Saturday, November 10, 2012

FROM SNIGLETS TO THE JUDY DOLL:  In honor of HBO's fortieth anniversary this week, Splitsider's Bradford Evans attempts to rank the top 16 comedies in the cable network's history.  No love for 1st & Ten, sadly.  (Also, definitionally, shouldn't Tanner '88 have been in there?)

Friday, November 9, 2012

DOES THIS TEMPT THE WRATH OF THE WHATEVER FROM HIGH ATOP THE THING? For all the problems The Newsroom had, the quality of the people they get to be in the cast isn't one of them--heck, even Olivia Munn wound up acquitting herself fairly well.  Looks like that tradition will continue in season 2, with Rosemarie DeWitt and Patton Oswalt both agreeing to appear in recurring capacities.  (Oswalt will also apparently recur on the next season of Justified.)
THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH WORKS-IN-PROGRESS:  In an interview with a French magazine, Philip Roth has announced his retirement from literature: "I decided that I was done with fiction. I do not want to read, to write more. I have dedicated my life to the novel: I studied, I taught, I wrote and I read. With the exclusion of almost everything else. Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced in my life."
ZOMBIEDELPHIA:  Doesn't much matter that they filmed it in Glasgow instead of here, because the first trailer for World War Z looks pretty sweet.
AT SUCH MOMENTS, THE CONSTANT THEATERGOER MAY FEEL ONE OF TWO DIFFERENT, EQUALLY STRONG URGES: TO MIST UP OR TO THROW UP:  A revival of Annie, first discussed here over two years ago, opened on Broadway last night and the NYT says:
It would seem that Mr. Lapine is hoping to introduce at least a tincture of psychological shading to a show that is only, and unapologetically, a singing comic strip....

In 1977 Miss Hannigan was portrayed by Dorothy Loudon as a juicy gargoyle, with equal parts Dickensian villainy and showbiz oomph. Ms. Finneran, a two-time Tony winner, takes a more humanizing approach... her Ms. Hannigan is a lonely lush who really just wants to land a fella. 
When her no-good brother, Rooster, proposes a scheme to swindle Oliver Warbucks and make Annie “disappear,” you detect glimmers of a conscience beneath her snarling exterior. When she performs her big solo, “Little Girls,” with a possessed, mesmerizing loopiness, it feels less like a declaration of war than like a private nervous breakdown. You don’t feel like hissing this Miss Hannigan, which adds an addling ambivalence to the show.
Yes, I will bust out the Sarah Jessica Parker singing "I Don't Need Anything But You" link again. Also, the NYT has video of many, many "Tomorrows," from Andrea McCardle to Idina Menzel to Zach Galiafanakis.
OH K:  Ascribe it to my general cluelessness or not being a coffee drinker, but did I miss the moment at which Keurig single-cup brewers became completely ubiquitous? Would you recommend one for folks who mainly sit on the tea/hot chocolate side of the hot beverages divide?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

MARTINIS ON THE ROOF:  For those of us who have never, ever seen a James Bond film (don't ask me why - just an odd cultural gap), the AV Club has a primer on where to start, and names as the five "essentials" From Russia with Love, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Goldfinger, and Casino Royale (2005).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND:  Country music duo The Civil Wars has cancelled its planned tour, citing "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition."

In a rather classy and I suspect unprecedented gesture, the band also announced: "We understand that there are many of you stuck with service charges and travel reservations due to our abrupt cancellations. Please email us at if there are costs incurred that you would like to be reimbursed for, include a scan or attachment to your receipt(s) of the costs, and we will do our best to reimburse you for non-refundable charges." [HT to Will Bunch, who suggested the title.]
HELLO, WOULD YOU LIKE TO CHANGE RELIGIONS? I HAVE A FREE BOOK WRITTEN BY JESUS!  Splitsider lists the top fifty writer/directors working in comedy, and discusses upcoming projects for each.
THERE'S A BATHROOM ON THE RIGHT:  Five minutes of illustrated musical mondegreens; hold me closer, Tony Danza indeed.
TEACHING TO THE TEST:  A fuller review of The Wire's season 4 episode "Corner Boys" will come in this space later today.  Start discussing now.

added: I mean, talk about an episode on one theme: everyone's being pressured to generate statistics which might not actually reflect positive outcomes, whether it's Prez in class, Mayor-elect Carcetti on crime, or Landsman giving Bunk such a hard time over solving the shooting at Andre's place.  In the meantime, let's just reveal in Sidney Handjerker's and Ervin Pepper's phone skills, because that was just classic.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Proposition 1: Prohibits the baiting of bears, except where the bait is delicious and properly so labeled with the words "DELICIOUS BEAR BAIT" in a legible font sufficiently large to be read and understood by a bear. Also requires appropriate warnings if bear bait contains trace or greater amounts of peanut ingredients.

Proposition 2: Permits the baiting of bears for medicinal purposes only.

Proposition 3: Permits the baiting of bears, but creates an agency for the comprehensive regulation of bears to be constituted within the Department of Motor Vehicles and to be headed by a commission of three persons, one of whom shall be a Democrat, one of whom shall be a Republican, and one of whom shall be a bear.

Proposition 4: Permits the baiting of bears and all bear-like creatures, including raccoons, koalas, mascots, and you in 20 years if we're being honest with ourselves.

Proposition 5: Prohibits the baiting of bears, but permits the trolling of bears, including by posting anti-bear comments at http://www.bear.grr.

IT'S WHAT MAKES US A DEMOCRACY: NO POLITICS, but did you vote today or earlier or not at all? And were the lines short or long or brisk or festive? And if you're one of our Jersey-Americans, did you do the email thing? And if you answered any of these questions, DO NOT TELL US OR COYLY HINT WHO OR WHAT YOU VOTED FOR. Unless there was a bear-baiting ballot measure in your state, because I miss those.

Monday, November 5, 2012

HELLO, RAINBOWS:  The people of Reading, PA, are up in arms because the city's AA-affiliate, known for the past 46 years as the Reading Phillies, will take on a new nickname in 2013 (despite still being affiliated with the major league team).
IMPRESSED:  A new study finds that over the near-200 countries in the world, Great Britain has invaded about 90% of them at some point in its history, sparing only twenty-two. Congratulations, Monaco! (For now.)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A DENIAL, A DENIAL:  Courtney Love is contradicting reports that there will be a Broadway musical about Nirvana, and says she wasn't happy with the use of the band's music in The Muppets, either: "What the fuck's with the Muppets? I happen to like Elmo and I think the Cookie Monster is interesting but I know him [Kurt] and I know he didn't want to be a Muppet. It was a disgrace. Like pissing on a grave."