A middle-aged Mary Ann returns to San Francisco and reunites with the eccentric friends she left behind. "Tales of the City" focuses primarily on the people who live in a boardinghouse turned apartment complex owned by Anna Madrigal at 28 Barbary Lane, all of whom quickly become part of what Maupin coined a "logical family". It's no longer a secret that Mrs. Madrigal is transgender. Instead, she ...
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A middle-aged Mary Ann returns to San Francisco and reunites with the eccentric friends she left behind. "Tales of the City" focuses primarily on the people who live in a boardinghouse turned apartment complex owned by Anna Madrigal at 28 Barbary Lane, all of whom quickly become part of what Maupin coined a "logical family". It's no longer a secret that Mrs. Madrigal is transgender. Instead, she is haunted by something from her past that has long been too painful to share.
In the final episode, Michael reminisces about when he first moved to 28 Barbary Lane after he saw an ad in a newspaper. In actual fact, he moved in with his friend Mona Ramsey, who was already living in the building, and he chose to remain in the apartment after she left. See more »
I never read the books, but I do know Maupin's intentions with them, and how important the book series became to pop culture as a social registry about San Francisco since middle 70's, which also reflects much of other societies and LGBT communities around the world.
The very 1st season is simply amazing. The references of that time, the sexual liberation, and the shock of different cultures and sexualities were all within loveable characters. Really, what did cach my attention was that none of the characters was unpleasant. Yeah, except very specific antagonists, necessary for plot twists and mysteries solving.
The main character, Mary Ann, is just that kind of character that everyone feels related somehow, because she represents the conflicts between different social cultures and how maturity knocks at our doors in some point of our lives. You open it, or you keep it locked. Is totally up to you how you expect to face reality, and Mary Ann simply wide opened it beautifully. And beautifully is how Laura Liney developed the character as well.
Other Tales and Further Tales, both tried to keep the same pace of the original, and kind of did it nicely and respectfully even with recurring production problems about cast members and years that separate one season from another.
But I must tell that, after watching the first 3 seasons, the new Tales are very disappointing in a lot of ways.
First of all is that Mary Ann became a kind of character that I could never expect. After so many positive changes, pursuing real reasons to be a better person and dreaming about a meaningful life, she comes back to San Francisco after 20 years being everything she tried not to be for so long. Now everyone is bashing her selfishness, claiming all the time that she "runs away from everything, as always". That is awful. Seems that she's a completely different character, because it doesn't make any sense. The character's transition from the naive and conservative Cleveland girl to a brave open minded young woman was very authentic and believable through the years. And if there's something Mary Ann never was (at least in the show) was selfish or coward. She's now unpleasent, unfunny, yelling all the time, someone that no one is comfortable being around, when she was completely the opposite. Yeah, 20 years make a hell of change in someone's life, but the way writers did were unfair to the character. Maybe the books have a better development for that (I don't even know if they do), but in the show it makes no sense at all. From a loveable character that Mary Ann was, now she's there just to push the humor to cringe moments, or the drama to a constant and superficial self pity.
Characters in a whole have no more that sweet honesty, or that heartwarming presence. There are no enjoyable dialogs about life and ordinary things like past seasons did, and characters are thrown randomly to the scenes for the sake of representativeness more than their real relevance to the story. Also, the way the show changed the personality of some of them, as already mentioned, created lame conflicts to put it into a modern pattern. Also, it's not necessary show mobile apps all the time to the camera just to state that the story is happening in a modern and connected society. I never understand the relevance of that. We've been there from over a decade now, and when writers try to bring relevance to that, it just feels they are treating audience as primitive people that finally discovered the fire. Really?
Yeah, entire Tales TV show was like a soap opera, but this time looks like a very bad one, and all that enlightening humanity is gone.
The most annoying thing for me is Ellen Page. I read a lot of people claiming that her character in the books is completely the opposite of the performance she delivers. True or not, her performance is painful. I would not only blame the writing and direction, but mostly Page herself. As another one noticed, she is locked in a self character forever. Really, she's always making clear that she doesn't even try, as an actress, to deliver something slightly different from what she did before. Her presence is always unexpressive, like she is deceiving the audience all the time, making it clear that she doesn't care about the kind of performance people expect from her. Pick Umbrella Academy and Tales, she is exactly the same in both shows, even the shirts and caps. Maybe she filmed both in same days just to avoid changing clothes.
Wardrobe would never be a problem if her performance was different one from another, I must say. Which is not the case.
The original series is considered the first show to talk openly about social diversity in a decade when TV was affraid to approach those issues in a very positive and natural way as the show did. It was something new and controversial for that time, which is not today. Diversity is all over the place now, and Tales could feel a little outdated if they maintained the same structure of the past, but at the same time wouldn't be bad at all keep its roots. Showrunners lead the show to a different path to make it feel relevant and connected to new and younger audiences, while original characters feel misplaced, doing ordinary actions only to reinforce some strong ageisms. Yeah, Tales doesn't seem the same anymore. The name is there, but all the character and atmosphere is gone.
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