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It Comes Up "Short"
Two plots are going on here. One has to do with Kimmy reconnecting with one of the other Mole Women. She also comes to believe that her appearance is holding her back. This leads to her seeking out Jacqueline, who refers her to her plastic surgeon, played as a manic nut case by Martin Short. Meanwhile, Titus finds out that there is an opening on the Broadway show "Spiderman." The Spider men are getting injured right and left and he believes he can fill the bill. The absurdity, of course, is that he doesn't remotely resemble the classic Spiderman character. Tituss Burgess is hilarious, as always, as the gay roommate. He butts head with his sworn enemy who has had a more successful career. Nicely conceive and performed.
It Gets Wackier
Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski are a match made in heaven. Kimmy is in a funk because she can't find her Prince Charming. Titus is trying to restructure his image and get some new publicity photos. Jacqueline figures out that Kimmy needs a man and sets her up with an old guy who is rich, but who seems to be a shell shock case. He is living out illusions of his military service. Kimmy's vacuous being (in one sense) is undeterred. She knows that life won't be easy but perseveres anyway. Jacqueline, it is revealed, is Native American. Her scene with her father and mother, both Lakotah, is priceless. She has turned her back on her lineage. The discussion about using all of the buffalo is priceless.
In the concluding episode of this series we are given a glimpse of the events in Haight Ashbury, leading to the big concert at Woodstock. With the advent of Timothy Leary and his ilk, drugs, particularly the psychedelics, become the candy off a new generation. There is an element of sadness here in that these kids, who left society, eventually fell to earth. It was probably because without property, food, and support, eventually the wheels fall off. They had had enough of the establishment and its wars. They began to see how minorities were treated and and how those over thirty got to make the rules. This was the era of the protest singer and the impact of the counterculture. What would the Seventies bring to change all this? Watch the next series.
A Time of Revolution
That's some revolution, that sexual revolution. In this episode we review the ascent of various previously oppressed groups. We get to see how the women of America began to flex their muscles and demand what is rightfully theirs. We get to meet Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem and Helen Gurly Brown and their impact on the world. The confrontation with men over such things as having a right to their own bodies. Of course, the Civil Rights movement is in full blossom but it doesn't happen without protest and risk. Of course, the main event continues to be Vietnam and all its implications. Nixon is re- elected but lying in the weeds is an investigation into some dirty tricks. We also see the ineffective Hubert Humphrey trying to move ahead. Good work.
The Sixties: 1968 (2014)
Never Another Like It
The Sixties series shows us how a single year could have about as much impact as any in American history. In 1968, we had the assassinations of Martin Luther KIng and Bobby Kennedy. We had the election of Richard Nixon and then the Watergate scandal. Then there was the Democratic Convention in Chicago. We have the resignation of Spiro T. Agnew, a true crook. This is all packed into about 50 minutes. These turbulent events show that what we are experiencing today is nothing new. Racism is still in abundance. Dirty politics are the same old same old. There is excellent footage and narration here to bring to life this memorable year.
The Sixties: The Space Race (2014)
What an Amazing Race!
As the embarrassed US powers that be are trumped (excuse the use of that word) by the Russians putting the first man into space, the Cold War shaking begins. President Kennedy promises the American people that by the end of the decade a man would walk on the moon. Damned if they didn't do it. This is a nice little piece, showing what remarkable figures accomplished this task, at the risks of their lives in some cases. We see Alan Shepherd make his first sojourn into space, John Glenn, and eventually the complex figure, Neil Armstrong and his fellows. We also see that death sometimes follows these people. Nicely presented. We have become so blaze about these pioneers.
The Sixties: The British Invasion (2014)
Possibly the Greatest Era in Pop Music
To get substance, sometimes it takes pain. I wished this episode had been about ten times as long. With the coming of the Beatles to the US, we had something that only comes along in a century. Following the Fab Four, came the Rolling Stones and a whole host of Britishers. Of course, the music evolved to address the issues of the time, particularly, the war. This presentation gives us a glimpse at the likes of Bob Dylan and others who made the most gravity laden singers and performers. Their work became the anthems for the youth generation. We are made privy to the angst of a generation that could be drafted and dead within a few weeks...and for what? There is some nice music here, but the strength of the offering is in how it melded the underlying sickness in the country with the growth of music. Nicely done.
Too Much for So Little Time
The Civil Rights movement required incredible bravery. First of all, there are the obvious victims of the oppression that went back over a hundred years. In the Sixties, Blacks were every bit the second class citizens (third class?) that they had been for decades. There were two factions outside the routinely marginalized. There were those who decided to become militant and go the route of vengeance and violent confrontation. The second group, following the principals of Martin Luther King and his ilk, saw peaceful protest and obstructionism as this course. The politicians in America, for the most part, wished the Blacks would just go away. Even. JFK had little time for advancing the cause of minorities and dragged his feet. The rest of America seemed to be telling the politicians to not give in to these people. Lyndon Johnson, for all the speculation of his inflexibility and tunnel vision, will always be a hero for signing the Human Rights Bill. We get a first hand look at the events that led to this.
The Sixties: The War in Vietnam (2014)
Hard Headed, Commie Fearing, Despots
The Vietnam War was for most of us at that time, a quagmire. We watched as many of those we loved lost their lives over the political posturing of an intractable force at the top. French Indochina, Vietnam, somehow became the poster child for how communism was wending its way through Southeast Asia. Wel all know about the ludicrous Domino Theory. John F. Kennedy, a mere kid when he became President, began the process of putting too many booths on the ground in Vietnam. After the assassination, Lyndon Johnson had his own issues. One of the strongest forces in the Senate for much of his life, it was imperative that he not seem weak and that he carry on what Kennedy was doing. Meanwhile, more and more sons of middle and lower class families were drafted and sent to fight for their lives, many who had no choice. We get a nice picture of Lyndon Johnson and his efforts to stay afloat, full of guilt and self doubt. I thought this was nicely done, though many other Vietnam documentaries are much superior to this one.
They're Still Out There
There are two focal points in this third offering of "The Sixties." The first is the factual material that we all viewed concerning the assassination of JFK. We the Zapruder film which has been enhanced and offered in stark detail. Of course, there are all the events of that week that will be left indelibly in the minds of those who lived through it. The coverage was actually quite amazing, considering the relatively primitive technology available at the time. I was doing a crossword puzzle, watching my little TV, when Ruby came out of the crowd and shot Oswald. I'll never forget how stunned I was, even at age 16. The second half deals with the conspiracy theorists that flooded the country. Of course, it was automatically assumed that the Warren Commission was corrupt. Our country is still rife with those that can't accept a simple explanation. Those who hated this presentation, seem to be doing the same thing the other naysayers did. If they had any hard facts, they should have presented them years ago and we would have their revised version. The problem is that there are so many theories with so many variable and little empirical evidence that they counteract each other. The cool thing for me was that all these guys even existed or even exist today.