SAMCRO will face its toughest foe on 'SOA' Season 4
The "Sons of Anarchy" drew record ratings with its 90-minute Season 4 premiere Tuesday night, and the drama in Charming is just getting started. When MSN TV caught up with Katey Sagal (Gemma), she warned that SAMCRO is about to face its toughest enemy yet: itself! The Golden Globe winner also laughed off the endless Emmy snubs and raved about hubby and show creator Kurt Sutter, who stopped by toward the end of our chat and managed to thoroughly gross her out with a new love match for "SOA" matriarch Gemma.
MSN TV: Your incredible work as the tough, fearless SAMCRO matriarch on "Sons of Anarchy" hasn't earned you an Emmy nomination yet, but you're often a top pick in Emmy snub roundups. Does that make it feel any better?
Katey Sagal: I actually think I get more press for not getting the nomination! (laughs) It was kind of startling. That whole awards process thing, I never paid much attention to it. Being on this job has changed that, because it comes up every year. This year, I tried not to pay too much attention, but it was hard.
Bing: More about Katey Sagal
What can you tell us about the new season of "Sons of Anarchy"?
It's 14 months later. The guys are out of prison. Gemma has been on house arrest, so she's been stuck at home. I envision her doing a lot of home shopping and of course, playing grandma. It's been a little calm at home, with the guys not there ... That doesn't last long!
Last year was another rough year for Gemma and SAMCRO. Will this year go any easier on them?
This year, it's about the internal workings of the club. You're going to get to know the club members better and the struggles that go on within the organization as they try to expand their earning capacity. These are kind of simple people, really, and they're going to get into some deep s---. We're going to see the family turning on itself. It's not so much a foe from the outside as internal struggles. There was some of that with Jax and Clay. Now we're going to see things splinter, which is heartbreaking to Gemma. She hates that. Gemma's biggest thing is the loyalty of her family and protecting her family.
In the final moments of the premiere, Gemma learned Jax has been reading his dead father's letters. How will the show's Shakespearean "Hamlet on Harleys" elements play out this season?
We're going to explore more of the backstory about Jackson's father. There's more information coming. It's a lot of intrigue. It's f------g good! I know I'm on it, but my husband is amazing. He laid it out, and it's just f------g amazing.
What was it like to have David Hasselhoff on set as a porn star-turned-producer in Episode 5?
I love him. I’m a friend of his, from years ago, so I was happy to see him. It was interesting, because he and Tom Arnold are in the same scene. I'm really looking forward to seeing that! Tom's great on the show. He was here two seasons ago and was so icky, in a good way. David will be equally as icky in a good way. We're in the porn world, after all!
Speaking of old friends, have you had a chance to preview your "daughter" Christina Applegate's new show, "Up All Night"?
Chrissie, she's my baby. I've just seen the commercials, but I'm sure it's great -- It's her, Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, Lorne Michaels!
She was your kid on "Married … With Children" and now she's the mom on what could be called "Married… With Baby."
Wild, right? I still think of her [as that teenager]. But she just had that baby, so she knows what she's talking about now.
Back to "SOA" for one more question: I know your husband writes amazing stuff on his own, but is there something you'd like to see Gemma take on?
Sagal [raises voice as Kurt Sutter walks by]: Maybe Gemma should have an affair…
Sutter: What did you say?
Sagal: I told her Gemma should have an affair.
Sutter: With your son?
Sagal: My son? Jax? Ew! See, there it goes and he just has to go a little further. No, I don't think so!
"Sons of Anarchy" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.
Freddie and Bel both get in over their heads, while Hector comes into his own on the air
If you had to come up with a description of the worst birthday ever, you could do worse than the events of this episode of "The Hour". Poor Freddie has a serious of crushing conversations, each one pushing him farther into panic and sadness. First, Kish's widow confirms he was MI6 (with Clarence later confirming he was investigating a possible Soviet spy at the BBC) and the collective guilt over the two deaths begins to overwhelm him. Then, Lady Elms freezes him out in one of the most incredible displays of clipped and stony stiff-upper-lip Britishness ever seen (Juliet Stevenson icy pronunciation of Freddie's full name was fantastic). And finally, Hector lets slip the devastating news that he and Bel are having an affair.
Strangely, all this results in the most human, vulnerable and loveable Freddie yet. He is now truly frightened for his life, clearly being followed by the authorities, and watching the woman he loves deliriously happy with someone else. But he manages to tell Bel "You're exquisite" without rancor and bitterness and he is even kind to Hector rather than lashing out. Luckily, most everyone is on his side. Bel covers for him all day, while unbeknownst to Freddie, Clarence takes a stand for journalistic integrity against the interference of McCane. Even Lix can see how much he is hurting, and they spend the night having drunken, rueful pity sex in the office.
Contrast that with the giddy, passionate lovemaking between Bel and Hector, still in the throes of being "audacious" and "reckless". Naturally, it's unsustainable: Marnie is quite aware what's going on and is asserting herself quite cunningly. But our wise Lix elucidates the biggest obstacle: "Enjoy it while it lasts. But his ambition is his real passion." And she is so right; it was written all over his face in every one of the newsroom scenes, and in that horrifying supper with his clueless in-laws ("Our little star."). In a different time and place, Bel and Hector would be the super-couple of the news world. As it is, in the world of "The Hour", they seem destined to part eventually.
Host takes on the topics of Amy Winehouse and Russell Armstrong's deaths
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News of Grammy winning singer Amy Winehouse's death at the age of 27 rocked the world this past July. With the cause of death still a mystery, Anderson Cooper has landed the first interview with the people who knew her best for his daytime series premiere on Monday.
"Amy Winehouse's family - her dad (Mitch), mom (Janis), stepmom, boyfriend (Reg Traviss) - speak for the 1st time since her death," Anderson Cooper tweeted. "I'm really looking forward to speaking with [them]. They've been through so much, and her talent was so great."
Bing: More about Amy Winehouse
On Tuesday, Anderson will share his "How I spent my summer" report with viewers. The day includes spray tanning sesh with Snooki, sun bathing with houseguest Kathy Griffin and chatting with Daniel Radcliffe about taking risks after Harry Potter. Anderson will also discuss his now infamous giggle fit.
Wednesday's episode, "Abandoned at Birth: Baby Jane Doe & Miraculous Mary," looks to be both horrifying and inspirational. Cooper's guests are two miraculously resilient 24-year-old women who survived some of the most extreme cases of neglect and abandonment as children. Each was discarded and left to die as infants, only discovering who they were through headlines in the newspapers and the parallels don’t stop there.
Thursday Anderson takes on the longstanding debate of stay-at-home moms vs. working moms, with Sarah Jessica Parker and the cast of "I Don't Know How She Does It," including Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks and Olivia Munn. The episode will also share tips for successfully balancing your work and home life.
"Anderson" closes out premiere week on Friday with "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: After the Tragedy." In the wake of Russell Armstrong's suicide, self-professed reality TV junky Cooper welcomes the cast of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and their husbands to discuss to the reality of reality TV. Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle Richards, Camille Grammer and Adrienne Maloof also explore whether or not the show was responsible for castmate Taylor Armstrong’s husband's death, Camille discusses her painful divorce from Kelsey Grammer and Kyle talks Kim.
That's some first week!
"Anderson" airs weekdays on CBS, beginning Monday, Sept. 12.
Fortune cookies spell trouble for Jason and Sam's wedding bliss
"General Hospital" fans are clamoring for Jason and Sam's wedding week to begin Monday, Sept. 19, but trouble may be afoot. It seems psycho Franco hasn't received his invitation to the big event and with James Franco set to bring Jason's nemesis back to town, MSN TV has received a foreboding box of fortune cookies to promote the JaSam wedding. Could this be one of Franco's games?
"No one ever knows what to expect from Franco," Steve Burton (Jason) teased, but fans can bet Franco has some demented trick up his sleeve. The maniacal artist, who must have been crushed by that MIA wedding invitation, is set to show up Tuesday, September 20 and he looks as nutty as ever as he plots his next move in the photo above.
The box of fortunes also seems to spell Franco-sized trouble. The messages included were:
Love will haunt you
Love wears a familiar face - but masks an unknown pain
Love awakens the best of us - and the worst of us
Love is around the corner - right or left?
Love lies bleeding
Ouch. This is not going to be fun for Port Charles locals!
Having James Franco onset, however, was much fun for Steve Burton, even if he did have to come into work on a Saturday back in August. "I had one long scene with him, about four or five pages. It was great," Burton raved. "It's always crazy when he comes, because we're shooting so much for him. For me, it's like a great day off, because I don't have to do anything. I roll in at 3pm and do one scenes and be out by 5:30."
Bing: More on James Franco
Franco's run was originally announced as extended say, so the character should be back again after September 20. One pic making the rounds, however, shows Franco a bloody mess.
Whatever may come, Burton approves of both the drama and attention Franco brings to "General Hospital." "James loves the show and for him to come help us out is awesome," Burton said. "He's such a great, really down to earth guy. It's always fun to have him here."
Stay tuned for more JaSam wedding dish from Steve Burton and Kelly Monaco!
"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC.
Will Kelly Ripa find a hot young stud to replace Reeg?
When Regis Philbin announced this would be his last year on "Live! with Regis and Kelly," the retirement news set off a swarm of speculation about who might replace him. Now, on the heels of celebrating his big 80th birthday, the Emmy winning host is officially ready to say goodbye. Kelly kicked off his farewell tour Monday and today, Reeg revealed his final November airdate, which means that co-host chatter is sure to go into overdrive.
"Last January I made the announcement that I'll be moving on … but I never gave you an exact date. So I'm pushing it back five years. Just kidding!" Philbin teased on Tuesday, September 6. "[Kelly] doesn't want to hear that. She's looking forward to some new, young hot stud. Whoa ho ho!"
As for the real date, Regis will say goodbye on Friday, Nov. 18. "But don't worry, the show goes on," Reeg promised. "Kelly will begin trying out new co-hosts, just like 11 years ago when I did the same thing and found her."
Philbin first created "The Morning Show" for the New York audience back in 1983. A few years later, Kathie Lee Gifford signed on and in 1988, the morning talker went syndicated as "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee." In an infamous shake up, Gifford left in 2000 and after "All My Children" fave Kelly Ripa landed the seat on a permanent basis in 2001, the show became "Live with Regis and Kelly."
Between those 28 years in daytime and his hosting duties at "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," Phiblin holds the Guinness World Record holder for most time on camera, with more than 16,500 hours. Now, he's ready to share the light with a new generation.
"There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera," he said when he announced his exit. "Especially certain old people!"
"Live with Regis and Kelly" airs weekdays on ABC.
SAMCRO rides back into a new Charming in an explosive season premiere
There is (literally) a new sheriff in town, as the Charming PD has been replaced with the San Joaquin sheriff department, in the no-nonsense personage of Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar of the much lamented "Terriers"). Described as a "straight up cop", it's clear he can be neither bought nor pushed around. His counterpart is the motorcycling-riding, chain smoking, spacey but sharp new U.S. Attorney Lincoln Potter (played by the superb Ray McKinnon of "Deadwood"), who already has an astonishingly deep and detailed operation up and running. His grand plan involves taking down the Russian mob, the Real IRA and the Sons in one fell swoop. Naturally, this plan has a setback, when SAMCRO take out the FBI agent planted inside of Putlova's organization in the final bloodbath. Both of these actors are exceptional and it is great to have them involved. The power structure of Charming has been greatly transformed, with unctuous mayor Jacob Hale getting rid of the local police department and developing upscale housing units for the newer and more wealthy residents, much to Clay's disgust ("Building homes in this town that no one IN this town can afford."). And maybe, just maybe, there is a new conviction within Jax to actually follow through on his final separation from the Sons. But here is where the old weaknesses of the story-telling rose up again; in order to keep him around more or less indefinitely, we are supposed to accept that Jax would put his masculine ideas of "providing" for his family above that same family's safety, even after all these months of experiencing the consequences of that danger first-hand. His lame idea of "laying low" while he "earns" from the gun running for who knows how long is the equivalent to the hoary old "just one more big job and we'll retire" cliché.
But still, there was so much wonderful stuff going on in this episode, from Dayton Callie's incredibly poignant scene crying on Gemma's shoulder over his broken-down life, to the trailer-trash-tastic wedding of Opie and Lyla, that it seems wrong to complain about the things that were problematic. There were plenty of set-ups for ongoing intrigue and deception amongst all the various folks, and everyone's motives are thoroughly high-stakes. To quote Jax Teller, it's good to be home.
A tense episode shifts the focus to the enigmatic Gustavo Fring
"Just act normal." – Hank Schraeder
By definition, the greatest criminal would be someone completely unknown, someone who got away with everything and was never even on anyone's radar as a suspect. Among the traits one would have to possess in order to be that good: strategic and long-term thinking, infinite patience, a willingness to forgo the ostentatious trappings of wealth, and a clinical, ruthless and singular efficiency, which allows no room for emotions such as pride, love or a desire for revenge. Up until the revelations of tonight's terrific "Hermanos", Gustavo Fring seemed to meet all of these criteria.
Of course, removing some of the mystery surrounding the history of New Mexico's Los Pollos Hermanos boss may be somewhat of a let-down. But by revealing his personal animosity for the Mexican cartel bosses, and Hector "Tio" Salamanca in particular, that long flashback raised even more interesting questions about Gus. Who was he in his native Chile that caused Don Eliado (played by a menacing Steven Bauer) to spare his life? What was his relationship with the original meth chemist Max? And what did he do in the intervening years to build his relationship with the cartel to move his product in the way he wanted? It isn't necessary to answer these (or any other) questions, especially since now we know that Gus is capable of messy emotions that may make him vulnerable to a misstep in order to exact his long desired retribution. Although he is more controlled and a much better liar, he may have more in common with Walt and Jesse than we imagined.
Those two, however, are heading down a rabbit hole of their own neuroses fairly quickly. Admittedly, it was extremely satisfying to see Walt's ego come back to bite him, as he realizes that Hank has not only taken his advice that "probably there was another big guy out there", but he has already identified Gus correctly as the real power behind the drug ring. Knowing Hank is conducting this investigation on his own doesn't assuage his increasing panic, so he turns up the heat on Jesse to give him "a progress report on that thing we discussed." It seems clear he is alienating Jesse more and more. Indeed, you know Walt is truly being presented as the bad guy when Jesse actually gets better counsel on his life from Saul Goodman of all people. Of course, how all these different alliances get damaged or strengthened is anyone's guess, but deepening our understanding of one of the more ambiguous characters only raises the stakes for everyone.
- Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have the Emmy awards, but it is good to sing the praises of Giancarlo Esposito as well. The subtle emotions playing across his face after the DEA interview were masterful, so much in contrast to the violent grief he displayed in the flashback by the pool.
- Did he use his friend's real name for that chemistry scholarship? That would seem to be a major risk, and a bit out of character for the cautious Gustavo Fring.
- Skyler putting the drug money into vacuum-sealed clothing bags and hiding them in that notorious crawlspace was a bit too on the nose, but I still laughed.
- "A dunce to pull the trigger." Ouch.
- Jesse's bedazzled shirt deeply hurt my feelings.
- Nice to have a quick history of the rise of crystal meth from Gus in the flashback.
A troubled teenager brings out the worst and the best in Louis C.K.
Near the midpoint of "Niece", Louis dismisses another comedian's "crowd work" (interacting with the audience, "Where are you all from?", etc.) as "easy." It's possible it isn't really his style, but it is also clear that he thinks it is a crutch, a way to pander for laughs. Naturally, it is also revealed, when he gets up to do a set and lamely tries to banter with the customers, that he is pretty lousy at it as well.
This fear of interacting with others, particularly young people, is the theme of the penultimate episode of "Louie". Abruptly saddled for the weekend with Amy (Gideon Adlon), the thirteen year old daughter of his lunatic sister Karleen (whom we glimpsed on the phone in "Joan"), he isn't rude or unkind to her; he just circles around like a baffled bear, amazed at her completely withdrawn sullenness. The knowledge that someday his beloved daughters will become taciturn and infuriating teenagers floats subtly throughout the entire evening, as Louie escorts Amy to a loud rock club and then to the Comedy Cellar to see him perform. It is there that Amy finally cracks a smile and even opens up about her feelings to Godfrey, the charming and friendly comedian who was so good at working the room. He is the one who schools Louie about the definition of empathy – "learn how to talk to people that aren't like you." Still, it's clear from the gut-punch of an ending, Louie's heart is in the right place, and he will do the right thing in the end.
- So, do we think Amy will still be living with Louie next week for the season finale? Continuity has never been even a small consideration in this universe, but it did seem like something too major to just drop.
- "You're wearing a vest that matches the building."
- I wish everyone could spend at least 10 minutes in Grand Central Station.
- It is so fun just having Todd Barry and Nick DiPaolo hanging around, contributing their deadpan personalities.
- "You only gave him a dollar."