Tuesday, June 26, 2012

'Twenty Twelve'


With the 2012 London Summer Olympics approaching, the BBC has provided a funny, mocku-mentary that takes a behind-the-scenes look into the world of Olympic preparation.

Starring Downtown Abbey's Hugh Bonneville, Twenty Twelve has been compared to The Office in terms of its hilarity and real life feel. The show has already aired in Britain. Now it's the United State's turn when BBC America airs the show starting this Thursday, June 28th at 9pm/8pm CT.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Del Close Marathon 14: NYC!!

It's happening. I'll be there. (Not for all of it - come on, I'm old.) Improv around the clock from Friday, June 29th until Sunday, July 1st.  Gird your loins. New York...I'm coming home.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"You Can Grow Ideas In the Garden of Your Mind"

Mr. Rogers' wisdom remixed.

Video of the Week!

And now, here's Jimmy Fallon with The Roots and Carly Rae Jepsen performing the unplugged, band room version of the super hit song of the summer of 2012, "Call Me Maybe".  Love. Love this.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

HBO's Premiere of 'One Nation Under Dog'

This is a tough one. As a dog lover, it's difficult for me to absorb the dire circumstances that dwell within animal shelters everyday. Even the commercial with Sarah McLaughlin singing mournfully over visions of sweet eyed dogs and cats incarcerated behind the bars of a homeless shelter has always been too much for me to bear. I know cruelty among these defenseless creatures exists. I know millions of innocent dogs who could not find a home are euthanized. I also know the sadness of losing a beloved hound, the mourning, the loneliness, that horrible stillness in the house when you come home and that little buddy is no longer following you from room to room. Yet to see the reality on television is a pain that goes beyond comprehension.

That is why HBO's upcoming documentary One Nation Under Dog: Stories of Fear, Loss and Betrayal is going to be difficult, yet so important to watch. Premiering Monday, June 18th at 9pm, this three part documentation will explore the relationship humans have with their dogs, and the lengths this country must go for these animals to be treated humanely. 

Part one "Fear", will focus on Dr. Robert Taffet, a man devoted to his dogs who is brought to court when his Rhodesian Ridgeback bites off the ear of a little girl.

Part Two "Loss" deals with people mourning the loss of their deceased pets, and visits one of the oldest pet cemeteries in the U.S. (Hartsdale, NY, by chance? I used to live a block away from that historic place).

Part Three "Betrayal"features the most unpleasant aspect of the state of canines in this country: overpopulation, rescue and euthanasia. 

There will be some graphic footage that will undoubtedly be difficult to see. HBO will present edited versions for daytime audiences at the time indicated by *.   See info below:
 Other HBO playdates: June 22 (7:30 a.m.*), 27 (10:00 a.m.*, midnight) and 30 (8:15 a.m.*), and July 8 (4:00 p.m.*) and 16 (5:15 p.m.*)
HBO2 playdates: June 20 (8:00 p.m., 4:45 a.m.) and 24 (6:30 a.m.*), and July 2 (12:50 a.m.), 4 (9:45 p.m.), 10 (noon*) and 19 (4:45 a.m.)

To find out more about One Nation Under Dog and other upcoming HBO Documentaries, please visit http://www.hbo.com/#/documentaries.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Goodbye Sue

New Yorkers are the luckiest people in the world. We had Sue Simmons for 32 years giving us the news, lots of laughs and so much heart you could feel hers reach through the television screen. Tonight, she signed off from WNBC TV for the final time.

In addition to giving us the 11pm news, Sue and Jack Cafferty hosted the very popular Live at Five, which ran from 1980 until 1991 as a talk show, and then re-purposed with a news format until 2007.  But back in the day, it was a much respected pit stop for celebrities who'd pass through New York in the midst of promoting a film or book. Sue's disarming approach to her guests always made for a fun, relaxing give and take, providing memorable interviews and a must see when you got home after a long day.

Through wars, riots, weather, and the day to day tragedies of New York's inner city streets,   we had Sue and Chuck. Oh, she may have flubbed a few words and dropped the "F' bomb (no need to apologize to me, Ms. Simmons), the lady had class, style, humor and a charisma that we'll never see again.  It's amazing that the Today Show never gave her a chance to host, because she's a damn sight better than the set of identical mannequins with lady parts who host now. 

Good luck, Sue.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Broadway Moment: The Tony Awards

Winner of Best Musical last night at The Tony Awards, the company of Once perform the song "Gold", with composers and stars of the original film Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová in the audience. Very moving.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mad Men: The Phantom

There were ghosts in the season finale of Mad Men. The Phantom floated and wafted through the lives of our SCDP team, still reeling from the suicide of Lane Pryce. Everyone is chasing him - Megan chasing her acting dream, Pete chasing a woman who is now a shadow of herself, as he wallows in the suburbs with a wife and child to whom he cannot connect. Even Don faced his demons in visions of brother Adam, the first suicide casualty caused by his need to alienate those who have emotions he will not touch, nor understand.  It's weighing on him like that toothache.

It was a lackluster episode with too much Pete and Beth and not enough Peggy, or Ginsberg, or as Mo Ryan of the Huffington Post put it perfectly - not enough Dawn, not just in this episode, but the entire season.  Although I've covered the goodbyes of season five (see Lane Pryce and Peggy Olsen's departure below), this series moved along like a slow ocean liner, lumbering on rough waves of 60's unrest, not being rocked or touched in any way. With the civil rights movement and cultural change, why are we seeing Peggy still dress in teased hair and boxy dresses? Why did we not see Dawn's dealings with the racial slur mentioned in the first few scenes of tonight's show from that idiotic client? At least we did see Miss Olsen, with that damn teased hair, struggle with the new initiatives of her new boss. There's still hope for Peggy as she spreads her wings, but how long will that last?

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is expanding, and business, for now, is booming. We leave Don as screwed up as ever,  dealing with the complacency of marriage and fidelity.  Has Megan's expiration date passed?  When he walked away from the commercial shoot, was he walking away from that marriage? Walking away from the same vision that brought Betty into his life? (If you recall, she was a fledgling model he met at a photo shoot.)

With the ladies offering companionship in smokey bars, we can only guess the old Don will be back next year. This season's Draper was a mere ghost of his old self. Talk about phantoms.

Mad Men Finale: A Season of Goodbyes

Mad Men season five takes a bow tonight.  It took nearly two years to finally see this season come to fruition on AMC, and just like that - 13 weeks have gone by in a blink.

Some may have felt the season went by at a slow pace, dominated mostly by Megan's perfection and Don dealing with her as his wife. But within all the build up of story and every day angst, minutia and fat Betty, the season saw satisfying and devastating goodbyes to well love characters.

Those of us who have lived through the end of the 20th century, and now navigate the strange waters of the 21st,  understand that moving from one company to the next can be a vital step toward professional growth. When Peggy left Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce, it was a triumph, a righteous turn for a talented copy writer whose praise from Don was meager, and whose compensation did not match her ability. As Joan sold her body for the chance to be partner, Peggy moved on with dignity and a better future. Who knows how long SCDP will last? A future stake for Joan in an agency that might not survive another two years won't mean anything. But for Peggy, her career will last her as long as her personal drive. So long for now, Margaret Olsen.

Last week we said goodbye to a nice man whose inferiority complex took him to bad places. Lane Pryce was a sweet, emotionally brow beaten (literally by his father) Brit who came to New York and fell in love. Not with that cute African American Playboy bunny, but with New York and America. Leaving the stogy, class defined confines of the crusty middle class England from which he was bred, New York and all it offered allowed a fresh new start for Lane, where he embraced youth, sex and culture in a fresh new world where he could reinvent himself.  And that's the thing. During Don's confrontation and firing of Lance, he told him he could start over again. The problem was,  Lane already did. And in Lane's mind,  he couldn't keep up the pace and failed.

As we say goodbye to Peggy and Lane (with the possibility that Lane somehow returns in flashback, and Peggy still keeps in touch with her former colleagues), we say goodbye to another season of Mad Men, with another long wait to come for season six.

Hopefully with time permitting, I'll delve into tonight's episode tomorrow.

A Hunk of 'Burning Love'

Imagine a television universe where ABC-TV's  The Bachelor meets Adult Swim's Childrens' Hospital. Here in this land of the weird and beautifully stupid, a sexy, clueless bachelor is given a harem of desperate, fame-whore hungry women to deduce and eliminate until he selects one as his bride. That's what Yahoo.com has provided in its new original series Burning Love, a brilliant spoof on the popular Bachelor, with the satirical brains behind Childrens' fueling the comedy.

Executive Produced by Ken Marino and written by Erica Oyama, Burning Love vigorously turns over the slimy rocks of competitive reality television to not only reveal the ridiculous behavior that lurks within the minds of contestants with daddy issues, but also the shallowness of the men who are selected to be the bachelor in this reality show premise.

Marino is Mark Orlando, a hot firefighter with singed wood for brains. Michael Ian Black is host, and maintains the only sane mind in the lot as he mediates between Orlando and this line up of oddities and dysfunction portrayed by some of real life's most smartest, most beautiful and funniest ladies in the comedy hemisphere.

 Malin Akerman is Willow, a homeless lady whose is thrilled to be part of the show because she just wants to go inside a building - any building. Natasha Leggero portrays Haley, a salon hair washer who is so horny she is in a constant state of full commando - and by that - I mean her lady parts are on constant display for the world to see. Deanne Russo, June Diane Raphael, Kristen Bell are also included in this bizarre crew, along side a very pregnant lady (Morgan Walsh who was really very pregnant), a very blind lady and a very old lady. Oh, and Jennifer Aniston shows up in some kind of furry fetish disguise.
Yahoo.com has recently entered into the wonderful world of original content comedy with streaming stand up exclusive to the site such as Bill Maher's Crazy Stupid Politics and various comedy shorts. Burning Love is getting a lot of love on the internet, and it's worth checking out. In fact, if you're a Party Down/Childrens' Hospital fan, it's your duty.

Go to their site and check out the Burning Love page to see all three episodes at http://screen.yahoo.com/burning-love/ - episode 4 drops tomorrow, June 11th.

Here's a look at episode one:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

'Childrens' Hospital' Season 3 DVD To Be Released!

 Take note, fans of comedy and the absurd, lovers of blood, guts, doctors and mild nudity - Childrens' Hospital season 3 is due out on DVD July 24th.  Pre-Order it on Amazon now!

A new season of Childrens' Hospital premieres on Adult Swim August 9th.

Source on DVD: tvshowsondvd.com