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“The Rehearsal” has never been an easy series to pin down. Throughout the magnificent first season, questions stacked up with each new episode: Is it real, or is it fake? How much is real, and how much is fake? What does “real” even mean, in the context of a show about rehearsing for life’s biggest moments by playing out every possible scenario ahead of time? And among the dialogue-free birthday parties, dialogue tree conversations, and a bar on a soundstage that just happens to have an operating liquor license, don’t get me started on what might constitute a “fake.”

Where some saw incisive commentary on reality TV, others saw actual reality TV. When some fans compulsively rewatched episodes to appreciate the intricate construction, impressive production, or jokes they missed the first time from laughing too hard, others were physically repulsed by what they considered diabolical cringe comedy. What was too extreme to believe for some proved too believably extreme for others.

Defining a series so eager to be indefinable isn’t a requisite… until it comes to awards. The Emmys ask contenders to submit to specific categories, and — befitting the vast landscape of television — more than 100 winners are named across three separate ceremonies. Reality TV shows could compete in Unstructured, Structured, or Competition categories. Variety shows have Talk, Sketch, and two Special categories (Live and Pre-Recorded). There are Documentary and Nonfiction Series and Specials, Emmys for Special Merit, and, of course, the big three: Comedy, Drama, and Limited Series. Where a series submits (and in what subcategories) have become press scoops, as each artist, program, and network jockeys for position in the annual gold rush.

So where oh where did “The Rehearsal” land? Right where it belongs — and where it’s needed: Comedy Series.

Belongs is debatable. There’s an argument to be made Fielder’s work fits the Unstructured Reality race, given the category is “for programs that contain story elements driven by the actions of civilian and/or celebrity participants and lacking a consistent, structured template and standardized pattern of action.” A story driven by the actions of a civilian? Like, when Robbin, a civilian-turned-celebrity, drove his Scion TC 100 miles per hour? Or when Robbin drove Nathan around — at much safer speeds — while high as a kite? Or, if we don’t take “driven” so literally, when the back-half of the season is taken over by Angela’s one endless rehearsal? And while I would happily watch Nathan help out one participant per week, like in the premiere episode with Kor, the series never conforms to a “consistent, structured template.”

Still, that lack of consistency is partly why it’s hard to accept “The Rehearsal” as a reality show. Last year’s nominees in the Unstructured category include “Love on the Spectrum,” “Selling Sunset,” and “Cheer.” None of those series set out to accomplish the same goals as “The Rehearsal,” nor do they pursue their own ambitions in similar ways. “Love on the Spectrum” is an earnest character study of people on the autism spectrum looking for romance. “Cheer” is closer to a straight-up documentary, tracking a college cheerleading team on its path toward a national title. “Selling Sunset” offers exceedingly dumb melodrama meant to elicit gasps over L.A.’s palatial homes and the realtors’ diva behavior. In other words, they’re not trying to be funny — they’re not comedies, and so much of what makes “The Rehearsal” great is rooted in its shrewd humor.

Similar separations keep “The Rehearsal” out of Documentary and Variety categories (though I’m not sure it would’ve ever qualified for the latter), but perhaps more important than where it technically belongs is where it’s actually needed. And it’s clear (to this critic, at least) that the Best Comedy Series race needs “The Rehearsal.”

Why? For one, it was the best show of 2022, and the best show of any given year should go after whatever Emmy category offers the most renown. But looking at this year’s top Comedy Series contenders, it’s clear we need a little chaos energy — check that. We need a little positive chaos energy. A slew of former nominees seem destined to snag slots, despite falling off in their latest seasons. “Ted Lasso” Season 3 is like watching the slowest, longest train wreck of all time. “Only Murders in the Building” still has its dynamite cast and comforting design, but Season 2 could’ve used a few decision trees to avoid devolving into such a mess. And “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’? I’m told it’s still around, and that the fifth and final season is better than the last, but let’s not pretend it’s still among the eight best comedies on TV.

Old hangers-on have a way of bogging down awards races, but I can’t say there’s much to be excited about among the favored freshman comedies, either. “Shrinking” and “Wednesday” may not seem like they have much in common, but both barely qualify as comedies and there’s but one award-worthy element to be found in each: Harrison Ford and Jenna Ortega, respectively. And speaking of not-comedies: How did “The Bear” convince everyone it’s among the funniest shows out there? Don’t get me wrong: The FX production available only on Hulu is compulsive viewing, but it’s also incredibly stressful and steeped in tragedy. You could say the same thing about “Barry,” another top contender, but at least Bill Hader’s nearly complete HBO series has always been a dark comedy — and even at its bleakest, there are still jokes.

“The Rehearsal” has jokes, too. Lots of jokes. It also has incredible production value for craft artisans to appreciate and an elaborate structure writers can admire. Each faction of the TV Academy should find something to love about the first season — even the acting branch. Whether they think it’s scripted or more off the cuff, Fielder is giving a performance that holds the show together. He’s simultaneously the prankster and the heartbeat; the antihero and the hero. Those that see the show and connect with it should have no problem voting for it across the Comedy category. From my review of the finale:

“’The Rehearsal’ tells audiences what it is from the start: It’s a TV show, and Nathan Fielder is the protagonist. […] Amid the ever-expanding flowcharts and rehearsals within rehearsals, the series needed a core, it needed a throughline, and what better to serve as a story’s beating heart than its central character’s beating heart? […] It’s Nathan’s search for answers that holds the first season together, and the resolution he comes to that makes this ‘complex emotional experience’ so rewarding.”

To be clear: “The Rehearsal” is a long shot just to be nominated. Ratings were always of the “cult hit” variety, and the internet’s favorite show doesn’t always overlap with the TV Academy’s preferences. (It wasn’t that long ago “Modern Family” won the category four times, preceding other populist picks like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Schitt’s Creek.”) But seeing it among the eight nominated comedy series would be a win for the Emmys as much as the show. The race needs a disruption — if not to honor a worthy entry and engage TV fans, then to make voters think twice about checking the box for the same shows — and “The Rehearsal” was built to disrupt.


By: Ben Travers
Title: ‘The Rehearsal’ Is the Perfect Chaos Pick in the Best Comedy Race
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Published Date: Fri, 12 May 2023 19:30:00 +0000

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‘Yellowjackets’ Production Designer Margot Ready On The Sacred Space of the Meat Shack, How They Pulled Off That Fiery Finale [VIDEO]




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Awards Daily chats with Yellowjackets production designer Margot Ready about constructing the “shit cliff,” the tentacle-like insides of Javi’s lair, and Natalie’s plane sequence in Episode 9’s “Storytelling.” *Spoilers Ahead* If there’s one thing the Yellowjackets team members know, it’s trauma. Production designer Margot Ready tried to incorporate this theme throughout the set pieces on […]


By: Megan McLachlan
Title: ‘Yellowjackets’ Production Designer Margot Ready On The Sacred Space of the Meat Shack, How They Pulled Off That Fiery Finale [VIDEO]Sourced From:
Published Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2023 14:35:48 +0000

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A Negro Leagues Star Is Still Sharing His Story



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04nlb greason top fjkg videoSixteenByNine3000 1 scaled

The older pastor, wearing a long purple robe, ascended the steps to the pulpit. “God has always had a plan and a purpose for each of our lives,” the Rev. William H. Greason said in a slow, gentle voice. From the pews came affirmations of “Amen!” and “All right!”

For more than 50 years at Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., Greason has been a constant presence in his congregants’ lives. He has officiated their weddings, baptized their children and lifted their spirits through loss. His parishioners say his impact has been extraordinary.

Long before he was a preacher, though, Greason had an entirely different life. In his dark, silent study down the hall at Bethel Baptist, on a shelf stuffed with old theological books, is a photograph of the 1948 pennant celebration of the Birmingham Black Barons of baseball’s Negro leagues. A young Greason beams at the center.

Greason, 98, is one of baseball’s “forgotten heroes,” according to the Center for Negro League Baseball Research. Seventy-five years ago, he shut down the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro American League’s championship series and then earned the Black Barons’ only win in the final Negro World Series, which the Black Barons lost to the Homestead Grays.

Back then, Greason was a lanky right-handed pitcher whose top-notch fastball and devastating curve dazzled crowds at Rickwood Field, a charming ballpark in Birmingham where the game’s greats of the first half of the 20th century — including Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Babe Ruth — once played.

These days he is the oldest living player who can tell tales of the height of the Negro leagues, which were finally recognized as major leagues in 2020, many decades after their demise.

On a recent afternoon at his church, Greason — who was also the first Black pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals — talked about his playing days, how he became a minister and why he doesn’t watch baseball anymore.

But as Greason’s story shows, one’s love of the game is not so easily extinguished.

ImageA black-and-white photo of the 1948 Birmingham Black Barons shows a group of players posing in celebration after a game.
A picture of the 1948 Birmingham Black Barons sits in Greason’s office. Greason is smiling in the center. Above him and to his right is Willie Mays, who was only 17 at the time.Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

Born poor in segregated Atlanta, Greason — imitating older ballplayers on sandlots — learned to pitch in the early 1930s. In his teens, he played semipro baseball for a pencil factory team. He loved using his wits and talent to fool batters, he said.

In 1943, with World War II raging, Greason was drafted into service. He reported to Montford Point, a segregated camp in North Carolina, becoming one of the first Black Marines. He served at Iwo Jima, where he watched many of his fellow Marines die and was a witness to the flag-raising made famous in a photograph by Joe Rosenthal of The Associated Press.

Convinced he, too, would perish on the island, Greason promised to do whatever God asked of him should he survive.

After the war, Greason returned to baseball. He quickly worked his way through the Negro minor leagues and had his contract purchased by the Black Barons in the spring of 1948.

The Black Barons were beloved in Birmingham, a deeply segregated manufacturing city in the southern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Joining a talented, veteran-laden roster, the 23-year-old Greason won his first three starts. A newspaper called him “The Whiz Kid.”

He pitched before festive crowds at Rickwood Field, and during bus trips across the Jim Crow South and beyond, the quiet, unassuming Greason became “like brothers” with his teammates, he said.

One teammate was a 17-year-old center fielder still finding his way in the game: Willie Mays.


Rickwood Field in Birmingham was the home of the Barons, a minor league team, and the Black Barons, a team in the Negro American League.Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

A small museum in Birmingham has artifacts from Greason’s career, including a photo of him from his days with Class AA Oklahoma City.Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

The museum, which is in the basement of Bethel Baptist Church, has hats from Greason’s teams and other memorabilia.Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

Greason “seemed to understand me pretty well,” Mays wrote years later. “He was always careful to help me out when he could without calling attention to what he was doing. He gave me respect and in turn helped me grow up.”

The Black Barons dominated the Negro American League in 1948 and topped the Monarchs in the league championship series. Greason had pitched brilliantly throughout the series and when Manager Lorenzo Davis, who was known as Piper, needed someone to close it out, he knew where to turn.

“Give me the damn ball,” Greason said before tossing a complete game three-hitter.

The Black Barons’ good fortune ran out in the Negro World Series — the last of its kind — with the Grays winning in five games.

As integration took most of the Negro leagues’ best players to the American and National Leagues, Greason made it his goal to join them. It took him until 1952 to catch on with Class AA Oklahoma City, but with batters “going dizzy trying to hit his assortment of pitches,” according to The Pittsburgh Courier, Greason became a target of the Yankees and the Red Sox, neither of which had fielded a Black player to that point.

Oklahoma City refused to relinquish Greason, hanging on to him until late 1953, when St. Louis acquired him.

He finally made his Cardinals debut at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Memorial Day 1954 when he was 29. With the wind howling toward the outfield, he gave up three home runs to left field in three innings. He made two other brief appearances before getting demoted. It would be his last major league chance.

He kept playing in the high minors, and starred for the Santurce Cangrejeros of the Puerto Rican Winter League. His Santurce teammates included Mays and the future Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda.

By phone, Cepeda vividly recalled Greason, who had power at the plate in addition to his pitching exploits, blasting “the longest home run I ever saw in Puerto Rico.”


“In his mind God anointed him as pastor,” said Mike Holt, a deacon at Bethel Baptist, “and only God can take him down.”Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

After finishing his professional career in 1959 with Class AAA Rochester, Greason returned to Birmingham and drove a delivery truck for a department store.

He and his wife, Willie, whom he had met during his playing days, attended the 16th Street Baptist Church. On the horrific Sunday in 1963 when Ku Klux Klan members bombed the church, killing four girls, Greason was away playing semipro baseball.

One Sunday afterward, Greason recalled, “all of a sudden the Lord spoke to me from within. He said: ‘It’s time.’”

Greason, honoring the promise he had made in Iwo Jima, began studying for the ministry and preaching at the 16th Street Baptist Church. His sermons taught “human rights — the rights of people and the word of God,” remembered Shelley Stewart, then a disc jockey who has been called “the radio voice for the Birmingham civil rights movement.”

Greason became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in 1971. Overseeing a congregation of 1,000-plus members, Greason officiated ceremonies, led Bible classes, preached and counseled — “nurturing a whole generation up through childhood,” according to Mike Holt, a deacon at Bethel Baptist.

In the decades that have passed, nearly everyone who knew Greason as a ballplayer has died. Aside from a few books in his study — a Negro leagues encyclopedia; a worn paperback titled Baseball’s Forgotten Black Heroes — few visible clues connect him to his former life.


Rickwood Field, which Birmingham contends in America’s oldest ballpark, is still standing.Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

The park, where numerous stars of the Negro leagues played, has been in the process of restoration for years.Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

A replica of the Birmingham Black Barons uniform can be purchased at Rickwood’s gift shop.Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

In 2018, after 65 years of marriage, Willie died as well.

Even as Greason’s own health began to decline, he kept on preaching.

“In his mind God anointed him as pastor,” Holt said, “and only God can take him down.”

In the small house where he lives alone, Greason watches TV programs featuring televangelists and “The Kelly Clarkson Show” — but not baseball. “It’s not what it used to be,” Greason said.

Specifically, Greason said with disapproval, modern players wear long pants and batting gloves. It was the same tone he uses to describe contemporary music in church or young and fiery guest preachers.

Did he know about the pitch clock? “I worked fast,” he replied.

At that point, Greason’s eyes sparkled with a memory.

“Before games,” he said, “I’d go over the whole lineup and ask myself: ‘How are you gonna pitch ’em?’ So when I got out on the field, I knew what I had to do.”

Smiling, Greason said he remembered a full Rickwood Field on pitching days — and having a good, confident feeling. “I believed I could get anybody out,” he said.


Greason has kept in touch with Mays over the years and considers his former teammate the greatest player in baseball history.Credit…Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Greason said Mays, with whom he has stayed in touch, was the best ballplayer ever — better than Ruth and Hank Aaron — because Mays could do it all.

Increasingly in recent years, according to Thom Craig, Bethel Baptist’s trustee administrator, Greason has been telling old baseball stories from the pulpit.

As Greason’s 99th birthday approaches in the fall, his life’s two callings — baseball and the Gospel — are intersecting more than ever.

On a bright Sunday morning, about 50 parishioners gathered in Bethel Baptist’s high-ceilinged sanctuary.

“God didn’t give you the ability to throw a baseball like he did to me,” Greason, who stood before them wearing dark-framed glasses, announced over organ music, “and he gave you a gift that I can’t do nothing with!” Congregants nodded passionately and called out “Amen!”

Greason retired to his study after the service. He put his robe away in the closet, a Black Barons jersey hanging a few hooks away.

Other artifacts could be spotted nearby. There was a mitt on the shelf of a cherry wood hutch and framed pictures of Greason from his playing days.

And encased in glass on his desk: a baseball with “John 3:16,” the Bible verse promising believers eternal life, written on its surface.


In his time at Bethel Baptist, Greason has officiated weddings, baptized children and lifted spirits through loss.Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times


By: Louie Lazar
Title: A Negro Leagues Star Is Still Sharing His Story
Sourced From:
Published Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2023 09:00:55 +0000

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Yellowjackets Music Composers Anna Waronker & Craig Wedren On Distorting Music Against Trauma, Crafting Javi’s Preparation Scene




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Awards Daily talks to Yellowjackets music composers Anna Waronker and Craig Wedren about Alanis’s interpretation of their theme song, capturing the characters’ “collective descent” into madness, and that Javi sequence in the Season 2 finale. For Yellowjackets fans, it was fun to hear Alanis Morrisette’s version of the theme song “No Return.” But for the […]


By: Megan McLachlan
Title: Yellowjackets Music Composers Anna Waronker & Craig Wedren On Distorting Music Against Trauma, Crafting Javi’s Preparation Scene
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Published Date: Sat, 03 Jun 2023 14:19:40 +0000

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