Comedy rules the all-gay, all-day network with new and renewed programming. Plus GLBT presence at Film Independent Spirit Awards.
By Nancy Ford
Think of them as the Not-Ready-For-Straight-Time Players. The talented group of actor/comedians who comprise the cast of that big gay sketch show on Logo, appropriately titled The Big Gay Sketch Show, have signed on for a second season.
Members of the show’s ensemble were damn funny in their first year’s go-’round but have now come of age if the sophomore season’s screamingly loopy opening sketch, “Super Liza,” is any indication. The satire of the former Mrs. Gest as a gay superhero is without question the funniest thing this writer has seen on television since the Writers’ Guild of America started picketing last year. Thank you, executive producer, Rosie O’Donnell.
The troupe’s myriad inside jokes addressing morsels like lesbian barflies, hunky UPS drivers, and our inexplicable fascination with Elaine Stritch may doom the series as funny exclusively to queer folk, some may say. After all, that’s what happened with Ellen. But maybe that’s what makes TBGSS ‘s players so special: We know they’re playing ‘specially for us.
TBGSS addicts will be happy to learn that unedited episodes are available for download from various providers beginning February 13.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Logo cues up even more progressive entertainment with Transamerican Love Story, a reality dating game that aims to find MTF (male-to-female) star Calpernia Addams’ apple—of her eye, that is. Alec Mapa ( Ugly Betty , Desperate Housewives ) hosts the eight-episode series, with assistance from Addams’ trans-pal, Andrea James.
Logo also kicks off 2008 by greenlighting Gimme Sugar , a six-episode series about five L.A. lesbians trying to launch a nightclub, and Rockdogs , a comedy centering on a gay basketball team. But the big news is the network’s acquisition of the small-screen treatment of Del Shores’ Sordid Lives , showcasing the grit-drippin’ talents of such delicate southern dishes as Bonnie Bedelia, Beth Grant, Rue
McClanahan, Olivia Newton-John, and Caroline Rhea.
The Big Gay Sketch Show , Season 2 debuts February 5 , 9 p.m.
Transamerican Love Story debuts February 11 , timeslot TBA. Details: www.logoonline.com .
Gay and lesbian filmmakers up for awards
Three iconic queer names jump out as potential honorees at this year’s Film Independent’s Spirit Awards. Christine Vachon and Todd Haynes are up for kudos in the Best Feature and Best Director categories, respectively, for their work on the multi-heroed Bob Dylan biopic, I’m Not There. Though not gay, keep an eye out for Cate Blanchett, who is nominated for Best Actress for her role as Bob Dylan in Haynes’ film.
And watch for Gus Van Sant to give Haynes a run for his money for his direction of Paranoid Park.
Airs February 23 on IFC. Details: www.ifc.com.
As You Like It
For his fifth Shakespearean screen outing, Kenneth Branagh adapts that most sweetly loony and breezily beguiling of the bard’s comedies, As You Like It. He makes it the more winsome by setting it in 1800s Japan, so the Duke’s merry men do thai chi in the Arden woods and sad Jacques (played by Kevin Kline no less) is serenaded in a raked sand garden. The fair Rosalind (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her enamored cuz Cecilia (“whose loves are dearer than the natural bond of sisters”) go in drag as a couple, and Rosalind sets up a gender merry-go-round in her cross-dressing disguise, even persuading her beloved to make love to her when he thinks she’s a boy. Branagh’s created a likable new As You Like It, both lively and intelligent. Includes Alfred Molina as the fool Touchstone, with some really tall hair. Premieres August 21 at 8 p.m. on HBO (www.hbo.com).
— Review: Ann Walton Sieber
Bill Maher: The Decider
host of Real Time with Bill Maher heats up an already plenty hot summer in a live concert from Boston’s Berklee
Performance Hall. Likely replete with stinging references to Scooter “Less Time Served Than Paris Hilton” Libby, the show premiered July 21, but repeats throughout August on HBO (www.hbo.com). — Preview: Nancy Ford
Her boyfriend just got snuffed, one son is about to be busted for having a trunkload of pot, and her other son is on the lam with her eight-toed brother-in-law’s ex-girlfriend, all while she’s being held at gunpoint by gang-bangers. Sounds like someone needs to roll Ms. Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) a big fatty. Returns to Showtime (www.sho.com) on
August 13 at 9 p.m. — Preview: Nancy Ford
We’re not sure how those Red Hot Chili Peppers boys feel about the obvious rip-off of their similarly titled 1999 album. But star David Duchovny (The X Files) says this Californication is “funny and kind of dark,” unlike his quirky turn with Brad Pitt in the dark and kind of funny Kalifornia (1993). Premieres August 13 at 9:30 p.m. on Showtime (www.sho.com). — Preview: Nancy Ford
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