Tracey Ullman's State of the Union
show_name = Tracey Ullman's
State of the Union
runtime = 25 min.
Tracey Ullman, Allan McKeown
country = USA
network = Showtime
March 30 2008
last_aired = present
num_seasons = 1
num_episodes = 5
website = http://www.sho.com/site/tracey/home.do
imdb_id = 1014741
tv_com_id = 75006
"Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" is an American
sketch-comedyseries, starring comedian, Tracey Ullman. The series takes a satirical view of the day in the life of America, lampooning political, social, and pop culture[ [http://tv.yahoo.com/state-of-the-union/show/41584] . Yahoo TV. "State of the Union - OVERVIEW". Retrieved November 4 2007.] , with Ullman impersonating and portraying, famous, and non-famous characters, and celebrities. The series is written by Ullman, along with Hollywood satirist, Bruce Wagner, Gail Parent, and Craig DiGregorio.
The series' first season debuted on March 30, 2008 [ [http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/red-white-and-tracey,257775.shtml] . PressRelease News. " Red, White and Tracey". Showtime Networks Inc..
January 16 2008.] , on premium cablenetwork, Showtime.
A second season of seven episodes has been greenlighted by Showtime. [ [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117984970.html?categoryid=14&cs=1] . "Showtime imports Marc WoottonTracey Ullman renewed for second season". Josef Adalian. Variety.
May 2 2008.] The new season will air 2009. Arianna Huffington, one of Ullman's frequent parodies, revealed that she and Ullman recently had tea together. Ullman was looking to collect more material for the series' second season. [ [http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2008/04/arianna_huffington_blogs_and_k.html] . "Arianna Huffington: 'Blogs and kisses'". The Swamp. Mark Silva. April 29 2008.]
The first season of the series is directed by
Troy Miller. The show is shot in cinematicfashion. [ [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117963026.html?categoryid=14&cs=1] . Variety. "Showtime's 'Tudors' continues reign, Network gives show an early renewal". Josef Adalian. April 12 2007. Retrieved November 4 2007.]
"It's her kind of sketch show, where she plays many, many characters. No sketch is longer than a minute and a half. Each episode is a day in the life of the United States. You pop in on people all over the country, really quick visits. You'll go to some famous people. You'll see some recognizable faces and some regular Americans. You revisit characters from episode to episode. You'll go in and out, like the
Google mapof the U.S., in and out from the outer atmosphere. You'll go to Iowa and visit two women on a farm and then you'll pull out and go to Los Angelesand see Arianna Huffington, played by Tracey, in her boudoir, and then pull out and go to Washington, D.C. and see a woman who's an anchor for the evening news. Tracey will play 90 percent of the characters, men and women," as described by Showtime network executive, Robert Greenblatt. [ [http://blogs.mediavillage.com/ed_martin/archives/2007/06/showtimes_rober_1.html] . MediaVillage.com. "Ed Martin's Watercooler TV: Showtime's Robert Greenblatt on the Return of Dexter, Weeds and Brotherhood -- and the Future of Sleeper Cell". Ed Martin. June 27 2007. Retrieved November 4 2007.]
From the Showtime press release, "Tracey tackles the country's celebrity-obsessed, 24- hour news culture by portraying a variety of characters from celebrities such as,
Cameron Diaz, Renee Zellweger, Dina Lohan, Tony Sirico, David Beckham, Nancy Pelosiand Arianna Huffington. Additionally, Ullman has created a new line-up of original characters that reflect a cross-section of American society from an Indian pharmacist to a homeless woman without health insurance to a soldier on temporary leave from Iraq." [ [http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/red-white-and-tracey,257775.shtml] . PressRelease News. " Red, White and Tracey". Showtime Networks Inc.. January 16 2007.]
Much of the show's soundtrack, as well as the title music, is taken from Dvořák's Symphony No. 9. [ [http://rgmusic.proboards34.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=17&page=1#464] . "Re: Tracey Ullman's State of the Union". Richard Gibbs.
May 28 2008. Retrieved July 10 2008.]
Each sketch lasts from a few seconds, to a few minutes, much like a
Youtubeclip, a style Ullman was looking to achieve. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2008-03-26-ullman-union_N.htm] . USA Today. "Tracey Ullman creates a more humorous 'Union'". Bill Keveney. March 27 2008.] The series is narrated throughout by, Peter Strauss.
Celebrity impersonations and reaction
Celebrity impersonations has become a new addition to Ullman’s comedic repartee, something that she had not dabbled in since her early days at the
BBC, nearly thirty years prior. The slightly famous to the infamous are skewered in, ‘’State of the Union’’. Reaction to the parodies were fast coming from the actual celebrities themselves.
One of the very first reactions came from actress, Renée Zellweger. In a sketch, Renée is featured on a press junket for her new movie, where her character has a condition called, "chronic narcissistic squint." The real Zelwegger was shown a picture of Ullman doing an impersonation of her on The Late Show with David Letterman. Ullman revealed that she wore no make-up to get her Zellweger appearance. She simply donned long eyelashes, very much like
Shari Lewis’ Lambchop. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2008-03-26-ullman-union_N.htm] . "Tracey Ullman creates a more humorous 'Union'". USA Today. Bill Keveney. March 26 2008.] “This is why I need therapy… I better watch what I say. Look at what happens when I’ve done nothing to her.” [ [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/04/renee-zellwegers-ullman-r_n_95038.html] . Huffington Post. Renee Zellweger’s Ullman Revulsion: Tracey’s Impersonation A Reason To Call A Shrink”. April 4 2008.] Whether Zelwegger’s comments reflected one being a “good sport”, or feeling truly slighted, is debatable.
Political pundit Arianna Huffington's voice and obsession with blogging, receives numerous jabs throughout the series. The word "
blog" is often substituted for various nouns and verbs. While filling out an Internet dating profile, Huffington types, "Must enjoy nice long "blogs" in the rain." She clutches her laptop in her arms and kisses it goodnight upon going to sleep. Huffington takes the parody in good humor saying, "I actually loved it." Huffington continued, "She does a really good imitation of me... And you know....she ends a lot of her imitations of me by saying 'blogs and kisses,' which is kind of something pretty good. I like that. [ [http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2008/04/arianna_huffington_blogs_and_k.html] . "Arianna Huffington: Blogs and kisses". Mark Silva. April 29 2008.] Huffington’s parody is generally lighthearted. The same cannot be said for show’s take on the American news media and it’s “fear mongering”. Real-life CNN news anchor, Campbell Brown, serves as the vessel in which this is made apparent. In one episode, “Horror, terror, horror, terror, nightmare, horror, fear. Back to you, Brian,” serves as the entire report issued by Brown. Campbell issued a statement regarding the parody saying that she, “loves, loves Tracey Ullman, and is a huge fan of the show. “ Brown even wants to book Ullman on her 8 p.m. program. [ [http://www.nypost.com/seven/04292008/gossip/pagesix/traceys_targets_play_it_cool_108661.htm] . NY Post. “Tracey’s Targets Play It Cool”. April 29 2008.]
Celebrities, Laurie David, and Dina Lohan, who also take a hit in the show, had no comment. [ [http://www.nypost.com/seven/04292008/gossip/pagesix/traceys_targets_play_it_cool_108661.htm] .
NY Post. “Tracey’s Targets Play It Cool”. April 29 2008.]
In the end, Ullman contends that celebrities "love being impersonated". [ [http://www.sho.com/site/video/brightcove/series/title.do?bcpid=1305238291&bclid=1338246613] . "Behind the Scenes". Showtime.com. Retrieved
May 27 2008.]
*Sindra Mataal - "
New York, New York". Undocumented Bangladeshworker.
*Marion Churchhill - "New York, New York".
*Linda Alvarez - "
Buffalo, New York". Local news reporter.
*Lacy Harris - "
Greenville, North Carolina". A farmer, along with her husband, Brett. The couple continuously tries to come up with a fuel substitute to break America's dependence on foreign oil. Husband, Brett, is also soldier in, Iraq.
*Irma Billings - "Plainsville,
Nebraska". Average citizen who converses with her neighbor, Betsy Jean.
*Padma Perkesh - "
Oakridge, Tennessee". Indian pharmacist, who warns customers of medication side effects, Bollywoodstyle.
*Gretchen Pincus - "
Huntsville, Texas". Married the "Wetwipe Killer", who's on death row. She later marries, "The Tastee-FreezRapist". Gretchen is currently having a shadow writer document her married life with the "Wetwipe Killer"; in a book entitled "White Widow".
*Sally Knox - "
New York, New York".Investment banker, who has an ongoing affair with her boss, Chris Fullbright.
*Carmen Valk - "East Coast". Homeless woman, who is without health care.
*Chanel Monticello - Airport security agent.
*Sgt. Lisa Penning - "Macon, Georgia". On leave from
Iraq. She is part of a PBSspecial entitled, "Moms At War".
*Mother Superior Rose Pannatella - "
St. Mary's, Pennsylvania". Always in deep meditation.
*Chandra Perkett - "
Coshocton, Ohio". Public access yoga instructor.
*Rosa Batista - Housekeeper to Arianna Huffington.
*Asmaa Qasim - "
The Ozarks". The most famous star in Malawi, who comes to adopt an American child.
*Sherilynne O'Dale - "
Colorado". Parishioner who is participating in her church's, "Walk A Mile In Their Shoes" program.
*Sandra Stevens - "
Mustang, Oklahoma". WNBAcoach.
Import/ ExportPier worker - " Long Beach, California". Export worker who worries about how much America is exporting.
Jetblueairline steward - "Grounded JetblueFlight, Chicago". A stewardess who "mutinies" on a Jetblue flight, which has grounded for 12 hours.
*Mary Ann LeFrank - "
Columbus, Mississippi". Woman in her 70s, who is an expectant mother.
*Annette Thomas - "
Saint Paul, Minnesota". Regional theater actress, who returns to the stage after having a hip replacement.
*Ronnie Rooney - "
Saint Paul, Minnesota". Older brother to Andy Rooney.
*Doris Basham - "On the
North Dakota/ CanadaBorder". Elderly woman who gets busted for smuggling Canadianprescription drugs.
*Abby Melinda Harris - "Undisclosed location in
Arizona". Owner of "Dignity Village", a community for women 35 and over, "never to be seen in public again."
Laurie David; "Seen in her Gulf StreamJet." Environmental activist.
Arianna Huffington; " Los Angeles, CA." Political commentator, blogger.
Nancy Pelosi; " Washington D.C." Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Tony Sirico; " Los Angeles, CA." Actor.
Rita Cosby; "Seen in Huntsville, TXand New York, NY." News reporter.
David Beckham; " Beverly Hills, CA." Star player for the LA Galaxy.
Victoria Beckham; " Beverly Hills, CA." Wife of David Beckham.
Campbell Brown; " Washington D.C." News reporter.
Dina Lohan; " Las Vegas, NV." Mother of Lindsay Lohan.
Renée Zellweger; "The Hamptons, NY." Actress.
Dame Judi Dench; " Sundance Film Festival, UT". Actress
Andy Rooney; "Seen on the set of 60 Minutes." Journalist.
Cameron Diaz; "Independent Film Festival in Portland, OR." Actress.
Suzanne Somers; "Seen in Florida." Former actress, turned entrepreneur.
Dame Helen Mirren; "Butte Film Festival, MT". Actress.
eason One (2008)
Wet wipes, and the surname, "Katzman", are frequently cited throughout the series.
"We're obsessed with
Indiaand Bollywood," [ [http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/mar/29/new-citizen-ullman-gets-her-say-about-america/] . Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “New citizen Ullman gets her say about America“. Rob Owen. March 29 2008.] Ullman revealed about she and her husband, ‘Union’ co-producer, Allan McKeown. McKeown runs a production company in India producing television programmes. Padma Perkesh, Ullman’s Indian character, is a pharmacist who sings the medication side-affects to customers in Bollywood-styled routines. “There are so many Indian pharmacists in America," [ [http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/mar/29/new-citizen-ullman-gets-her-say-about-america/] . Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “New citizen Ullman gets her say about America“. Rob Owen. March 29 2008.] says Ullman, whose own pharmacist is Indian.
After handing clients their prescription, Perkesh begins her Bollywood chant, as the stock shelves behind her pull out revealing a colorful dance stage, filled with Indian decor. Padma rips off her white coat, and dances with her fellow stock workers, (and sometimes customers).
Lyrical excerpts from Bipolar medication song:
"There's no shame in being Bipolar"
"A bit like having your mood up in rollers"
"One minute you feel happy -- a ha a ha"
"The next you want to cry -- boo hoo hoo hoo"
"You shoot a man in Reno, just to watch him die"
"I say that I must warn you"
"The side effects are bad"
"Far more traumatic"
"Than your molesting dad"
"Even Diet Pepsi"
"Can trigger epilepsy"
"While shopping at Ikea"
The series received overwhelmingly positive reviews, with many critics dissecting elements of the show, including the length of the sketches, the show's format, and it's celebrity mock-ups. Suggesting that Ullman's stronger portrayals are found in her original characters, rather than the famous, one reviewer wrote, "Ullman's satire is at its best when she inhabits the little people." [ [http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/columnists/20080329_Jonathan_Storm__Tracey_Ullman_takes_her_licks_at_the_U_S_.html] . Philly.com. “Jonathan Storm: Tracey Ullman takes her licks at the US”. Jonathan Storm.
March 29 2008.] Others praised its collection of famous, and semi-famous impersonations, including Arianna Huffington, "who sleeps with her laptop and has a dramatic Eva Gabor accent and penchant for using "blog" in every part of her speech." [ [http://www.courant.com/entertainment/tv/hc-traceyullman.artmar30,0,4208607.story] . “Tracey Ullman’s Back As A Hilarious Cast of Thousands”. Courant.com. Roger Catlin. March 30 2008.] "Her best moments came as Arianna, Dina [Lohan] and Laurie [David] ," stated April MacIntyre, of Monsters & Critics. [ [http://smallscreen.monstersandcritics.com/reviews/article_1397499.php/Review_Tracey_Ullmans_State_of_the_Union] . "Review: Tracey Ullman's State of the Union". Monsters & Critics. April MacIntyre. Retrieved May 26 2008.]
It's Youtube-format garnered a few complaints. "...She can do so much, initially she's doing too much. Though fun, the opener's skits are too short, and the characters too numerous, for any one joke to register. But give the show a week to settle, and the strengths of Ullman's concept come to the fore. As the show grows clearer and funnier, you may even find yourself anticipating the return of favorite characters...” [ [http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/reviews/2008-03-27-ullman-union_N.htm] . “State of Tracey Ullman’s Union is strong”.
USA Today. Robert Bianco. March 27 2008.]
Commenting on the writing, a critic noted, “Ullman is obviously great at impressions, but it's the sharpness of the writing that sets this show apart from other sketch comedies. Ullman tosses off so many excellent one-liners along the way, it's hard to keep track of them all." [ [http://www.salon.com/ent/tv/iltw/2008/03/30/ullman/index1.html] . “Tracey takes on the USA”. Salon.com.
March 30 2008.]
“It may take "
Saturday Night Live" a season to put out this many funny characters and celebrity portrayals. But the glossy "State of the Union," narrated by Peter Strauss, churns out a dozen or more in each week's half-hour.” [ [http://www.courant.com/entertainment/tv/hc-traceyullman.artmar30,0,4208607.story] . “Tracey Ullman’s Back As A Hilarious Cast of Thousands”. Courant.com. Roger Catlin. March 30 2008.]
‘’State’s’’ premiere episode raked in 907,000 viewers for its first night of three airings, 776,000 combined for 10PM and 10:30PM, (just short of Showtime series, Californication’s debut total of 795,000). Pre-airings of “State of the Union” were available through cable television’s OnDemand service, weeks before its official premiere on the network. [ [http://www.multichannel.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA6546863] . “Not As Good To Be King: ‘Tudors’ Second-Season Debut Slips”. Mutichannel News. Mike Reynolds.
April 1 2008.]
The entire first season of "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union - The Complete Season 1" will be released on November 11, 2008. [ [http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Tracey-Ullmans-State-Union-Season-1/10133] . Tvshowsondvd.com "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union - 1st Season of Showtime's New Series Coming to DVD this Fall". David Lambert.
July 24 2008.]
Emmy– Outstanding Makeup For A Single-camera Series (non-prosthetic) - WON
*Emmy – Outstanding Hairstyling For A Single-camera Series
*Emmy – Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Miniseries, Movie Or A Special
* [http://www.sho.com/site/tracey/home.do Showtime's "State of the Union" web site]
* [http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tracey-Ullmans-State-of-The-Union/10431077017 Offical Facebook page]
* [http://www.sho.com/site/announcements/041607royalflush.do Showtime Press Release For "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union]
* [http://www.metacafe.com/watch/733244/tracey_ullman_does_posh_becks/ Tracey Ullman Does Posh & Becks Video]
* [http://www.sho.com/site/homepage/index.html First Look At "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union"]
* [http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/red-white-and-tracey%20,257775.shtml Official Showtime Press Release confirming March 30, 2008 airing]
* [http://www.sho.com/site/announcements/20080502.do Official Showtime Press Release announcing the second season of "State of the Union"]
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