‘Media Blitz’ is a showcase for Adam Scott’s comedy chops.
Actually, he does it twice. Stammering inarticulately through a radio interview with Pawnee’s aptly named Ira & The Douche, who ambush him with his past as a teenage mayor, starts the ball rolling. As Tom says, “Was that your first time talking to other people? Cuz it came off that way”. Then it is on to “Ya Heard? With Perd”, where his antics include describing feeling up his prom date and showing off his stomach scar. Leslie manages to save the day on Joan Callamezzo’s talk show, despite the hilariously pointed name captions (“Ben Wyatt: Human Disaster”).
Meanwhile, April puts Andy through the (highly amusing) wringer, telling him she might not move to Indianapolis if, for a month, he does everything she hates doing. Of course, Andy gets through the day with his usual unstoppable good cheer, even as he massages all the repulsive feet in the office. It’s possible April would have kept on exploiting his crush indefinitely until Ron dropped some fishing-related wisdom on her (continuing Ron’s fatherly attitude to both April and Andy is a great choice for everyone). So if April is not moving to Indianapolis, maybe Ann Perkins can work it out with Chris. Even if he does make a lot of disgusting tea.
- Words Ron Swanson knows: Rectangle. America. Megaphone. Monday. Butthole.
- Where Ron Swanson shops: Electronic Bay Dot Com.
- “But if he wants to take my dumb sister to her dumb dance class, then I’m not going to dumb stop him.”
- Amy Poehler saying “The Douche” makes me laugh out loud.
- Andy’s grandmother is actually her grandfather (and a man) and his name is not Gizmo. Good to know.
- Caller from "Douche Nation" is just douching over in Eagleton. (Like you do).
- “I want to define your Bagua.”
- Leslie’s face scrunches as she dug deeper in with the newspaper reporter spoke volumes (“We’re colleagues with benefits.”)
- “It does look sad, kind of. Sorry for stepping on you, floor.”
- Select ramblings of Ben Wyatt: “Who hasn’t had gay thoughts? Who?” “Is there a bird in here?” “The funny…um..when…I guess…the fortunate…um…can we just…sort of…”
‘Pipeline Fever’ brings lots of banter between the two best super-spies.
Can animated series have bottle episodes? Strictly speaking, it took place on another location (the Louisiana bayou) and it involved expensive set pieces (an airboat, a wounded alligator), but it focused almost exclusively on Archer and Lana, with only occasional flashes of the office folk back at ISIS. Good thing they don’t worry about “budgets” in the same way as live-action.
Truly, there were some bordering-on-deep moments, as Lana prodded Archer to reveal his three biggest fears: alligators, crocodiles and brain aneurysms (which are particularly terrifying because they can happen anywhere at anytime). There was an origin story of sorts for Lana: apparently, she was close to dousing a fur-clad Malory with a bucket of red paint, before impressing her by ignoring the Magnum that Malory trains on her Afro-ed head. Our little ex-lovebirds (seemingly) inched closer to reconciliation before (thankfully) pulling back with Lana abandoning Archer on the pipeline platform for a date with the honey-voiced eco-terrorist. Like you do.
The bits about Malory trying to turn the ISIS office “green” were mostly tossed-off gags, but we did learn new information – Kreiger is growing his own mutant clones in the lab, the ladies have never told Pam about the women’s bathroom due to her severe intestinal issues, and Canadian light bulbs are stupid. Good times.
- My favorite visual gag: Pam pouring the dead batteries down the garbage disposal.
- “It really is an emergency!” “Of an awesome and ass-kicking nature!”
- Duh duh duh duh duh = shut up.
- “Whichever Hepburn; she was the queen.”
- “Stop..” “What? Gator?” “…. talking, but I do really wish there was a gator.”
- “Look at me, chopping ice for a Tom Collins like a field hand.”
- Of course, Archer doesn’t care about the Lorax. Putz.
- “Burt Reynolds is my spirit guide.”
- “Yes, ruiner of explanations! I was building to that, but yes.”
- “I hope an alligator attacks you at the exact moment you have a brain aneurysm.”
- “Why do I have to carry the toilets?” “YOU KNOW WHY.”
- “Also, yes.”
‘Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking’ exposes the best and worst of the study group.
Just how far are they are going to take the idea of Pierce as possibly the worst person at Greendale College? Last week, I said that I hoped they would complete this arc as soon as possible, but it is looking less like a story about a cranky and annoying old man whose addiction to painkillers pushed him over the edge into extreme behavior, and more like a complete personality transformation to Satan Incarnate. Entitled, selfish oafs are a staple of sitcoms, but not many of them can bounce back from the kind of cruel and mean-spirited behavior that Pierce exhibits in this episode. Although the ending seems to suggest that the gang has forgiven him, it also seemed that way in the last three episodes. I can appreciate and even admire that Dan Harmon keeps a consistent character through-line for everyone, that the show has the patience to build believable well-rounded characters over time and actions have consequences that don’t just drop out at the end of each half-hour. But when the audience is actively rooting for the rest of the group to shun Pierce forever and move on….well, maybe that is what needs to happen. Not that it will, but it isn’t clear how this can resolve in any satisfying way.
However, a welcome side effect of that deep and steady characterization is that so many moments are hilarious and still grounded in the truth – Jeff’s freak-out about possibly meeting his father being the case in point. It is pretty rare for Joel McHale to get to show off his (considerable) acting chops but this was marvelous showcase for him; the barely repressed rage in his “Uh-huh” on the phone was stellar. And we still got one of the funniest Britta/Jeff scenes; these two are delightful when they just bug the hell out of each other (“What do I know? I’m Jeff Winger’s big gay dad!”). Britta’s dark night of the soul about whether to give away Pierce’s blank check to charity or keep it for herself came directly from what we know about her self-righteous personality (“It’s not that I’m selfish. It’s just that I’m really stupid with my money!”). Despite being my least favorite character possibly ever, Chevy Chase was at his best tonight. Everything from the fake dad phone call (“No, don’t come closer! As you were. Well, I have to catch a flight to Katmandu..”) to his interaction with Britta (or “Death”) was funny.
Best of all: Troy met LeVar Burton. It did not go well. At least, it wasn’t Gregory Hines all over again.
The former "Dawson's Creek" star is set to play himself on a
An absorbing case-of-the-week takes center stage on ‘The Life Inside’
“We’re going to continue this conversation another time” - Raylan Givens
“There’s nothing to continue because you’ll never believe me.” - Boyd Crowder
It really feels like “Justified” has hit a good balance of ongoing character development and enjoyable standalone stories. The main plot of Raylan and Tim chasing down the pregnant fugitive before she gets killed by the psycho human trafficker contained good moments of Raylan’s cleverness (getting the bad guy to touch the handcuffs and leave a fingerprint) and a great climax for Tim the sharpshooter (taking the bad guy out by shooting him in the “apricot”). And it managed to tie back to Winona and Raylan’s tentative rapprochement in a tender scene as they talked quietly about his horrific day.
In fact, there was ample room for everyone in the regular cast to have a moment or two. Harlan’s friendly marijuana matriarch Mags Bennett has unofficially adopted little Loretta, which I guess is the least she could do after murdering her father. Margo Martindale manages to be even more sinister when she is trying to be nice, and it does seem that Loretta is not completely in the dark about how dangerous she can be. Lots of dread hanging over that relationship. Boyd Crowder is back in Harlan as well, working in the coal mine, wearing new spectacles and carrying a heavy air of brooding melancholy. Just like last season, his motivations remain mysterious, perhaps even to himself. When Ava (!!) asked him where he got his bloody face, he replies that he honestly has no idea, which seems to apply to his whole existence right now. Walton Goggins is a wonder; dolorous and quiet, so different from the confident and focused evangelical leader he was just a few months ago.
Oh yes, did I mention Boyd is living with Ava? Huh.
Arlo is under house arrest and as ornery as ever (exceeded in that department only by Aunt Helen). Raymond Barry brings so much cantankerous hillbilly ill-temper to his role and his super-Southern line readings (“I hope you git cansuh!”) never fail to amuse. And poor pathetic little Gary is still hanging around. Of course, it is very true that Winona did indeed leave Raylan for Gary back in the day, but the chemistry between Natalie Zea and Timothy Olyphant is so vibrant it leaps right off the screen – flirting in the elevator (“You’re the one who went for the victory lap.”), bantering about memories of baby names, or just staring at each other across the room. It is going to take some extremely fancy “selling” to break up that couple.
Laura Prepon, Anne Wershling and Rachel Bilson makes small screen comebacks this fall
‘Combinations’ shows the start to Lights’ difficult climb back into the ring
Ah, training montages. It really wasn’t possible for F/X to create this series without featuring at least one; it’s really only a surprise that it took six episodes to get there. And it didn’t lead to an inspiring run up the steps of a well-known landmark, but to a middle-aged man sinking into a bathtub full of ice in a grubby motel room.
Although “Lights Out” does deal in some clichés and narrative short cuts, it does not shy away from realistically showing the harrowing effects of boxing, particularly on an aging body. “Taking a thumb” causes Lights’ vision to be so impaired that he (along with his call-girl companion) gets into a nasty car accident, which is only covered up by efforts of Johnny (and most likely Barry and/or Brennan, although this is never explicitly spelled out). But, like his little brother predicted, he has the discipline to figure out a way around it – taping an “X” on the heavy bag and adjusting his stance to find a way to focus on the right place. Pretty fancy but we’ll see if it will indeed get better.
It’s interesting to get bits and pieces of the other Leary family members’ and friends’ back-stories, particularly Johnny, who apparently was not just a good fighter, but also a potential Olympic gold medalist. Pablo Schreiber brings so much squirrelly energy to his character; Johnny just will not acknowledge rejection even when it is staring him in the face. I mean, Lights fired him, right? But he scurries around, bribing EMT workers, hiring a couple of “Friday night girls” to help them “blow off steam”, inviting Patrick to come stay with him at his barren bachelor pad. That is one great non-manager. And Ben Shenkman as the defeated and downtrodden sports writer Mike Fomosa can say more with a raised eyebrow than an entire page of dialogue.
Unfortunately, Theresa continues to be a drag on the entire story. Catherine McCormack is playing her exactly as written, and she even manages to bring touches of ambiguity to Mrs. Leary’s seemingly implacable resistance to her husband’s destiny. But it becomes harder and harder to justify her decision to commit her life to a professional boxer, and then insist that he not only give up his career, but transform into an entirely different person. Lights Leary appears to be on a road back to his core, the heart of who he is as a person. Can his wife make that journey back with him? Stay tuned.
The pilot for 'Smash' lines up cast, including an 'American Idol' alum
It looks like the new NBC hour-long musical comedy "Smash" might just be the first "Glee" competitor to actually hit the air. (Not counting the BBC reality show "The Choir" or the NBC competition show "The Sing-Off," of course.)
The show centers on the behind-the-scenes lives of the cast and crew of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe.
The hour-long pilot, the brainchild of one Steven Spielberg and to be produced by his DreamWorks TV shingle, has been firming up cast commitments, starting with Debra Messing as the show's lyricist Julia.
Now there's news that "American Idol" season five alumna Katharine McPhee -- who's acting experience is limited to guest stints on "Community" and "CSI: New York," along with a NBC pilot that didn't get picked up and a small role in the comedy "The House Bunny" -- will play a struggling actress who hopes to snag the coveted Marilyn Monroe role. Judging from the super-sultry blonde look she worked when releasing her latest record, "Unbroken," last year, she's the perfect fit.
Also recently cast in the pilot are Jack Davenport (from the short-lived ABC drama "FlashForward") and newcomer Megan Hilty, who's done one-episode stints on shows including "Ugly Betty," "CSI," "Eli Stone" and "Bones."