Tensions escalate within the club, and the new sheriff takes a stand
Keep it local, keep it focused, and keep it within the family. These are all good edicts for "Sons of Anarchy" to follow going forward, as this thoroughly absorbing episode builds on the groundwork laid in the premiere. Some subplots are still a bit shaky, but overall things are shaping up like gangbusters.
Speaking of "gangbusters", how impressive was Sheriff Roosevelt and his ax of destruction? Unlike Agent Stahl, this lawman has no personal (and insane) vendetta against SAMCRO, nor does he have any family or community ties to Charming like deputy chief Hale. No, he is a law enforcement officer, period. He can be determined to stop them from committing criminal acts in the town, while still being utterly contemptuous of Mayor Hale and his unethical behavior. There is no predicting how this character will develop, and which way his loyalties will ultimately fall. But for now, he is a righteous and formidable obstacle to all of the biker gang activity.
Activity that now includes acting as drug mules for the cartel, upping the stakes considerably. The best part about this development is the way it helps form precarious new alliances - Jax and Clay agreeing to a united front, each for their own self-interested reasons – and opens up unexpected conflicts, most notably with Bobby positioning himself firmly in opposition to the plan, in the interests of the club itself. And the cocaine running makes Jax's pledge to Tara to make tons of money under the radar even more of a ridiculous pipe dream. It also makes it harder for viewers to continue suspending their disbelief that the smart and capable Tara would go along with this "one last big score" idea, which seemed weak from the beginning.
Of course, it's possible that Tara's and Jax's estrangement from the club will come in the form of a confrontation with Gemma over the secrets of her past. Back in season one, it seemed fairly certain that Gemma and Clay had killed Jax's father, in order to consolidate their own power. But things seem murkier on that front, with the possibility of Wayne's involvement thrown into the mix as well. Do I wish they would stop hinting around and come out with the truth? Sometimes. But then we wouldn't get Gemma feverishly racing around trying to cover up a cover-up, which is still somewhat perversely enjoyable. Anyway, secrets never stay secret for long in Charming.
- Interesting contrast between the (relatively) mature and honest relationship of Jax and Tara and the not-so-aboveboard marriage of Opie and Lyla. Also, does Opie let one day go by without talking about getting Lyla "knocked up"? Calm down dude, she's not some breeding cow.
- “It is through being wounded that power grows and can, in the end, become tremendous” Of course, Linc Potter quotes Nietzsche. I love this guy.
- Hard to believe it has taken Danny Trejo three years to get onto this show. He didn't even flinch at those gunshots from the Russians.
- "Little late to be good cop, ain't it?" Ouch.
The talk show stud strips down for a spray tan, but keeps 'personal life' under wraps
With "Anderson" premiere week in full swing, host Anderson Cooper has already gone shirtless for a swim with Michael Phelps and stripped down for a tanning sesh with Snooki, but that's not what some folks want him to reveal. Now that he's part of the more intimate daytime scene, many are hoping -- even demanding -- that Cooper finally comes out about whether or not he's gay.
Bing: More on Anderson Cooper
Since Cooper announced he was coming to daytime, the press has been trying to get him to come out about his sexual preference, or at least reveal that he plans to come out on his show. After all, as Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O'Donnell and Nate Berkus can attest, daytime is a pretty gay-friendly environment.
Of course, Cooper may not be gay. Many have come to assume he is, based on murmurings, gossip and stories on independent news sites. Cooper also garnered a mention in "Out Magazine's Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America issue in 2007 and, more recently, CNN host Rachel Maddow came under fire when it sounded like she was telling Cooper to come out in an interview with The Guardian.
With all this chatter, the newsman has continued to sidestep the question of his sexual orientation. "You know, I understand why people might be interested, but I just don’t talk about my personal life," Cooper told New York magazine back in 2005. "The whole thing about being a reporter is that you're supposed to be an observer and to be able to adapt with any group you’re in, and I don’t want to do anything that threatens that."
Daytime, however, is all about sharing yourself and getting personal, so when Cooper was promoting "Anderson" at the TCA press tour this summer, there were several vague and yet painfully obvious questions from the press about whether he would share his "personal life," and this past Monday, Washington's ABC 7 tried again, to no avail.
The practice of outing members of the LBGT community is generally frowned upon, so most folks are choosing their words, so carefully they're giving Cooper an out (pardon the pun). Others, however, are being more direct.
"When it comes to the prospect of watching 'Anderson' day after day, it leads to a personal question he has declined to answer many times about his sexual orientation," wrote Washington Post critic Hank Stuever. "Cooper…decided long ago to keep his private life private, a lesson learned from watching his famous mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, endure press scrutiny. Also, he doesn’t want it to get in the way of journalistic objectivity. Fair enough, but that's not what viewers want in an afternoon talk show host. This job is after all about spilling it -- whether it's the guest or the host."
With "Anderson" getting less than stellar premiere ratings, a big announcement would certainly turn heads. Then again, all this "Is he or isn't he?" drama is already drumming up free publicity for him and the show.
What do you think of this new round of interest in Anderson Cooper's sexual orientation? Leave a comment and weigh in.
"Anderson" airs weekdays in syndication. Check local listings.
Get ready for 'dramatic confrontations, emotional breakthroughs and real solutions'
On the heels of winning TV Choice Award for Best Daytime Series last night, the UK's number one daytime talk show, “The Jeremy Kyle Show," is coming to America on Monday. If you enjoy a healthy dose of confrontation and controversy in your daytime lineup, straight-talking and irascibleJeremy Kyle could be the ticket.
Bing: More about Jeremy Kyle
Since “The Jeremy Kyle Show" launched in the UK in 2005, host Jeremy Kyle has played controversial mediator to a host of working class guests who want to resolve issues, conflicts and turmoil involving their families, relationships, sex, drugs and alcohol. Now, he's bringing his brand of truth to America.
While the CW series "Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers" launches on the same day, with the similar goal of helping people, “The Jeremy Kyle Show" has a very different approach.
With a strong commitment to "family values" and "the truth," the short-tempered host is known for going off on guest he deems untrustworthy, irresponsible and/or wasting his time. Viewers can expect the occasional heartwarming episode on the exported one-hour daytime talk show, but Kyle's regular arsenal includes a lie detector, DNA testing and a security team ready to break up physical scuffles.
In other words, the format will be familiar to fans of "The Jerry Springer Show," "Geraldo" and "The Morton Downey, Jr. Show" and much like those shows, the UK export has seen its share of lawsuits, criticism and parody.
Yes, we'll be seeing clips from this one on "The Soup." Don't take MSN TV's word for it, however. Just check out this promo for the new series, launching in syndication Monday."The Jeremy Kyle Show" will air in syndication starting Monday, Sept. 19. Check local listings.
Raising baby just got a whole lot funnier on TV
Monday's Sheen-anigans include hyper-hyped roast and sitcom
Monday? No, I don’t think so. SHEENday.
At 10 p.m. on Sept. 19, Comedy Central premieres its roast of Charlie Sheen. It follows by an hour the premiere of “Two and Half Men” starring Charlie Sheen’s absence. (His character is said to have died in a Parisian subway accident.)
The joke will be on Sheen during both shows –- thanks on the roast to a dais packed with evil comedians who know no boundaries, and on the sitcom to Ashton Kutcher making a reported $800,000-$900,000 per episode for cake-walking into a show built on Sheen’s sweat and tiger blood. (Sheen was sacked in March after an epic meltdown that launched a cottage Internet industry in crazy glossaries.)
The latest roast hype is a promo featuring Sheen parodying his father Martin’s watery “Apocalypse Now” scene. (Roman Coppola, son of the classic movie's director, Francis Ford Coppola, served as technical adviser.)
“I was going to the worst place in the world -- cable,” Sheen says in the short, after which the camera pulls back to reveal Martin standing by a hot tub and calling his son to bed.
The sitcom is relying almost singularly on stripping Kutcher of his clothes, which he did for an ad campaign and "The Ellen Show." (The other one-and-a-half lead cast members did it for the campaign, too, but nobody noticed except their embarrassed mothers.)
Can either program live up to the hype?
Lips were sealed as tightly on the “Two and Half Men” set as the doors during the August 5th taping. But it opens on a funeral (and we know how funny those are).
To be fair, the writers must have been thrilled to be back and new characters always breathe new life into old premises. (Kutcher’s is an “Internet billionaire.” Perhaps he started one of those Sheen quote sites.) Besides, let's be honest, this show never set the hilarious bar dangerously high to begin with.
In stark contrast, jokes from the roast are all over the Internet since news outlets were allowed to send reporters to last Saturday’s taping in L.A. Most are solid, but anybody who reads more than two of these stories will not need to see the show.
All of the hype misses an important point. Without the headlines created by Warlockgate, Comedy Central would never have roasted Charlie Sheen. (One of its ads reads: "All aboard the crazy train.") And only loyal viewers would care about a 9th season of "Two and a Half Men" with no Charlie Sheen.
So what are both networks doing exploiting the mental breakdown of a formerly beloved celebrity?
The Season 9 premiere of "Two and a Half Man" airs Monday, Sept. 19, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. "The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen" airs Monday, Sept. 19, at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.
Jesse and Walter finally have it out, with inevitably bloody results
Walter White has always taken great pride in his alter ego "Heisenberg" – the no nonsense attitude, the macho brevity, and of course, the hat. So far, this season Heisenberg has been noticeably absent, as Walter has receded into background as a frustrated and marginalized bit player in the ongoing drama of Gus Fring's crystal meth empire. Still, he is our (ostensible) protagonist and it is only natural that we keep expecting him to come roaring back, most likely breaking the windshield of the Aztec while he's at it. Tonight's episode pushed that possibility even farther off the table as all of Walter's estranged relations – wife, boss and assistant/protégé – upped their toughness quotient considerably.
Skyler received an unwelcome visit from a broke and desperate Ted Beneke, who is facing prison due to a criminal IRS audit, and her panic is acutely palpable as she gasps, "My name, my signatures are all over those books." But, as she has proven time and time again, Skyler White has untapped reserves of guile and a flair for the dramatic. Given how grim things can get in "Breaking Bad", Anna Gunn's delightfully amusing bimbo act ("I…did not follow what you just said.") was a welcome relief from the usual mayhem. But it's never that simple on this show, as shown by her last shot eyeing the plastic bags full of money hidden under the house.
The more classic interpretation of fearless tough guy was embodied by Gus, particularly in that tense scene where he unflinchingly strides out through the cartel sniper's bullets, all but daring him to shoot him right there and then. Of course, he doesn't but Gus is forced to accede to their demands that he give up half his business and Walt's famous blue meth formula. Despite what we learned about him last week, Gus – unlike Walt - is able to make the kind of necessary practical decisions about his business, unclouded by any false sense of pride or worry about his reputation. However, this particular change calls for the help from the unlikeliest person – Jesse Pinkman.
Of all the people in Walt's orbit, Jesse is now the one whose ties to him are the most complicated – and the most fragile. Besides the well-trod emotional territory of father/son and teacher/student, both of the these men have shared extreme experiences only with each other, and – at least in the case of Walt and the nature of Jane's death – have potentially explosive secrets between them. So it was incredibly painful to watch a panicked, trembling Jesse spill out all his fears and plead with him for help, only to be hit with the full force of Walt's cold selfishness and distrust. That ugly fight, clumsy and brutal and primal, surely won't be end of their relationship, despite Jesse's final admonishment to "get the **** out and never come back", but the balance of power appears to have inexorably shifted. Jesse's eyes are fully open and there's no going back to the way things used to be.
Forthcoming HBO doc by Martin Scorsese sparks rumors
According to a new biopic by Martin Scorsese, which HBO will screen next month, Harrison was hardly the quiet Beatle behind locked doors. Rather, he had a voracious appetite for extramarital affairs.
"He liked women and women liked him," Harrison’s widow, Olivia, says in "George Harrison: Living in the Material World, " admitting that their union (his second) survived many “hiccups.”
"If he just said a couple of words to you, it would have a profound effect,” Olivia says. “ It was hard to deal with someone who was so well loved.”
Sir Paul McCartney, no stranger to marital problems, adds: "I don’t want to say much because he was a pal, but he liked the things that men like. He was red-blooded."
Thanks mostly to Mrs. Harrison No. 1, Pattie Boyd, we know lurid details of the former Beatle's wife-swapping with Eric Clapton,Ringo Starr and Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood. And Harrison was fingered in the 1996 book You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again by a prostitute complaining that she serviced him but he never thanked her, asked her name or enjoyed himself enough to stop strumming his ukelele.
But the rumor of a Madonna tryst, spawned by the Scorsese doc, is fresh and seems to hold some water. (Check out Britain’s Daily Mail for the poop.)
The two met on several occasions in the mid-’80s, when Harrison’s movie company financed Madonna’s abysmal “Shanghai Surprise” (nickname: “Flop Suey”), and when her marriage to Sean Penn was crumbling.
Was it something in the way she moved?
“George Harrison: Living in the Material World” air in two parts on Wednesday, Oct. 5, and Thursday, Oct. 6, on HBO.
Controversial comedian talking anti-awards podcast
Ricky Gervais may host an anti-Golden Globes podcast during the awards telecast, during which he and comedian friends Larry David, Louis CK, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart perform a “Mystery Science Theater 3000”-type alternate soundtrack to NBC’s.
"People at home can have the telly on with the sound down listening to us online say things that no broadcaster could get away with," he wrote on his personal blog.
Shockingly, Gervais claimed he was asked back by the network to once again publicly humiliate the celebrities in attendance. If true, there is no better proof of the adage that any publicity is good publicity. (Gervais was warned by many Hollywood higher-ups that he would never work in this town again.)
“It was a network friendly gentle ribbing of the industry,” Gervais wrote. “Nothing more. I didn't even dress as Hitler in the end.”
The 2012 Golden Globe Awards airs Sunday, Jan. 15, on NBC.