Sunday, January 9, 2011

True Wit: "Wishful Drinking" on HBO

For the past few weeks, HBO has been featuring Carrie Fisher in a special that showcases her Broadway memoir hit "Wishful Drinking". If you have cable, you can easily find it under HBO "Specials". Kids with famous, artistic parents are hit or miss in the talent department. They can be be masters (certainly Natalie Cole's pipes are the equal of her Dad's...the same goes for Liza Minelli and her Mom Judy Garland). Jane and her father Henry were both Oscar winners. The Barrymores have top acting DNA that extends to four generations.

Sometimes the talent gene doesn't quite float to the top. Nancy Sinatra comes to mind.

Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia from the first three Star Wars movies, is a very interesting Hollywood Dynasty case. Her mother was a movie star (Debbie Reynolds) her father a popular singer (Eddie Fisher). And she was married briefly to rock-folk superstar Paul Simon. No one would ever accuse Ms. Fisher of being a serious actress, but she does have a talent that precious few celebrity spawn can claim. She is a serious wit. And this 70 minute feature perfectly showcases her dark, self depreciating humor...whether it's growing up in the glare of the spotlight when Dad left Mom for Liz Taylor, or the simultaneous ridicule (from the side braid buns) AND worship (from countless geeky Sci Fi nerds) that her role in the Lucas trilogy still causes wherever she goes. She is delighted and stable enough to enjoy the fact that her Star Wars character inspired her own Pez dispenser. She is honest and brave enough to admit that she has had electroshock therapy to help with addictions and Bipolar disorder. Ms. Fisher is the smartest girl in the class for sure, and that's just not something you see every day amongst the privileged next generations on Rodeo Drive . No wonder Tina Fey featured her as a guest star on 30 Rock last season. She made it cool for an actress to be smart long before Liz Lemon started captivating us with her glasses.

Here's a little taste from the show where Carrie explains why she went "bra-less" under that floppy white Star Wars robe. Funny!


Lisa said...

Though I was never crazy about Carrie Fisher, I did really like her in this special, looking blowzy and not trying to be anything but her authentic messed-up self. Getting so much money and fame from something as light as "Star Wars" set her up, her Hollywood background screwed her up, but her own keen mind saved her from ruin. She was wonderful on "30 Rock"; one of my favorite Jack lines is the one he said about her, to Liz, after Carrie had left the room: "Don't ever make me talk to another woman that old again...!" They love to call people "survivors" in Hollywood, but Carrie Fisher certainly fits the definition.

Thanks for spotlighting this!

Jane said...

On a follow-up note, I read that the blowzy Carrie (which I found sort of refreshing) is soon to be a thing of the past. She gained a bunch of weight after her Dad died and now she's going to be a special project for Jenny Craig. The world is just not safe for regular sized people...they must be beaten back to a size 6 again!!!