Sally Field

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May 20, 2007: Goodbye

After it was resolved that Justin's deployment to Iraq would be delayed to allow him to work on his recovery, much of his story line has centered on his struggle to shake his addiction. But Justin's fears about going back to war were always there in the background. And tonight those fears became a reality in the worst way, as Justin found out at the last minute that his departure date was earlier than planned. At first I liked the way Justin handled his goodbyes individually — until, like Nora, I realized that he was saying goodbye for real, in case he wouldn’t be coming back. Even though I can see, rationally, how it doesn’t matter whether or not the word “goodbye” is actually said, I can understand how Nora felt that avoiding a formal goodbye would bring Justin back to her, as if not saying goodbye would make it impossible for him to die. Justin’s early departure coincided, unfortunately, with Kitty’s engagement party. He’d already said his ... read more

It seems to me that TV is ...

Question: It seems to me that TV is constantly going younger. I greatly miss Jessica Walter on Arrested Development, and now with the cancellation of Gilmore Girls I'll miss Kelly Bishop. While Sally Field is wonderful on Brothers & Sisters, I can't help but wonder what the future holds for older actresses on TV, or if audiences must grow even more accustomed to viewing shows targeted for a much younger audience. Answer: I think you're already seeing it. TV is a demographics game, and the focus on who's winning in the 18-49 sweepstakes has become much more pronounced the longer I've been covering this beat. If we're lucky, the example set by Sally Field will encourage other shows, producers and networks to create similarly meaty roles for veteran actors of both genders. But these stars will rarely be asked to carry a show, it seems. Hard to imagine a network giving a shot to a Golden Girls-style show anymore, which is a real shame ... read more

May 6, 2007: Grapes of Wrath

The wine tasting at Tommy and Holly’s new vineyard put Tommy at the center of tonight’s episode. The "center" of course being a place Tommy isn’t normally accustomed to being. He handled everything well, and he definitely came across as the voice of reason among the extended Walker family. Not that that was hard to do, what with the Walker siblings missing the point of the wine tasting and doing a fair amount of wine drinking. But Tommy’s toast was a nice tribute to his dad, managing to be both honest about his father's flaws and respectful of all he taught them. Unfortunately the episode didn’t end on a good note for Tommy. Hopefully the twins will be OK.Holly, on the other hand, didn’t exactly play the gracious host to the Walker family. In the beginning of the episode I actually felt sort of bad for her, which is unusual because Holly’s generally not the sort of character who generates a lot of sympathy. I don’t think Nora was really under ... read more

Play of the Week

There are moments in this week's episode where everything I think Brothers & Sisters [Sundays at 10 pm/ET, on ABC] should come together perfectly; comedy and tragedy coexist — just like they do in real life, turning, dancing with each other in perpetuity. The episode has it all — male passions run amok, female passions threaten to cause thermonuclear war, farce, drunkenness, sorrow and laughter. In my humble opinion, a great episode. There are moments of acting in "Grapes of Wrath" that took my breath away when I saw it. One in particular stands out. I don't want to say too much, but it takes place in a kitchen during a showdown between Nora and Holly. Both actresses, Sally Field and Patty Wettig are real and funny and frightening in a way that brings to mind some of the great turns that John Cassavetes managed to capture on film — I'm thinking of Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence in particular. The camera comes close in so as to deprive them of any pri... read more

5 Reasons Everyone Should Be Watching Brothers & Sisters

As far as I can remember, this is the first year in awhile that I am really loving Sunday night TV. With Discovery's special eye-opening series Planet Earth (which I've raved about before), the return of Entourage and Ari's fuming and hysterical ways, and ABC's new family hit Brothers & Sisters, I've ended my weekends on a good note recently, instead of wishing for more free time to play. And although staying up for Brothers & Sisters, which airs at 10 pm/ET, is tough some weeks and forces me to wait until the next day when I can fast-forward through all the agonizing commercials, I truly believe this is one of the top new shows — in fact, the top on my list — on television and everyone should be tuning in. Here's why:5. If you don't have a big, overbearing family, you'll sink right into the complex nature of this one and feel grateful for your manageable relatives while watching a well constructed cast maneuver jaw-dropping obstacles combined with everyday worries... read more

April 29, 2007: Bad News

It occurred to me that not being able to actually see what happened between Joe and Rebecca for so long gave us, as viewers, the chance to react the same way the Walkers did: based on what we heard. I know when Rebecca initially told Justin that Joe had kissed her (at the end of the “Game Night” episode) I totally believed her. She’s new to the family and trying to fit in — why would she want to do something that could jeopardize that?But then I read everyone’s comments and I realized that Rebecca might not be as innocent as she seemed. Could she be getting back at Sarah? Could she think, in some way, that making an accusation like this would help her gain the support of her new family?The “good” Rebecca and the “ulterior motives” Rebecca were both running through my head as I watched tonight’s episode, and, I have to say, I really wanted to believe that Rebecca was being honest. It wasn’t hard to think that, too, since Joe wasn... read more

Brothers & Sisters Scoop: Trouble Ahead!

Spoiler alert! Big changes are brewing for the Walkers during May sweeps. In an upcoming Brothers & Sisters episode, Julia will go into early labor, which results in “scary complications” for her unborn twins. Luckily, newlywed Sarah Jane Morris, who plays Tommy Walker’s (Balthazar Getty) pregnant wife, received lots of helpful advice from real-life mother of three Sally Field during her labor scenes.“She was right there coaching me through it, holding my hand and rubbing my back,” says Morris, who recently celebrated her first wedding anniversary with Rooney drummer Ned Brower. Since she’s never given birth herself, the actress was grateful that Field, who plays her on-screen mother-in-law, decided to tell her “what contractions are like.” “Sally Field is my hero!” raves Morris. Ours, too. —Reporting by Dana Meltzer Zepeda read more

April 8, 2007: Three Parties

Kitty supposedly went to Senator McCallister’s hometown looking for some commentary about how great the senator is from those who knew him first. She also secretly hoped to get some gossip that would be beneficial to her in her role as Robert’s girlfriend. What she found at first was pretty run-of-the-mill: a small town with nothing to do (well, nothing that didn’t involve artichokes) and a high-school sweetheart with generic nice things to say. But boy was Kitty ever in for a surprise when she found out exactly why Robert meant so much to his high-school girlfriend. I can’t believe Sarah and Kitty went to that keg party to begin with — although maybe that was the artiritas talking. And it did set up a good opportunity for Kitty and Alice to have a real conversation. For a second I thought they might say that Robert was the father of Alice’s high-school-age son. I’m glad they didn’t, as Kitty and Robert’s relationship already has enough ... read more

April 1, 2007: All in the Family

In the last new episode, we saw everyone react to the fact that Rebecca is actually a Walker — everyone including Rebecca herself. The main focus tonight continued to be the fallout from the Rebecca situation, although tonight was less about reacting and more about interacting. And what better way for everyone to get to know each other than at a Walker family dinner?Though well intentioned, Nora’s dinner didn’t go as smoothly as she had hoped. Kitty was noticeably absent, Sarah asked prying questions, Kevin temporarily became a forensic scientist, and Justin just seemed to be trying to hold everything together. The only time anyone seemed comfortable was when the older four Walker children were making fun of each other: "This whole family loves to kid," Nora tried awkwardly to explain. Nobody did a great job at their first dinner with Rebecca, but it’s probably safe to say that Kevin’s hair-pulling was the worst. “I saw a split end, it’s just some... read more

I just watched Brothers & ...

Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters

Question: I just watched Brothers & Sisters for the first time and it seemed very familiar to me. Then I realized that part of what I was responding to was that both Sally Field and Patricia Wettig, while still beautiful, looked like "real" women I could actually know in real life. I was struck by the emotion they were able to convey because they don't seem to have had any work done, which can freeze the face. Is this the beginning of a trend or just a quirk? Have others noticed it? Have executives discussed it and held focus groups about it? British television often lets people age gracefully, but we don't seem to trust that the American public will look at an older face. Answer: I'd love this to be a trend, but it's probably more of an anomaly, given TV's general fixation on youth and most of Hollywood's refusal to age with grace. One of the best of many good things to say about Brothers & Sisters is how remarkable it is to see actresses with the chops of Sally Field and Patricia ... read more

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