Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Episode 5 of "Only Murders in the Building"

Loretta returned for episode 5 of Only Murders in the Building last night, and the internet is abuzz with all the Streep "Easter eggs" strewn about her character's apartment.  I have to admit that I noticed zero of them. I blame it on the fact that I'm so heavily focused on what Meryl's doing to pay attention to much else. Not that any of the "eggs" were all that obvious at a glance. 

Anyway, this episode got a little more plot-heavy, with Loretta having Oliver over for a date. The two end up on a ferry where they share a joint (a bit of a tired trope for characters of their generation if you ask me--see It's Complicated, Ricki and the Flash and even The Good House). But their connection is cute and they end up sleeping with each other. We also get a bit of a creepy vibe from Loretta, as we learn that she actually called Ben was a "fucking pig," as was written on his dressing room mirror. I'd be really surprised if Loretta ends up being the killer, as it would seem too obvious at this point, what with us only being halfway through the season. But the journal with all the clippings of Ben that Oliver snoops in Loretta's apartment adds some fun speculation. 

I'm not sure if we're going to have to wait another two weeks before we see Meryl again. She's only been in every other episode thus far. And I have to admit, I'm finding myself less than super enthusiastic about the show. Again, I'm thrilled that Meryl is in something at all, and that she's getting a lot of positive notices. But I'm always thinking how much I wish we could see her in something a bit weightier soon. Perhaps it's just me getting a stronger and stronger sense that time is not limitless when it comes to her project opportunities. I continue to hope that Only Murders is a helpful stepping stone to new and spicy offers. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Episode 3 of "Only Murders in the Building"

Episode three of Only Murders in the Building was released on Hulu last night, and with it, we were given a gem of a musical performance from Meryl that is already making some waves on social media. 

Streep is joined by Ashley Park for the duet, written by the great Sara Bareilles, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. In the episode, Loretta gets an offer for a small but recurring role on a Grey's Anatomy-like spinoff, but ends up turning it down to stay on for Oliver's play, which he's turned into a musical (thus the lullaby above). Hulu has already released the song as a single, and as mentioned above, there are dozens of articles praising the performance, as well as fans' naturally riotous reactions. 

Meryl continues to garner shining reviews for her portrayal of Loretta Durkin. One article I read commented on nicely Streep is managing to keep the audience guessing as to whether or not Loretta is just a quirky New Yorker, or a diabolical schemer with her sights set on ending some member Oliver's cast (possibly even Oliver). The little romance budding between Streep and Short's characters is sweet, but I agree that it makes me wonder if Loretta is really falling for him or simply trying to get close to him for less than affectionate reasons. 

I do have to reiterate that as much as I'm thrilled to see new material from Meryl (and that it's being received so well), I want a non-comedy or musical-type role for one of her next projects. I caught an article that suggested that Meryl should do more rom-coms. While I agree that she's a draw and is excellent in films like 2009's It's Complicated, it's not the type of project that gets me as excited to watch or that got me interested in her from start, frankly. Having something lighter sprinkled in with more dramatic roles is a good idea, but I don't want it to turn into the default in the near or distant future. My fear is that it may be where the parts are (but ahem...Places, Please). 

In other news, it was announced yesterday that Meryl will be honored (along with Oprah Winfrey, Michael B. Jordan, and Sofia Coppola) at an Academy Museum Gala on October 14. The event is being classified as a "fundraiser" so as to bypass the SAG-AFTRA strike. No word on whether or not we'll see Meryl in attendance. Sreep is set to receive the Icon Awards which "celebrates an artist whose career has had a significant global cultural impact." Indeed. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Twelve years of Word on the Streep!

Today marks twelve years that I made my first post on this blog! As always, I'd like to extend my gratitude to any and all readers/participants. It continues to be a fun and rewarding undertaking. Over the past year I completed the supporting recasting project. While it was enjoyable and I'm really glad I did it, it was a lot of work and I'm glad to be done with it. I'm also glad that we're in the middle of a current Meryl project, with Only Murders in the Building. She and the season are getting rave reviews, and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us in the coming episodes. It's great that she's likely endearing herself to a new generation of fans. Hopefully that turns into new and exciting/high-quality offers for future roles!

Here's to another year! 


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Episode 1 of "Only Murders in the Building"

Meryl made her return to the screen (can we even count Extrapolations?) last night with the debut of Hulu's third season of Only Murders in the Building. Over the past week or so, the show has been garnering terrific reviews (currently 99% on Rotten Tomatoes!), with Meryl possibly scoring the most glittering mentions. I can't help but compare her participation in this show to her turn in the second season of HBO's Big Little Lies in 2019. Both shows had tremendous earlier seasons, and while Meryl's performance in BLL was praised, the season on the whole turned out to be less impressive than the almost perfect first. It's natural to have a concern that Only Murders might suffer the same fate, but thankfully that was not to be. 

Episodes one and two were released last night (the remainder will be released on a one-per-week basis moving forward), but I'm only commenting on the first since (spoiler) Meryl wasn't in the second. Most folks know by this point that she portrays a perpetually hard-on-her luck theater actress who gets a big break in Oliver's (Martin Short) new play. Meryl has a great opening scene, where she delivers a touching monologue in her audition, causing Oliver to ask her "where have you been?" I've always thought that portraying someone acting within a role has to be one of the trickier things to do for an actor. Just how "good" do you let yourself be? In the case of Streep's Loretta Durkin, she's not meant to be a great actor, but Meryl had to manage to showcase someone who's able to make an impression on a director without being too necessarily impressive to the TV audience. They also do a fun parody of Streep, with her character having an apparent penchant for delivering accents in order to provide context to her character's origins. 

Loretta is a sweet, rather unassuming woman. With the (double) death of Paul Rudd's character, Ben Glenroy, we at first have little reason to suspect her as the murderer, but a seemingly passing comment from her about how he was an asshole gives us just enough doubt about Loretta as both a person and a suspect. There's also a glimmer of a budding romance between her and Oliver, which will be fun to watch play out in the coming episodes. The two perform a little ditty of a duet on a piano bench, the first of what we're told will be more than one musical number from Streep. 

I'm looking forward to the full season. I already like the Broadway feel of the storyline and Meryl doesn't seem like she's sticking out to much or that she's overshadowing the other characters, while still making a great impression with her sort of quirky characterization of Loretta. And as much as I'm thrilled to see Meryl in something new and well-received, I can't help but wish that this were or at least the next thing she's in will be a compelling drama with (another) complex character. For now, we'll get to thoroughly enjoy Loretta each week until October.