Mork is back. Well, actually, it's just Robin Williams, who went off to another planet known as Movieland for about 35 years before deciding to return to the small screen. Now he's in The Crazy Ones, which is about an advertising executive and his daughter, who is also part of the firm. After this prolonged absence, does Williams have the juice to keep a show alive and make it thrive?
Early signs are yes, with over 15 million people watching the premiere. Williams was his usual manic self at the beginning of the episode, spouting off gibberish that made us all wonder if his character had lost it. It turns out, like many of Williams' roles, he was just being crazy like a fox. The gist of it: McDonald's needed a new ad and his firm was in danger of losing the account. So he set up a desperate Hail Mary to land Kelly Clarkson, who was playing herself. Or some version of herself. In what was probably the funniest part of the whole episode, they riffed on how to make a really ribald version of the McDonald's song (It was also nice to see James Wolk be an ad man who was not trying to undermine everyone there - Hi Bob Benson!).
Williams was a pro, mesmerizing in his scenes and Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy got older! Boo!) did a great job as a straight man...er...woman to Williams' schtick. He also showed the depth of humanity that he is known for. He's not a cardboard cutout who just wants to make people laugh. The show was well written without teetering too far on either schmaltzy or insane, though Gellar belting out a song in the middle of a crowded restaurant did edge up to being both but the scene didn't fall over the edge.
I'm going to be like the millions of people who likely decided to see what a second episode brings before fully committing to this show, but it was a very promising beginning. I know I'm not crazy for doing so.
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You know when you tuck into a big old pile of ice cream or frozen yogurt or a combination cherry and cola flavored Slurpee that you mixed yourself from 7-Eleven, and you are so excited by your sweet treat completely void of any substantive nutritional value whatsoever that you eat it too fast and you get that crippling headache that makes you double over in pain and push on your temples like you are going to force your brain out of the top of your skull? That's how I felt watching last night's Real Shrieking Harpies of Ghost Hill Mansion finale and reunion spectacular. It was just so much so fast and you thought it was going to be delicious but then....OH....TOO MUCH!
That's what happens when you put it all together, I just can't even make my brain process all that fighting. This week I'm just going to ignore the reunion pretty much altogether. (Obviously Brandi, Yolanda, and Lisa won over an overly shrieky Kyle and Kim who cares more about showing up for a Master Cleanse or not then, you know, things that actually matter. Taylor, well, she is just such a non-entity on this show she might as well be a billow of smoke from a candle you just blew out. Lisa did lose points when she accused Kyle of using her and Adrienne so her husband could sell their houses, but otherwise she came off as likeable while the others were like screech monsters.) Yes, that's right, no more reunion talk. I'm just going to address the episode and we'll tuck into the entire reunion next week after the second part. Deal? Deal!
OK, after the interloper Faye Resnick of the Morally Corrupt Resnicks, interrupted Brandi and Yolanda's discussion with Fetch and they walked off, they had another discussion with Fetch about the text that Brandi sent her that said she and her husband should cheat on each other. Brandi explained that it wasn't that serious, and that she gives shitty advice, and Fetch said she wasn't mad so it was no big deal. Yolanda, being the bad ass bitch that she is, told Fetch, "Well, then don't talk about people behind their backs if there's no problem." I love that Yolanda Bananas Foster does not know what show she is on, but that she also calls everyone out on their shit. There is no getting away with social niceties in order to diffuse a situation with YBF.
Then we cut to Taylor for her only scene in the whole show, and she was talking to Linda Thompson, the ex-wife of David Foster Wallace, Bruce Jenner, and a string of other reality television stars all the way back to Ken Roberts, the original host of Candid Camera. Yes, she is that old. (She reconstructs her face once a decade using baby seal fat, paraffin wax, and a secret ingredient she stole from the late Dick Clark's nightstand.) Anyway, Taylor was on her sixth glass of rosé and she slurred to Linda, "Lishin. You're my friend and the reason Imma so mean to Yolanda is because you're my friend. And I love you. I love you soooo much. I want you to be my friend forever. Are you my friend? You're mys friend right? And you'll never hate me? But that's why I wanted to hates Yolanda, s'because you hate her and it was soooo mean what she did. No. Nooooo. Really. It was mean. It was awful. And I love you. You're my friend. Are you my friend? Is it OK for me to like Yolanda? I'll always love you more, because you're my friend." It was like the worst case of beer tears outside of a Syracuse sorority house.
Cut to the couch where all the ladies were sitting and they saw, out of the corner of their eyes, that Lisa was talking to the Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick. They all get up and clucked on over, like a bunch of chickens spotting specks of blood, and they all got their peckers out and were ready to peck peck peck until someone was lying on the marble floor in a heap of gored feathers, and someone else was the one true victor. That is what happens here. And at the center of the pecking, justifiably, was Faye Resnick.
If I haven't said this before, I will say this now: Faye Resnick is the worst. She is worse than paper cuts, cracked iPhone screens, opening the box of donuts in the office kitchen to discover someone has taken the last one and not thrown the box away, and Chernobyl. That is how bad she is. Faye was telling Lisa, at her own party, that she thought Lisa used Brandi to fight her battles. Faye was all, "I really like you Lisa and I don't want to fight at your own party, but you are awful and you use Brandi to start shit." And she said it all in this tone that suggested, "I am blameless, it's you that's the problem."
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Lisa rebutted by saying that Faye was Kyle's mouthpiece. Then everyone went back and forth saying who was who's mouthpiece, and how none of them needed mouthpieces because they are mixed martial arts fighters and they are hard core. They don't wear pads and gloves and they do not need mouthpieces. But seriously, who argues about "mouthpieces?" Who even has such a thing? Does this even exist in real life? Does this even exist in reality life? I don't think so. All of these women will speak their own minds much to their detriment, that is what got them on the show in the first place. Why would they need someone else to go around saying the things that they think? Why would they want someone else to create the drama when it's the drama that keeps them on the show in the first place? Without drama there is no camera time, and, much like America runs on Dunkin', these ladies' ego-engines run on camera time.
Everyone turned on Faye and told her that she was awful and should stay out of it, that she had nothing to do with Brandi's argument with Adrienne or Fetch or Kyle or Kim. Wow, everyone is always fighting with Brandi, huh. She is the lynchpin to this whole little grenade of dissatisfaction. But she has never done anything directly to Faye so her reaction was just completely out of line. Then Faye said that she is bored with this whole argument, the one that she started in the first place out of maliciousness, and now that she was losing it it bored her. Faye had no stats or examples to back up her stance, only her misjiggered opinion, and when that failed, all she had left was feigned boredom.
Kyle came over and was like, "Don't fight. Everyone get along. I'm not going to take a side," and I think that was even worse than taking a side. That makes everyone hate you, Kyle. She thinks that everyone will be happy with her if she stays neutral but it just exasperates everyone. Your job here is to make alliances and attack the other side and if you don't do that, then every side is going to hate you. Stop trying to do that child actor thing where you please everyone all the time forever.
Oh, speaking of which, while there was this whole "Brandi is evil, no Faye is evil" thing happening (honestly, I can't even parse this fight except to say that Faye is the worst and, while Brandi is not blameless, she was being unjustly attacked in this instance) we had to deal with Kim. Kim wanted Kyle, and by extension the audience, all of us, to remember her pain. Kim was upset that Kyle was defending Adrienne against Brandi when Brandi hurt Kim, too. Kim just got shrill and repetitive like the "plinkety plinkety plink te plink te plink te plink te plink plink" of the ice cream truck in the summer, getting ever faster and louder as it approaches up the street. "Remember what she did to me, Kyle! Be upset for me!"
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Kim, we will never forget your pain. Your pain is right there in your forehead creases and your mussy hair. It is right there in your new nose and the way that your eyes droop toward the floor when you think no one is looking. Your pain is everywhere, and it will never, ever go away. But need we remind Kim that when Brandi said that Kim smokes crystal meth in the bathroom, which is only a hair away from being true, it was after Kim had hid her crutches and she and her sister had terrorized this woman they didn't know at a house party in an echoing mansion? She caused the pain that she brought on herself.
This is the problem with all of these housewives fights. This is the problem with this fight in particular, a circling around once again like the constellations coming into yet another unfortunate alignment. There is no synthesis with these ladies, only repetition. They say they get over things, they say they move past it and change, but they never do. It's the same three petty grumbles echoed back and forth so many times that they just grow and grow in volume until they cause an avalanche. There is no healing here, only the picking of scabs until it gets infected and spreads to the blood and then the whole organism dies.
After this Lisa Vanderpump renewed her vows and it was sweet and wonderful that she is in so much love with her husband, but it was also all so sad. It's so sad as relief to what just happened, all the venom and hate spewed by these hissing monsters when they're all capable of such love. Lisa and Ken are capable of being sweet and charming and self-effacing and funny and so, so in love that it is just palpable. It is the only real thing on this whole reality enterprise and when they dance you think of that day thirty years ago with Lisa in a giant hat and a Lady Di wedding dress and a completely different face ,and it had only been three months since they met and everyone scoffed as she shuffled down the aisle in a million ruffles but now look at where they are today, standing together at the eye of this shit storm. That is love. That is the future.
Oh, I totally forgot the part where Adrienne, Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live beneath the mountain) arrived (OK, I didn't but I wanted to end with her). This was the last thing that Adrienne would ever do and, well, she is officially in contention with Faye Resnick for the title of The Worst. It was the day that Adrienne announced that she and her husband, Paullo the Chimp, were getting a separation and still, still she showed up at this party. Like Yolanda says, this is the day you stay home. This is the day you pull your children close to you and inhale the intoxicating scent of their warm hair. This is not the day you go to a party with no makeup on and collapse into a heap of sobs on a stranger's couch. That is not what you do.
Adrienne played it all wrong. She came in and just fell onto the first woman who would give her any attention, and they all clustered with their hardened Kleenex from the bottom of their clutches and tried to pat the moisture off of Adrienne's fake eyelashes. She didn't even try to say hi to Lisa, who was hosting the party, whose house she was in. She said, "I saw Lisa see me, she could come over and comfort me and tell me how sorry she is." I am sorry, but that is not the way things work. First of all, it's hard hosting a party and I'm sure Lisa was running around with plenty to do. Also, it was Lisa's house. You should go over and say, "Sorry I can't stay, but I'm sure you understand," and let Lisa utter a kind word and then go back to the celebration of her marriage.
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No. That is not what Adrienne did. She slinked out the back with all the attention on her, not letting anyone deflect the spotlight of her grief for even a second. "Tell Lisa that I'm sorry I couldn't stay and I hope she has a great time, I have to get back to my children" she told Kyle. First of all, "get back to" your children? You shouldn't have left them in the first place! Second of all, what? No, Adrienne, Kyle will not say hi to Lisa for you. Lisa is 20 feet away. You are in her house. You march your stupid face with the consistency of a spackel on a wall over to Lisa and you tell her your damn self like a civilized person who lives in the world, not leave like a crazy ego monster.
That was the night that Adrienne tottered back to her mountain, her big nasty ego mountain that is full of rocky crags, and when she got there, the mole people were waiting. They were all haunched over and yellow with their slitty little eyes hardly adjusting to the dusk, but they could still see here. She had abandoned them for the last time. She had gotten far too big for her own good, forgetting about her people and only involved with herself. "Go back to your holes!" she bellowed, wiping a stray tear from her face. They all flinched, so used to obeying her every word, but for the first time none of them moved. "Go back to the mountain! Get back in the mountain. Your queen demands it!" She hollered and yet, still, they did not move. "Go back! Go back!" and with that they began to lurch for her. "Go BACK!" she tried once more but it was too late, they began to run for her, their arms and feet taking turns resting on the ground as she started to run in the other direction and they all pounced, like a swarm of minnows devouring a shark she disappeared within their mass and all you could hear was the bloody squelching noises and a muffled scream.
Queen Adrienne of the Maloofs was dead, consumed by her own vanity, destroyed by what she thought made her powerful. And that is why she was not at the reunion. That is why she will never be heard from again, because she dared to be the worst kind of rich person. Because she forgot about the little people. Andy Cohen told us that her last act as a Housewife was not showing up to the reunion but that was not her final act. Her final act was walking out on Lisa, it was leaving someone else's party with all the attention on her. It was screaming in the face of her people even as they thought to murder her. That is the last choice she made. That is the last thing she will ever do. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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The Hollywood actress met her cameraman partner Danny Moder while they were both working on 2000 movie The Mexican. They married in 2002 and are now parents to three children.
They teamed up again on Roberts' latest project, Jesus Henry Christ, which saw the actress step behind the camera as executive producer. Roberts admits she envisaged spending time with her husband during the shoot, but Moder was just too busy.
She tells People.com, "It was so great to be working on the same movie with him. He's so good at what he does. He's so clear and focused,. It's actually hard to get his attention on the set because he's really like, 'No, I'm working.' But at lunch I will be like, 'Hi, remember me, your wife?'"
As the box-office turns: Can an aging slacker suffering a romantic crisis, the second-string heartthrob from "Dawson's Creek," and yet another "animated epic" join forces to end Queen Julia Roberts' reign atop the box-office heap? Then again, will Jet Li karate-kick all of their butts?
This weekend, four major new movies ("The Road to El Dorado," "The Skulls," "High Fidelity" and "Price of Glory") hit theaters, threatening not only to knock "Erin Brockovich" and "Romeo Must Die" out of the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, but also to squeeze several flicks that have been losing steam out of the Top 10 for good.
Here's a look at the weekend's top players:
"The Road to El Dorado THE ROAD TO EL DORADO (See the trailer) The skinny: The biggest challenge to "Romeo" and Julia undoubtedly comes from this, the second animated movie from DreamWorks. Starring the voices of Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh, "Road" follows Spanish con men searching for the legendary City of Gold. DreamWorks is counting on kids' love for the Spanish Conquest to sell tickets to this baby -- it's opening in a whopping 3,206 theaters. The plus side: It's got a score by Elton John and Tim Rice. While their "The Lion King" work was arguably good (or not good, depending on your taste), it was undeniably successful.
The down side: Advance word has been less than enthusiastic, owing to the fact that its storyline -- and even its director -- were changed during the course of its long development.
THE SKULLS (See the trailer) The skinny: Joshua Jackson, Pacey of "Dawson's Creek" fame (and Charlie from the "Mighty Ducks" flicks), plays an Ivy Leaguer who stumbles upon a spooky secret cult. The plus side: It's got "a pretty good trailer," says Paul Dergarabedian of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations.
The down side: Teen movies just aren't making big bucks right now. Last weekend, the flicks "Here on Earth" and "Whatever It Takes" -- starring hormone cases all -- pulled in only about $4 million each.
HIGH FIDELITY (See the trailer) The skinny: A sort of "Empire Records" for people in their 30s. The plus side: For one thing, it's got 1980s icon John Cusack (lately of "Pushing Tin" and "Being John Malkovich" fame, among others). For a second thing, it's got director Stephen Frears ("The Grifters," "The Hi-Lo Country"). And for a third thing, it's got a soundtrack with 61 songs! (The film takes place mostly in a record store.)
The down side: Did we mention that it's about people in their 30s?
"Price of Glory"
PRICE OF GLORY (See the trailer) The skinny: Jimmy Smits ("L.A. Law," "NYPD Blue") stars as a father who tries to live his boxing dream through his three sons. The plus side: Well, "Rocky" was a hit.
The down side: To date, Smits' film career has consisted of un-"Rocky"-like movies. Like "Switch." Or "Old Gringo." Or ...
"Romeo Must Die"
ROMEO MUST DIE (See the trailer) The skinny: The hit hip-hop rendition of "Romeo and Juliet" with Jet Li's kung-fu stylings thrown in for good measure. The plus side: After opening March 22, this one had pulled in about $27 million as of Tuesday. And it was still running neck-in-neck with "Erin Brockovich" through midweek.
The down side: What if Jet Li pulls a hamstring?
ERIN BROCKOVICH (See the trailer) The skinny: You know the drill: Roberts plays a sassy, real-life legal investigator who takes on Corporate America. The plus side: It's been No. 1 for the past two weekends, and as of Tuesday it had grossed nearly $60 million.
The down side: Nothing stays No. 1 forever. ... Right?
So, what's the bottom line? Says Dergarabedian: "'Erin Brockovich' is still going strong."
"It made $18 million last weekend and only dropped about 30 percent [from the previous weekend]. It's definitely going to make another $10 million. I think 'El Dorado' is going to do pretty well, but for any of these new movies to be No. 1, it's going to have to make $15 million. I think 'El Dorado' has the best chance to do that."
In other box-office action:
MOST LIKELY TO BE KICKED OUT OF THE TOP 10: "My Dog Skip" (No. 8 last weekend), "The Cider House Rules" (No. 9) and "The Whole Nine Yards (No. 10).
MOST LIKELY TO REMAIN IN THE TOP 10: "American Beauty," which has already pulled in about $110 million, will expand into more theaters after its Best Picture win at the Oscars.