"Carrie Underwood is the Julie Andrews of country music," said no one ever.
Yet, NBC is building an entire live concert special around that idea. Sound of Music, Live! (yes, the exclamation point is a part of the official title) will air — live — on Dec. 5 at 8PM ET. The bizarre casting choices continue, as Stephen Moyer of True Blood steps into Captain Von Trapp's uniform. The three-hour event is brought to us by the producers of Smash, the network's last big-budget musical disaster. And it's only got to live up to a classic, beloved movie musical that's a part of family traditions all over the world. So, trainwreck conditions are looking pretty good.
Camp levels will be high, so Sound of Music, Live! is prime for a good old fashioned hate-watch. If you're planning on taking one for the team, here are some steps for getting the most out of it.
Step 1: Call Your Snarkiest Friend(s)The more (and the more sarcastic) the merrier. Also, double-check your WiFi connection so you can live-tweet with all your social media buddies.
Step 2: Pick Your PoisonWhiskey, vodka, red wine, eggnog. ("These are a few of my favorite things...") Pick one and define the rules of your drinking game. We'll get you started: drink anytime Underwood belts the crap out of a song that isn't meant to be belted. Christopher Plummer claims to have gotten blisteringly drunk every night of filming the original, so think of this as a tribute.
Step 3: Silently Hope the Captain Takes His Shirt Off in This VersionBecause otherwise, why?
Step 4: Spend Commercial Breaks YouTube-ing the Supporting Cast's Broadway Greatest HitsAsk your showtune nerd friends for tips if you must. But Laura Benanti, Christian Borle, and Audra McDonald are all treasures and deserve better than this.
Step 5: Take Bets on the Next Holiday Classic to Be ButcheredJustin Bieber as Hermey in a live-action remake of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer? We know his hair can do the thing.
If you take Adventureland, swap out Jesse Eisenberg with Liam James, and then sink the amusement park so it becomes the Water Wizz, you have something along the lines of the Way, Way Back.
The quirky dramedy, directed and written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, follows oddball Duncan, who befreinds Owen, manager of Water Wizz water park. Their friendship escalates and Duncan lands a job at the park, which provides him an escape from his momma (Toni Collette) and her douchey boyfriend, played by Steve Carell.
New clips from the upcoming film portray Duncan in his "awkward-stage glory" as he treks along with his mother Pam and her boyfriend Trent (Carell) on their summer vacation. The clips feature the most uncomfortable dance-party of all time, a hilarious Maya Rudolph composing a theme for Water Wizz, and a brewing love interest for Duncan with The Carrie Diaries star Anna Sophia Robb.
There's a chuckling moment when Duncan attempts to flirt with his "lady friend" Susanna (Robb), but he's interuppted by his co-worker pals, which in effect utterly embarrasses Duncan and totally throws off his would-be game... yikes!
The flick features an all-star cast, but the comedic charm doesn't exactly stir up dazzling movie magic. You can tune into the Way, way Back when it dives into theatres on July 5th!
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More:Steve Carell Is a Total Douche in 'The Way, Way Back' Videos'The Way, Way Back' TrailerSundance Darling 'The Way, Way Back' May Not Be a Hit
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I’m sorely tempted to make a case for the fabulous Miss Kristen Wiig by simply posting a series of clips from Bridesmaids, because in my mind it should be fairly obvious that she deserves an award. The best comedy of the year not only showcased Wiig’s talent – which has been a bit dwarfed by the repetitive sketches on SNL – but it lays a great deal of its success on her tiny little shoulders.
Wiig stars as Annie, a former bakery owner who lost her boyfriend, her business and her dignity just before finding out that her best friend is going in the opposite direction: up. As she struggles with her BFF’s new world of money and ridiculously fabulous friends (enter Rose Byrne’s hilarious, prissy character and foil to Annie), Annie unravels more and more, making for a heartbreaking, yet hilarious journey that most Average Janes can relate to in more than one way.
But there's a little something extra that takes Wiig’s performance from relatable to laugh-out-loud funny. We’ve all seen the clip of Annie flopping around on the plane singing “I’m ready to paaaarty,” but it’s more than that. It’s the scenes where she improvises little comedy bits that aren’t ladylike, but are instead things we all do or say when it’s just us girls – and not in a Sex and The City way. Instead of talking about a guy’s…girth, like a Samantha or even a Carrie Bradshaw would, we get Wiig poking her face out and imitating the appendage itself. That’s my type of “what women really talk about” kind of comedy.
Then there are the more subtle bits of hilarity. While we’ve come to appreciate Wiig’s wild facial contortions, sometimes it’s the quieter expressions that really do it for me, like the way she rolls her eyes or simply stares intently at Maya Rudolph’s character in that amazing engagement party scene. In doing "nothing," Wiig conveys all the sarcasm in the world. In doing "nothing," Wiig adds such hilarious punctuation to that scene that I practically shot Diet Dr. Pepper out of my nose the first time I saw it.
Of course, there’s the final point that Wiig’s Golden Globe nomination for Bridesmaids, by association, rewards the film's incredible female ensemble and that a win for her could be a win for them all. I don’t often like to boil an award down to this result, but in the case of Bridesmaids, I think it’s warranted. Wiig does lead the crew, but she leads a crew of gut-bustingly hilarious women. Melissa McCarthy’s fearless portrayal of the terrifying sister of the groom; Rose Byrne’s flawless depiction of the over-privileged brat every woman loves to hate; Wendi McLendon-Covey’s horny housewife; Ellie Kemper’s Disney fanatic; and Maya Rudolph’s amazing best friend turned Bridezilla make for one of the most well-assembled comedy teams I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching in a film. And a win for Wiig is a vote of confidence for the ensemble as a whole, because as great as she is in the film, she couldn’t be great without her amazing cast of supporting actresses.
I may have promptly placed Wiig in my comedy heroine category alongside Tina Fey and Amy Poehler upon leaving the theater the first time I saw Bridesmaids, but that’s not something Wiig can display proudly on her mantle - nor would she really want to. Let’s give her something shiny and concrete to represent her awesomeness – please? Besides, if my endorsement isn’t enough, keep in mind that it would probably make the impossibly handsome Jon Hamm a very happy camper.
Are you obsessed with Wiig's performance too? Or do you think someone else should win instead? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter! (@KelseaStahler)
I’m not about to rail on you like a cartoonishly angry mega-feminist right after she’s burned her bra and refused to shave her armpits or wear makeup. I’m not about to write you a long, whiny complaint about women not getting enough credit in the comedy world, and you know why? Because it’s simply untrue. What is true is that women in comedy are often relegated to a sort of side stage where only women dare to venture and only some women really find the content funny. What is also true is that time is coming to end. There are a few folks whose hilarious work is taking us into an age when the term “female comedian” or “comedienne” doesn’t send the menfolk running for the hills; an age when a romantic comedy can actually be universally funny; an age when women’s comedy doesn’t have to suck.
Take a look at today’s comic landscape: many of the famed female standups, comedy writers and actresses are only famous for girl-friendly comedy. Folks like Chelsea Handler or Whitney Cummings, TV characters like Carrie Bradshaw and every girl in a rom-com in the last 10 years make jokes that only women (and sometimes only bitchy women) would find funny. Don’t get me wrong, we need a little comedy thrown our way too, but we don’t always have to alienate the other sex to do it and luckily, we’ve got a crop of funny ladies who agree and more and more often, they’re getting the chance to prove it.
Granted, most of our favorite, more universal comediennes have all seen plenty of screen time and they’ve tickled men and women alike, but often it’s only been as the secretary or assistant or girlfriend to the front-and-center funnyman – or in some cases funnymen. In fact, I remember seeing Mike Judge’s Extract in the theater with two girlfriends because we were so excited to see one of our favorite funny ladies – Kristen Wiig – in a bigger movie role outside of SNL. I also distinctly remember leaving the theater and shaking my head. She’d been completely wasted; the funniest thing she did was dramatically tie her sweatpants to signal that Jason Bateman wasn’t getting any that night. I couldn’t believe they’d use someone as talented as Wiig for such a basic part. Hadn’t they seen her on SNL or in Knocked Up? Everyone remembers her small role as the judgmental assistant to Katherine Heigl’s boss at E!. She was so obviously talented. It prompted me to wonder, why don’t folks like Wiig get to properly showcase their abilities more often?
Well, this week, I got an answer. Wiig and the film she co-wrote with Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids, brings comedy by women into the Apatowian boys club – an Everest-like set of comedies oft accused of being a wee bit sexist. This lady coup sees Wiig getting some well-deserved time in the spotlight as a flawed, goofy woman who, much like 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon, allows her normalcy to comfort us and her absurd humor to keep us in stitches. Wiig’s Annie fills the likeable everywoman role, but the film also carries a decent ensemble. We find Rose Byrne as the woman every girl loves to hate; Ellie Kemper takes a break from The Office to show us that she can be funny outside of Dunder Mifflin antics; Wendy McLendon-Covey shows us that her Reno-911 humor translates to the big screen; Melissa McCarthy offers up the unladylike lady; and Maya Rudolph aims to remind us why we loved her so much when she was on SNL.
This universal romantic comedy didn’t just get a chance because Wiig is hilarious, or we would have seen something like it years ago. Bridesmaids can thank one woman in particular for its existence as a blockbuster: Tina Fey. Sure, we knew she had talent when she was head writer for SNL, but I certainly didn’t realize she’d write one of the best teen comedies ever, Mean Girls, and not only make us laugh, but transcend the genre and hit every nail on the head. And of course she went on to create, write and star in one of the best comedies on television, 30 Rock, where Fey’s Liz Lemon makes up for the fact that Carrie Bradshaw’s cosmopolitan style amid lame puns unfortunately stood as the shining beacon of female comedy throughout her reign while people like Fey and Amy Poehler were honing their crafts on the SNL stage and in various improv groups. Be honest, Liz Lemon eating “night cheese” in a Snuggie or throwing back slices of ham in a wedding dress and sneakers is, now and forever, heaps more hilarious than Bradshaw-isms like "When you’re tired you take a napa, you don’t go to Napa."
Liz Lemon and Poehler’s Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation lead their ensembles with laughs, and while both of those shows rely heavily on the male cast members, they don’t cave to making Leslie or Liz bear only girl humor. They don’t separate jokes into comedy and comedy for women like the genre tends to do. Just look at the aforementioned Handler or Cummings; droves of women love everything they say, but men might tell you differently. Conversely, Fey’s got her past SNL work, 30 Rock, her brand new book, Bossy Pants, and even Mean Girls, and I can’t think of single guy I know who doesn’t appreciate any of that. You’ve also got folks like Mindy Kaling (The Office) who plays heavily on female stereotypes, but in an intelligent way that lets all of us in on the joke. Women like Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy) and Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Concords, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) take advantage of their tiny girl voices to bolster their ridiculously insane yet well-written jokes.
People like Wiig, Fey, Poehler, Schaal, Sedaris and Kaling don’t ignore the fact that they’re women, but instead use it to add weight to their comedy without allowing it to dictate it. They separate themselves from characters and comediennes who use stereotypes or man-bashing to get a laugh. I’m looking at you, Lisa Lampanelli and Sarah Silverman; the sex-crazed-love-handled-cougar act and the I’ve-got-pigtails-so-I-can-sing-about-poop act aren’t funny and they only work because of things we’ve decided over time are funny about women instead of working because the jokes are well-written or the women telling them are actually witty, hilarious people.
Of course, I must play devil’s advocate and note that it wasn’t always this way. Yes, some comediennes of the past weren’t always creating content that only women would enjoy. I Love Lucy and The Carol Burnett Show were aimed at both sexes; Cloris Leachman isn’t remembered for making women laugh in films like Young Frankenstein, she’s remembered for making us all laugh; Lily Tomlin and Phyllis Diller are widely regarded as generally hilarious on both sides of the gender barrier. However, for every influential comedienne, there are droves of men who were just as influential, if not more so.
But these things take time. It’s because of all of these women that we can now see a summer blockbuster that focuses on a wedding, a group of bridesmaids and even a little romance that won’t be condemned to the tortuous rom-com doldrums. We have a set of contemporary, intelligent and hilarious women that can lead films that you won’t have to trick your boyfriend into seeing; that don’t make you think you curse too much or that acting goofy or making silly faces makes you look fat; that don’t teach you to wait for your knight in shining armor while your desperate/single/overweight friend makes jokes about eating or not eating or dying for any man who’d have her; and that don’t insult your intelligence.
They lead films that use the feminine perspective to produce universal comedy that is genuinely funny. The result is just another group of people who’ll continue to make funny movies, plain and simple; and that’s one great happily ever after, if you ask me.