“Further Tales of the City”
The Third Installment
Here we go again. “Further Tales of the City” is the third mini series based on the books of Armistad Maupin. It s a bit shorter than the two prior series but doesn’t mean it is not as good. None will be as the first but the third is wonderful on its own. It has a great storyline and it is lots of fun. There is a lot of mystery and a lot of romance (and more frontal male nudity). Maupin was one of the first authors to integrate gay and straight characters into a novel and then we watched them mature and grow throughout six books. If you have lived in the real world, you know that Maupin has recreated the story of our lives and has done so beautifully. He writes about normal, everyday people who become our extended family and the mini series do for us on the screen what Maupin did on the printed page.
This series strays a bit from the books but the added storyline—that of Mother Mucca is great. I knew I did not have to worry about being disappointed in the screen adaptations of Maupin’s books from the moment I started watching. Every nuance of every character is caught.
“Further Tales” begins some four years later than “More Tales of the City”. The “ME” decade of the 80’s is beginning and this is obvious throughout.
Maupin has stated that the main influence upon him when he writes is Alfred Hitchcock and as you watch the series you will see that. The stories and the characters overlap one another and the participants do not seem to notice this at all, Like Hitchcock, Maupin appears in a cameo.
Mary Ann has begun to notice love in her neighborhood. He has also landed a very hot news story and is waiting to spring it on her boss. As she and DeDe Halcyon-Day go through some great twists and turns, there is a wonderful comedy of errors. But have no fear. Anna Madrigal and Michael have their own subplots and their own twists and turns but it is Mary Ann that has the spotlight this time.
I have heard complaints that the ending is too happy. I think those that feel that way have forgotten just how many stories and subplots we have and how long all of this has been going on. The series is meant to entertain and we have all kids of entertainment here—a chase to Alaska, a kidnapping, a born again Christian wielding a gun and blowing someone away.
The third installment is darker than the others but that makes it even more fun. We must also remember that the 80’s marked the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and one of the characters has signs that he has the disease. There is also the Jim Jones storyline which gives the conspiracy theorists something to consider.
Laura Linney as Mary Ann knows her character and is great Dukakis is always wonderful. The new storyline, as far-fetched as it is, works and the entire series is a wonderful look at the way we live. I can’t say enough good things about the entire series.