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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, January 14, 2006

South Beach -- The Show

When I was channel-surfing this Wednesday, little did I know that I was going to pounce on a brand-new television drama, from the UPN network.

South Beach tries to do to Miami Beach what Miami Vice tried to do to, erm, Miami Beach.

For TV execs are in constant search of that winning formula, which once ventured, is always gained.

And you'd have to be brain-dead not to realise that Miami Beach (which is what people think of when they refer to "Miami"), has been the hottest location filming commodity going on two decades.

Miami is very much a plug-and-play name, which magically transforms a drab, listless, and unimaginative show, into a T&A bonanza, filled with nubile bodies of all 3 sexes, and unending fun in the sun for cops and criminals alike -- hopefully.

That's our starting premise, but the plot outline is this:

"Two best friends from Brooklyn move to glamorous, decadent South Beach, Miami. Matt is escaping a troubled home, Vince is escaping trouble."

Sure. That's why I came to Miami too!

So, okay, I was watching the show, a few minutes into first hour of two hours, when I had a sudden sinking feeling, and said:

"Yo, snap, this show sucks, dawg"

Well. Maybe I didn't say it quite like that. I used "dude" instead.

But, alas, the actual sentiment remains.

First off, what's up with all the Puerto Rican-looking actors?

I know, I know. Hollywood thinks "Latino" and automatically presumes the overwhelming majority of Hispanics in Miami, namely Cubans, fit into the general Puerto Rican-umbrella mold.

Now, you may wonder, with such a diversity of looks in the Hispanosphere, what exactly is the difference physically between the two.

It's hard to explain without sounding wonderfully, deletacbly racist, but the majority of Cubans are usually white.

When you think Cuban, think Yankee slugger Tino Martinez. He should be the Cubanazo poster boy.

On the other hand, the Puerto Ricans (in the US, in Puerto Rico it's different), they're a mix of indigenous, black, and white, best characterised by Rosie Perez.

(In fact, her fellow Nooyorican, Jennifer Lopez, is producing the show)

And that's what we got for the characters in South Beach.

One day, Hollywood will get it right.

Until then, I gripe.

The funniest thing about the show, for me, was finding out that Vanessa Williams' character's name is Elizabeth Bauer.



It's just that there is a mega-famous local boy, whom you might remember from Scarface, as Al Pacino's sidekick (albeit not his "little friend"), named Steven Bauer, for whom this was obviously an hommage.

What propelled him to fame, long before being known as Mr. Melanie Griffith, was a now beloved PBS comedy show, called "Que Pasa USA?" -- which I'm rather thinking of blogging about soonish.

Bauer was then called Rocky Echevarria, but decided when he got to Tinseltown, he'd go gringo, which hey, is fine.

You think Bernie Schwartz sounds as good as Tony Curtis?

But to my greter astonishment, Steven Bauer had a cameo and there he was! Looking very Puerto Rican in his slicked back combover! (You can't win)

-- It's a very similar case with the actor they have portraying "Roberto Fuentes", Giancarlo Esposito, who seems like a crooked, santero version of Tubbs in Miami Vice.



His features are undefinably something. Born in Copenhagen, when his American-American mum was singing with Josephine Baker, and his Italian dad, met. He looks every bit the mish-mash of backgrounds he was born to. --

I dare not relate to you the rest of the show.

Anything which involves Miami Dolphin cheerleader rejects in gold lamé criss-cross bikinis, the kind you see on Italian hootchiemamas in the Costa d' Amalfi, is bound to jump the shark in the first episode.

This show triple-jumped it...

Ah well.

At least we get to see Miami Beach skylines just like the ones I post frequently in my travelogues -- which reminds me that I have to get out there, and start snapping again.

The next series, however, won't be South Beach.

It'll be Little Havana.

Although don't look at the people there, and think Cuban. These days Little Havana should be better called, Little Tegucigalpa.

Mind you, the cafecito joints are still redolently fragrant, and owned by old Cubans in guayaberas, with nary a gold lamé bikini in sight.

They keep those calenders in the men's room.

16 Comments:

  • Almost twenty years ago, the fellow who served as our Best Man introduced me to the term "Tohesian". I don't know if he coined it or if he simply promoted it. Tohesians are people of non-descript ethnic backgrounds. Mariah Carey? Tohesian. Paula Abdul? Tohesian. Tiger Woods? Tohesian. It just made a lot of sense to me...to get past the idea of culture/ethnicity quickly and get on with whether the named party was talented.

    It's hard to make a slur of it. Who's gonna' say, "She's pretty good. I mean, for a Tohesian"?

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Sat Jan 14, 03:09:00 pm GMT-5  

  • What's that you say, gold lamé criss-cross bikinis? Holy Testarossa Crockett, How did I miss this? Did the late, lamented XFL get a TV show?

    My granduncle in Germany had a Dixieland Jazz band and (according to him, through my granddad, anyway!) Josephine Baker sang with them...all was lost (including him!) in the tra-la-la spring of Berlin in '45...

    I agree with you about Tino Martinez! He would be a great figurehead ruler of Cuba someday!
    Or maybe Tony Oliva! Can you imagine a MLB park in Havana someday?

    My favorite episodes of Miami Vice involve the use of G. Gordon Liddy as the drug-running, government crimelord! When finally confronted in his jungle fortress by Crockett, his office is lined with pics of him and Nixon, only they ain't props baby! A double scoop of verisimilitude with some chopped irony on top! Hi-larious!

    By Blogger Ron, at Sat Jan 14, 04:48:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Too much excitement for me. Every time I saw an episode of 'Miami Vice,' it reminded me of why, when I had a family, I wanted to live in a town where they roll up the sidewalks by 6:00 every night.

    And I've kept that promise. My kids don't realize how lucky they are. They don't like how a 'shopping center' here is a mechanic's shop with a vending machine in the back. Having grown up in a city, though, I know how lucky they are. I could probably earn a lot more working in a big city, but my wife and myself have always thought that this was the right decision.

    By Blogger Eli Blake, at Sat Jan 14, 08:10:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Sure. That's why I came to Miami too!

    That, went without saying. Run out of Camden by Joe Biden, the talk is.
    I say their loss is Miami's most wonderful gain.

    By Blogger Paul, at Sat Jan 14, 08:14:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I know he's from Delaware. He wears Princeton hats though.

    By Blogger Paul, at Sat Jan 14, 08:18:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Almost twenty years ago, the fellow who served as our Best Man introduced me to the term "Tohesian". I don't know if he coined it or if he simply promoted it. Tohesians are people of non-descript ethnic backgrounds.

    Oh. My. God. That is so brilliant.

    I absolutely love it. I'll use it all the time.

    Mariah Carey? Tohesian. Paula Abdul? Tohesian. Tiger Woods? Tohesian.

    Yes!

    Derek Jeter? Tohesian. That girl Jasmine from that show with Screech? Tohesian.

    The Rock? King Tohesian.

    In fact, Ruth Anne, you didn't fail to see a Tohesian joke about the Rock on Family Guy last weekend, when a sonorous announcer voice-over introduced him as:

    "The Rock -- African-American. Also Samoan. Hispanic? Definitely. He's got some white in him too, I think."

    Dude. Tohesian, okay?

    It just made a lot of sense to me...to get past the idea of culture/ethnicity quickly and get on with whether the named party was talented.

    Which in the case of the cast of SoBe, the answer is a big whopping negativino.

    It's hard to make a slur of it. Who's gonna' say, "She's pretty good. I mean, for a Tohesian"?

    Even David Duke couldn't get worked up over that.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Jan 15, 01:02:00 am GMT-5  

  • What's that you say, gold lamé criss-cross bikinis? Holy Testarossa Crockett, How did I miss this? Did the late, lamented XFL get a TV show?

    Almost. :)

    I loved the XFL, BTW, too bad they couldn't make a go of it. Might've been the team nicknames.

    You know you're overstretched when you have a team called the Decatur Fat Bastards.

    My granduncle in Germany had a Dixieland Jazz band and (according to him, through my granddad, anyway!) Josephine Baker sang with them...all was lost (including him!) in the tra-la-la spring of Berlin in '45...

    Oh baby, I'm sorry. My family...well, you know how it is.

    Same thing here.

    I agree with you about Tino Martinez! He would be a great figurehead ruler of Cuba someday!

    He'd be a shoo-in in Guanabacoa.

    Or maybe Tony Oliva! Can you imagine a MLB park in Havana someday?

    Oh that would really cheese the Puerto Ricans, who failed to land an MLB team for their homeland.

    First, the Platt Amendment. Now this. ;)

    My favorite episodes of Miami Vice involve the use of G. Gordon Liddy as the drug-running, government crimelord!

    Whaaaaa? Mind you, I never have seen a full episode of Michael Mann's hommage to the Magic City. ;)

    When finally confronted in his jungle fortress by Crockett, his office is lined with pics of him and Nixon, only they ain't props baby! A double scoop of verisimilitude with some chopped irony on top! Hi-larious!

    That's awesome!

    Two quick anecdotes:

    An ex-boyfriend of mine met G. Gordon Liddy at a book signing in the early '90s -- his autobio, I think.

    He went up to him, and said, "Could you dedicate that to me, with the words, 'The only good Red is a Skelton? - G. Gordon Liddy?'".

    And he did!

    Second, I met an African-American guy called Kissinger today...

    When I teased him about the name (well, one does), he said it was a lucky escape.

    His mother was vacilating between that and Nixon. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Jan 15, 01:09:00 am GMT-5  

  • Too much excitement for me. Every time I saw an episode of 'Miami Vice,' it reminded me of why, when I had a family, I wanted to live in a town where they roll up the sidewalks by 6:00 every night.

    Wow, Eli, you would LOVE living on the continent, especially Amsterdam.

    After 6 PM, you get nothing, except maybe brownstone cafes to smoke your joints in.

    Me, I love living in a place which 1 AM is considered unfashionably early to go to a club.

    You show up at 2 AM or be thought the worst rube.

    And I've kept that promise. My kids don't realize how lucky they are. They don't like how a 'shopping center' here is a mechanic's shop with a vending machine in the back.

    See, this is why they used to make town houses, beach houses, and country houses.

    I'm all over the country house, as long as I can mosey to my town house for some high-colonics.

    Having grown up in a city, though, I know how lucky they are. I could probably earn a lot more working in a big city, but my wife and myself have always thought that this was the right decision.

    That's what counts. Especially the bit about your wife. ;)

    Although SoBe is nice! You should come down for a visit, if you haven't already.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Jan 15, 01:17:00 am GMT-5  

  • I know he's from Delaware. He wears Princeton hats though.

    I wonder if their fund-raising will take a hit this year.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Jan 15, 01:18:00 am GMT-5  

  • Does this mean you got my tip about this? Can't tell if you're reading your blogmail these days...

    Anyway, the commercials for this show looked wretched. But I admit I used to find "Silk Stalkings" inexplicably soothing.

    By Blogger JSU, at Sun Jan 15, 04:53:00 am GMT-5  

  • Second, I met an African-American guy called Kissinger today...

    When I teased him about the name (well, one does), he said it was a lucky escape.

    His mother was vacilating between that and Nixon. :)


    That settles it, I'm naming a fish Kissinger Nixon! (and a slipperly fish he'll be!)

    I have a character in my novel named Thomas Jefferson Airplane Mjolnor!

    By Blogger Ron, at Sun Jan 15, 09:54:00 am GMT-5  

  • Does this mean you got my tip about this?

    Yes. :)

    Thank you so much, JSU. I got it after Renato told me earlier that week, that there was a new show called South Beach.

    He and I spoke on the phone throughout the episode, with me giggling hysterically every five minutes.

    His ear has healed nicely.

    Can't tell if you're reading your blogmail these days...

    You're not the only one. :(

    Anyway, the commercials for this show looked wretched.

    There were commercials??

    But I admit I used to find "Silk Stalkings" inexplicably soothing.

    Wow! I never watched that.

    How is Battlestar Galactica these days?

    What season is it in, and has it jumped the shark yet?

    Realise, most shows have 3 GREAT years to them, then they implode, no matter what happens.

    The exception seem to be I Love Lucy and Law and Order. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Jan 15, 02:03:00 pm GMT-5  

  • That settles it, I'm naming a fish Kissinger Nixon! (and a slipperly fish he'll be!)

    Go for broke, and get a Playful Primate!

    I have a character in my novel named Thomas Jefferson Airplane Mjolnor!

    Erm...I may not be old enough to understand this reference. *duck!*

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Jan 15, 02:05:00 pm GMT-5  

  • "There were commercials??"

    During Battlestar Galactica, I think. (Bizarre, eh?)

    "How is Battlestar Galactica these days?"

    Just started the second half of the second season. Still the best show on TV.

    "Realise, most shows have 3 GREAT years to them, then they implode, no matter what happens."

    Seinfeld.

    By Blogger JSU, at Sun Jan 15, 05:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Jeezz, I watched the first episode of "The Book of Daniel", and later in the wwek caught much of "South Beach". Well, that's a lot of time I'll never get back.

    What losers! And me! For watching any of it!

    *it's gotta get better! Just gotta! can't stay this crappy forever. No way can it! no way! Awww, crap! it stayed crappy forever!*

    By Blogger benning, at Sun Jan 15, 05:40:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I have a character in my novel named Thomas Jefferson Airplane Mjolnor!

    Erm...I may not be old enough to understand this reference. *duck!*


    The reference is to the old '60's group Jefferson Airplane. (Grace Slick & friends, big hits,White Rabbit, Somebody to Love) They eventually became Jefferson Starship in the '70's...

    I liked the idea a '60's child would be named Thomas Jefferson...beat...Airplane, getting you to think President, no wait, Rock Group!, first...

    Explaining Ron, close personal friend of Translating Ron

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue Jan 17, 07:51:00 am GMT-5  

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