Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Marvelous Campaign

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's instagram
post from earlier today, depicting its
FYC "MARVELOUS" installation
at Glendale's The Americana at Brand
shopping center.
Despite assertions to the contrary, life in Los Angeles is indeed measured in seasons -- awards season, pilot season, staffing season, and in the past few years, an ever growing "For Your Consideration" season, during which just about every show on peak TV throws a celebration of itself, in hopes of reeling in an Emmy nomination.

Most of these events consist of a panel discussion, followed by some sort of cocktail party.  And while they're a great way for both journalists and fans of a show to get a fun glimpse behind the scenes, these soirees do all tend to blend together come nomination time.

Occasionally some shows cut through the clutter by doing something a bit different, as in the case of the fabulous Amazon Prime show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  Yes, Mrs. Maisel creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, plus actors Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Marin Hinkle, Tony Shalhoub and Michael Zegen already participated in a panel at Amazon Studios' temporary exhibition at the Hollywood Athletic Club this spring.  But the show is just beginning another campaign, drawing attention not just itself but to some deserving female-run enterprises as well.

As announced today, Amazon Studios has selected eleven "women-led companies, individuals with a voice, and those who continue to usher in change and progress" as honorees.  In front of each place of business in New York and Los Angeles, Amazon will be erecting, starting today and lasting for one week, an installation of letters spelling out "MARVELOUS," in reference to the series' trailblazing stand up comic and heroine.

I devoured the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and am excited that production on the series' second season is currently underway in New York.  But I'm even more excited that among the honorees is Lizz Winstead, the co-creator of The Daily Show, the founder of Lady Parts Justice League (advocating for and safeguarding women's reproductive rights), and the officiant at my wedding in 2011.  Hopefully, this recognition will put a spotlight on women like Lizz, doing amazing work, and empower them to keep up the fight.

Lizz, by the way, kicks off her 2018 "Vagical Mystery Tour" tonight in Bethlehem, PA, and will continue to six more cities through early August.  Check out the Vagical Mystery Tour schedule here.

Below, Amazon's official announcement: 


Eleven sets of eight-foot-tall “Marvelous” block letters are being installed across Los Angeles and New York to celebrate women-led companies, individuals with a voice, and those who continue to usher in change and progress

SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 12, 2018 – Amazon Prime Video today announced it is launching a unique Emmy FYC campaign for the series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel celebrating empowering and inspiring individuals. Starting today and lasting for one week in Los Angeles and New York, Amazon is installing eleven sets of “Marvelous” eight-foot-tall block letters in front of businesses that are founded and led by women, as well as locations where individuals are driving positive change in the world. These illuminated installations are a recognition of the honorees’ achievements and their innovative businesses. They celebrate women with a voice and those who are leading change and progress. 

“The character Midge Maisel is a strong, talented woman who strikes out on her own to forge a new path, and in the spirit of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, we are excited to shine a light on other fantastic, entrepreneurial women,” said Mike Benson, Head of Marketing, Amazon Studios. “We hope that this campaign will inspire others to find their unique voice.”

Fans of the series are encouraged to take photos with the letters and join the conversation on social media by using the #Marvelous and tagging @MaiselTV across all social media platforms. Not only can they share the unique things that make them feel “Marvelous,” but they can also nominate another person in their lives who they feel embodies what it means to be marvelous as well.

The women being honored include:  

  • Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, co-Founders and co-CEOs of theSkimm – Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin are the co-Founders and co-CEOs of theSkimm, a membership company that makes it easier for millions of female millennials to live smarter
  • Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder of Bumble – In 2014, Whitney Wolfe Herd founded Bumble - where women make the first move - in order to challenge the antiquated rules of dating. Now, that idea has expanded into BumbleBFF and BumbleBizz. Bumble users can connect with confidence whether in dating, networking, or meeting friends online. Bumble prioritizes kindness and respect, providing a safe online community for users to build new relationships. In just over three and a half years, Bumble has 33 million registered users, who have made 561 million first moves and over 165 billion swipes! 
  • Katie Rosen Kitchens, Founder of FabFitFun – Katie Rosen Kitchens has led the evolution of FabFitFun as a leading female-focused media brand, curating fresh and exciting products for FabFitFun members and overseeing all brand partnerships and product development 
  • Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code – Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, the nonprofit dedicated to closing the gender gap in tech that has already reached 90,000 girls of all backgrounds in all 50 states
  • Payal Kadakia, Founder of ClassPass – Payal Kadakia is the Founder and Executive Chairman of ClassPass, the leading membership to the world’s largest fitness network with over 9,000 partners in 50 cities worldwide
  • Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne, James Beard Foundation award-winning Chef and Restaurateur – Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne are founders and owners of The Lucques Group, a Los Angeles hospitality company that comprises three fine dining restaurants – Lucques, a.o.c., and Tavern – and four marketplace restaurants – The Larder at Maple DriveThe Larder at Burton Way, The Larder at Tavern and The Larder at Tavern at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Along with these culinary enterprises, the company also operates Lucques Catering, the Larder Baking Company and comprehensive food and beverage services for the Hollywood Bowl
  • Florence Shin and Athina Wang, Founders of Covry – Florence Shin and Athina Wang are the founders of Covry, an eyewear company embracing and celebrating diversity. Their innovative approach to comfortable eyewear goes beyond the standard fit by catering to diverse face shapes
  • Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson, co-Founders of The Kind Campaign – Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson, co-Founders of The Kind Campaign, are the internationally recognized nonprofit that brings awareness and healing to the negative effects of girl-against-girl bullying 
  • Lizz Winstead, Founder of Lady Parts Justice League and co-Creator of The Daily Show – As co-creator of The Daily Show and co-founder of Air America Radio, Lizz Winstead has helped changed the very landscape of how people get their news. Known as one of the top political satirists in America, Winstead was recognized in Entertainment Weekly’s “100 Most Creative People” issue. Lizz currently spends her time at the helm of Lady Parts Justice League (LPJL), a comedy-driven reproductive rights organization she founded
  • Cecile Richards, Former president of Planned Parenthood and author of Make Trouble – Cecile Richards is a national leader for women’s rights and economic justice, and a lifelong activist

Amazon will have the “Marvelous” block letters in the following locations:
  • Westfield Century City
  • The Grove
  • The Americana at Brand
  • 9200 Sunset Blvd.  
  • Santa Monica Pier 
  • The Four Ladies of Hollywood Statue adjacent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • 8500’s The Larder at Burton Way (Caruso’s luxury residential landmark which is also at 8500 Burton Way at the intersection of La Cienega will be turning its iconic cloud light pink for the campaign)
  • FabFitFun Offices
  • Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center 
  • Time Warner Center 
  • 10th Ave. and 33rd St. in New York City

About The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselThe Marvelous Mrs. Maisel from renowned creator Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) and Executive Producer Daniel Palladino (Family Guy), written and directed by Sherman-Palladino and Palladino, stars Golden Globe winner Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards) as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a 1958 New York City woman who has everything she’s ever wanted—the perfect husband, two kids, and an elegant Upper West Side apartment perfect for hosting Yom Kippur dinner. But her perfect life suddenly takes an unexpected turn and Midge discovers a previously unknown talent—one that changes her life forever. 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel also stars Golden Globe winner and three-time Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk) as Midge’s father Abe Weissman, Alex Borstein (Family Guy) as Susie Myerson, Michael Zegen (Boardwalk Empire) as Midge’s husband Joel Maisel and Marin Hinkle (Two and a Half Men) as Midge’s mother Rose Weissman.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the winner of two Golden Globes (Best TV Series, Comedy and Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy (Rachel Brosnahan)), two Critics’ Choice Awards (Best Comedy Series and Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Rachel Brosnahan), a 2018 Peabody Award, a PGA Award (Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy), and was nominated by the DGA and Costume Designers’ Guild.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Sex and the City is almost old enough to drink a cosmo

With much fanfare this morning, Sex and the City is celebrating the 20th anniversary since its debut on HBO in 1998.

Popping up around the web have been stories about the show's place in the late '90s zeitgeist -- and critiques of how episodes don't hold up to our current standards when it comes to LGBT and other minority depictions -- plus click-through galleries of Sarah Jessica Parker's best and worst Carrie Bradshaw fashions.  A blog at cabletv.com has compiled a list of dozens of New York eateries patronized by the fab foursome of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha.

But for me, the best way to reminisce about Sex -- and its huge impact on pop culture, on depictions of women on TV, and even on the world's view of New York (sorely needed after the crisis of 9/11) is via a brand-new book published today, Sex and the City and Us, by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.

The author of two other fabulous TV behind-the-scenes companions -- Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted (2013) and Seinfeldia (2017) -- Armstrong takes the reader step-by-step through Candace Bushnell's early years in New York, the origins and evolution of her Sex and the City column, and the development of that material with producer Darren Star into a new half-hour comedy for HBO.  From there, we go behind-the-scenes to learn how characters and storylines were conceived, and how everything changed once the show blossomed into a mega-hit.

Armstrong doesn't shy away from criticisms of the show as well, pointing out places where its conceits haven't quite aged as well as one would like.  And yes, there is mention and some explanation of the Parker-Cattrall "feud," the back-and-forths of which, as the planned Sex and the City 3 feature film met its premature demise, were only becoming public as the book went to print.

Personally, I'm still hoping all differences will be ironed out and SATC3 will eventually happen -- I guess that makes me an optimistic Charlotte.  Yes, some of those over-the-top Sex and the City 2 Dubai moments were more cringeworthy than fun -- oy, those outfits as they walked the desert dunes! -- but one of the things we've always loved about Carrie is her willingness to take chances, including with her fashions.  I, for one, would never have advised wearing a tutu on the Manhattan streets -- especially if there's a chance you'll be splashed by a bus (with your face on it) -- but Carrie somehow made it work.

Yes, some of Carrie's voiceovers or Samantha's double-entendres may no longer seem exactly cutting edge.  But twenty years ago today, Sex and the City was a show that changed the way single women were perceived, and perceived themselves.  It brought whole new glamour to their world, and to New York as a whole.  So let's sit back, binge-watch, and follow along in Armstrong's fabulous new book.  Because after all, as with pizza, even imperfect Sex is better than no Sex at all.