Atlantic City is just as dangerous and intriguing as ever in the season premiere
It has only been a few months since the action of the season finale, but a lot of the relationships are on a very different footing already. Jimmy, Eli and the Commodore have made significant progress in their campaign to overthrow Nucky, mainly through using the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize Chalky and paralyze his liquor distribution. However allied they seem to be, there are still cracks in the brain trust. The old man and his biological son are already sidelining the chief of police, which will most likely backfire on them sooner or later; Eli has proven to be a short-sighted petulant blowhard no matter which "side" he is on at any given moment. And Jimmy is putting on a brave face, but it's clear he still has a deep connection to his surrogate father Nucky, although he is doing a good job of burying it pretty deep.
Margaret and Nucky are deep into a settled domestic pattern (although he does seem to be at least open to the possibility of some floozies on the side), and he is warming up to acting as a father figure to her children. Margaret is easily the most fascinating and identifiable character in this universe, and she is poised to become the power behind the throne in some way. Meanwhile, the newly-legal couple of Jimmy and Angela are still doing their delicate dance around speaking honestly to one another; complications include the meddling "I'm only here to help you by constantly reminding you of my extra-special closeness with the son I had when I was barely a teenager" machinations of Gillian, and the more benign and poignant specter of Richard Harrow yearning after Jimmy's family.
Finally, there is Van Alden, who is, in a shock to absolutely no one, still totally and completely cuckoo bananas. Whether calling up a last minute restaurant raid to "thrill" his uptight and long-suffering wife, or stealing that establishment's money to pay off the impregnated Lucy (who is…living with him, or staying at his house, or something equally disturbing), Michael Shannon plays him like a man whose violent outbursts are barely suppressed from each minute to the next. Last season, his insanity pushed the bounds of believability, but in this episode, it seemed to be contained to more realistic bounds.
"Boardwalk Empire" continues to look absolutely gorgeous, from the meticulous costuming to the carefully decorated interiors to the wintry lighting of the beachfront houses in Atlantic City's off-season. If last season was missing a certain passion or spark in the telling of its stories (both historical and fictional), this season seems poised to correct that shortcoming. As the Commodore says "You'll be judged by what you succeed at, not by what you attempt." Right now, I am willing to bet the attempts will be successful.
- Just a brief scene with Al Capone in Chicago, but it did introduce another real-life character in George Remus, whose life definitely has the potential to cause some interesting stuff to happen.
- Eli is just horrible, isn't he?
- "10,000 black folks that make this city hum." Michael K. Williams is so good as Chalky, and the glimpse of his upscale home life (elegant wife, talented and intelligent son) was totally satisfying.
- "Your father is a very duplicitous man."
With 'All My Children' still in his rearview, Rick comes home
MSN TV caught up with Jacob Young moments after his character J.R.'s gun went off Friday, signaling the end of "All My Children" on ABC. Now, it's on to the next -- or rather, back to where it all started. Young has re-assumed the role of Rick Forrester on "The Bold and the Beautiful," which he held from 1997-99, and returns to the canvas on Monday, Sept. 26.
In addition to bringing Rick back from Paris on Monday, Young will stop by "The Talk" to kick off "All My Meals" week. He'll cook up his fave recipe and sit down at the table to talk shop with the ladies. “All My Children” funnyguy Michael E. Knight (Tad) is scheduled to do the same on Wednesday, Sept. 28, with Ricky Paull Goldin (Jake) scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 29.
Here's what Young had to say about it all. .
MSN TV: Wow, that was some crazy ending to "All My Children!"
Jacob Young: Yes. I finished there almost a month ago, but I've got to be honest. I watched about 45 minutes of the show and it's that old expression, bittersweet. Tears are flowing. I spent almost a decade over there. It was a long time to be with all those wonderful people and be lucky enough to be part of something as historical as "All My Children."
Back when things were wrapping up, you told MSN TV your wish for J.R. was that he decides who he is, once and for all, and stop vacillating between the dark and light. Are you satisfied?
He definitely made a decision! (Laughs) The funny thing is, this is an ending they had written before they knew I had the "The Bold and the Beautiful" deal in place. It seemed as though it perfectly coincided with that deal, but it had nothing to do with it. It was a great privilege to take J.R. to the places he went. I'm honored that the show put so much stock in me and believed I could do what I did.
Will you be talking about the big finale when you visit "The Talk" on Monday?
Of course, we're going to talk about "The Bold and the Beautiful" and touch on "All My Children," but I'm going in there to do some cooking, which is actually one of my passions. I hate to sound cliche, but I understand why people love to cook. It's fun! I'm doing a Southwestern soup. It's about 97 percent fat-free, just absolutely delicious and guaranteed to kill any cold. It's got a little spice, but it's also that good chicken stock. I swear by it.
Monday is also your on-air return to "The Bold and the Beautiful." What can we expect from Rick when he comes home from Paris?
I didn't want to push it too hard, right away. I wanted to make sure people could ease into me being on the show again, so I took baby steps. His intentions are to look after his sister (Hope) in the beginning, because she has so much drama going on right now, but he's going to get fired up with the rest of the family, shortly.
And with his ex, Amber?
There's going be some Amber action. I'm sure we have plenty of archived footage to pull from. I'm going to have to turn my head when I see myself from 14 years ago!
What was it like to step onto "The Bold and the Beautiful" stages after all those years?
A time warp. Working for Disney for the last eight and a half years, people come and go -- production staff and actors. I stepped onto the sound stage and it was a literal time warp. Everyone had a few more wrinkles and a little more gray hairs, including myself! It was comforting. Everyone one of the actors embraced me, literally and figuratively. It's such a caring, tight knit group and I like that. Everyone is still, after all these year, as passionate as I remember.
Was it as easy to step into Rick's shoes?
It's an odd feeling. He's been played by a couple other people [Justin Torkildsen (1999-2006), Kyle Lowder (2007-2011)] and has been through some crazy things. I've been asking a hundred questions to find out where he is, emotionally. These are things I have to take into consideration and honor, but I'm also putting my own stamp on it. We need to refresh who Rick is. People change, they grow. We're definitely going to try to lighten up some of that darkness he's had. He's not going to have a J.R. rift to him, that's for sure! He's a young man who has nothing to prove. He comes from a loving family, with people who respect and appreciate him, so there's no reason he should be a menace. He should have a light heart and a good feeling about who he is, and be centered and make strong, beautiful choices in life.
What actually brings Rick back to town?
He comes back for a visit. He doing well and has a lot of great friends at the Forrester International office in Paris. His intentions are to come say hello, but everybody says, "Can you stay for awhile?" Alright, I'll stay for awhile. (laughs)
"The Bold and the Beautiful" and "The Talk" air weekdays on CBS.
Nucky and his knuckleheads were real
Not all HBO series about New Jersey mob kingpins are, as Tony Soprano might have put it, full of s***. The one about to premiere its second season on Sunday is surprisingly full of truth. Not even the names were changed in "Boardwalk Empire" (well, at least not the first names).
Famous for his flashy suits, limos and mistresses, Enoch Johnson ran Prohibition-era Atlantic City like it was his personal Monopoly board (which it kind of was, since the famous Parker Bros. game uses that city’s street names).
“Nucky” earned a meager salary as treasurer of Atlantic County, yet curiously managed to live in a suite at the Ritz-Carlton while being catered to by chauffeurs, maids and a valet. (The protection money he commanded amounted to $15 million per year in today’s currency.)
Nucky -- who rose to power when his mentor, a man who called himself “The Commodore,” was convicted of voter fraud in 1911 -- seemed to do most of his business not with local politicians but with gangsters such as Al Capone,Charlie “Lucky” Luciano,Meyer Lansky and Arnold Rothstein.
That was not the first season I just reviewed; it was historical fact. The show is based on the 2002 nonfiction book by Nelson Johnson (no relation).
Nucky even had bad teeth. (Nice acting job, Steve Buscemi!)
So you have to wonder why HBO bothered changing the last name of its Nucky from Johnson to Thompson, likewise tweaking The Commodore’s name from Louis Kuehnle to Louis Kaestner, Nucky’s assistant from Louis Kessel to Eddie Kessler, and his sheriff/brother from Eli to Alfred. (Sorry, descendants of the aforementioned dead guys, but you can’t sue us for slander because we engaged in slight name altering!)
OK, so there are some “full of s***” moments. The real Nucky was never known to order a hit on anyone, as Buscemi’s character has done numerous times. And he didn’t install Warren Harding as president.
“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” Buscemi said in the very first episode.
Yet that Hollywood truism doesn’t ring as true as it usually does. Compared to most serial TV drama, “Boardwalk Empire” is still “60 Minutes.”
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the real Nucky didn’t suffer much for his sins. He did only four years for tax evasion and died a peaceful death in 1968, far from penniless, at the old age of 85.
Oops, I probably should have typed “spoiler alert” before that last paragraph.
The second season of "Boardwalk Empire" premieres Sunday, Sept. 25, at 9 pm. ET/PT on NBC.
Kelly Monaco, Nadia Bjorlin, Kirsten Storms, Brandon Beemer, Farah Fath, JP Lavoisier and Galen Gering get personal
Bing: More on "Dirty Soap"
How Dirty will it get? "It's not like we're having orgies… Well, once a week, maybe," quips Galen Gering. "The title is very catchy and attracts eyeballs, but it also has a lot of play. You're getting the dirt, the inside scoop. Our lives aren't squeaky clean."
"Dirty Soap" airs Sundays on E! 10/9c.
An abrupt ending on ABC promises a new beginning on the Internet
Across the nation Friday, "All My Children" fans huddled in front of their TV sets, tissue boxes in hand, for the final broadcast episode from Pine Valley. Daytime TV is a business, no doubt, but to viewers, this was an emotional goodbye. That's why some found the finale cliffhanger an abrupt and unfair end to the soap's 41-year run on ABC, but to others it felt, instead, like a final promise that Prospect Park will indeed resurrect the show on the internet in 2012.
The soap opera genre took another big hit earlier this year when ABC announced it was canceling "All My Children" and "One Life to Live." When the latter concludes in January, only four soaps will remain on television: ABC's "General Hospital," CBS's "The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful" and NBC's "Days of our Lives."
These endings, however, reflect more than just sad goodbyes, thanks to Prospect Park. The production company stepped in this summer, buying the rights to "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" with a plan to resurrect them on the internet.
It's been an uphill battle transitioning to the internet, but headway is being made. Cameron Mathison (Ryan) and Lindsay Hartley (Cara) have signed on to join "All My Children" on the net, and word is Alicia Minshew (Kendall) is still in talks.
Producers haven't, however, been able to an agreement with daytime superstar Susan Lucci, who has ruled Pine Valley as Erica Kane since January 5, 1970, the day the show premiered. Jacob Young (J.R.) and Debbie Morgan (Angie) have also been lost, both snapped up by CBS shows.
Sister show "One Life to Live" is also making strides. Prospect Park has landed exec producer Frank Valentini and stars "Erika Slezak (Victoria), Ted King (Tomas), Michael Easton (John) and Kassie DePaiva (Blair) are also on board.
With both ABC shows set to return from the proverbial dead on the internet, "All My Children" embraced that infamous soap gimmick with full gusto as it closed its run on ABC. Dr. David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry) literally resurrected beloved characters, bringing back faves like Zack (Thorsten Kaye), Leo (Josh Duhamel) and finally, Stuart (David Canary).
Not all of them survived, but those who did can now stay on canvas when the show relaunches, and there's still one more return to come. Yes, one of those dastardly cliff hangers. Hayward has one more mysterious patient on the precipice of life.
With all these wild returns, "All My Children" finale week gave us several warm reunions, proposals and happy endings, respite with family portraits and montages, while sending J.R. in a downward spiral around them. The conflicted child of Adam Chandler (David Canary) and Dixie Martin (Cady McClain) finally embraced the villain inside him, and his final struggle kept the show true to form, instead letting it get lost in the happy endings.
Amid all the smiles, there was also fresh tension between Eric and Jackson (Walt Willey). After years of patience, he finally walked out on her in front of everyone, throwing out a Rhett Butler inspired, "Frankly, Erica I don't give a damn what you need."
Erica ran after him, begging him to come to Hollywood with her… And then Pine Valley's run on ABC ended with a gun shut. Instead of the "Who shot J.R.?" of the "Dallas" days, the next few months will have daytime fans dying to know: "Who did J.R. shoot?"
As they say in the biz, stay tuned…
A video farewell from the stars and shout-outs from the daytime community
Are you sad it's all coming to an end? We'd love to hear your thoughts on MSN TV's Facebook page.
* @Susan_Lucci (Erica): Just finished watching last episode of AMC-very emotional time. Thank you for spending your days in PV & the sunshine it brought to my life.
* @L_Hartley (Lindsay Hartley, Cara): Just checking in with everyone on this bittersweet day / I have to thank everyone for the kind words yet again. I'm grateful that you have enjoyed cara's journey.
@knowjr (J.R. Martinez, Brot / "Dancing with the Stars"): Today is the final episode of #AMC Sad day~I'm forever grateful that I had the chance to be a part of the storytelling for the past 3 years
@BobbieEakes (Krystal): It has been a great almost 8 years as Krystal. Thanks to all of our wonderful fans!
@DeniseVasi (Randi): I know it's heartbreaking to see our beloved show go (for now). However, rest assured you will see all your fave actors again. Somewhere! read more of Vasi's farewell here >>>
@EvaLaRueCappoo (Maria Santos/"CSI: Miami"): Gonna be a rough day....How do you even begin to say goodbye to a town that has touched the lives of generations of people? / There is no place like Pine Valley, there's no place lime Pine Valley.....!
@KellyRipa (ex-Hayley/"Live with Regis and Kelly"): Omg! Hi. Sad day:( RT @LizVassey (ex-Emily): Hey @KellyRipa!!! So sad that AMC is ending. It made me miss you a whole bunch. xoL
@EdenRiegel (ex-Bianca/"The Young and the Restless"): Today I am very grateful to #AllMyChildren being such an important part of my life. #ThanksAMC for Bianca. She changed my life, too.
@SherriEShepherd ("The View"): #AllMyChildren fans... watch the @TheViewTv tribute to AMC ... 41 years of memories! Angie & Debbie Greg & Jenny... 2 great love stories
@KrisAlderson ("One Life to Live") Everyone should be watching All My Children right now... Help them go out with a bang people! Sad sad day..lots of love to the cast&crew / So wonderful that the View has this whole episode dedicated to #AMC! I hope they do this for #oltl
@TheRealStafford ("The Young and the Restless"): Watched AMC as a young teen! Was in love with Erica! This is an important day. Shout out 2 all my AMC pals
* @JoshuaMorrowYR ("The Young and the Restless"): Very sad for AMC and all their fans. It was a hell of a run and they should be proud of their work and support!
@MollyDollyy (Molly Burnett, "Days of our Lives") I'm tipping my hat to All My Children. I wish the cast and crew all the best. So happy The View is doing a whole show for them! Check it out
@CrystalChappell ("Days of our Lives"): Today belongs to AMC. Been a fan forever. Sweet Friday, everyone!
@MarleneMcP (Marlene McPherson, "Days of our Lives") When I was 8. I found AMC and spent Summers glued to the TV. AMC created my love of soaps. Pine Valley felt like home My heart breaks today.
@maitlandnyla (Maitland Ward Baxter, "The Bold and the Beautiful" alum): All My Children comes to an end today. Very sad day in the soap world. #RIPAMC
* @lldubs (Laura Wright, "General Hospital") Sad day for AMC fans-- xoxoxo thinking of all of you!!
* @cathickland (Catherine Hickland, "One Life to Live')) Less than a minute in and I'm in TEARS #ThanksAMC / Scenes without words, the actors are brilliant, then direction sublime, editing, awesome, writing, perfection...#ThanksAMC God Speed @prospectpark ! Do us proud! #ThanksAM
Check back later for more Twitter updates - More West Coasters are chiming in during the air show! (new additions marked with *)
The new season kicks off with everyone rallying behind "Knope 2012"
After a brief flashback to the Lil Sebastian memorial where Leslie is approached to run for office, the new season jumps forward three weeks to find her all set up announce her city council candidacy in three months. But her relationship with Ben could scuttle that plan, since he is technically her boss. For a lesser show, this would be where the phrase "hi-jinks ensue" would be deployed. But this is our beloved "Parks and Recreation" where people can act silly, situations can escalate into the far realms of the absurd, and ridiculous behavior is sometimes the norm. But people are still recognizably human, have real emotions, and treat each other like adults.
It may be a toss-up at this point which of Leslie's main relationships is the sweetest - her aborted romance with Ben, or her deep friendship with Ron Swanson. Ben revels in their mutual dorkiness, but he also respects and admires her enough to do the right thing and step aside when necessary (after endearingly presenting her with a homemade campaign button). Ron listens to Leslie dither on about her emergency s'more supplies and then gives her the honest advice she needs: "I'm Ron Swanson and you're Leslie F***ing Knope. Are you with me?" These two men are just what she needs to support her in her latest and greatest adventure.
We did mention the word "absurd" up there, so it's worth pointing out the subplot of Ann Perkins being subject to an inundation of Indiana's Anthony Wiener wannabes. Silly, and a bit too much of a trendy topical stretch, but her bewildered reactions to Chris's discussion of his feelings about the male anatomy were pretty priceless. April and Andy continue to be adorable, and now that Andy is Leslie's assistant, maybe real hi-jinks will ensue. Anything is possible in Pawnee.
- Just a very brief glimpse of the much anticipated (and feared) Tammy I (in the personage of the great Patricia Clarkson), but she certainly lived up to expectations. I think I was more impressed with her ability to intimidate April than anything else.
- "Do you want to go back to saying "Yay"?"
- There really should be an actual Ladies' Yacht Club.
- "If I could go back in time and cut your eyeballs out, I would."
- Tom's card will destroy your credit cards. Guaranteed.
- "Ann Perkins, you really know your testes!"
- "I don't know what you mean, but it had the cadence of a joke." "There you have it, where it is the thing Leslie Knope just said about the situation." Never change, Perd Hapley.
- "If you've got a nice drainpipe, there's no point in hiding it."("I doubt that's a saying").
- "Rubik's Cube with my face on it."
- Donna dislikes Jean Ralphio in all contexts.
- "I have the toes I have."
Here's what you need to know to get by at the water cooler
Two episodes into season three and "The Vampire Diaries" is already amping things up big-time – with hybrids, hunters and heroes, oh my!
Here's what you need to know to get by at the water cooler.
- Elena was still bent on finding Stefan and bringing him back from the dark side, but Damon was over it, especially after his bloodsucking bro killed his TV reporter girlfriend. So Elena went to Alaric and proposed they go try to find Stefan up in the Smokey Mountains, where Stefan was hanging with Klaus.
- Once they got there, she gave Alaric his you-can’t-die ring to project him – and then Damon showed up and shoved her into the river. Yup, Damon wasn’t happy. "What's your big plan, Elena? You gonna walk through a camp full of werewolves, roast a marshmallow and hope that Stefan comes and saves you?" But then he agreed to help them hunt for Stefan.
- Klaus, of course, was trying to find a way to create a vampire-werewolf hybrid, and doing it with some wickedly gleeful brutality. Lots and lots of blood spilled up in the mountains. He told Stefan he was building an army of soldiers. But something went wrong with the prototype, Ray, who bit Stefan and ran off. "Fatal werewolf bite," Klaus noted. "Ouch."
- Klaus told Stefan to find Ray, but Stefan was more interested in finding Elena, Damon, and Alaric, whom he heard on the mountain-top with his super-hearing. But Ray found them first, and tried to attack Damon. So Alaric shot Ray in the back. Then they tied him up. But the full moon was looming, and he started turning even before dark. So he and Damon fought till the death – and Stefan killed Ray just as he was about to kill Damon. "Elena has to give up on me, because I’m never coming back," he told Damon.
- When Stefan brought a dead Ray back to the campsite, Klaus was alone with a bunch of dead hybrids. "They went rabid," he said, quietly livid. "I should be able to turn them. I did everything I was told." Except kill the doppleganger, of course. Which he was quickly realizing. He gave Stefan some blood (in a beer bottle!) to heal his werewolf bite. "Bottoms up," Klaus said. "It appears you’re the only comrade I have left."
- Back in Mystic Falls, Damon told Elena he was wrong. “Stefan can be saved,” he said. “I’ll help you bring him back. But before I do, I need you to answer one question. What changed your mind about coming back?” And she had to admit, she didn’t want to see him hurt.
- Jeremy was still seeing ghosts of vampire-girlfriends past, including Vicki, so he confided in the only human left on the show, Matt, who was a bit spooked about the whole thing. “She’s your sister, and you have a chance to help her,” Jeremy told Matt. They decided to go through some of Vicki’s stuff to see if they could “build a stronger connection.” Matt couldn’t bring himself to deal – but then he saw a photo of him and Vicki move by itself, and he knew she really was there. So he said he’d help. And Vicki showed up again, telling Jeremy she could come back. But then his other dead vampire ex showed up and said “Don’t trust Vicki.”
- The ever-oblivious Tyler Lockwood, meanwhile, had no clue that his mom had taken down Caroline when the blond bloodsucker was sneaking out of their house post-hook-up. Then Tyler wondered where she was the whole day. When got home, he confronted his mom about the whole thing – and realized that she didn’t know he’s a werewolf. So he showed her just what a monster he truly was. And then she understood, and promised to release Caroline. But it was too late. She’d turned her over to another one of the council members, Bill, and he was set on destroying the vampires. Starting with Caroline, who was locked up in a secret dungeon. And it turns out Bill was her father! Tun, tun, tun!