The outstanding second season ends on appropriately bittersweet note
Most comedy series end on a cliffhanger, perhaps also adding a bunch of stunt casting and expanding the time to an hour. As usual, "Louie" subverted all of those notions. There were some familiar faces in the cast, but they were hardly the first stars to appear. Louis C.K. had already done his epic one-hour episode. And as for the cliffhanger – well, it may have existed but only in Louie's poor, delusional schmuck head.
In "New Jersey", following a great set, Louie is admonished by a homeless vagrant (I'm sorry, I mean Steven Wright) that he is obligated to stick around the bar and pick up a lady, since they will all be his for the asking. Surprisingly, Mr. Wright is right; a buxom blond blatantly propositions him and Louie doesn't need any convincing to let her take him home. To her house. In New Jersey. Where she lives with her husband. After some utterly hilarious outrage on the couple's part (when Louie explains that he thought he thought they would be alone, she sputters "What right did you have to assume that?"), Louie is tossed out on his non-threesome-having butt. But apparently, his good buddy Chris Rock lives in the Garden State, and comes to pick him up over the loud protestations of his (Rock's) off camera wife. As usual, Louie allows himself to be the sad and pathetic one, as Chris lectures him about growing up, settling down and being an adult.
Point taken, Louie drives his unrequited crush Pamela to the airport, where he learns she is moving permanently to Paris in order to try again with her baby daddy. Once again, they have a painful, harsh and very funny conversation about his love for her and her complete rejection of those feelings. She reads him perfectly ("Regardless of the fact that I've done nothing but let you know that there's no shot in hell of you ever being with me, you still got all your hopes pinned on me, am I right?") and he persists in asserting that he will wait for her, in the totally hopeless belief that she has feelings for him that she's "just not aware of yet." The result depressive's version of every movie cliché airport good-bye scene. Pamela waves goodbye from the boarding area, and Louie hears her "Wave to me!" as "Wait for me!". Ecstatic, he yells that HE WILL and leaves the airport a triumphant (and delusional) new man.
In the middle portion of his stand-up from tonight, Louie asks the audience ""Have you ever done something or lived a moment that you afterwards said, "Yeah, I don't think I'm going to tell anybody about that."?…I would say that about 40% of my life is made up of moments like that." Throughout this extraordinary two years, Louie has belied that statement over and over, by sharing with us those very moments. Moments that were by turn tender and ugly, frightening and difficult and gleeful, embarrassing and hopeful and shameful and wise and stupid. It's no hyperbole to say that he has created great art, and sharing it with us has been a great gift.
- The first bit about sleep and the kids getting him up too early? So so true. ("I don't even understand this! With getting out of bed before you have to! That hurts my brain.")
- "Brown liquid that makes people feel differently than if they didn't drink it."
- Academy Award winner F Murray Abraham, who seemed to be having a grand old time, played the New Jersey husband. ("That's a bit of none of your business!")
- "It's a storage issue, I got nowhere to put it."
Can 'AMC' make it on the net without Erica Kane?
By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
With "All My Children" set to take a bow on ABC Sept. 23, MSN TV visited Pine Valley to check in with Susan Lucci (Erica Kane) and Walt Willey (Jackson) during their final days of shooting. Both stars were exercising controlled denial, enjoying the grind at work, while delaying thoughts of the impending end. Now that Lucci's a free agent, however, the daytime diva has let loose on ABC for running the iconic soap into the ground and, reportedly, she won't bring Erica Kane to cyberspace when the show relaunches online in 2012. Not a good sign for the future of the show.
News that Lucci is adding an epilogue to her memoir, "All My Life," broke over Labor Day weekend and in the leaked diatribe, Lucci verbally spanks ABC execs like Brian Frons, pointing to both greed and arrogance as factors in the show's demise.
Ironically, Deadline is now reporting that negotiations between Lucci and the new "All My Children" cyber-producers, Prospect Park, soured because Lucci was asking too much of her new contract -- in other words, this time La Lucci is the one being painted as greedy. Chances are, however, it had more to do with that east coast/west coast commute, since she was being offered a similar salary. Whatever went down, it's hard to imagine Pine Valley without daytime's fave diva and this twist could in fact throw the show's relaunch for a loop. Stay tuned for news on that.
In the meantime, MSN TV already posted our goodbye chat with Alicia Minshew and Thorsten Kaye and there's more to come. We were going to save Lucci and Willey for last, but with the fate of "All My Children" reportedly "on the backburner" again, here it is.
MSN TV: You guys are nearing the end. You've known it was coming, but things keep changing, so where are we at today? How are you feeling about it all?
Susan Lucci: I think you described it very well. We're nearing the end, things are changing, how are we feeling and where are we at today? Here in the studio, it's been business as usual. I had fittings today and we have a lot of work at hand still, with wonderful scripts and stories to tell.
Walt Willey: It doesn't feel like the end.
Lucci: No, it does not.
Willey: It feels like a continuation. We know we have a few weeks left, but luckily, it's a company of people for whom it is not their sole thought that we have x number of days left. Our sole thought is to do the job we've always done, today.
Lucci: And do it well and have a good time doings it. I also would not even start counting the days. I don’t want to tick them off. I just want to enjoy what I'm doing.
How do you feel about the way the end is playing out, so far?
Lucci: I'm loving how it's playing out so far.
Willey: I'm glad you're back [to playing the real Erica, only]!
Lucci: Me too.
Willey: I didn't like that other one.
Lucci: It was fun to play that other one, but I'm glad to be Erica again. Wonderful scripts for all of us, as we play out our characters. With Agnes [Nixon, show creator] back and Lorraine Broderick as head writer, we recognize our characters. The audience, we hope, will enjoy seeing the characters they know and love.
What will it be like to hold onto that last script?
Lucci: I'm can't even begin to know. Emotional, I'm sure.
Willey: I don’t want to know what I'm going to feel like. This is something we've known was coming for awhile, but I haven't spent much time thinking about it. There's no reason to sully the day-to-day stuff by focusing on the last day.
Lucci: Or to be sad. We all feel grateful for this experience, even what we're going through now. I will say this: I did Jay Leno's show shortly after the announcement was made and Rob Lowe was a guest on the show. I was a huge fan of the "West Wing" and in the break, he leaned over and said, "Wait until your last day." He loved that company -- the people he worked and that show -- and I'm sure it's going to be emotional.
Is there a prop from the stages that you'd like to take with you when you leave?
Lucci: There are some dresses and purses that might be for sale. I'm making a little list and hoping for that opportunity.
Willey: You better take that French maid's outfit, that's all I'm saying!
Do you have a final message to fans from the ABC stages?
Lucci: I'm very happy I wrote "All My Life" and it went to print before any of this bad news came, because I wrote it from my heart, and not in response to anything. The last chapter of that book is my fan letter to our fans, from the bottom of my heart. There'd be no way to sit here and say how grateful I am and how much they've touched me.
Willey: There's two words that sum it up and I'll make it the last thing I say: Thank you.
"All My Children" airs weekdays on ABC through Sept. 23.
They've grown up right before our eyes
By Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to MSN TV
The comedy gods couldn’t have joined two more compatible costars than Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence. The stars and executive producers of "Melissa & Joey" have a lot in common. The season finale of the tight-knit sitcom airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.
Both are TV veterans with about three decades under their belts. Lawrence is best known for roles on “Gimme a Break” and “Blossom” and Hart will always be the star of “Clarissa Explains it All” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” Such long careers are especially impressive when you consider the fact that the two actors are only 35. Her birthday is April 18, and his is two days later.
Hart and Lawrence are both married with kids. She has two boys and he has two girls and shooting a sitcom gives them the freedom to spend more time with their families.
They’re both East Coast natives – he’s from Philadelphia and she’s from Long Island, New York – and they both made career comebacks as contestants on “Dancing with the Stars.” Best of all, if you’ve ever watched “Melissa & Joey,” a show many call a modern-day “Who’s the Boss,” then you know Hart and Lawrence have amazing comedic timing and chemistry.
“We have a very similar work ethic. We like to work hard,” Lawrence said during a set visit last week in Studio City, Calif. The cast is currently shooting season two. “Melissa is cool. She often jokes that I’m the girl and she’s the guy because she drinks and smokes and belches. “She says I smell prettier than her half the time, which is true.”
Their complementary commonalities and differences in real life are also interwoven into the show.
“Joey and I have ESP,” Hart said of her costar. “You get used to that when you’ve been doing comedy for like 20 years. Oh my God, 23 years ago I started ‘Clarissa.’ “So you just know.”
“Melissa & Joey” follows Mel, a local politician who suddenly needs a housekeeper/nanny to help her raise her niece and nephew (played by Taylor Spreitler and Nick Robinson respectively). Mel gained custody of the two when her sister went to prison and her brother-in-law went on the lam.
Enter Joe, a guy who used to work for Mel’s brother-in-law until he stole Joe’s money and that of many others. Joe needed a job and Mel needed domestic help and bingo-bango, a sitcom was born. Of course, they’re both attractive people so there’s some sexual tension and flirting. The first season of “Melissa & Joey” comes to an end Wednesday, Sept. 14, and fans can expect the ante to be upped between Mel and Joe in the romance department. Rumor has it, there’s even a smooch.
But costar Spreitler, who plays Mel’s niece Lennox, said fans shouldn’t expect the pair to ever become a couple.
“One of the things that ruined ‘Who’s the Boss’ is when they got together,” Spreitler, 18 said. “That’s definitely one of the things that will keep them (Mel and Joe) from getting together.”
“But I think that’s the fun in it,” she said. “Like watching them want to go there and they decide not to and then they fight with each other.
“They fight like an old married couple already so what’s the point of them actually getting together?”
The “Melissa & Joey” season finale airs Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.
'The Vampire Diaries' new produce-centered promos have us scratching our heads
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
Bing: More on Anderson Cooper
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.