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Disagreeing with the critics

April 24, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA , The Leader Herald

I'm not one to pay much attention to the critics. Case in point was the new David E. Kelley show that came out this spring called "Harry's Law." Several weeks ago, a review came in my People Magazine giving Harry's Law only one star out of four. They didn't much care for the premise, saying the show was all over the place and unsure of its audience and tone.

After Herman and I watched the show - being a fan of David E. Kelley shows like "The Practice," "Ally McBeal" and "Boston Legal," which all appeared on the Fox network - we agreed this new show had the off-beat humor and interesting characters as well as provocative subject matter that Kelley is known for.

The star, Kathy Bates, is great as the reluctant ghetto-area defender of drug users, gang-bangers and assorted ne'er-do-wells. I've also seen her interviewed on several talk shows since the show started, and the great thing is that she is very much like her character as far as unpretentious star quality and she's not afraid to voice her opinion.

One example she gave was when she got her Oscar for her role in 1990's "Misery," and suddenly she was giving out autographs. When she went to walk her dog that evening, she had an escort, but forgot to bring a poop bag. She found a scrap of paper to use on the sidewalk, and on the back was her autograph. Ironies such as that keep her grounded amid praise for her acting and several awards and nominations for her work.

I think Bates is down to earth and isn't afraid to speak her mind both in and out of character. She portrays a disillusioned patent lawyer who starts defending criminals and unfortunates in a poor neighborhood. The show has all the complications of odd staff and fellow lawyers like Tommy Jefferson, played by character actor Christopher McDonald, who I was not familiar with before this show, but has been in many movies and TV series. Googling his name, I found out he's been in 85 movies and many more TV shows than I would have expected, although they were all shows I'm not familiar with. But Kelley has a way of bringing out the best and strangest in his characters and so the Jefferson character has now been well established on the series. It's a tribute to Kelley's brilliant writing as well as the play-off against Bates' character.

Likewise, the new Paul Reiser Show on NBC. It got lousy reviews from People Magazine, and I found it laugh-out-loud funny. I liked him in "Mad About You" with Helen Hunt, and I think he has the same kind of self-deprecating humor in this show.

At one point in the show, he relates how a lady stops him on the street and asks if he wasn't on "that show with that ladyyou still look good but fatter."

So I will go on watching shows whether or not the critics approve of my choices.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at www.kathrynskorner.com

 
 

 

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