MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

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.”

 

 

After granting ABC an "exclusive," Sheen dashes talk TV etiquette by doing an interview with NBC, too

By Sona Charaipotra Feb 28, 2011 1:04PM
Photo courtesy CBS
It you think Charlie Sheen's been playing the cad given his recent behavior on and off the set, well here's another arena in which the "Two And A Half Men" star is breaking all the rules. 

Sheen, who's ranted all over radio this weekend about his problems with the way his TV exec producer Chuck Lorre and CBS have been handling his repeated problems on and off the set -- by halting production of the show on Thursday -- had granted ABC what they thought was an exclusive interview (with Andrea Canning), set to air today and tomorrow. They promoed the interview, set to air on "Good Morning America," all weekend long, even throughout the Oscar broadcast, and promised an hour-long look at the chat Tuesday evening. 

But this a.m., you might have noticed, the 'Today' show aired it's own "exclusive" Sheen interview, this one with NBC's Jeff Rossen, taped on Sunday in Los Angeles. NBC executives called this Sheen chat "his first interview since his contentious public comments against CBS" last week. And "Today" producer Tim Bell tweeted last night that the interview promised "incredible stuff," including Sheen's demand for a personal apology from Lorre. Bell also told the Los Angeles Times that while the big get "was simply about hustle and hard work by our reporter Jeff Rossen," scooping it's rival made it all the better:"Does spoiling the ABC 'exclusive' make it a little sweeter? You bet it does." 

Here's part of the "Today" show chat:
ABC, meanwhile, has issued a statement noting that their chat was a "first" foremost. "Charlie Sheen assured us that we would be the only sit-down television interview this weekend, but he changed his mind...He gave us the first interview, which was extensive and included tremendous access to his home, family and personal life." 

A quick look at the ABC chat:
Sheen's bad behavior has been a tabloid staple for several years already, and that it's taken this long for it to begin impacting his work life is almost disturbing. Does the public really continue to support a character who's been known for being abusive towards his wives, dalliances with porn stars and prostitutes, and extended drug and alcohol abuse. Oh yeah, I guess we do. Because who doesn't enjoy watching someone self-destruct?

"I'm not hiding from anybody or anything," he told TMZ.com in a live broadcast earlier today in an extended, in-cohesive chat that included the following choice soundbites: "When you threaten the safety of my family and the whole foundation, then we're at war.... Now every plan I have is the best plan in the world....Whatever part I had in this I apologize for. Whatever I can fix, I certainly will."

And now come reports that Charlie Sheen's publicist, respected PR vet Stan Rosenfield, just quit, moments after the TMZ chat ended. Who can blame him? 

 

The survivors of ‘Double Deuce’ take a backseat to a brilliant new character

By Miss Sarah Jo Feb 25, 2011 3:55PM

Accepted sitcom wisdom says that when you introduce a baby to the mix, the show goes downhill from there. This axiom was (debatably) applied to “Mad About You” and “Friends”, among many others. Leave it to “Archer” to take that idea and casually, disgustingly, and hilariously eradicate it with inspired use of Wee Baby Seamus.


The key is apparently to carry the baby around by the scruff of his neck like a puppy and let him eat/drink/play with whatever he wants. A short list of these items include: Bloody Mary, shaving cream, straight razor, martini olive, martini, napkin soaked in booze, and ice soaked in booze. Finally, Wee Baby Seamus manages to save the day, by being used as a distraction and a human shield. It’s an unorthodox, but clever solution.


We get more of Woodhouse’s (homoerotically charged and blood drenched) back-story, and learn he is not quite the servile wretch he pretends to be.  And the peons at ISIS start their own tontine, or as Sterling puts it “Idiots doing idiot things because they’re idiots.” Just business as usual.

  • “Did someone finally out the queen? Right? This baby knows what I’m talking about.”
  • “You are going to eat SO many spiderwebs.”
  • “I can do baby, or I can do geezer murder mystery, but I can’t do both.”
  • “The secret is negative reinforcement.” “Yeah, I’m, uh, just getting that.”
  • What was Carol/Cheryl drinking? Glue?
  • “Reggie survived the crash somehow.” (“I’ve survived the crash somehow.”)
  • “That’s a lot of scalps!”
  • “Please! I just killed a man and I think my water just broke, so I could really really use a drink!”
  • Reginald is a little too gay. As opposed to Malory.
  • “You want me to take a baby to a murder?”
  • “I have no more love to give today.” “Yeah, what is it, like, 2:30”?
  • “It’s like Steve McQueen and John Woo had a baby, and that baby was you. Baby.”
 

‘Indianapolis’ puts an end to one relationship while advancing another

By Miss Sarah Jo Feb 25, 2011 2:55PM
Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins have truly become an oasis of genuine female friendship in TV sitcom land. They look out for each other, have fun together, and always have each other’s backs in a crisis.  Even if the crisis is a completely imaginary one where Leslie is snooping around Chris’ apartment and Ann is freaking out about the contents of his bathroom. 


It makes complete (if slightly wacky) sense that Chris’ break-up speech would be so infused by his unstoppable positivity that Ann would fail to interpret it as such, and also that this would be the first time “sweet and beautiful” Ann would have been dumped.  And it was also believable that Leslie would blow off accepting her commendation at the state capitol in order to drive her friend home and comfort her with her own break-up horror stories (“Skywriting isn’t always positive.”) The Leslie Knope of the first few episodes of season one wouldn’t necessarily have done that good deed, but the Leslie Knope that we all know and love now definitely would.


Meanwhile, back in Pawnee, Tom (“Am I wearing an ascot? I didn’t notice.”) Haverford is throwing a party at the Snake Hole for exotically named Dennis Feinstein, who is launching his new fragrance Allergic (not Antihistamine, mind you).  Although Ben is resisting getting close to the P&R staff, since he is only temporarily visiting, he eventually succumbs to Tom’s insistence that he attend. By bucking up Tom when he fails to pitch his own fragrance (“Tommy Fresh”) to Feinstein, and realizing the gang really does regard him as a friend, he moves ever closer to becoming an adorable romantic foil for Leslie.


Speaking of adorable, how cute was watching Andy (“We could watch TV at Best Buy”) Dwyer and April (“I don’t like labels. Go away!”) Ludgate run around the Snake Hole scoring free stuff?  The writers always veer away with the easy Three’s Company-type misunderstanding route, such as having Andy tie himself in knots to try to fool April into thinking he has the cash to take her out. Instead, he is immediately up front with her, she responds that she doesn’t care, and they start having a ridiculous amount of fun.  Best of all, they give all the money back to the wait staff. But keep the toilet paper. Naturally.

  • Rob Lowe is still a regular on the series, so we can only hope he will be back in some way, if only to keep tormenting Ron with Portobello mushrooms in place of his beloved steak.
  • Speaking of Ron Swanson, I can’t decide on the funniest moment of the running gag about Ron and his Mulligan’s Steakhouse obsession. Stating he eats bits of meat off of his mustache for a month following his meal? Possibly eating all of the bacon and eggs in Indianapolis?
  • “In high school, they used to call me Angela Lansbury. But that was because of my haircut.”
  • Feinstein’s prior fragrance creations: Attack, Yearning, Thickening, Itch, Coma, Sideboob.
  •  “I got these from a waiter; I told him I had a pork deficiency.”
  • Leslie’s ideas for Ron’s dilemma: A 24-hour diner, or kidnapping a cow and making their own steaks.
  • “My dad owns this place. I’m Janet. Janet Snakehole.”
  • What might Chinese food in a birdcage smell like? Or a teriyaki hairpiece? (Those are totally rhetorical questions).
  • “It’s called a Tommy-tini; it’s just vodka and a bunch of cinnamon.”
 

Jeff and Annie butt heads and make up in ‘Intro to Political Science’

By Miss Sarah Jo Feb 25, 2011 1:43PM

Alison Brie, Jim RashCommunity college student governments (and politics in general) are pretty easy targets for satire.  Although it didn’t have much to say that was new, “Community” came up with a good showcase for the disparate personalities of Jeff and Annie, and an original and very funny subplot for Abed.

 

Annie embraces an earnest and idealistic attitude towards her candidacy, while Jeff joins the race for student body president to prove that politics is all about “ego, popularity and parlor tricks.” The episode doesn’t make a big deal out of the fact that he turns out to be right, as Annie only defeats him after exposing his 1997 George Michael-tastic audition tape for “The Real World”.  Instead, it allows these two friends to admit they were both pursuing power (such as it is) because of their own issues of competitiveness and control, both with themselves and each other.  Their hesitant romantic coupling seems to be evolving into a big brother/little sister relationship, which is more appropriate for a “young idealistic kid” and whatever Jeff is acting like these days.

 

Equally sweet and even more amusing, Abed starts a tentative and decidedly weird “romance” with Robin, one of the Secret Service agents assigned to scout out Greendale prior to Vice President Biden’s visit.  They bond immediately, as fellow “observers” and outsiders unable to connect with many other individuals (as well both of them being confused by the concept of the children’s game Duck Duck Goose).   Abed’s undefined Asperger’s-like issues make it very hard to put him in a realistic romantic pairing, but this one was somehow believable while being satisfyingly odd and silly.

 

There was plenty of room for the other members of the group, as well as tertiary characters and random extras to have the spotlight, from Britta’s annoyingly anarchistic speeches (“I believe that humankind need not be governed!” being met with radio silence by the crowd) to Troy “Buttsoup” Barnes offering pointless news commentary on Greendale Campus Television (Garrett: “That guy’s just a mess. It’s like God spilled a person.” Vicki: “Yellow shirt. Hat. Girl.”)  Best of all, Dean Pelton wore a ladies Uncle Sam suit with slivery short shorts and a headband hat for almost all of the running time. You really can’t go wrong with that.

  • Thankfully there was very little Pierce in this episode, who is inexplicably accepted back into the study group (“I assume”). Still his “candidacy” was good for a few chuckles. (“My platform will be one high enough to push Vicki off to her death.”)
  •  “I’m more of a silverback gorilla with the claws of a lion, the teeth of a shark and the quiet dignity of a tortoise.”
  • Annie is “easily vexed”. Sounds about right.
  • “It’s a real guy. He owns a mattress store downtown. You can look it up.”
  • Best moment of Jeff’s insincere speeches? His Spanish-flavored pronunciation of Maria, Latina, Nicaragua, and cafeteria.
  • “We don’t even know how to do “margins of error”; we talked to two people at a vending machine.”