Season two, episode nine of The Mindy Project picked up where last week's left off. "Mindy Lahiri is a Racist" was directed by The Office creator Greg Daniels, Mindy Kaling's former boss, who expertly executed this complicated episode. The story starts with Morgan (played by Ike Barinholtz, who also co-wrote the episode) making amends for all the sexting from Mindy's phone last week. This acknowledges that Mindy's relationship with Clint the lawyer (Glenn Howerton, from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) may be explored later, while allowing a completely different and unexpected plot to emerge. Schulman and Associates receives a positive internet review, but unfortunately it's on a White Power mommy blog.
Morgan is trying to clear the air, party boy Dr. Peter Prentice (Adam Pally) wants to get taken seriously, and everyone else is making a case that they aren't racist. The blog comes up innocently, sneaking up beneath jokes about Danny's feminine reading glasses. This made the reveal more surprising and funny, while subversively introducing the sensitive subject of race. It also shifts the narrative away from Mindy's romantic misadventures. Meanwhile Peter is asking Mindy to take him seriously, as she responds "I don't have time for your Borat impression."
Arriving at the issue of racism in a way that is so absurd allows The Mindy Project to address something delicate, and not deviate from the show's silly brand of chaos. This particular episode is packed with celebrity guest stars like Jenna Elfman. As a publicist, Elfman offers a lot as a straight-man and a sex partner for Danny. The racist mom blog even sparks a protest, led by a reappearance from the Duplass Brothers as the midwives who are the practice's competitors. When Mindy and Tamara are called on to make a statement, Mindy criticizes Tamara's boyfriend Ray-Ron (Josh Peck), causing a rift between the two.
Tamara joins forces with the midwives, but because Mindy is condescending, not racist. This calls back to the issue with Peter not being taken seriously. Danny then attempts to "change the conversation" only to mention his four black friends. Peter is set up to be the savior when Congressional candidate Tracy Whitfield, played by Larenz Tate, arrives. Peter claims to know the African-American politician, but after approaching he immediately retreats confusing him with another black guy. "Ok. That was very racist," Mindy concludes.
Mindy takes to addressing the crowd in one final attempt to defend the practice, calling on Peter's previously proposed mobile health clinic for women in need. This offers an olive branch to Whitfield while making Peter the expected hero in an unexpected way. In this effective episode, Mindy did what she does best: addressed a character flaw (she's condescending) while solving a broader problem. This allowed for both Peter and Tamara to show more depth and shot down criticism that Mindy only dates white guys. After all, she did go to second base with "Korean Justin."
The actor passed away in Portugal on Wednesday (07Nov12) after suffering complications following an operation earlier this week (begs05Nov12), although further details about his surgery were available as WENN went to press.
Dunn began his screen career in the 1930s, but took a break from acting to serve in the British Army during World War Two.
He returned to the public eye in the 1950s with a role in popular comedy series The Tony Hancock Show, but it wasn't until 1968 that he really found fame after signing up to play Lance-Corporal Jack Jones in classic BBC sitcom Dad's Army.
He scored a chart hit in the U.K. with the release of the song Grandad, which reached number one on his 51st birthday in January, 1971, and later landed the lead in a slapstick kids' comedy, also called Grandad.
Dunn, the cousin of late EastEnders soap star Gretchen Franklin, retired after Grandad was cancelled in 1984 and returned to Portugal, where he had set up home with his wife, actress Priscilla Pughe-Morgan and their two daughters.
Actor Stephen Fry was one of the first celebrities to pay tribute to Dunn following news of his death, writing on his Twitter.com page: "Saddened to hear of the death of Clive Dunn, the immortal Corporal Jones from Dad's Army. RIP".
Rob Huebel is a man of many talents. Well, actually, I don't know if he could juggle chainsaws (I bet he could), but the talents he does possess are being incredibly funny and popping in on just about every show you and your friends like. Right now he's starring in the absurdly hilarious Childrens Hospital so we chatted with the funny man about writing for the show, making out with classic television stars, and dogs chasing squirrels. Hard hitting stuff, indeed.
I absolutely love Childrens Hospital. It’s one of my favorite things on television right now.
Thanks. It’s one of my favorite things too.
How do you prepare for an episode of Childrens Hospital when everything is so bizarre and weird and so completely different from one episode to the next?
I think the trick to that show is to really treat it like it’s a real, serious medical drama. Hopefully we don’t ever look like we’re being silly, or goofy, or doing wacky shit. What we really want to do is take really absurd things really seriously. Hopefully that’s what makes it funny. I think that’s the trick with things like that. You don’t have to do anything different than a real show. Even though you’re saying crazy, crazy shit… like the most ridiculous things, you just have to deliver it really dramatically and really seriously.
So, it’s kind of like Airplane! and Naked Gun in that way. I remember reading that’s the way Priscilla Presley got through it: to not even think of it as a comedy line.
Well, I would love to be compared to that. I’m not sure that we are exactly on par. I look up so much to those movies, Airplane!, and Naked Gun. I think that stuff is so funny. I grew up just loving all that stuff, and sort of idolizing Leslie Nielsen. So I’m not sure that we’re exactly on par with that, but that’s a really nice comparison for sure.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for Childrens Hospital?
Well, we’ve had to do a lot. Last season I made out with Marion Ross from Happy Days. She was Mrs. C on Happy Days. You’re probably too young for that. She’s an older lady. I had to have a very graphic make out with her with my shirt off. And you know, our tongues were intertwined. That was interesting just because of our age difference. I’m walking my dog. My dog’s chasing a squirrel, here. There’s always a lot of crazy stuff. This season I get my foreskin reattached. That’s pretty crazy. There are a lot of porn stars on set this season. We shot an episode called “The Night Shift,” where we sort of reveal what happens at the hospital during the night. They completely change us over. It becomes this really dark place, and there are biker gangs in the emergency room. It’s like a really scary place at night. And there are a lot of porn stars there shooting. Henry Winkler’s character rented out the hospital to some porn crew so they could shoot a porno at Childrens Hospital at night.
That sounds awesome. How do you work in an environment like that where you’re surrounded by all these hilarious people and you’re basically goofing off, but at the same time you still have a job to do? I’m assuming you’re under deadlines. How do you strike that balance?
I wrote an episode this season, so I know a little about how it goes. The very first time you read this stuff, you shit your pants laughing. You love it, you can’t wait to do it. By the time you do it, you’ve reworked the script and reworked the script, and there’ve been a lot of meetings about it. When you’re actually in production, it’s like anything else. You have a certain amount of time in that you have to have this thing done. We try to shoot an episode in, basically, two days. There’s not a lot of time for screwing around, otherwise we wouldn’t have any type of show. We really have to work fast and you have to really focus up. Even though you’re saying and doing crazy things, you still have to do them in an organized way.
What really goes into writing an episode of Childrens Hospital?
What we do is, a group of us get together and sort of just pitch out ideas of things that we think would be funny for a specific cast member, or a funny thing for a lot of the cast to do. A thing that we did this season a lot was kind of take a break from the actual hospital thing and do something totally different. We’re really lucky that the show is only fifteen minutes long, so we can kind of do whatever we want. Most of the episodes are always dealing with hospital stuff. Crazy patients, crazy situations, just really absurd things in the hospital. But then we decided there should be a few episodes that are nothing like that. Completely different. We did one last year that was called "News Readers", sort of like 60 Minutes parody. There’s a guy that comes, and there’s a whole 60 Minutes piece on us. There’s one that’s like an old timey play. The whole episode is in black-and-white and it’s shot just like a play. Which is crazy, it’s completely bananas. If that’s the first episode of Childrens Hospital that you turn on to watch, you’re gunna be so fucking confused. But it’s really funny, and really cool. There’s another episode that’s all in the 70s. There’s another one where Jeff follows the ambulance driver, and we just follow this one character out of the hospital and see his whole life. It’s all about this sub-character, this ambulance driver Chet, played by Brian Huskey. And it’s really just following him around on his insane day. Picking up organs, delivering them, dealing with all the ambulance stuff. That was just sort of something that we thought would be kind of cool this year, to just break the form a little bit and get out of the hospital every now and then.
So you’re moving away from the medical, procedural tropes, to explore the universe a little?
Yeah. I think it’s just like, we know that we can always make fun of medical procedural dramas. That will always be our bread and butter. But we like to challenge ourselves every now and then to do something that’s totally different. To make it feel and look like a completely different show. Whether or not the audience goes for it remains to be seen. I think they will. At the end of the day, funny is funny. And all those episodes are really funny. Just because we’re not wearing scrubs, and we’re not under fluorescent lights in a hospital hallway, that doesn’t really matter.
What do you bring to the cast and writing to Childrens Hospital that no one else really does?
NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. And I’m trying so hard to hide that. The minute they sit down and have a budget meeting, and go, “Okay, we need to cut some costs. How much does everyone get paid? What? Huebel gets paid two million per episode? We gotta trim that shit.” I think that we all sort of bring our own attitudes to the show. We’re all sort of these sex-starved, insane and sort of vapid, stupid people that are really full of themselves, and probably horrible doctors. But I think we all do that in a different way. Malin is different from Ken, and Ken does it different from me. By the way, Ken does it the wrong way. I do it the right way. Whatever Ken is doing is wrong. I think we all just sort of do it in our own way. I tend to play super serious, or aggressively dumb, which is how I am in real life. Not too much of a stretch. On the writing side, we’ve all known each other for a long time, and we know these characters pretty well, so we know how to write for each other. I know how to write funny stuff for Corddry, I know how to write funny stuff for Megan. Once you have those funny characters, you know what they can’t do in that world, so it’s like trying to plug in funny situations for them.
What can you tell me about the upcoming Party Down episode?
Hold on just a second, my dog is going crazy on this squirrel. He’s gone up in these people’s yards who I don’t know. He’s terrorizing the squirrel. Wait! Wait, wait, wait! Sorry. German Shepherd. He hates squirrels.
Oh, the Party Down episode… I’ve been told by Rob Corddry’s law firm: Corddry, Corddry and Rosenstein, I am not allowed to talk about that episode. Corddry’s law firm are a bunch of leg-breakers. Literally. They’re so shady. They will fucking break your legs. They spray-painted the word “douchebag” on the front of my house to intimidate me.
I don’t want to get you in trouble.
Without giving it away, fans of Party Down will be very psyched to see that episode.
What can you tell me about The Descendants which is coming out later this year?
It was really an amazing experience. I got to go to Hawaii for three weeks and work with George Clooney, and one of my favorite directors, Alexander Payne. I have a very small part in the movie, but when you get the chance to go to Hawaii and hang out with those people—
You don’t really say no to that.
Yeah, you don’t turn it down. It was really great. Alexander Payne is one of those directors who is completely in charge and knows exactly what he wants, which is really fun. It’s fun when a director is very specific. He knows totally the tone that he’s going for. It makes it easier than if everyone’s just guessing and trying to figure it out. That’s no fun. It’s fun when the director knows what he wants. He’s that type of guy. George Clooney is exactly what you would expect. He’s annoyingly good looking, insanely funny and super smart. So you just feel really inferior around him all the time. You end up feeling really bad about yourself, but you walk away feeling really great about George Clooney.
You’ve appeared in pretty much every good comedy of the past few years. Is there everything you haven’t done yet that you really want to?
There’s a lot that I haven’t done. Thank you for saying that, but if you look hard, I’m the king of small parts on cool shows. And I’ll take that! I’m happy to do that, but I want to do bigger things and have bigger parts on those things. I’ve never been on a regular network show—I’ve been on a lot of network sitcoms like The Office.
You were just cast in Family Album, weren’t you?
Yeah. There still trying to figure out how that’s going to go. They shot that for the fall, and then they tried to retool it, and I think the plan is to maybe make it a midseason show. They’re still figuring that out. But that was great. The guy who directed that is Shawn Levy, who directed Night at the Museum and Date Night. His new movie is Real Steel. He’s amazing. Not to sound like I think every director is so great. He’s one of those guys where you’re like, “Yep! Whatever you want, dude. You tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” We were shooting this mark and I had to do this scene where I jump off of a motorboat into the Pacific Ocean. I don’t know where you live, but the Pacific Ocean in March is fucking freezing. But I was like, “Yep! Absolutely! No problem!” You wanna do a good job for these guys because you know they’re gunna make something cool. Sometimes when you shoot stuff, you never know how it’s gunna turn out. You don’t know the director. And you’re like, “I don’t know if this is going to be funny,” but you do it and hope for the best. But with Shawn, you know it’s going to be great. So that was really fun. It would be really cool if it became a show. It’s a totally different kind of thing. It was interesting going from Childrens Hospital to that, because that’s like a network sitcom. It’s like a family show, too, where you can’t say and do the crazy things you do on Adult Swim every night. But that said, my character is completely inappropriate. I’m like the uncle in the family, so I don’t have kids or responsibilities. I can just do and say whatever I want. So for me, that was really great and really fun.
Childrens Hospital airs Thursday nights at Midnight on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
Rango may be the latest entry in an exceedingly long line of animated flicks featuring anthropomorphized animals but it’s anything but ordinary. The long-gestating brainchild of Gore Verbinski director of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and the first animated feature from Industrial Light & Magic George Lucas’ visual effects firm Rango staunchly defies many of the conventions of current mass-marketed cartoon fare. It's not in 3D; it's a family film that borrows heavily from such adult works as Chinatown and the post-modern westerns of Peckinpah and Leone; its oddball comic sensibility includes references to prostate exams and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as well as the more tried-and-true potty humor; and its cast of unsightly critters isn’t likely to inspire any bestselling children’s costumes come Halloween. It's an unusual strategy but it works: Rango makes for a delightfully strange if somewhat inconsistent experience.
Much of the inspiration for Rango’s skewed spirit comes from its famously skewed star Johnny Depp who voices the title character a domesticated chameleon cast by fate into the desert to find his true identity. He eventually lands in Dirt a decrepit frontier town that’s literally dying of thirst. The townsfolk of Dirt desperately need a hero and Rango a wannabe stage actor ingratiates himself with them by bluffing his way into a job as town sheriff. But Rango is something of a coward at heart and when a real threat emerges in the form of a terrifying outlaw named Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy) his lifelong habit of hiding behind false identities and just "blending in" is suddenly and devastatingly exposed.
The film's narrative is a bit jagged structured loosely around a mystery involving the sudden disappearance of Dirt's water supply and the shady machinations of the town's corrupt mayor voiced by Ned Beatty. An overabundance of characters makes matters confusing at times and some of the action set pieces including a sprawling chase scene set to Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries" (a la Apocalypse Now) are breathtaking to watch but do little to advance the storyline. The jaw-droppingly vivid animation is magnificently evocative of the frontier towns of the classic westerns: its dusty distressed aesthetic dominated by brown and beige hues will make you feel grimy -- and not a little bit parched. Verbinski does tremendous work with atmospherics in Rango manipulating space and light and shadow to create an experience more immersive than even some of the better 3D-animated films.
Although the film's title suggests there might be some deeply relevant British national allegory in the film post-colonialist comedy fans shouldn't get their hopes up. The plot of Johnny English such as it is goes something like this: The title character a bumbling junior-level spy (Rowan Atkinson) is suddenly thrust into active duty when every other agent in the British Secret Service is blown to smithereens during a bombing at a fellow agent's funeral. When the Crown Jewels are stolen it's up to English to discover the culprit and in the process he unearths a plot to replace the Queen of England with a French entrepreneur who has some pretty nasty real estate development plans for Merry Olde Blighty. It's a sorry excuse for a story sure but such paltry fare as plot character development and dialogue don't matter much when you connect the bits with U.K. fave Atkinson hamming it up in his trademark blundering way. And he really is funny in this movie--maybe not pee-your-pants funny but certainly hoot-out-loud funny. As with any spy spoof some of the shtick works and some doesn't but on the whole Atkinson and Co. do a good job in spite of the contrived script and pithy lines writers Neal Purvis Robert Wade and William Davies have pieced together for them.
If Cervantes' Don Quixote were a modern-day spy this would be his story. Atkinson tilts at Johnny English's windmills with the vigor and extravagance fans of the comedian's trademarked physical comedy have come to expect. Whether he's crashing a funeral pantomiming to ABBA in front of his bathroom mirror invading a hospital with guns blazing or getting his tie caught in a sushi bar conveyor belt Atkinson gives this movie's hackneyed scenes personality they probably wouldn't have had in any other actor's hands. Comedian and fellow Brit Ben Miller takes his first strokes across the pond as English's sidekick Bough playing Sancho Panza to Atkinson's Quixote to fairly good effect. The real "straight man" in this farce however is Natalie Imbruglia as love interest Lorna Campbell. The girl can't act her way out of a paper bag but when you look the way she does in leather pants and stilettos talent is beside the point. John Malkovich is underutilized as the villain Pascal Sauvage whose anti-English (that's the nation not the spy) sentiments have driven him to lay claim to the throne of England which he plans to use for nefarious purposes.
Based as it is on a character Atkinson created for a TV commercial for a major British credit card it's not surprising that the characters in Johnny English are far more entertaining when they're improvising 60-second physical comedy scenes than when they're attempting to further the so-called plot. What is surprising is that such pedigreed moviemakers as director Peter Howitt (Sliding Doors) production company Working Title Films (producers of Elizabeth Fargo and Billy Elliot) and producer Mark Huffam (The Hours) are attached to such a silly film. Then again everybody needs to let loose sometime; maybe this is their idea of a vacation.