17 April 2001 | lynchnut-2
Taking you Further and Further
Being a huge fan of Mr. Maupin's previous two series as well as the books, I knew there was no need to worry about being disappointed...once again the "Gang" delivers...Pierre Gang, that is; he also directed "More Tales" a few years back and returns to helm this installment as well. The primary cast is back, however, noticeably absent is Mona Ramsey, who's gone off to Seattle, presumably to find herself. Laura Linney once again dives in displaying "further" sides (not to mention views) of Mary Ann. In fact, that can pretty much be said about every character this time around. Everyone gets to explore sides of themselves that before went untouched.
And that's as it should be, considering "Further" picks up four years after "More" as opposed to the few month gap between the first two series. It's 1981 and the feel of the seventies is dwindling, making room for the "me" decade to come. For this writer, one of the coolest aspects was the return of Mary Kay Place to the role of Prue Giroux, which she originated in a mere couple of scenes in the first "Tales" back in '92. This time around she is a main character with some very real problems, most of which center around a peculiar man named Luke, whom she finds living in the park. Luke, as played by Henry Czerny, is the character you will be hard pressed to forget. Olympia, as always, gives just the right balance necessary to keep everyone else in line. Bruce McCulloch (Kids in the Hall) is a riot as Father Paddy. Joel Grey shows up in a role that (if one didn't know better) seems tailor-made. Barbara Garrick goes round three with a new and improved DeDe; she gets my vote as the most underrated character and actress of the saga.
Armistead Maupin has always said that his primary influence when writing is Alfred Hitchcock - as you view, you'll see why he says that. As usual, the stories and characters overlap one another, going seemingly unnoticed by the participants. Maupin himself gives perhaps his most clever Hitchcockian cameo yet (big laugh).
My only complaint is that the we're treated to less screentime with this series. It's about a third shorter than the previous two. As I haven't read the book in some time, I don't know what had to be sacrificed to make this possible. One of the great strengths of the first two series was the near seamless adaptations of the books upon which they were based. Was it a budgetary decision? Or just simple storytelling? It does indeed move faster than the last series. In any case, some "Tales" are better than no "Tales". Let's hope they do the next three as well.