The Accident May Be Murdoch Mysteries’ Finest Moment.

There is one thing above all else that separates anyone who is successful in their respective field from their competition… hunger.

If you want something bad enough, if you crave it above all others, if you truly desire it, you’ll reach deep inside yourself for the strength to achieve your goals.

But what happens when you’ve won? Will you still have the same hunger after you’ve sat at the table for years and ate until you fell as though you’re going to burst? After ten years on the air the team behind Murdoch Mysteries can surely be allowed to phone it in every once in awhile, right? After all, they’ve certainly earned it, haven’t they?

Fortunately, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. After watching The Accident, last night’s episode of MM, I can honestly say writer Mary Pedersen isn’t simply still hungry… she’s downright ravenous.

Watts, Crabtree, veteran Canadian extras and Elise Bauman as a suspicious – and hot – nurse… what’s not to love?

 

ONE)  A familiar face returns… with a case of the worst timing ever.  The familiar face belonged to Toronto city clerk Dilton Dilbert (yes, just like the comic strip!) who became a truly hapless victim of a murder plot most foul when he found himself pinned between a car (a traffic incident n early-century TO was a brilliant device, one of many in this ep) and a carriage while attending to his daily regimental stroll to work. Dr.Ogden quickly surmised that, in a case of supreme irony, the very thing that threatened to kill Dilbert was keeping him alive; moving the car would lead to his quick death.

And so Julia and her sidekicks (Watts, William, Brackenreid, etc.) had two missions: keep their soon-to-be murder victim comfortable while attempting to solve his inevitable murder. Incidentally, please don’t be angry with me for “spoiling” anything; Murdoch showrunner Peter Mitchell has been promising fans a tearjerker of an episode for weeks.

And he certainly delivered.

Personally, I was dreading this ep; I’ve seen far too much death in the real world lately but this hour of television was so profoundly moving I didn’t mind shedding a few more tears. Yes, I cried. Shut up.

 

TWO)  A fresh twist on a familiar plot device.  This week’s setup has been used before (even Robot Chicken utilized it; their victim continued to focus on work just like Dilton) but Pedersen and Company took things to the next level. It was all hands on deck as Watts (yes!), Brackenreid Junior and even Miss Cherry appeared.

In fact, Miss Cherry’s appearance and surprising (sort of) redemption threw yet another monkey wrench into the never-ending whirlwind that is George Crabtree’s love life.

Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

 

These guys look so happy to be back on my blog, don’t they?

 

THREE)  There were little piggies!  Who were saved from certain doom… only so they could be returned to the slaughter. Literally. Awesome.

 

FOUR)  The tension was unbelievable.  And in real time even. But seriously,  David Hewlett gave a ridiculously-understated performance as a man who finally understood the importance of living – and loving in the moment… just as his moments were running out.

Thomas Brackenreid’s unlikely friendship with Dilton was a curve-ball that gave both actors something meaty to sink their collective thespian teeth into. Though to be fair, every member of the MM cast and their guest stars outdid themselves this week, as did the writing room and the crew. The entire Murdoch back lot was put to good use and plenty of extras popped in to raise the level of excitement even higher. Peter Mitchell’s entire team, from Prop Monkey to the directing team – and MM’s budget – were pushed to the breaking point this week but it was totally worth it.

Again, simply brilliant.

 

Did I mention there were chickens?  By the way, this case inspired William to invent Swiss Chalet…

 

FIVE)  A last-minute save by William!  No details, but it was nice to see Yannick Bisson remind us just why the show is called Murdoch Mysteries and not A Bunch Of Coppers And A Dame Or Two, besides the obvious reasons, of course…

 

SIX)  Do whatever you have to do, but see this episode!  I’m not going to go any further for fear of spoiling the experience for anyone who hasn’t been blessed, but The Accident is no random act of television production, it’s what happens when a large group of hungry artists pool their talents to create something that will outlive them.

You’re going to cry, yes, but they’ll be different tears than the ones we’ve all been releasing of late.

True love’s first – and last – kiss.

 

See you in the lobby and on the CBC, kids… After you’ve watched this ep.

 

This tweet from prop Monkey was too cool to not include somewhere, so…

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This Is Going To Tick You Off, My Darling Daughter…

…But since I’m a father I’m obligated to do this sort of thing.

So buckle up, kid; it’s your “Secret Origin Day”.  Yes, I went there.  Anyone can use “Birthday”; I prefer to be the best nerd I can be.

The original plan was – and always will be – to be the best dad I can be, but you know what they say about the best laid plans…

I screw up on a daily basis.  I embarrass you regularly at airports (I swear, that passport-reading machine was out to get me!) at restaurants, pretty much anywhere we go together.  I forget many of the daily fandom/news/Broadway updates you thoughtfully provide me with on a daily basis – until I tell you about the same news days later.  And above all, even though I never mean to, I mansplain.

And yes, I will publicly admit that mansplaining is the most grievous of all male crimes but in my defense, and this applies to all of my mistakes… I mean well.  Remember that every day of your life, kid, because let’s face it, I’m going to mess up a whole lot more.

And yes, even though you’re nineteen today you’re still a kid.  You’re my kid and you always will be.  The day you were born was the happiest, and most nerve-wracking of our lives.  But it was worth it.  Your mother has always kept her ambitions and dreams grounded in reality (hence her choice of mate) and so being a mother was always the plan.  Fortunately, it turns out being your mom was her destiny, which explains why she’s so adept at doing the job of two competent parents.  Your mother isn’t as sappy as me, to say the least; she prefers to play her cards close to the vest, but she displays her love for you every single second in her every action.  There is literally nothing your mom wouldn’t do for you, kid.

Now me?  I’m definitely the sappy one.  And I’m also the one who is more than willing to get on a plane and fly to New York on whirlwind trips that allow you to indulge your greatest passion.  I can honestly say I’ve never seen a more brilliant light emanate from anyone’s heart that even comes close to matching the beam you gave off at the Richard Rodgers Theater the night we saw Hamilton.  You had been gushing about this show for over a year and it made me proud that we were able to bring at least one of your dreams to life.

 

Yes, I could’ve cropped this pic of your furry daughter… but as an old man I’m obligated to display my lack of technical know-how on a regular basis, so…

 

Life is a journey, kid, and sometimes It’s going to take you through the places where the wild things dwell.  But you already know that, don’t you?  At nineteen you’re already one of the most intelligent, tough-as-nails souls I’ve ever encountered.  I’d be proud to know you even if you weren’t my kid.

I know I haven’t exactly been a pillar of strength lately; the truth is, I’m broken and it can’t be easy for you seeing me walk around the house in a zombie-like state.  Then again, most dads, and males in general, spend their lives in zombie-like states anyway, so… 

Time to wrap this up: It has been the greatest honor of my life to be your dad and I hope that you remember that when I’m driving you insane as we argue about… pretty much everything.

You got your birthday present early this year (Anastasia on Broadway beats a cake and a few books and movies, right?) but I hope you enjoy this day as much as you can, kid.  Saying “We love you” doesn’t begin to cover the depths of our feelings for you, Sarah, but we do love you.

With everything we are.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to cook up some new ways to make you roll your eyes while we dine out at a fancy, crowded restaurant tonight…

 

 

Posted in Hotel Life | 28 Comments

Murdoch Mysteries Channels Huey Lewis. (Sort Of.)

Bear with me on this one; it’s going to take a minute but it’ll be worth it. (I hope.)

Huey Lewis and the News, those crazy 80s rock icons, once recorded a song called Back In Time, from the Back to the Future soundtrack.  Last night’s all-new Murdoch Mysteries was entitled, 21 Murdoch Street, an obvious nod to one of the first shows the Fox network ever launched in the 80s.  So brand-spanking new MM writer Natalia Guled  (a former  writer’s assistant on Orphan Black) went back in time for the title of her first Murdoch script.

Whew, that took a lot of effort but it was worth the trip, right? Now on with the show…

 

Buckle up, kiddies…

 

ONE)  The MM universe is a crowded place these days.  But that’s definitely a good thing.  George’s ultra-hot peeler honey, Nina, returned to snog him in public while dispensing a pep talk that lifted his spirits.  (In more ways than one, I bet.)  Detective Watts lingered in the station house while dispensing wisdom to John Brakenreid (sense a theme here, do you?)  And Arwen Humphreys returned as Mrs. Brackenreid to scold her husband – and most likely shag him in the back of that carriage. 

We even got to witness the further evolution of John Brackenreid as he struggled to establish his own copper identity.  Brilliant stuff from a brilliant cast.

 

TWO)  A rare appearance from brown people.  And the turn-of-the-century-but-unfortunately-timeless racism that often follows them.  The Banerjee brothers, two crafty, conniving preppy sons of diplomats, figured heavily into the mystery and their progenitors launched some interesting conversations involving the Inspector.

 

THREE)  The 21 Jump Street factor.  Little Johnny Brackenreid and Little Jonny Harris (Crabtree) went undercover at an elite boys’ school to solve a mystery.  Along the way they connected with some students, George played up his novel to his “students”, and they both learned a thing or two about themselves.  Incidentally, once again Jonny Harris ad-libbed the lion’s share of his lines and the result was gold, Murdoch, gold!

 

“Says here I’m supposed to follow the script… yeah, right.”

 

FOUR)  We even saw Detective Murdoch himself!  For a minute or two at least.   I’ve said this before but here we go again: MM has become a true ensemble and peter Mitchell and Company made that point quite clear this week.  William showed up briefly to do what he does but this episode belonged to his co-stars.  And speaking of said co-stars…

 

FIVE)  I felt bad for the bunnies, but the infertility storyline is riveting.    I can see Hélène Joy’s Julia Murdoch heading for a fall when she realizes her enthusiasm can’t rush science but watching it unfold is fascinating.  My daughter was born through IVF so I feel for the Murdochs as they struggle to conceive.  I’m also willing to bet that Julia tries this untested fertility treatment on herself soon and suffers some devastating consequences.

But that would make for some must-see TV, right?

 

Who can’t identify with Julia’s struggle, right?

 

SIX)  Why have Daniel Maslany join the cast if you’re not going to use him more, Peter Mitchell?  I’m not usually critical of the MM team but Detective Watts is being woefully underutilized.  Sure, he proved the best laugh of the ep while conducting a gruesome forensic experiment with William, but come on, people, use the man fully!

 

SEVEN)  Early century vices.  Students smoking cigars in a dimly-lit basement hideaway?  Moonshine?  Naughty French pics of forward-thinking ladies?  Oh my!

And this concludes our program for today.  A scheduling change means we get to see the tear-jerking episode, The Accident, which was originally scheduled for this week, next week.

See you in the lobby and on the CBC, friends…

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I’m No MLK… But I Do What I Can.

This may be difficult to believe, but my childhood and early adolescence weren’t peppered with incidents of extreme human absurdity and smartassery on my part.

Don’t get me wrong, my early days were dominated by bizarre adventures, parental physical abuse, tragedy and violent incidents I’m tired of discussing – but I wasn’t the weirdness magnet you’ve been reading about for years.

But I certainly am now.

Which brings me to yesterday’s latest “Hook Moment”. (Don’t sue me, Twitter, I’m broke as shit.) So anyway, I was rolling my handy-dandy luggage cart through the lobby at the height of the Sunday morning check-out frenzy when I happened upon (yes, people actually speak/write like that!) a most peculiar  and disturbing sight.

(Well, it would’ve been peculiar if it wasn’t happening to me.)

That beast known as Canadian Winter has begun it’s relentless onslaught and so Hornblower (that’s the company that runs the boat tours of the Falls) has ended their season. As is the case every year, the hotel has dozens of plastic rain hoodies left over. These hoodies are displayed in the lobby in a stand with a sign that lets our guests know they can help themselves if they so choose.

A young black boy was attempting to retrieve a few of these hoodies for his family when a pack of four American rednecks brushed him out of the way and began inexplicably searching through the pile of identical hoodies.

Obviously this wasn’t cool with me.  I’ve been that little kid; shoved away by a pack of bullies. Obviously I’ve never been black (I’m as white as Brooke Shields) but I honestly don’t think I could live with myself if I let this opportunity pass. And so as I walked by I let a single sentence, spoken loudly and clearly, equalize the situation.

“Trust me, fellas… you won’t find any white hoods in there.”

The little boy’s mama asked her husband, “Did that bellboy say what I think he said?”

The little boy laughed until he peed. Seriously, he said, “Momma, that man’s so funny… I peed a little!”

Several members of the sizable check-out crowd in earshot laughed out loud.

And one of the Rednecks even chuckled.

Imbalance… balanced.

My younger self was far too scared and beaten down by the world to even think about trying to pull that off, but the fires of time have forged a man who just doesn’t give a damn anymore.

See you in the lobby, kids…

 

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Why I’m Opting Out Of NaBloPoMo.

(Super exciting title, right?)

But let’s get down to brass tacks: NaBloPoMo stands for “National Blog Posting Month.” The goal of NaBloPoMo is for participants to write a post a day for an entire month. This, of course, mirrors NaNoWriMo, in which participants push themselves to the edge of sanity (with the help of wine, beer, smokes, chocolate and most likely plenty of sex breaks) by writing… get ready for it… a fifty-thousand word novel in a month.

To be clear, I salute anyone who can achieve either goal. If this applies to you, you’re a damn superhero. As for me, not only am I not a superhero, I can barely function as a  baseline human being these days.

And so writing a 50k novel or 30 consecutive blog posts in a month is so out of the question it’s not even funny. But I feel I owe you more of an explanation, so here are a few more reasons why I’m not throwing my hat in the November binge-writing ring.

 

ONE)  It took me two hours to come up with my first reason. And this is it. Do I really need to say more?

 

TWO)  I just escaped from Kevin Spacey’s basement and I’m knackered. What? Family Guy made this joke twelve years ago and no one complained. Give me a break, guys, I’m reaching here!

 

THREE)  The absurdity of this world constantly has my brain alternating between sanity and scrambled eggs. Case in point: the Canadian Prime Minister’s Halloween costume…

I honestly don’t know what to say about this…

 

FOUR)  I just got Netflix! Yes, I was that person you always heard of, the urban legend you assumed didn’t really exist. I was the last person on Earth who hadn’t signed up for the greatest TV service on the planet.

But now I have. So the world is literally at my fingertips.

 

FIVE)  There’s just so darn much to watch on the internet, who has time – or the wrist dexterity – to write?

 

Don’t judge me; I’m an adult and a (mostly) functioning member of society.

 

SIX)  The off-season is in full effect in Niagara Falls. Sure, the hookers, corporate d-bags, pimps, drunks, frat boys, sorority chicks, bachelorettes and the usual suspects are still around, but the odds are no longer in my favor in terms of interacting with them as often. So without new material I’m pretty much useless. There are however, exceptions. Take this example of gallows humor courtesy of a scary young man and make of it what you will:

TEN-YEAR-OLD TIMMY (YES, TIMMY):  (As I collect his family`s belongings from the room the morning of Nov. 1)  Did you see what happened in New York, Mr. Bellman? I bet that guy won’t get his deposit back on that truck from Home Depot! Hope he took out the insurance!

ME: Wow. That’s an… interesting… sense of humor you have there… sir.

TIMMY: My name’s Timmy!

ME:  Seriously?

MOM:  Who has time for originality anymore?

To be fair, she was most likely too busy smoking and doing drugs while pregnant to be original.

TIMMY:  My dad says I have a… what’s it called, Mom?

ME:  A small tumor in the base of your skull?

MOM:  (Getting annoyed with me but hanging in there.)  A gallows sense of humor.

Mom later informed that Timmy had suffered some sort of serious trauma early on and his sense of humor, though shocking and disturbing, helped him cope. Who am I to judge? Any serious comic (?) will tell you humor can, and should be, found in any situation.

ME:  (Deciding to salvage my tip by any means necessary.)  Oh! Well, in that case… do you know Home Depot’s motto, Timmy?

TIMMY:  Uh…

ME:  “You can do it… We can help!”

TIMMY:  Oh… my… God! I can’t help it.. I love it!

Tip salvaged – at the expense of my dignity and maybe some readers? Either way, please don’t judge me too harshly. But if you do, I understand. Truth be told, in that moment I didn’t like myself very much. But knowing myself as I do I can honestly say that I knew where I was coming from, so it”s all good.

 

SEVEN)  I’m more than a little distressed by the fact that every single male in Hollywood appears to be a sexual predator these days. Seriously, everyone from Brett Ratner to Jeremy Piven to Kevin Spacey is cursing Weinstein for finally being dragged into the light of day. Hollywood is a giant rock that Ashley Judd lifted and threw away, exposing a yet-to-be-determined number of bugs.

Trust me, ladies, there are decent men out there who, while they love sexual activity, are more than willing to wait for consent before indulging. But this culling was long overdue anyway, so while my heart goes out to the victims, I’m relieved to see the fire of change sweeping across Tinsel Town right now. Let’s hope something good and decent can be built once the ashes are swept away by the winds of change.

 

EIGHT)  I’m sick and tired of watching an endless number of writers/bloggers succeed where I’ve failed. I know I’m being a petty, jealous douche, but I’m willing to own it. So there.

The truth is, I feel like a failure as a writer and it sucks watching my dreams slip further and further away into nothingness.

 

NINE)  In spite of my best efforts, the aging process is taking it’s toll on my form. I’m just plain tired and achy so writing just doesn’t appeal to me right now.

 

TEN)  I miss my friend. His death and the circumstances that led to it have taken a greater toll on me than I ever could have imagined. And that’s all I have to say about that.

 

Every damn day, Rockin’. Every damn day…

See you in the lobby, kids… but not every day for a month.

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100 Not-So-Random Thoughts The Hook Has Every Day: Part Two.

Thank you for continuing this journey with me, even though it’s taken awhile.

Now, where to begin… Oh wait, I know!

51)  “Where was I?”

Honestly, I ask myself that question a million times a day.  I’m guilty of starting so many things that go unfinished but with the exception of my wife, I get away with it every time.

Speaking of that question, where did we leave off last time?  Oh, that’s right, I had thrown my back out bending over to change a garbage bag at home and my mortality was mocking me.  Then I had to go to work the next day.  That was fun…

 

This is the lovely and immensely-talented Kenna James.  Her image enters my thoughts often, but I refuse to elaborate…

 

52)  “Why did that luggage tag slip from my fingers and land on the floor… a trillion miles away from me?  Where’s that kung-fu grip I normally have whenever something important is in my hands?

53)  “How do I develop telekinetic powers in the next sixty seconds?”

54)  “WHY IS THAT DAMN TAG SO FAR AWAY!!!!”

Eventually I find a way to adapt and survive. (I’m like a cockroach that way.)  And so my day progresses as usual.  And of course, by “as usual”, I mean “anything but usual.”

55)  “How could that family actually think it was a good idea to convert a laundry basket into a traveling gerbil cage?  That thing gnawed through the plastic in seconds.  It’s fuckin’ gone!”

56)  “Can’t believe there are so many high class hookers around the last few days.  Niagara Falls never sees this level of quality in sex workers.”

57)  “There’s a gathering of lawyers in town?  Well, that explains everything…”

58)  “So we have a legal convention in town, one of the world’s biggest, deepest watery holes, and plenty of rope and big rocks… and no one sees the opportunity to do some real good in the world?”

 

TRULY RANDOM THOUGHTS WHILE ROLLING A LUGGAGE CART ACROSS THE LOBBY FLOOR TO THE ELEVATORS.

59)  “When was the last time I washed my uniform?”

60)  “Oh wait… I’m not allowed to do the laundry anymore.  Not since the Great Strawberry Shortcake T-shirt Debacle of 2008.”

61)  “How much helium does Ariana Grande have to inhale on a daily basis to get her voice that high?”

62)  “How the hell do I know who Ariana Grande is?”

63)  “There’s a corporate D-bag so entranced by his phone that he doesn’t see that he’s on a collision course with my cart?  What should I do?  Be a hero and adjust my path… or let fate decide?”

64)  “Oh wait, I remember him… he stiffed me on the way in.”

65)  “Wow, his head made a helluva ‘THUNK!’ as it bounced off the cart’s brass rail.  I’m so glad I let fate decide…”

 

Hits you right in the retinas, doesn’t it?

 

66)  “Look at that couple dry humping in what they think is an out-of-the-way corner of the lobby.  I’m going to have to call the Lobby Attendant; she’s going to need a mop…”

67)  “There’s a big ass line for the service elevators?”

68)  “Now there’s a big ass line for the guest elevators?”

69)  “I need to find a radioactive spider, so I can climb up the side of the damn building.  Of course then I’d still have to carry all this shit with me.  If I was Kryptonian I could fly the cart up to the 40th floor, though I’d still have to get through the window…”

Yes, I now realize that not including a sex thought was a massive misuse of my 69th thought…

70)  “Okay, now I’m in an elevator. But it’s filled with idiots.

 

WHAT I’M THINKING AS I’M STANDING OUTSIDE A DOOR, WAITING FOR A GUEST TO RESPOND TO MY PERSISTENT KNOCKING.

71)  “Where the hell are these anteaters?  My head’s pounding from all this knocking.  I’m really going to have to start using my hands.”

72)  “I can hear you in there, you morons…”

73)  “Are they?  They’re totally doing it!  Why do this keep happening to me?”

74)  “‘Surrender, Dorothy?’  People actually say that during sex? But why is she saying it?

75)  “I’m going to keep knocking, so you better stop banging, you horny idiots!  Why do so  many people call for their bags then start going at it when they know I’m on my way to the room?  Do these people want to be interrupted?  It can’t be healthy to cease the proceedings mid-penetration.”

76)  “Now she’s whispering, ‘The bellboy is at the door, Phillip!  We have to stop!’  Gee, you think so, lady?”

77)  “Phillip doesn’t seem to want to stop… or should I call him Dorothy?

78)  “Finally, someone’s coming… to the door.  Sorry about your luck, Phillip.”

79)  “Please,please, please let it be the half-naked chick that answers the door for once!  If I have to see another half-naked, out of shape goofball in his skivvies I’ll lose whatever’s left of my mind…”

80)  “It’s the chick, thank God!  But now I have to keep it together while I bring in the bags.  Don’t stare at her rack that’s barely being covered by her lace bra… don’t stare at her rack that’s barely being covered by her lace bra…”

81)  “Phillip is waaaay older than his lady friend?  Good for him!  But I can’t believe the human body can adsorb enough Viagra to make up for that age difference!”

82)  “Thank God Phillip got his girlfriend into a t-shirt.  My eyeballs were sweating.”

83)  “Two bucks?  Seriously, Phillip?  I’m going to assume the blood just hasn’t returned to your geriatric brain.”

 

 

RANDOM STUFF THAT FLOATS THROUGH MY BRAIN AS I WAIT IN THE LUGGAGE/BELL ROOM FOR MY NEXT CALL.

84)  “Still can’t believe I was the only non-Brown person in the cafeteria today.  Does thinking this make me racist?”

85)  “If I’m a racist in my mind… does that mean I’m a cheater for having far-from-pure thoughts about females other than my lovely bride?”

86)  “Aw, screw it.  I’m too old to care about these things.  Besides, VampireLover always tells me she doesn’t care anyway. ‘Go ahead and step out… I don’t care!  I pity the chick that has to listen to the cacophony of sleeping noises you make!’ she always tells me.”

87)  “I wonder whatever happened to the chick that played Lacey Underall in Caddyshack?  She was so hot.”

88)  “Come to think of it, my life is pretty much Caddyshack in 4D.  I’m a working-class Danny Noonan who finds himself swept up in the chaos  that happens when both the snobs and the slobs visit Niagara Falls on vacation.”

89)  “Of course, I don’t get to lay down with any of the numerous Lacey Underalls that I encounter, do I?  Oh well, I married my own Lacey Underall… so I got that going for me.  Which is nice.”

 

SITTING AT THE BELL DESK WATCHING THE LOBBY CHAOS UNFOLD.

90)  “There’s actually a Kardashian wannabe having softcore phone sex via video chat while sitting on a bench the lobby?  Granted, there’s only eight or ten people in the lobby, and four of them are Asian, which means they only amount to one person all-together, but still, that’s nuts!”

91)  “Now she’s walking around the lobby while having softcore phone sex via video chat.  That should end well.”

Precisely thirteen seconds later…

92)  “Annnddd she just walked into the revolving glass door. She’s not down, but she’s sobbing.  Oh, her screen is cracked.  So sorry about your luck, Fake Kim K.”

93)  “There’s a family of five, on vacation together, but completely disconnected from one another because they’re all on their phones.  Sweet Zombie Jesus, modern parents suck these days.”

 

WHILE SCANNING NEWS FEEDS AT THE DESK.

94)  Hundreds of white nationalists and counter-protesters are exchanging chants and slogans at two White Lives Matter rallies in Tennessee?  Nazis are like cockroaches; you can crush millions of them but new ones spring up in different outfits/ideologies eventually.”

95)  Do we really need organizations dedicated to defending the rights of specific colors of people?  Don’t all lives matter?”

96)  “Wait, I take it back… there’s the jackasss from Montreal who stiffed me yesterday.  His life definitely doesn’t matter.”

97)  “This world’s been tearing itself to pieces ever since the second tadpole crawled up out of the primordial ooze and decided it didn’t like the looks of the first tadpole.  We’ll never get it right, but there’s always hope, I suppose.”

98)  “Speaking of hope, I can’t really dredge up any for my ‘writing career’.  Everywhere I look there’s a new platform for writers, especially where television is concerned.  Murdoch Mysteries just hired four new writers.  It seems like most of the bloggers I know are forging new paths for themselves. And me?  Well, I’m drowning ever so slowly.  I shudder to think where I’d be if I didn’t have my family to keep me centered.”

99)  “Why do people always say, ‘Watch your step!’… after someone trips?”

100)  “I wonder if anyone is going to give a damn about this list?  Or for that matter, my ‘work’ in general?”

See you in the lobby, kids…

 

Posted in Hotel Life, Humor, Life, Social Commentary, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

5×5 With The Hook: Dan Trotta, Murdochian Scribe.

I sometimes envy people who have a hard center, people who are emotionally numb to the world’s horror; as a highly-emotional man the hardest thing about my life these days is living it.

Ironically, I often find myself seeking out outlets for my emotions, despite the toll they may have on me; books, artwork, videos (of a certain nature, of course) and most of all, television. In my house, television is not just a medium… it is a religion.

TV brings us together. We gather to watch meteorologists try to predict the weather – and fail miserably. We gather to see watch newscasters attempt to explain the chaos dominating the current political landscape. And of course we gather to watch programs that both entertain and hopefully, if the writing staff has done their job effectively, enlighten.

And this brings us to today’s guest, Dan Trotta. As one of the newest members of the Murdoch Mysteries writing staff, Dan is responsible for helping to create one of the most poignant, moving and entertaining episodes in the show’s eleven season run, Dr. Osler Regrets.

“Do you have any idea what’s happened, Detective?  The Hook is writing about your show again!”

 

Once a starving playwright and then a teacher at the college level, Dan eventually took a crash course in script writing at the storied institute known as the National Screen Institute, which led him to a position reading and tweaking scripts for Montreal’s Muse Entertainment. That in turn led him to  the Canadian Film Centre, which led young Dan to secure an agent (he eventually untied said agent once they signed a contract) before doing the writing thing full time.

Dan Trotta wrote a few Lifetime movies, shopping lists, love letters to Bea Arthur, and a few other things before landing a producing/writing gig on the groundbreaking series, Blood and Water.  After his bookie signed over a gambling debt to MM showrunner, Peter Mitchell, Dan joined the Murdoch writing staff.

The rest is 5×5 history. Mixed with a heavy dose of my unique “creative license” of course. The truth is, I’m sure Dan himself would tell you that his past is irrelevant; it’s the present that matters. And that present, kids, is glorious. Murdoch Mysteries has evolved over the past decade to become one of the most polished, well-constructed (on all levels from writing to set design) programs on television in any country or platform.

Dr. Osler Regrets forced Murdoch’s Inspector Thomas Brackenreid to question his own mortality and the viewer was right there with him every step of the way. That’s the power of television at it’s purest, friends; when we share a fictional character’s journey and apply it to our real lives. I demand more of my TV choices; I want to watch programs that make me feel something, and Dan’s scribery more than fits the bill.

And now it’s time to turn things over to today’s honored guest.

ONE)  You have a theatre background, specifically in playwriting; have you seen Hamilton?  (My daughter, a Broadway fanatic, especially when it comes to all things “Lin”, threatened to disown me if I didn’t lead with that question.)

I haven’t seen Hamilton! I’d love to, but tickets are difficult to come by from what I know.

(Actually, they’re easy to get online. It’s paying for them that’s not exactly difficult… it’s painful. But my daughter will tell you that it was the best two grand she ever spent.)

 

My kid would live in this theater if she could, Phantom-style…

 

TWO)  Do you enjoy the challenge of adapting your writing style to a show like Murdoch Mysteries that often merges historical fact and fiction?

It is a real challenge, and I do enjoy it.

I think the most difficult part of the transition has been getting used to the actual cases, and how those are revealed. There’s a very specific way it’s done, and that is definitely the most challenging part. Luckily the other writers are geniuses so I’ve had great teachers 😉

(Diplomacy/forging strong relationships is an art form and Dan is mastering them quickly it seems.)

 

THREE)  You work in turn-of-the-century Toronto but modern-day TO is your ‘hood; what’s your favorite GTA restaurant?

GREAT question.

(I try.)

There’s a place I always go back to, and it’s not even all that close to me. It’s called 7 Numbers, near Avenue and Eglinton. There are actually two locations, but the one on Eglinton is run by the mom, while the other is owned by the son, I believe. It’s completely non pretentious – just good, authentic Italian food. Highly recommended.

Chef: Rosa Marinuzzi, 7 Numbers: “That Danny, he’s a good boy!  That’s why I make the pasta special just for him!”

FOUR)  This is your first season, but as a scribe have you developed a fondness for a particular MM character?

Well, I’ve found something to enjoy/latch on to in just about every character, but I think Brackenreid is the most fun to write for, at least in terms of dialogue.

I’ve always liked the gruff, no nonsense style of his. Also “bloody hell” is just a great way to get out of a scene – but I’ve had to pull back on those. I think I used it 4 or 5 times in the first draft of the Osler script. I was gently informed that it was way too many.

(Not as far as I’m concerned.)

“Who the bloody hell is this ‘Hook’ fellow, Murdoch?  And what the bloody hell is a ‘blog’?”

 

FIVE)  Writers often look at feature films differently than the average viewer.  If you could rewrite any film, from any era or genre, what would it be?

Another great question.

Off the top of my head…I’d say there are a few scenes in Touch of Evil that could use a rewrite, if only to make it an even more perfect film. I’m sure I’ll write you back in ten minutes with a completely different answer, though.

(Sadly, I couldn’t wait. Time is money after, all. What? I don’t get paid to blog? Shut up.)

 

I want to thank Dan for being here in a virtual sense today. As a failed, hack writer I envy Dan Trotta more than I can ever articulate, especially since Murdoch Mysteries is my favorite show of all time. In case you hadn’t noticed.

See you in the lobby and on the CBC, kiddies…

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