MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

Jules deals with her son growing up in the welcome return of the cul-de-sac crew

By Miss Sarah Jo Apr 19, 2011 8:04AM
"Cougar Town" is nothing if not consistent. Jules has always been the most over-involved, smothering, controlling mother around, and to give the writers credit, it takes a lot of talent to make something so unhealthy and borderline creepy even occasionally funny. "Walls" seems to be the beginning of lessening that particular character trait just a bit.

It was refreshing to hear the gang speaking actual truth – "The clingy mom routine? It's not cute anymore." – as well as acknowledging that Bobby might be the better parent in this scenario ("Bobby Cobb's number one rule of parenting: Do not get involved."). So will Travis and Kirsten actually get married? Well, no. Dan Byrd isn't going to go anywhere, but Colette Wolfe probably will.  Hopefully, Travis can drown his sorrows with Laurie.

But enough about all this reality-based storytelling – Penny Can!  This was just the kind of silliness that "Cougar Town" excels at putting together. Everything was hilarious, particularly Laurie's dreadful radio ad and the running mustache gag.  Busy Phillips and Brian Van Holt together is a winning combination, despite Laurie's tragic lack of the letter "B" in her name.

  • The Grayson/Andy stuff was minor but fun. Josh Hopkins always does a good voice of reason.
  • "He can't stop. He was cooked in her baby oven."
  • Christa Miller's sad face is funny and kind of horrifying at the same time.
  • "We could give her a puppy that would blow up if she took it across town lines."
  • Example of the scariness of Jules' parenting: Watching Travis sleep is the least awful thing that her friends bring up. I don't even want to know that they mean by "You want to live in his blood."
  • "What's special about it? I want to see the apple. Gimme!"
  • "Find me a gay dude who doesn't love cake!"
  • "The question is why."
  • Hi Dance fans. Please still be here…
  • "Did you happen to find any of Tom's business in those holes?"
  • Ask for Carol! No sex stuff! Penny Can! (please comment if you call the number and manage to talk to any of the Cougar Town folks)
  • Imaginary Hat: Great running gag or greatest running gag?
  • "This totally kicks ass."

The 'Mr. Showbiz' funny man and daddy-to-be chats with MSN TV

By MSN TV Apr 18, 2011 1:27PM

Nick Cannon, host of

By Deanna Barnert

Special to MSN TV


"America's Got Talent" judges Sharon Osbourne, Piers Morgan and Howie Mandel dished about bizarre talents they've seen this season – like someone riding a rocking horse! - the ups and downs of serving as judge and how mean Piers was to a homeless 13-year-old contestant. No matter what came up, however, the press pool they were addressing at the NBC Summer Tour on Friday, April 15 had only two things on their minds: "What is Nick Cannon wearing?" and "Get out of my damn shot!"


Related: Sharon Osbourne says 'Talent' is deeper than 'X-Factor'


Even when "America's Got Talent" host Nick Cannon wasn't talking, his black and white suit, mixed patterns, hot pink accessories and sparkling diamonds were the loudest thing in the room. Second loudest would be the cameras beeping and clicking as reporters feverishly angled to get shots of Mr. Mariah Carrey, who pulled this unique look together all on his own.


Bing: Watch clips and episodes of 'America's Got Talent'


"I picked this out myself," Cannon told MSN TV. "I like to make a statement. It's about being a showman. It's Tom Ford and Moods of Norway, with a little Nick Cannon. I can't wear it again, obviously, so maybe I can make my kids a baby blanket now…or matching outfits?"


Cannon wouldn't even guess at just how many karats he was wearing, but to be fair, he has a lot on his plate these days. In addition to "America's Got Talent" hosting duties, his first Showtime standup special "Mr. Showbiz" premieres May 14.


"This is a dream come true," Cannon says of the Showtime gig. "This is the first time people get to hear me voice my opinion about everything from marriage to Internet to being married to one of the most famous people in the world."


Of course, all Cannon can think about these days is the twin delivery he and Mariah Carey are waiting on. In fact, after fulfilling his "America's Got Talent" duties, Cannon got called back to the homestead, leaving everyone wondering if the Carey twins were coming. 


"It's any day now. I'm holding onto my phone [waiting for the call]," he said. "I'm ecstatic. It's a journey like no other. They're twins, so you can plan as much as you want to plan, but they're going to come when they want to come."


Cannon also revealed the big secret about those Life & Style baby bump shots with wifey Mariah that had everyone talking this month. "That wasn't a photo shoot," he said. "They're regular pictures taken with the regular camera. My wife wanted to put them out for her fans, because it was moment she wanted to share. The one's where my ass was out, I said, 'Pull those out!' I guess people have embraced it. A lot of people have opinions about it, but those were pictures out of love and passion and private moments we wanted to share with the world."

With a Lifetime movie and a '20/20' special, Will and Kate get the TV treatment

By Sona Charaipotra Apr 18, 2011 12:14PM
Photo courtesy Lifetime TVTV execs are clearly speculating that you're already salivating over the storied courtship of Prince William and his commoner bride-to-be Kate Middleton. 

So tonight's the night they're going all out. First up at 9 p.m., "William & Kate," a made-for-TV movie about the love story.

Yes, it will be a cheesefest. But it's a Lifetime original movie about the royals, so that's to be expected. You know exactly what you're getting into. A whole lot of speculation with a definitive Lifetime three-act structure. 

Case in point? A frenemy of Kate (played by Camilla Luddington, who had some 72 wardrobe changes for the role) puts her in her place, telling her she'll never win the prince's heart. "Your mother was an air hostess, right? And your parents own a party supply store," the meanie pal says of Kate's aspirations of romance with Will (played by Nico Evers-Swindell). "You're not the girl he brings home to meet the Queen. He might hang out with you. But he'll never go out with you."

The film follows the classic boy-meets-girl boy-loses-girl boy-wins-girl back structure -- but with a royal twist, of course, complete with princess-in-training scenes (i.e., commoner cutie Kate learns to curtsy). 

If you're looking for a bit more of a realistic take on the courtship, at 10 p.m., tune in to Barbara Walter's special, "20/20: William & Catherine -- A Modern Fairytale" for insidery scoop, like home videos and never-before-seen childhood pictures, stories from pals about their college courtship, and lots of commentary from Royals experts like Andrew Morton and the prince's former press secretary Colleen Harris. 

Are you on Royal Wedding watch?


Hints of secrets both past and present abound in 'A Soundless Echo'

By Miss Sarah Jo Apr 17, 2011 10:56PM

Callum Keith-Rennie, Mireille EnosDespite the long quiet stretches inherent in the measured pace of "The Killing", there was actually a lot more communication going on between the characters in tonight's episode. After making short work of the sex tape (it was indeed Sterling in Rosie's pink wig, and nobody knew where Rosie was going when she left the dance), we learned a bit more about the personal lives of both the Larsens and Sarah Linden, delved more into Rosie's extracurricular activities, and added new players to the political storyline.


The cops: Linden took a rare afternoon off to re-connect with her fiancé, who paid a surprise visit bearing sweet wedding cake treats.  The relationship seems to be on more solid ground than was hinted at in earlier episodes, but their oblique conversation about "chasing after a dead girl again" and "competing with a ghost" raises the specter of old issues, perhaps having to do with Jack and his father whom is never really mentioned. Sarah splits immediately when she gets the idea to do a more thorough search of Rosie's room after finding her own son's hidden cigarettes.  It's nice that she didn't find anything in the same place (a hollowed out pillow), but it only took a moment for her to find the incriminating letters from the seemingly squeaky-clean homeroom teacher Bennet Ahmed. The intercutting between her reading the letters and Holder finding out the same news (by tracking Rosie's bus route to Richmond's after-school inner-city basketball program) was terrific.  I just hope that this plays out a bit longer than the previous Jasper/Kris/"El Diablo" red herring.


The politicians: Darren Richmond keeps getting more and more intriguing as a character: his drive to become mayor does seem to spring from a genuine commitment to public service, but he isn't above installing Betty Draper's little brother as a double agent in his opponent's campaign (and also apparently keeping that little plan from Gwen).  He also accepts a large donation from the rather loathsome but filthy rich Tom Drexler (Patrick Gilmore), who seems committed solely to destroying incumbent Mayor Adams' reelection bid. "The Killing" is actually doing a good job of showing the Washington juxtaposition of blue-collar working class population and extraordinarily wealthy tech entrepreneurs, and how that can work into all aspects of a local political machine.


The family: Boy, they just keep piling on the suffering. Just being asked to pick out a "nice dress" for your daughter to wear in her coffin is painful enough, without being blindsided by the gruesome pictures of the damage inflicted on her in her last moments. Mitch keeps sleepwalking through each day, while Stan takes care of the practical details of the aftermath. One of those details: accepting money for funeral expenses from the shady Janek (Don Thompson) who is linked in some way to Stan's newly suspicious past.  Brent Sexton, while definitely physically imposing, has displayed no real menace or danger so far, but as we certainly learned tonight, everyone has the possibility of a dark side.

  • New characters: Charles Widmore! Okay, Senator Eaton, Gwen's intimidating and disapproving father, played by Alan Dale (most recently of "Lost").
  • The quote in Bennet's note to Rosie was from "West of the Night" by Beryl Markham, which I assume is the "favorite book" he showed to Mitch.
  • Is it even possible to buy a house without your wife finding out about it?  Maybe Stan really is a criminal mastermind.

Many fans have great 'Expectations' for the fifth and final season

By Miss Sarah Jo Apr 15, 2011 6:57PM
Right up front, it is necessary to establish my unwavering adoration for "Friday Night Lights", because there were certain plot developments tonight that called for every ounce of it. Despite all the missteps in the past, such as the disappearing Santiago character, or the ill-advised murder subplot for Landry (basically, despite all of the second season), most of the last four years have been full of extraordinary acting and writing, and a superlative sense of place rarely found on network television. For the first episode of the fifth and final season, there was still a lot more to love than hate, so let’s get right to it.

Minor shake-ups and changes were dealt with fairly deftly, although it appears Dillon is becoming the town in a Peanuts cartoon – emptied of all adult parental figures. Becky’s mother has strangely handed off her house (including the Tim Riggins’ Trailer of Sin) to her trucker ex-husband, his wife and baby daughter, and they fall somewhat short of the Cleaver family atmosphere. So Becky hightails it to the Riggins home and guilts Billy into taking her in. Mindy certainly doesn’t seem thrilled, so we’ll see how long this lasts.

Meanwhile, Jess and Vince (and the mad chemistry between Michael V. Jordan and Jurnee Smollett) are practically shacked up at her house while her father is conveniently (read indefinitely) away on business. One of my fears is that the writers won’t know what to do with Jess now that there is no love triangle to sort out, but watching her juggling school, home, Vince, etc. could be really intriguing.

There's a new guy with the amusing moniker of Hastings Ruckle.  A shy and dreamy basketball player, he is initially reluctant to play a game that "speaks to all the worst instincts in American culture", but is quickly won over by the Lions’ team spirit and embracing acceptance. At least, that is what I think happened. It wasn’t too clear really. But he’s on the team and makes a big touchdown. Yay!

Our resident goddess Tami Taylor is shocked, SHOCKED to discover that the East Dillon students have extensive police records, skip class and fail their courses.  This certainly is the hardest part of the episode to swallow, particularly since her husband has been coaching at this school for a year. The show’s creators seemed to go back and forth on whether East Dillon has been a neglected and ignored poor community of long-standing, or whether it sprang fully formed from the evil redistricting. As usual, Connie Britton sells the hell out of Tami’s naïveté and makes me root for her in spite of the shortcuts in the writing.

Finally, we get to necessary transitions for departing characters like Landry, and semi-departing like Julie. The less said about the Landing Strip farewell, the better, but the simple good-bye scene between Landry and Grandma Saracen ("Boy, I’m gonna hug your neck.") was sweetly touching, and true to both characters and their relationship. And the Taylors sending their oldest girl off to (name of school) was a heart-tugging (and completely earned) moment.

Those small human moments, combined with an eye for the down-to-earth details of typical middle-class life in a small town, are what make Friday Night Lights one of the best television series of all time. Details like the glowing light of an open garage on a muggy Texas night while a father and daughter play one last game of ping-pong, or the slight sparkle of tears in that same father’s eyes as he watches that daughter drive away to college.  It's good to see everyone in Dillon once again.


'Fancy Party' springs a surprise amid the usual plethora of delightful moments in Pawnee

By Miss Sarah Jo Apr 15, 2011 12:04AM

Aubrey Plaza (left), Chris PrattWeddings -- something that sitcoms traditionally have done to goose the ratings or add drama to a lackluster season. Sometimes there is a long build-up, other times it comes out of the blue. But rarely has a wedding episode felt so completely and utterly right. “Fancy Party” puts the crazy, poorly thought-out, insanely impulsive marriage of Andrew Maxwell Dwyer and April Roberta Ludgate front and center, and somehow makes it seem like incredibly sound reasoning.


Bing: More about 'Parks and Recreation'


It wasn’t all earnestness, not with Ron Swanson alternately fuming at Chris’ vegetarian loaf (“Not only does this thing exist, but now you have deprived everyone of cake!”) and gleefully looking forward to another “ex-wife effigy” after Leslie reminds him of his second marriage to the second Tammy.  There were small moments for new peripheral characters like April’s sister, who must now become the new black and cynical heart of Indiana, and old ones like Jean-Ralphio, calmly extolling the virtues of Vince Vaughn in “Fred Claus”. And of course, there was Rob Lowe break dancing to “Jump Around”. Truly something for everyone.


The spotlight was naturally on Leslie’s increasing panic over the impending nuptials which got funnier and funnier with each desperate plea (“Why are you doing this? Why is this… great thing happening?”) and frenzied appeal (“Two boneheads, whom I love dearly, are about to sacrifice their future because they haven’t thought this thing through.”).  Her practicality finally melted when the bride entered to the lovely strains of Simon and Garfunkel’s “April” and that newfound embrace of spontaneity lasted long enough to let her get a bit closer to Ben who accepts a permanent job in Pawnee. All of these developments were super-sweet, but only a truly heartfelt show like “Parks and Recreation” would save the most touching declaration of devotion for the one between April and Leslie.  Now that’s a love story for the ages.

  • Running through the main plot was the ongoing adventures of Donna and Ann at a singles mixer. Rashida Jones has been getting more opportunities to be show off her comedy side, and her awkward interactions with the guys at the bar were pretty funny.
  • Too many amazing Donna moments to choose from, but “Are you Nell?" from the movie “Nell”?” was probably the best.
  • It probably is fun to see Tom faint.
  • Mmmmmm….Xbox pancake.
  • “Apparently, they want me to bring “Avatar”, and fifty pairs of 3D glasses, and a 3D capable television.”
  • “There’s a boy’s sale at Dillard’s.”
  • “The obligation of having your honor heretofore in the room doth right over there…hence."
  • "Ok. That one is dead; we know that.”
  •  “I can not emphasize how little we thought about this.”



'Competitive Wine Tasting' spins its wheels in a mildly funny episode

By Miss Sarah Jo Apr 14, 2011 10:22PM

Danny PudiFollowing on the heels of the excellent (if a bit controversial) “Critical Film Studies”, tonight’s episode of “Community” was destined to be a bit of a let down. Unfortunately, it was also somewhat dull and very unfocused, and toyed with sitcom tropes and meta-references to diminishing comedic effect. There was an enjoyable (and too rare) spotlight on Donald Glover, as Troy succumbs to fibbing about a childhood trauma in order to fit into his acting class; his bizarre descriptions of his inner pain (“My heart is mad at my kidneys.”) were always funny. But are they seriously setting up a love story for Britta and Troy? Isn’t he close to the same age as Annie, since she did have a crush on him in high school?  Perhaps I’m reading too much into their final exchange, but I still feel a bit wary.


Bing: More about 'Community'

In any case, the comedy of Troy’s plop-plop was undercut by the tired storyline of Jeff ferreting out the truth about the nefarious motives of Pierce’s new girlfriend. The bold offensiveness of “Red Dragon” was fitfully amusing, but overall it was devoid of any real emotion or any outright laughs. And the throwaway Abed plot even managed to underuse the brilliant Stephen Tobolowsky.  Let’s just hope for better things next week.

  •  “Those are just a few classes we can afford to offer if enough people pay to learn hopscotch.”
  • Any bets that that TV class (Who Indeed? A Critical Analysis of Television’s “Who’s the Boss”) exists somewhere?
  • “Please take weird haircut and stupid grin and go sniff another dog’s ass.”
  • Troy’s stage names: Trevor St. McGoodbody or DAVID
  • “My emotions! My emotions!” (“Emotalize!”)
  • Donald Glover does the best scare quotes.
  • Don’t worry Jeff, you are indeed attractive enough to get a girl like her under normal circumstances.
  • Dreidels



In the penultimate episode, ‘White Nights’ sets up a slam-bang finale

By Miss Sarah Jo Apr 14, 2011 9:01PM
Will “Archer” end next week by solving the mystery of Archer’s parentage? It’s certainly seems like that is where it’s heading, but in truth, it doesn’t really matter.  This stellar second season has been one of the most reliably and uproariously funny comedies anywhere on TV, and the intricate plotting has just been a bonus.

Of course, finding his father matters very much to Sterling Malory Archer, even if he has to take over another agent’s assignment to sneak into Russia to confirm if the man is his mother’s longtime paramour, Nikolai Jakov, the head of the KGB (according to Malory, chances are about one in three). Being Archer, he naturally ends up captured, tortured and on the run with the bonus of some spectacularly disgusting broken glass embedded feet. To add insult to injury, rival Odin agent Barry Dylan is hired by ISIS to retrieve him, and ends up losing a leg for his troubles.  At least, Lana probably doesn’t have to keep her pledge to have sex with him when he returns with Sterling (probably).

“White Nights” was actually fairly light on laugh-out-loud moments, since it was mainly focused on Archer and his action-packed getaway from the inept target shooting of about 1,000 KGB guys.  Perhaps it is necessary to have healthy doses of the other ISIS “core group” members like Pam, Cheryl, and Krieger all bouncing off of our main hero to wring the most entertaining humor from these spy shenanigans. Hopefully, that will come together next week

  • “And y’all know me, I’m no gossip. But that is some scandalous-ass shit right there.”
  • “I was unconscious for an hour, which is super-bad for you.”
  • That whipped-cream/video sex scene between Malory and Nikolai was…disturbing.
  • Moral code according to Lana: Sex for work = OK. Sex to save Archer’s life = not OK.
  • “Can I bring you back anything from Moscow? Maybe some nesting dolls of my penis?”
  • “What am I smelling, Barry?”
  • “I thought they just wanted my hair so their scientists could unlock the secrets of its luxuriant fullness.”
  • “Bitch, I got ants all over me!”
  • Great “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” reference when Sterling and Barry jumped off the fire escape.
  • “Why are you wearing silk socks?” “Was that a joke?”
  • “How? How is this happy play time?”