Action (TV series)
show_name = Action
Jay Mohr Illeana Douglas
country = USA
language = English
num_seasons = 1
num_episodes = 13
network = FOX
September 16, 1999
December 2, 1999
imdb_id = 0206467
tv_com_id = 739
"Action" is a short-lived comedy series about a Hollywood producer named Peter Dragon, who is trying to recover from his last box-office failure. It aired on FOX during the 1999-2000 season. The series was critically praised for its irreverent, and sometimes hostile look at
Hollywoodculture. Thirteen episodes were produced. The show was created by Chris Thompson and the show runnerwas Don Reo.
Peter Dragon, played by
Jay Mohr, is a star producer at Dragonfire Films. Peter got his start as a screenwriter for gay porn, but eventually moved up the ladder of Hollywood as a hotshot producer of tasteless action films. At the start of the series, Peter's latest film, "Slow Torture", is a monumental flop, and he is under tremendous pressure to make his next film a big success. Peter is bossy and arrogant to his subordinates and is morally unscrupulous in negotiating with Hollywood talent. It is once or twice suggested that Peter is sexually confused.
Wendy Ward, played by
Illeana Douglas, is a former child actress who gained fame as the cute star of "The Elephant Princess" tv show. Her career tanked during her teen years due to a nasty coke habit, and she is now a high priced call girl. Through circumstance, she ends up becoming Peter's date at the premiere of his movie "Slow Torture". After she gives her honest criticism of "Slow Torture", Wendy is named Vice President of Production at Dragonfire Films. Wendy's character is an intentional play on the " hooker with a heart of gold" movie stereotype.
Lonnie Dragon, played by
Buddy Hackett, is Peter's uncle and chief of security at Dragonfire Films. Lonnie and Peter seem to understand each other perfectly. Lonnie is one of the few people Peter actually treats with respect. Lonnie has served in many wars, including World War II, and often complains about past injuries, most notably the fact that he only has one testicle. As he puts it, "The sack is half full."
Stuart Glazer, played by
Jack Plotnick, is President of Production at Dragonfire Films. Stuart desperately wants to be taken seriously as a Hollywood developer, but is frequently abused and ordered around by Peter. In spite of his important sounding position, Stuart is often asked to do demeaning tasks like babysit Georgia, have suits dry-cleaned and order gift baskets for star talent. Stuart is gay.
Adam Rafkin, played by
Jarrad Paul, is a struggling screenwriter whose screenplay, "Beverly Hills Gun Club", was picked up by Dragonfire Films for development. Adam's script was actually bought mistakenly because his name was confused with Alan Rifkin. Adam lives alone, is sexually frustrated and has had the same fuddy duddy agent represent him for most of his floundering professional career. A source of frustration is his lack of respect from Hollywood, most notably from Peter who never seems to recall his name.
Bobby Gianopolis, played by
Lee Arenbergis the chief executive of Dragonfire Films. Bobby G, as he is well known, uses menacing threats to get what he wants from Peter and the rest of the Dragonfire staff. Often these threats involve withdrawing his massive financial backing or exposing his gigantic penis. Bobby G is gay, but married Jane, Peter's ex-wife, in order to quell any rumors of such. Many critics have suggested that Bobby is a parody of former FOX CEO Barry Diller.
Jane Dragon, played by
Cindy Ambuehl, is Peter's ex-wife. It is never revealed why she and Peter broke up, but she remarried with Bobby Gianopolis mostly to spite Peter. She is manipulative, scheming and is so orally gifted she can hum and whistle at the same time. She has a daughter by Peter named Georgia.
Georgia Dragon, played by
Sara Paxton, is Peter's daughter by Jane. Ten years old, she is deceptively innocent but mildly stone-hearted for her age, a trait she gets from her parents.
Jenny, played by
Erin Daniels, is a struggling Hollywood career woman. She used to work at UPN, but after sleeping with Peter, moved on to become a production assistant at Dragonfire Films, where she then slept with Wendy. She is in competition with Stuart.
Cole Riccardi, played by
Richard Burgi, is a famous action star who has been in many of Peter's movies. He is introspective, self-obsessed and secretly gay.
Connie Hunt, played by
Amy Aquino, is the aggressive publicist assigned to Peter Dragon by Bobby Gianapolis after a major PR disaster. She is dry, practical, cold-hearted, and is portrayed with the aura of a hitman/cleaner. A sound effect of lightning and thunder usually follows mention of her name.
Titus Scroad, played by
R. Lee Ermeyis an eccentric movie director with a predilection for hydro-colonic therapy.
Holden van Dorn, played by
Fab Filippois a hotshot young actor, with a very public record of alcohol and drug abuse.
Reagan Lauren Busch, played by
Jennifer Lyonsis a sexy starlet with a big appetite and weight problems.
"Action" was notable for its heavy use of celebrity cameos. The actors played themselves.
Keanu Reevesis fondled during a movie premiere. (Episode 1)
Steve Kmetkoand Jules Asnerreport on the extremely low opening weekend take of "Slow Torture" on their show " E! News Live". (Episode 2). Later, Steve appears interviewing Cole Riccardi ( Richard Burgi). (Episode 4)
Salma Hayekruns into Peter in a restaurant and reveals that Peter sexually harassed her early in her career. (Episode 2)
Sandra Bullockappears to protest a bootlegged sex tape Peter has made of her. (Episode 4)
David Hasselhoffappears at a charity auction. (Episode 5)
Tony Hawkbreaks a leg when Peter distracts him, trying to get him to convince Leonardo DiCaprio to do his movie. (Episode 6)
Scott Wolf, who turns out to be much shorter than he appears on TV, begs Peter to cast him as an action star, then physically threatens him after Peter makes one short joke too many. (Episode 6)
* Mike Walker of
National Enquirerfame appears to scoop Peter. (Episode 8)
David Leisureappears as a career-crashed security guard. (Episode 10)
"Action" was unusually explicit for a series on American broadcast television. The characters regularly used obscenities which were bleeped out (the DVD release and subsequent airing of the show in the UK and Ireland restored them), and the writers managed to introduce sexual humor without explicitly calling attention to it. For example, in one scene Bobby Gianopolis has a prostate examination while standing at his desk during a business meeting. When he tells the doctor he's ready for the examination, the doctor tells him he has already begun - and in response, Bobby utters a very dry-witted and casual "ouch". In another instance, Peter Dragon and Holden van Dorn drop in unexpectedly at Adam's apartment. During the ensuing scene, it becomes clear that Adam had been watching pornography and masturbating. More radical than even this was the episode in which Peter goes to bed with a male star and seems to enjoy it, though clearly the memory of it terrifies him - surely the first example of a straight hero in a US sitcom enjoying gay sex. For the show's controversial use of sexual humor it was not shown in certain areas, despite heavy advertising and word-of-mouth appeal.
*Aired on FX following network cancellation.
* Of the 13 produced episodes, only 8 ran on FOX in 1999.
** The final episode that FOX aired was "Lights, Camera, Action." In the episode, Peter dies of a heart attack and the paramedics taking him to the hospital call the time of death "Thursday, 9:30 PM" - the day and time the episode ended.
** The remaining five episodes were eventually broadcast on other networks such as FX and
* The names of past films from Dragonfire Films: "Deadly Habits", "Ripcord", "Vatican Solution", "The Butcher's Son", "Mixed Blessings", "Body Bags", "Discharge", "Blood Mother", and "Slow Torture". These films are either referenced in the dialogue, or have posters visible in the background at the Dragonfire Films production office.
** "Red Snow" is the name of a film that Cole Riccardi starred in, and while not explicitly stated, it's suggested to be a Dragonfire Film.
** The series revolves around the production of "Beverly Hills Gun Club".
* The two charities that Peter Dragon forms are "Peter Dragon's Camp for Pediatric German Measles" and "Peter Dragon's Inner City Screenwriters Youth Camp".
* On the DVD, the writers reveal that they wrote the show around stories of real-life events told to them by show producer
Joel Silverand show creator Chris Thompson.
* At one point, Peter Dragon refers to the show's producer (
Joel Silver) as a "fat hack" who produced "Xanadu".
* [http://www.hulu.com/action Action on Hulu]
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