Community premiered in September of 2009, fostering a charming but none-too-flashy pilot about your standard good-looking jackass hoping to bed the down-to-earth blonde whom he comes to meet in the new world to which each of their lives have led them.
The episode introduced alongside said ostensible romantic leads, Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs), a quirky supporting cast who'd come at first to stand in the way of the former's sexual conquest, while promising subtly to entrench themselves into his daily routine and, eventually, his heart. The pilot played out largely within the confines of a single room — the same dimly lit library nook that has housed this cast of seven ever since — relying entirely on dialogue between the disparate, at-odds individuals for comedy. From what any viewer of the Community pilot might gather, this would be a show about nutty people existing in an ordinary world.
Three years later, we have these new photos from the approaching fourth season of the sitcom: images of men dressed as women, a man dressed as Olive Oyl (I know he's not supposed to be Olive Oyl, but the similarities are striking... but Community would never do a repeat reference), and college students dodging laser security systems...
In short, the show has changed quite a bit. Community's reality continues to breach its limits, allowing for some of the strangest circumstances imaginable to undertake its heroes week after week. These new images suggest no rest for this expansion.
And while many of us love Community and everything that it has become with its costumes, elaborate heists, Dreamatoriums, and monkey gassings, we have to wonder: how might the show have been different if it stuck to the formula of the pilot? Keeping its world grounded in ours, but having its characters soar high above on their eccentricity alone? Is Community better off as a fantasy of sorts, filled with Deanelgängers and zombie outbreaks, or do we miss the simpler, softer days of people just talking?
Personally, I'm content with the form the show has taken. Community might have adhered more stringently to a cartoon world over the past two seasons, but it has done so with aplomb, not losing its humanity or its capability of sincerity. Yes, things happen on this show that can't and won't in real life, but we're treated just as frequently to genuine struggles between and within the members of the central study group. And oftentimes, as the genre was created to do, it is these elements of fantasy that help the show to acknowledge the pains and problems plaguing Jeff, Britta, Abed, and company.
So, Community might never stick to its musical pledge to "be less weird" than the years preceding. But why bother? The weirdness on its own is great. And when the weirdness is utilized to illustrate everything that makes it humane and relatable, that's when the show is at its best.
[Photo Credit: Vivian Zink/NBC (5)]
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The Tommy moviemaker passed away in November, 2011 at the age of 84 after a suffering a number of strokes.
His second wife Vivian Jolly and his third, actress-turned-artist Hetty Baynes, both attended his funeral and they have grown so close since Russell's death they are planning to spend this Christmas (12) together.
Britain's Daily Mail newspaper now reports the pair is also planning to pen a book about the star.
Baynes tells the publication, "We immediately bonded at Ken's funeral. We married a genius and we both loved him, but he was an impossible man to live with.
"I've known (Jolly's) daughter, Mollie, by Ken and now we have become good friends. So she and Mollie will be coming to me for Christmas."
Baynes also reveals she and her son Rex paid tribute to Russell on the first anniversary of his death last week (begs26Nov12) by dining out and watching his 1977 movie Valentino.
She adds, "Rex and I marked the anniversary of his death last week with a meal out at Ken's favourite restaurant and then went back (home) and watched his film Valentino. Rex is a talented young actor whose father would have been proud of him."
The actress shaved her head to take on the role of cancer patient Vivian in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, and the play gained a slew of positive reviews after it was unveiled to the press this week (beg23Jan12).
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter has called Nixon's portrayal of a dying woman "shattering", adding, "Nixon's brittle intensity and cool intelligence make her an ideal match for the uncompromising Vivian."
The New York Post's theatre critic Elisabeth Vincentelli writes, "Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Wit offers a lucky - and brave - actress a complex, finely detailed role that's as demanding as it is rewarding... (Nixon) is respectful, reliable and committed, having shaved everything for the role."
Joe Dziemianowicz, of the New York Daily News, goes on to compare Nixon's performance to her most famous role in hit TV show Sex and The City and her Tony Award-winning appearance in Rabbit Hole in 2006.
He writes, "Nixon brings the cool, detached demeanour familiar from her portrayal of Miranda Hobbes on Sex and the City as well as the grieving mother in Rabbit Hole, for which she won a Tony Award in 2006. She gives a commanding performance, one in which hard, sharp edges subtly soften."
Actress-turned-TV personality Rosie O'Donnell has upset fans after posting a photo of her young daughter Vivian in a bullet sash on her personal Web site.
The outspoken talk-show queen received a string of e-mails from devotees who check out her daily blogs.
One upset fan wrote, "I found the picture of Vivi disturbing. I don't even let my children play with anything similar to that."
Pacifist O'Donnell posted the controversial photo of her daughter online on Tuesday as a visual attack on the Iraq War.
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Set in what seems to be an idyllic 19th-century farming township The Village follows a close-knit community as they go about their daily lives. Soon however it becomes evident things aren't quite so simple. The villagers believe a race of ferocious mythological creatures lives in the woods surrounding their little valley but there's an unspoken truce between "Those We Don't Speak Of" and the townsfolk: don't go into their woods and they won't come chew up the town. That's all well and good until the quiet and resolute Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) messes up the works. He tries to convince the village elders they need better medical supplies for the sick and that he should go through the woods into the neighboring towns to get them. The elders including Lucius' mother Alice Hunt (Sigourney Weaver) advises him to stay put but the young man doesn't listen to their warnings and breaches the boundaries anyway ever so slightly effectively ending the truce. Uh-oh. Then there's Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard) the beautiful and spirited blind daughter of the town leader Edward Walker (William Hurt) who captures Lucius' heart. Needless to say things get twisted pretty quickly (we are talking about a Shyamalan film after all) and it's Ivy who must eventually face entering the dreaded woods. As the menacing presence looms over the town her bravery becomes the only thing that can save them. But you'll soon be asking from what? There's the rub.
Shyamalan has finally made a movie in which there are no soulful moody eerily intelligent children in it. OK so maybe you'll miss Sixth Sense's Haley Joel Osment and his pale face or Signs's Rory Culkin with his big eyes just a little. But luckily Shyamalan has found a new wonder--newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard who replaced Kirsten Dunst as Ivy. As the daughter of the Oscar-winning director Ron Howard it's easy to see how she got her foot in the door but what's surprising is how affecting she is as Ivy. Playing a blind girl who must gather the courage to battle unseen fears isn't new--Audrey Hepburn was probably the best in the 1967 Wait Until Dark--yet the talented Howard's naturally blithe and spunky personality brings her own freshness to the character. Phoenix is also quite heartbreaking as Lucius who desperately loves Ivy but has trouble letting her know his feelings. His only way is by protecting her. Their moments together are exquisitely touching; all she has to do is reach out as the townsfolk scurry for cover from impending danger and he is there--no matter what. In the supporting roles veterans Hurt and Weaver as well as the rest of the elders including Shyamalan favorite Cherry Jones (Signs) and Troy's Brendan Gleeson do a nice job as the town's secretive leaders. But it's Adrien Brody in his first real role since winning Best Actor for The Pianist who stands out as fellow villager Noah a mentally impaired man whose own feelings for Ivy take a tragic turn.
In a way M. Night Shyamalan has become his own worst enemy having to live up to this reputation as a master of horror and suspense cloaking his projects in secrecy and generating unnecessary hype. But the fact of the matter is he is one of Hollywood's more brilliant minds on par with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman for originality who has an innate talent for crafting individual moments of genuine human emotions. Like Twilight
Zone's Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock before him Shyamalan is more fascinated by how people react in frightening situations rather than just scaring the bejeezus out of you--and with The Village Shyamalan delves deeper into human psyche more than ever before examining the age-old saying "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Having shot the film in southeast Pennsylvania the director meticulously built this 19th-century universe from the ground up with the wooden cabins and handmade props--and painting a picture of how fear of the unknown can propel a group of people to come together in harmony. Yet regardless of how the fear of big scary monsters brings the villagers together audiences may be expecting big scary monsters to come out of the woods and therefore may not appreciate the somewhat anti-climactic albeit twisty ending.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston can relax; they are now surpassed in the couples rumor mill by the betrothed Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. So we're here to quash some buzzings and entertain you with others.
The latest rumor is that Zeta-Jones wants to take Douglas' name after they wed, according to the New York Daily News. Does this make her Catherine Douglas or Catherine Zeta-Douglas? We're not sure. But while we find out, we can tell you that she's not converting to Judaism, according to Douglas.
"I have had no formal religious training myself, and there has never been any debate with Catherine about it. Religion has not entered into the equation. Our child will be raised the same way I was," Douglas, 55, told London's Mirror.
He also admits that he misplaced her engagement ring before he proposed New Year's Eve. When Douglas couldn't find the sparkler in his luggage, he was "sure someone had stolen it," but Zeta-Jones, 30, remembered seeing him fumbling with a box at their hotel room in Wales over Christmas. Douglas called the hotel and asked housekeeping if they'd found a box, and lo and behold, it was there. It was shipped to Aspen, Colo., where he proposed at his resort. Kudos to the FedEx people for going above and beyond the call of duty.
A SHAGADELIC LAUGH: "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me's" Mike Myers and "American Beauty's" Annette Bening took funniest film actor and actress honors at the American Comedy Awards on Sunday night at Los Angeles' Shrine Exposition Center. The awards will be telecast March 23 on Fox.
Funniest motion picture went to "Analyze This," a mob comedy starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal, topping more offbeat nominees such as "American Beauty" and "Being John Malkovich."
Steve Martin was honored with a career achievement award. Said Myers, "I like Steve Martin because he's silly and smart, smart and silly."
MAKING PEACE: Before "Red Planet" opens Nov. 10 -- pushed back from June 16 -- Tom Sizemore would like to clear the air concerning reported rifts he had with co-star Val Kilmer.
"Val and I are friends," the 36-year-old actor told USA Today. "A lot of people say nasty things about him. ... We did 'Heat,' and he was sweet to me. We're together (in 'Red Planet') from Page 6 to the end, every day, for 16 hours. And we've had a really good time. "
Earlier reports said the two considered taking out restraining orders on the set. Kilmer says, "The idea that Tom and I have taken out restraining orders ... is completely untrue. I have known Tom for many years and have the utmost respect for him as a person and actor."
MAKING PEACE, PART II: Madonna, after giving some 65 interviews promoting her upcoming film "The Next Best Thing," finished her interview with Rosie O'Donnell and decided she had more good-doing to do. So the Material Girl popped on over to "Saturday Night Live" studios, where fellow diva Jennifer Lopez was rehearsing her musical number for this week's show. The two reportedly greeted each other warmly and laughed off rumors that Madonna snubbed Lopez at Donatella Versace's New Year's Eve bash over Lopez's criticism of her acting abilities in a Movieline.
OBITS: French director Claude Autant-Lara, known for his right-wing political stances and jabs at bourgeois society, died Saturday at age 98. Autant-Lara directed more than 30 films, many of them classics of 1940s and 1950s French cinema ...
John Vincent Imbragulio, a music executive who produced the rock 'n' roll single "Sea Cruise" among others, died Friday at age 74. Imbragulio owned Ace Records, Ace Music Publishers and Avanti Records ...
Todd Karns, who played James Stewart's younger brother in died Saturday of cancer at age 79. Karns' character, Harry Bailey, made the memorable toast in the film's final scene, saying "To my big brother, George. The richest man in town!" ...
Doris Kenner-Jackson, member of the Shirelles, died Friday of breast cancer. She was 58. The Shirelles, which also included Shirley Alston Reeves, Beverly Lee and the late Addie "Micki" Harris, had many hits in the early 1960s, including "Soldier Boy" and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."
QUICK TAKES: Add Clint Eastwood to the roster of presenters at this year's Academy Awards on March 26 in Los Angeles. Eastwood picked up Best Picture and Best Director awards for 1992's "Unforgiven." ...
... Phylicia Rashad (CBS' "Cosby") has made plans to renovate the Brainerd Institute, a historic black school where her mother, Vivian Ayers Allen, graduated ...
Paul Newman ran into a little car trouble at the 24 Hours of Daytona race Saturday. His Porsche blew an engine and was retired only eight hours into the race. Luckily, the 75-year-old Newman was not in the car when it blew; likely he was off hand-gliding or preparing for the running of the bulls.