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Friday, May 1, 2015

Frankie Muniz: Update on the Malcolm in the Middle star




I never let Hollywood take control of me. What helped was leaving when (Malcolm in the Middle) ended, living a normal life in Phoenix.  I know the people at the grocery store and my neighbours.

- Frankie Muniz
Interview with Fox 411, published September 26, 2013


In the year 2000, Frankie Muniz rose to television stardom by playing a nerdy child prodigy.  With his bright blue eyes and confused expression, he delighted TV viewers as the new millennium dawned..  Since 2008, however, Muniz has put his acting career on the back burner in order to to pursue other interests,  Best known as the star of Malcolm in the Middle, Frankie is 29 years old now and is a racing car driver.  He races open-wheel or formula cars (known as single-seater cars in Britain). These cars are usually built specifically for racing and have one seat.

Below is a photo of Muniz at the 2011 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.



          Photo Attribution:  "Frankie Muniz 2011" by Real TV Films/Carole Lowe


Frankie is also a musician.  He has been playing drums since the age of 12 or 13 and is a former member of Kingsfoil, an indie rock band. He was originally with  the group You Hang Up, which had the same manager as Kingsfoil. When You Hang Up dissolved, Mnniz auditioned for Kingsfoil.  In April of 2012, he became Kingsfoil's drummer.

Frankie spent almost two years with Kingsfoil. In February of 2014, however, the group announced that he was no longer a member of the band.  Lead singer Jordan Davis said that group members had remained on friendly terms.

On February 20, 2014, Frankie posted the following message on his Facebook page:

Very sad to announce that Feb 7th at the University of Wyoming was my final show performing as the drummer of Kingsfoil. Due to scheduling conflicts in the coming months, the guys in the band decided to replace me as the drummer a few weeks ago. Although I'm sad about not being a part of the band, I understand their decision and support them moving forward!

I want to thank all my fans and the fans of Kingsfoil for supporting me while I got to live out one of my dreams. Playing drums in a touring rock band was incredible, and I will remember the times I was lucky enough to experience forever!


I've been extremely fortunate to be a part of some amazing things in my life. As an actor, race car driver and musician, I couldn't ask for a better first 28 years of my life! That being said, look for some exciting news from me in the next couple of weeks... 


Frankie on the drums


Frankie, far left, with Kingsfoil


Franciso "Frankie" Muniz IV was born in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey on December 5, 1985 to Francisco III, a Puerto Rican restaurateur, and Denise, a nurse.of Italian and Irish descent.  He has an older sister named Cristina.

When Frankie was four years old, The Muniz family moved to the tiny town of Knightsdale, North Carolina, a suburb of Raleigh,  At the age of eight, the talented child was given his  first significant acting role.  He portrayed Tiny Tim in a local production of A Christmas Carol at the Theatre in the Park in Raleigh,

Frankie's parents separated and the youngster eventually moved to Burbank, California with his mother.  He began appearing in commercials and was cast in two 1997 television movies: To Dance with Olivia and Hallmark Hall of Fame's production of What the Deaf Man Heard.  In 1998, he portrayed a boy named Derek in two episodes of the comedy Spin City, starring Michael J. Fox.  The episodes are "Three Men and a Little Lady (Season 3. Episode 6, Air Date: October 27, 1998) and "The Kidney's All Right" (Season 3, Episode 9, Air Date: November 17, 1998).

Muniz also had a minor role in a 1999 episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, starring Melissa Joan Hart.  In the episode, entitled "Sabrina the Matchmaker" (Season 3, Episode 16, Air Date; February 12, 1999), he played a boy named Angelo, the son of a man being matched by Sabrina for Valentine's Day.


Frankie in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch episode

Frankie's first breakthrough came when he was cast as Willie Morris in the 2000 movie My Dog Skip opposite Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane and Luke Wilson.  It was his first starring role in a feature film. The film, set in the American South during the 1940s, chronicles Morris' childhood, particularly his warm relationship with his dog, Skip.

That same year, the young actor portrayed Justin Yoder in the Disney Channel's Miracle in Lane 2, The TV movie is based on the true story of Yoder, a 13-year-old boy in a wheelchair who is determined to emulate his athletic older brother by winning a trophy.




2000 was also the year that Frrankie lit up television screens as a boy genius in Malcolm in the Middle,  The sitcom first aired on January 9, 2000 as a midseason replacement on the Fox network. Frankie was just 14 years old when he began playing Malcolm, a gifted teen with an IQ of 165 and a photographic memory.

Malcolm lived with his dysfunctional family in a suburban community in the fictional Tri-County Area.  He was assigned to a class of gifted students, known as "Krelboynes" at the school he attended.  Throughout the series, he struggled with the problems of adolescence and feelings of not fitting in.  The television audience was privy to his thoughts because he would sometimes speak directly to viewers.

Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame portrayed Malcolm's father, Hal, and Jane Kaczmarek portrayed his mother, Lois.  When the show began, Malcolm had three brothers.  Francis, the eldest was played by Christopher Masterson..  Reese (Justin Berfield) was the second eldest.  Then came Malcolm, the third child, followed by Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan),  A fifth brother, Jamie, was introduced as a baby in the show's fourth season.  Jamie was played by identical twin brothers James and Lukas Rodriguez.

Below is a photo of the cast of Malcolm in the Middle:  Clockwise: Christopher Masterson. Brian Brian Cranston, Jane Kaczmarek, Justin Berfield, Erik Per Sullivan and Frankie Muniz.




While starring in Malcolm in the Middle, Frankie Muniz also had the lead role in the 2002 feature film called Big Fat Liar.  In the teen comedy, Frankie played a 14-year-old chronic liar named Jason Shepherd.  The film was directed by Shawn Levy and co-starred Paul Giamatti and Amanda Bynes. Frankie also starred in 2003 film, Agent Cody Banks, with Hilary Duff. 






After six years and 151 episodes, Malcolm in the Middle ended its run in 2006.  For his performance in the series, Frankie Muniz received an Emmy Award nomination and two Golden Globe nominations. The series itself won much critical acclaim  It was distinct from most TV comedies in that it did not have a laugh track or a studio audience.  The show was shot on film rather than on video.

In 2007, Frankie was a guest star in an episode of Criminal Minds entitled "True Night" (Season 3, Episode 10, Air Date: November 28, 2007).  He played Jonny McHale, a graphic novelist with links to a number of horrific murders.

In 2012, Frankie appeared in an episode of the TV comedy Last Man Standing, starring Tim Allen. In the episode, "Baxter & Sons" (Season 1, Episode 18, Air Date: February 21, 2012), he played the part of Richard.

Frankie had a leading role, alongside Barry Botswick and Maggie Castle, in Destruction: Las Vegas, a 2013 television movie.  The movie, originally titled Blast Vegas, is an action thriller about fraternity brothers who head to Las Vegas for spring break.  They steal an Egyptian sword from a hotel, thereby releasing an ancient curse upon the city.  The film initially aired on the Syfy channel on July 18, 2013.

Frankie with Maggie Castle in a scene from Blast Vegas

On October 22, 2011, Frankie announced his engagement to Elycia Maria Turnbow, the owner of a clothing line called Arcadia Vintage.  The announcement was made on Twitter.  There has been no news of a wedding date and there has been much speculation and many rumours surrounding their relationship.

In February of 2011, there were reports of an argument between the couple in which the police were called to the scene.  It was alleged that Frankie had put a gun to his head.  When ashed about the incident by Fox 411, Miniz played it down.  He said, "I didn't let it bother me . . . neither of us came close to being arrested.  The fact that the story ran the way it did was insane to me  . . . There wasn't more to it.  It was a fake, overblown story."




Frankie has suffered two mini-strokes.  On November 30, 2012, he had his first stroke.  He was hospitalized after family and friends noticed that he was disoriented and that his speech was slurred. A year later, he underwent a second mini-stroke. In a Twitter post on November 25, 2013, the actor wrote, "Almost a year to the day, I experienced another mini-stroke.  Hopefully that will be the last. Miserable."

In April, 2014, Frankie Muniz condemned Donald Sterling, then-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise.  Muiiz, a longime fan of the Clippers, addressed the storm of controversy that erupted after a tape surfaced of Sterling telling his girlfriend that he did not approve of her "associating" with black people.  On his Facebook page, Frankie declared that he was "disgusted by the things said by owner Donald Sterling."  "I've never been a fan of the owner," he wrote.  "I am a fan of the players, the coaches, and I root for the team to win for the fans."  Frankie later tweeted that he was considering buying the team himself.. (It is not known how serious he was about that).


END NOTES

*  Frankie Muniz currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona and is a fan of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL).

*  Frankie was homeschooled by his mother beginning in Grade Six.

*  On June 5, 2013, Muniz sent a message on Twitter that was highly critical of U.S. President Barack Obama's choice of Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, as National Security Adviser.  He tweeted, “Really? Susan Rice? National Security Adviser? Really? Another ObamaFail. Wake up people.”

- Joanne

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Y&R Report (April 25, 2015); The Latest on The Young and the Restless




Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.


Okay, fans, I just have to get this out of my system!  I beg your indulgence as I rant about the ridiculous turn of events on the show.  What were the writers thinking when they decided that Jack Abbott should have a lookalike or an evil twin. We fans are not stupid and we certainly do not appreciate having are intelligence insulted.

Stories involving lookalikes and long-lost twins appear regularly on soaps. However, The Young and Restless has gone down that road so often that viewers can only shake their heads, rolls their eyes and shout, "Please, not again!"  Here are some examples:  The late Cassie Newman had a twin sister named Mariah; Cane Ashby had an evil twin brother named Caleb who was shot to death on the steps of a church; Patty Williams had a lookalike psychiatrist who had a romance with Jack Abbott.  At one point, Lauren had a lookalike, as did Katherine Chancellor. Remember, Marge, the waitress who was the spitting image of  the wealthy socialite?  Hasn't that been enough?  Do we really need a double dose of Jack too? Can't the writers be more creative and original?  Have they run out of new ideas?  I don't expect reality from soaps, but I do expect fresh ideas.

Yes, I know "the two Jacks" have gotten tongues wagging. I also realize that head writer Charles Pratt's seems intent on getting the attention of viewers, but is that the only thing that matters?  Pratt should be aware that he's playing with fire.  In the long-run, he risks alienating show's most loyal viewers. Those viewers like to be surprised, but they also care about the characters whose trials and tribulations they have been following for years.  The integrity of the show is important and the fans want to be treated with respect.  They don't want to be patronized.


Well, it's all over for "Stitchoria!"  Dr.Ben Rayburn (or Russell) and Princess Victoria Newman have thrown in the towel on their relationship, at least for the time being. We could all see that coming and it certainly didn't take ladies' man Stitch'em up to hook up with another overprivileged Newman heiress, namely Abby. He certainly didn't very long to get over his break-up with Victoria.  He was kissing the spoiled blonde in the blink of an eye.

Speaking of Victoria Newman, she can be just like her daddy Victor at times.  Did you notice the smug smile on Victor's little girl when Ashley Abbott was informed that Victoria would be her boss? She could be barely contain her joy at the prospect of her former stepmother reporting to her.


VIEWER FORUM



From Rosie from Richmond Hill

The writers on Y&R are trying to do too much, and yes, it's totally unrealistic with the two Jacks thrown into the mix.  I missed a couple of episodes this week  Have they revealed who Victor's partner in crime is?  I imagine it's the new Jack, but who the heck is this person?  

It will be interesting to see the ladies duke it out for Stitch.  I think Victoria will gravitate to Billy naturally, so Ashley and Abby will be in competition with one another.  OOh la la.  Looks like it's going to be "Shylan" as the new power couple before long.  


I wholeheartedly agree, Rosie.  The writers are definitely trying to do too much.  It's fine to try to pick up the pace of the show a bit.  It's fine to have some cliffhangers and plot twists, but within boundaries.  No one expects reality from soaps.  Viewers accept that certain liberties have to be taken for the sake of drama and to create storylines.  However, there has not be a limit, a line that should never be crossed. With the Jack stoyline, the writers have crossed that line.  It is so far-fetched that it is laughable.  

Yes, Jack's confessional box conspirator is the false Jack Abbott. This fake Jack or "Fack" was apparently discovered in a prison in Peru.  It has not yet been revealed whether he is an identical twin or has undergone cosmetic surgery to resemble the cosmetics executive. Peter Bergman, who plays Jack, is portraying two characters for the first time in his soap career.  Bergman told TV Guide that he does not suspect that the fake Jack is an identical twin, though he is not absolutely certain of that.  "I think he is quite literally a doppelganger, that lookalike we all supposedly have walking around the planet somewhere.  We're going to find out that he's been in a lot of trouble and is kind of a loose canon."

Yes, there's going to be some "Stitchmania."  Abby and Ashley will certainly fight over Stitch (not that he's worth it in my books).  Victoria does seem to be turning back to Billy Boy. (Too bad Billy Miller is not playing the part anymore).  I must say, The Black Knight will be quite dismayed if his Princess returns to the "punk and the playboy." Good! I'm sick and tired of seeing Victor have everything go his way.

OOH la la!  It certainly does look like it's going to be "Shylan." It's just a matter of time before Sharon and Dylan get together, at least temporarily.  Sharon always has to have a man to come to her rescue, doesn't she.  If Nick were available, she would be with him. Dylan is there for Sharon now, though.  However, I don't think they will ever be a "power couple" such as Nikki and Victor.


From CC from Etobicoke, Ontario

The Jack storyline is so ridiculous!
And of course Victor is behind it all.
Kyle and the murders are linked to it all somehow.
I'm not liking Kelly or Phyllis these days.
Glad to see Nick got his summer buzz cut.  He was looking a little scruffy.  


Yes, CC, the Jack storyline is ridiculous.  There may not be any link between that storyline and the murders.  I think Kyle has been behaving in quite an obnoxious manner, but that dosesn't mean he's a murderer.  However, with Charles Pratt as head writer, one never knows.

Kelly is difficult to like these days because of her storyline.  As for Phyllis, it's hard to fathom that she could be duped by a fake Jack.  She is too smart for that.  She would be able to tell that something is way off kilter (Another reason why the "double Jack" storyline is so absurd.

I noticed that Nick was looking a little scruffy too. He looks much better now. Neil needs to follow Nick's example.  He's looking scruffy too.  However, it may be on purpose as part of his appearance as an alcoholic.



From Chiara from Thunder Bay, Ontario

Here are some commentary notes:

The scene with Kelly seducing poor Jack after she hit him over the head with a bat reminded me of Misery, the movie with Kathy Bates.  Can't the writers be a little bit more original?  Where did Jack's twin get his makeover?  The same plastic surgeon as Adam?

It's a situation where Y&R should hire Angela Lansbury (as Victor Newman's sister) to solve the mysteries!   


Maybe they will reveal that Jack's "twin" got his makeover from the same plastic surgeon as Adam. These days, Chiara, I wouldn't put anything past the writers.

Angela Lansbury is 89 years old now, but she's still wowing audiences with her stage performances.  If she ever has a desire to return to television, you have come up with the perfect part for her.  Charles Pratt would love it.  It would fit right in with his style of writing. She could play Victor's long-lost older sister, even though he's never mentioned having one.


Helen from Scarborough, Ontario asks: How come the board of Jabot Cosmetics had the power to vote Jack Abbott out as CEO but didn't have the authority to block the merger between Jabot and Newman Enterprises?

Helen doesn't like the "two Jacks" storyline either and wonders why Peter Bergman and Eric Braeden do not complain about it.  Surely they must have some input, Helen thinks.  In his interview with TV Guide, Bergman didn't express any strong objections to his current storyline.

Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario has come up with some very thoughtful analysis. She thinks that Sage is bad news.  So do I.  We actually know very little about Sage other than she was very loyal to Constance and the whole Bingham family.  She told Chelsea that the real Gabriel Bingham was the love of her life.  Maybe she's just bad news and will bring Nick down.  On the other hand, she could be a suspect in the murders.  Her motive could be revenge on the Newman family because Victor caused Gabriel's father to commit suicide.  She could even be connected with Ian Ward and his cult in some way.  Of course, this is all conjecture.  It's just a theory, but there could be some truth to it.

Fifi also pointed out that Adam will probably be the one to figure out that Jack is a fake.  The real Jack is the only person, other than Sage, who knows that Adam is still alive and has had plastic surgery to look like Gabriel Bingham.




CAST NEWS

Baby on way for Y&R star



Congratulations to Mishael Morgan (Hilary Curtis Wnters)!  Soap Opera Digest has reported that Mishael and her husband are expecting their first child in August. According to SOD, the pregnancy will not be written into Hilary's storyline. However, Mishael will have to take a maternity leave and her character's absence will have to be explained.  Perhaps Hilary will leave town for a while. Another option would be to have another actress play the role during Mishael's absence.  

By the way, Mishael will be flying home to Toronto, Canada in May for a baby showery.  She told Soaps in Depth that she doesn't know the sex of the baby yet, but that it will be revealed at the party. "The only person that knows right now is my baker, who is baking me a cake," she said.. "Inside it's going to tell me whether it's a girl or a boy, so when we cut the cake at the baby shower, we'll all find out together!




Y&R REPORT READER'S POLL

After breaking up with Victoria Newman, Dr. Stitch ran into Abby at the bar at the Genoa City Athletic Club.  It didn't take long for those two to lock lips.



Dr. Stitch  (Sean Carrigan)

Abby Newman (Melissa Ordway)




What do you think of the recent pairing of Stitch and Abby?

They make a great couple. The chemistry is there.
I don't like them together.
I think Stitch is better suited to Victoria.
I think Stitch is better suited to Abby's mother, Ashley.
I don't know.
Poll Maker





That's all for now.  I'd like to remind you that the Daytime Emmys ceremonies will take place tomorrow, April 26, 2015.  Y&R has many nominations.  Unfortunately for Canadian fans, the show will not be televised here.  The May Sweeps are coming up.  Don't forget that the next edition of  
Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, May 9, 2015.

- Joanne


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Y&R Report (April 11, 2015): The Latest on the Young and the Restless




Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.


I don't know about you, but Y&R head writer Charles Pratt has my head spinning with the show's numerous twists and turns and unexpected happenings.  There are too many unanswered questions too and too many things hanging in the air.  For one thing, hurry up and let Chelsea find out the truth about Gabe's true identity! Many fans are waiting to see Chelsea and Adam reunite and I guess the writers are trying to milk it for all it's worth.  Gabe/Adam always seems about to tell her but doesn't. We are being teased, fans.

Regular readers will recall that in the last edition of Y&R Report, there was a poll asking Y&R viewers to indicate whether they think Chelsea should go back to Adam once she learns that he is still alive.  The overwhelming majority of respondents (83% the last time I checked) want her to reunite with Adam, while only 13% think she should remain with Billy Boy Abbot.  Perhaps the reason is that Billy (as portrayed by Burgess Jenkins) and Chelsea don't have much chemistry.

The Genoa City armoire murderer has claimed another victim.  GC police officer Courtney Sloane was killed on her wedding day and this time I think the victim is really dead.  Courtney was never a major character and she was completely expendable.  While Noah Newman grieved over his murdered bride, the Supergirl Summer certainly got over the deaths of both her husband and best friend rather quickly with the help of Kyle Abbott.

Y&R seems to be making a habit of featuring weddings that don't happen.  Avery left Nick Newman at the altar.  Then Nick's remarriage to Sharon was disrupted by the unexpected appearance of Phyllis.  Noah's wedding is the latest one that didn't happen.  Jack and Phyllis are planning to get married next.  I didn't think that would ever come about.  It hasn't happened yet, though.  Perhaps Kelly will show up to stop that wedding too.

What's with Dr.Stitch 'em Up?  Is he losing his ardour for Victoria?  The passion seems to be flaming out rather soon.  He seems indifferent to her these days even though she is supposed to be the love of his life.  I always thought the not-so-good doctor had a roving eye.  Next on his list is Abby.  Regular viewers have seen that one coming for a long time.

Although I understand that Lauren and Michael need a storyline, I'm not impressed with the one they've been given.  Why would Michael try to set his wife up with Cane, a married man with two children?  It was very creepy to see Michael spying on the two of them.  He's been a favourite character of mine and I don't enjoy seeing him behave so pathetically.  Michael has always been such a feisty and vibrant character.  Why are the writers making him give up without a fight?  It's sad to see him so deflated, a shadow of his former self.  I know!  I know!  It's to create a storyline.  Do they have to compromise the integrity of a good character, though?

Does anyone have a more smarmy smile than Joe Clark? (Didn't his mother ever tell him to wipe that smirk off his face?)  He just flashes his pearly whites to charm the women. Wishy-washy Avery has been falling for it, even though she is a seemingly intelligent lawyer.  Other than Avery, who really believes that Joe has transformed himself as a great philanthropist and do-goodered.  It's so obvious that he is doing charitable work to impress his ex-wife and win her back.  He's discovered Avery's Achilles' Heel.  He knows she has a soft spot for the underdog and he's using it to her advantage while Dylan's spending all his time rescuing Sharon.

Revisiting Ashley's long ago storyline about her not being John Abbott's biological daughter is a smart move on the part of the writers.  John passed away without ever knowing the truth about his "beautiful Ashley," and the issue has been dormant for years.  Now it has surfaced again, with great flashbacks connecting the past to the present.  That storyline works, unlike the other incident from the past concerning Nick and the swimmer who injured herself at his party.  The incident was never mentioned before and seems contrived.  There are no flashbacks to link it to the present.  It is also difficult to believe that Sharon and Nick would not have discussed it or referred to it at some time.


VIEWER FORUM

Here are some thoughts from Rosie from Richmond Hill, Ontario:

As for Y&R, a couple theories as to who may be in the confessional are Kelly's mother, or even Ashley. Also into the 'murderer' mix could be the cop who gives Kevin a hard time. I can't remember what his name is. He was at odds with Courtney and even Abby, from what I can remember.

I agree about Stitch and Abby (getting together). Victoria will need to reunite with Billy, especially when the truth about Adam comes out and Chelsea gets back with him. There's no chemistry I feel with Chelsea and Billy.

Joe Clark could end up with any of those three ladies.  I can see him with Lauren and Lily as well.

I think Dylan and Sharon will be a couple before long. There are definitely a lot of twists and turns going on, so it's hard to say what will transpire.

Yes, Rosie, the person in the confessional could be Kelly's mother, Maureen. However, I doubt very much that it's Ashley.  Why would she be working with Victor to help him take over her company? There is a strong possibility that Kelly is the one who has been secretly meeting The Moustache in the confessional.  She is likely still alive and eager to get revenge on the Abbotts.  That would explain the finger prints.  Perhaps Kelly's fingerprints have been switched with those of a real dead person so that she would be identified as the deceased.  Kelly may also have been the one making the mysterious phone calls to Jack, just to disturb him. Remember that Victor ordered the person making the calls to stop.

As for the murderer, I don't think that Mark Harding, the cop who gives Kevin a difficult time, is guilty.  What's happened to Detective Harding anyway?  It appears that head writer Chuck Pratt doesn't have much use for him because he seems to have disappeared since Pratt took over.  He's vanished just like Alex Chavez. Speaking of characters who don't seem to be around very much anymore, where are Esther and Gloria?

As I mentioned above, I too think there is a lack of chemistry between Chelsea and Billy Abbott.  It looks as if  Billy will be reconciling with Victoria again anyway.  Too bad Billy Miller isn't playing the role anymore!  He had much better chemistry with Victoria (Amelia Heinle).

I also think that Sharon and Dylan will eventually be a couple, at least temporarily.  However, it probably won't happen until Sharon is cleared of the murders of Austin and Courtney.

Yes, Smarmy Joe is definitely a ladies' man.  He could end up with Avery, Lauren or Lily.  They all have a certain attraction to him.

Regular contributor, CC from Etobicoke, has sent in her latest thoughts:

Who's the guilty one? or should it be two?
I hope it won't be too anticlimactic when we find out.
As with many murders it goes back to motive and sociopathic personality tendencies.
That means it could be one of several people in GC.

I have to hand it to them as I did not see today's (Thursday April 9th on Global) shocking event coming. (Joe Clark's fall from the window after Avery tried to stop him from kissing her.
Stay tuned.

Yes indeed, CC.  There could be two people working together, for example Austin (assuming he's still alive) and Ian Ward.  Ian's a psychopath and Austin absolutely despises the Newmans and the Abbotts, as does slippery Ian.

Sharon is not the guilty party and she is obviously being framed.  That means there is going to be a big dramatic scene in which Clueless Genoa City police chief Paul Williams mistakenly arrests the beleaguered blond.  Leave it to Clueless to bungle up another case.  Meanwhile the real killer remains on the loose.

I did not see Joe Clark's fall coming either, CC.  It was completely unexpected, a shocking turn of events.  However, I expect him to recover under the care of a guilty Nurse Avery.


CAST NEWS

The final nominations of Prime Time Emmy Awards have been announced.  Here is a list of all the Y&R actors who have been nominated: Gina Tognoni (Phyllis Newman), Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin), Amelia Heinle (Victoria Newman), Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters), Hunter King (Summer Newman), Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe Mitchell), Sally Kellerman (Constance Bingham), Max Elrich (Fenmore Baldwin), Meredith Baxter (Maureen Russell) and Ray Wise (Ian Ward). The awards ceremony will take place on Sunday,April 26, 2015.


Y&R REPORT READER'S POLL




The new Kyle is a baby-faced Australian named Lachlan Buchanan.  How do you like him so far?

What is your impression of the new Kyle Abbott, Lachlan Buchanan?

I really like him. He is a good actor.
I like him. He and Summer make a great couple.
I'm not impressed with him. He portrays Kyle in an obnoxious manner.
I could do without him on the show. He really doesn't connect with me.
He's so-so. I can take him or leave him.
Don't know
Poll Maker

That's all for now. Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, April 25, 2015.


- Joanne

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Short and Troubled Life of Freddie Prinze




Younger people are more familiar with Freddie Prinze, Jr. than with his late father. However, in the 1970s, Freddie Sr. starred in one of the post popular American sitcoms of the decade.  It was called Chico and the Man and it ran on NBC for four seasons, from 1974 until 1978.  Freddie played Francisco "Chico" Rodriguez, an upbeat young Chicano who went searching for employment in his Mexican-American neighbourhood.  That's when he crossed paths with cantankerous Ed Brown (Jack Albertson), the owner of a run-down garage.

Waspy Ed was n lonely widower with a surly nature.  Chico, on the other hand, was a cheerful, enterprising Mexican-American.  The two men couldn't have been more different.in age, cultural background or temperament.  Yet they found common ground.  They forged a business partnership and actually came to respect each other.  Chico was determined to make the enterprise succeed, despite Ed's bigotry and stubbornness. He cleaned up the garage and took up residence in a old van that Ed had parked inside. Somehow the hip, young Latino and the fedora-wearing curmudgeon made it work, as did Prinze and Albertson.


Freddie with Jack Alberson as Ed Brown

For its time, Chico and the Man was really quite unique  The series was groundbreaking in that it was set in the barrio of East Los Angeles and it featured Hispanic characters.  However, during the show's third season, real-life tragedy struck when 22-year-old Freddie Prinze died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 29, 1977.  His rise to stardom had been fast and furious, as was his untimely death.

Freddie Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel on June 22, 1954 in New York City, the son of a Puerto Rican mother, Maria Graniela Pruetzel, and a German-born father, Edward Karl Pruetzel. His father was of Hungarian descent and had immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1934. Edward Karl worked as a tool and die maker while Maria was employed in a factory.

Freddie was raised in the Puerto Rican section of Washington Heights, a rough district in the northern part of the borough of Manhattan.  As a child, Freddie was bullied because he was heavyset and small.  His mother registered him in ballet classes to help him with his weight problem. though he was more interested in music and Karate.  Freddie's mother was Catholic and his father of Jewish and Lutheran backgrounds.  Although his mother took him to mass on Sundays, Freddie was first educated at a private Lutheran elementary school.  He later took it upon himself to audition for the Fiorella LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts.


Freddie as a young boy

Freddie was accepted at LaGuardia, where he studied drama and ballet.  He also exhibited a flair for comedy by telling jokes in the bathroom at lunchtime.  "I had to," he explained to People magazine in the September 16, 1974 article by S.J. Diamond.  "I couldn't fight and I wasn't particularly interested in the academic.  So I started doing satiric bits in the school bathroom.  Guys would cut class to come and see me."

While in high school, Freddie secured a job as a stand-up comedian at the Improv Club in New York. He also performed at coffee houses and night clubs in The Big Apple.  Although Freddie's comedic talents gained recognition, the teenager was required to work late night hours and was absent from school quite frequently.  In his senior year, Freddie decided to drop out of high school  pursue a full-time career as a stand-up.  Much of his humour was observational and based upon his own ethnic and cultural background.  He he would jokingly introduce himself as a "Hungarican."

Freddie's idolized the late Lenny Bruce, an outspoken stand-up comedian and satirist.  At the same time, he was wary of being compared to the irreverent comic who died of a drug overdose at the age of 40 on August 3, 1966.  In the 1974 People magazine article by S.J. Diamond, Freddie is quoted as saying,that "the only comparison that I want to Lenny Bruce is that I'm funny. I'm Freddie Prinze, Puerto Rican all the way."

In 1973, Freddie made his first television appearance on Jack Paar Tonite with fellow guest Charlton Heston.  He received fulsome praise from Heston who, according to IMdb.com, said that one day he hoped he would be able to say he was a guest on the first television show on which Freddie Prinze performed.

Freddie's star really began to rise on December 6, 1973 when he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Carson was impressed with Freddie's performance and invited the young comedian to sit down with him.  In those day, when the King of Late Night expressed his approval, it was a sign that stardom was just around the corner.  It certainly helped that Sammy Davis, Jr., a guest on the Carson show on that occasion and he too was impressed by the 19-year-old funnyman.


A later appearance on The Tonight Show by Freddie,, circa 1975.

Freddie's appearance on The Tonight Show caught the eye of producer James Komack.  Komack, who had begun his own career as a stand-up comedian, was developing a new sticom for NBC.  He invited Freddie to audition for the part of a Mexican-American in the  forthcoming series.

Chico and the Man premiered on September 13, 1974 with Freddie cast as Chico and Jack Albertson as "The Man."  It was an instant hit and Freddie Prinze became an overnight sensation.  His picture appeared on numerous magazine covers and he even had his own Chico and the Man catch phrase - “Looking gooooood!" The pudgy kid from Washington Heights had made the big time. He was now a bonafide TV star.

Not everyone was pleased with Chico and the Man, though.  Some Mexican-American groups disliked the show's portrayal of Chicanos and they were not happy that Freddie was of Puertro Rican background rather than a real Mexican-American. Even Ray Andrade, the Mexican American associate producer of the show, criticized Freddie for not having the right accent.  He said he had offered to take him to the barrio, but the actor refused to go.

On October 13, 1975, Freddie Prinze married Katherine Elaine (Barber) Cochran, at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.  It was Katherine's third marriage (according to a January 28, 1977 Associated Press wire story) and 21-year-old Freddie's first. The couple had a son, Freddie James Prinze, born in Los Angeles on March 8, 1976. The child, now known as Freddie Prinze, Jr., was given his middle name in honour of Chico and the Man creator James Komack.


   



Freddie and Katherine Cochran

On the surface, Freddie Prinze seemed to be living the American Dream.  His life appeared to be an overwhelming success.  He was the star of a hit television comedy.  He had fame, wealth and a beautiful wife and child.  In fact, he even performed at the inaugural ball for then-President Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1977.  Sadly, it was his final public appearance and his last performance as an entertainer.

Freddie at Jimmy Carter's inauguration

The harsh reality was that Freddie was beset by a slew of enormous personal problems, including anxiety and drug dependency (He had a cocaine habit and he was addicted to Quaaludes). His list of woes also included depression and a crumbling marriage.  According to Peter Greenberg, producer of the 1979 television biography Can You Hear the Laughter?: The Story of Freddie Prinze: "His judgment was impaired by his age, drugs and incredible success."

On November 16, 1976, Freddie was arrested for driving under the influence of Quaaludes.  A highway patrol officer stated that the entertainer was driving erratically and that he found a prescription bottle which contained a small amount of methaqualone, a tranquilizer, in his shirt pocket.  Freddie pleaded innocent to the misdemeanor and was scheduled to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court on February 28, 1977.

Soon after Freddies's DUI arrest, Katherine filed for divorce on the grounds that his drug dependence was a danger to their baby son. With his marriage in tatters, Freddie moved into a suite at the swank Beverly Comstock Hotel in West Los Angeles.

On January 26, 1977, Kathy, 26, placed a restraining order on her estranged husband. The next day, Freddie paid a visit to the home of James Komack. According to Komack, Prinze showed no signs of personal problems and "didn't leave here suicidal."  He said that Freddie "could have been playing out some strange dramatic scene or it could have been a pure accident.  Maybe the thought the gun was empty.  I just don't know."

After his visit with Komack, a distraught Freddie returned to the Beverley Comstock and remained in his hotel room.  He began making calls of desperation to his mother, some friends and his manager, Marvin "Dusty" Snyder. According to police Lt. Dan Cooke, the actor's secretary and psychiatrist went to the hotel to lift his spirits.  They left about 2 a.m.  Others stayed, however, and were present at the time of the shooting, including Dusty Snyder, who had rushed to Freddie's hotel to prevent him from harming himself.

In the early hours of  January 28, 1977, despondent over the break-up of his marriage and stung-out on Quaaludes, Freddie Prinze "pulled out an automatic pistol, and shot himself in the head," according to Lt. Cooke.  Freddie was rushed to UCLA Medical Center, where he received emergency surgery and was placed on life support.  The next day, his family authorized officials to remove him from life support. On January 29, he died from his self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  He left a note with the following words:

I must end it. There's no hope left. I'll be at peace. No one had anything to do with this. My decision totally.

Freddie Prinze's death was originally ruled a suicide.  However, that ruling was later changed to an accidental shooting due to the influence of Quaaludes.

In her 1978 book, The Freddie Prinze Story, Freddie's mother, Maria, wrote poignantly about her son's demise.

The people around Freddie knew his problems. They knew of his bouts with depression. They knew about his court struggles, his marriage problems, his battle with drugs. They knew he was physically and mentally wasted, on the edge of a complete breakdown, yet no one seemed to notice.

Freddie Prinze's final appearance on Chico and the Man is in an episode called "Ed Talks to God" (Season 3, Episode 18, Air Date: March 4, 1977). It was taped hours before Freddie shot himself and was scheduled to air on the night of his death. After Freddie's passing, the show's producers seriously considered cancelling the series.  Instead, they established that Chico had left Ed's garage to go into business with his father, played by Caesar Romero. A new character, 12-year-old Raul Garcia (Gabriel Melgar), was introduced to replace the departed Chico and the show continued until the end of its fourth season in 1978.

Freddie Prinze, Jr. was only 10 months when his father took his own life.  According to a January 28, 1999 article by Allan Johnson in the Chicago Tribune, Kathy moved the child out of Hollywood when he was almost four years old "partly so her son could have a more normal upbringing than would have been possible in the town that claimed her husband's life."  Freddie Jr. was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico by his mother and grandmother.


END NOTES

* The catchy theme song from Chico and the Man was written and performed by Puerto Rican singer José Feliciano.  Here are the lyrics:

Chico, don't be discouraged,
The Man he ain't so hard to understand.
Chico, if you try now,
I know that you can lend a helping hand.

Because there's good in everyone
And a new day has begun
You can see the morning sun if you try.

And I know, things will be better
Oh yes they will for Chico and the Man
Yes they will for Chico and the Man.



Feliciano (centre) with Albertson and Prinze

José Feliciano guest-starred in a 1976 episode on Chico and the Man entitled "Chico's Cousin Pepe" (Season 2, Episode 19, Air Date: February 11, 1976).  In the episode, he played Chico's blind cousin, Pepe, a popular Latino singer.

* The Washington Heights district of New York City, where Freddie Prinze grew up, is now mainly populated by immigrants from the Dominican Republic and their offspring.

* Veteran actor Jack Albertson died of colon cancer in Hollywood, California on November 25, 1981.  He was 74 years old at the time of his passing.

* In 1975, Freddie Prinze released a comedy album titled "Looking Good," after his Chico and the Man catch phrase.  The album was taped live at Mister.Kelly's, a well-known Chicago nightclub which operated from 1957 until 1975.




* Freddie Prinze starred in a 1976 television movie called The Million Dollar Rip-Off.  He portrayed Muff Kovak, an electronics whiz and ex-con.  Kovic and four female accomplices devise a scheme to defraud the Chicago Transit Authority of millions of dollars.


Freddie in a scene from Million Dollar Rip-Off

* Freddie Prinze and singer Tony Orlando were good friend and they definitely resembled each other. Freddie made two special guest appearances on the Tony Orlando and Dawn CBS variety show.  His first appearance aired on November 19, 1975 and his second appearance aired on October 5, 1976.
Tony returned the favour by appearing on Freddie's show.  He portrayed Tomas Garcia, the look-alike former fiance of Chico's new love,  in an episode of Chico and the Man entitled "The Big Brush-Off" (Season 2, Episode 17, Air Date: January 28, 1976).


Tony Orlando (left) with Freddie

* Tony Orlando and Jack Albertson delivered eulogies at Freddie's funeral.

* Freddie made several appearances on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, including the roasts for Sammy Davis, Jr. and Muhammad Ali.

* Producer James Komack died of heart failure on December 24, 1997.  He was 73 years old. Komack once told Time magazine that Freddie Prinze was "the best young comedian I've seen come along in 20 years.  He said that Freddie "has a brilliant, spooky, insight into people's behaviour, a pinpoint iconoclastic view of of the world."


Left to Right: Jack Albertson, Jack Komack and Freddie

* Freddie Prinze, Jr., Freddie's only child, speaks Spanish and is a well-known actor.  In 2002, he married fellow actor Sarah Michelle Gellar.  They have two children, Charlotte Grace (born 2009) and Rocky James (born 2012), the grandchildren of Freddie Prinze, Sr.


Freddie Prinze, Jr.


- Joanne

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Y&R Report (Saturday, March 28, 2015): The Latest on The Young and the Restless




Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.


Okay readers, let's cut to the chase! The four big questions concerning Y&R right now are:

1.  Did Kelly really commit suicide?

2.  Who killed Austin and who is stalking Abby?

3.  Who is conspiring with Victor Newman in the confessional?

4.  What does Victor have on Jack Abbott that will bring Smilin' Jack down?


Always at your service, I will address all four questions head on.

1.  Did Kelly take her own life or is this all part of Victor Newman's big plan, his grand scheme to destroy Jack Abbott and take over Jabot?  Only the writers know for sure, but I an inclined to believe she is still alive and that her so-called suicide is all part of Victor's plan.  The Big Man's fingerprints are all over this one, figuratively speaking.

2.  My guess is that Austin is still alive and that he is the one stalking Abby.  I believe that he is working with Ian Ward to destroy the Newmans and the Abbotts. The videos show how vindictive Austin could be and how much he resented Summer's family.

Joe Clark could also be involved in the scheme.  He is wicked enough and may be involved for reasons yet to be revealed.  There are things about Joe's past we still don't know.  He's still very much a man of mystery.

3.  I'm still trying to figure out who is Victor's co-conspirator in the confessional. Regular viewer Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario reports that some fans have been speculating that The Black Knight's co-conspirator is Maureen Russelll (Meredith Baxter), Dr. Stitch's mother.  The last time we saw Maureen, Nikki gifted her a handsome sum of money and she promptly left town.  She hasn't been seen since.

I just hope that when Victor's co-conspirator is revealed, it's a connection that's at least somewhat believable.  I hope it's not something ridiculous or contrived.

4.  Victor definitely has something on Jack Abbott and he's planning to use it to blackmail his hapless rival into selling Jabot to him.  Vile Vic had quite a smirk on his face when he offered to buy Jabot from Jack.  He looked like the cat who caught the canary.  It was the look of a man who has the upper hand.  Victor is holding all the cards and he knows it.  Poor Jack, on the other hand, was left worrying about what his rival is up to - and with good reason.

Chelsea went on a little road trip with Adam/Gabriel and their Jabot car ran out of gas.  It's the oldest trick in the book and Y&R uses it to bring couples together. (Remember how Devon's fancy car broke down and he was stranded alone with Hilary?).  It seemed the perfect time for Adam to tell Chelsea that he is still alive, but he didn't take advantage of the situation. At any rate, Adam once again failed to reveal his true identity to his wife.  Chelsea will eventually find out, but it looks as if the writers are going to drag it out longer.  It's quite obvious, however, that B and C will never get to the altar. It's also quite apparent that Chelsea does not love Billy the way she loved Adam.  As Sage observed, Chelsea positively glows when she talks about Adam, but does not display that same glow when she speaks about Billy Boy.  As for Sage, I think she will be the one to spill the beans about Adam to Chelsea because she is losing patience with Adam's procrastination.  He can't seem to get the words out of his mouth..

Could there be a worse police force than Genoa City's?  Due to the ineptness of GC's Finest (if that's the finest, I wouldn't want to see the worst), Kelly was able to evade capture at the airport. No wonder GC;s citizens are so uptight and stressed. They fear for their safety.

Now that Dr. Stitch'em Up is acting as Abby bodyguard, he and the spoiled Newman heiress are getting awfully chummy.  Could a romance be in the offing for them? Possibly, but I doubt it will work out.  Given Abby's track record and her lack of judgement with men (Daniel, Tyler, Austin), she is probably headed for more heartache.  Her mother certainly won't be happy if she connects with Stitch because I suspect she's harbouring feelings for Dr. Romeo herself.  Ashley is more serious about Stitch than she lets on or has led him to believe.  She is just pretending that what happened between them meant nothing.  By the way, now that Abby knows their secret, how long before Victoria finds out?

Poor Noah!  He spends all of his time dealing with his dysfunctional parents and their problems.  He is constantly defends them. Now both his parents and his grandfather are suspects in the murder of Austin and/or the stalking of Abby.

Baby-faced Kyle is not as sweet and innocent as he appears.  What was he thinking when he wrote a threatening message on Sharon's mirror in order to get her to confess to Adam's murder?  He didn't even consult with the others before doing that.  He just took it upon himself.


VIEWER FORUM 

Here are some observations and opinions from CC in Etobicoke, Ontario

So Victor and Kelly are speaking in hushed tones in the foyer of the ranch.
Victor tells Kelly to keep her voice down because his wife is upstairs.

Cut to the bar where we see Nikki walk in to join Neil.

Back to the ranch house where Kelly rushes out the back door when Jack and Phyllis are let in to confront Victor.

Do they expect us to believe that Victor lied about Nikki being upstairs? Or are we to believe that she left the house by a different stairwell and a back door?  Or do they think that we will just carry on blindly trusting?

Anyway, evil Victor is behind it all!  And he hopes to hit quite a few birds with one stone.

Now the Sleuths think Stitch is behind Austin's demise?
What next?
Everyone is a suspect!



Well CC, I guess they think viewers won't notice or that we won't think it's a big deal how Nikki left the ranch.  However, in my opinion, the writers and producers should show more respect for the intelligence of their viewers.

Yes, Victor the Villain is behind a great many of the dirty deeds in Genoa City.  As vile as he can be, though, he is not responsible for all the underhandedness and duplicity that goes on in the Peyton Place of Wisconsin.  Having said all that, I must admit that it sometimes seems as if The Moustache has his big, grubby hands on everything. Nevertheless, I doubt he would harm his own daughter, Abby, or have her stalked.

Yes, CC, almost everyone seems to be a suspect in Austin's demise (if he is indeed dead).  Sharon has also been added to the list.  New head writer Charles Pratt wants to keep viewers guessing.


CAST NEWS

It was good to see Jerry Douglas back for another stint as the ghost of John Abbott. As I've mentioned before, I think it was a bad mistake to kill off John Abbott, the patriarch of the Abbott family and a popular character.  With all the turmoil Jack has been going through lately, I'm really surprised his father's apparition didn't appear earlier to give him some much-needed advice and provide a voice for his conscience.

Angell Conwell has returned.  Her Leslie character was last seen on screen in 2014, at the conclusion of Austin's trial for shooting Paul Williams (Doug Davidson). At that time, she informed fellow lawyer Avery that she had accepted an Assistant District Attorney position.  After that, she just vanished with nary a mention.  Now she's back and conveniently working as a defence lawyer.  She's ready to defend her ex-boyfriend Neil

As for Leslie's brother, Tyler Michaelson, played by Redaric Williams, I have yet to come across any mention that he will be coming back.  If any fans know differently, please let me know.


Angell Conwell
                 Photo Attribution: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com


Ryan Caltagirone is playing the role of Winston Mobley, the new Assistant District Attorney.  He made his first Y&R appearance on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 on CBS (March 23rd on Global TV in Canada). According to Internet spoilers, Hilary will flirt with the new ADA in order to manipulate him where Neil's case is concerned.


Ryan Caltagirone 


BEST LINES

In the last edition of Y&R Report, I forgot to mention this gem.  I was quite amused when Abby referred to Stitch as Dr. Brush Cut.


Y&R REPORT READER'S POLL

It shouldn't be too much longer before Chelsea discovers that "Gabriel Bingham" is really Adam. (Note to writers:You have been dragging this one out long enough!). Although Chelsea seems to love Adam more than Billy, would she be wise to go back to him after all that's happened?  Could they regain what they had before or should she continue to build a more stable life with Billy?  You decide.






Once Chelsea finds out that Adam is still alive, do you think she should go back to him?

Yes, they belong together and they have a son.
No, she is happy with Billy now.
No, she should find someone new.
Don't know
Poll Maker


That's all for now.  The show was preempted for a couple of days due to March Madness basketball. However, there should be plenty of spring madness on The Young and the Restless in the coming days and weeks.  The next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, April 11, 2015.


- Joanne