For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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This episode is channeling Season 1 but bringing way more drama. It’s great to see the return of the snarky, passive-aggressive Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) we love to hate. She’s back to becoming stone faced and staring into space, viciously insulting her sister, and getting the best suitors. She’s not the only one back to their Season 1 personas. Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) is back to scheming and has enlisted some help. Plus, the moment you have been waiting for ... the peace between the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) and Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) is over. Full shade ahead!
Evelyn Napier (Brendan Patricks) stops by the Abbey. If you’ve forgotten him, he is the suitor that introduced Mary to Mr. Pamuk (Theo James). Mr. Pamuk was the guy that de-virginized her and died in her bed. Napier is working on a survey of how the war has affected Aristocratic manors. Speaking of manors, Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) is dealing with the death of one of the estate’s farmers. Mr. Drewe (Andrew Scarborough), the farmer’s son, has inherited a significant amount of debt. Lord Grantham kindly pays the debt in exchange for Mr. Drewe working it off. The Lord is back to keeping secrets from fellow estate runners, Mary and Tom Branson (Allen Leech). Branson is threatening to move to the U.S. to escape the stuffy life of an aristocrat and spare his daughter any embarrassment.
Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) is lurking by the metaphorical mailbox waiting to hear back from Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards). It doesn’t look promising for him since he just moved to a pre-Nazi Germany. Drunk Liza Minnelli Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern) adjusts to her new lady’s maid and tries to convince Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) that they need to buy a refrigerator.
Isobel takes an interest in a young neighborhood boy, Peg. She convinces the Dowager Countess to hire him. However, when an antique letter-opener goes missing, the Golden Girls clash over the boy’s guilt. It’s witty barbs and loud sighs. Here’s hoping they have a fight in a fountain like on Dynasty.
Alfred (Matt Milne) seems adept at cooking. He’s selected to apply for the apprenticeship at The Ritz. Everyone in the kitchen is excited but he’s nervous. Meanwhile, with the prospect of Alfred leaving, Carson (Jim Carter) offers the footman position to Mr. Molesley (Kevin Doyle). Despite willing to take any odd job in the village, do with that what you will, Molesley’s pride is hurt at the prospect of being demoted to footman. Alfred ends up not winning the internship so Molesley ends up red-faced when he returns for the job. Looks like Molesley is one step closer to suicide.
The disturbing Anna Rape storyline continues to get more depressing. Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) has been super icy to Bates (Brendan Coyle). Bates overhears Anna talking to Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) and he devises a plan to find out what happened. He threatens to leave unless Mrs. Hughes comes clean. Thinking on her feet, she invents an assailant that raped Anna during the concert. However, Bates is convinced it’s Mr. Green (Nigel Harman). This is where things get dark. To this point, Anna has not known his name was even Mr. Green. Also, Bates is getting very scary and murdery. His violent inclinations and Anna’s fear make it seem like he could be abusive. Here’s hoping the writers don’t go in that direction.
Style & Sass: Best Lines of the Night
Not the first time you have had the wrong end of the stick. –Mary to Edith
I wonder how your halo doesn’t grow heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara ‘round the clock. –The Dowager Countess to Isobel Round I
Mrs. Patmore, is there any aspect of the present day that you can accept without resistence? –Cora
Well M’lady I wouldn’t mind getting rid of my corset. –Mrs. Patmore’s response
What would you prefer that I invite the local criminals to drop in strip the house bare? –The Dowager Countess to Isobel Round II
America, land of the free... unless you plan on showing up to the 2013 Grammys in a sheer dress that hugs your curves.
CBS standards and practices just sent out an email to those appearing on the televised portion of the Grammys this Sunday, asking them to adhere to a strict dress code, according to Deadline. And the guidelines are a tad puritanical. Nay, very puritanical, especially for an awards show that is famous for pushing the envelope compared to the season's stuffier award shows. Hell, Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime outfit probably wouldn’t even make the cut. Per the email, it seems that the ladies are the only ones whose wardrobe is under attack — except for that part about “puffy” nether regions, which one can only assume refers to the potential appearance of a male bulge. The email reads:
"CBS Program Practices advises that all talent appearing on camera please adhere to Network policy concerning wardrobe.
Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples. Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible 'puffy' bare skin exposure. Please avoid commercial identification of actual brand name products on T-shirts. Foreign language on wardrobe will need to be cleared. OBSCENITY OR PARTIALLY SEEN OBSCENITY ON WARDROBE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR BROADCAST. This as well, pertains to audience members that appear on camera. Finally, The Network requests that any organized cause visibly spelled out on talent’s wardrobe be avoided. This would include lapel pins or any other form of accessory."
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Got that, music industry mavens? Keep it in your pants. And under wraps. And hidden from even hinted view.
In case this memo is just a little too much to take, what with its uses of “be sure,” “avoid,” and “female breast nipples,” we’ve got a handy dandy picture guide for attendees at the 55th Grammys. This is a classy affair. Save your scandalmakers for the Oscars this year, you rambunctious ruffians — they love that sort of thing at that annual s**tshow.
Don’t: Show off your “puffy” nethers
Just what is a puffy crotchal region? That’s something CBS will never tell. Just keep everything, junk or lady parts, hidden well inside your chosen wardrobe. If it can be considered billowy, bloated, bulgy, distented, enlarged, or enflamed, we shouldn’t see it. Kinda rules out Lady Gaga’s entire set of dancers from her performance of “Born This Way” in 2010. That disturbing egg costume and material that resembles prophylactics? Totally okay.
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Don’t: “Thong type costumes are problematic”
Sorry, Pink’s mind-blowingly gorgeous 2010 Grammys performance. You’re too slutty for the new Grammys. Art? Psh. Cover up your buns, lady.
Don’t: Show the “bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack”
Sorry, Rihanna’s incredibly memorable 2011 super-sheer Grammys dress. Between the lines of puffy (but not that kind of puffy) tulle we could see every curve on that girl’s body: buttocks, breasts, and belly button. This year, don’t even think about it, RiRi.
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Don’t: Wear clothing that may “expose female breast nipples” or “bare sides or under curvature of the breasts”
Ah, yes. The female breast nipples, distant cousin of the male pectoral nipples and the Mark Wahlberg nubbin (or more affectionately, the third male pectoral nipple). No sideboob either. (But we love sideboob!) Well, CBS powers that be, keep in mind that your rule would take out the most famous Grammys dress of all time: Jennifer Lopez’s sheer, side (and bottom) boob exposing 2000 green Versace gown.
Do: Wear Sheer Shirts Exposing Male Breast Nipples
Okay, they’re pectoral nipples, but still. This is okay, but JLo’s sideboob is banned? That’s ourMerica, it seems.
Do: Avoid This Whole NSFG (Not Safe For Grammys) Nonsense Altogether
While the dudes are all wearing mesh shirts and crotch-grab pants, play it safe ladies. Hide your butt curvature, sideboob, female breast nipples, and buttock crack so well we start to think they might not actually exist.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credits: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images; Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images; Adriana M. Barraza/Wenn; Jeff Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images; Yoko Ono; Nick Briggs/PBS]
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This week, fans of Happy Endings are invited to take a trip back in time. We pay visit to a simpler era, one peppered with Scotty appearances and devoid of Dave/Alex romances. I’m speaking of course about mid-2012, from whence the latest episode of the ABC sitcom originated. See, amid the shuffling and rescheduling of Happy Endings’ second season, one wayward episode was doomed to oblivion, never reaching American broadcast during its allotted period of pertinence. But not wishing to let a perfectly good half-hour of television comedy go to waste, the network has opted to implant the ep in Season 3, landing it as the third new entry of 2013.
It’s not a terribly uncommon practice, but one that seldom goes off without a hitch these days. In-universe chronology is becoming more and more important a quality for episode management as overarching story is playing a greater role than it ever has among television comedies. But Happy Endings, as proven with the unqualified success of “KickBall 2: The Kickening” (titled as such not to indicate itself a sequel to a past episode, but entirely as a joke concerning events within this week’s show), is one of a dying breed.
Those not already aware of the existence of the long anticipated phenomenon that is this “sport”-themed episode might not even notice anything strange about the timeline. The only giveaway is an opening tag that indicates that Alex and Dave have not yet moved back in together (nor do they appear to be dating, although there is no explicit dialogue to call direct attention to this). Other than this, and an ostensible springtime or summertime setting, “Kickball 2” could easily take place one week following whatever the hell these crazy Chicagoans were up to last Tuesday. On Happy Endings, each week is a standalone adventure — sure, the show will occasionally guest cast a boyfriend for Penny, who’ll hang around for a few consecutive weeks. Or maybe attention will be called to Brad having recently lost his job or Jane having switched hers. But even newcomers to the show won’t be in wanting for more context upon these elements — offhand mentions are all you need to get caught right up.
Two weeks ago, we covered how Happy Endings models its internal structure (episode plots and jokes) after sitcom tradition, borrowing tropes and molding them into fresh, new magic. But the triumph of "KickBall 2"'s timelessness highlights the show's adherence to a dissipating attitude on television storytelling once upheld by each and every on-air sitcom (in the pre-Seinfeld times), and just how valuable an asset it is in the present day. It is so difficult to draw new viewers into the fandom of our television comedies of the utmost quality — those like Community, Girls, Parks and Recreation, and Veep, among others — with precedent warnings like, "You have to start from the beginning!" With a devotion to chronology being mandated in so many of today's sitcoms, it is a rare treat to find a show that is both brilliantly written and capable of being enjoyed from just about any point in the series on.
And so very enjoyable is "KickBall 2," not to mention so very silly. Alex signs the whole gang up for a kickball tournament, not knowing that her hyper-competitive sister Jane has already teamed up with a more athletically skilled troupe of mechanics (sparking some traumatic childhood memories of Jane selling out Alex for a spot onstage at a primate-themed children's program).
So, feisty Alex is left with her scruffy, perpetually inebriated self-appointed manager Max; a heels-wearing, just-in-it-to-meet-guys Penny; bunts-only Brad (they call him Bunt Cake); steroid-addict and all around weirdo Scotty; and Dave, who, thanks to the haunting guilt of having nailed Penny in the face during a past game of kickball, cannot, for the life of him, get on base. And it all plays out the way you might expect — Alex and Jane reconcile and unite, Dave gets over his phobia and kicks a conclusive line-drive (again, right into Penny's face), Brad branches out beyond his bunting fixation, Penny finds "true love" (in a star-gazing Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, no less), and Scotty suffers the fate of intravenous drug abuse side effects. All in all, everybody has a happy ending. (Hey, wait a minute!)
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.