Who Needs Fresh Air?

Who Needs Fresh Air?: Action – The Complete Series (Jul 2)

Wow, it’s warm outside. And with a holiday weekend there are going to be picnics and fireworks and crowds and flying disc related games. It’s a little bit horrifying, frankly. If you want to avoid all of that hullabaloo, I recommend hiding out in your TV bunker with Action: The Complete Series.

Originally airing in 1999, Action was one of the greatest Hollywood satires ever to make it to television. Jay Mohr plays Peter Dragon, a completely unscrupulous movie producer (reportedly based on Joel Silver and the late Don Simpson). After a string of massive hits, Peter finally flops with Slow Torture, and has to scramble to rebuild his reputation. As I can only assume is common in Hollywood, the first step in his comeback is hiring a former child star turned prostitute (Illeana Douglas) as his head of development. He buys a script called Beverly Hills Gun Club from a rookie writer, mostly because Dragon mistook him for a successful writer with a similar name.

Action is an absolute wallow in the fields of bad taste. Peter is cruel, sexist, racist, and self-destructive. The opening minutes of the series feature Peter screaming obscenities at a caterer, all because the poor man point out that Dragon took his parking spot. It’s a fantastic piece of unbridled anger, and it’s how they decided to introduce us to our lead character. Clearly, the world of 1999 was not ready for this, but it’s 2008 now, and that’s how we all start out days, right? The whole series acts as a single story, detailing the making of Beverly Hills Gun Club, from the pitch, to finding financing (the sacrifice of a goat is involved), casting (In order to secure a newly-out-of-the-closet star, Peter is willing to go to extraordinary lengths. No, really.), production (Beverly Hills Gun Club will not be able to claim that “No animals were injured or killed in the making of this film.”), and even a fight for the rights to the finished product. Action was ahead of its time in devoting a season to a single story arc.

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