MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

Who needs 'Two and a Half Men' when you've got Mark Cuban documenting your downfall?

By Sona Charaipotra Mar 7, 2011 10:36AM
Photo courtesy CBS
Would you watch a Charlie Sheen reality show? 

Considering his media frenzy has been crazier than anything TV writers could ever come up with themselves, HDNet owner Mark Cuban is banking that TV audiences will tune in if he catches Sheen's antics on camera. 

The sports team owner turned cable network owner is in talks with the former "Two and a Half Men" actor about, well, something interesting.  
 

"You've got somebody that everybody has a whole lot of interest in who's doing some interesting things, to say the least, and we're always looking for interesting programming featuring interesting people doing interesting things," Cuban told assembled media this weekend. "I reached out and we've had some conversations, and we're going to work on doing some things."

Come on, Cuban. How vague can you get? Spit it out already. Anyway, Cuban added, "It could be a talk show or a reality show; we're trying to decide. Right now, we're taping a lot of different things that he's doing and we'll try to figure it out. It's still not 100 percent certain. It'll come down to what he wants to do and what his situation is. We'll just figure it out from there, but it's a unique opportunity, I'll say that."

So what he's saying, essentially, is that he's hoping to capture Sheen's self-destruction -- or, on the off chance, redemption -- on tape so he can have the real inside scoop when it happens. Because clearly, Sheen's media maelstrom has been earning network news media a ratings upswing, and while he was busy hanging out in "Sheen's Korner," he became "Saturday Night Live" fodder this weekend. Because I'm telling you, you just can't make this stuff up. Check it out below.  
 

 

 

‘Tragical History’ tells a fairly dull story about the fairly dull Cyril

By Miss Sarah Jo Mar 5, 2011 3:40PM

The problem with a streak of hilarious episodes is that eventually there's a dud. Of course, we are talking “Archer” here, so even if the show is disappointing overall, it still has more than its share of quotable one-liners and clever references (including computer pioneer Alan Turing, and Elisha Otis, the inventor of the elevator). But most of “Tragical History” felt more flat and lifeless than we’ve come to expect from a show that normally lives in the “Danger Zone”.


Perhaps the problems with the story came from it revolving entirely around Cyril Figgis, who has always been more of a foil for the outrageousness of all the other ISIS folks.  This is not a knock on the great voice work from Chris “Dr. Spacemen” Parnell; but Cyril has never really taken the insane flights of insanity that we’ve seen from Pam, Kreiger or Cheryl/Carol.  Having him get sucked into acting as the stooge for the sabotage attempts of George Spelvin, and finally saving the day by shooting out the server while Archer is trapped by the sexy Asian twins, actually seemed somehow out of character.


Still, there were plenty of weird and wacky stuff going on at the margins, from Gillette channeling Ed Harris in “Apollo 13” to Pam getting sucked into enjoying the pirate virus’ little ditty (“What what!”).  Even if it didn’t surround a very strong core story, I do always find plenty to enjoy. Do you not?

  • “Bag with which one douches.”
  • “Suck it, women!”
  • Speaking of great voice acting, Judy Greer just kills as Cheryl/Carol. (“OhmyGodIhatehimsomuch!”)
  • “Render the salad unto Caesar.”
  • “Way to go, Chokely Carmichael.”
  • “Cyril, go do whatever it is you do!” “Like suck at stuff?” “And leave this to people who are more qualified.” “At not sucking at stuff.”
  • “Most secret agents don’t tell every harlot from here to Hanoi that they are secret agents!”
  • “Look at that thing – it’s like it’s made out of Wolverine’s bones.”
  • “Did that sound a lot better in your head?”
  • “Oh, I thought we were putting all our eggs in the battery shut-down basket.”
  • “Well, then I should definitely get my turtleneck.”
  • “You have a shoemaker?” “Do you not?”
  • “Fifty million dollars in real bearer bonds. Which are, um, real.”
  • “Ninjas are sexy!” “Right?” “I mean, I think so!”
  • “What am I? Counts Bullets..Ula? Come back to me, I can do better.”
  • “After all that, you want to take a bath?”  “Do you not?”

 

 

The other Half of "Two And A Half Men" responds to Charlie Sheen fiasco via Ellen DeGeneres clip

By Sona Charaipotra Mar 3, 2011 10:07AM
Photo courtesy CBS
"Two And Half Men" star Jon Cryer is too classy to simply call out his costar Charlie Sheen and his media tour antics as "a train wreck."

Instead, the actor found a tongue-in-cheek way to comment on the controversy without being a bitch -- to Sheen or to his CBS bosses, who have put him out of work since pulling the plug on "Men" last Thursday. 

And he may just have found the perfect temp job for the short-term on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Check it out. 

In the clip, Ellen DeGeneres tells him, "You do really good work. You do the work of two and a half men."

When she thanks him, Cryer responds: "You know, I needed the work."

Later, in a down moment, he finally jokes, "Oh, this is a train wreck." And boy, Jon, do we believe you. 

Last Thursday, CBS and "Men" showrunner Chuck Lorre pulled the plug on Cryer's show -- which still had eight new episodes to air this season -- causing costar Charlie Sheen's anti-Semetic, non-sensical and some say drug-fueled media rampage against them. 

Sheen finally got a response from those players yesterday, albeit indirect, and Cryer, with his "Ellen" skit, seems to be maintaining a higher ground as well. 

And given that it's the thick of pilot season, perhaps the "Ellen" funny is just what Cryer needed to put himself out there for Fall TV's pilot line-up. We're rooting for you, Jon. 

 

‘For Blood or Money’ puts the focus on Rachel for a fast-paced episode

By Miss Sarah Jo Mar 2, 2011 11:32PM

Erica Tazel“Are you blackmailing me?” – Emmitt Arnett

“No, this is just good old-fashioned leverage.” – Raylan Givens


As compelling as all the serialized arcs are to the assured style of “Justified”, the series also excels at cases-of-the-week that don’t rely on shallow thrills. Instead, those “one and done” stories deepen our understanding of the regular supporting characters and provide opportunities for increasingly droll and quirky guest stars. “For Blood or Money”, ably directed by noir veteran John Dahl, gave the audience extensive background on Rachel, pulls Boyd deeper into a return to crime, and still made time for an drug-dealer/aspiring magician.

 

The main driver of the action in the episode was Rachel’s pursuit of her brother-in-law Clinton and it was terrific at doling out information from each character about her family, as well as keeping us guessing about how far Clinton would go in order to see his son. Even the smallest details were enjoyable, from the aforementioned Criss Angel-wannabe Flex discussing his new career (“Learning all the basics on YouTube”) to Raylan’s amused expression as he picks up a baby picture of Rachel off her mother’s shelf. Of course, it all led to the wry, bourbon-soaked conversation amongst the marshals about their various dysfunctional family backgrounds. When Tim expresses envy towards Raylan that “at least you got to shoot your father”, he responds, “You didn’t miss much. I thought it was gonna be way more fun than it was.” What makes a good federal marshal? According to the “Justified” universe, it takes focus, patience, steely courage, love of bourbon, and an overwhelming desire to shoot one or more of your family members.

 

Meanwhile, in the delightfully bucolic hamlet of Harlan, Boyd is (perhaps) contemplating a return to bank robbery.  Walton Goggins keeps bringing layers to his performance that can seem sinister or sincere, sometimes in the same sentence. Although his relationship with Ava has turned out to be purely platonic, a tentative connection seems to be growing.  Their easygoing conversation on the porch about wig styling and rock stars was truly charming. Of course, she did shoot his brother dead, so there’s that obstacle to romance.


There were only a few brief moments with the Bennetts, but they were moments to savor, with Raylan’s supreme confidence playing sharply off of Mags’ gimlet-eyed villainy.  It was also revealed that the Hatfield/McCoy bad blood between their families was the cause of Dickie’s limp. That sounds like a juicy story, and it is clear that Dickie and Coovey (aka Redneck Dimwits on Parade) can only be contained by their mother and older brother for so long.  Stay tuned.

  • As I mentioned last week, Raylan had previously dealt with the Dixie Mafia through the real estate mess involving Winona’s hopefully soon to be ex-husband Gary.  Just the thought of seeing Jere Burns as Wynn Duffy again has me giddy.
  • “Yeah. Well. That.” Doyle Bennett – king of the understatement.
  • Boyd Crowder listens to Drive-By Truckers. One more point in the good guy ledger.
  • “Are you wearing pants?” “I like to maintain my creases. Stay sharp.”
  • Even the waitress had a funny moment or two (“Mr. Crankypants wants a chocolate bar.”)
  • “How the hell am I supposed to do magic with this hand now?”
 

CBS Boss Les Moonves and "Two And Half Men" Creator Chuck Lorre finally speak out about Charlie Sheen's antics

By Sona Charaipotra Mar 2, 2011 2:46PM
Photo courtesy CBS
Charlie Sheen's been throwing them fighting words at his "Two And A Half Men" showrunner Chuck Lorre and CBS for nearly a week now -- and yesterday, at an investors' meeting in San Francisco, CBS head Les Moonves finally fought back, speaking about how the shuttering of the show -- at least temporarily -- has been a good move for the network.

"Short-term, it's actually financially a gainer for us," Moonves told the crowd about Lorre and the network's decision to shut down production of the show -- still set for eight new episodes -- and air repeats instead. "I'm not saying long-term I want this to go on, or it's great. Going down the road, I don't know what's going to happen. I hope it's back. We'll see."

Given the fact that that the repeats are actually doing relatively well for the network, perhaps an extended break could be a good thing for both the show and it's star, who's been on what some speculate is a drug-fueled tirade for days now. "He's on the air quite a bit these days," Moonves noted at the conference, addressing Sheen's recent antics. "I wish he would have worked this hard to promote himself for an Emmy." 

Showrunner Lorre, meanwhile, continued on the defensive in the same manner that spurned Sheen onto the offensive -- with one of those pithy vanity cards airing at the end of the show. This time, he wrote one for one of his other efforts, "Mike & Molly," airing Monday night, which presumably also took on Sheen's media rants: 

"I understand that I'm under a lot of pressure to respond to certain statements made about me recently. The following are my uncensored thoughts. I hope this will put an end to any further speculation. I believe that consciousness creates the illusion of individuation, the false feeling of being separate. In other words, I am aware, ergo I am alone. I further believe that this existential misunderstanding is a prime motivating force for the neurotic compulsion to blot out consciousness. This explains the paradox of our culture, which celebrates the ego while simultaneously promoting its evisceration with drugs and alcohol. It also clarifies our deep-seated fear of monolithic, one-minded systems like communism, religious fundamentalism, zombies and invaders from Mars. Each one is a dark echo from which consciousness must, by nature, flee. The Fall from Grace is, in fact, a Sprint from Grace. Or perhaps, more accurately, 'Screw Grace, I am so outta here!"

So is Lorre essentially saying that Sheen is an egotistical, lonely old man who numbs his pain with drugs and alcohol and thinks that CBS is some kind of communist zombie regime that is trying to take him down? Yeah, likely. 

Meanwhile, Sheen's estranged wife, Brooke Mueller, was granted a restraining order against the actor yesterday via the L.A. Superior court, which means he's been barred from any contact with his twin sons, Bob and Max, 2. 

"I am very concerned that [Sheen] is currently insane," Mueller wrote in the court declaration, which also claims that the actor threatened to behead his wife and kill his manager, Mark Berg. Wonder if he's quit yet?  
 

‘Head Games’ brings in a new trainer with a new attitude

By Miss Sarah Jo Mar 1, 2011 11:45PM

Eamonn WalkerRemember, “Lights Out” was written and wrapped up well before “The Fighter” opened in theaters.  But it still covers some of the same storylines, which have really been around since the movies learned to talk (and probably before). However, it consistently brings a fluidity and grace to the more obligatory plots, and when necessary, throws in a wild card like Ed Romeo (played by the formidable and fascinating Eamonn Walker).

 

An outsider dropping mad wisdom on Lights about his family is refreshing, since he has been slowly choking underneath their suffocating love for so long he can’t even tell he’s not breathing anymore. Romeo’s (preternatural) insight into Lights’ relationship with his father and his siblings (“Damn, Lights. How many titties you got?”) and his blunt instructions to “cut them off” causes the Leary clan to circle the wagons with a vengeance. Pops does a swift about-face on his decision that he can’t be both a trainer and a father, Johnny worries that there isn’t enough time for Lights to change his fighting style completely, and Margaret….well, Margaret seems peeved that he didn’t eat his steak.  But Lights absorbs at least some of Romeo’s wisdom, and decides to stick with Reynolds’ old trainer.

 

But the most interesting thing about Romeo is that it is not at all clear that this is a good decision. The gravel-voiced giant is clearly troubled, if not actually disturbed, and the shocking suicide scars on his arms, inflicted when Reynolds fired him after his first big win, strongly hint at some deeper issues.  Still, for the time being, our former heavyweight champ is on his way to some form of enlightenment, hard-sought and hard-fought though it may be.

  • Oh yeah, Ava went to the prom and she doesn’t want to be a doctor. I’m not sure of the point of this plot, other than their eldest getting into some kind of trouble eventually or perhaps just showing that Theresa is as much of a control freak with her kids as with her husband.
  • Ava will be going to London for a month, thus setting up the next Leary Daughter Disappearance. Maybe she can go work with all the apparently abandoned boy fighters on Romeo’s farm.
  • It is really great how much Pops has developed as character since the beginning of the show; his conflicting emotions and motivations are surprising, but always believable.
  • Reg E. Cathay livens up every scene he is in (“And they call ME a diva.”)
  • Reynolds didn’t even call when Romeo’s wife died, the woman who apparently raised him as a child? That is some stone-cold stuff right there (or maybe a hint of the darker aspects of Romeo’s personality).
  • For me, the jury’s still out on whether Morales threw the fight last week. Feel free to disagree.
 

Like Stephen Colbert before him, the 'Late Night' host scores love from Ben & Jerry's

By Sona Charaipotra Mar 1, 2011 3:04PM
Image courtesy NBC
Craving a "Late Night Snack"? Jimmy Fallon may have just what you're looking for. 

The "Late Night" host and former "Saturday Night Live" star is following in Stephen Colbert's hallowed footsteps with a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor of his very own. 
 
 
Although the cool treat has not yet been officially announced, the web is abuzz with the news of Fallon's own creamy concoction. In fact, some bloggers have already been reviewing the new flavor, which is apparently getting a trial run in a few grocery stores nationwide. 

So what does Jimmy's flavor taste like? Well, according to one source who claims to have tried it, it's a salty and sweet mix of Vanilla Bean  ice cream, salty caramel swirl, and fudge-covered potato chip clusters. Um, yum? Or maybe not. 

Fans of Fallon -- or ice cream in general -- should have their hands on the new flavor soon enough. Fallon is expected to announce the honor tomorrow at New York City's 30 Rock (not the show, but the building it's based on), home of "Late Night" network NBC. 

Will Ben & Jerry's Late Night Snack make it to the top of your grocery list? 
 

'Cabrini-Green': A clunky stand-alone story doesn’t get in the way of skillful plot developments

By Miss Sarah Jo Mar 1, 2011 1:13AM

Delroy Lindo“Today is a great day. Today is the first day of a better Chicago” – Ronin Gibbons


It is easy to get impatient with these types of good-but-not-great network police dramas. You can see the deeper and more complicated character studies and narratives peeking through the tiresome or hackneyed stories, and you want to follow the better stuff all the way down the line. With this much talent both behind and in front of the cameras, the expectations are high all around, and the parts that don’t work are thrown into sharp relief next to the ones that work.


For the most part, the central development in the serialized plot was potent as hell, due in no small part to the magnetic power of Delroy Lindo’s performance as Gibbons.  His bittersweet memories of growing up in the notorious Cabrini-Green projects, and his triumph at being instrumental in their destruction, clearly drive his more sincere motivations to help his local community. And it is clear his interest in young Blakey goes beyond the practical considerations of finding out who it was that placed the hit on him. But his greed and thirst for power have superseded any of the more righteous inspirations that put him into political office. When he hears that the black gang leader Little Monster wants the same protection as the Irish gangsters, his burst of derisive laughter puts a chilling button on the scene (and Little Monster’s life).


Still, even here there were moments that were artificially rushed; Blakey’s mother went from screaming at Gibbons to a tearful embrace in literally two minutes.  And the shaky Weather Underground/Bill Ayers Cliff Notes plot suffered from this in particular.  We are always expected to accept that Wysocki and Evers are smarter and more intuitive than your average cop, but the brainpower on display in this episode was even more incredible than usual. Wysocki identified the bombs’ signature in-between breakfast and lunch, Evers figures out the third targeted building by looking around the corner of a subway station, and the entire Chicago PD is able to set up a heavily guarded phone conversation with a convicted murderer and her explosives-wielding son in a matter of minutes.  Even given the necessity of a fast-moving network hour, just one of these shortcuts would have been hard to swallow.  At least, the location shooting continues to be dazzling (Billy Goat Tavern!) and the action sequences (particularly the razzle-dazzle opening bomb set-piece) exceptional.

  • “Not to worry – the kid will live to get shot another day.” Any bets on when Kelly decides to come over to Colvin’s side? He has to at least figure out soon that he is out of the loop completely.
  • The smaller roles are fun; like Popadiak and his bomb robot (and his eyebrows).
  • Nice use of actual documentary footage (I assume) of the projects, voting booths, etc.
  • There hasn’t been any voice over background from Caleb yet, has there?
  • “Well, that just warms the cockles of my still-beating heart.”