Operation Empire

This is obviously my personal site but my online content arsenal is vast. It includes Greater Gotham: Going Global, a blog about being out and about in New York City and what happens when you turn Gotham Girl lose on the UK; Fabulous Foodie, where food and food culture are served up a la carte. Last but not least, there is Modern Parlance -- home to my hard-working writer alter ego and headquarters in my nefarious plan to take over the world. It is also home to my work blog - Personal Parlance, where I hold forth on publishing, books, social media, communication, indexing, writing, education and anything else content-wise that catches my eye. 

I had wanted to call the whole thing Operation Empire but several of my friends suggested that might put people off. Upon consideration I decided that a) they were right (so went with Modern Parlance) and b) to effectively take over the world, I would need fewer friends and more minions. Applications being accepted now.

Scribbles & Notes

Of course, the word-smithing started long before the plan for world domination. At one time or another, my personal writing projects have included:

Take 2 Movie Reviews which proved indirectly that I once had a social life where as TV Rants & Raves suggested perhaps that I didn't. (I take comfort in the fact that I haven't updated it lately - which suggests that things are looking up.)

The only thing my ongoing Bibliomania ever suggested was that I needed more shelves and the patience to wait for  paperbacks. Publishing Grunt's Bible came about because working with books isn't the thrill ride that reading or buying them is. 

There were pure flights of fancy like Staving off Ennui, the Server Sees the Sights; there were answers to hypothetical questions like "what should go in a toy hall of fame and then there were the snarkathons - first site website I ever did - Alias Smith & Jones Site and the Dark Shadows Snarkathon.

Much older material is kept in the Ephemera Archives - moved to the backburner but not completely forgotten. Who knows what'll end up catching my attention next...

American Embassy: That's Entertainment?
Not for long

Poor American Embassy. It came and went very quickly - but not quickly enough to avoid my getting a few comments in. 

Epidose One: Sat down and watched American Embassy. I laughed and laughed. I suspect I was not supposed to. The usual 'relationship gone bad prompts young woman to change her life' scenario - a Mary Richards type of thing.

Emma Brody (Arija Bareikis) moves to London to become vice consul at the U.S. embassy. She sends regular emails to her sister so we are told about her transvestite neighbor (Gary who conveniently wears her size dress), ultrahip office (they run betting pools on EVERYTHING and music is blasting constantly and as far as I can tell everyone who works there is attractive, young and/or sassy), nympho roommate (who I HOPE is leaving) and a love triangle involving the lead with a British Lord who is enagged to be married and a CIA agent who attempted to have sex with her within MOMENTS of meeting her on the plane. Any idiot could have told him that it's hard enough to do it in an airplane bathroom but it's even harder to do it there when you've got a briefcase handcuffed to your wrist. Good looking but not the brightest bulb.

There was a running gag about cans of tuna that the drug enforcement people thought were druges but then decided it was just tuna and then finally at the end we find out they were WRONG after all - but we have no time to wonder how this big a faux pas occured because the next thing you know a car bomb has blown up outside in the court yard (I'm still unclear about HOW it was connected to the tuna but hey, I'm not here to ask questions) and among the dead is Dewey, a man previously naked throughout the episode who dispensed life and relationship advice to those around him.

Apparently the show was supposed to start this past fall but -- I gather they thought bombs at embassies wouldn't play in Peoria right about then.

My vote is - amusing. Not profound or thought provoking but full of eye candy and lots of establishing shots of London so I was pretty happy. Of course, I was bugged by a couple of things. The first is that I am supposed to believe that Emma is so fabulous, so adorable and so irresistible that mere minutes after meeting her, CIA man is making out with her in the airplane toilet and faster than a speeding hormone the British Lord is ready to leave his fiancee. Oh and about the 'help yourself' tuna. It's great, it's free, take some...enjoy it. We all love tuna. Yet the stack of cans sits there untouched for days until finally boss guy takes one, opens it up and discovers lo and behold...it contains drugs. So that's my report.

Episode Two: Yes, the drama - post explosion - continues at our favorite "shot on location" show. My favorite Gary quote so far: "Shaved head by day, Shaved legs by night". Anyhow, the cast and my thoughts on them so far are as follows (a good group of pictures of each at: http://www.amazing-journey.com/htm/ae_cast.htm)

  • Emma Brody (Arija Bareikis): I'm still disturbed by this hideous make up (or lack of make up) job on this actress.
  • CIA Agent Doug Roach (David Cubitt): one of the show "hotties" but something very off about his eyes. I can't tell whether he is cross eyed or had a wandering eye or what but it's a tad unsettling . And what's with the unappealing character name?
  • James Wellington (Nicholas Irons): I gather from the second episode that I am supposed to remember this guy from the first one but he must have been edited out because he wasn't there. Anyhow, he's the brother of the British lord in the premiere (who is not in the show fomr this point on) and I gather since he ISN'T engaged, he will be the third in the love triangle.
  • Gary Forbush (Michael Cerveris): - Gary, the Drag Queen with the heart of gold next door. He is the "tell-it-like-it-is, you-go-girl" neighbor
  • Consul General Elque Polk (Jonathan Adams): - His name is Elque? I thought it was LQ. What kinda of name is Elque?
  • Deputy Chief Janet Westerman (Helen Carey): a cross between Janet Reno and Judi Dench in the Bond movies? It's not working
  • Liz Shoop (Reiko Aylesworth): a "complication" -- and new roommate -- for Emma. Liz used to be involved with CIA guy. Oh and also with LQ. Having killed the tramp roommate in the bombing from the previous episode, they brought in a slightly scaled down one for the next phase.
  • Vice Consul Carmen Jones (Davenia McFadden): - the sassy black woman, staple of the sitcom world who seems slightly out of place in a one hour drama (I refuse to use the word dramedy. In fact, I refuse to admit that it IS a word)

Now, several people from the premiere did NOT make it to episode two and it seemed really odd until I read in several articles that the pilot and first few episodes had actually been shot last year and shelved to be a replacement for Ally McBeal earlier this year. Then Sept 11 happened and they (the producers) decided to "serious it up" a bit and even though the left the pilot alone, they reworked everything after that. They say that the pilot ALWAYS ended with the bombing but that originally, it was supposed to just happen and fade into the show history. Obviously, it wouldn't now but I don't REALLY see why they thought it work before Sept 11 either. I mean, those two American Embassies had been bombed not THAT long ago. Did they not think people would make a connection? I don't have a problem with the bomb thing. But I think it's odd that they thought they could do that and then sort of not mention it again. Seems like it would be an ongoing issue if you've got characters in the CIA and military running around. OK, whatever. So, that explained the slight wonkiness of the second episode when held up and compared to the first.

That said, I liked the second one better than the first. Why? 

  • No stacks of unexplained tuna. 
  • No annoying twelve year olds. In fact, no children at all in this episode. Always a plus. 
  • Emma, having finally gotten her luggage, is wearing something other than her black pants suit. 
  • Gary is in a great band 
  • Hey, the bomb was the work of the Algerians. And we figured it out in only three weeks (the amount of time we are told has passed since the bomb went off). We're better at this in the TV universe than real life and after all - isn't that what TV is for. 
  • I miss Dewey, the naked philosophical guy from last week (played by the guy who plays Steve in Sex and The City). He is there in spirit and flashback, however. Oh and in a canister on Emma's desk as she struggles to find a relative to claim his ashes

Annoying things from episode two (and some which carried over from episode one) 

  • Still too many "emails" home to sister Jules 
  • Aforementioned sister sends Emma a vibrator (batteries already inserted) to the office where the fact that it is already buzzing, creates a bomb scare lock down. Now come ON! Who sends vibrators in the mail with the batteries already in there? 
  • New roommate. Not that the roommate herself is annoying but the fact that Emma HAS one at all. She's an adult. They are all adults. I assume that they are making more than minimum wage. What's with the dorm like roommate situation. And I gather from the way it's handled on the how that it's mandatory. Am I to believe that Doug, the CIA lothario has a roommate? Or does the CIA, even when disguised as a cultural attache - what Doug laughingly calls his cover - make their guys shack up as well? 
  • And speaking of Doug's cover - I don't know why he has one. Everyone KNOWS what he does and who he works for and apparently they think nothing of discussing it in public with raised voices while sipping coffee in sidewalk cafes 
  • I'd like to see Gary is a variety of wigs. Not that the early Jaclyn Smith thing doesn't work. It does. But I'd love to se Gary as a sassy redhead 
  • Do embassy offices (or any office really) have music blaring for all to be forced to listen to? Oh and then, suddenly everyone is dancing. Is this "Fame"? Are they paying their dues, starting right NOW! Where is Debbie Allen?

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