episode 511 - August 17, 2009
"I never want to see that brown dress again"...so said Kyra Sedgwick after wearing the Suzy Couture jersey dress for almost seven days straight. The script had originally noted that Flynn remarked that a witness had seen a woman in a PINK dress; well, try and find a pink dress in L.A. in August! I'm serious. I hit every store and every boutique and every mall in the greater Los Angeles area, oh sure there were Diane Von Furstenbergs in pink leopard and that was about it, there were pink florals and pink checks and pink plaids and pink polka dots, but nothing in a solid pink. So for the producer/director costume show n' tell I dressed the Brenda dress form in the DVF pink leopard and that was met with a resounding "NO!!!" from the assembly. James Duff reasoned, "The teenage witnesses have to identify Brenda in a solid color dress! A high school student wouldn't say she was wearing a hot pink leopard print jersey wrap dress!" (and of course I paraphrased all of this) but the point was I still needed to find a solid color dress even after searching for days for a solid color dress. As I continued the show n' tell Eric high tailed it to Brenda's closet and found the Suzy Couture from last season and brought it to the dais, "perfect" Mr. Duff proclaimed. And all was good in Closerland...until Miss Sedgwick realized about day five that the brown jersey dress was tiresome! Believe me...the Suzy Couture has been retired.
This episode on paper was very powerful, but seeing it come to life on the screen was even more powerful. When Charlie woke Aunt Brenda at 4 a.m. what did Brenda pull from the closet but her old faithful Ralph Lauren cashmere cardigan, first worn in the 2004 Closer pilot and glommed onto over the last five years whenever Brenda feels vulnerable or in need of the comfort of her enveloping cardigan. That sweater has become it's own character and this was the first time it was worn this season, and what a great choice; it wrapped Brenda in strength as Jake died holding onto Brenda's hand. When Brenda had to confess to Charlie that her new friend had in fact died, there was the sweater a silent sentinel protecting Brenda's welling emotions from getting the best of her in front of her niece, or should Brenda have given into her pain and let the sweater sweep her into grief?
It's been an amazing feat to watch the budding talent of Sosie Bacon bloom into brilliance over this 4 episode arc. It's interesting that when I first shopped for the character of Charlene/Charlie I had only the first episode from which to create a characters closet. I had no idea where the writers and their stories would take her, but I channeled Charlie like I embody Brenda when I shopped. I started at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, the "go to" boutique for anything newer than new and where all the tween and teen fashionistas drop daddies dollars. That's where I found this episodes red, yellow and blue Ella Moss sweater as well as the Aqua jeans and her purple t-shirt that she slept in, the mens boxers were from Target, Charlie's hooded teal sweatshirt with a Guadalupe graphic was by Great China Ink also from Fred Segal Fun. The next stop was Neiman Marcus and Saks and Barney's and in one shopping spree I had enough items to build a closet or more like the favorite pieces that Charlie would have packed to bring to L.A., and really, I didn't have to shop again even when next weeks script called for some specific looks. That's the art of professional shopping and channeling a character, at least for me, that's the fun part of designing a character, really deciphering who Charlie was and what she clung onto in her wardrobe to make her feel safe or angry or rebellious while being away from home, I mean haven't we all felt that we need to have a favorite sweater or just the right pair of jeans or warm and cozy Ugg boots when we are away from the comforts of home and family...or sometimes never want to see that unbearable but gorgeous pair of high heels, the too heavy and itchy wool coat or even that darn brown jersey dress! Oh Brenda Leigh...
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.