Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Prime time in the daytime

Yesterday I found myself perusing Playbill.com's "Opening Night"
photos from the new Broadway production of Prelude to a Kiss, not because I'm interested in the show, but because I have an irrational affection for Annie Parisse stemming from her 1-season stint as Jack McCoy's assistant on Law & Order. (I thought she was very likeable, didn't you? Shame about that whole being-stuffed-in-a-trunk thing.) As far as the show goes... well, I remember haaating the movie, but to be fair, I was 12 when I saw it, and maybe too young to appreciate its subtle charms. (Have you seen it more recently? Am I correct in assuming that it has subtle charms?) Alec Baldwin is definitely on my list of "actors whose brilliance is entirely invisible to me" -- I was thinking that just the other night, while I was washing the dishes and half-watching the PBS broadcast of that Stokes/Reba South Pacific concert, in which Baldwin plays Luther Billis, and really couldn't be worse. So there's a good chance I'd still hate the movie. The play is probably a different story. [ETA: I did finally see it - my review is here.]

Speaking of fondly remembered former ADAs, yesterday I was reading Ben Brantley's review of Talk Radio and I got to page 2 and he mentioned Stephanie March and I said, "Hold up! Stephanie March is in this?" I think I actually said that out loud, although I was alone at the time. Because seriously, Stephanie March! Known to SVU fans (and all those afflicted with "March Madness") as Alex Cabot, the greatest ADA the L&O-iverse has ever known! And if that's not enough SVU excitement for you, Peter Hermann is also in the cast. (...And his SVU character once went on a date with Cabot! This is too exciting.) Once again, I'm not really that interested in the play -- I know I should be, because Liev Schrieber is apparently awesome, but all the Bogosian I've read bores me. However, I'm sure it's better than this season of SVU. And if it's as entertaining as this backstage tour, count me in! [ETA: My review here.]

As it turned out, yesterday was full of surprise encounters with Law & Order cast members. I did at least a triple-take when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Fred (Dalton) Thompson on a television in the office where I was working. "Ooh, Law & Order is on! Oh, no, that's CNN... Why is Arthur Branch on a news station?... Oh, no, it's just some politician... Wait a minute, Branch is played by a real politician... who's considering running for president?!"

I feel weird about this, and it's not the usual actor-running-for-office kind of weird. With Schwarzenegger, the question was, How can anyone take this man seriously (that's assuming one ought to take government leaders seriously) considering his many ridiculous movie roles? Whereas with Freddy D, my question is, will I take him too seriously as a potential leader, because I find him so confidence-inspiring on TV? I kind of love Branch, in spite of his frequent lapses into cornpone philosophizing. ("You can't milk a cow wearing boxing gloves, Serena. All you get is an angry cow.") He's no-nonsense like Schiff, but much more avuncular, and his occasionally referenced conservatism somehow comes across as ironic and wry, rather than defensive and naive. According to Wikipedia, he's a Yale man. And on the receiving end of that infamous line -- "Is this because I'm a lesbian?" -- he looked as baffled as I was. If Branch were running for office, I might consider voting for him.

I think Thompson knows it, too. Check it out -- he even talks like he's in character:
"I wanted to see how my colleagues who are on the campaign trail do now, what they say, what they emphasize, what they're addressing, and how successful they are in doing that, and whether or not they can carry the ball in next November."
A sports metaphor! Drink! I wonder, as his hypothetical campaign goes forward, will he be "doing an end run around" anything? Or perhaps going on "a fishing expedition"?

Have you seen either of the abovementioned plays? Think I should be ashamed for admitting that peripheral connections to L&O are the only reasons I'm interested in either? Agree with me that, if Freddy D runs as a Republican, the only rational course of action is for the Democrats to nominate Sam Waterston to oppose him? Share your thoughts.

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