Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Simpsons/ Eric Johnson in The Knick

Dec. 22, 2014 “The Simpsons: 21 surprising facts to celebrate 25 years”: This is an article I cut out from the Edmonton Journal.  It’s a fun read:

As the cartoon sitcom celebrates its quarter century this week, Michael Hogan offers some surprising facts about the show.

1. God and his son Jesus are the only characters on The Simpsons to have a full set of five digits. They also have five toes on each foot. Everyone else has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, and four toes on each foot.

2. Simpsons creator Matt Groening made the characters yellow to grab the attention of channel surfers. "When you're flicking with your remote control and a flash of yellow goes by, you'll know you're watching The Simpsons," he said.

3. Groening also designed the Simpson family to be immediately identifiable in silhouette - hence their distinctive hairstyles and head-shapes.

4. Homer Simpson is the most downloaded satnav voice in the world. He's more popular than Darth Vader, Ali G and Brian Blessed.
5. Groening got many of the characters' surnames from streets in his hometown. Lovejoy, Quimby, Flanders, Kearney, Terwilliger and Burnside are all street names in Portland, Oregon.

6. Homer is the only character to have dialogue in every episode.

7. "D'oh!" is written in scripts as "annoyed grunt".

8. Over the course of multiple seasons, the brief clips of actor Rainier Wolfcastle's action hero McBain form a coherent four-minute mini-movie, spoofing Eighties action films.

My opinion: I didn’t know that.

9. In 1990, First Lady Barbara Bush criticised The Simpsons as "the dumbest thing I've ever seen". Marge wrote a personalised letter to her, in character, politely telling her not to be so judgmental. Mrs Bush later apologised for her "loose tongue".

My opinion: I thought a lot of comedy is supposed to be dumb so we can laugh at it.

10. Groening himself is the "voice" of the Simpsons' baby Maggie but Elizabeth Taylor delivered Maggie's actual first word: "Daddy!" in 1992.

11. Mr Burns's assistant-cum-carer Waylon Smithers was originally black. Groening had always intended for him to be white but a colour blunder occurred at the animation stage.

My opinion: I know.  If you saw the really old episodes, Smithers has dark skin.

12. Bart's hair has nine points. Lisa and Maggie's has eight.

13. When Bart makes prank calls to Moe's Tavern, he dials 764-84377. On a phone keypad, the number spells out Smithers.

My opinion: I remember the episode where Homer was Mr. Burns assistant.  Mr. Burns dials the number and looks for Waylon Smithers. 
Moe gets angry and thought it was Bart the prank caller so he yells at Mr. Burns.

14. Bart's bespectacled best friend Milhouse Van Houten's middle name is Mussolini.

15. The name Bart was chosen because it's an anagram of "brat".

My opinion: I remember reading that.

16. Michael Jackson co-wrote and co-produced Bart Simpson's 1991 pop-rap single Do the Bartman, uncredited.

17. The 'Who Shot Mr Burns?' episode ran a competition for fans to guess the culprit. However, no one gave the correct answer: Maggie Simpson.

18. Homer's email address is ChunkyLover53@aol.com. It's genuinely registered and messages from fans get a response.

My opinion: That’s interesting.

19. The actors who dub the voices of Homer and Marge in the French version of The Simpsons, Phillipe Peythieu and Vronique Augereau, married in real life. They met during auditions and wed a decade later.

20. Krusty the Clown was originally intended to be revealed as Homer, hence their similar appearance.

21. Fox owns the rights to The Simpsons until 2082.


Apr. 6 Eric Johnson in The Knick: I cut out this article “Actor gets carried away in doctor drama” by Laura Kane in the Edmonton Journal on Aug. 7, 2014.  It’s about my favorite Edmonton actor Eric Johnson, so I had to cut it out.  I’m sure some of you guys are laughing at this part. 
 
When I was in the Office Assistant program in Fall 2014, there was an assignment to write a report and a presentation on any topic that we want.  The teacher has to approve it so I wrote a report on Johnson.  I got a B on it.  Here’s the whole article: 

Edmonton-born actor Eric Johnson prepared so intensely for his role in Cinemax’s “The Knick,” as a surgeon at New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital in 1900, that he became “strangely confident” in his abilities as a doctor.

Johnson joked that he enjoyed playing doctor so much that his fellow cast members — including Clive Owen, who stars in the new series — poked fun at him.

“They made fun of me, because I got a little too into it,” said Johnson in a phone interview. “I was like, ‘If this was 1900, I’m pretty sure I could pull this off.’ I had no right to be that confident at all, but it was pretty funny. I think I liked playing doctor a little too much.”

Directed by Academy Award-winner Steven Soderbergh and starring Owen as cocaine-addicted surgeon Dr. John Thackery, “The Knick” premieres Friday on HBO Canada. Johnson, who has acted in hit shows including “Orphan Black” and “Rookie Blue,” plays Thackery’s ambitious protege Dr. Everett Gallinger.

The historical drama portrays surgery in gruesome detail as it was performed at the time — without gloves, masks or antibiotics. Doctors had only learned five to 10 years earlier that they should wash their hands, Johnson said.

“That was medical science really in its infancy. So many things we still use today come out of this era. It was like mad scientists at work all trying to invent and discover new ways so that people didn’t die,” he said.

“Infectious diseases at that time killed off half the population… and now that number is about five per cent. You’ve got to think the innovations that happened in this time have affected our lives more directly than the invention of the airplane. We live longer because of the doctors at this time.”

Even for the actors who knew there were prosthetics and fake blood involved, the stakes felt sky-high during the medical scenes, Johnson said. He recalled that after they shot their first surgery, the background actors watching in the operating theatre all stood up to applaud.

“When the scalpel goes across the skin and blood comes out and you open it up and there’s organs inside it, you have the physiological reaction,” he said. “No matter how much you rationalize it, there’s blood pouring out of a human being in front of you so you can’t prevent that reaction from happening.”

Johnson said the actors worked closely with a medical adviser named Dr. Stanley Burns, who taught them how to hold a scalpel and tie sutures. The result is a “very accurate” depiction of 1900-era medical procedures, he said.

“People keep saying, ‘It’s really gory.’ I don’t like the word gory. I think they’re very accurate and I think that’s the most unnerving part of it. It’s not sensational so you can’t write it off. They all come across as very real. I think that’s probably why they’re so hard to watch.”

In the series premiere, Dr. Thackery ascends to the role of chief surgeon after the sudden and unexpected departure of his mentor. Thackery chooses Gallinger to take over the assistant chief position, but the arrival of a talented black surgeon named Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland) defeats those plans.

Edwards faces resentment and discrimination from his fellow doctors, especially from Gallinger.

“He and Dr. Algernon clearly do not get along and that continues to rear its head and come to a crescendo in this season,” said Johnson. “It’s a difficult year for Dr. Gallinger, I will say that. But nobody on this show comes out unscathed.”

As Thackery’s protege, Johnson shares many scenes with Owen. He said working with the British actor known for “Children of Men” and “Closer” has been an “amazing” experience.

“He really is the anchor of the show. He really drives it. He was so prepared, so good and so masterful in what he was doing — not only is he doing an accent, but then he’s playing an addict, then there’s medical jargon and doing surgery. There were a lot of demands on him to execute and he just nailed it every single day,” he said.

“Then everybody else brings up their game, because you don’t want to be the guy to screw it up. You don’t want to be the guy that’s a liability. The thing with all the performers is that everyone was so prepared and so good. It was really special to be a part of.”

The buzzed-about series has already been renewed for a second season, even before its first episode is set to air. Johnson said he first saw the news break on Twitter during the Television Critics Association’ Press Tour in mid-July.

“It’s exciting. It gives you an idea of how enthusiastic the network is about the show, how enthusiastic Steven Soderbergh and Clive Owen are to come back and do another season,” he said.

“It speaks to the execution and the compelling nature of the show. So I think it’s a feather in everybody’s cap, but it’s a huge testament to Steven and what he pulled off last year, and how his passion for the project has really come through.


May 15 John Mulaney: He is an actor and SNL writer.  He had his own sitcom called Mulaney that came out Fall 2014.  I turned on the TV to watch The Simpsons and this show was on.  I watched a couple of min. and quit.  Then in Apr. 2015, I had a day off.  I then was going through the PVR and see I did record this show when I thought I was recording The Simpsons

I watched the whole pilot.  I didn't really find it funny.  I'm not really into sitcoms.  It's not really offensive. 

The only thing that stood out to me was that they were playing "I Want it That Way" by the Backstreet Boys in their montage of two room mates getting revenge at each other.

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