Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Television’

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Overachieving New Yorker abandons the big time to follow Pinoy ex to California

December 11, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Re-lay-shun-ships, Television 3 Comments →

Doctors and aswang are the two things most often associated with Filipinos on prime-time American TV. In the ’80s hospital drama St. Elsewhere, doctors were boggled by a weird sickness called “ba-ngyoo-ngyot”; more recently a doctor in House was supposed to be Filipino-Korean. “Ass-wang” have turned up on CSI, Grimm, and recently on The Strain, where they were described in a book. But another category has sprung up since Tina Fey started fantasizing about one on 30 Rock: the Filipino boyfriend. There’s the computer nerd on How to Get Away With Murder, and now there’s the raison d’etre for a new CW series: a Fil-American guy so desirable that the titular character leaves everything she’s ever worked for in New York to follow him to West Covina, CA.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.

It’s time for our favourite holiday special

December 07, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Television No Comments →

Totally captures the mood of the season. A thousand times better than that Star Wars Xmas special. Speaking of Star Wars: Are we excited about the impending opening of The Force Awakens? No, we refuse to buy into the hype. Until we are certain that it is not The Phantom Menace all over again, we will not see it. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. Fool us thrice, you’re dead to us. Fool us four times, we should die of shame.

Deadwood: Guns, Goons, Gold and Genius

December 04, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Television No Comments →


Before you read our column this week, listen to our introduction.

“Pain and damage don’t end the world. Or despair, or fucking beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then you’ve got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man and give some back.” — Al Swearengen

The temptation is to go on reciting lines from Deadwood until we run out of space. If you saw the sanitized version that aired locally on HBO I pity you — but I also envy you the excellent excuse to watch the series again. When HBO canceled Deadwood after three seasons, it deprived loyal viewers of closure, but it also ensured that the series would gain legendary status: a series of such genius, it could not be allowed to continue.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.

Conan in Armenia: At the market

November 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Television 1 Comment →

Why is Downton Abbey just like The Walking Dead?

October 30, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Television No Comments →

L-R: Married to each other, gay, gone, gone, gone, widow, widow, married to each other, widow, widow, married to each other, widow, widow (common-law), widower, gone.

This column goes out to our friend Kevin, who will institute divorce proceedings if his husband doesn’t watch the next episode with him on Monday night.

It seems that Downton Abbey, like the zombie apocalypse, will never end. And yet the series created and written by Julian Fellowes will close this sixth season. Of all the shows on TV, the one Downton Abbey reminds me of is The Walking Dead. Both are global hits that keep going strong despite the repetition of plots (They might lose their money, they don’t, they might get eaten, they don’t) and the departure of major characters, through slaughter or real-life career ambitions. (I point you to the enjoyably nutty action thriller The Guest, in which ex-Downton star Dan Stevens displays abs you could grate cheese on. Cousin Matthew! Who knew.)

More importantly, both series are about extermination and survival. True, the probability that Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol) will come out of the kitchen—gasp!—and devour the Dowager Countess Violet (Dame Maggie Smith) is slim, although Bates the valet (Brendan Coyle) is always getting accused of murder (Twice is not “only”, it’s a lot). However, Robert Crawley the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and his family are also trying to get by in an increasingly democratic society where people earn their keep. “What is a weekend?” Lady Violet asked in the first season. As the tetchy matriarch, Maggie Smith can invest a line with so much meaning, she makes any writer seem brilliant.

My editor tells me that The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey air on the same night, which is very considerate of the cable channels. After intense pursuit and carnage, one can decompress by gawking at the place settings and pretty clothes. (For extra posh, pronounce close as in, “The close are awl-wiz marvlous, rarely.”)

Read our TV column The Binge.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Marple: The comfort of the British murder-mystery

October 26, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Television No Comments →

Agatha Christie book covers

Miss Jane Marple is a menace to society. Whenever she turns up with that handbag of hers, sniffing around in other people’s business, murder follows. Corpses turn up, poisoned, stabbed, bludgeoned, strangled, shot. Suspicions mount, terrible secrets are uncovered, threats are uttered. People are revealed at their very worst. What fun!

Read our review at The Binge at BusinessWorld.


The other day we were watching the episode “After the Funeral” when we heard a familiar voice followed by that face: Michael Fassbender! As the dead man’s mysteriously disinherited nephew.