By Jessica Allen - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 0 Comments
“The only thing I can liken this meeting to would be the DeNiro/Pacino scene in Heat,” writes Soto, who is actually Taylor Clarke–a screenwriter who started impersonating as a chef of a fictional restaurant called Gravitas on Twitter in January, 2012. (Routine tweets include making fun of Chef Susur Lee’s ponytail, McEwan’s curls, pop-ups, tacos, chefs tables, ramen and generally ridiculing the fictional-or-not-lifestyle of the Toronto restaurant industry.)
But Clarke/Soto thinks “it’s important for two Canadian culinary giants to come together finally in a symbolic showing of unity.”
The place doesn’t need to be fancy, insists Clarke, just “somewhere where I can where my Teva sandals and seashell necklace and not feel frowned upon.” And although Clarke has no interest in paying for the lunch, he has offered to pay for parking: “One of those $10 dollar lots though, not one of those fancy car park places,” he writes. “It’s just a car.”
Clarke, who first revealed his identity to The Toronto Star’s Amy Pataki in June of 2012, told me in an email that he’s eager to pick McEwan’s brain on the Toronto food scene and how it has evolved–not for jokes, but for actual research: Clarke is currently developing a television show with Just For Laughs called…wait for it…Chef Grant Soto.
“I’ve wanted to sit down with him for a while and interview him,” he said. “This guy has been around. I bet he has some good insight that would be very helpful.”
No word yet on whether or not McEwan will accept Clarke’s offer to go for lunch–and pay for it. But prospects are looking good: just moments ago, real chef Mark McEwan began following fake chef Grant Soto on Twitter.
By Jaime Weinman - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
Why Girls, Bates Motel and New Girl are going with minimal title sequences
The A&E drama Bates Motel, a TV prequel to Psycho, is giving fans a chance to create the opening title sequence—but with a catch: it has to be really short. “We’re looking for an awesome 15-second title sequence that captures the feel of Bates Motel,” series creator Carlton Cuse (Lost) said when announcing the contest, whose winner will be announced before the series premiere in March. Fifteen seconds is actually a pretty generous amount of time for a title sequence today. Many shows don’t have them at all: HBO’s most hyped recent show, Lena Dunham’s Girls, has nothing but a simple title card, like a low-budget movie. “In my view, short sequences are a missed opportunity,” says Danny Yount, who created the nearly two-minute opening for HBO’s Six Feet Under. But if Bates Motel is any indication, a title sequence may not be important enough to take a lot of time for, or even to hire professional designers for.
A full-length title sequence is certainly expensive to do, especially for shows that don’t take the easy route and string together a bunch of old clips. Yount says his sequence for Six Feet Under, a mini-movie that summed up the themes of the show, required “a full crew, three locations and two days of shooting,” but adds that “the producers wanted something unique to television, so I think it was a worthwhile investment for them.” Continue…
By Jaime Weinman - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
As Jaime Weinman explains, there are minor renovations and there are gut jobs. Welcome to Up All Night.
If you’re tired of TV shows being treated as high art, take heart: networks are bringing back the “retool,” the crass commercial method of changing everything about a show. Up All Night, starring Canadian comic Will Arnett alongside Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph, is a show whose constant retoolings have made more news than the show itself, culminating in the announcement that it will add a studio audience—the first show to make this change in a decade. Lee Goldberg, a writer-producer for such heavily retooled shows as Diagnosis Murder (and creator of the novel series The Dead Man) says shows are revised for many reasons: “budget concerns, political issues, previous series commitments, lack of enthusiasm or support at the network.” But, he adds, the primary reason for a retool is summed up in two words: “pure desperation.”
TV has been retooling shows since it began, and in the old days, networks didn’t care if the changes made sense. When Valerie Harper was fired from her self-titled show in the ’80s, Chip Keyes, the show runner, recalls that he was ordered to start writing scripts for a new character who could turn out to be “a sexy aunt, a funny grandma, a sexy grandma, a cousin on the run from the law . . . it was wide open.” But this kind of tinkering became less common in recent years as TV was taken more seriously and fans became more engaged. “Today’s viewers are, on average, much more aware of the mechanics of TV production,” explains Jason Mittell, associate professor of film and media culture at Middlebury College. “Switches are going to be much more noticed.” Shows like Lost were likely to make subtle changes rather than wholesale revisions. Continue…
By Alex Ballingall - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 12:09 PM - 0 Comments
The soap opera is drawing viewers—and criticism from the religious conservatives as well as nationalists
“The past is always an invented land,” Nobel winning novelist Orhan Pamuk once said. “The revision of the past is always held to the political struggles of the country.”
This insight rings particularly true in his native Turkey, where a massively popular soap opera depicting the most revered sultan of the Ottoman Empire is sparking controversy and tension between liberals, diehard nationalists and religious conservatives. The show, which at US$500,000 an episode is the most expensive ever for Turkish television, is called Muhtesym Yuzil (The Magnificent Century). It depicts the personal life of Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled during the 16th century.
Nationalists have been critical of the show’s focus on the sultan’s personal life, which they say diminishes the glories of the empire during his rule, when Ottoman territory spanned west to modern-day Austria and east into what is now Iran. Religious conservatives, meanwhile, are outraged at how Suleiman is shown drinking wine and cavorting with women (there are kissing scenes and nudity), arguing that this is historically inaccurate and offensively un-Islamic.
By Julia Belluz - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 6:16 PM - 0 Comments
He swept into the dimmed Sony Centre in Toronto, combing the crowd like an evangelical leader, and Science-ish half-expected audience members to fall down at his touch. But this was no high priest ready to encourage middle-aged men and women to start walking after being paralyzed or to see again after going blind. This was Dr. Mehmet Oz, here to give a motivational talk about the “biology of blubber” and weight loss.
The esteemed cardiothoracic surgeon and Columbia University professor made it big on Oprah demystifying the inner workings of the human body—from poop to the reproductive system—with plastic models and cadaver parts. In 2009, Oprah created the daily health and medical advice talk program, the Dr. Oz Show. Since then, Dr. Oz has been doling out American-style health evangelism to viewers in 112 countries. A recent episode on raspberry keytone supplements discussed how this “miracle fat burner in a bottle” can shrivel fat cells, while others have looked at foods that act as medicines, and “anti-aging miracles in a bottle.” Of course, this has galvanized a cadre of MD bloggers who have dedicated hours to dissecting and debunking the science on the show.
Today, the high-profile doctor is wearing a slim gray suit instead of his trademark scrubs. For two hours at this MukiBaum fundraising event, some two thousand audience members will hear a lecture on “reversing the obesity epidemic” peppered with hugs and jokes geared toward disgruntled housewives.
Science-ish was one of the few skeptics in the room. In order to understand how the doctor thinks about scientific evidence, his audience, and what really makes people healthy, Science-ish sat down with Dr. Oz before his talk. Continue…