Things get uncomfortably – and amusingly – real in another clever episode
Mining your own life events for material is par for the course for almost every comedian. Observations about your family, your childhood and your everyday experiences are normal fodder for a stand-up act. But presenting the more painful or troubling experiences that you have endured without the defense mechanism of one-liners is much more rare, and both vignettes in tonight's "Louie" did just that.
The first was a flashback of sorts, with Louie attempting to put together a conventional TV sitcom in order to maintain a stable family life and a steady income, without the constant demands of the road. Of course, it doesn't take long for him to realize the restrictive demands of a show like "Oh Louie" would be even worse. It may be a desirable career path, but it is certainly neither who he is nor what he can commit to doing. As usual, it is the details that stand out: the cranky actress playing his wife ("This is my last go around. I am thirty-eight years old"), Louie's exasperated interaction with the studio audience, the adorable hiccupping baby in his arms as he croons a mash-up of Copeland's "Old American Songs".
The second bit was both more immediate, and more intensely weird. Naturally, we can't know the true content of any real conversations that Dane Cook and Louis C.K. have had about the various joke-stealing accusations, just as we can't really know how much of their on-camera conversation was "true". But regardless, it sure made for an odd few minutes of inside baseball "acting", echoing the classic conversation with Joan Rivers. Most fans of Louis C.K. have fairly strong feelings about Dane Cook (and vice versa, I would imagine), but even they would have to admit it was game of him to guest on the show for the sole purpose of bringing out this issue, and give some random parenting advice.
- Why, hello Bob Saget!
- "We can't have a show where everybody just says "Whatever" because it's cute."
- The very brief stand-up bit was..bizarre.
- It is great how Louie's older daughter can be so polite ("Thanks Daddy – it's nice.") and absolutely crush him at the same time
- Obligatory surreal moment: Dane Cook plethora of bodyguards. It was like Louie was visiting a prison.
- Yes, the "corner" of Time is not the "cover" of Time.
- Actually speaking the name of the "stolen" bit made it even funnier by the sheer triviality of the subject matter.
There's a new supervisor in town and this one's got it together
MSN TV: Here's a chicken or egg question. Did "CSI" want you because they wanted to lighten things up this season, or did they decide to lighten up because they signed you?
Now, they have no choice, but the character existed. It was already on the page and then they found me. He was described to me as Phil Jackson [type] coming in to handle a group of incredibly bright people that are on a slippery slope after last season. I'm a family man, brought in to make the team work as well as possible. That rings a bell with me, even though I've never played a detective. Trying to hold a crazy group of people [together], whether they're crazy bright or crazy silly, is something that I've done before and I kind of respond to, so it makes sense to me in a funny way.
Bing: More about Ted Danson
Will his colleagues be impressed by him?
No. Detective Brass could care less.
Were you surprised to be considered for the role as a crime solver?
Well, they still won't give me a gun, so it's not that farfetched. Yet! Yeah, I was surprised. I was thrilled, happy, surprised. My jaw is hanging down still a little bit from the newness of all of this.
Any concerns about moving into a full time series schedule after "Damages" and "Bored to Death"?
I went from a gentleman actor to this full time [guy]. This is very surrealistic. The last two weeks, I was staring at the ocean in Martha's Vineyard, humming to myself. And within a week I went to my first autopsy in Las Vegas. It's all happening incredibly fast, but it's some of the most fun I've had. It's such a bright group of people.
What is it like coming into an ensemble in it's 12 season?
I am so grateful. I love going to work. I am so happy to hang with this cast of people. Everyone is relaxed, happy to be there. They make me feel so welcome. The writing is wonderful. The crew is so fast and so good that going to work is pure work and pure joy, as opposed to that anxiety of starting out. It's effortless. To be able to step into that atmosphere is a joy, and I'm so blessed that I'm not being too Pollyanna. I actually feel that way.
What lured you to this show, to begin with?
One of the perks is I get to be home. One of our kids is going to have a baby, so I get to be a grandfather. I love going to work every day on an ensemble piece and this is such a bright show. It's the number one watched show in the world. That's pretty astounding and irresistible.
Were you a fan?
I was. Billy Peterson (ex-Gil Grissom) and I did a film years ago ("Cousins"), and then right after that, he got this, so I watched for awhile to see how he was doing and then I've been watching a lot of episodes. The last two [episodes] last year were through the roof. Unbelievable.
Is there anything to be learned through Laurence Fishburne's experience last season?
He's one of my heroes. He's one of our best actors around. I watched a lot of what he did, just because I wanted to see how good he was, but then I have to let Laurence and Billy go and try to figure this out for myself. I don’t know if I have any great lessons to learn, other than to appreciate that this is hard. It's not this character-driven stuff. It's a procedural. It's the mystery of science that propels you through story. To pull that off and make it believable and interesting -- I'm astounded at those guys and this amazing cast.
How are you doing with the terminology?
You can see the smoke coming out of my ears in some of the early scenes, wrapping my brain around all the new technology, but that's fun. I've been doing a lot of character work and this is not as character driven. This is science, mystery driven. You almost feel like a CSI in that you are trying to wrap your brain around all this information and have it make sense. It's a great discipline.
What was that autopsy like?
Oh man, it was like sticking my finger in a light socket. I was vibrating for days. I was sitting there, holding somebody's skull cap while they weight his brains! It was intensely real and to not sound overly something, had a spiritual impact on me. I went back to the hotel, looked in the mirror and went, "Thank you body! Thanks for everything you do."
Are you training for potential fight scenes or street chases?
I don't train anymore. I rehab.
If "Bored to Death" is picked up, will you go straight back to shooting that during the "CSI" hiatus?
Yeah, if they ask us back, which I think they will, I'll have a busy year and a half ahead. But then, thank god I have a busy year and a half ahead! I'm not the type who needs to work. I can do nothing really well, so it's going to be an adjustment. Mary (Steenburgen) and I love hanging out and making each other laugh all day, so this will be new. Mary has a show in Nashville, so we'll have to work to find each other.
One last question: After all these years, is there still any hope for Sam and Diane?
It would be a funny show… in walkers. Wait till we're all using walkers.
"CSI" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS beginning. September 21.
There's a new Internet billionaire on the block
Anticipation was high when CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler took the stage at the TCA tour today. The press was assuming we'd get some good juice on "Two and a Half Men" after Charlie Sheen, but that was not to be the case. After all, it's not 09.19.11 yet! There were a few fresh tidbits on Ashton Kutcher's character and many raves about the "extraordinary" cast and crew, but no word on whether the new season will in fact kick off with a funeral for ladies' man Charlie Harper.
"I'm not going to confirm or deny that," Tassler demurred. "The mystery is a part of the marketing. It’s going to be a big event, and I think the chatter and the conversation and the discussion about it is a part of what the fun of it can be."
Tassler also wouldn't reveal how Ashton Kutcher's new character comes into the mix, but she did offer the first tidbits about the mysterious new guy joining "Men."
"His name is Walden Schmidt," she revealed. "He is an Internet billionaire with a broken heart, and it will be a two-parter over two weeks. He is a unique character [and] the show will be as irreverent as it has always been. Our program practices people are already on high alert, so that’s some of the good news coming out of this."
"This" would of course be the Charlie Sheen meltdown that forced CBS to re-haul its most successful show and hire Kutcher. Tassler said she learned a lot from the experience, but those lessons turned out to be mostly about how "extraordinary" the show, actors and writers are.
Bing: More about Charlie Sheen
All Tassler would say about Sheen's meltdown was, "Who could have predicted that we would be here, six months ago?" That seemed a strange comment, considering Sheen was fired in March and his drug problems and general downward spiral didn't exactly come out of the blue.
Of course, Tassler was simply trying to avoid the topic, all together, preferring to draw the attention away from Sheen and toward her new star, who isn't spiraling.
"Our whole focus right now is moving forward," she demurred. "We have an extraordinary actor in Ashton Kutcher. We have someone who is committed to doing their job, to being there, an incredible professional. We’re worlds apart, and, you know, we made the decision. I’m just happy to be where we are today."
"Men" had its first table read earlier this week and is due to shoot its first episode with Kutcher on Friday. “I would be lying if I didn’t say when everybody walked on that set Monday, you could cut the air with a knife," Tassler said. "You’ve got a tremendous amount of weight and effort being put into this episode."
The ninth season of "Two and a Half Men," starring Kutcher, Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, premieres on CBS September 19.
"Two and a Half Men" airs Mondays, at 9pm ET/PT on CBS.
Christina Applegate makes a baby with Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph and the 'SNL' clique
"It's a real life look at people who've been selfish for a long time and what happens when a human comes into that," Christina Applegate previewed when MSN TV caught up with her after her show's TCA panel on Monday. "Even though you'd think it's only about Chris and Reagan, that baby is also going to affect Ava's life, too, because it affects Reagan's life, which affects her work life and her ability to lead and problem solve.
"The baby affects everything. Not in a bad way. In a great away, but it disturbs the flora and fauna of whatever lifestyle they were living before."
As older parents, it's not easy to forget that other life, but that doesn't matter once baby arrives. "They have been doing it their way for a really long time, and now it’s someone else's way," Applegate said, adding that older parents today are also a bit cooler - or perhaps just more immature. "People who are 38, 40 now still say 'dude' a lot. I don’t know if we’ve grown up entirely. We’re professional and we’re responsible, but I still feel like I’m in my early 20s."
When Applegate was actually in her 20s, she was on a little show called "Married with Children." That's also when she landed her only hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live."
Now, she's 'married with baby' in the real world and working with a team of "SNL" players, including alums Arnett and Rudolph, writer Emily Spivey ("SNL" and "Parks and Recreation") and head honcho Lorne Michaels.
"They're all a little clique I'm not in, but I'm getting in the clique," Applegate sad. "They're a lot of fun on set. Everyone's got a lot of energy and they're very quick, which is fun to watch, but the show is not 'SNL'-y. The sketch world is a little bigger than life. Will and I try to talk from our hearts with this one and be as real as possible. What brought us all to it was that it had this wit that was kind of like those people who just sigh about everything. They're tired."
Applegate isn't the only one in this crew who can relate to being tired. Her costar Arnett actually gave a sigh during the TCA when he revealed he had two sick boys at home and "I was legitimately up all last night."
"I feel like any point that we're all together, one of us can say that, and it actually is true," Rudolph chimed.
"We all come in in the morning with dark circles under our eyes," added Applegate.
While this may sound like method acting at its best -- or worst -- Applegate laughs off that idea. "When you're working 16-hour days, the last thing you want to do is feel like crap when you come in," she said. "My first day back at work, Sadie had been up twice that night freaking out for some reason. I had never been more tired, scared, discombobulated and unaware of what I was supposed to be doing on set. I was so confused. Luckily, she's sleeping through the night, now, so when we start the new episodes, I'll have had sleep."
Here's a first look at NBC's new series, "Up All Night." "Up All Night" premieres Wednesday, September 14 at 10 p.m. on NBC.
Here's what you need to know to get by at the water cooler
Missed this week's "Pretty Little Liars"? Here's what you need to know to get by at the water cooler:
- Hanna's dad slept over! So are he and mom back together? Not if that "Save the Date" Hanna got in the mail has anything to do with it. So Hanna's smart mama sends him packing. Meanwhile, someone's stalking Caleb -- and Hanna's worried about his shady past. So she sneaks him off to a secret hideaway (owned by Spencer's parents, naturally). But he tells her he's not hiding from anyone, especially not her. And so they hook up -- again!
- Aria tells Spencer that Officer Garrett is in cahoots with Jenna -- and then the girls see the two hooking up through a window at Jenna's place. Ewwww! Later, the shady cop tries to get more dirt on the murder from Spencer, but she's clammed up. So he tells Jenna that he thinks the girls are on to them.
- Emily's super-stressed about her swim meet -- more so when her dad shows up to cheer her on. But she doesn't make it to the meet at all. She collapses in school, apparently from an ulcer. But later, Doc. Wren (see below) tells her they found steroids in her system. There goes her swim career. How will she break the news to her military dad? Turns out she doesn't have to: he says that her health is more important to them than any potential swim scholarship. Later, she gets a note from A -- who was behind the drugs, of course. Will their "Gossip Girl" from the grave pal stop at nothing?
- Spencer's itching to sneak into the morgue to find out more about Ali's murder, so she asks her sister's doctor ex, Wren, who magically showed up at her door with flowers, about where/how/when -- supposedly for a school project. And then, of course, there's the chemistry between Spencer and her sister's ex. Could Toby have some competition on his hands?
- Aria and Ezra are having trouble connecting -- and he's worried that she might be interested in Jason. As he should be. So should the girls, as the evidence keeps mounting against Ali's older brother, who may have mellowed out now, but had a real mean streak.
- Dressed as candy stripers, Spencer and Aria finally sneak into the morgue. The girls rifflethrough records, finding Alison’s folder. “She was hit so hard, they dented her skull – and the weapon had a curved, blunt edge,” science-geek Spencer explains, meaning the hockey stick. But that wasn’t the biggest shocker. “Alison was buried alive.” Later, Spencer takes the file to Emily – and realize page five was missing. Could it contain the answers the girls need?
"Pretty Little Liars" airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.
How Sabres' new boss was lured over to Dunder Mifflin
When James Spader came in to apply for Michael Scott's job on "The Office" last season, he had no intention of actually filling Steve Carell's shoes. He just came in to have some finale fun with NBC's wacky Scranton branch. The road to hell is paved with other intentions, however, and this September, Spader is taking control of "The Office."
Spaders new gig came out of one of those proverbial Hollywood lunches. Okay, it may not have been lunch, exactly, but Spader did have a casual sit down with "The Office" producers Greg Daniels and Paul Lieberstein. The trio hit it off and Spader was impressed, but there were no hints of an offer from Daniels and Lieberstein... At least not right away.
Bing: More about James Spader
MSN TV: If you didn't sign up for "The Office" after that meeting, how did you end up there?
James Spader: In spite of all efforts! (laughs) I hadn't heard from them and then got a call out of the blue. They said, "We've written a role we'd love to have you do in the finale. No commitment. Just come have some fun." They sent me the script and it was so funny I had to do it. They were great people to work with. It was so much fun, but that was that. Then when they started editing the finale, I started getting calls saying how much great it was. Then they called up a couple of days after it aired. Then they called again and said, "We wanted this character to come back in some capacity, so can we start talking about that?" We started talking about it and here we are.
Have you clocked in at your new job, yet?
We've been shooting for a couple weeks and it's been great fun. The crew is fantastic and the writers and the production staff are great, and it's a huge cast, so there are a lot of people to play with and do scenes with.
Did Steve Carell offer you any tips?
We didn't overlap, funny enough. I shot the finale and by that time, he had finished. I would run into him every so often at the Emmys and nod "Hello," but I don't know him, so I haven't heard anything.
Michael Scott was obsessed with being loved by his peers. What is your character's management style?
I don't know a great deal about how Michael functioned within "The Office," but Robert is not so concerned with how loved he is. He's very different, with a very different energy.
What is Robert concerned with, then?
Well, we just started, so right now, he's just sort of doing what I'm doing: He's getting to know "The Office" and all the people and trying to figure out how to make it all work. I'm waiting to see [where that goes]. I love to be surprised.
Season 8 of “The Office” premieres Thursday, September 22, at 8 p.m ET/PT on NBC.
Host chats about 'Rio' as movie is released on DVD
MSN TV: "Rio" was such a box office smash, how happy were you that the movie did so well?
George Lopez: It was released overseas first before it was released in the United States. Brilliant move. It became number one in the world. I've never been part of a movie that was number one in the world. It spoke to a lot of things, it's resilient but yet that music, people need to understand is world music. It's a story about love and people chained together. Sometimes people are chained together and are in love but they have to find a common place. There's a huge party thrown at Carnival. If you see the movie, it would also remind you that as much as we work, we still have to take time out to have a good time.
Bing: More about 'Rio'
What was it like seeing yourself and hearing your voice for the first time on screen?
With this movie it was funny. I don't appear until about twenty minutes into the movie. The first twenty minutes I was just having fun watching the movie. The minute I saw the two toucan babies I was like "Oh man!" I was just having a good time watching the movie. I didn't start out to be in movies or never thought the movie would be successful. I've been fortunate to be in some big movies and it's a reward for years of struggle.
What was your favorite part to lending your voice to "Rio?"
I was a little bit caught off guard by how meticulous Carlos the director was. In that first session I was like a boxing match. I was reeling a little bit thinking "Wow, this is tougher than I expected." As we started to grow and our relationship started to grow and even at the premiere, it was one of the most satisfying experiences I ever have.
Bing: More about 'Smurfs'
You've been a Chihuahua and a Toucan, are there any other animals you'd like to play?
I think to be a Toucan and to be a Smurf in the same year; I defy anyone to come up with a better combination than a Toucan/Smurf combination.
With the release of the movie and special features, is there anything you're especially looking forward to?
I didn't hear the other actors talk about the movie and their experience. In the bonus features it has all of that. What's great is I was in the movie and I learned a lot from all the positions in the studio in terms of music. He didn't do it individually. He did it the way music used to be done with the whole band playing. Anytime Jaimie Foxx or Will.i.am performs, it's good.
What would you tell all the kids and parents out there who haven't seen the movie and why they should go out to get the DVD?
Honestly with "Rio" you are missing one of the most colorful experiences of your life. Kids and parents sit around watching the movie will have a good time. This is one of those movies where you put something comfortable on, get some popcorn and you go to the bathroom before because it will be two hours before you get up again.
Want more cool "Rio" stuff? Be sure to download the Rio Wallpaper app.
Plus, for your chance to win the amazing "Rio" gift bag pictured below, like us on Facebook and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite part of the movie. Only a handful of these were put together!
AMC show gets new writer and executive producer
Special to MSN TV
AMC's insanely popular zombie drama "The Walking Dead" is about to feel very different to fans.
Frank Darabont ("Shawshank Redemption"), the prodigious filmmaker who helped make the series a hit, will no longer be penning and producing the show.
Bing: More about 'The Walking Dead'
Glen Mazzara, the writer and executive producer who had been Darabont's second in command, will replace him. Robert Kirkman, the creator of the comic book series will continue his role as full time writer and executive producer, as will Gale Anne Hurd ("Terminator" and "The Abyss").
In spite of viewers and critics' fears, AMC executives said nothing will change about the second season, which will still debut Oct. 16. "The Walking Dead" is AMC's top-rated show, drawing a record 5 million viewers in its first year.
"He's a visionary writer and director," said Joel Stillerman, AMC's senior vice president of original programming, of Darabont. Stillerman addressed the change at the network's Television Critics Associations press tour panel Thursday.
"He wrote a brilliant pilot," Stillerman said. "He directed a brilliant pilot. His fingerprints are all over the adaptation of Robert Kirkman's brilliant source material to the television show that you see, and we're grateful for his contribution."
AMC also took its time at TCA to promote its new western drama "Hell on Wheels."
Star Anson Mount ("Straw Dogs" and "In Her Shoes") plays a former slave owner and Confederate soldier whose quest for revenge has led him to the Union Pacific Railroad's westward construction.
"I mean, the network is really letting us get away with a lot more than I thought," Mount said. "We are taking some risks and doing some stuff that I did not think, even on cable TV, that we really would be able to push the boundaries on."
"Hell on Wheels" also stars rapper-turned-actor Common ("American Gangster" and "Just Wright"), Colm Meaney ("Stargate: Atlantis") and Dominique McElligott ("Leap Year") and debuts Nov. 6.
Common plays a former slave and McElliott plays a settler woman who cares for her ill husband. Meaney plays a ruthless and sharp-tongued railroad baron.
BBC America has also rolled out a slate of tantalizing programming. This includes the new espionage thriller "The Hour" starring Dominic West ("The Wire").
Set behind the scenes of the BBC's newsroom in London in the mid-1950s, the drama plots the complicated professional and personal lives of broadcast journalists and is already drawing comparisons to "Mad Men." "The Hour" premieres Aug. 17.
Other BBC America dates of note include the second season of "Luther" returning in September and the premiere of the horror drama "Bedlam" in October. "Bedlam" follows the haunted tenants in a luxury apartment building that used to be an insane asylum.
"The Hour" premieres Tuesday, August 16, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America.
Season 2 of "Luther" premieres Wednesday, September 28, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America.
"Bedlam" premieres Saturday, October 8, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America.
Season 2 of "The Walking Dead" premieres Sunday, October 16, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.
"Hell on Wheels" premieres Sunday, November 6, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.