There's an existential crisis among this generation of TV comedies about late twentysomethings and early thirtysomethings having existential crises. Do they — or, more importantly, their viewers — want sheer escapism from their own stressful, cash-strapped, lovelorn lives or do they want to see characters going through the exact same heartaches and struggles as they are? The latter has most certainly worked for the edgy cable darling Girls, but what about network sitcoms like New Girl?
I must admit, I was an avid How I Met Your Mother fan up until last season, when grownup drama replaced, you know, actual fun and comedy. Every episode seemed like it was ending on a cliffhanger that would put Grey's Anatomyto shame. This was not the show I had fallen in love with — and laughed my ass off at — back in 2005.
New Girl is no stranger to exploring the perils of the Broke Urban Single Girl, but this week's episode "Eggs" (yep, that's exactly what you think it's referring to) veers dangerously into late HIMYM territory, tackling the topic that is the exact opposite of sheer escapism: fertility. (Last season on HIMYM, Robin discovered she was never going to be able to have children of her own in a moment so sappy and manipulative it was as if a Coldplay song had exploded all over the formerly hilarious CBS comedy.)
Jess has her early thirtysomething freakout of the week after her lesbian gynecologist pal Sadie (June Raphael) — or as Schmidt so lovingly refers to her, a vagenuis — and her partner Melissa announces they are having a child together, and that women their age have no time to waste in the baby-producing department. In the words of another brilliant comedy June Raphael appeared on, "Are we having fun yet?!"
Jess promptly panicks (she even goes so far as to scream, "Fertilize me, Los Angeles!" out her window), and brings Cece right along with her for the misery. Will she ever be able to have children, or is her reproductive system, as Jess suggests, "a 1930s Dust Bowl"? Jess eventually gets the good news from Dr. Sadie that she's a totally Fertile Myrtle, and won't have to spawn with Winston or Schmidt (both of whom offer up their, er, services to their pal). Cece, on the other hand, finds out she'd have to have a baby much sooner than later, if she ever wants to have one at all. Even more concerning, her Average Joe boyfriend Robbie (Nelson Franklin) doesn't want kids for at least another decade, whereas her ex-boyfriend Schmidt nearly proposed when she had a pregnancy scare last year.
Even more conveniently however, especially for the New Girl writers, Schmidt comes to the very obvious realization that he can no longer enjoy NSA sex as he is very much in love with Cece. Schmidt (who should pay a hefty price to the douchebag jar for having loud, raunchy sex while his roommates and their dinner guests were all within earshot) figures this out when he can't achieve satisfying nookie (despite being a vagenius himself) with his 50 Shades-inspired boss Emma (Carla Gugino). Sound familiar? That's because Neil Patrick Harris' Barney couldn't find sexual competency with a cougar played by Jane Seymour on HIMYM for the same reasons.
While Schmidt can't finish his sexual duties with Emma, Winston (happy at his new job, having somewhat of a semblance of his own storyline) calls Nick out on the fact that he couldn't finish anything, not even the zombie novel he always promises he'll write. Upholding New Girl's ongoing M.O., Jess' plot borders on grating (she cries and sings when facing a crisis), Schmidt's is a temporary distraction until his inevitable reunion with Cece, and Nick's is the all-out funniest. Seriously, is it too late to change this show to New Boy? Or in the case of Nick, Aging Cranky Procrastinator Boy?
This week, Nick attempts to get in touch with his inner Ernest Hemingway in order to find himself and become inspired as a writer, when in the end he really just winds up drunk at the zoo. Still, despite his perfect track record of not being able to finish anything (including, as Winston pointed out, law school or more than three episodes of Downton Abbey) finally completes his long-gestating zombie novel. Sure, it is actively terrible, and he spells the word "rhythm" wrong 37 times, but he finishes the damn thing! Nick's ongoing quest to find purpose is the perfect example of everything New Girl should be right now: tapping into the existential crisis psyche without making it melodramatic. Oh, and Emmys, give Jake Johnson his due next year, you clowns.
Some of the best moments and lines from this week's New Girl episode "Eggs":
- Jess' concern that all she has left are the "weird and evil" eggs. "I can feel them. They’re turning. They watched their brothers and sisters die, and now they want to be birthed!" She later fears that she "sunny side upped" her eggs and that no man is going to "lay a flag down on this sweet, sweet continent."
- "#Excited" - Schmidt
- A bedazzled Schmidt as a Studio 54 busboy.
- Schmidt's absurdly graphic description of what he does to the "the downstairs girl cookie." Let's just say it ends with churros for everyone.
- The reveal that Nick has a ketchup collection.
- This exchange: Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?" Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot."
- "I gotta eat my way out of a sandwich house... I'm becoming Ernest Hemingway, ya idiots." - Who else? Nick!
- "Let's talk about sharks and sci-fi movies and making everything wireless!" - Jess' short-lived plan to live as a dude for a day.
- The awfully adorable kiss fake-out between Nick and Jess on his bed.
- Nick's dedication to Winston in his novel Z Is For Zombie: "To Winston, Have a nice summer. Hope to see you again." (That one is up there for me with The Simpsons' "See you in the car. Milhouse.") Also, I really want Winston (who finally had a damn funny arc last night, I must say) to read me this novel, too.
[Photo credit: 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.
Calling all eligible bachelors: Nicole Kidman is looking for someone to take to the Academy Awards. The 34-year-old actress, who has been recently accompanied by Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann to many events and brought her father to the Golden Globes, confessed she is dateless for the March 24 main event. Kidman received her first Best Actress nomination for her role as the doomed courtesan Satine in Moulin Rouge.
When asked at the Oscar nominees luncheon Monday whom she was planning on taking, Kidman responded to Hollywood.com, "I'm not bringing Baz," she laughed, "but I don't really have anyone to bring at this point. I'm looking." Pay attention, gentlemen!
Britney Spears has denied rumors circulating that she and her beau, Justin Timberlake, have broken up. On Monday, she told MTV Europe that the rumor was not true, even though several news wires reported that unconfirmed sources say the two split last week due to hectic work schedules.
Francis Ford Coppola will be producing an international version of Suriyothai, the current box office smash hit in Thailand. Directed by Coppola's friend Chatrichalerm Yukol, the film's story centers around a 16th-century Thai queen who sacrifices herself to save her king during a bloody attack by the Burmese. Coppola told Variety, "I hope the changes I suggest retain the exotic beauty and continuity of the original."
In a study conducted by the British medical journal Tobacco Control, evidence was found that major tobacco companies encouraged actors to smoke to influence moviegoers. USAToday.com reported on the study, saying that a 1980 internal document from R.J. Reynolds showed the company gave free cigarettes to 188 celebrities. And a similar 1989 document from another tobacco company, Philip Morris, quoted the company as saying it needed to "exploit" actors.
The CBS documentary 9/11 received huge ratings on Sunday. Nearly 39 million viewers tuned in to watch the special about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, as never-before-seen footage from filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet aired. Not surprisingly, there was strong viewership from the New York City area, comprising about 35% of all the households around the country.
Beverly Hills, 90210 alumni Tori Spelling and Tiffani Thiessen, Oscar winner Martin Landau and actress Mary Stuart Masterson are making their way to the small screen. Spelling will star in WB show Way Downtown, about a struggling writer, while Thiessen will star in Fox action/drama Fast Lane. Landau will be starring in an untitled ABC drama, playing a key adviser to a media family, and Masterson will star in CBS show R.U.S./H., about an elite LAPD squad. Oh, goody.
Sally Jessy Raphael has to hang up her microphone. Her long-running daytime talk show has been canceled after being on the air for nearly 20 years. The show is currently in ninth place in the ratings.
Wes Scantlin, the lead singer for the rock group Puddle of Mudd, and his fiancée, Michelle Rubin, were arrested Sunday for fighting. The couple was booked on domestic-violence charges when witnesses called in that a man was forcing a woman into a car on a highway shoulder in Ventura County, Calif. The reason for the argument has not been disclosed, according to the Associated Press.
R&B soul singer Lauryn Hill will be performing at the May 11 St. Lucia Jazz Festival. She'll be joining other artists performing during the festival, including Smokey Robinson, Stephanie Mills, Branford Marsalis and India.Arie. The West Indies island festival runs May 3-12.
Maybe she's not guilty, after all. There's a twist in the case of the ill-fated December shopping spree made by actress Winona Ryder, in which she has been accused of shoplifting from a trendy Beverly Hills store. As reported by TV show Extra Tuesday, store surveillance videos did not corroborate police reports. Extra obtained more than an hour of footage of the incident, where Ryder is shown putting on hats and lipstick, not removing security tags from clothes and putting them in her bag, as the police allege. The actress is currently out on bail, and a preliminary hearing is due to be scheduled this week.
Singer Connie Francis, who has been dealing with mental-health problems since her rape and torture in a hotel room in 1974, has sued Universal Music Corp. for allowing her music to be licensed for use in porno movies. She alleges the company is taking advantage of her because of her mental problems.
A man, who was a guest on the Jerry Springer Show in May 2000 about secret mistresses, has gone on trial for murdering his ex-wife. Hours after the episode aired July 24, 2000, Ralf Panitz, who appeared with his ex-wife and current wife, went to his ex-wife's house and beat her to death. Double yikes.