Seth Meyers announced his new Weekend Update co-host this week, and we're feeling pretty good about this choice. Cecily Strong joined the Saturday Night Live cast just last year, and this high-profile gig surely came her way because of the huge impact she's made in her short tenure on the show. She excels at creating memorable characters; the common element in most of the successful recurring sketches that were established in the '12-'13 season was Cecily. She's already visited the Update desk as several characters; and no matter who she's playing, she and Seth have great comic chemistry.
Let's look back at Cecily's greatest hits from Season 38 and know that our fake news fate is in good hands.
The Girlfriends Talk Show
Cecily taps into our childhood insecurities with this one. She plays peppy Kyra, who hosts a teen talk show with her less-cool best friend Morgan (Aidy Bryant). She and her new, "awesome" girlfriend (Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway, so far) continually undermine poor Morgan until she's practically seething. Remember high school? That was fun.
"We're not porn stars anymore!"
The former-porn-stars-do-a-commercial sketch never fails, mostly because Strong and Vanessa Bayer have perfectly the ladies' signature garbled delivery ("Aff-lence. lux-ry. Mo-ey Chamben.") and blank-eyed stares. It's also an opportunity for the writers to trot out their best one-liners ("One time I did a weird shoot in Mexico. Two of the girls died, but I'm alive. Thanks, champagne!") and for hosts like Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck to put on some short-shorts and tap into their Boogie Nights fantasies.
Dana and Niff
Dana (Strong) and Niff (Bobby Moynihan) are sure that they're getting fired (from McDonald's or Barnes and Noble, depending on the episode), so they take that opportunity to air their personal greivances with all their co-workers. ("I know you copied those Mad Libs, Beverly. Ain't nobody that funny.") It kills, because the two deliver every insult with panache and committment and because we all, especially on our worst days, daydream about doing the same.
The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party
The one and only downside to having Cecily as a Weekend Update co-host is that we will likely say goodbye to her most popular character, who cares too much about humankind's greatest problems to even find out what they are. Who will remind Seth to "learn a book" or ask the tough questions like, "What are we even doing? And like, don't"? Our world will be a much poorer, less socially-conscious place, but it's the price we'll have to pay.
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Mad Men started with Ken Cosgrove almost getting killed in the craziest car ride since Blue Velvet and ended with Don scaling back at work under the emotional weight of, what exactly? Mommy issues? Marital issues? His newfound speed addiction? Maybe a little bit of everything?
This episode was sort of everything that has been wrong with Season 6. We all loved that Mad Men always knew how to shock us and change direction in the most unexpected and interesting of ways, ways that, once the surprise was launched, seemed totally natural and inevitable in hindsight. This was not a surprise like that. This was just Ken Cosgrove tap dancing and Ginsberg slinging knives at Rizzo (considering Ginsberg's beat-inspired name, was their game of William Tell an allusion to the infamous version that William S. Burrows played with his wife?) without it really adding up to anything. Instead of being thematically whole, the episode was just a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing. Well, it signified something, just not something very interesting.
I'm sure when the episode wrapped there were many people sitting at home thinking, "I totally didn't get that. Since this is Mad Men, I must not be smart enough to get it." Wrong. The problem was that the episode, while fun and entertaining, was so poorly plotted that even David Lynch would find it harder to follow than a polar bear in a blizzard.
And don't get me started on those flashbacks. They annoyed me the first time they were deployed this season, but in this otherwise chaotic episode, they certainly didn't help streamline things. Seeing Don's childhood directly takes something away from this unknowable anti-hero that the show has been cultivating all these years. It makes the show into something like Lost or, even worse, Once Upon a Time, where we're supposed to learn about the characters and their present situations based on events from the past. Has Mad Men fallen so far that it is now using a tired network storytelling device?
Of course, everyone is going to think that this episode was about drugs, because Jim Cutler gets everyone some sort of speed shot so they can be more creative. (Actually, in light of last season's wonderful LSD trip, it was almost like the writers said, "What if we did a whole episode like that?") This hour was not about drugs. It was really about Don's mommy issues. While I'm sure he's always had these, Don was always a much more literary character, signifying something about identity, the American dream, and the lies we use to get ahead. Now he's just a kid raised in a whore house who had some rough times. Now he's just a Freudian study.
Don has three maternal figures in this episode — well, two and a half, really. First there is his stepmother, who diagnoses his illness. The next is Aimeé, the hooker who nurses him back to health and then takes his virginity. The final one is Grandma Ida, who wasn't really a mother figure at all, but a con artist who pretended to be the woman who raised him. It's bad enough that Don never had a mother, but now we see that every woman who was kind to him when he was young was not only highly sexualized but also betrayed him in some way. All of Don's mothers, especially Grandma Ida, are imposters just like him.
The one interesting thing about this episode is how each of the mother figures are a direct parallel to one of the women that he's been in love with. First there is Betty (blonde and skinny again, just like we like her), his first love who has become a hectoring scold, just like his stepmother who called him dirty and beat him for sleeping with Aimeé. Next there is Megan, who found Don two seasons ago when he was sick, tricked him into loving her, and now is increasingly absent — following Aimée's arc. That leaves us with Sylvia, someone who used to sneak in through the back door, the maid's entrance, just like Ida did. Syivia also pretended to be someone she is not when she called Don at work and said she was Arnold. In the parallel trifecta, she has also stolen something from Don, something he thinks is important. It's his heart. Awww.
If you didn't realize this was about Don, his mothers, and his lovers, we had Wendy, a girl whose father just died, telling Don that he has a broken heart and leaving him wondering if anyone loves him. That's one of those classic Mad Men existential questions that is meant to be left unanswered.
While all this is going on, Don and everyone else is working on the Chevy account, which turns out to be much more trying than they thought it would be when they went after the business. Peggy and Ginsberg, the most sober of the crew, are herding the rest of the cats towards an idea. Stan has 666 ideas, none of which are any good. Don is trying to make everyone think that he's working, but he's really blacking out and flashing back, losing whole chunks of time when he's not fighting off the advances of an I Ching-loving hippie hussy.
But Don isn't doing anything. He's running around and searching for old soup ads, but he's not really thinking about Chevy. He's trying to piece together his own past and come up with the one thing that he can tell Sylvia to win her back. (In all these years, is this the first time we've seen Don not able to get a woman he wants?) When he calls Peggy and Ginsberg into his office to deliver what we expect to be one of his killer campaigns, it's just a bunch of gobbledygook. He carries on about trying to make the commercial what people tune in for rather than the entertainment, like he's going to develop product placement or something (maybe that was a dig against Christina Hendricks' Johnny Walker ads?) but it is really nothing. It's just Don being high.
After he goes home and passes out, the next day he wakes up and finally runs into Sylvia in the elevator. Earlier, he had been inventing ways of talking to her when he knocked on her door, but in the sober light of day, he remains silent. He walks away from her, knowing now that she is an invasive impostor who has barged into his house and upset things. She is not the solution, she is another symptom of the problem. He also marches into his office and says he will only be inspecting other people's work. He blames it on Chevy not wanting to make an ad for another three years, but it seems to be because he has lost his creative spark. Maybe it's because he has mined his past for all the material that he can. Now that he's coming to terms with that hooker raising him he doesn't have any schmaltzy soup/oatmeal ads left. This entire season seems to be about Don Draper's decline and now he's not only stopped producing good work, he's stopped producing work altogether.
Sally Draper got a decent amount of screen time this episode, and handled herself quite well in the tense and bizarre situation of dealing with Grandma Ida without getting herself killed. Through it she learned that she doesn't know anything about her father so she couldn't even tell Grandma Ida she was lying. When faced with the great lie of Don's past, everything else is unknowable. He has the opportunity to tell her something about himself, but he is interrupted, like always, by work. I also loved that Sally was in bed reading Rosemary's Baby and then is awoken by Ida. Last season we saw her terrorized by the idea of violence towards women, but now she's getting more comfortable and canny about the idea of evil in the world. I don't know if this is a good thing, but it's there.
Stan Rizzo was also a central figure this episode. Not only did he screw Wendy (while her dead father's former business partner watched, no less) but he also came onto Peggy while she was bandaging his arm, another maternal figure who has become sexualized. Peggy tries to stop him from kissing her and says she has a boyfriend, but there's something that makes her want to do it. It's like her kiss with Ted two weeks ago. Since Peggy is becoming Don Draper, she's copying a classic move of his: starting a new relationship to wreck the one she's already in. But she wisely stops herself with Stan because he's like a brother to her. I also loved her speech about having to feel the loss in your life and not try to escape through booze or sex. It seems like she was talking directly to Don even though he wasn't in the room.
Of course, we learn this when she tells us, point blank, that is why she isn't doing it. Apparently whatever drug they were all on, the one effect it had was to take all the subtext that is usually in the show and fill it with text. Like finding a book of Mad Libs that someone has already used, the blanks have already been filled in and all the fun is gone. Yes, it's funny when Ken Cosgrove does his tap dance, but his tap dance is quite literally a tap dance. He feels like his job is tap dancing for others. Duh. It all makes total sense, yet it all doesn't add up. That means that, no matter how much fun we had last night, it was all completely useless.
Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan | Follow Hollywood.Com On Twitter @Hollywood_Com
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The premise for Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy book series reads like the ultimate young adult fiction Mad Libs. In the book, a vampire named Rose Hathaway is forced to return to her magical boarding school. There, her friendships are put to the test thanks to a blossoming romance and the rise of a great evil. YAF 101.
As routine as Vampire Academy may seem, Mead's novels have an ardent following. The casting of up-and-comer Zoey Deutch (Beautiful Creatures) in the upcoming film adaptation by Mark Waters (Mean Girls) left the passionate fanbase in a tizzy, and the next big name to join the project will surely stir up controversy as only these types of movies can do. Oblivion star Olga Kurylenko will star alongside Deutch as Headmistress Ellen Kirova, the Dumbledore to Vampire Academy's Harry Potter. In the books, Rose describes her as being "a vulture." Kurylenko can certainly go there, personality wise.
Is Vampire Academy headed on track to actually become the next Twilight or Harry Potter, or is the series destined to the fate of romance-infused franchise hopefuls like Beautiful Creatures? Kurylenko has blockbuster credits to her name, but she's not a dramatic standout in the vein of the Potter ensemble. This could be a role that continues her climb to stardom… if the role fits.
Come, members of Fanpire Academy. Weigh in on Kurylenko and tell us why Vampire Academy is the series that's going to break the mold as Hollywood continues to translate popular books to the big screen.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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This week's Admission marks the first time Tina Fey and Paul Rudd have starred together in a movie. That seems kind of impossible: they're both hilarious, they're both critically-acclaimed, and they both seem like the nicest people in the universe (and judging from our interviews with two of them, our opinion remains the same).
So why does it feel like Fey and Rudd have already appeared across from each other in a movie?
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Because they're part of a new wave of comedic actors whose sensibilities keep them reteaming time and time again. Loose ensembles have been around since actors' public presences evolved into "stardom," with branding gurus taking full advantage of the trend by dubbing John Hughes rotating teenage casts "the Brat Pack." Now new "packs" are forming every few years. Fey and Rudd are leading the latest incarnation.
Playing a six degrees game with the stars can be expansive and unwieldily, but we saw enough connection between a select few to whip up our latest gem, "The Comedy Web." Using Fey and Rudd's team-up as a catalyst, we found the connective tissue that holds Hollywoods comedy elite together.
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Check out the infographic below, then tell us: who else should join the web and what are we going to name this thing? "The _______ Pack" is a Mad Libs waiting to happen.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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It's that time of year when carolers start patrolling the streets chanting lots of jolly tunes. It's also that time of the year when you are forced to endure hours on end of family bonding time — and during that bonding time, a lot of families like to play games to pass the minutes. And if your family is into spontaneous creativity, well you have probably tested the bounds of Mad Libs before. Though she wasn't with her family, Anne Hathaway did start getting into the holiday spirit with Jimmy Fallon Tuesday night. The two decided to combine Mad Libs and holiday carols to come up with a whole new array of seasonal tunes.
Watch Hathaway perform their "Mad Libs Christmas Carols." They do great renditions of "Jingle Bells" ("Catfish Bells"), "Deck the Halls" ("Deck the Halls with Jugs of Spiders"), and "Here Comes Santa Claus" ("Here Comes Scottie Pippen").
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Lloyd Bishop/NBC]
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With 23 different entries, the Bond series offers something for everyone. Different Bond attitudes, varying scales of action, unique approaches to humor and charm — like a blockbuster Mad Libs, the 007 formula has its blueprints, but leaves plenty of room to play.
That makes picking a favorite difficult, but there's a Bond movie that sums up everything to love about James and his particular brand of spy entertainment, it's the under-seen, under-appreciated 1987 gem The Living Daylights. Under the eye of longtime Bond editor and director John Glen, Living Daylights marks the first of British thespian Timothy Dalton's two entries (he followed it with 1989's Licence to Kill). After years of courting the actor, producers finally got their wish for Dalton to take on the role — and with his addition came a darker, more sophisticated tone.
The plot for The Living Daylights fits snuggly in the Bond ideology, riffing off Cold War themes and taking just enough coherent twists and turns to keep us on our toes. In the beginning, Bond is assigned to help defecting KGB officer General Koskov escape Czechoslovakia. But Koskov has ulterior motives; behind-the-scenes, the Russian military man is working with Brad Whitaker, a nefarious American arms dealer. When Bond catches wind of the deception, he hits the road with a orchestral cellist-turned-sniper to uncover Koskov's operation: a grander scheme rooted in opium trade and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. That's a lot of meat on the bones of Living Daylights, but in true Bond fashion, the thrills are never bogged down by the politics.
Living Daylights goes from standard issued to quintessential Bond thanks to Dalton's pitch perfect performance. There's a reason he's barely remembered in the pantheon (and why certain Bond enthusiasts will dismiss those of us who enjoy him!): he attempted to do what Daniel Craig did in 2006, but at a time when people weren't ready for it. The actor was 43 when he earned his Double-0 status, and it shows. His Bond is rugged, a bit weathered, and often cold. Whereas previous Bonds found comedy in fumbling around, Dalton was committed to playing the spy with an unflinching determination for getting the job done. In the opening, Bond participates in a skydiving exercise that ends with the death of his fellow MI-6 comrades. When he encounters one of the dead bodies, we see a twitch of emotion, a desire for revenge as he eyes a mysterious note: "Smert Spionam," translated as "Death to Spies." Bond escapes unharmed, but you know he's going to bust up whoever killed off his coworkers.
Dalton's Bond is unexpectedly relentless — at one point, he roughly strips a girl naked in order to momentarily distract and kill a gut-toting bodyguard — but there's plenty of heart in Living Daylights. Maryam d'Abo as Kara Milovy, the musician who becomes an integral part of Bond's mission and evolves into his romantic interest, drops the exaggerated personas of past "Bond Girls" and makes for a viable partner for Bond. Dalton's version of the character reciprocates, showing off a level of sweetness rarely found in the hound dogs of Bond history. The humor is there too, with Dalton coating the eyeroll-worthy one-liners with the level of gravitas only a Shakespearean-trained actor could provide. That's something Craig has rarely been able to land and a poison to the later Moore movies, but in Living Daylights, Dalton seamlessly transitions from smirking debonaire to lethal badass faster than the shot of a PPK. Not every Bond could pull off wearing a tux to a carnival.
The Living Daylights also bridges the gap between the action of Bond old and new. There's nothing that could top the adrenaline-pumping train car fisticuffs of From Russia with Love, but Living Daylights wisely mixes similar close-quarters fighting with large-scale action. If you think Bond movies pre-1990 don't hold up in the spectacle department against today's action-infused adventures, Living Daylights should change your mind. The stunts Glen pulls off in the installment are unreal: Dalton is fully capable of beating the… living daylights… out of his adversaries (see: the jail escape sequence) and matching the physicality in a number of shootouts, including a wild finale with the Whitaker character. The infamous cello case chase scene, in which Bond and Kara sled down a mountain on the cellist's instrument of choice, embraces the absurd in a way the Moore films seem oblivious too. And the grand finale — riding the heels of Bond leading an Afghan Mujahideen and his troops into battle against the Russians evoking a Lawrence of Arabia vibe — matches anything on display in the Craig Bond films or even the recent work of Christopher Nolan. Nolan is known to be a Bond nut and it's obvious he took some cues from Dalton's films. The aerial stunt, almost all practically shot in the air with stunt men, seems inconceivable in the today's CG-minded special effects world.
It's hard to pick just one Bond, but if there's one that deserves a little more consideration and appreciation in the history books, it's The Living Daylights. Any movie with an a-ha theme song shouldn't take convincing.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: United Artists]
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In just one season of HBO's divisive drama The Newsroom, which had its finale last night, the series managed to hit on all the trademarks of an Aaron Sorkin drama: a holier-than-thou leading man, his fast-talking cohorts, and quick-witted self-indulgent banter galore! While Season 2 of The Newsroom is on the horizon, we here at Hollywood.com found a fun way for you to play along with all of the Oscar-winner's "Sorkinisms" whether you're waiting for another season of Jeff Daniels shouting, finally watching those The West Wing DVDs, or catching the 753rd airing of The Social Network on cable.
Sure, this Aaron Sorkin fill in the blanks game is technically on the Internet (nooooo) but don't worry — you can still print it out and play along like you did when this country was great. Enjoy! . More: Aaron Sorkin's Recycled 'Sorkinisms' — VIDEO Kristin Davis and Aaron Sorkin Split: Casting Call! 'The Newsroom': Aaron Sorkin Confirms 'The Writing Staff Was Not Fired'
When Jennifer Westfeldt's Friends with Kids, a movie about three sets of longtime friends (played by Westfeldt, Adam Scott,Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm) in their 30s grappling with the ups and downs of friendships, relationships, and parenthood hit theaters last September, it was hailed as the thinking (wo)man's romantic comedy. It was smart, sexy, funny, and most importantly, relatable.
The release came just four months after another little romantic comedy that was smart, sexy, funny, and relatable called Bridesmaids. It also happened to share four of its talented cast members: Wiig, O'Dowd, Rudolph, and Hamm, Westfeldt's real-life love.
During an interview with Hollywood.com, Westfeldt, 42, the star, writer, producer and director of Friends with Kids, explained that the release dates of R-rated comedies were nothing short of crazy cosmic timing. "Honestly, the Bridesmaids thing is such a strange coincidence for us because Kristen was attached to do our film before she even shot Bridesmaids."
"The rest of the cast came together right before we were putting the movie together and we wrapped before Bridesmaids came out," Westfeldt explained, "We hoped Bridesmaids would be successful, but I don't think we could ever have known the incredible, brilliant, epic success that film has been."
But even with all the right ingredients, Friends with Kids didn't see quite the same level of mainstream box office success as Bridesmaids. Whether it was because it was wrongly shrugged off as a Bridesmaids spin-off ("Our film is about something very different, which is facing that next phase, whether to have kids. Or when your friends are having kids and you're left behind," Westfeldt said) or because much of the target audience, ironically enough, couldn't find a babysitter in time to see it, that may all change with the film arriving on DVD and Blu-ray today.
"Films for grown-ups...it really is about word of mouth, and I hope that being able to buy it on DVD or Netflix it, [people will see the movie]," Westfeldt said, "I certainly noticed it with the rest of my films. With my first film [2001's indie darling Kissing Jessica Stein] it wasn't until a year after it had been in theaters that I felt like people really started to recognize it."
Of course, good things happening to those who wait is a feeling she and Hamm are both quite familiar with. The pair, who have been dating for nearly 15 years, both found success later in their careers. "Certainly, we watched it [happen] with Mad Men. The fifth season just finished....the first two years it was a much slower burn, and obviously the word of mouth was amazing, but it took a solid years for everyone to get on board," Westfeldt acknowledged.
"I think you appreciate successful moments more, and I think you take it all with a grain of salt because you know one moment you can have success and the next it can go away," Westfeldt said, "It makes you humble and it makes you appreciate great things a little bit more, because you know how rare they can be."
While Hamm and Westfeldt are nothing short of a rarity by Hollywood standards, both in terms of their careers and their relationship, the multi-tasking star insists they are going through the motions of life like everybody else. "A lot of people ask 'How do you make it work?' We never know what to say, we're the same as everyone else. Relationships take commitment and work, and a lot of time put in. And I think it's the same for everyone in a long relationship."
With Friends with Kids, Westfeldt takes the complexities of long-term relationships, particularly those with children in the picture, and gives it a new twist. In the film, her character Julie and best friend Ben (Scott) decide to break with convention and have a child together, but not be together so they could date other people. In their cases, Edward Burns and Megan Fox, respectively. As Westfeldt joked, "I mean who wouldn't want to have a kid with their best friend, and then be with Megan Fox? Who wouldn't want that? That's awesome! I want that!"
But then, as is the case with most things in life, things don't go quite according to plan. "I think if there's a message to this film, their grand idea is flawed in the sense that if you're trying to avoid the messiness and the complications in life, you're never going to be able to avoid all of those things if you want to have anything worth having."
One aspect of the messiness of adult life, particularly parents whose relationships and friendships can fall by the wayside, is something Westfeldt could draw from her own experiences. While she and Hamm are not married and don't have children, plenty of their friends do, including their long-time pal and co-star Adam Scott. (Scott is married to Naomi Sablan, with whom he has two children.)
"Certainly it was helpful that in life Adam was one of our friends with kids. We went through that ride with them and lost them for a while, you know? And then they came back and they were very candid about the highs and the lows of it," Westfeldt shared. "I think having friends like that in your world, who can talk to you really openly about the duality of [parenthood], the great, tremendous love and joy, as well as the more stressful, challenging dynamic, is a gift."
Unfortunately, Westfeldt and the rest of the cast and crew learned the hard way that there's an unpredictable force even stronger than love and babies and friendship: weather. Filmed in the bone-chilling December of 2010, Friends with Kids had less than desirable conditions. "It was a nightmare!" Westfeldt recalled, "We had to shoot it in 24 days, in the dead of winter. It was the worst winter in New York in 25 years. It was terrible because of the snow and the sleet and the ice and the kids everyday. We were using all of Kristen's days off from SNL so the schedule was crazy. It was so hard, in every way." But like any labor of love, they nurtured their indie baby. "Of course, I wish we'd had more time...but luckily with this wonderful crew and incredible cast, I think we just pulled it off."
And much like Friends with Kids makes us laugh at the things in real-life that typically make us want to scream (there's a particularly brilliant dinner party scene in which Rudolph and O'Dowd have the kind of fight every couple has), the extras on the Friends with Kids DVD and Blu-ray helped Westfeldt and co. do the same.
"There's a commentary track with me and Will Rexer, my cinematographer and Jon and we sort of go through all the epic things that went wrong daily, and why we had to change certain things. All the nightmares, when the kids melted down, and ad libs and people losing it. It was kind of fun and funny putting that stuff together because we were just reliving every daily crisis that we had." Sounds like adulthood, alright.
Friends with Kids is available on DVD and Blu-ray today, July 17, and includes special features such as a blooper reel and making-of featurette. A special edition version at Target, which features additional commentary from Jon Hamm and Adam Scott, is also now in stores.
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S5E16:Things are brewing on The Big Bang Theory. We catch a glimpse of Sheldon on vacation and Bernadette asks Howard to sign a pre-nup; after all she will be making more money as a PhD than he will as an engineer. The last few episodes have focused more on the boys and seemed more like season two, which isn't a bad thing at all, but it was nice to see the entire ensemble back in action this week.
“The most often received suggestion I’ve received in my suggestion box that you installed without my asking is can Dr. Cooper take a vacation?” – Dr. Seibert
Sheldon believes that he has found a way to make science fun for kids (personally, I always liked Mr. Wizard with Don Herbert): Physics Mad Libs. Using words from his constituents, Sheldon’s sentence tickles Sheldon so much he can’t finish without cracking up. While the boys are at lunch, Dr. Seibert informs Sheldon that he is obliged to take a vacation and he suggests going to Afghanistan. The next work day saw Leonard driving while rocking out to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Got A Feeling,” and if that wasn’t funny enough, the scene was accentuated by Sheldon hiding out in the car in order to sneak into work and suggests the Scooby Doo tactic of pretending Leonard hauling shrimp traps, complete with a truck stop hat/wig combo disguise for Sheldon. Between this getup, “Fun with Flags,” and his Doppler Effect costume, can we add Master of Disguise to Sheldon's already impressive resume?
“Parental pressure can be daunting, I remember the battle with my mother is about shaving my legs. Last year, I finally caved in and let her do it.” – Amy
The girls help Bernadette with her wedding invitations, which are in English and Klingon - Bernie’s family thinks it’s Hebrew – and she reveals that her dad wants Howard to sign a pre-nup. Penny tells Leonard in confidence and the two argue about what Leonard would do if Penny became a famous movie star. He says he wouldn’t sign - because if she’s going to cavort with Ryan Gosling, then Leonard’s got to get paid – but he’s just happy that she has thought about marrying him. I'm sure a lot of us Theorists out there feel the same way.
“Hawaii is a former leper colony on top of an active volcano where the disappointing ending to Lost was filmed. Mahalo for nothing, Hawaii.” – Sheldon
Sheldon spends his vacation at Amy’s lab. The vacation off to a wonderful start with the “smell of formaldehyde, whir of centrifuge, distant chatter of lab animals being dispatched for dissection,” and Sheldon felt his cares wash away. He’s ready for all sorts of fun, but Amy has him to washing beakers, because he has never worked in this field of biology before – way to put the arrogant prick in his place, Amy. Sheldon’s lone defense was breaking out a Tamagachi that he’s had since the late 90’s and it’s still “alive” – good job keeping your fancy key chain’s battery still alive Sheldon! His next menial task was counting bacteria spores and this seems to start the first real ShAmy argument.
Sheldon believes that Amy is afraid to give him anything meaningful to do because he’ll show her up. To prove her point, Amy has Sheldon try to remove the locus coeruleus, which is a delicate procedure. Obviously the poor guy can’t do it and slices his thumb instead. When will the brainiac learn that all of his theoretical knowledge doesn't apply to physical applications?
“When I first got here, I thought you Americans really gossiped around a water cooler. So I hung out there for like a month, but the only gossip I ever heard was about some creepy guy hanging around a water cooler.” – Raj
Leonard, true to what he told Penny, decides to ask Raj for his advice on whether or not to tell Howard about the pre-nup. When Howard finds out, he’s a bit unsure about it, but Raj gives him the same advice that he screams at the television during The Bachelor: “follow your heart.” Howard is actually okay with the pre-nup, since he wants to protect his comics, Vespa, and funeral plot next to Mr. Roper.
“Alright Howard Wolowitz, listen up. You sign anything she puts in front of you because you are the luckiest man alive. If you let her go, there is no way you’re going to find anyone else. Speaking on behalf of all women, it’s not going to happen. We had a meeting.” – Penny
Sheldon sits down with Howard at the Cheesecake Factory because he feels obligated to “let his hair down at the local watering hole” on vacation. He orders a Piña Colada with extra everything, hold the rum. Penny shows up to let the boys know they’re stupid; Howard for not wanting to sign a pre-nup and Sheldon for fainting at the sight of a little blood. Sheldon begrudgingly apologizes to Amy for his actions and seemingly all is forgiven.
“So the thing to watch for; if he’s shouting at you, you’re ok. But if he’s starts to get real quiet leave as quickly as you can without making eye contact. Not in a straight line, throw some zigs and zags in there.” – Howard
Howard takes Penny’s advice as well and talks to Bernadette, agreeing to talk to her father. He’s been warned that the former officer still carries his gun and warns him not to bring up “Jimmy Carter, gardeners, foreign people, homosexuals, Sean Penn, Vatican II, gun control, organic food, the designated hitter rule, recycling or the fact you’re Jewish.” Phew, that’s a lot of subjects off the table. Howard decides to talk to him in May, when he’ll be on the international space station. How refreshing is it to know what will happen in the season finale before the characters do?
Is anyone else getting bored with the lack of anything for Raj to do besides a few great lines? I didn't realize we needed comic relief on a sitcom! But I guess it's hard with a half-hour ensemble sitcom to fully develop every character. However, the story lines are progressing rather nicely and it is fun to see just how geeky the geeks can get.
What did all of you Theorists think of the episode? Considering how much he loves trains, I'm surprised Sheldon didn't just ride one cross-country for the week. Sound off in the comments below and follow me and Hollywood on Twitter at @CouchForceOne and @Hollywood_com.
When crafting a follow-up to the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time it’s understandable that one might be reticent to mess with a winning formula. But director Todd Phillips and writers Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong seem to have confused revisiting with recycling: The Hangover Part II so closely mirrors its blockbuster predecessor in every vital aspect that it can scarcely claim the right to call itself a sequel.
The only significant new wrinkle introduced in Part II is its setting: Bangkok Thailand a location that at least theoretically augurs well for a second helping of inspired lunacy. The story structure of the first film has been copied wholesale a game of Mad Libs played with its script. The action is again set around a bachelor party this time in honor of buttoned-down dentist Stu (Ed Helms). Again the boys (Stu Bradley Cooper’s boorish frat boy Phil and Zach Galifianakis’ moronic man-child Alan) awaken the next day in a hideously debauched hotel room with little memory of the previous night’s revelry. And again there is a missing companion: Teddy (Mason Lee son of Ang) the brother-in-law to be. (Poor Justin Bartha is once again relegated to the sidelines popping up now and then to push the plot forward via cell phone.)
The amnesiac/investigative angle of the first Hangover made for a refreshing twist on the contemporary men-behaving-badly comedy. Repeated here its effect is arguably the opposite: Too often the action feels rote and formulaic. Gone is any hint of surprise an aspect so crucial to good comedy and a huge part of the first film’s appeal. Key comic set pieces – a tussle with monks at a Buddhist temple a visit to a transsexual brothel a car chase involving a drug-dealing monkey – reveal themselves to be merely variations of memorable bits from the first film.
Tonally Part II is darker cruder and a bit nastier than its predecessor. Female characters never a priority in the first film are further marginalized in the sequel. (The only woman with significant dialogue a Bangkok prostitute also happens to have a penis. I’ll let you ponder the implications of that one.) The three leads Helms Cooper and Galifianakis still work well together and despite the inferior material enough of their chemistry remains to make the proceedings bearable – and occasionally funny. But their characters feel somehow degraded reduced to coarse caricatures of their former selves. Speaking of caricature Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) the fey faux-gangsta villain of the first film returns in an expanded capacity in the sequel his garbled hip-hop slang more gratuitous – and more grating – than before.
I can’t help but wonder what might have been if a planned cameo by Mel Gibson playing a tattoo artist hadn’t been scrapped reportedly due to objections by Galifianakis. Liam Neeson Gibson’s replacement apparently proved ineffectual in his first go-round and when he wasn't available for re-shoots his scene was eventually shot with Nick Cassavetes in the role. In its existing incarnation the scene is purely functional a chunk of forgettable exposition. The presence of Gibson an actor of not inconsiderable comic talent would have at least added an air of unpredictability something the scene – and indeed the movie – sorely lacks.