Here are some shows (and a movie) I’ve seen recently, as well as a few that I watched a while back but never shared with you here. First up, we have the deeply charming film My Salinger Year—which is based on a memoir by writer (and GOACA reader) Joanna Rakoff. Margaret Qualley, who I love, plays Rakoff, a young writer who gets an assistant job at the New York City literary agency that represents J.D. Salinger, and who is put in charge of responding to his fan mail. Sigourney Weaver is a delight as Rafoff’s imperious, Luddite boss, and the whole movie really brings you back to that time, post-college, when you think both that you are on the verge of taking over the world, and destined to become an abject failure..
I watched Alone Together on the insistence of a friend, who swore it was one of the funniest shows she’d seen in a while. And she was right: the show follows two aimless twentysomethings: best friends who bicker constantly and—it is clear to everyone but them—are totally in love. I will warn you that Alone Together is full of youth culture references that can make you feel old, but it is also really funny. There were only two seasons before the show got cancelled, so enjoy what you can.
I know I’m going to get this story a little wrong and I forget exactly where I read it, but The Center Will Not Hold makes me think of an anecdote Joan Didion told on herself somewhere. Her husband had just died or was about to die, and Didion overheard the nurses debating how to approach her with the news. One nurse said something like “We can tell it to her straight. She seems like a cool customer.” The Joan Didion in this film is old now and remarkably frail, but still hugely formidable and yes, a very, very cool customer. To wit: the answer she gives when asked about the passage in Slouching Towards Bethlehem in which she encounters a five year-old tripping on acid is just astonishing.
It seems like half the people I know are watching Call my Agent!, which is about a Paris talent agency and is a whole lot of fun. But I mostly like it for co-star Camille Cottin’s awesome wardrobe.
At the center of British series The Split is a family law firm run by matriarch Ruth Defoe. Her staff includes one of three daughters—another, Hannah, has just jumped ship to a rival firm. There are affairs, there are breakups, there are spectacularly messy divorces, and it all sucks you in.
One night not so long ago, I fell down an Absolutely Fabulous rabbit hole for some random reason, and it was an absolute delight—the show is dated, badly, but now that’s just part of its charm—the 1990s seem like such an innocent time in retrospect. And it’s still just as hilarious as ever.