For every toxic, unstable, will-they-won't-they sitcom relationship, there is a simpler, sweeter, invariably less interesting counterpart. Ross/Rachel had the comfortably tepid Monica/Chandler. The Office balanced the chaos of Dwight/Angela, Michael/Holly, and Andy/Erin with the post-Season 4 doldrums of Jim/Pam. And through all the difficulty of fixing together Leslie and Ben, Ann and Chris, and Tom and anyone, we've had the unlikely rock-solid staple of April and Andy. On How I Met Your Mother, this pinnacle of psycho-romantic health is the Marshall/Lily combination — having endured only one trifle early on in the series run prior to this new arc's revelation that Marshall accepted a judgeship in New York that directly conflicted with Lily's plans to movie to Italy. And on the other side of the fence on the long-running CBS sitcom, we've seen Barney and Robin flounder through various mental problems to hold fast to the love that blooms (and often rots) between them. Those two are loons, not capable of a mature, healthy, giving relationship. But, like many people who fit that bill, they're getting married now.
Many viewers have surmised that the Stinson-Scherbatsky union might never come to be, and that How I Met Your Mother will conclude with the revelation that Barney and Robin realize that they aren't quite right for one another (or maybe for marriage at all) and opt to part ways amicably. If this were real life, we might root for this twist of fate. As much as we might enjoy their harebrained antics, we see evidence far too often that Barney and Robin are not part of what one might call a "good" relationship.
Sometimes, the pair champions this, using it to bolster their definition of passionate, non-traditional love. This week's episode, "The Rehearsal Dinner," is a primarily fun and sweet example of this kind of antic — Barney tricks Robin into believing one of his many long, elaborate, diagnostically insane lies in order to lead her to a surprise rehearsal dinner themed after her native home of Canada. It doesn't quite make up for the fact that she, despite her professed wishes, does not actually get to be married in Canada... but Robin Thicke shows up, so everybody wins.
But although "The Rehearsal Dinner" is a particularly enjoyable episode, there is one element of it that rubs me the wrong way: the Robin of it all. Throughout, she strains to contain Barney as he lies, manipulates, ignores, and mocks her, all in the name of giving her a great surprise. The relationship doesn't seem to be about two emotionally frayed people finding a common ground, but about one reasonably stable woman dealing relentlessly with her emotionally frayed fiancé.
We can argue, in favor of the pair, that Robin too is a nut. And she is, historically. But her time with Barney seems to have made her out to be the sane one. Lord knows that "Rehearsal Dinner" exhibits more angst on Robin's part than voluntary lunacy. She commits to the ideas of rehearsal dinners and regimens, worrying about things we've never seen the abjectly offbeat Robin worry about... all in contrast to her maniacal beau. Being around Barney's crazy has actually made Robin seem less crazy (and more boring, we might add), and we're not too fond of this shift.
What makes the Michael/Hollys and April/Andys of the TV world ultimately work? Their compatibility. Barney and Robin advertise this, and occasionally show us a good time and some heartwarming (and funny) moments. But are they compatible? "The Rehearsal Dinner" makes us skeptical.
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We all think of Sesame Street as a show for kids. It primarily is... but the writers love to add a good amount of humor to keep the adults sane while watching 45,000 hours' worth of the same episodes. They love to make any celebrities appearing on the show a foil - and the celebs don't mind!
1. Anderson Cooper
First it's Cooper's earnestly propping himself up in Oscar the Grouch's trashcan, then his interviewing the two Grouches, that makes this hilarious. I'm sure that kids don't even know who Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather really were. Just great.
2. Ricky Gervais
The interaction between Elmo and Gervais is what makes it, especially the beginning when Elmo mentions Brad Pitt. Then, Kevin Clash is able to give Elmo so much expression for a puppet with ping pong balls for eyes.
3. Jimmy Fallon
It's not just Fallon's goofy send-up of Bear Grylls, but also Sesame Street regular Alan Murakaoka who sells this. Murakaoka's eye-rolling comments in the background are just as funny as Fallon's earnestness.
4. Brian Williams
This is available for download on YouTube for $3.99 on Sesame Street's official channel, on Amazon Streaming and it's often on On Demand on Sprout. Watching the normally buttoned down Williams jump up and down and also chase a chicken who keeps taking his microphone are only a couple of the highlights.
5. Will Arnett
Arnett is great as this pompous magician who thinks he can fool children by doing simple addition and subtraction tricks without even attempting any real sleight of hand. Watching Sesame Street regular Chris pop his bubble is great.
6. Andy Samberg
PBS is constantly running this episode, called "Shape-O-Bots." Samberg dons a few very poor disguises to enlist the help of the Shape-O-Bots, and the results are hilarious.
7. Bo Jackson
The message behind this is great, but it's just so funny seeing Jackson in both football and baseball uniforms stopping and solemnly doing these kids things. Bo Diddley in the background is just the cherry on top of this sundae.
8. Patrick Stewart
Stewart lends a gravitas towards explaining the letter B...but the whole Shakespearean setting just makes it funny. Imagine if Ian McKellan had joined in?
9. Marisa Tomei
Tomei channels her My Cousin Vinny voice here for this act, and nails it. Of course, my son has never seen the movie - he's only three. I can't wait for him to see it someday.
10. The New York Jets
The funny thing about this clip is that two years later, none of them were with the team. Coach Eric Mangini was let go and Chad Pennington and the others were also gone. Ah football. Here today, on another team tomorrow.
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The British-born actress, who famously played Tippi Hedren's daughter in The Birds, reveals she was in England ready to start work on the film when she discovered she would be playing Lambert in the project, and Sigourney Weaver had been given the lead.
She tells WENN, "I had no idea because I had only read for Ripley and when I got over to England they called up and said, 'Can you go in for wardrobe for Lambert?' I went, 'Oh no, I'm Ripley.'
"I had to call my agent and he said, 'No, you're Ripley.' It was so bizarre and so I had to re-read the script from the point of view of Lambert, and I thought she was a bit of a whiny b**ch, but I think she became the voice of the audience; she was the only sane character, if you think about it."
The role won Cartwright acclaim and a Best Supporting Actress Saturn Award, but she has never had an explanation as to why she didn't end up playing Ripley.
She adds, "Nobody said anything. I guess I must have misunderstood. I brought it up a couple of times."
The actress, who has just wrapped new thriller InSight with Christopher Lloyd and Sean Patrick Flanery, reveals there were plenty of odd moments during the making of the Ridley Scott classic that spoiled the filmmaking experience for her.
She explains, "If you've ever seen the big box set (DVD of Alien) there are nine outtakes and I'm in eight of them. I had a big part in that movie and it was changed, and I'm glad in the Director's Cut (version) they put the hit back in. I just thought Ripley was an a**hole for not letting us in. How dare she. And when I hit her, that felt like it was spontaneous and it's something Lambert would have done.
"Then, when I was doing publicity for the film, I was asked, 'How does it feel to have the (alien's) tail going up between my legs?' Well, they weren't even my legs. They never shot my death... I kept saying, 'When are we going to shoot that?'"
But Scott chose another actor to double for Cartwright on the day of the shoot.
She says, "I was a little p**sed off."
The actress stars in Patrick Marber's adaptation of the August Strindberg classic Miss Julie, alongside fellow Brit Jonny Lee Miller.
But on opening night on Thursday (22Oct09), it was the Alfie star's performance which came under the spotlight, with critics labelling her "second rate".
Ben Brantley, of the New York Times, writes, "Ms Miller registers as a healthy, sane young woman with good diction, good posture and great legs. Commendable as these attributes are, they are of limited use in portraying a tautly wound, death-courting neurotic who is eaten alive by her own demons.
"If Julie is written as clashing chords of conflicted impulses, Ms Miller plays them like a novice at a piano, plunking down each note loudly and individually."
Wall Street Journal theatre critic Terry Teachout adds, "A model turned second-tier movie star, all she does is stalk around the stage striking vampy poses... she has no more business playing a classic stage role than I have posing for the cover of Vogue."
After Miss Julie runs until 6 December (09).
More than 800 000 people disappear off the streets every year. In Captivity it's a top fashion model Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert) who falls prey to a sadistic mind capable of many creepy ways of torturing her both physically and mentally. It turns out this guy Ben (Pruitt Taylor-Vince) has been watching her long before he drugs and kidnaps her. As he puts her in a dank and dark cell she learns that he has kept a close eye on her personal life and has been in her apartment many times. The only thing keeping her sane is her friendship with a young guy named Gary (Daniel Gillies) who's being held in the cell next to her. But little comfort that is. After being strapped to a table and tortured with worms rats gas and other devices Jennifer is forced to drink down an eyeball shake. Things go downhill from there. Poor Elisha Cuthbert. You would think she would have had her fill with being kidnapped after playing Kim Bauer in her breakout role in 24. The model is snatched so quickly and so early in the film it's hard to develop any sympathy for her but even still she doesn't seem like she deserves much. In fact all Cuthbert really does is scream. She hugs her teddy bear for some emotional thumb-sucking moments but most of the time she just screams. Pruitt Taylor-Vince is always creepy even when playing a sympathetic character (he has that roving eye thing) while Gillies is handsome in that kind of greasy grungy way but a far stretch from the hero type. It would be nice if someone anyone could be even remotely sympathetic in Captivity beside the dog. Perhaps the teddy bear—and the rat. Director Roland Joffe has done some decent movies. He trotted Patrick Swayze to Calcutta for City of Joy and Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro to the Amazon in The Mission. He even got an Academy nomination directing his first feature film The Killing Fields. The question is: What happened? Captivity is a mess beginning with a nonsensical plot and ending with a twist you can figure out 10 minutes into it and may even be obvious after watching the trailer. The film is also unusually light on gore (except for the eyeball smoothie) and boring two things you definitely don’t want if you’re trying to make a horror film. Unfortunately Captivity will be remembered more for its controversial billboard campaign which had to be toned down more than anything else.