Roundtable #6 – It’s Not You, It’s Your TV Show

In this edition of the roundtable we attempt to discuss actors we love in TV shows we hate or have trouble with, or, at the very least, don’t particularly enjoy all of the time.

This week we did our email roundtable in person! Katie and Kerri

The view of Jane from Katie’s laptop

Kerri: Normally we discuss shows/things that we really love in our Roundtables so I thought that it might be fun to do that while also talking about shows that we don’t particularly like.

I will start by talking about Connie Britton who I absolutely loved on Friday Night Lights. And I still love her but my goodness, I cannot get behind Nashville. And it has actually made me start questioning her acting…and I know that is horribly wrong.

Katie: That show looks like a major stinker. Besides, I would always be looking out for Coach Taylor to sneak up and snuggle her from behind.

Kerri: I wish. It is a bit of a stinker although I have found myself humming the songs days later…

Katie: What’s so bad about the show/her performance?

Kerri: Nashville is incredibly soapy, which isn’t necessarily the problem, but I wish it was a bit more tongue-in-cheek or campy or something. Maybe it takes itself too seriously or thinks it is a better show than it really is. I haven’t quite pinpointed it yet and I keep watching it so there is clearly something there. Connie Britton is fine but I kind of feel like she’s given too much to do in the show. She is required to be this major country star which maybe I don’t completely buy. She does exasperated and exhausted so very well that I wish she was doing more of that in the show and less just bitchy country superstar.

Jane: I’ve never seen Nashville but I wonder if her director was encouraging a performance that she would not otherwise go for.

Kerri: That might be, Jane, but I have to lay some of the blame on her as I think she is a producer.

Jane: Oh dear. While perhaps more credit should be given to her directors/writers on Friday Night Lights.

Kerri: Still, everyone should totally watch Nashville. I’m addicted. It’s horrible.

Jane: I’m a big fan of Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory. I really dislike the show but I tune in for Parson’s performance. His portrayal of Sheldon is constantly honest and funny despite clichéd writing and scene partners who are often over-the-top and unbelievable in their roles. They project what they think a geek should look like. Parsons plays geek from the inside out.

Kerri: Jim Parsons is a good one, Jane. I’ve only ever seen a few episodes of Big Bang and haven’t had much interest in it.

Jane: His performance isn’t enough to make the show great, but for me it is one of the stand-out performances on television right now.

Katie: That’s interesting because the show/actor I was going to discuss was Idris Alba in Luther, who just happens to be one of the producers of the show.

Kerri: That is very interesting, Katie. What is it about Luther that you don’t like?

Katie: There are just too many jumps in logic. A police force could not operate like that!

Jane: I enjoy most of the performances on Luther. The actors help me overcome some of the far-fetched story lines. Alice Morgan is another standout for me in that show. If the actors believably convey what is happening I’m usually game to go along for the ride.

Kerri: I agree with you guys about Luther. It is interesting when an actor can make you forget about what otherwise might be a crazy storyline…

I have to mention that the idea for this Roundtable stems from Josh Charles in Sports Night. It is a show with so much potential but it is written by Aaron Sorkin and you two know my feelings about him. At first I thought that I liked the show and then I realized I only liked it because of a single performance. Josh Charles elevates the show with a performance that is so spot on, so nuanced and hilarious. I basically trudged through the series just for him. I know a lot of people loved it, but I couldn’t stand by its overt preachy-ness…it’s the same problem I have with all Aaron Sorkin shows.

Katie: That’s a good one, Kerri.

Jane: Zosia Mamet in Girls is a great example of an actor able to overcome stilted and preachy writing. I’m thinking specifically of her Sex and the City monologue from the pilot. I get that the speech was a nod to the comparisons viewers will make between the shows but the monologue was contrived and colorless. Mamet was able to deliver it truthfully. It came across as an honest thought from her character. I’m not sure other actors would be able to pull that off.

Kerri: That’s a good one, Jane. I agree with you on the Girls front though I’ve found that the series gets better and its characters become more developed and less one-note as it goes on. Zosia Mamet has probably the toughest part and she has to walk a very tricky line. She could be so big, wacky and zany with that character. It’s amazing that she doesn’t go that route.

Katie: How I Met Your Mother is another good example: stacked with talented actors, but I am not a fan of the show. Like, let’s say it’s a choice between watching re-runs of How I Met Your Mother or Everybody Loves Raymond – I go with HIMYM, but only because I prefer Jason Segel over Brad Garrett.

Jane: I can’t watch that show–even for Jason Segel. I just don’t believe those people would actually be friends.

Katie: Good point! That’s very true. They are all pretty mean to each other most of the time (if I recall properly).

Jane: Speaking of Aaron Sorkin, Kerri, I just finished Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Again, really amazing performances trapped inside a preachy and overly sentimental stor line.

Kerri: Wow! You got through the whole season/series, Jane? I think I had to stop after the second episode. Good on you.

Jane: Yep, I watched the whole thing. I might have missed some of the later episodes but I didn’t feel like I was missing any major plot points. They do a good recap at the start of each episode.

Kerri: OK. Game time.

Of the actors you named above, what existing show (one that you love) do you think they would be the perfect addition to?

Josh Charles is currently on The Good Wife (which I haven’t seen but I hear good things about) but I’d like to see him on Parks and Recreation. He’d make a good civic politician or something.

Katie: Idris Alba would be an amazing addition to Parks and Recreation. I’m not sure what he would play, but I like to think of Parks as a place that all my favourite actors hang out from time to time, so I’m sure he’d fit right in.

Jane: He would be a great politician!

I would love to see Jim Parsons in Luther. I would like to see his dramatic acting chops. I think he would make a great villain.

Kerri: Good one, Jane!

Katie: I’d like to see Jason Segel on Mad Men.
1. He’d look good in a suit.
2 He’d be taller than everyone else.
3. He could play Joan’s lover.
Nope. Correction: Jason Segel would be Pete Campbell’s older brother.

Kerri: Yes, he would!

Jane: Yes!! Good call. I’d also like to see him with a different haircut.

Katie: BURN!

Kerri: I would like to see Connie Britton on Treme. She can clearly sing so that would be fun.

Jane: Zosia Mamet would make a great addition to Community. I bet she’d do anything to join the study group. I bet Zosia and Annie would butt heads.

Kerri: Good one, Jane.

Final shout outs, go!

Jane: I’d like to give a shout out to Katy Segal on Sons of Anarchy.

Katie: Shout out to Jane Lynch on Glee for being awesome and hilarious in spite of the quagmire of a shitshow she’s in.

Kerri: I’d like to give a shout out to Franka Potente on Copper.

Oh, and also Walton Goggins who used to be on The Shield, which I hated, is now on Justified, which I love.

Katie: Great name…Walton Goggins!

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