can't watch the show over dinner; still others claim they can smell Frank's Pigpen-esque filth through the screen) – and, on a less superficial level, there's also the fact that it can be very disturbing. In Season 2, Frank tricked a "friend" out of a desperately-needed heart transplant in hopes of inheriting her pension. In a more recent episode, Fiona's cocaine-fueled partying led to her baby brother's near death (and possible brain damage). These people are intensely flawed, to say the least. Shameless lives in the uncomfortable gray area between the feel-good aura of a show like The Mindy Project and the glamorous (by comparison, anyway) anti-heroism of shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Frank Gallagher is a character you very rarely root for, not even as he inches his way towards death. Plus, unlike the more streamlined programs that follow careful A-story/B-story/C-story structures, it's, well, kind of mess. The threads of the story get tangled easily. Though its frenetic structure may seem untidy at first glance, it's one of the things viewers who stick with it come to love most: the frenzied, overlapping plotlines mirror and represent its characters' own hectic lifestyles. Shameless continues to turn many of our preconceived notions about TV storytelling on their heads, even as we blaze through this "golden era" of television, where it seems every show and its brother are revolutionaries. It pushes envelopes and breaks down barriers, juggles a sprawling ensemble cast, and perhaps most importantly of all, brings heart to its heartless depiction of Chicago's South Side. In other words? If you're not watching, you should be. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //
  • Steven Moffat and the Strong Female Character Problem
    By: Rosie Narasaki Mar 27, 2014
    BBC When it was announced earlier this month that Keeley Hawes would be joining Season 8 of Doctor Who , the fan reaction was generally positive. But the fans' hearts collectively sunk upon perusal of her promo images. Look, I'm a fan of Hawes' (she was great in Death at a Funeral, wasn't she?). And I think she looks fabulous in character as guest role Ms. Delphox on the sci-fi series. There's just one fly in the ointment. And that fly is the fact that she looks dangerously close to fitting Steven Moffat's ready-made sexy older vixen trickster mold. Will Ms. Delphox follow in the footsteps of River Song, Tasha Lem, Liz 10, et al? Back when the Christmas special aired, Tasha Lem was the source of great debate: her similarities to River (the flirtatious banter seemed tailor-made for the Doctor's Wife) were so striking that fans weren't sure if she was a casualty of lazy writing or yet another enigma to follow (and let's not get started on female enigmas in Doctor Who, shall we?) Unfortunately, signs seem to indicate that Ms. Delphox, like River-doppelganger Tasha Lem before her, will be another coin in Moffat's Strong Female Character trope jar. Behold her character description: a "powerful out-of-this-world character with a dark secret." Add that to her sassy cat-eye glasses and red lipstick, and it looks like we've got ourselves another River Song on our hands. Now, don't get me wrong: I love River (and Alex Kingston). I certainly do not have a problem with bad-ass, gun-totin', wise-crackin' ladies (Buffy, anyone?) It's more the fact that Moffat seems to think he can get away with recycling what's essentially the same character time and time again. Oh, Moffat, you sexist writer you. When will you learn? Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //
  • 7 Things We Want From 'Mad Men' Season 7
    By: Rosie Narasaki Mar 24, 2014
    AMC Mad Men is one of those shows that takes very little improving – it's basically flawless. That said, here's a little list of things we think could make Season 7 the season to end all seasons: More Joan Last season did not have nearly enough of Joan. How I wish all of the time we wasted on Sylvia Rosen's angst was spent on Joan instead. We never even got to see the moment that she successfully closed the deal with Avon! Though, presumably, with Avon as one of Sterling Cooper and Partner's biggest accounts, we'll be seeing a lot more of her. Less Betty Let's take all of Betty's screentime and donate it to the Joan Harris-Holloway fund. January Jones can be a real emotionless wooden plank sometimes, and on a show with such phenomenal performers, why give the time to her? More Ginsberg So, Ginsberg seemed to be slowly but surely losing it last season (what was with the Martian transmissions?). Unfortunately, everybody was too caught up trying to figure out who the heck Bob Benson was, so we lost out on some good Ginsberg screentime too. More Don + Roger Okay, let's be real: their chemistry is off the charts. Last season, we got shorted on Roger/Don scenes, as Don was busy drinking himself out of his senior partner position (no mean feat, when you think about it). But they did share a nice moment in the finale – even as they put him on forced leave, Roger looks remorseful (as remorseful as Roger can get, at least) as he utters the infamous "You s**t the bed in there" line. More Peggy + Don No, not that kind of "Peggy and Don." I ship a lot of pairings, but Peggy and Don are not one of them (though apparently, the real people they were based off of got married). That said, like Don and Roger, they have wonderful (platonic) chemistry. "The Suitcase" remains one of my favorite episodes, and their ultra-emotional goodbye at the end of season 5 packed quite the wallop. More Pete + Failure Now, there's something I ship. Pete falling down the stairs in a fit of rage/crashing a Chevy/"Not great, BOB!" were all some of the best moments of last season. I'm not pulling for a Lane Pryce-style exit (too soon?), but there is something lovely about seeing smarmy Pete's life come crashing down around his ears (just like his hairline). Peggy + an actually good love interest I just want Peggy to be happy, okay? Let her make Ted Chaouoaough eat his heart out. Lots of people want her to end up with Stan, but I'm not sure how I feel about that. He definitely gives off some deviant vibes sometimes. So there's what I want from Season 7 – mainly for Peggy to take over the world and to finally stop going after married men who are way beneath her league. What do you want? Share in the comments! Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //
  • 'Shameless' Recap: Liver, I Hardly Know Her
    By: Rosie Narasaki Mar 24, 2014
    Showtime Long story short on this week's Shameless: Carl ransacks a liquor store for candy, Kev holds Mickey at gunpoint, then Ian holds Mandy's boyfriend at knifepoint, and Fiona "pulls a Frank." Oh, and Frank gets his kidney stolen/gets married to Sheila. This week, the Gallagher household goes through a very familiar routine: checking hospitals, drunk tanks, and under bridges – only this time, they're looking not for Frank, but for Fiona. In her absence, the Gallaghers come to realize just what their lives would be like without their big sister; and as they all worry that she's lying dead in some gutter somewhere, they begin to regret the way they've been treating her – Lip and Debbie in particular. Meanwhile, a misunderstanding with Sammi's drug dealer (don't worry, she's just getting pain meds for Frank, whose main refrain for the episode is "more pills"), leads to Sammi and Sheila scraping together 26 grand to buy Frank a black market liver transplant from a very shady doctor/cab driver. Unfortunately, they find all too quickly that they've been swindled. Not only did the "doctor" fail to replace Frank's liver, but he also stole one of his kidneys – leaving Frank in critical condition. Now Frank has mere hours (perhaps days) to live, so Sheila decides to do the wedding on the spot. It ends up being a bizarre combo of wedding and funeral, as each of the kids say their last words to their dad (Debbie forgives him, on the condition that he dies. If he lives, he can forget about it). And just as the wedding's sealed with a kiss, the doctors come to cart him away – turns out, his worsened condition bumped him up on the transplant list. So that's how they save Frank – my fan theory was that Fiona was going to give in and give him her kidney, but I suppose that would be far too schmaltzy for a show like Shameless. So where was Fiona this whole time? Oh, passed out in the back of some druggies' van. I think I say this once per recap, but I'm thinking Fiona has finally hit rock bottom. After an all-night bender with the dreaded Robbie, she ends up in the middle of nowhere with some of his unnamed friends – who then proceed to leave her at a gas station. Luckily, she's able to contact Lip, and after facing the thought of truly losing her, he's finally able to forgive her. He apologizes for his behavior, reminding her just how much she has done for all of them – and after weeks of unresolved anger and contempt, they're able to reconcile, and the moment is both heartfelt and well-earned. But, Shameless being Shameless, it's not all coming up roses: even in the midst of their reconciliation, Lip's taking her straight to the police station, and the end of the episode finds Fiona face-to-face with her probation officer. Fade to black, indeed. Stray thoughts * Mickey finally confronts Ian re: his possible bipolar disorder after Ian threatens Mandy's abusive boyfriend with a knife. In his eloquent words: "Are you smokin' meth?" * Oh, and speaking of Mickey, he and Kev get into it. Mickey steals from the register, so Kev threatened him with a gun. Then Mickey threatens Kev with his brothers and some assault rifles. * Which leads to a truly terrifying/hilarious/awful scene (Shameless™) where Kev almost accidentally takes out V and his newborn twins (yep, the twins came this episode) with a rifle. * Though honestly, does Mickey really have to be after Kev?  I'm getting tired of the Milkovich hitmen squad. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @RosieNarasaki //