Thinking Man Reviews: Boss – Pilot

By Anthony Medina

**Be aware this review contains spoiler** 

Season 1 Episode 1

“Listen”

“You think this is easy?” – Mayor Tom Kane

The Specs

Originally Aired: October 21st 2011

Creator: Farhad Safinia

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Farhad Safinia

Channel: Starz

You may know him as Frasier or even Side Show Bob. But funny man Kelsey Grammar has put aside his wine glass and big floppy shoes to give us Tom Kane, the ruthless and powerful Mayor of Chicago. So if your looking for the usual good hearted high brow comedy we’ve come to expect from Mr. Grammar, look else where, because the Boss ain’t #$&*ing around.

The Rundown:

Personal

We open on Tom Kane, as he sits patiently listening to his doctor describe the rare neurological disorder that will take his mind and eventually his life. After hearing this disturbing news he calls his estranged daughter but it unable to reach her. As we delve further into his personal life we find that his marriage to Meredith Kane (Connie Nelson) is a sham, maintained only for appearances. Tom Kane has no one.

Politics

For reasons as yet unknown, Tom has turned on his political ally, Governor McCall Cullen, in favor of State Treasurer Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner). On the surface Zajac appears to be a family values, church going man who works in the interest of the people. However, we quickly learn that there are skeletons in his closet as he begins an affair with Kitty O’Neill (Kathleen Robertson), Tom’s political adviser.

City Business

When Native Art work is found in a construction site, a man named Moco takes it upon himself to report it to the local news. Unfortunately for him, this project has been in the works for 22 years and Mayor Tom Kane has been at the forefront for the expansion of the O’Hare International Airport. And now his plans are threatened by this act of show and tell. Tom calls a meeting with the Hispanic Council Member overseeing the project and delivers a devastating and terrifying speech chastising the man for this failure. The Councilor gets the message and vows to make amends. He does so by delivering the ears (yup actual human ears) of the man who spoke to the reporters. The Mayor attempts to deal with this issue by adding an amendment to a garbage bill that would give him sole authority over the archaeological artifacts. But he meets opposition and is unable to pass the bill.

Thoughts:

For those of you most familiar with Kelsey Grammar as Frasier, the lovable quirky therapist, you will be quickly relived of that sentiment as Tom Kane is a ruthless, corrupt and monstrous man whose sole aim is maintaining and augmenting his power. There is nothing likable about Tom Kane. Even his illness garners little sympathy as we see him abuse his position in ever self aggrandizing maneuvers. And yet we are left with the unassailable impression that Tom Kane is definitely an effective leader. And maybe even a good Mayor.

Farhad Safinia the creator of Boss and the writer of this episode strives to present a grittier, more realistic approach to politics by showing us the darker side of democracy. There are no good guys or even bad guys, just human beings each working to their own advantage. In the end this episode is highly entertaining and beckons the viewer to continue watching. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and go watch Boss, you won’t regret it.

Thinking Man Rating: 9/10

You Don’t Need to be Rich to Develop Your Own Series

Robert Glenn Plotner, one of LB’s students, has been working like a sonufabitch on his own lilve-action self-created TV/web series, LET’S GET SPUNKY!

How’s it going? Hey, glad you asked. Here’s what RGP has to say:

 “Let’s Get Spunky!” is a twisted spoof of classic television that combines both a reverence for the early TV years and a love of smartly demented humor.

The germ for Spunky came from “Unquote,” a literary piece I wrote for my then webzine “Seriously Disturbed Humor.” One of the made-up quotes attributed to various celebrities, politicians, and historical figures in “Unquote” was a line from a purportedly lost “Leave It To Beaver” episode, “The Beav’ and the Bikers” in which a psychotic Eddie Haskell threatens to teach Theodore the real meaning of the word ‘Beaver.’

The key insight was that it would be hilarious to play with the modern (sometimes political) nostalgia for an imagined America that never really existed within the context of a classic TV series, especially one in which the very meanings of words changed in relation to the present.

I wrote down the seed thought, put it in my idea file, and only took it out after years of frustration and near misses. I had determined to find the one project that excited me the most, a show I would love if I discovered it on television, and self-produce it as a test pilot.

That’s the brief history of how the little orphan pilot with a whole of Spunk set out to conquer the world and find himself a home — preferably on a cable network with a bold taste for original comedy. Hopefully there’s more of that plot to be written so that Spunky doesn’t end up sniveling under an overpass and getting befriended by “Breaking Bad.”

The sizzle reel is above, and here’s the full pilot, which all of us at TVWriter™ – especially munchman – truly enjoyed:

Robert says he’s eager to know your responses. He may even mean it. So fire – gently – when ready via Comments below.