Two Separate Yet Equally Important Groups: Part 2

On Wednesday I began my first ever full analysis of Law and Order, and to sum things up, it’s basically, Briscoe and Green are the shit, Benjamin Bratt and Chris Noth are quite handsome, and Lieutenant VanBuren is an excellent example of cultural feminism to us all.

But as you well know, in the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important group and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are DA’s.

When you think of Law and Order there are of course, patterns that you recognize. For example, if I ever move to Manhattan, I will never run in the park not just because running without a treadmill is impossible for me, but because I never want to risk finding a dead body, and the almost always find the body in the park. It’s also a struggle for me to not ask the maids at work if they’ve ever found bodies, or people that live near the river. But I digress. The point is, whenever I watch an episode, I find myself saying, “God, I love the cop half the most,” until we get to the prosecutor half, because then we get these guys:

New York District Attorneys Who I Loved:

Adam Schiff (Played by Steven Hill)

I don't have anything witty to say

I don’t have anything witty to say

Adam was cool, confident and kind of a smart ass. I liked him. He was also the original cast member to stick around the longest (10 years!) and always reacted to those trademark Law and Order twists with a sigh and a shrug, like a good New Yorker should.

Arthur Branch (Played by Fred Thompson)

I don't have anything witty to say

I don’t have anything witty to say

All the charm of your drunk southern uncle, but he can pursue the death penalty!

All the charm of your drunk southern uncle, but he can pursue the death penalty!

Remember when Fred Thompson actually ran for president? No? Either you’re a Democrat and didn’t pay attention to the  early Republican field in 2008, because screw it, we all knew McCain would get the nomination, or you’re a Republican and you’ve repressed the 2008 election because, can you really blame us? It was a difficult time. Anyway, I didn’t really want him to be the president unless it meant that he would sit around the oval office drinking scotch and dispensing folksy witticisms to his staff who would then roll their eyes and fight wholeheartedly like Jack and Serena always did. That would have been awesome.

Assistant District Attorneys

Claire Kincaid (Played by Jill Hennessy)

So cool

So cool

Claire is my favorite! Surprise! (Though probably not much of one) Mostly because I think that Jill Hennessy is a cool, cool lady. But also I just loved Claire’s style. She was fierce, and tough, fought for what she wanted and usually got it. Also, like many of the women of L&O she moved on to another equally awesome procedural. (Crossing Jordan was one awesome show!)

Abbie Carmichael (Played by Angie Harmon)

Again, with the cool

Again, with the cool

You know how before I was talking about how I love Claire, I also love Abbie. In fact, I often get them confused. They were very similar. But I digress, Abbie, also awesome, also went on to star on another crime show that is in fact awesome (Rizolli and Isles. TNT knows drama.)

Serena Southerlyn (Played by Elisabeth Rohm)

elisabeth_rohm law and order

Truth be told I actually didn’t like Serena that much, but Elisabeth was also on Angel and Heroes, so she gets a pass. YAY!

And then of course, the man, the myth, the legend:

Executive Assistant District Attorney/District Attorney Jack McCoy (Played By Sam Waterston, in case you live under a rock or something, and don’t know who Jack McCoy is.)

THIS IS THE GUY!

THIS IS THE GUY!

Jack McCoy was amazing. He was a God among men. He prosecutor murderers so hard, that they cried, turned on their wife who was actually the murderer and then she cried. And for almost fifteen years we all loved every minute of it. Jack was a good guy, a white hat for sure, but he wasn’t above compromise if that would get the job done. Jack McCoy wanted justice, and five times out of ten he got it. When he didn’t he would go have a scotch and with a judgmental look from Claire, Abbie or Serena he would sigh and move on to prosecute another day.

So, that’s Law and Order. I bet you thought I was going to abandon this little follow up to talk about the Veronica Mars movie didn’t you? No such luck! You’ll have to come back next week to see that.

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Two Separate Yet Equally Important Groups: Part 1

You wanna know what, given how much I love television, it’s a little weird that I’ve never written about?

Law and Order.

Seriously, I’ve never written about it. Not here, not on my old blog. (Popgirl Lives! It wasn’t great…sometimes it was OK, but not usually.) So I’m taking a two part look at Law and Order (The original, while I have grown to love SVU out of necessity, I’m still not around to Criminal Intent, and the less said about Trial By Jury the better.)

As we all know, in the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups, the police who investigate crime, and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are the police.

There were many Law and Order detectives over the years. I mean, the show ran for twenty years, and there were just so many. Here are my favorites:

Detective Mike Logan (Chris Noth)

So young, so not yet a massive douche

So young, so not yet a massive douche

Frankly, the only thing I remember about Detective Mike Logan was that he was kind of a hothead, and that he was possibly more sarcastic than Lenny Briscoe. Also, while he and Rey Curtis (Benjamin Bratt) were together they were the handsomest cops in all the land.

Detective Rey Curtis Benjamin Bratt

Stop, swoon, repeat

Stop, swoon, repeat

I love Benjamin Bratt, and Rey is a big reason why. I loved him. I loved his flaws, I loved the way he tried to save his marriage after he had an affair. I loved how dedicated he was to his daughters, I loved how he acted with Lenny (I bring up Lenny a lot, he was the best, but we’ll get there, oh we will get there!). Yes, they weren’t quite the dream team, but that doesn’t matter.

Lieutenant Anita VanBuren (S. Epatha Merkerson)

Bad ass. Pure and Simple

Bad ass. Pure and Simple

My cultural feminist heart loves everything about Lieutenant VanBuren, as does, well, everything. Here was a woman of color, who was in charge and unapologetic about it, but it was also never a thing. If there were more characters like Anita on TV, well, there aren’t and that’s the point right? Anyway, she was great, and I always loved when she stepped in on interrogations and got EXACTLY WHAT THE INVESTIGATION NEEDED out of the suspect.

The Dream Team: Detectives Lenny Briscoe and Ed Green (Jerry Orbach and Jesse L. Martin)

Simply The Best!

Simply The Best!


I could talk about their amazing chemistry. I could talk about how they were both played by Broadway veterans. (The year that Jerry Orbach died, Martin paid tribute to him at the Tony Awards by singing “Razzle Dazzle” from Chicago, everyone cried.) I could talk about how Lenny Briscoe is one of the greatest characters in the history of TV (right behind Hawkeye and President Bartlett.) I could talk about how the two of them were consistently the best part of the show for years, even when the show was at it’s best. But you know all of that. Because, really, who hasn’t sat around in their PJ’s all day watching Law and Order reruns at one time or another? Who doesn’t know that Briscoe and Green were the best of everything? If you don’t know that, or don’t think that, then go back to wherever you came from, because you are clearly not an American.

Coming on Friday: The District Attorneys Who Prosecute the Offenders. Who do I prefer? Claire or Abbie (The answer may surprise you!) and why Jack McCoy is the perfect man!

But which is the better story?

Last night Chrissy and I went to go see Life of Pi. I read the novel years ago and loved it, and reread it this summer, still adored it and completely fell in love with the film.

Awesome

Awesome

I’ve talked before about how important I believe stories are. I always have, and Life of Pi underscores that. I’ve been thinking about stories a lot recently and I was so glad to have this frame of reference. I started thinking about it when I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and then Jimmy Buffett’s A Salty Piece of Land.

Now, at first glance these three stories have nothing to do with one another. Life of Pi is an epic parable about one man’s relationship with God. American Gods is a modern classic about the nature of an immigrant nation. And A Salty Piece of Land is about lighthouses written by the same man who gave us “Cheeseburger in Paradise” let alone the Margaritaville Empire.

World Class Story Teller

World Class Story Teller. No sarcasm.

But all three focus on the power of stories. Pi Patel relates his story to our unnamed author, and then tells him a second story. (I won’t spoil, it’s a phenomenal twist) He asks the author, “Which story do you prefer?” and the author chooses which version he considers the truth. The protagonist of American Gods, Shadow learns that stories are powerful enough to harness energy. The stories the immigrants brought over to America with them manifested in the creatures that are having such a profound affect on his life. Tully, the cowboy sailor lighthouse keeper at the center of A Salty Piece of Land, uses stories as a way to frame his own experience in the Caribbean.

It’s the stories that are the important part, and I kind of love that.

There’s a new Ironman 3 Trailer

Ironman 3

It’s hard to believe that it’s less than two months until Iron Man 3 hits theaters. So of course, new stuff is going to be coming out about it, probably every week, until the release. I’m excited to learn more.

Last time I talked about Iron Man 3, was when the teaser came out a few months ago. Things we know now that we didn’t know then:

1. Rhodey is wearing the Patriot Armor. SICK! More War Machine is fine by me. I love that character

2. Mandarin is targeting Tony personally, and looks like he’s making him choose between being Tony and being Iron Man, something that he’s never had to do before. That will be interesting, and kind of a cool direction for him.

3. All of the Ironman Prototypes are going to be involved in some kind of fight scene. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS.

Of course it raises a few more questions:

1. Need we have a scene where Pepper is attacked while wearing a bra and panties, as it appears we do? One of the things that I’ve always loved about the Marvel movies in general and Ironman movies specifically is that they treat the female characters with some level of dignity, Pepper in particular. I have a feeling this is going to annoy me.

2. Still no sign of any of the other Avengers…yet. But it looks like the story will heavily feature the President and Rhodey all Stars and Spangled out, and if Cap at the very least doesn’t make an appearance, I think that’s just unreasonable.

3. Robert Downey Jr. looks unbelievably good these days. I mean, more so than usual.

So I’m excited. I don’t know about the rest of you.

Lies Musical Theatre Told Me Part 4: Light My Candle

It’s the triumphant return of Lies Musical Theatre Told Me!

This lie is a little bit different than the others, like the Patti Lupone one, it’s a culture thing, and it’s also the most fangirly of all of them:

Adam Pascal is a major heartthrob

You know who Adam Pascal is even if you don’t know who Adam Pascal is. Chances are you’ve seen School of Rock. You know the douchebag who kicks Jack Black out of his band in the beginning and then beats the kids at Battle of The Bands at the end? That’s Adam.

Of course if you’re a theatre geek in your 20’s, and you are attracted to men, you know more about Adam. You know that he is the angry sensitive bohemian HIV positive ex heroin addict singer songwriter we all wanted to fix. You know know that he’s the hard hearted Egyptian soldier/explorer who ends up choosing love over everything, even his life. He’s the selfish prick who alienates the woman he loves because of his own prejudices.

Also, if you’re anything like me, my sister and most of my friends you melt everytime you hear him hit the high notes.

You know the moments I’m talking about, when Adam’s voice goes up in it’s gorgeous gravelly tones and it’s raw and powerful.

“Let it be boys!”

“And why did I tell her this? A stranger I just met? I woman who I hardly know at all and will forget!”

“Go away! Just get out! Be someone else’s parasite!”

I’ve been very lucky, in that I’ve seen Adam in his two most iconic roles, I saw him as Radames in Aida when he went back to close the show. It was amazing. I still remember sitting in the balcony with my friend Ali, my sister Mary and Ali’s sister Jess, and all four of us literally screaming like Beatles fans when he took off his shirt and ordered Aida to bathe  him.

Also later, this happens. It's wonderful

Also later, this happens. It’s wonderful

My brother was also there. He did not squeal, but he did make fun of us a lot. So that’s almost the same.

Then I saw him as Roger, when for six glorious weeks he and Anthony Rapp (the original Mark) went back to Rent on Broadway. If you’re the kind of person who’s attracted to singers, you haven’t known what that really means until you’ve watched these two men wail out “What You Own” or listened to Adam come in on “Another Day.” It’s phenomenal.

Beautiful, Beautiful Angst!

Beautiful, Beautiful Angst!

It was incredible. I was even more in love.

I also wanted him to light my candle, if you know what I’m saying. (I had to, I’m sorry, it’s a bad joke. I couldn’t come up with anything regarding having the best ass below 14th street or handcuffs, I tried.)

Then came Chess. I’d loved the music from Chess for a long time. Then one day, I stumbled upon a full YouTube video of a London concert version starring Idina Menzel, Josh Groban and Adam Pascal! It was wonderful, I watched it like a million times. Adam is sexy as hell and can sing like a mofo, but he’s not the best actor, generally his performance range from angry to sad to slightly amused. Next to Josh Groban, he looked like Laurence Olivier, and the contrasting tones of their voices were incredible. (Josh’s soaring opera vocals clash beautifully with Adam’s rough rock and roll sounds.)

Adam in a white suit! WHITE SUIT!

Adam in a white suit! Don’t you just melt?

I didn’t see him in Memphis and I still hate myself for it. A few weeks ago, Mary and I were talking about how she wants to watch Rent with her boyfriend (He also played Roger in the movie version), and somehow the entire conversation devolved in to us talking about how sexy he was.

Mary insists she doesn’t “squee” but I was there that night we saw Aida, there was definite squeeing happening. It was my first real full on fangirl moment.

When I reached out to friends to see if they had any Adam stories to share, my friend Matt answered with simply, “I met him sophomore year. We bro’ed out. I shit you not.” You understand, how important that caveat is? Also, Matt just became like, ten times more attractive to me. (Just kidding, kind of…)

The best thing, though, from a theatre geek perspective, is that Adam is our guy. He’s never really gone mainstream, so we’ve never had to share him. The mainstream took and shattered our other heart throbs, poor Matt Morrison became the biggest joke of the joke that is Glee, Patrick Wilson has been knocking on the mainstream door for so long that you can’t help but pity him. But not Adam Pascal. Adam is ours, even if most of the world doesn’t know who he is.

So he’s not a major heartthrob, that was a lie that musical theatre told us. But he’s our heartthrob, and that’s the most important part.

I Believe The Children Are Our Future

Having run out of Batman to watch, but still longing for my superhero fix, I’ve started branching out. I watched some of the Justice League animated series that lines up with BTAS, but was having trouble getting in to it. It just wasn’t hitting for me.

I’d attempted to watch the anime Teen Titans in the past, usually while babysitting and that also bothered me. I do love Cyborg, but I think that has more to do with him being played by The Famous Jett Jackson on Smallville than anything else.

Everything about this show was late 90's early 00's awesome.

Everything about this show was late 90’s early 00’s awesome.

Then I stumbled across Young Justice.

Look at the them! Look how cute!

Look at the them! Look how cute!

Guys, Young Justice is kind of the shit. The premise is as follows, one day for a photo op, Batman, Flash, Aquaman and Green Arrow bring Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad and Speedy to the Hall of Justice for a tour. Then they just leave them in a room. This causes the following reactions, Robin and Kid Flash don’t really get it, and just goof around, Aqualad is stoic but a bit put out and Speedy is frigging PISSED AS HELL! He calls out the league members, quits his side kick post and stomps out. The others also become annoyed but when Superman calls and the big boys leave, they decide to strike out on their own. After some hi jinks, they find Superboy, an angsty clone of Superman, and demand to be respected. For the most part the Justice League is kind of like, “Eh, maybe not so much, with the kids running around by themselves, plus now we have the Superboy thing to deal with.” But then Batman agrees to let them try being like a mini league and they do that! (It always kind of baffles me that Batman is so good with children, he really shouldn’t be, based on all of his other personality characteristics.)

They are joined later by Miss Martian (Martian Man Hunter’s niece) and Artemis, the daughter of a League of Shadows member who is working as Green Arrow’s new sidekick, since Speedy got all douched out and now calls himself “Red Arrow.” And they go on adventures and deal with their issues and fall in love with each other, and it’s amazing and more than a little bit adorable.

Bolstered by this new interest in teenage superheroes, I decided to check out a movie Netflix has been pushing on me, called The Next Avengers: Tomorrow’s Heroes. The description was pretty bare beyond: “The children of The Avengers have an adventure.” I decided to see if it was as adorable as Young Justice.

Possibly cuter, though significantly less bad ass

Possibly cuter, though significantly less bad ass

It totally was. This story takes place after Ultron killed the Avengers because they disrupted order and then created a post apocalyptic wasteland. Tony Stark rescues the children of the Avengers, James, the son of Captain America and Black Widow (didn’t know that was a thing, BTW, I mean, I knew Scarlett and Chris had killer chemistry from The Nanny Diaries, but beyond that…) Torrun, Thor’s Daughter, (with Sif, according to Wikipedia), Pym, the son of Giant Man and Wasp (He is as douchey as his father) and Azari, the son of Black Panther and Storm, and takes them to a super compound in the arctic and trains them to be superheroes. He also deals with his grief over the loss of his friends by building robot versions of them.

Because of course he does, because he’s Tony friggin Stark.

Anyway, Ultron returns, the kids fight him, and also find Hawkeye’s son. James is basically Steve, Torrun sacrifices herself, gets sent to Asgard and then back to earth by her father, Pym is annoying, Mini-Hawkeye shoots arrows and says sarcastic things, they find Bruce Banner, he turns in to the Hulk and solves everyone’s problems, (You know like in The Avengers) and it is amazing.

Basically, I’m in to the kiddie superhero thing right now. Probably going to stick with it. I might even try Teen Titans again, but I probably won’t.

Nostalgia in Reverse

Without getting in to specifics (and possibly violating laws), I work in a place that caters to young girls. It is a retail store in a famous fancy hotel in New York City, focusing on a children’s book about a little girl who lives in the hotel. I love my work, and adore most of my little customers, but the one thing I can’t stand is the music we have to listen to.

Music that is meant to appeal to girls between the ages of nine and twelve is pretty tough to listen to all day. And I like cheesy pop music. I say cheesy not crappy. There is a lot of crappy pop music, but some of it is awesome.

I love her. Not ironically. Just pure love.

I love her. Not ironically. Just pure love.

And there’s this sort of weird musical Stockholm Syndrome that sets in, and you start to think you actually like Demi Lovato or whatever, and it’s hard to deal with.

But today I put on a shuffle of Pandora stations, that included a One Direction seed and a NSYNC seed. I’ve staunchly defended 1D in the past, because I believe in boy bands.

Any institution that can give us these two is clearly on the side of the light!

Any institution that can give us these two is clearly on the side of the light!

But it wasn’t until today, when “The One” by The Backstreet Boys came on, followed by “Up All Night” that I realized how important that tween music is.

See, on the night of my 25th Birthday Party, I made an EPIC mix. It was like 200 songs long and featured several genres. Everyone was having a good time, we’d had some food and some drinks. And then “Larger than Life” came on and my girl friends and I went bonkers. We jumped up and down, we sang along loudly, it was like we were twelve at our first school dance again and it was amazing.

I started thinking about the girls I see in the store everyday, how in ten, fifteen, twenty years, they’ll be in the back or upstairs room of some bar and “What Makes You Beautiful” or “One Thing” will come on and they’ll go nuts. They’ll spill their drinks and fall off of their shoes. They’ll shout over the music and have the time of their lives.

I know that this will happen. I know because I’ve seen it happen. It happens with my friends and I when we hear BSB or NSYNC or even 98 Degrees or O-Town. I’ve seen it happen with my mother and her friends when The Monkees come on.

The Sci Fi and Fantasy I got from Dad, but the boy bands come straight from Mommy Dearest!

The Sci Fi and Fantasy I got from Dad, but the boy bands come straight from Mommy Dearest!

I love that pop music has that power. It stays with you in a way that other music doesn’t. I love classic rock, and country, and Broadway musicals. And yeah, my heart skips a beat when I hear the opening piano part of “Jungleland,” I can croon all the words to “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places,” and of course get goosebumps when Idina hits that final note in “Defying Gravity,” but nothing gets me out on the dance floor quicker than BSB.

Put Nick and AJ in a Glee style sing off with any other two pop stars and Nick and AJ would win every time!

Put Nick and AJ in a Glee style sing off with any other two pop stars and Nick and AJ would win every time!

I’m psyched that I’m around for some of that exposure for these kids I guess is what I’m saying.