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ArtsBeat: David Chase Says Remarks About ‘Sopranos’ Finale Were Misconstrued

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 28 Agustus 2014 | 16.43

Photo James Gandolfini in a scene from the finale of "The Sopranos."Credit Will Hart/HBO

Updated, 10:27 p.m. | If you have your own personal interpretation of the famously ambiguous ending of "The Sopranos," or would simply prefer not to have any particular conclusion affixed to that influential HBO crime drama, which ended in 2007, the lesson here is: Don't stop believing.

Photo David Chase at an HBO event this summer.Credit Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for HBO

On Wednesday night, David Chase, the creator and show runner of "The Sopranos," disputed a widely discussed article published earlier in the day by the Vox.com website, which quoted him as saying that the mob boss Tony Soprano was still alive at the conclusion of the series.

As aficionados of serialized television can all but recite by heart, the show ended with significant but deliberate uncertainty: While the patriarch Tony (played by James Gandolfini) is sitting in a restaurant with his wife and son and awaiting his daughter, he listens to the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'," and is eyed at a distance by a mystery man in a Members Only jacket. Tony looks up from his table and suddenly – a smash-cut to black, the end.

For years afterward, fans of the series have debated what this scene meant: Had Tony been killed? Did he live on in a state of perpetual tension that embodies the human condition? Mr. Chase, for his part, appeared content to let this discussion endure, never weighing in with any definitive interpretation of his own.

That seemed to change with the Vox.com article by Martha P. Nochimson, an author, journalist and professor, who wrote that she was having a conversation with Mr. Chase in "a tiny coffee shop, when, in the middle of a low-key chat about a writing problem I was having," she directly asked Mr. Chase if Tony was dead.

Ms. Nochimson said that in his response, Mr. Chase was "laconic."

"Just the fact and no interpretation," she wrote. "He shook his head 'no.' And he said simply, 'No he isn't.' That was all."

But apparently, that was not all. A statement issued by Mr. Chase's publicist, Leslee Dart, said that the Vox.com writer "misconstrued what David Chase said in their interview."

"To simply quote David as saying, 'Tony Soprano is not dead,' is inaccurate," the statement continued. "There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true."

The statement added that Mr. Chase had said "numerous times on the record" that answering the question of whether "Tony Soprano is alive or dead is not the point."

"To continue to search for this answer is fruitless," the statement said. "The final scene of 'The Sopranos' raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer."

In response, Vox called Mr. Chase's statement "something of a classic non-denial denial."

Now, who would like to explain the ending of "2001: A Space Odyssey"?


16.43 | 0 komentar | Read More

ArtsBeat: Highlights From the 2014 Emmy Awards

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 26 Agustus 2014 | 16.43

Slide Show

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, recognizing television's best, took place at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on Monday night. "Breaking Bad" and "Modern Family" repeated last year's wins for best drama and comedy, respectively.

Dave Itzkoff and Jon Caramanica of The Times live blogged the ceremony, which was hosted by Seth Meyers and broadcast on NBC.

10:58 P.M. 'Breaking Bad' is Top Drama

O.K., here we go. "Breaking Bad." You called it, Jon.

Well, there you go. Is Jim Parsons in this, too?

And when they erase my earlier prediction, I will have called it, too. I don't think anyone feels the same … resentment as they did about "Modern Family"? Yes, "Breaking Bad" is a repeat winner, but a highly merited one. In its final half-season.

HALF-season. MINI-season. Maybe next year these acceptance speeches will be honored with a Best Variety Show Emmy?

Clearly the achievement the Emmys are most proud of is ending on time. Everything else is incidental.

Early, even! They needed to make room for this Very Intense Katherine Heigl Promo.

Should we do the dignified thing and wrap it up ourselves?

We might end on time, Dave, but we are never the respectable choice.

The nominations seemed to suggest that this would be a change year — "Orange Is the New Black," "House of Cards," "True Detective" — and yet it wasn't. That's about as profound a thought as I can offer.

It feels a lot like the Grammys! In so much as there is an old guard in this world, it won here tonight.

Yes. It says a lot that McConaughey — a newly minted Academy Award winner — would have represented deviation from the norm at the Emmys. Instead his category was won by a homegrown TV star and veteran trophy hoister, Bryan Cranston. It's its own form of presidential politics. You may win the nomination, so to speak, but you've still got to win the general election.

At root, it shows a reluctance on the part of longtime professionals to acknowledge the changes that have been roiling their industry for years, and are going to keep rewriting it in the coming years. Like you said, it's a Chuck Lorre town.

10:51 P.M. 'Modern Family' Is Top Comedy

Jay Leno! They are really trolling Seth Meyers hard tonight.

He made that introduction through clenched teeth. Oh, also, "Modern Family" won something.

Remember when "Modern Family" felt radical? Do you think that, as they're up there, they know how many people think this is a terrible outcome? (And yet, I like most of these actors.)

The series is still a behemoth in so many ways. And massively influential on what's coming down the pipeline this season. It works, and on a network sitcom, that's hard to underestimate. Though they'll still play Steve Levitan off the stage to come out on time.

The "Modern Family" diaspora – write that!

10:45 P.M. Bryan Cranston Is Best Actor for 'Breaking Bad'

"This is horrible." JUST READ THE AWARD, JULIA ROBERTS. Wow. Cranston.

The "Breaking Bad" flush continuing.

Must've been that last-second Julia Roberts jinx. This definitely tips the scale.

Where was JLD to kiss him?

"Even I thought about voting for Matthew," says Cranston.

Also I would have chosen Harrelson over McConaughey, if we're going there.

Even Harrelson conceded he was going to lose to McConaughey — he just didn't know McConaughey was going to lose too. Quite a gracious speech by Cranston, for as many times as he's won previously. Last time he'll get to do it for this role, anyway.

10:38 P.M. Julianna Margulies Is Best Actress for 'Good Wife'

"What a wonderful time for women on television," says Julianna Margulies, a three-time winner now.
Indeed, some outstanding performances in that category.

This was a tough category!

And as Ms. Margulies points out, she's in a network show that has to do a mighty 22 episodes a season. Remember what that used to be like?

Even Margulies is #teamjoshcharles. We are for sure approaching the end of the 22-episode show cycle. How will we be able to tell the difference between a mini-series and a regular show when each of them are three episodes long? I feel like at least some of what we're seeing here is the network folks asserting their (alleged) primacy

How so?

By leaning on established talents on established network shows for big prizes.

The nets have to go home with something, right? Remember when the Emmys started off with a win for Ty Burrell and "Modern Family"? That sure seems like a long time ago.

10:35 P.M. 'Breaking Bad' Wins for Best Writing

Wanna do more Fukunaga material?

I'm workshopping a Khal Drogo bit, will let you know when it's ready. But shh, the Heigl speaks.

"Emmy winner Katherine Heigl" way funnier than anything we've done tonight. So that's two for Janney tonight. And any excuse to hear Joe Morton enunciate is a winner.

It was only ever a question of which "Breaking Bad" episode would win, and not much of a question at that. "Ozymandias" was an episode that some dare say was even superior to the "Breaking Bad" finale, "Felina." I don't think Heisenberg would appreciate their attempt to play her off stage, however.

Well they let the show director have like a four-minute acceptance speech before!

10:30 P.M. 'The' Abby Singer

The "In Memoriam" segment noted the passing of "the" Abby Singer. Why "the"? He was an assistant director, and in showbiz lore, the next-to-last shot of every day's shooting was called the Abby Singer Shot.

Bill Carter

10:29 P.M. Anna Gunn Is Best Supporting Actress for 'Breaking Bad'

Anna Gunn sticks it to no-show Maggie Smith.

Pretty sneaky, sis.

Hope she's enjoying her stay at one of those exotic marigold hotels.

"Breaking Bad" gonna run the table?

You're going to make me go on record, aren't you? I still predict … no. We can erase that if I'm wrong, yes?

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

10:22 P.M. 'True Detective' Wins for Directing

Seth Meyers with that very timely David Caruso burn.

Those "CSI: Miami" bits go over well on Twitter. Much harder in the real world, even if you have a pair of sunglasses.

A big year for Cary Joji Fukunaga's hair.

Cary Joji Fukunaga directed the entire run of "True Detective," so that's got to count for something. I'd give him another trophy if he could explain the whole story to me.

It's woven in his braids!

10:08 P.M. Aaron Paul Is Best Supporting Actor for 'Breaking Bad'

Literally no one can win this category because everyone should win this category.

B-b-b-b-but, what about Josh Charles, victim of the most unlikely TV death in recent memory?

I wonder what one word Aaron Paul could use to express himself in this situation? The classiest meth head to single out his fellow competitors. Cranston should've kissed him, too.

Cranston saving that for his own win.

10:07 P.M. Sofia Vergara as Prop
Photo

Sofia Vergara and Bruce Rosenblum, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, during the Emmy Awards.Credit Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

This is not at all sexist.

So we are turning the fetishization of Sofia Vergara's body into a comedy routine now? I didn't realize Seth MacFarlane was one of the writers this year.

[High five]

Thanks! Always keep a couple of retrograde-MacFarlane jokes in the chamber.

She should've been standing against a giant screen that said "FEMINIST."

9:56 P.M. 'The Colbert Report' Is Best Variety Series

Please GIF Gwen Stefani, Dave. "The CoBwol Ruhporr."

Congratulations to "Adele Dazeem."

In fairness, Gwen Stefani only watches children's television.

Excellent save by Jimmy Fallon, however. Was that pre-scripted and then re-improvised on the fly?

That's what it looked like, but Gwen really out-improv'd them all! A chair-turning performance!

She needs some work on her … voice.

No doubt.

9:53 P.M. 'Tony Awards' Win Best Direction of Variety Show

This would be the best time for Obama to gatecrash.

Key & Peele! Where is my "Broad City" squad?

Probably en route to a UPS routing station on Staten Island.

Chris Hardwick is here to represent "The Internet." Better him than Daniel Tosh, I suppose.

Billy Eichner ran off with all the good will. The guy directing the Emmys won an Emmy? What a coincidence. A good way to ensure, at least, that the Emmys don't immediately smash-cut to black.

9:46 P.M. Sarah Silverman Wins for Variety Special Writing

Let's just say an interesting moment to follow with Ricky Gervais. Crowd seems to be enjoying his "acceptance speech I would've given" bit. You can never go wrong calling Matt LeBlanc "Joey from Friends" to his face.

I heard it as "Jeremy from Friends" and loved it even more.

And having seen the contents of Sarah Silverman's purse earlier on E!, we know how she's going to celebrate.

First medical marijuana-influenced acceptance speech?

Haha, "medical."

9:40 P.M. 'The Normal Heart' Is Best TV Movie

Amazing to see Ryan Murphy walking Larry Kramer to the stage.

Here is something worth being excited about.

Yes, sometimes it's O.K. to be inevitable.

We have "Glee" to thank for this, natch.

Murphy also acknowledges the superpowers of Erin Brockovich (a.k.a Julia Roberts) and the Incredible Hulk (a.k.a Mark Ruffalo). Not to be underestimated. And a wonderfully inspiring speech from Murphy.

A genuine call to activism that felt slightly less slippery than Miley's last night.

9:33 P.M. 'Fargo' Wins Best Mini-Series

The showdown in that category seemed to be "Fargo" vs. "American Horror Story." "AHS" is grabbing its share of the acting trophies, but "Fargo" clearly getting a warm welcome into the annals of TV from the Television Academy tonight.

Is "Fargo" really a mini-series?

Oh, if only we had time for the epistemology debate on this one . . .

I feel like tonight is full of those debates. All the strategic misalignment of nominees and categories is pretty glaring; more than in past years, I think.

Yes, that victory could definitely set a precedent in terms of campaigning, and even how series get strategized before they debut. If you can structure it like a mini-series, you can nominate it as a mini-series. See you in 2015, I guess?

9:29 P.M. A Musical Interlude From Weird Al

Weird Al! Weird Al with a goatee! He looks intense.

I guess Neil Patrick Harris was busy? Billy Crystal too?

Well, Weird Al is having a moment. To coin a phrase. I like the conceit of writing lyrics for shows with instrumental theme songs.

Was this sponsored by Crackle.com?

Yeah, all that's raising this above a decent viral video is Weird Al's presence in it.

I agree with you, though — sort of a fun parlor game to see what he does with these instrumentals. Or will we later learn that the Emmy writers did all the lyrics and he's just the front?

9:29 P.M. Jessica Lange Wins Best Mini-Series Actress
Photo

Jessica Lange on Monday night accepting the award for Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie for "American Horror Story: Coven."Credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images

That house band – oy.

Mixmaster Mike!

Is it???

It is.

Now I feel terrible. But I feel better that Jessica Lange won her Emmy. Bust out the Stevie Nicks in celebration.

Jessica Lange having a very smooth reaction to this victory.

9:09 P.M. Benedict Cumberbatch Wins for 'Sherlock'

I do enjoy seeing Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers vamp, but it's delaying the entrance of McConaughey and Harrelson.

McConaughey just tossed me a beer.

There is a surprising amount of sobriety on that stage right now. I'll just say they're very funny, and even better with a script.

"I'm grateful you had all the plagiarized lines"; did not think Woody Harrelson would beat me to a plagiarism joke tonight, but there you go.
The Emmys are apparently not important enough for two winners to show up to.

I'm just heartbroken we didn't get to see Harrelson, McConaughey and Cumberbatch all in the same place.

Gotta wait for our invite to the GQ Man of the Year party!

9:07 P.M. Martin Freeman Is Best Supporting Actor in Mini-Series

The perennial question: Will we get Stephen Colbert or "Stephen Colbert"?

Or "John Oliver."

This will get a furious 15-minute rebuttal on the next episode of "Last Week Tonight."

Letterman feeling pretty good about his legacy right now, watching this.

Colbert must be so bummed he couldn't personally hand that trophy to Bilbo Baggins himself.

9:00 P.M. Kathy Bates Is Best Supporting Actress, Mini-Series
Photo

Kathy Bates accepting the award for supporting actress in a mini-series "American Horror Story: Coven."Credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Another surprise! I thought for sure Julia Louis-Roberts would win. She has "Julia" in her name, it seemed fated. Even Kathy Bates is stunned she won. But she made it fun to root for a character who was quite literally going to hell.

8:57 P.M. 'Sherlock' Wins Best Mini-Series Writing

These SNL-style questions-from-the-audience bits are always reliable, especially when your "audience" includes Melissa McCarthy, Jon Hamm and Jon Hamm's extraordinary beard.

Reliably awful!

I'd be O.K. with two more hours of this.

Man we really have done too many of these, huh? Let's raise the bar.

I just love to see the excitable "Silicon Valley" guys in the background. They seem so happy to be out of the Y-combinator. That was a brutally competitive category. Thought for sure it would go to Larry Kramer. Not Mr. Doctor Who (a.k.a. "Sherlock" producer Steven Moffat).

I thought it would go to the "Luther" writers, though admittedly it's pretty easy to just write [insert Idris Elba smoldering here].

America should be exposed to more Scottish accents. It's good for us.

Also "Treme" more likely to win the Newbery Medal for children's writing, so I wasn't worried about that one

8:48 P.M. 'The Amazing Race' Is Best Reality Competition

Beginning to think that Emmy voters think that by voting for "The Amazing Race," it counts as actual travel.

I just love to hear the name "Bertram Van Munster."

BUT WHO WILL BE BOLD ENOUGH TO VOTE FOR "BIG BROTHER"? Am I still allowed to be aghast at how the Emmys handle reality TV?

To quote "The Simpsons": "It's a victimless crime, like punching someone in the dark."

That's just the sort of attitude that got us here, Dave! Don't just stand idly by – join me in agitating for a better, realer tomorrow.
(Also I stopped watching "The Amazing Race" like four years ago because, seriously?)

8:44 P.M. Julia Louis-Dreyfus Is Best Actress in a Comedy
Photo

Julia Louis-Dreyfus celebrated her best comedy actress win, for "Veep," with a kiss from Bryan Cranston.Credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Excuse me, I have to GIF that JLD/Cranston kiss, sorry. Bye. Everyone deserves to be received by Bryan Cranston like that. Julia Louis-Dreyfus in particular, but all of us.

"Veep" approaching phenom velocity of late. JLD is a tremendous, frazzled gift.

If I remember "Superman II" correctly, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has now forgotten all the events of the past year.

8:41 P.M. How's Seth Meyers Doing?

Seth Meyers is this year's Emmy Awards host, following on Neil Patrick Harris and Jimmy Kimmel the previous two years, and Jane Lynch the year before that. How do you think he's doing? Tweet your thoughts about his opening monologue and his jokes using the hashtag #NYTEmmys. We'll collect your views and share them later on the blog.

Michael Roston

8:36 P.M. Jim Parsons Is Best Actor in a Comedy

Cranston will definitely win first prize at the Walt Disney lookalike contest he's attending afterwards.

Need that Louis CK GIF, stat, Dave.

Well, good for that gentle, soft-spoken, wealthy, wealthy, wealthy man, I suppose.

Parsons out here apologizing for his show.

Very touching bit of thanks to his late father, though.

Yes! But! That was a very self-aware speech, aimed at detractors not supporters. History will absolve Jim Parsons, if not his show.

8:34 P.M. Billy and Seth on the Street

Love me some Billy Eichner, but Seth is riding some coattails here.

Billy Eichner is the real host.

Seth is smiling graciously. Best to stand back and let Hurricane Billy do his thing.

At least Tatiana Maslany gets her name dropped.

8:28 P.M. Gail Mancuso Is Best Comedy Director

Here's an actual act of comedy — Gail Mancuso addressing her victory speech for best direction in a comedy series to Matthew McConaughey, both because it's light erotic comedy and so that she doesn't cry. Camila Alves might cut her backstage, though.

8:14 P.M. Slide Show: On the Emmy Red Carpet
Photo

From left, Taylor Schilling in Rauwolf; Amy Poehler in Theia; Kiernan Shipka in Antonio Berardi; and Hayden Panettiere in Lorena Sarbu.Credit From left: Jason Merritt/Getty Images (2); Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Jason Merritt/Getty Images

More photos …

8:20 P.M. Allison Janney Is Best Supporting Actress, Comedy

Jimmy Kimmel doing a great job of demonstrating why Seth Meyers will live out his years at 12:30.

It did what it was meant to do. Allison Janney a two-time winner in two weeks (she won last weekend for a guest role on "Masters of Sex," too).
Sixth Emmy of her career, I believe.

At least some people watched "Mom!" Or just gave her a pass for all those years on "The West Wing."

It's the show with fewer nude scenes.

But "Mom" is sort of a fascinatingly flawed show — took several episodes to hit a stride, and even then, not really, but from a subject matter perspective, was unusually raw for CBS.

Forget it, Jon. It's Chuck Lorre town.

#teamgalecki over there, huh?

8:17 P.M. Louis CK Wins Comedy Writing Award

Missed opportunity to have Allison Williams fly onto the stage. (She can do that in real life you know.) And here. Come. The. Thinkpieces.

This is the Miley moment of the 2014 Emmys.

8:10 P.M. Ty Burrell Is Best Comedy Supporting Actor

I will say I got genuinely psyched out when Seth Meyers introduced "Beyoncé." Not quite so surprised that the first award of the night goes to "Modern Family."

All that voiceover-spokesperson work is really paying off for Ty Burrell. Would always love to see Andre Braugher win but I'm not convinced what he does on that show counts as comedy. It's more like site-specific performance art.

This is looking like a promising night for adults who talk like "The Internet."

What does Tony Hale talk like? The CB radio?

8:00 P.M. Seth Meyers Kicks Off the Show

A "Mad Men" spoiler before the curtain has even gone up. And an appearance by "Masters of Sex's" Ulysses. Bodes well.

Man, the 1986 Emmys are getting off to a bracing start.

"This year we're doing the show on a Monday night in August, which, if I understand television, means the Emmys are about to be canceled." This is the Seth Meyers I came for. No big production number (as of yet), just right into Meyers's monologue. Very ESPYs.

Except that the ESPYs are funny. This is great humor for fans of mid-2000s CBS.

"That's right, kids, Jesse Pinkman lived, Dexter lived, 'Your Mother' didn't make it. Sleep tight."

O.K., O.K. a very sharp Jim Parsons joke; some is forgiven.

Send your complaints about spoilers to Seth Meyers ℅ 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Seth thinks he's hosting the annual Broadcasting & Cable exec roast.

I like the subtle snark. Not missing the padded-out song-and-dance routines. But give me something to meme already.

7:54 P.M. On the Red Carpet: Kerry Washington
Photo

Credit John Shearer/Invision for The Television Academy

7:28 P.M. Here Come the Emmys

Jon, I can't believe you're here after last night's marathon MTV Video Music Awards. You have the endurance of a young Adam Levine.

Adam Levine's not young? All that vampirism really is a blessing, huh?

While I don't expect a moment tonight on the order of Blue Ivy's "Good job, Mommy," I am provisionally excited for these Emmy Awards. It's a Seth Meyers, "True Detective," "Orange Is the New Black" kind of night. That's enough to look forward to.

I enjoy maybe 1.5 of those 3 things, so maybe I will be having less fun than you tonight. I will try to keep spirits high, though.

Any competitions you're looking forward to? Are you counting the minutes until the epic McConaughey/Harrelson/Cranston/Spacey bro-down?

I suppose I am looking forward to people freaking out if and when "The Big Bang Theory" beats "Louie."

You are a cynic in the classic Greek sense. Perhaps a Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Amy Poehler victory will turn that frown upside down.

#teamjoshcharles. If Nic Pizzolatto wins, will his acceptance speech just be a list of footnotes and attributions?

It would be pretty rad if they just announced the #TrueDetectiveSeason2 cast from the Emmys stage. And it's Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Dave, you are excited about Seth Meyers, yes?

I am!

I'm so sorry. He just said on the red carpet not to expect jabs at individual shows or actors, only thematic comedy about, you know, the state of television. He's a card, that guy.

Oh, well maybe he was doing it in the guise of one of his many SNL characters.

7:02 P.M. Emmys vs. Video Music Awards: Readers Respond

With the Primetime Emmys and MTV Video Music Awards broadcast on successive nights this year, we asked readers to tell us which show they think is more important. Do the MTV awards, now in their 31st year, distill what's big in popular culture? Or do the Emmys better define the entertainment that we consume by crowning the best of what some say is a new golden age of television?

Several Times readers responding came down on the side of the Emmys.

One reader captured the fleeting nature of youth in describing why she thinks the Emmys are more culturally relevant:

. #NYTEmmys, I'm 50 with many friends 27-29yo. The younguns think they've aged out of the #VMA2014.

— diana biederman (@dianauws) 25 Aug 14

And other readers were more stark about how age factors into the way they see the MTV awards:

Millennial trash vs Gen X class? I'll take the Emmys #NYTEmmys The only thing I see coming out of the VMAs is the fall of our empire.

— Pete the Cat (@PeteTheCat) 25 Aug 14

Favorite TV shows were also cited as reasons that the Emmys were more important:

Answer: Battleship on FX. RT @nytimesarts: Which matters more: The Emmy Awards or the VMAs? Tell us with #NYTEmmys http://t.co/xO85WuqupX

— Michael Martinez (@MikeMartinezDC) 25 Aug 14

But the age factor also came up as a reason both the Video Music and Emmy Awards offer up useful cultural signposts:

#nytemmys vma young emmy old! both relevant

— igwos (@igwos_) 25 Aug 14

Then again, some Twitter users thought we were asking the wrong question:

Or which matters less "@nytimesarts: Which matters more: The Emmy Awards or the VMAs? Tell us with #NYTEmmys http://t.co/7oJkhAgV1f"

— Cathleen Carr (@Cathleen_Carr) 25 Aug 14

@nytimesarts #NYTEmmys yawn. VMA yawn. Reading a good book or playing with the kids is a better way to spend your precious time.

— MEGumerson (@Farmagedddon) 25 Aug 14

Do you disagree? Keep the discussion going using the hashtag #NYTEmmys.

Michael Roston

7:00 P.M. On the Red Carpet: Todd Spiewak and Jim Parsons
Photo

Credit John Shearer/Invision for The Television Academy

6:58 P.M. On the Red Carpet: Taylor Schilling
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Credit Frederic J Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

6:55 P.M. On the Red Carpet: Laverne Cox
Photo

Credit Frederic J Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

6:53 P.M. On the Red Carpet: Peter Dinklage
Photo

Credit John Shearer/Invision for The Television Academy

6:49 P.M. On the Red Carpet: Alexi Ashe and Seth Meyers
Photo

Credit Frederic J Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

6:48 P.M. On the Red Carpet: Lena Dunham
Photo

Credit John Shearer/Invision, via Invision For The Television Academy

6:46 P.M. On the Red Carpet: Hayden Panettiere
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Credit Mark Ralston/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

6:45 P.M. On the Red Carpet: Christina Hendricks
Photo

Credit John Shearer/Invision for The Television Academy

5:21 P.M. Ginger Beard Detailing, People With Field in Names

A brief survey of how various television stars are preparing for the Emmy Awards:

Beauties getting ready to hit the road on the way to the red carpet! #OITNB #Emmys http://t.co/6X2mI3yYLJ

— Orange Is the New… (@OITNB) 25 Aug 14

Instead of prepping for #Emmys I'm prepping for bed in Romania. #BeingBenFranklin Best o luck to @BreakingBad_AMC miss you dearly

— dean norris (@deanjnorris) 25 Aug 14

At fancy party with fancy people @nathanfielder @iamgreenfield #Emmys2014 #peoplewithfieldinname http://t.co/FSpBC19C9n

— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) 25 Aug 14

If Silicon Valley loses, you'll see me tweet a very sincere seeming congrats to the winning show. Don't believe me. I won't mean it. #Emmys

— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) 25 Aug 14

Just used some fake tan that I got free in a goody bag. It successfully turned the grey bits of my beard ginger. Perfect. #Emmys2014

— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) 23 Aug 14

4:27 P.M. Which Matters More? The VMAs or the Emmys?

Which awards show is more culturally relevant in 2014? The Primetime Emmy Awards or the MTV Video Music Awards? We'd like to hear the opinions of Times readers. You can share yours with us using the hashtag #NYTEmmys on Twitter, or write them in the comments here.

Quirks of the calendar put the VMAs and the Emmys on back-to-back nights this year. While there may be some overlaps in audience, the two awards shows celebrate two very distinct forms of entertainment. And so we invite readers to debate this question based on articles written in the past day by Emily Steel, a Times media reporter, and Jon Caramanica, a music critic.

In her preview of tonight's Emmys broadcast, Ms. Steel describes how the Emmys, once a celebration of an entertainment industry backwater, have gained luster. She writes that "as traditional and digital networks ramp up their original productions and attract some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, the Emmys are soaring to new levels of artistic — and for some networks, financial — importance."

In his review of last night's VMAs, Mr. Caramanica examined the show in its 31st year and MTV's diminished role in spreading popular culture. He writes that the VMAs were "dominated by a class of relative newborns who, just a year ago, were barely famous enough to be in the building to watch Miley Cyrus scandalize a nation."

What do you think? Do the VMAs continue to serve as a vanguard in popular culture? Or are the shows, performers and producers of the television programs celebrated at the Emmys more relevant to what entertains us as a culture today? Share your opinions on Twitter and we'll gather some of your perspectives here on the blog ahead of the Emmys broadcast tonight.

Michael Roston

3:35 P.M. Forget the Academy; Here Are Your Picks
Photo

"Bob's Burgers" on Fox won the Emmy for best animated program. It was a favorite among Times readers, as well.Credit Fox

Observers have been known to complain that the Emmys recycle the same nominees year after year, making room for only a few newbies at a time. So in advance of tonight's ceremony on NBC, we asked you to tell us who you would have nominated, TV Academy rules and industry pets be damned. Some agreed with the official list of contenders, but many others put forward completely different suggestions. And while we didn't bring in PricewaterhouseCoopers to tabulate anything, there was a clear reader favorite: "Bob's Burgers" on Fox.

A few Emmy Awards were handed out on Aug. 16, and "Bob's Burgers" did actually win for best animated program, just as our readers called it:

"Bob's Burgers" should win this award in a landslide vote.
— Mitchell, Haddon Heights, N.J.

Hands down, "Bob's Burgers" (or anything with Kristen Schaal), followed closely by "Futurama." "South Park" has to be in there somewhere, because it sometimes operates on an entirely different plane. It is often so funny that laughter seems to be an inadequate response.
— gemli, Boston

But one voter went even further, nominating it for best comedy:

In an ideal world, "Bob's Burgers" or "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." In real life, "Silicon Valley." (But honestly, I'd take ANYTHING over "Big Bang Theory" or "Modern Family.")
— Lizbeth, N.Y.

Speaking of best comedy, shows that weren't really eligible like "Inside Amy Schumer" and "Key and Peele" (technically considered variety shows) received shout-outs, as did a few cult favorites and at least one not-at-all eligible show:

Why no mention of "Episodes?" I still don't get "Modern Family" or "Big Bang Theory." I don't give them any nomination.
— Uniack, Woodside, NY

I've been watching "Silicon Valley," which I enjoy but don't really understand. Just shows that when something's funny, it's funny.
— Emily Emirac, New York City

"The Mindy Project." Period.
— Rick L., NYC

Of those that were nominated, I'd have to go with "Louie" as well. But, for what makes me laugh at least once daily, it's still "Seinfeld."
— Alan Chaprack, New York, NY

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Matt LeBlanc, left, and Stephen Mangan in "Episodes" on Showtime.Credit Des Willie/Showtime

As for comedy performers, readers would have given Matt LeBlanc, the "Episodes" star, some love, and one wondered why a different "Big Bang Theory" star wasn't nominated:

I was very happy to see Jim Parsons win the first time, but since then I don't see that he has actually done much more with the character. That's not really a criticism of him, but I don't see the point of repeatedly rewarding someone for giving the same performance. It's also a shame that his co-star Johnny Galecki doesn't get some recognition.
— Jim, Boston

For lead actress in a comedy, Mindy Kaling of "The Mindy Project" was mentioned, but most readers preferred the TV Academy's contenders, including Taylor Schilling of "Orange Is the New Black" and especially Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who is nominated for "Veep":

She is the smartest, funniest actress working in television today. She carries her show like no other actress in her category. The bathroom scene in the final episode of this past season between her character, Selena, and Tony Hale, as Gary, was so brilliant, and had me in tears — I was laughing so hard.
— Ken L., New Jersey

On the drama side of the ledger, "The Killing," "The Good Wife," "Fargo" and "The Americans" each had their partisans. Surprisingly, "Game of Thrones" and "Downton Abbey" did not have a lot of defenders. So, at least among readers, the race comes down to two favorites. We'll let the readers make their cases:

"TRUE DETECTIVE"! "TRUE DETECTIVE"! "TRUE DETECTIVE"!
— Regular Meg, PA

If there were kind justice for this year's Emmys, every individual involved with the final episodes of "Breaking Bad" — in front of and behind the camera — would receive an Emmy. All other eligible categories would be temporarily changed to Best ___________ Not in "Breaking Bad."
— JR, Chicago, IL

Among drama actresses, several names were mentioned, including the nominated Julianna Margulies of "The Good Wife" and the snubbed Keri Russell of "The Americans." Several argued in favor of the overlooked Mireille Enos of "The Killing":

Ms. Enos is as good as anyone working today in films and TV. I will miss her (and Joel Kinnaman) as the most compelling cop partners that I can recall and I am 64.
— David Izzo, Durham, NC

And Lizzy Caplan, who is up for "Masters of Sex" tonight, had her partisans:

She is the force around which all else and everyone else in "Masters of Sex" revolves.
— Momus, Out west

Photo

Tatiana Maslany, center, in "Orphan Black" on BBC America.Credit Steve Wilkie/BBC AMERICA, via Associated Press

But one name ruled them all:

Tatiana Maslany, "Orphan Black," BBC America — six nominations? For each character she plays.
— Rolf Rykken, Washington, D.C.

Is there no degree of difficulty in acting, like Olympic diving or skating? Tatiana Maslany plays many different characters who are identical genetically and tints each one with the colors of different nurturing. Not hard enough? She then plays one of those character imitating another of those characters and creates a third character in between the two.
— William, Werick

Finally, for lead actor in a drama, a few readers spoke up in favor of three nominees — Jon Hamm of "Mad Men," Woody Harrelson of "True Detective" and Jeff Daniels of "The Newsroom." Many hearts and minds were with these overlooked stars:

Matthew Rhys in "The Americans" would get my vote without a doubt. Great show, great acting. But like "The Wire" and "Friday Night Lights," it's been ignored. You're in good company, show!
— Lainie, Lost Highway

Oh — there's just something about shamblin' Joel Kinnaman in "The Killing." What a delight. He would get my vote hands down.
— TL, NYC

But the overwhelming sentiment was with a not-exactly-overlooked actor, Peter Dinklage of "Game of Thrones." He is up for best supporting actor, which is the wrong category if you ask our readers:

Wow was Peter Dinklage really not nominated for best actor? What a joke.
— Donald Quixote, NY, NY

Peter Dinklage. Nomination or not (and he certainly IS the heart of "Game of Thrones"), I give him my own personal Emmy.
— sashakl, NYC

Stephanie Goodman


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ArtsBeat: ‘The Leftovers’ Recap: Looking Back

Written By Unknown on Senin, 25 Agustus 2014 | 16.43

Photo Chris Zylka and Margaret Qualley in "The Leftovers."Credit Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Season 1, Episode 9, "The Garveys at Their Best"

Why put this installment, our first real look at Mapleton before the Sudden Departure, as the penultimate episode of a 10-part series? In my cynical moments, I wonder if the writers of "The Leftovers" want to remind us just how much everybody has lost, to maximize the pain of whatever horrendous crime the Guilty Remnant is planning for the finale. (I have a theory on that, involving departed relatives and Loved Ones dolls, though that's just a guess.)

But Sunday's episode, as difficult as it was to watch, also struck me as our best insight yet into the inner lives of characters who have been frustratingly opaque for an entire season. Anyone who has experienced tragedy will identify with the process of looking for clues or premonitions in the banal buildup. Was it something I said? Something I did? These are the events we play over and over on our mental DVRs. And "The Garveys at Their Best" chronicles the events these characters are reliving, and rethinking, every day.

For Kevin Garvey, the exploding manhole cover, the mysterious caravan of women ("Are you ready?") and the deer-cum-hellbeast (those antlers seemed like monstrous teeth, a classic trope of nightmares) could all be bizarre premonitions of the Sudden Departure or meaningless MacGuffins. But that is how grief works: You never know the answer, even if these stray events divert the course of your life.

Consider our discovery that Patti was a disturbed psychiatric patient, with a vision that "something terrible is about to happen." Patti apparently issued these warnings all the time. But whether she knew about the Sudden Departure or not is irrelevant: Her "prophecies" may have later led Laurie to fall under her sway. You can imagine Laurie, after the Departure, reliving Patti's words, especially the suggestion that something is wrong with her body — later revealed to be a fetus that may or may not have vanished on Oct. 14.

The revelation of Laurie's pregnancy, and that final ambiguous frown on her face (did it disappear?), also goes a long way in explaining what would lead Laurie to embrace a life of silence and cigarettes, a seemingly inexplicable plot point that viewers have complained about in online forums all season long. Similarly, Kevin Garvey is fleshed out here as an ambivalent adulterer, a sensitive if flawed guy navigating an haute suburban life. The scenes between him and his father are affecting and illuminating. But imagine if this episode had aired before the father-son diner confrontation in Episode 7. At the time, I found myself straining to care; in hindsight, the devastation of that encounter is all too clear.

Photo Justin Theroux and Amy Brenneman.Credit Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Watching this latest episode, I was struck by the obvious care and thought that has been devoted to this series — the visual echoes, like mailboxes and envelopes of cash; the subtle seeding of plot twists; the beautiful sequences, like the final moments of Sunday's hour, when the Sudden Departure is conveyed with only an overheard scream and silent looks of surprise.

All of which makes the clunky moments so much worse. This episode's ironies were too easy. The upbeat pop songs. The happy backyard dinner party, with dancing and Champagne on the eve of disaster. The Rev. Jamison, a literal and figurative punching bag of the show's writers, gets a medical reprieve minutes before a car accident sends his devoted wife into a coma. ("I'll drive!" she chirps cheerfully, as they leave the doctor's office.) Even the deer symbolism feels hollow, although I'm open to arguments otherwise.

Sunday's episode used dramatic irony to ratchet up suspense and underscore tragedy. But it is a trick at the characters' expense; we wince at their obliviousness, knowing the awful fate that looms. This is a show about the difficulties of pain that relishes inflicting it, on characters and audience alike. "The Leftovers" has one more episode to prove that trade-off has been worth it.

Do you think this episode should have aired sooner in the series, to better acquaint us with the characters and make us care more about their fates? What does it suggest about the finale that we have only now been awarded this backward glimpse? And I'm still pondering two lines of dialogue that stood out. Kevin's father tells him, "You have no greater purpose," exactly the opposite of what Kevin Sr. tells his son when he hands him the National Geographic. And what about Laurie's advice to Tommy, that "as a professional," she knows forgetting about bad things "doesn't work"? How does that square with her membership in the Guilty Remnant, a group devoted to making others remember, whether they want to or not?


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ArtsBeat: ‘The Knick’ Recap: The Rogue Clinic in the Hospital Basement

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 24 Agustus 2014 | 16.43

Photo Credit Mary Cybulski/HBO

Season 1, Episode 3, "The Busy Flea"

"The Knick" felt even more like the medical version of "Upstairs, Downstairs" in Friday night's episode, "The Busy Flea." There were hints last week that the racial divide at the Knickerbocker hospital was going to take on a literal, physical dimension, and this week the black surgeon Algernon Edwards (André Holland) took it all the way. Recruiting Miss Odom (Ghana Leigh), a laundress with extreme sewing skills, as his nurse and the boiler men as his orderlies, he set up a parallel, secret practice for black patients in the basement.

His first triumph was short-lived, however. In a demonstration of the larger struggle Edwards faces, a man who received a successful hernia operation was soon back in the basement, bleeding, having been unwilling or unable to stay away from his physically demanding job for the recommended two weeks. The patient died — it didn't help that Edwards had to run upstairs, holding his bloody hands aloft, to find more suturing thread and carry it back down with his teeth. An anguished, exhausted Edwards (he's doing double duty, upstairs and down) later picked a fight in a bar, unable to take out his frustration in any way other than beating up another black man.

These scenes of the compassionate, arrogant Edwards's clandestine efforts continued to be the best and most interesting part of the show, benefitting from Mr. Holland's vibrant performance and the humor and tension of the scenes in which he strong-armed the apprehensive workers into carrying out his plan. Black patients who arrived and knocked on basement doors asking about "the washing job" — a code that has presumably spread through the community — were invisible to the white staff.

Above ground, the show's other story lines proceeded handsomely and intelligently, though with less feeling or originality. The white surgeons Gallinger (Eric Johnson) and Chickering (Michael Angarano) — having stolen a copy of the French medical journal containing Edwards's article about a revolutionary procedure for operating on aneurysms — found themselves unable to translate it properly, even with the help of Mrs. Gallinger's finishing-school French. When they admitted their failure to the chief surgeon, Thackery (Clive Owen), he decreed over Gallinger's objections that Edwards would be present at the aneurysm operation — not to perform the surgery, but to talk Gallinger through it. That's something to look forward to next week.

The concerns of the wealthy were on the mind of Cornelia Robertson (Juliet Rylance), who noted that a growing number of uptown residents were contracting typhoid. She passed her observations along to Thackery and to the city health inspector Speight, who promised to look into it. This story line still seems headed toward a Typhoid Mary-like discovery, but the mystery was nowhere nearer being solved. In other Cornelia news, there was breakfast-table conversation about her fiancé, Phillip, who should be arriving soon, and his friend Henry, who loves the opera. (Will that turn out to be code?)

Sister Harriett (Cara Seymour) made just a few appearances, primarily to deal with an infant girl who was abandoned on the hospital steps. Cleary (Chris Sullivan), the brutish ambulance driver, was seen just once, when he reminded Harriett that he knew of her secret life as an abortionist.

More active was the crooked hospital administrator Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb), who spent the episode suffering the effects of the violent tooth extraction perpetrated on him by a money lender last week. We met the source, perhaps, of Barrow's financial difficulties: a young prostitute named Junia (Rachel Korine), to whom he gave a pair of expensive pearl earrings he had stolen from his wife. In return she performed the Busy Flea, which involved tearing off her clothes to find that imaginary insect. We also saw, in a series of fragmentary scenes, his latest moneymaking scheme, which involved human cadavers, pig hindquarters, the hospital furnace and a funeral urn.

Thackery's cocaine addiction made itself known only once, when he had to delay shooting up to discuss a case with Gallinger and Chickering, the Knick's Frick and Frack. But the major new story line introduced in the episode was also in the category of white people's problems circa 1900. Abigail Alford (Jennifer Ferrin), a former lover of Thackery's, appeared at the Knick wearing a rig that combined dark glasses and a prosthetic nose. (Viewers of "Boardwalk Empire" were certainly reminded of the half mask worn by the wounded World War I veteran Richard Harrow.) She was revealed to be suffering the consequences of syphilis — contracted from her husband, not Thackery — and removing the headgear revealed a hole where her nose should be.

Here was a neat encapsulation of the show's themes. There was the helplessness of 19th-century medicine to prevent her disfigurement, her shame at having contracted the disease, a hint of regret that she had chosen what she thought was a safe husband over the volatile Thackery, and finally the progressive Thackery's immediate insistence that she undergo a skin graft to rebuild her nose.

Of course boldness and pessimism are always twinned in Thackery, and later he gloomily asked Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson) what was the point of doing the graft. When Nurse Elkins, the show's saintly pragmatist, told him that it was enough if Abigail looked and felt better, Thackery was so inspired that he went back out and — in an uncharacteristically melodramatic choice — operated on the young uptown girl with typhoid, miraculously saving her life.

Looking forward, the most interesting questions about the story involve Edwards — when, how and to what extent will he be successfully integrated into the Knick's upstairs practice of medicine? (It seems unlikely that the show will keep him downstairs forever.) Also, will Thackery eventually demonstrate a love of something or someone besides cocaine? There are plenty of prospects by now — Cornelia, Lucy, Abigail, even the Chinese prostitute Lin-Lin.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.


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ArtsBeat: ‘The Knick’ Recap: The Rogue Clinic in the Hospital Basement

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 23 Agustus 2014 | 16.43

Photo Credit Mary Cybulski/HBO

Season 1, Episode 3, "The Busy Flea"

"The Knick" felt even more like the medical version of "Upstairs, Downstairs" in Friday night's episode, "The Busy Flea." There were hints last week that the racial divide at the Knickerbocker hospital was going to take on a literal, physical dimension, and this week the black surgeon Algernon Edwards (André Holland) took it all the way. Recruiting Miss Odom (Ghana Leigh), a laundress with extreme sewing skills, as his nurse and the boiler men as his orderlies, he set up a parallel, secret practice for black patients in the basement.

His first triumph was short-lived, however. In a demonstration of the larger struggle Edwards faces, a man who received a successful hernia operation was soon back in the basement, bleeding, having been unwilling or unable to stay away from his physically demanding job for the recommended two weeks. The patient died — it didn't help that Edwards had to run upstairs, holding his bloody hands aloft, to find more suturing thread and carry it back down with his teeth. An anguished, exhausted Edwards (he's doing double duty, upstairs and down) later picked a fight in a bar, unable to take out his frustration in any way other than beating up another black man.

These scenes of the compassionate, arrogant Edwards's clandestine efforts continued to be the best and most interesting part of the show, benefitting from Mr. Holland's vibrant performance and the humor and tension of the scenes in which he strong-armed the apprehensive workers into carrying out his plan. Black patients who arrived and knocked on basement doors asking about "the washing job" — a code that has presumably spread through the community — were invisible to the white staff.

Above ground, the show's other story lines proceeded handsomely and intelligently, though with less feeling or originality. The white surgeons Gallinger (Eric Johnson) and Chickering (Michael Angarano) — having stolen a copy of the French medical journal containing Edwards's article about a revolutionary procedure for operating on aneurysms — found themselves unable to translate it properly, even with the help of Mrs. Gallinger's finishing-school French. When they admitted their failure to the chief surgeon, Thackery (Clive Owen), he decreed over Gallinger's objections that Edwards would be present at the aneurysm operation — not to perform the surgery, but to talk Gallinger through it. That's something to look forward to next week.

The concerns of the wealthy were on the mind of Cornelia Robertson (Juliet Rylance), who noted that a growing number of uptown residents were contracting typhoid. She passed her observations along to Thackery and to the city health inspector Speight, who promised to look into it. This story line still seems headed toward a Typhoid Mary-like discovery, but the mystery was nowhere nearer being solved. In other Cornelia news, there was breakfast-table conversation about her fiancé, Phillip, who should be arriving soon, and his friend Henry, who loves the opera. (Will that turn out to be code?)

Sister Harriett (Cara Seymour) made just a few appearances, primarily to deal with an infant girl who was abandoned on the hospital steps. Cleary (Chris Sullivan), the brutish ambulance driver, was seen just once, when he reminded Harriett that he knew of her secret life as an abortionist.

More active was the crooked hospital administrator Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb), who spent the episode suffering the effects of the violent tooth extraction perpetrated on him by a money lender last week. We met the source, perhaps, of Barrow's financial difficulties: a young prostitute named Junia (Rachel Korine), to whom he gave a pair of expensive pearl earrings he had stolen from his wife. In return she performed the Busy Flea, which involved tearing off her clothes to find that imaginary insect. We also saw, in a series of fragmentary scenes, his latest moneymaking scheme, which involved human cadavers, pig hindquarters, the hospital furnace and a funeral urn.

Thackery's cocaine addiction made itself known only once, when he had to delay shooting up to discuss a case with Gallinger and Chickering, the Knick's Frick and Frack. But the major new story line introduced in the episode was also in the category of white people's problems circa 1900. Abigail Alford (Jennifer Ferrin), a former lover of Thackery's, appeared at the Knick wearing a rig that combined dark glasses and a prosthetic nose. (Viewers of "Boardwalk Empire" were certainly reminded of the half mask worn by the wounded World War I veteran Richard Harrow.) She was revealed to be suffering the consequences of syphilis — contracted from her husband, not Thackery — and removing the headgear revealed a hole where her nose should be.

Here was a neat encapsulation of the show's themes. There was the helplessness of 19th-century medicine to prevent her disfigurement, her shame at having contracted the disease, a hint of regret that she had chosen what she thought was a safe husband over the volatile Thackery, and finally the progressive Thackery's immediate insistence that she undergo a skin graft to rebuild her nose.

Of course boldness and pessimism are always twinned in Thackery, and later he gloomily asked Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson) what was the point of doing the graft. When Nurse Elkins, the show's saintly pragmatist, told him that it was enough if Abigail looked and felt better, Thackery was so inspired that he went back out and — in an uncharacteristically melodramatic choice — operated on the young uptown girl with typhoid, miraculously saving her life.

Looking forward, the most interesting questions about the story involve Edwards — when, how and to what extent will he be successfully integrated into the Knick's upstairs practice of medicine? (It seems unlikely that the show will keep him downstairs forever.) Also, will Thackery eventually demonstrate a love of something or someone besides cocaine? There are plenty of prospects by now — Cornelia, Lucy, Abigail, even the Chinese prostitute Lin-Lin.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.


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ArtsBeat: ‘True Blood’ Recap: Everyone Hug It Out

Written By Unknown on Senin, 18 Agustus 2014 | 16.43

Photo Credit John P. Johnson/HBO

Season  7, Episode 9 , "Love Is to Die"

It was another surprisingly happy week on "True Blood," with reconciliation in the air, while the problems of the vampires Bill and Eric hung slightly in the background. Or maybe it just seemed that way because Bill's whole will-he-or-won't-he-be-cured thing has gotten kind of dull, as have the travails of Eric and Pam with Gus Jr. and the yakuza. One way or another, those stories are about to be wrapped up, because Sunday's episode on HBO was the show's next to last.

 
The good stuff in the episode, titled "Love Is to Die," was happening elsewhere. With several nice scenes, fans of Jessica and Hoyt got their wish. After making up with her former vampire boyfriend, James — who, in another of the episode's grace notes, said he was now happy with Lafayette — Jess went to find Hoyt and tell him the true story of their past. (Lived together, she was unfaithful, he asked to be glamored.) Given an ultimatum by his girlfriend, Brigette, Hoyt chose Jessica, following her into the night and telling her: "I want you to see if you can catch your breath. And once you've caught it, I want you to tell the story of us."

The disconsolate Brigette called Jason, who rushed to the scene but arrived too late to keep Hoyt from finding out about his past betrayal. Hoyt delivered a one-punch knockout (reminiscent of his past beating of Jason), and Jason woke up in his squad car, being driven away by Brigette. She wanted to take him to the hospital, but he scoffed — "I've had a lot of concussions" — and told her to drive to his place. But he warned her: "We ain't gonna have sex tonight. All right? Hope you understand." When she said, "What makes you think there's any world in which I'd want to have sex with you tonight?" he replied, "Trust me, Brigette, it needed to be said."

Then came a further fix for Hoyt-Jessica worshipers. Jason and Brigette played out a comic sex-farce scene, him withholding

his fairy-fueled powers of sex and romance and her demonstrating that she could resist them just fine, cross-cut with glossy shots of Hoyt and Jess giving in to their passion. Everyone was happy.

There was more good cheer at Bellefleur's, where Arlene, defying the gloom that's overtaken Bon Temps because of the recent attacks from hepatitis-infected vampires, threw a feast for many of the supporting characters: James and Lafayette, Andy and Holly, Adilyn and Wade. Even Arlene was happily paired off, telling Sookie of her relationship with the new vampire Keith: "I mean, we're taking it real slow. Because we can't have sex, because it would kill him if we did. But, yeah, I kind of like him."

Along with all the relationship talk came a lot of talk of children. Sam Merlotte, in a goodbye letter to Sookie, said he had to leave with Nicole because he wanted to see their baby grow up. Brigette and Hoyt fought over his declaration that he didn't want children, which of course wouldn't be a problem with the vampire Jessica. Jason, making chaste pillow talk with Brigette later, said he really wanted kids but was afraid to have a girl because she might meet a man like him.

And then there was Bill. While Sookie finally got over her moping and joined her friends for dinner at Bellefleur's, Bill was talking to Eric and confirming what was clear in the previous episode: He thinks that by not taking the cure, he's doing the right thing for Sookie. "She'll learn to love someone else, but not while I'm on the planet," Bill said.

Eric told him to get over himself, but Bill insisted — his dream in the previous episode of his and Sookie's blank-faced baby was a statement that the two of them can give birth only to death. (Heavy.) He then asked Eric to persuade Sookie to talk to him, so that he could explain this to her, which led to something new, even in the show's 79th episode: Eric's picking up Sookie and flying her from Bellefleur's to her house, a view she'd never had before.

It wouldn't be "True Blood" without at least a touch of violence and dread, so in the episode's penultimate scene Eric found Pam silver-chained to a table by Gus Jr., with a huge stake suspended over her heart. Gus had guessed that Sookie had been told about the Hepatitis-V cure, threatening his moneymaking scheme. To save Pam, Eric confessed, upon which Gus asked where Sookie lived. When last seen, Eric's sharp Nordic jaw and cheekbones were trembling as he decided what to do. At the same moment, Bill approached the house in question to have his final talk with Sookie.

A few questions present themselves here. Does Gus really need Eric to tell him where Sookie lives? Couldn't Eric, once he was cured, have found 10 different ways to get himself and Pam away from Gus? But with just one episode remaining, we should focus on the big ones. Who survives next week and who doesn't? Does Bill take the cure or die the true heroic death? How many episodes, like this one, haven't included a single death? Let us know what you think in the comments.


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ArtsBeat: ‘The Leftovers’ Recap: The Show Can Feel Like ‘The Twilight Zone,’ With Pretensions

Photo Ann Dowd as Patti in "The Leftovers."Credit Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Season 1, Episode 8, "Cairo"

For a minute there, I was rooting for Patti and Dean.

The Guilty Remnant materfamilias and the mysterious dog-killer, brought together by an Ambien-induced kidnapping in Sunday's "The Leftovers," seemed to be evincing a gruff chemistry, exchanging twangy, nasty put-downs like a duo in a demented screwball comedy.

That was before Dean tied a plastic bag over Patti's head, before Patti took a glass shard to her own jugular, and before one of Yeats's loveliest and most delicate compositions was invoked to justify breathtaking acts of cruelty and pain.

All that is to say that "Cairo," the eighth installment of this debut "Leftovers" season, was a busy, twisty hour, packed with more plot surprises than the first few episodes combined. Many viewers will feel relief — finally, we got answers on some of the mysteries that have built up over a cryptic season — but also a deep dread, because clearly something very, very dark is coming.

Let's begin at the end — Patti's end, to be exact. For someone who refuses to speak, Patti is sure articulate: She delivers her valediction in the mannered cadence of a Victorian murderer, taunting Garvey with cruel precision. A learned villain, she quotes from an 1899 poem by Yeats, "The Wind Among the Reeds," which describes a lover's embrace as a way to fend off impending doom. This is the crime the Guilty Remnant will not tolerate, the indulgence, as Patti puts it, in "colorful diversions that keep us from remembering."

And yet the members of the Guilty Remnant cannot help but be distracted. If Patti's suicide represents the height of devotion to the Guilty Remnant's brand of self-denial, Laurie and Megan are allowing glimpses of their humanity to poke through. Attacking the Reverend, plotting revenge against Nora — these are dark emotions, sure, but also a sign that the Remnant's power over them is not absolute.

I am hopeful Jill's arrival at the Remnant house will ultimately be Laurie's salvation, although this show can punish optimists. This episode revealed Patti's black heart, but also Jill and Garvey's goodness; they both use weapons to sever the shackles of a tortured soul. And Nora's gun, another instrument of death, helped Jill find relief in knowing that the pain she cannot shake is shared by others still.

At times, "The Leftovers" can feel like an old "Twilight Zone" episode with premium-cable pretensions. This episode brought us a cabin in the woods, a monster in the forest (complete with "Blair Witch" shaky-cam), a protagonist whose dreams become real, and — ahem — a gun in a box labeled "Trouble." Some commenters here argue that the show intentionally plays with these kinds of clichés. I'm all for tweaking convention, but the ever-serious tone makes it tough to tell what the joke is. Also: "Trouble"? Really?

But with this season almost over, I'm also feeling something that was sorely lacking at its start: anticipation. It mostly manifests as nerves — that deadly smirk on Laurie's face, as she pulls Nora's file from the book, telegraphed all kinds of awfulness — but I do want to know where these hapless Mapleton folks end up. That sounds basic for a television show, and it is, but in the case of "The Leftovers," I'd call it an improvement.

So what fresh hell is next? Those wrapped bodies being delivered into the Guilty Remnant's church cannot be good. Are they cadavers? Loved One dolls? The contents of the empty mass grave we heard about on Megan's television? (That same scene included a poster reading, "It Won't Be Long Now.") And besides the episode's title, "Cairo," did you catch any other connections to the National Geographic cover we glimpsed last week?


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ArtsBeat: ‘Masters of Sex’ Recap: Can Any Relationship Last?

Photo Caitlin FitzGerald as Libby Masters.Credit Michael Desmond/Showtime

Season 2, Episode 6, "Blackbird"

Some promotional clips for "Masters of Sex" close with Virginia Johnson standing in a hotel lobby watching a boxing match. "I want to see how it ends," she tells a stranger.
Well, we're all watching things end rather precipitously by the sixth episode of Showtime's "Masters of Sex." In fact, little seems to last long enough for viewers to become attached to any of the guest stars who have been gracing the screen lately with such eloquent speeches. (Courtney B. Vance and Keke Palmer are two stellar examples.)
And the loss of one strong female character, Dr. Lillian DePaul (Julianne Nicholson), will leave a huge gap – for those of us who grew fond of her as a singular role model – but especially for Virginia (Lizzy Caplan).

In a hotel, Bill and Virginia sit on the bed, fully clothed, as Virginia sobs, disclosing that Dr. Lillian has decided to refuse treatment for her metastasized cancer.
"I didn't see her coming. I'm always so careful, you know, with people," she says. "She's my friend, and I don't have a lot of those."

She adds, "Somehow Lillian snuck around the wall and now she won't even listen to me. Lillian, who – she knows me."

Bill awkwardly puts his arm around her, takes her chin and whispers, "I know you."

They kiss, likely their first. ("We don't kiss," Virginia warned in stopping him in an earlier scene. )

It's an acknowledgement of the truth of their relationship. But, of course, he doesn't really know her or what she's been up to outside their environs.

This episode, like others, turns on quite a bit of duplicity. Fibs and lies lead to more revelations for

Betty and Mr. Pretzel King, Libby and the nanny Coral, and Bill and Virginia.
Everyone seems to struggle with their identities, personally and professionally, in a difficult, repressive era: pre-Pill, pre-civil rights, pre same-sex marriage.

The show's detour by Masters & Johnson into an all-black fictitious hospital, Buell Green, ends apparently with this episode. And their stint there was so short-lived that it's bound to disappoint those who had hoped the show would explore race relations and medical disparities in the pre-civil rights era. (In real life, Masters set up an independent clinic after leaving other hospitals. For fictional drama about medicine and racial disparities, watch "The Knick.")

In this episode, it becomes quite clear that Dr. Charles Hendricks (Courtney B. Vance) so disapproved of the Dr. William Masters' sex study that he banned the hospital staff from participating, and ultimately set up deal-breaking conditions with Bill (Michael Sheen).

The two tangle over the parameters of the study at Buell Green, with Dr. Hendricks insisting that test subjects be white. What would the hospital's community think of two white researchers watching through a window as black patients had sex? He also reminds them of controversial experiments conducted on blacks – dosing them with excessive radiation, for example.

"Most of my staff have never seen a lynching, have you?" Dr. Hendricks asks, and refers to how victims were sometimes castrated beforehand.

Bill and Virginia try to persuade him that using black test subjects might help debunk myths of race and sexuality, but Dr. Hendricks is unmoved: "We'll move history forward. Mark my words. We just won't do it by burning my hospital to the ground."

A reporter, Morgan Hogue (Renee Goldsberry), injects herself into the tense situation, interviewing Bill and Virginia about whether they do intend to dispel stereotypes. She nearly implores them to destroy stereotypes of the Mandingo, the hypersexed black male, or Jezebel, "the portrayal of black women as oversexed and immoral to the point where a black woman can't be raped because she wants sex all the time."

While at first, Ms. Hogue's interview with Bill gives him a way to promote his research as beneficial to the black community, the reporter keeps digging into Bill's troubled tenure in his previous stints at St. Louis hospitals. Were you struck, as I was, by the depth of her knowledge – Bill's childhood hospitalizations, that he was not only a boxer but also had a pilot's license? And Ms. Hogue's conclusions in confronting Bill – that he works now at Buell Green because the white community has shunned him for his study?

What prompted him to choose medicine, she asks.

"As an obstetrician, you get to bring life into the world," he answers.

"So the sickly child became Prometheus creating man from clay," Ms. Hogue responds.

"If you're suggesting I have a God complex," Bill retorts. Hmmm.

Ms. Hogue's line of questioning jeopardizes his public reputation and his reaction proves quite startling, in the way he uses stereotypes of race and sex to try to kill the story. The scene between Ms. Hogue's editor and Bill reveals, at least to me, how base Bill can be to preserve his own skin. The racist ploy he uses – outlining in lies to the editor all the stereotypes of race and sexuality that he supposedly found in studying subjects at Buell Green (when we know there weren't any) – mirrors the very wrongheaded racial prejudices he scolds his wife, Libby, for embracing.

The editor threatens to call him out as a fraud; Bill counters with "I've delivered the children of every politician, lawmaker and newspaper man in this city."

Of course, that won't be enough once Dr. Hendricks learns of Bill's tactics.

Here, a few other endings:

Libby and Coral: The relationship between Libby (Caitlin FitzGerald) and the nanny Coral (Keke Palmer) has become quite the sideshow. Our readers have been suggesting that the down-sliding arc of Libby's character into racist attitudes is a setup to make her less likable, so that Bill can dump her. That's possible, I suppose, but Libby's quite complicated in that era before "The Feminine Mystique."

She learns in this episode – by following Coral, after finding out that Robert, the nanny's supposed boyfriend, has been arrested three times – that Robert (Jocko Sims) is actually Coral's brother. Ashamed and embarrassed, Libby hands Robert severance pay for Coral. But not before Robert tries to treat a cut on Libby's leg, which causes her to recoil and run, and then later rub as some type of touchstone.

In the best of worlds, perhaps she's on a learning curve?

No White Picket Fence: This episode devotes quite a bit of time to the threesome posed by Betty's renewal of a lesbian relationship with Helen (Sarah Silverman), while trying to cement her marriage to Gene Moretti (Greg Grunberg). Helen bristles at Betty's proposal that she become basically a mistress, with Helen set up in an apartment with a balcony.

Then Betty (Annaleigh Ashford) becomes sickened by the news that Helen wants to elope with Al (Johnny Sneed), Gene's good friend. Oddly enough, Al's the one who tips Gene off to how the women lock lips, and Al seems unfazed by it.

But Gene, the Pretzel King, puts it all together just before a business party. At the bottom of an elaborate mansion staircase (reminding me of "Gone With the Wind"), he loses it. She loves Helen, he knows. It's a great scene for Mr. Grunberg, whose character runs through all the lies and half-truths he says he's made peace with about Betty, all the men, her inability to have children. "Who are you?" he relentlessly asks.

If her heart belongs to Helen, "You want to sell yourself, you go ahead. But I cannot sell myself this cheap."

My guess is that we'll see little of Mr. Pretzel King from here on out. And probably soon we'll say goodbye to Helen, who balked at Betty's version of their lives together.

Losing Lillian: We knew her demise was closing in.

Dr. Lillian's conversations with the technician delivering radiation to her brain are almost comical as she tries to divine what's next for her. "I once had intercourse with a corpse," she jokes, in an attempt to provoke him to talk to her, to detail her deterioration. Once he describes her inevitable decline into unconsciousness, and she asks about pain, she decides to stop treatment. She tells Virginia she no longer wants to fight, especially with Virginia, who counters that she doesn't know how to do otherwise.

So true, but the two somehow reach a denouement.

At Dr. Lillian's home, she and Virginia finally share intimate memories and we learn a little about Lillian's life. Peers nicknamed her the Giraffe because she was taller than the boys; no one ever stayed to love her, the way she figures Bill loves Virginia.

"He never says it," Virginia allows.

"But you know it. That's everything, isn't it?" Lillian muses.

She gives Virginia instructions to leave her body to science, rather than to a family plot.

Virginia puts Lillian to bed, and traces words on her forehead the way she does with her kids. Sleep tight, eat your broccoli.

And then reality pokes through. Julianne Nicholson's freckles are resplendent in every role she plays, and in this scene, as Lillian, she jokes about connecting the dots on her face.

She's Lalande, Virginia says, in Ursa Major, the warrior princess who was so tall and burned so brightly in the sky that she struck some men down. She knew who she was.

Later, Dr. Lillian stares out the window at the stars, and decides to end her life. Virginia returns, finding her breathing shallowly, gasping. She lays down beside her, listening and letting her go.

No words.

Cutting the Cord: Toward the end of this week, Bill shamefully admits to Dr. Hendricks that never before has he misrepresented his work – even as a tactic, as he did to Ms. Hogue's editor. "I can't work in a hospital anymore. I can't be beholden to others' rules."

"So cut the cord," Dr. Hendricks says.

Bill laments that the end of this stage of his career feels like dying.

"So let's see if you have the guts to be reborn," Dr. Hendricks responds, ordering him to leave Buell Green.

The first refuge Bill seeks is Virginia, but she's not home. Who does he find babysitting her children while she's clinging to Dr. Lillian's last breaths? The very man she met in the lobby of the Masters-Johnson rendezvous hotel on the night of the big fight a few episodes ago.

Unable to catch his own breath, Bill returns to his own house, to Libby.

Baby Johnny rocks quietly, not crying, in a mechanical swing.

So wishing we could have placed Dr. Lillian in one to send her on her way.

Notes and Questions: Are you disappointed that the Buell Green setting for an expository visit on race relations has ended? Were you irritated by Bill's attempt to kill that story on him by exploiting so many stereotypes, and what purpose does that serve? Did you find this a cheap foray into a troubled time period that promised so much but in the end seems superficial?

What eulogy would you offer for Dr. Lillian DePaul and her friendship with Virginia?

Spotted: At some point, when Bill walks toward the elevator of Buell Green, did you see the poster "I'm a Man?"

What's Next: For Betty? For the Masters-Johnson study? What did you think of this episode of endings?

Postcript: Allison Janney won a guest acting Emmy this weekend for her role as Margaret Scully in this series. She's been away for much of this season on MoS, dividing her time with her other role on the sitcom "Mom." Please come back.


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ArtsBeat: Celine Dion Puts Her Career on Hold Over Health Issues

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 14 Agustus 2014 | 16.43

Photo René Angélil and Celine Dion in 2012.Credit Joerg Carstensen/European Pressphoto Agency

A message posted on Celine Dion's website early Wednesday said that the Canadian singer has "decided to postpone all of her show business activities indefinitely" in order to focus on her family and on health issues that both she and her husband, René Angélil, are facing.

Mr. Angélil had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in December, and Ms. Dion canceled performances last month because of an inflammation of her throat muscles. The message on her site said Ms. Dion has still not recovered from the condition.

The Coliseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas also posted a message on its website for Ms. Dion's shows saying that her scheduled performances through March 22, 2015, had been canceled. And Ms. Dion's website said that she was canceling a fall tour of Asia.

"I want to devote every ounce of my strength and energy to my husband's healing," Ms. Dion said in the message, "and to do so, it's important for me to dedicate this time to him and to our children. I also want to apologize to all my fans everywhere, for inconveniencing them, and I thank them so much for their love and support."


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ArtsBeat: ‘True Blood’ Recap: As the End Nears, It’s All About Healing

Written By Unknown on Senin, 11 Agustus 2014 | 16.43

Photo Will Yun Lee and Kristin Bauer van Straten in "True Blood."Credit John P. Johnson/HBO


Season 7, Episode 8, "Almost Home"

With just three weeks to go, "True Blood" officially commenced what we'll call the Final Season Tour of Healing in Sunday night's episode, "Almost Home."

It began literally. Picking up from one of last week's cliffhangers, Eric, Pam and Gus Jr. arrived at Sarah Newlin's lair and Eric, after suppressing his initial urge to rip Sarah's throat out, fed from her instead. The effect was instantaneous: his black veins slowly faded and his playboy leer returned, sure signs that Sarah's blood is indeed the cure for Hepatitis V.

Even with Eric cured, the Hep-V story line has a ways to go – Bill is still sick, Gus Jr. is still dangerous. But throughout the hour other characters received benedictions, presumably ushering them off the show on a note of peaceful resolution, and tangled relationships were happily ironed out.

Photo Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin.Credit John P. Johnson/HBO

The cardinal example was Tara, who finally got to head into the light, presumably ending Rutina Wesley's tenure on the show (unless there's some kind of cosmic reunion in the finale). After digging up most of the yard at Tara's childhood home, Lettie Mae and Lafayette took one last hit of vampire blood, and Lettie Mae's husband, the Reverend, demonstrated his love for her by joining them on their journey into the past. They, and we, saw a key moment from Tara's childhood when she could have shot her abusive father — perhaps saving Lettie Mae from her descent into drug abuse, etc. — but instead took his gun and buried it in the back yard, after which he abandoned her and Lettie Mae.

"I'm sorry I didn't pull that trigger," Dead Tara told her mother. Lettie Mae told Tara not to blame herself. After some more back-and-forth absolving, Tara said Lettie Mae had to forgive herself and promise to keep living — because that would allow Tara to move on. And with that, Ms. Wesley faded away.

Another, more deadly situation was resolved at Violet's house, in scenes that had some of the campy ghoulishness of a Hammer Films picture from the 1970s. When Jason — lured by a texted photo of a captive Jessica — arrived at the house, his former vampire lover Violet declared that while she was a greater temptress than Helen of Troy or Cleopatra, she just couldn't quit him. Such is the outsize erotic allure of the Bon Temps deputy sheriff and good old boy: "All I ever wanted from you, Jason, was to live in a world with no wit, no intellect, where you worshiped me for the perfect creature that I am."

Trussing him up alongside Jessica, Adilyn and Wade, all in their underwear, Violet described what she was going to do to them with various medieval instruments of torture. But before she could rip off anyone's breasts, she was shot in the back by another good old boy, the noble Hoyt, thereby ending the show's next-to-last grisly story line (unless a new one arises in Weeks Nine or 10). Presumably it also meant an end to the central roles of Adilyn and Wade, who were cute but awfully boring.

Hoyt's dashing rescue also meant that he — and his new girlfriend, Brigette the microbiologist — met his former love Jessica, who had been erased from his memory. (Jessica erased herself. You remember.) There was clearly a spark, and later Hoyt came to Bill's house to see her, demonstrating what a good guy he was by bringing a bag of his own, clean blood for Bill to feed on. It was a nice scene between two of the show's more likable performers, Deborah Ann Woll and Jim Parrack, ending with Hoyt saying he had to head back to Alaska but she'd be in his thoughts. Will they see each other again? I'm not saying. A lot of nice things do seem to be happening for people in Bon Temps these days.

Another nice thing was a moment between Jessica and Jason in which they made peace with each other over their on-again, off-again relationship. (Jason: "I never thought anything we did was a bad decision. Except when I betrayed you. Or shot you. Or got you locked up in a prison camp.") They agreed that they had a beautiful friendship, one that could incorporate sessions of both torture and prettily photographed PG-rated sex. For the show, another loose end tied up.

The exception to all this happiness, of course, was old Buzzkill Bill, spending his last days lying in bed with Sookie. The writers used their pillow talk to fill in some motivation dating back to the show's early seasons: Sookie asked Bill why Sophie-Ann, Bill's predecessor as vampire queen of Louisiana, had originally ordered him to track down Sookie, the instigating event of the whole series. He told her that Sophie-Ann had planned to breed her for her fairy blood, which helps explain why he risked tricking Sophie-Ann back in Season 3.

In the present, a grinning Eric rang the bell at Bill's house, not knowing that Bill was sick. When Sookie saw that Eric was cured, she was understandably excited, but now Eric was in a pickle: Gus Jr.'s business strategy was to delay if not outright prevent the development of a true cure from Sarah's blood, which meant Bill was out of luck.

Sookie wasn't having any of that, of course. Intrepid as always, she drove to Fangtasia, read Gus's mind, broke into the basement with a fairy fireball, found Sarah Newlin and deduced that she was the cure. She then fetched Bill and Jessica and brought them back to the basement so that Bill could feed directly on Sarah. But at the crucial moment — with Sookie and Jessica overjoyed that he would be cured and Pam and Eric terrified that the yakuza upstairs would hear them — Bill said: "No. I don't want the blood."

Why this sudden refusal to take a cure that's proven to work? It's all about Sookie, of course. Just before going to Fangtasia, Bill had a dream in which he saw Sookie holding their baby, whose face was just a black void. Bill can't father a baby, of course, and the dream — along with his recent flashbacks to Civil War days and the sad fate of his human wife, Caroline — indicates that he thinks Sookie will be better off without him.

So how does this end? Will Sookie convince Bill to take the cure? Will Sookie's life be threatened, presumably by Gus Jr., and will Bill be forced to take the cure to give himself the strength to save her? Will Bill save Sookie but die anyway, in beautiful fashion? Just two weeks to go.

Leave your comments below.


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