Tuesday, January 31, 2012

'Arrested Development' Developments!

The year 2013 is going to bring plenty of Bluth love around these parts.  News of an Arrested Development movie hit a few months back. Sweetening the deal will be the production of ten new episodes commissioned by and streamed via Netflix leading up to the feature film.

As per Arrested writer Dean Lorey's blog, they've set up offices, parking and are starting to write scripts; therefore, production on this joyous project has begun. As indicated above, episodes are expected to premiere on Netflix in 2013.

Righteous news, indeed! Can I get a COME ON?!

Here's more coverage on the new via MTV's site, where they caught up with Michael Cera at the Sundance Film Festival. http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2012/01/31/arrested-development-scripts/

Source: NYTimes.com

Dean Winters on 'Up All Night'

Perhaps you've seen Dean Winters as Tommy Gavin's angry brother on Rescue Me, or as Liz Lemon's dummy boyfriend Dennis Duffy on 30 Rock. My first introduction to him was in the HBO series Oz as the terrifying O'Reilly. Now, he can be seen all the time as Mayhem in the ubiquitous AllState Insurance ads. But come Thursday, you'll find him on NBC's Up All Night, where he'll portray Will Arnett's older brother.

Elton John and Leon Russell: The Union

"Respect the elders. Embrace the new. Encourage the impractical and improbable, Without bias." David Fricke

I've been thinking of the forgotten lately. The artists who've pioneered creations, inventions and music. Georges Méliès with his magic visual effects on film, Big Momma Thornton and her original, soulful Hound Dog made famous by Elvis, and Leon Russell, soul master of the keyboard and song, who inspired generations of piano driven rock stars.

Elton John idolized the long haired rock legend, who made it to the top of the pop charts in the early 70's with hits like Masquerade and A Song For You. His music has been covered by The Carpenters, Ray Charles, and Peggy Lee. His star rose to such great heights, George Harrison invited him to join the band for the legendary 1971 Concert For Bangladesh.  Elton's star began to rise as Leon's made its descent into the shadows, yet he never forgot his idol.

In 2009, Elton brought Leon, fraught with health and money issues, out of retirement to collaborate on an album entitled The Union. To document this momentous project between Elton and his idol, award winning Director Cameron Crowe and Producer T. Bone Burnett were brought in to film the recording session and their performance at The Beacon Theater in New York City. The end result is the documentary of the same name -  The Union - premiering this Thursday, February 2nd on HBO.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bourdain's Grumbling Belly

I've come a bit late to Bourdain.  His first book Kitchen Confidential came out a decade ago, and I've just finished reading it from forward to afterward, diving into each page, hungry for words, craving food and starving for stories about food. Years ago, The Travel Channel gave Anthony Bourdain a platform to display his culinary chops and wanderlust in No Reservations and The Layover, the latter which just had its season finale last week. My DVR is groaning with the volume of episodes it has collected, waiting for my return home from work, where I can delve into my own crappy Lean Cuisine while watching Tony on his journey around the world, eating local goodies from the farms, rivers and streams of far away lands and many an ocean. Breaks bread with people of all economic class, race and religion lands mesmerizing results, as he tastes his way through an itinerary of multiple countries with collected recipes of local people -  from Russia to Namibia, London to America's heartland -  who've worked the land, raised their cattle, and fattened their pigs for sustenance.

If you're familiar with Bourdain, you know he's pretty badass when it comes to his life and food. He's open about his past drug addiction. He will drink many alcoholic beverages on camera, sometimes to the point where it's evident he's shit faced to the wind. In addition, he'll spar with Food Network stars Paula Deen, Rachael Ray and Kwanza Cake Queen Sandra Lee, criticizing them for steering viewers to quick fixes on simple recipes that deaden the palette and murder the soul.

I'm slightly obsessed with this show. After a decade of seeing Bourdain on the New York Times Best Seller list, or seeing him mentioned in Zagats, it's about time I put down my lazy Lean Cuisines and start looking a food in a whole new Bourdain new way.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Love Is All Around....

The legendary, incomparable Mary Tyler Moore will be honored with a Lifetime Acheivement Award this Sunday at the Screen Actors Guild Award to be aired on TNT and TBS at 8pm.  The New York Times has a lovely feature on Mary here--->  NYTimes.com/arts

Dwight Schrute Spins Off. What Does it Mean for 'The Office'?

Deadline Daily is reporting that NBC is developing a spin off show for The Office in the form of Dwight Schrute and his world of beets. The show will be co-Executive Produced by Rainn Wilson and Office Executive Producer Paul Lieberstein. This is an interesting turn up, indicating that The Office may either be on its last legs, or headed for an even deeper reboot.

As a former Office fanatic, I continue to tune into the show each Thursday night. Like a drug addict, I chase that wonderful high experienced when the show was at its peak. But all I see is a sitcom that's a shadow of its old self, with Robert California's strange, twisted vibe and Andy's woeful supervision of Dunder Mifflin stamping out my jones. The sweet Ed Helms continues at the 'helm' in the unremarkable and unenviable role of Andy Bernard, Michael Scott's bumbling predecessor. Unfortunately, Andy as GM hasn't jelled.  In terms of the show itself, the story lines, once heart warming, relatable and smart, are now devoid of quality, believability and laughs. The absence of Michael Scott has sucked the air out of the room. Something's missing, like we went from color to black and white, "from major to minor" -  or to get all Shakespearean  - as if Prince Hal, the life of the party, left Falstaff and the old pals behind to be Henry V. The lights have been turned off, and we wallow in the dark with old memories and nothing to hold onto.

Also, prime characters are underused, such as Creed and Pam (out on Jenna Fischer's maternity leave). Characters we once knew have had personality transplants, characteristically unrecognizable from their former selves (I'm looking at you BJ Novack aka Ryan Howard). Jim and Pam are ghosts now that marital bliss has morphed into parental responsibilities - an aspect of their world in which I'd love to see more. That old Jim/Pam angst has been replaced with Andy and Erin's non-romantic arc, loosely mimicking the Halpert/Beesly pre-coitis relationship that will never touch the painful beauty of Jim and Pam's fractured and ultimately successful courtship.

Deadline Daily has fleshed out more details of NBC's move toward this potential spin off, and discusses how Dwight will be transitioned to the new show. Also, other cast members are not officially signed on for the 2012-2013 season as of this posting, so more developments will be on the horizon.

If all shakes down, perhaps a Dwight spin off spells a new beginning from an old concept that should have ended with Steve Carell's departure last season.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bret McKenzie Nominated

Today is abuzz with Oscar this and Oscar that. My favorite film this year has been The Artist, and I hope that lovely homage to silent film picks up lots of prizes; however, as a lover of all things Flight of the Conchords, I was thrilled to see that Bret McKenzie, Zoey Deschannel's other half in the land of "adorkable", has been nominated for Best Song with his lovely tune from The Muppets, "Man or Muppet". Hooray, Bret!

Paula Deen Will Never Die!

And that's a good thing, Y'all! The terrific Betsy Sodaro, an up and coming star at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles, is Paula Deen, master slayer of the sugar disease. She's packed with pharmaceuticals, ready to generate revenue for personal wealth, and to eradicate damage causing glucose levels. That silly 'ol diabetes won't know what hit it. From 'Funny or Die's' kitchen, to yours.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tracy Jordan, Meet Tracy Morgan

"He's not a homophobe. He's an idiot". Liz Lemon

Vote For Leslie Knope!

Last night on Parks and Recreation, the very dishy and funny Mr. Paul Rudd premiered as Bobby Newport, Leslie Knope's opponent for City Council of Pawnee. He's an empty headed rich boy, who, on the silver platter of life, had the world handed to him while sucking on a silver spoon. Leslie, on the other hand, has worked her heart out for her beloved town, and now has to handle low popularity numbers to try and outshine the dashing and dumb Bobby. It makes a lovely combination. Especially when Leslie's camp tries to grapple over using negative ads to thwart him. But, being true to herself, she takes the high road with a very smart advertising spot.

As per Executive Producer Michael Schur, Rudd's role will be a three episode arc with the hope of having him on when his schedule allows.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"You Can Do Anything!"

To the home schooled, and the coddled; to the losers who receive "esteem trophies", to the self entitled and the unearned; this is for you. (Because we need more singers and pop stars than doctors and engineers.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Morgan Freeman Tribute

Congratulations to Morgan Freeman, legendary actor and humanitarian who received the 'Cecil B. DeMile Lifetime Achievement Award' at last night's Golden Globes.  A very deserved honor for a distinguished performer. However, we all know his beginnings involved teaching children about words on The Electric Company. And for that, we children of the 70's thank him.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

30 Rock Returns Tonight!

After a Fall season of Whitney filling in for Tina Fey as she rightly tended to maternity-hood, 30 Rock returns to the NBC schedule tonight in its new time - 8pm ET/PT.  Okay, perhaps the show, now heading into its sixth season, is starting to get a little tired. Yet, seeing the TGS team and Alec Baldwin post-American Airlines brawl back in the lineup should be fun, and remains a good reason to tune in. Also, Parks and Recreation returns with a new episode. And if you're still into The Office as it gasps on its last fumes, that's new too.

However, we must bow our heads and hope for the return of Community, now off the NBC schedule and awaiting word on its fate.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kenny Powers is Coming Back...

The poster says it all....

'Robot Chicken' Hits 100

Robot Chicken is stop action animation at its finest and most hilarious. Seth Green and his team at Stoopid Monkey productions have taken GI Joe, Barbie dolls and claymation figures to create Frankenstein-like actors posed in hilarious sketches to a whole funny, insane level. Plus, they invite the coolest celebrities to lend their voices, such as Diablo Cody, Lea Thompson, John Hamm and Bryan Cranston (to name a few - they're many more).

After five seasons on Adult Swim, Robot Chicken will be airing its 100th episode on January 15th 11:30pm ET/PT.

'Work It' Could Be a Sign of the Apocalypse

I'm not of the Doomsday sect; however, when shows like Work It get green lit and placed on a television schedule when so many other pilots more worthy are ditched, well...it makes me wonder.

This cross dress comedy, where the premise revolves around two men who are unable to get work and find they're more likely to be hired dressed as women, has insulted everyone from GLAAD to the LBGT community to straight women to the entire universe. I'm not sure if this is ABC's twisted experiment in how much an audience can take. Can it be a cynical look into how females are elbowing men out of opportunities, thus emasculating them? Okay, but that could be done with a better concept and good writing.

Or is it a jadded commentary by television showmen who are tired of how suddenly the pretty ladies, i.e. Zoey Deschannel, Whitney Cummings, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler or Chelsea Handler are dominating in prime time. (Oh, damn those broads with their successful sitcoms and their pesky periods!) Perhaps it's just an ironic look at goofy, hacky comedy seen through the snarky vision of a television executive who's got...nothing?

With reality shows that bring out the worst in people in order to get ratings, this bizarre 30 minutes of canned laughs may be a sitcom that we, a passive, celebrity worshiping society, deserve. 

Work It could be gone before February Sweeps, or might continue and end up being a cultural phenomenon like Seinfeld or American Idol. In that case, we can prepare for a post apocalyptic world - where non-transgender inclined men might have to go against their nature and dress as women, and women, who are being out-ladied by men, will have to dress like girls for survival.

So, if End of Days are near, word to the guys: enjoy wearing Spanks, and make sure you get fitted for the right bra.

Update: Work It has been canceled.

'Mad Men' Season 5

Well hello, there Jon Hamm. There you were, being all funny on the Doug Loves Movies podcast and announcing season five of Mad Men will be premiere on AMC on March 25th.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Comedy in Photos

Photo by Liezl Estipona

There's something I've learned in the comedy world. Comedians are nervous of photographers taking snapshots of their shows.  If you have a camera, and want to capture stills of a live performance or have the okay to photograph backstage antics of funny people about to perform, you have to earn their trust. So when photographer Liezl Estipona was given the green light to be the official photographer of the monthly Paul F. Tompkins Show at Largo in Los Angeles, plus have full access to highly popular, star studded shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade, you know she's seen as someone special.

From Zach Galifianakis to Louis CK, from Patton Oswalt to Maria Bamford, from Nick Kroll, to Jon Hamm, and from Adam Scott to Amy Poehler, Liezl brings her talent, sense of humor and love of comedy into every frame she shoots. For comedians, she's almost one of them, a tough chick who can take a joke and dish it right back at you, with a coupon for an Arby's sandwich as a bonus prize.  For fans, she's the peep hole through the walls of the L.A. comedy scene, allowing those who live in other cities to join in on the excitement onstage and off via photo uploads on www.aspecialthing.com - a website for comedy nerds.

Liezl has published a book that showcases the highlights of her work around the L.A. alternative comedy world.  Liezl Was Here (Vol. 1) beautifully lays out some of the most hilarious moments she's captured digitally. Each turn of the page provides insight into the famous and funny as they create magic on stage.

Go to www.blurb.com to purchase your own copy. It's a gorgeous addition to your coffee table book collection - and more hilarious & purposeful than that useless giant anthology on Shakespeare you're using as a door stop.

To view more of Liezl's photography, you can visit her Tumblr site, www. liezlwashere.com. Please do not post photos without permission.

And a side note - totally unrelated to Liezl: Don't video comedy shows, please. (See Patton Oswalt).

Friday, January 6, 2012

'Portlandia' Returns on IFC Tonight!

Speaking of IFC (see below post), Portlandia is back! Check out the premiere of season 2 tonight on same channel at 10pm PT/9pm CT.

Show site:  http://www.ifc.com/shows/portlandia

Comedy Bang Bang on IFC

If you're familiar with the weekly podcast, or if you live in Los Angeles and are lucky to snatch a ticket to the weekly Tuesday stage show at UCB, this news will blow your socks off. It's being reported (although not officially announced yet) that Comedy Bang Bang (formerly known as Comedy Death Ray) is moving into television territory, and has been picked up on IFC.  Lead by host and Producer Scott Aukerman, the show will be, as per an IFC insider (via ADweek)... "...a highly unrealistic version of a variety show - a mixture of Pee-Wee Herman and Dick Cavett that will feature celebrity guest, comedy sketches, animation and music."  That's a pretty close description of the hilarity fans have enjoyed on CBB via Aukerman's Earwolf empire - the podcast platform where you can find comedy to delight your ears.

The house bandleader will Reggie Watts, the creator of the current CBB theme tune, and a frequent guest on the current show.

For more info on Comedy Bang Bang, a comedy nerd created a Wiki page where you can go to town on all things CBB http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comedy_Bang_Bang

Source: ADWeek

Sweetie Dahling...The Bitches Are Back!

Absolutely Fabulous started out as a sketch on BBC's The French and Saunders Show. One spin off in 1992 and twenty years later, the world is celebrating one of Britain's most legendary and hilarious comedies of all time. The show is so influential, American television tried to emmulate the dynamics of the fashion crazed, hard partying, pop culture whores that are Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon in sitcoms about women, or in a format optioned U.S. version of the series. All have failed. You cannot copy the terrific chemistry of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. Nor can you find anyone quite like Jane Horrocks who portrays Bubble, the pixie, air-headed wonderous yet useless assistant.

Saunders put the show to bed ten years ago when the last season of 'Ab Fab' aired on BBC America in 2001. But the beauty of putting something to bed is that it will eventually wake up. Beginning this Sunday, January 7th, the twentieth anniversary of Absolutely Fabulous will kick off with a new three part series, bringing back this brood of pill and booze soaked baby boomers, along with their mums and their spawn. The New York Times mentions that the comedy continues at the same pitch, but with menopause, weight issues and other ailments of the day thrown into the miasma of nuttiness that are Patsy and Eddie lives.

Absolutely Fabulous airs on BBC America, Sunday January 7th. Check your local listings.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm A Sucker For Dog Commercials

Travelers Insurance has wooed me with their series of commercial spots featuring that lovely, floppy Briard pooch. Now that the holiday season has passed, I'm a little late in posting this. Yet, I think the spirit of this gang of pups should live on throughout the year.

Woke Up This Morning....

...and this happened in my head:

'Delocated' Back For Season 3

Our favorite member of the Witness Protection Program is back. Delocated returns on Adult Swim February 2nd at midnight. Seasons one and two comes out on DVD January 17th.

The Chris Gethard Show

Maybe you watched Jimmy Fallon the other night. Perhaps you witnessed an appearance by the funny Chris Gethard who spoke enthusiastically about his public cable access show The Chris Gethard Show. Maybe you're interested in knowing what the hell that is. Well, here it is - a nine minute taste of the mayhem, insanity and disgusting behavior of young, funny comedians who somehow got loose from the UCB Theatre in New York. Check who's looking over your shoulder and mind your volume. This is NSFW.

For more on Chris on his show - check out his web page: http://thechrisgethardshow.com/

Then check out his book A Bad Idea I'm About to Do: True Tales of Seriously Poor Judgement and Stunningly Awkward Adventures.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

'Big Ange'

Mob Wives premiered on VH1 last week. So much agita! Renee almost died when her stitches popped after getting a drastic body lift and Drita almost killed the vicious Karen at a party. But I've found my favorite housewife of all.

Meet 'Big Ange' Raiola. I already adore her. She's like every New Jersey housewife and Good Fellas lady cast rolled into one big mega wife. She's the Island queen - the Island of Staten, that is. She's like fellow Mob wife Renee Graziano with more boobs and botox. Ange seems to be the wise woman of the mob femme fetales, the soothsayer to the enraged gangster wife with foaming rabid dogs on the brain and vendetta in her heart. I don't know what she's seen, done, heard or where she buried the bodies. I don't want to. She's here and she likes to par-tay!

VH1? More 'Big Ange' please. Because this is reality show love.