I am probably naive to post a love letter for two of my favorite shows that aren't creating new episodes anymore. Maybe it's satisfying for me to romanticize on heartfelt themes that filled my TV each week? The common thread between these different dramas is that they still feel personal to me years and months later after watching them. I enjoy my daily dose of snackable new media, but Parenthood and Mozart in the Jungle continue to rattle around my imagination! Almost every episode rang the "familiar bell" in my brain triggering fuzzy feelings in my body... and millions of other people felt the same. Total guess.
I loved, love the show Parenthood. The cast comes together effortlessly straight out the gate. I know TV is a writers medium, but in the last couple of years, directors have gotten to shine on Netflix, Amazon, and networks that are giving creators more control to stay competitive. So, to guide a show as a director pre-tv-auteur says something about the women and men that directed Parenthood. Lawrence Trilling directed the lion share of episodes. (See Googled picture below of him drinking a soda.)
He also directed some of my favorite Pushing Daisies episodes. On Parenthood, he was able to pull amazing performances from a group of veteran TV actors probably willing to phone it in at that point. While watching his episodes, I feel like I am present, in the room with the cast, part of the family dancing around the living room in pure joy. Times are tough, doesn't matter what side you are on. Maybe that's the problem? We have to pick teams, and no one knows the rules of the game. It's nasty and ugly out there. I aspire to create content at my day job and personally to bring people together. Maybe that is why I am attracted to family shows. Families are messy. Parenthood put all the stuff on the screen no one talks about in a palatable way. I miss Parenthood. I miss a good friend that helped create it. She was a champion for creatives and me personally. The families we grow up in, and the ones we create are far from perfect. I'd like to make some imperfect TV or be on a shortlist of directors for the Parenthood reunion special someday after I have some more directing under me. I sometimes have vivid dreams where I am directing episodes of Parenthood. Someone smart, please make a time machine for me.
I loved, love the show Mozart in the Jungle. MITJ is a portrayal of an eccentric family courtesy of a dysfunctional orchestra. The old friendly TV feeling of I know these people, or I want to know them is addicting in this show. Paul Weitz is the magic sauce in this show. (See Googled picture below of him talking to Robert De Niro. Cropped Bob out since it didn't make sense)
Again, I feel like I am in the room. Like I am standing behind a curtain backstage eavesdropping on the messiness of life through these weirdo musicians. There is something magical that needs to happen with a cast and script to get authentic performances. Directors in TV don't usually get the time on set to capture this type of performance or the credit they deserve when they bottle it up for us.
In the show, the misfits band together to form their own family. You can see this magic in Paul's first movie American Pie. Some might consider it crude. I believe it was a stepping stone project where humans, in the body of awkward teens, try to connect with other humans even with all of their flaws. Season 3 of MITG takes some crazy surreal turns. Mind-blowing!!! I wanted more. Amazon take a swing at Lord of the Rings! Can Paul direct? They are a strange group of characters who banned together in the end. Right?
Bottom line, I'd like to direct episodes of these two canceled TV shows. I guess I wanted to say it out loud to help me mourn that I won't be able to touch these shows or help make them. I think about these shows constantly. They made me smile, laugh and cry. That's all I need. I hope to make something this good one day. In the meantime, I'll slowly cut my teeth with digital short-form content and keep making narrative short films on a dime.