Lucky Number 7: VH1 has decided to extend The Jenny McCarthy Show with an order for seven additional episodes. Since its February premiere, Jenny McCarthy’s pop culture talk show has maintained steady viewers and featured a handful of C-list celebrities including Bar Refaeli and Snooki. This extension comes amidst talk that funny girl is being considered to replace Joy Behar on The View, but McCarthy has dismissed the rumors stressing that her allegiance is to VH1. McCarthy will wrap her original episode order next Friday, March 29, and after a brief break the show will resume with new episodes on Friday, April 12. [Deadline]
Oh Baby! Just as production wrapped on season two of ABC Family's Baby Daddy, the network announced it has picked up the sitcom for a third season. The half-hour show has become the top-rated new comedy series in the history of the network. "Baby Daddy was an immediate success when it launched," ABC Family President Michael Ray said in a press release. "Based on the creative strength we saw during production on Season 2, and how the episodes, storylines and characters are developing, we decided to double down on this hit show and keep it in production for additional episodes." Fans can catch the season two premiere of Baby Daddy Wednesday, May 29. [Via release]
Hot Reunion For Mary Tyler Moore Show: Welcome back some old friends: Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, and Cloris Leachman will all guest star on an upcoming episode of Betty White's TV LandHot in Cleveland. All four actresses starred in the multiple Emmy-winning Mary Tyler Moore Show. Georgia Engel -- who also starred in the classic show -- will appear in the episode as well, as she’s had a recurring role on the sitcom since last spring. The episode is about White’s Elka and Engel’s Mamie Sue reuniting their old bowling team, which once included Diane (Moore), Peg (Leachman), and Angie (Harper). This will be the first time in more than 30 years that these five women have appeared on a sitcom together. Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson will also guest star in the reunion episode as a world-renowned, avant garde director with whom Wendie Malick’s Victoria would kill to work. But Ferguson's eccentric director wants to work with a different character, causing a complicated triangle to form. [Entertainment Weekly, TVLine]
Won't You Be My Neighbor? One Tree Hill alum Bethany Joy Lenz has just booked a recurring role on Dexter's eighth (and likely final) season, which kicks off on June 30 at 9 PM ET/PT. Lenz will play Cassie, an "an attractive former finance executive looking for a quieter life," and is slated to debut in the fourth episode. Since she will wind up moving in next door to our favorite serial killer, it looks like she won't find that quieter life she so wants... [TV Guide]
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[Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/Getty Images]
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It made perfect sense during last night's episode of New Girl that Nick wanted to get a turtle, his spirit animal, as a pet. Not only do the two bear a striking physical resemblance, but both species move through life at a pace that best suits them and can hide under their shells when they feel threatened or scared. But even if you live with a turtle, or in the case of Schmidt, the elusive Nick Miller for a decade, if you're a sensitive person, their utter lack of care or returned love will eventually wear you down. That's exactly what happened during "Models," an episode that somehow found balance as it see-sawed between spot-on analysis of lifelong friendships and a truly unfortunate product placement scene. While Nick may have wanted a turtle, the last thing he wanted was a cookie. Or, at least, a cookie that was given to him by his best friend of 10 years because said best friend was just thinking about him. Now, I won't begin to pretend to understand the male psyche and how they can be so detached from their feelings, so having a character like Nick to watch is like getting an insightful and terrifying look inside. After Schmidt brings Nick a cookie just because, as friends do, the gesture knocked over the emotional dominoes between the three guys in the apartment. When Nick tells Schmidt he never thinks about him during his day, the admission understandably upsets Schmidt. (In a nice change of character pacing, Max Greenfield got to play a more down-to-Earth, vulnerable side of Schmidt.) Winston takes his side, knowing all too well what it's like trying to break into "The Cold-Hearted Republic of Nick Miller." Nick Miller who can't be bothered to say goodnight, Nick Miller who truly believes "nobody buys anybody a cookie for no reason," Nick Miller who gets upset by the fact that his best friend loves and cares for him too much. Left to the devices of any other actor, Nick would probably look like the biggest jerk on television, but thankfully it's done with understated brilliance by Jake Johnson. Whether you know someone like Nick (I'd venture to guess that New Girl creator Liz Meriwether has a Nick in her life), or you are a Nick, Johnson's performance manages to make a complex character that's both insightful and relatable. Not something that can often be said about a sitcom character. Johnson stole the show last night, both with his hilariously curmudgeon facial reactions to his completely sincere conversations with both Schmidt and Winston, but Jess as well. I'm a sucker for any Jess and Nick moments, flirtatious or otherwise, but their scene in last night's episode was one of my favorites. When the two find themselves in the midst of respective friend fights (more on Jess' in a bit) Nick asks her if she thinks they'd be friends with their old friends if they met them today. (In a flashback we see that a horrendously mustachioed Nick met a Ramen-eating Schmidt in college and against all logic, they became pals.) It's a question anyone with a lifelong friend asks themselves at some point, and Johnson hit all the right notes in the scene. The guys eventually patched things up (as unconventional a sitcom as New Girl may be at times, it's still a sitcom) and all of them had a good cry and a good hug about it. As infuriating as a friend like Nick can be, you can't stay mad at him for too long. After all, under that shell he's just a big ol' softie. Besides, how could you get made at a guy who mistakes eye shadow for shoe polish and says things like this: "The only time a man is allowed to think about another man is when that man is Jay Cutler." "I can't go around saying goodnight to everyone and buying cookies. I am not a titan of finance, sir." "They were out of turtles. I bought a tiny cowboy hat for nothing." "I've got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms." "You're the only turtle I want." See? Impossible to stay mad at him for long. Jess, on the other hand — well, she can be even tougher to love at times. While the boys were having their own rift, so were Jess and Cece (Hannah Simone.) On Cece's birthday, Jess unwillingly joined her best friend and her admittedly god awful model friends (please, New Girl writers, I beg of you to get rid of the insufferable, unfunny, and indistinguishable Nadia character) for a night on the town. It all goes to hell in a designer handbag when a fed-up Jess airs her grievances about her best friend (namely, that modeling has made her dumber) all within earshot of Cece. This storyline walked the line of totally believable and relatable (best girlfriends absolutely hold onto childhood traditions like watching Clueless and can bounce back from just about any fight) to downright silly (boob fights aren't a thing.) While it packed one of the downright funniest moments ever on New Girl, when we discover that Jess actually resembles a monkey from a (fake, sadly) Russian cracker commercial, it also packed the single-most cringe-inducing. Now, I understand product placement is a thing that happens on TV. It happened on Friends with their massive Diet Coke campaign, it happened when Subway kept Chuck and Cougar Town on the air a little bit longer. But it still didn't make it any more fun to watch Deschanel have to do a demanding physical comedy routine while a veritable Ford commercial played over her. Still, I shouldn't judge. That's the very thing that found Jess in hot water when she judged Cece's life choices, from her diet to her career. But she, like anyone with a lifelong best friend, came to the realization that we don't love our friends in spite of these things that make them them, but because of them. That we often find someone who is different from us (Jess admits Cece is braver than she ever could be) to balance us out. That if we met them today, maybe we wouldn't be friends, but that's exactly why we met them when we did, so we could be friends as fate intended it. New Girl, let's be friends forever. Or at least a solid few more seasons. What did you think of last night's New Girl? Would you agree that Jake Johnson made the episode all his? Is Brian Austin Green your favorite rapper, too? Did you catch that little (500) Days of Summer nod when they played Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams"? Does it seem like the show is emphasizing Zooey Deschanel's sex appeal more and more each week? Share in the comments section, Gigglebangs Ricebowl.
[Photo credit: Greg Gayne/Fox]
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.