Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
"Who is Don Draper?" Don't ask. If you do, he'll pull up the Dick Whitman shroud of secrecy. You'll never get beyond that mysterious exterior. Cool, huh? It carried him through the past three seasons we've known him. But not this time, buddy. Don is now a leader and needs to fess up about his business, his professional past, and how he stays afloat. If he doesn't, big hitting trades like Advertising Age won't have any juicy Madison Avenue material to pump into Don's new venture. They need this publicity. The chance he's taken is a big one. He carries the weight of Bert Cooper, Roger Sterling, Lane Pryce, Harry Crane, Joan Holloway, Pete Campbell and Peggy Olsen on his shoulders. He made them take the plunge. Now he has to shed the cloak and dagger James Bond mojo and get real. They aren't the peons anymore. They are now Don's minion, and they want to succeed, for themselves and for him.
Don Draper seems to be undergoing a recession of the soul. Cutting back on his past fabulousness, he rents a furnished apartment in the Village, shines his own shoes, offers to sew on buttons for his son. Despite having a house maid (conjuring up images of The Courtship of Eddie's Father), he doesn't eat her cooking and barely acknowledges her housework. Divorced, dwelling within a non-descript bachelor, Don's new life appears to be as dark as the walls of his bedroom. He pays for sex now, with a regular high class call girl who provides an extra S&M bonus as part of her menu. It's not as if one cannot image Don being with a hooker before, but the fact he now has to pay for love making and accept blind dates from Roger Sterling's child wife - well, its a bit stunning.
Betty Draper has now taken on the surname Francis, replacing one husband for another in the same bed and the same house. Despite being told to move out by a certain date, Betty is not ready to move on, using the old I don't want to uproot the children right now excuse. Please, Bets. Why did you have kids? Don was a cad and it's good you divorced him, but you should have thought of plans for the kin before building your own lifeboat. Don, still paying mortgage and taxes for a house his ex-wife and new husband live in, is galling. When he demands they leave or else pay rent, even Henry agrees. But Betty is a needy, bitter child and refuses. Indeed, Henry's own mother has Betty's number, feeling the chill of her personality, her terrorizing of the kids, her prettiness allowing for men to drop all over her, swoop her up and rescue her frail bones from the harshness of the real world. I hope Betty didn't get rid of her fainting couch. She hasn't moved out of her damsel in distress phase yet.
Peggy Olsen is wonderful. She's come into her own with a more light hearted attitude, a little more comedy in her manner and a stronger sense of self. When her idea of hiring actresses to pose as housewives to go to stores around Queens and buy up loads of canned ham back fired, she handled it with comedic aplomb, the right dose of embarrassment and nada drama. (The actresses in question were a hoot, hating on each other, acting out like Danielle and Teresa in The Housewives of New Jersey). So, more power to Peggy. However, it doesn't end there. Both she and Pete are very friendly co-workers, but their past won't be easy to escape. There is something there. Even a call from Trudy sends Pegs out the door.
And Sally. Just you wait. This is the sixties. Historically we know what happened to the youth of that generation. She's going to come into the prime of her teenage-hood with a load of baggage from Don and Betty. It's going to explode in rebellious anger and hatred all jammed packed in a big wafting cloud of weed. I can see it now. She'll fall in love with per poster of Mick Jagger and be a Rolling Stones bad girl. Maybe even hitch a ride to San Francisco, be part of a cult or some underground political group, just to screw with her parents - Betty especially. I want Sally to evolve into the anti-Betty. No hairdos, dresses and manners, but unshaven body hair, nudity and fuck yous to society. Please, Matt Wiener. Make this happen.
Cutting back to the new agency, now located in the lush offices of the Time Life Building, Don is pitching a campaign to the very conservative owners of Jantzen swimwear. Having told them of their new two piece bathing suit line, they want to be all modest about the marketing of a product that is basically a cute little sexy Gidget bikini. Of course, Don ignores the safety of his clients suggestion and goes all 'sex sells' on them, to which they turn down his idea. After Don explodes and throws them all out of the office like a bunch of misbehaving school boys, we realize that Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce is not going to pander to mediocrity. There will be no more bowing to clients who beg for dumb ideas. No more bad calls on bad marketing campaigns that dangerously ruin SCDP's image. Call in the Wall Street Journal. Don wants to talk about the real Don Draper.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Mad Men's new season premieres tonight on AMC at 10pm. Is it normal for a person to shriek with happiness every five minutes at the thought Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce? So much to catch up on. I'm paralyzed with anticipation. I'll let AMC's video round up get everyone up to speed:
Saturday, July 24, 2010
|Big Lake||Tuesday August 17, 2010|
|Comedy Central's New Show|
Friday, July 23, 2010
For some New Yorkers and general Americans or people of other countries, Los Angeles appears to be a world of fake boobs, spray tans, plastic surgery, Lindsay Lohan amber alerts and getting groped "hello" by Andy Dick. I believe that only a fraction of this is true. For me, LA harbors some amazing comedic talent in the country. Many of them started in New York, and due to pilot season, TV development deals and other career opportunities, made the move out west. Yet, when they aren't appearing in a sitcom or film, they still work on stage and create comedy in intimate environs.
Heaps of articles on The Upright Citizens Brigade are written here because, like Juan Valdez who grows the richest coffee in Columbia, the theater harvests the best comedians on television and film today. Once they become big shots on 30 Rock or SNL, they still come back to entertain us little people as if they've never left - because they are basically funny, cool humans.
I've been at UCBLA many times, but I returned last week to haunt the theater in Hollywood to sort of bone up for next weekend's Del Close Marathon at UCB in New York. I caught some of my favorite left coast shows that are must see entertainment.
Here is what I saw with my own eyes:
UCB is known for Improv. They teach it. They worship it. The theater does some amazing sketch, but its building blocks rest on the many Improv teams that perform on both coasts. ASSSSCAT, to me, is the big granddaddy of Improv at the theater. It's performed each weekend at UCBLA and UCBNYC (check site because each coast has a different schedule) where a guest monologist tells a story based on an audience member's suggestion launching three or four beats (beats are kind of like scenes). What makes it amazing is that the guest for the evening could be anyone. Seth Meyers, John Krasinski, Billy Bragg, Will Arnett - anyone. Last Saturday's show had comedian Jen Kirkman, and her stories about her trip to France were hilarious, prompting funny scene work from Ian Roberts, Matt Besser, Sean Conroy, Danielle Schneider and Andy Daly. And by the way....they all have some TV projects coming up:
- Ian Roberts and Danielle Schneider are in Players, which has returned to Spike TV on Wednesdays.
- Matt Besser's This Show Will Get You High will be on Comedy Central during the 2010-2011 season. It follows the UCB as they do sketch comedy on the road. Besser will be previewing the show at the Del Close Marathon next Friday. More to come once I've clapped eyes on it then.
- Andrew Daly will be appearing in the upcoming NBC series The Paul Reiser Show.
Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer host Crash Test on the first and third Mondays of every month. It's basically orgasmic comedy. Paul and Rob have such a solid friendship and comedic chemistry that they are kind like two funny beasts with one back (but not in the sex way). They banter, rant, rave, laugh, talk about anything. But what also makes Crash Test so special is the audience. Many members of the crowd are regular attendees who have some back and forth discussion with Huebel and Scheer. These people are regaled with "baby"nicknames such as "Baby Stargazer", "Baby Twilight", "Baby Glenn Beck". Then, there is Frank Howley, (I call him "Baby Frank" - likely an unofficial baby name) who comes to every show (at least when I'm there) and sits in the same seat, first row, on stage. Woven between the audience banter, on stage antics and videos is a lineup of funny stand up comedians who take the laughter up a notch. Monday's show welcomed Heather Thomas, John Wengert, Sean Conroy and Rob Delaney.
Paul and Rob have upcoming TV projects already mentioned on this blog. Yet, mentioning it again won't hurt:
- Rob Huebel is currently appearing in the original web episodes of Children's Hospital on Adult Swim. The brand new second series of this very funny show will premiere in August - same channel.
- Paul Scheer will also be appearing in Children's Hospital new bunch of episodes, and will be returning in FX's The League this Fall.
Podcasts are busting with comedy talk shows, but Comedy Death Ray's weekly internet radio show, hosted by Scott Aukerman, mixes up the format with characters, sketch and straightforward interviews. It streams on Indie103.1 each Friday at 12noon PT/3pm ET. Once in a while, Scott will take the podcast live as he did on Tuesday night before Comedy Death Ray's weekly standard show, when he hosted a pre-Comic Con edition of CDR Radio with comic writer Gail Simone and comedian Paul F. Tompkins, known for his CDR characterizations of Ice Tea, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and TLC' s Cake Boss. My quick iPhone photo is above.
Comedy Death Ray Radio Live was Comedy Death Ray itself - a weekly showcase of stand up and sketch. I was lucky to have gone on this particular Tuesday since David Spade and Louis CK dropped in to do some material. In between the comedians Jen Kirman, Kumail Nunjiani, Greg Berendt and Chris Hardwicke was UCB's own Jon Daly as Bill Cosby Bukowski, reading from his selection of Jello Pudding stories which made me loose a chunk of my lung from traumatic laughter.
- Watch Chris Hardwicke on G4's Web Soup.
Every Wednesday at UCBLA the lucky people of Los Angeles can see Facebook - because they can. I wish we had this in New York. Sometimes I think I'm moving to this the west coast (next year, in fact) just so I can sit in the audience of this show every week. Two audience members are selected from the audience to share their Facebook accounts and Improv is performed based on their photos and stories. Last Wednesday's line up was out a few people. Paul Scheer usually participates, but I believe Comic Con took him away and regular Seth Morris was out, but Huebel, Chad Carter and Owen Burke, as usual, made Improv look so simple. (It isn't, but it's fun.)
So that's what I did on my summer vacation. I basically did what I do during the year when I can get to LA and did it even more. The excitement is rising for the Del Close Marathon next week, so more fun in the land of Improv will be had. I'll cover it here.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Back in early 2010, Spike TV aired Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh's comedy Players. Spike took it off air and planned to air the remaining episodes in July. Well, July is here, and as Ian Roberts reminded us last night at the ASSSSCAT show at the Upright Citizens Brigade, it's back on this Wednesday July 21st at 11pm.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Hold on to your sofa and throw away your remote. You won't want to miss one action packed second of this action packed show filled with action packed action. From the brain of Paul Scheer, watch the trailer for National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sports Utility Vehicle. On Adult Swim.
Previous seasons of the series are available on DVD through Amazon with commentary and special features. Not bad for doing it yourself. Season four has just started streaming and available for download at Zune marketplace, Bing and MSN. It arrives just in time for Comic Con, where Day and cast of The Guild will be on hand promoting this terrific geeky show.
Check out The Guild at it's website: http://www.watchtheguild.com/
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Meanwhile, The Benson Interruption still continues at Largo. If you're in LA, go see it on Monday July 12th (tomorrow!) at 9pm. Guests are Greg Proops, Matt Braunger and Rob Huebel plus more. Give Largo at call for tickets. You lucky LA bastards.
Doug will be bringing the Interruption later this month to New York's Upright Citizens Brigade during the Del Close Marathon. If you can't make it to NYC for the event, stick with me, because I'm going to be all over that place - Doug's show included. Lots of coverage will be had on this blog.
I wrote about Doug's show from last year's pre-Del Close Marathon performance at UCB-NY last year. Check it out here.
Friday, July 9, 2010
This is your summer school homework assignment. Don't groan, it's cool. Watch the full episode of Children's Hospital over at the Adult Swim site. See all the sexy doctors and the Star Trek nerds and impaled people and laugh - because, you will. Then, on Sunday, July 11th at 10:30am ET/PT tune in and start watching more episodes. After that you can go to the town pool and chose which hunky life guard you're going to crush on all summer.
Update: There's a nice write up on the show from NYTimes.com, which makes me proud to be an employee of the digital grey lady. Thanks Mike Hale: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/arts/television/11hospital.html?_r=2
Thursday, July 8, 2010
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Carell Corral|
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
This blog's favorite heavy hitting dramas Breaking Bad and Mad Men were righteously nominated for best in their genre with leads Bryan Cranston and Jon Hamm given the nod for best actor. Aaron Paul got some love with a nomination in the best supporting actor category, an honor in itself, but he deserves a win for his incredible slow burn performance. John Slattery is in the same category as well as...Martin Short for Damages? Interesting.
Seeing Elisabeth Moss and Cristina Hendricks get recognized for Mad Men just makes me smile. Too bad there are no even draws or co-wins. Those ladies light up the screen. Nice to see Connie Britton get best actress nomination, but sad to see her show Friday Night Lights get a pass.
The deliciously stylish and riveting Mad Men might have to take a back seat to insanely brilliant Breaking Bad for the ultimate prize - Best Drama. Both seasons were powerful in story, performance and build up to season finales that left me reeling in different ways. (Mad Men's season finisher made me jump for joy, while Breaking Bad's left me dumbstruck and dazed.) But Cranston's show may end up bringing home the whole enchilada this year. It was explosive, surprising, meticulous in pace and character build, suspense and horror. Perhaps the best television drama I've ever seen. Also nominated for best drama are shows rarely covered on this site, Lost, Dexter, True Blood, The Good Wife mostly due to the fact they've never interested me; however, it's not to say they do not deserve a run at the Emmy. Each drama has a chance, and with Lost causing a major stir this year over their final series and finale, it's a worthy contender. Nevertheless, I predict Breaking Bad is going to run away with the top trophy.
This site doesn't usually get into reality TV, unless it's absolutely hilarious like The Housewives series or Kell on Earth. (I have a secret passion for TLC's Say Yes to the Dress), but I do get a kick out of seeing Kathy Griffin's My Life on the D List get another nomination. It's actually a pretty fun show, although I could have done without her trip to Wasilla and the tired preening over Levi Johnston as featured in one episode. That joke lived beyond its 30 second sell by date, and for me, those 30 seconds were mildly amusing at best. Lets move on from the Palin family tree, please. But still...good for her.
The 62nd Prime Time Emmy Awards will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon and held on Sunday, August 29th at 8pm ET/5pm PT on NBC.
Here is a short list of nominees. For complete list, check out www.emmys.com/nominations.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Lead Actress in a Comedy
Lea Michele, “Glee”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
Tina Fey, “30 Rock”
Toni Colette, “The United States of Tara”
Jim Parsons,”Big Bang Theory”
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Matthew Morrison, “Glee”
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”
Steve Carell, “The Office”
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock
Variety, Music or Comedy Series
“The Colbert Report”
“The Daily Show”
“Real Time With Bill Maher”
“Saturday Night Live”
“The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien”
Lead Actor in a Drama
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
Kyle Chandler, “Friday Night Lights”
Hugh Laurie, “House”
Matthew Fox, “Lost”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Lead Actress in a Drama
Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”
Glenn Close, “Damages”
Connie Britton, “Friday Night Lights”
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
January Jones, “Mad Men”
“The Good Wife”
Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Chris Colfer, “Glee”
Neil Patrick Harris, “How I Met Your Mother”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Jon Cryer, “Two and a Half Men”
Supporting Actor In a Drama
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Martin Short, “Damages”
Terry O’Quinn, “Lost”
Michael Emerson, “Lost”
John Slattery, “Mad Men”
Andre Braugher, “Men of a Certain Age”
Supporting Actress In a Comedy
Jane Lynch, “Glee”
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”
Kristen Wiig, “Saturday Night Live”
Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”
Holland Taylor, “Two and a Half Men”
Supporting Actress in a Drama
Sharon Gless, “Burn Notice”
Rose Byrne, “Damages”
Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”
Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
And from the Comedy Central vault, here's an oldie but goody from The Daily Show: Even Stevphen.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Even Stevphen - World's Policeman or Fireman?|
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Dear Women of the Daily Show,
Thank you for your incredible letter responding to Jezebel on the issue of the lack of women in comedy. Your hard work and dedication have gone unnoticed by the viewing public because you run such a smooth and difficult operation behind the scenes. We viewers tend to think is easy. Of course, it's not.
I always thought Jon Stewart was a decent man, probably difficult at times and demanding at best. Who wouldn't be? If any of us were in his shoes, we'd know that the glare of the public light is harsh, the deadlines until taping are brutal, and the need to create smart, mind blowing news commentary is mandatory. Knowing you all deal with the dynamics of a well respected fake news program that provides important commentary and calls out the hypocrisy in television news and politics, humbles me at best.
You missed the point.
There was never any doubt that The Daily Show employs smart, hard working women behind the camera. The question lies in the fact that women are a scarce commodity as TDS correspondents. I don't know what really goes on behind the scenes or in the writer's room, because no - I don't work there. I'm a viewer with eyes and I can only calls them as I sees them.
There's been a lot of belly aching about the lack of females writing funny bits. Of course, there are ladies who play ball with the boys in the writer's room - Jessie Klein on SNL, Morgan Murphy on Fallon, but it's still an issue in the industry. It may be why I have been unable to try my hand at TV writing. The stories scare the b'geebs out of me.
Furthermore, in the group photo you've kindly provided, there are only two women that grace the camera as correspondents: Samantha Bee and Kristen Schaal. Both are rarely seen, especially the latter. I have no problem that after years of not adding much female talent to your roster, you find Maxim bunny and G4's Attack of the Show's Olivia Munn as a new face in the line up. She's cute and somewhat funny. But if you gave us a few more evenings of Bee or Schaal, you might even out the male to female on air ratio. Also, putting on a chick whose only background is showing her hottness in a lad mag and eating sausages on camera only solidifies the boys club rants.
So here's to the hard working women on The Daily Show. I admire your longevity and your smarts. I just wish you'd understand why Jezebel broached the issue of your program being a boys club. We as viewers and lovers of comedy only hear the words written and see the talent on camera. The testosterone out wieghs the estrogen here. It would be cool to view one or two more consistently contributing female correspondents. It wouldn't hurt if they wrote some of those words too. Ladies can roll with the punches with the big boys too. Tina Fey, anyone?
Also, saying a dude wrote your letter, doesn't really help you. I'm not being snarky, I'm just saying.
Some nobody with a blog
To read some background on what I'm writing about - here is the original Jezebel article posted here. www.jezebel.com
Tiger Beatdown...well said.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
It's too early to tell, but right now Conan's smelling pretty sweet now that he's left the network game. He'll still have a ratings tussle with Stewart and Colbert, but he appears to be in good company with a good sense of competition amongst friends - especially since they never weaseled their way into taking away his job.
Source: Deadline Hollywood Daily
A tremendous cast needs to rally around a central figure. Michael Scott is the captain and navigator of this ship. His petulant behavior stems from ego, neediness and a sad yet heartwarming loneliness. These elements launched many storylines that fleshed out the everyman lovability of the Dunder Mifflin crew. For every temper tantrum and furrowed brow Michael provided, regardless of how exhausting it was for characters and viewers alike, we'd see the reason for Michael's behavior. We'd ultimately find that he was lonely. His was virtually ignored during his childhood. He wants love and children, but it's always out of reach. So he bullies. He calls meetings every half hour. He makes scenes and loves to stir the pot of gossip and make the office a black hole of procrastination all in the name of 'fun'. The idiosyncrasies of Michael produced a domino effect over the past six seasons. Jim and Pam mothered him. Dwight kissed his ass. Oscar hated his guts. Kevin was clueless and Kelly blissfully unaware of his dumbass deeds while dreaming about different shades of pink. If we didn't have the tentacles of Michael's ridiculousness reaching out to each character, we wouldn't have about 90% of the storylines that gave life to six years of often hilarious and sometimes disappointing episodes of The Office. Carell created this monster. We love him for it.
When Steve Carell leaves the Dunder Mifflin set for the last time after the season finale next year, I hope that will be the end of The Office. It's understandable that the ensemble could continue with a new boss causing a new kind of chaos each episode; however, the heart and soul will change. Indeed, The Office is not "The Steve Carell Show", but when a show is anchored by a central character we all know and love/hate since it's inception (at least in this case, the US), and we find the quality of the show has declined, perhaps it's time for everyone to move on.
Creator Ricky Gervais knew this when he ended the UK's The Office with a poignant sense of closure after two seasons and a Christmas special. Speaking of the devil, Gervais gave Carell his blessing on his blog the other day at http://RickyGervais.com.