Lisa Marie’s Week In Television — 5/8/22 — 5/14/22


Let’s get to it.

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

Atlanta has been pretty evenly split, this season, between “anthology” episodes and the episodes that follow Earn and Al in Europe.  It’s an interesting format but, as I watched this week’s anthology episode, I really found myself thinking about much more interested I am in what’s going on in Europe.  This week’s episode was filmed in gorgeous black-and-white but the story of a biracial teen passing as white was nowhere near as interesting as what happened to Al in Amsterdam last week.

Barry (Sunday Night, HBO)

This week, Barry attempted to make things up to Gene by getting him a role on a plausibly terrible television show.  Unfortunately, for Barry, it turned out that Gene isn’t just going to forget about Barry murdering his girlfriend in return for a role.  Meanwhile, Sally was forced to take part in a series of vacuous interviews in order to promote her new television series.  Everyone wants to know: “Who should be the next Spider-Man?”

Better Call Saul (Monday Night, AMC)

This week, we got to see what Saul’s office was like before he redecorated it.  It was kind of a slow episode.  Better Call Saul is always watchable because of the performers but its status as a prequel also means that there’s a certain lack of suspense as to what’s going to happen to everyone.  Still, this week’s episode was worth it for the boxing scene.

Beyond the Edge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

The remaining celebrities continued to try to survive living in the jungle.  Jodie Sweetin finally ran the bell and removed herself from the show, just leaving a bunch of former pro athletes to continue the competition.  I don’t blame her.  Jodie lasted longer than I would have.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I don’t remember anything that happened during last Sunday’s Brady Bunch episodes so I guess I should count myself lucky.

Candy (Hulu)

I reviewed Hulu’s latest true crime miniseries here!

Dynasty (Friday Night, The CW)

Having missed most of the latest season, I finally got caught up on Dynasty this week and I was reminded of why I enjoy this wonderfully over-the-top and self-aware show.  Unfortunately, no sooner was I caught up than the CW announced that they were canceling the show.  Booooo!

Fantasy Island (Hulu)

Several months after watching the pilot, I finally watched the rest of Fantasy Island’s 1st season this week.  It’s an extremely silly but fun show.  Roselyn Sanchez plays her role with just the right mix of gravitas and mockery.  The show’s a bit heavy-handed at times but I think that’s to be expected.  The island looks lovely and the fantasies themselves are ultimately harmless and good-natured and that’s all the really matters.

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

If I remember correctly, Jesse was worried that he was losing his cool and Joey said, “Cut it out.”

Ghosts (Paramount Plus)

I finished binging the first season of Ghosts on Monday and Tuesday.  What a sweet show!  I’m kind of amazed that it took me so long to give this show a chance.  I’ll be curious to see what happens with the second season.  Hopefully, the show can keep up its momentum.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

“This story is fictional….”

Yeah, whatever.  This week’s episode started out as an homage to Inventing Anna and then it ended as an homage to Dopesick.  Price decided to make a deal with a murderer so that he could then prosecute the owner of a pharmaceutical company.  It was all because Price’s brother died of a drug overdose.  To be honest, Price didn’t really make his case and he should have been fired for wasting tax payer money on a personal crusade.  But the jury disagreed.  It may sound like I’m trashing this episode but it was actually pretty well-acted and I actually appreciated that it totally turned into a different story during the second half.  That said, I don’t think the Law & Order revival will ever be known for having a particularly nuanced political outlook.

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Vicki discovered that one of the passengers was hooked on speed.  Luckily, everything worked out in the end.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I reviewed the latest twist-filled episode of Survivor here!

We Own This City (Monday Night, HBO)

It was a pretty boring episode this week.  The cast is convincing and Baltimore continues to be a fascinating portrait of the American Dream gone bad but David Simon doesn’t really seem to have much to say, beyond pointing out that cops are bad and federal investigators are underfunded.

Miniseries Review: Candy


It’s strange how things work out.

In 1980, something terrible occurred in the town of Wylie, Texas.  Candy Montgomery, who was a Sunday School teacher and who had what seemed like the ideal life, killed Betty Gore.  Betty was reportedly one of Candy’s closest friends but Candy still ended up striking her 41 times with an axe.  After Candy was arrested, she revealed that she had cheated with Betty’s husband.  She also said that she attacked Betty in self-defense.  At her trial, she was ultimately found not guilty.

It was one of those small town scandals that the media tends to love and, 42 years after it all happened, it’s still spoken of down here in Texas.  Every five years or so, there’s a big “where are they now?” article in the Dallas Morning News.  Betty’s widowed husband married a woman that he started dating a few weeks after Betty’s death.  Candy’s lawyer, Don Crowder, tried to launch a political career and, when that failed, got addicted to cocaine and ended up committing suicide.  As for Candy, she divorced the husband who stood with her through the trial and apparently now lives, under a new name, in another town.

Still, despite the case’s continuing notoriety in Texas, I was recently a bit surprised to learn that there was not one but two Candy Montgomery miniseries in development.  HBO has Love and Death, which stars Elizabeth Olsen as Candy.  Love and Death is scheduled to come out later this year and it’ll probably suck because it’s written by David E. Kelley and this is exactly the type of story that’s going to bring out all of his worst instincts.  Meanwhile, Hulu produced Candy, starring Jessica Biel as Candy and Melanie Lynesky as Betty Gore.

Candy aired, over five nights, last week and I have to say that Hulu did a good job of presenting the story.  I’m usually a bit cynical about true crime miniseries (especially ones that are set in small town Texas in the late 70s) but Candy was actually really good.  The first episode featured a somewhat frazzled but always smiling Candy as she tried to balance a day that included swim lessons, bible school, taking the kids to see The Empire Strikes Back, and, of course, killing her best friend.  The final episode featured the courtroom drama, in which the ghost of Betty Gore could only watch as Candy Montgomery made herself the center of the tragedy.  In between, Candy provided a portrait of small-town life, church gossip, a mid-life crisis, and a lot of shag carpeting and wood paneling.  The miniseries balanced melodrama with satire but it also worked as a portrait of a group of people who all realized that their lives hadn’t turned out the way that they wanted them too.  Both Candy and Betty are portrayed as being frustrated and dissatisfied with what the world has to offer them.  The difference is that, while Betty wears her pain for all to see, Candy hides everything behind a quick smile and a superficially friendly manner.  In the end, one gets the feeling that Candy was acquitted because no one wanted to believe that someone who seemed so perfect could do something so horrific.

Candy is also well-served by its cast.  Melanie Lynesky is often heart-breaking as Betty Gore, while also still playing her with just enough anger that Candy’s story of being attacked is not easy to dismiss.  Jessica Biel keeps you guessing as Candy, playing her as someone who you would probably want to be friends with, even though you can’t help but suspect that she would also probably gossip about you behind your back.  Timothy Simons and Pablo Schrieber are well-cast as Candy and Betty’s clueless husbands.  Simons especially deserves some credit for generating sympathy for a character who, as written, could have been portrayed as just being a caricature.  And yes, Justin Timberlake does show up as the deputy who investigated the crime.  While it does feel a bit like stunt casting, Timberlake is convincing once you get used to the 70s porn mustache.

Though it aired without the fanfare that greeted other Hulu miniseries like Dopesick, Pam & Tommy, and The Girl From Plainville, Candy is a compulsively watchable and, at times, even thought-provoking work of true crime.  Without any of the slow spots that marred The Girl From Plainville or Dopesick‘s preachiness, Candy is definitely one that will benefit from being binged.  Check it out the next time you have five hours to kill.

 

Song of the Day: Candy (by Red Velvet)


Red Velvet Candy

Just a day before that hallmark of all Hallmark days. Usually there’ll be a flood of Valentine’s related postings and this latest Song of the Day will not be an exception.

Today’s Song of the Day: K-Pop Edition sees the return of one of my favorite K-Pop girl groups: Red Velvet. Seen by many K-Pop fans as the younger SM Entertainment sister group to SM’s main girl group, Girls Generation (aka SNSD), Red Velvet has managed to forge their own success with a unique sound that balances their dual concept of girl crush (Red) and sultry, mature (Velvet).

The previous two Red Velvet entries as Song of the Day sees example of the group under both concepts. There’s “Be Natural” which is their first “Velvet” concept. Then a little later there’s “Ice Cream Cake” which is them in their “Red” aka girl crush concept.

With today’s Song of the Day, we have Red Velvet’s lush ballad from their Ice Cream Cake mini-album: “Candy.”

It’s a track that’s well-suited for all the happenings today and for the rest of the week as even the most jaded will try to find a semblance of romance, if just for a couple days or so. A song that talks about both the effect that love has on couples. An emotion that’s both heartwarming and bittersweet as the emotional aspect of love can also lead to an overwhelming fear of that attachment fading that ultimately leads to separation.

“Candy” being the title is the group’s play on words as the whole Ice Cream Cake mini-album’s songs has done. The title may be about something sweet and enjoyable, but the lyrics definitely shows that it is a bit more than a sweet confection.

6 Trailers To Strip Down For


It’s time for another edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers.  This week’s edition has no set theme beyond the fact that, in-between typing up the six trailers featured here, I was also trying on different outfits.  Multi-tasking!

1) Performance

From 1970, it’s the debut film of Nicolas Roeg (though technically, he co-directed by Donald Cammell).  Reportedly, acting in this film led to costar James Fox having a nervous breakdown.

2) Twitch of the Death Nerve

This is the trailer for Mario Bava’s infamous, trend-setting giallo.  Bava’s preferred title for this film was Bay of Blood though it was released under several titles, including Carnage and my personal favorite, Twitch of the Death Nerve.

3) The Comeback

This 1978 film is from the criminally underrated director Pete Walker.  The trailer has a similar feel to Lamerto Bava’s A Blade in the Dark.  Who is Jack Jones and was he actually an international singing sensation?  So many questions.

4) The Class Reunion Massacre (a.k.a. The Redeemer)

What an odd little trailer.  It starts out all slasher-like and then suddenly, it decides to go all Omen.

5) The Corpse Grinders

Yup, that’s what it is alright.  From directed Ted V. Mikels.

6) Candy

This trailer is from 1968, which — if you’ve seen the trailer — is kind of one of those “well, duh” facts.  Based on a book by my fellow Texan Terry Southern (hence, the tag line), the film features Walter Matthau, Richard Burton, Ringo Starr, Marlon Brando, and James Coburn all taking advantage of Ewa Aulin (who, much like James Fox in Performance, reportedly had a nervous breakdown as a result of making this film).  The film was directed by Christian Marquand who, years later, would play the main French Plantation Guy in Apocalypse Now Redux.