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'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: Stop Dancing Around Like That, Robin! You're Like 35!
“Wouldn’t it be interesting,” proposed one Craig Thomas to his friend and writing partner Carter Bays back during their youthful days of creative exploration at Wesleyan University, “to craft a television series around a grown man’s recollection of all the paths that led to the union of he and his eventual wife?”
“Perhaps,” Bays countered, “but what would really be interesting if we had that same man recalling all the paths that led to the union of his friends Robin and Barney.”
“Yes,” Thomas agreed. “We should probably just focus on that.” And they did. Thus, How I Met Your Mother.
Even as one of the better episodes of the present season, this week’s “Lobster Crawl” falters in regards to one incredibly important element: Ted. All season long, with the exception of the filler material involving him with Victoria, Ted has been used as set dressing. He offers a nerdy quip or a… well, actually, no. There is no “or.” Even his comedy is pretty one-dimensional these days. Ted is there to push the episodes to their full 22 minutes while Robin and Barney bat around their confusing feelings for one another, and while Lily and Marshall deal with the nonissue of having a kid that can be conveniently placed offstage and forgotten about whenever a scene calls for it.
It’s okay to have an episode or two that shafts Ted to the background — his friends, as full and important characters, deserve their due time at the center of the plot. But week after week lately, we learn nothing about Ted or his journey. We don’t delve further into his quest to meet the future Mrs. Mosby, but instead pass the time, without witnessing any evolution for the so-called star, until the eventual introduction of whoever she’s supposed to be. It’s hard to really invest anymore — the show has long run dry on passion.
Sure, even long after The Office tumbled to deplorability did it manage the great sendoff it gave hero Michael Scott. So maybe, just maybe, we’ll still manage a wonderful, magical conclusion for Teddy Westside. But with all respect to Josh Radnor, he hasn’t yet displayed the tragic sensibilities exhibited by Steve Carell (an underrated dramatic actor, for sure). Furthermore, the four-camera format doesn’t lend as generously to fulfilling emotion as does the single camera perspective. But all that aside, acting and direction notwithstanding, it’s the writing that dominates. And How I Met Your Mother, while still capable of cranking out a fine joke here or there, or a feasibly well-crafted speech about friendship or love or mayonnaise salads or whatever it be, doesn’t hold the golden pen it once did.
This week, Ted plays the devoted babysitter for Lily and Marshall, reveling in all of young Marvin’s “firsts” that he witnesses, much to Lily’s chagrin. It is realized by the married couple that their friend is overcompensating with Marvin due to the emptiness in his own life resultant of both a lack of family and children and having no projects to work on since he finished designing that building… wait, is anyone else having a hard time remembering Ted finishing a building? Was it a really long time ago, or is it just a really uninteresting plotline?
At the forefront of the episode is Robin, working desperately (and pathetically) to attract Barney sexually in an effort to have one last fling and get him out of her system. In a sequence calling back to HIMYM’s favored “The Playbook” episode, Robin attempts a slew of half-cocked ideas (the “damsel in distress” routine, flirting with a bunch of guys in front of him, and putting on a seductive show with another woman) to woo Barney. And this series of scenes, the latter especially, brings up an important question.
How old are these people? On my count, they should be about 35 by now, give or take. Now, I’m not shooing the idea of remaining youthful and fun loving into maturity. But there comes a point at which dancing up on a brain-dead coworker to arouse a dude who says the word “bro” about 18 times a day is no longer charming. Perhaps I’m taking this too seriously, but it isn’t funny when Robin wrangles her weathergirl Brandi to turn Barney on, it’s uncomfortable. They’re too old for this kind of shtick now. On with the mother-meeting, please. Adulthood is inevitable, stop pushing it away!
Robin’s final attempt to attract Barney, a candid expression of her desires, is yet another failure. She shows up at his apartment only to find him engaged in a game of Crazy Eights with her nuisance of a coworker Patrice. See, following the Robin/Brandi show, Barney high tails it back to the television studio to sleep with Brandi… before realizing that she and this life are hardly what he really wants. As such, he forms a bond with the earnest Patrice, there working late, and the two begin a courtship of sorts bound to drive Robin batty. She really hates Patrice.
We haven’t long until the winter finale — the possible union of Robin and Barney, meeting of Ted and Whoever, jokes-about-sex-and-ghosts of Lily and Marshall. Surely Patrice will serve as some vehicle to get Barney to the altar (whether he’ll remain there is as of yet ambiguous). And as much as I have traditionally rooted for Barney and Robin, I’m ready for their back-and-forth to be done with. It’s tiresome, crowded, without any of the ballerina’s balance that an early seasons Ross and Rachel once shared… and I know, they’re always the control group, but what are you gonna do? They kind of nailed it.
So hopefully, we’ll soon see Barney and Robin tie the knot for good. Hopefully, we’ll see Ted and his wife-to-be find one another. I’m ready for these people to grow up, to start their lives, to get their payoff. I, as do many fans, still hold onto the great characters we once knew. And they deserve to find happiness, once and for all.
[Photo Credit: Carin Baer/Fox]
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It is a sad, sad day, as we sit here with puffy eyes and struggle at our desks while we try to figure out just how soon we can get out of this forsaken job and hit someplace with alcohol. It may be a bar, so that we can toast with our friends and hope that the revelry will help us forget our sorry lives, or it may be at home, with a glass – no, bottle – of white whine while we sigh on the couch and remember our forgotten friend. Probably the latter. That is what Kim would have wanted. That is how Kim would like to go out, with our tears moistening our cheeks and us pouring out a bottle of white wine over our TV set as it sparks and explodes in a ball of smoke. It doesn't matter if you ruin it. You don't need your TV anymore. Kim Zolciak is no longer going to be on the Real Hair Manglers of Mario Kart Palace. There is nothing left to watch.
No siree Bob, Kim has got the check. She is doneski. She does not pass go, she does not collecte $200. She is making like a tree and going. She is not letting the door hit here where the sun don't shine. Goodbye, Kim. Goodbye. We have watched your weave grow from a tiny seedling to an immense beanstalk growing out of your head and traveling up to the sky where a giant named Kroy lives and where treasure awaits you for the rest of your days. Now, of course, this was the big event of last night's episode, but before we can get to Fight Brunch, we have to slog through some other details first.
There wasn't any moving this episode, which was a blessing, but there was my second least favorite Real Housewives convention: talking about planning. They're not planning a trip, they're talking about planning a trip. When they actually do the planning, there has been so much talking about the planning that when all these little grenades sit down around some Brioche French Toast and Egg Whites Benedict (which sounds vaguely racist) everything just explodes and the shrapnel scars all look horrible when they're sitting around in their bikinis laughing about what a great time they're having while they forget all about the planning when they're actually on the trip.
So, yes, lots of planning talk. NeNe and Gregg go over to see Cynthia and Peter and they talk about the trip. Then Cynthia puts on her smart lady glasses and has brunch with Kandi and they talk about planning. Then Kandi and Phaedra go to some weird store called Box Wood and talk about planning and then Kandi gives Phaedra some "Kegel Balls," which are little spheres that you place in the vagina and hold onto so that your netherworld gets super nice and tight. They do all this in a store called Box Wood, because they cannot write a double entendre between the two. They are strictly single entendre, but two single entendres does not add up to a double entendre. So we just get Box and Wood, each standing on their own, unexplored. Sorry, back to planning planning planning. Blah. Nothing interesting happened in any of these discussions that wasn't worn on Cynthia's face. Does she think she's Spike Lee in a Nike commercial or something? Has anyone told Cynthia what year it is? Does she still care about what happens to Jennifer Love Hewitt?
There were a couple of interesting meetings however, Portia, a pile of rags brought to life by the wizard Gargamel to capture Smurfs but then turned to the side of good, finally gallumphed out of the forest and married her husband Carvell, who is a Cookie Puss that melted and then was brought to life as a man made of ice cream. They are in sweet, sweet love and they make sweet, sweet love on the nightly because one of the rags that Gargamel threw in the pile was the one that kept next to his bed for "private time" and, well, that made Portia into a total sex fiend. So they're banging away, but they can't have a baby. That's because there was something wrong with Portia's lady parts. She goes to the doctor who waves a magic wand and then Portia's lady parts work again. Oh, miraculous day!
Portia's approach to motherhood seems to be that of an 8-year-old's holding a doll by one hand as the rest of it drags through the dirt. "I want to have four babies, two boys and two girls because that is just what my mommy had and I want to be a mommy just like my mommy. But I want to have twins, because they are awesome and have super powers and I will name one twin Olsen and one twin Doublemint because that is what you name twins. I only want to have babies two times and then I won't have to get fat." This is where Portia holds her head down and pouts in a completely adorable way, with her twisted pigtails hanging down around her face just so.
Not only is Portia a child, she's also kind of stupid, but she's like awesome stupid. I can't quite explain this Portia character other than the fact that she is blissfully vacant and no one seems to want to correct her or help her on her way. She meets with Cynthia and NeNe to talk about the charity she works for and says that her charity needs help 265 days a year. Now, I wish it were the case that the charity was fully staffed with volunteers for 100 days of the year and now they just need help with holidays and weekends and Tuesdays (because no one wants to give their time freely when all those Fox sitcoms are on) and that is what she meant by 265 days a year. But no. Portia does not know how many days there are in a year. She does not know many things. She does not know that Christmas is always on the same date. She does not know the boiling point of water. She does not know about exchange rates. She does not know how to bookmark a webpage. She does not know that eating yams will not give her twins, even if they did studies in Africa. She does not know that Bethpage is a town on Long Island and not a girl from her third grade class called Beth Page. She does not know that a cold cut sandwich isn't called that because it is sliced in half and not warm. She doesn't know any of these things. She is a ball of rags that runs around singing "La la lala la la, la lala la la," which is a song she learned from the Smurfs before she turned against Gargamel.
Speaking of evil sorcerers, Kernya Moo-ah is certainly possessed by the devil. Remember that story she told a few weeks past where she was hiking down a trail and a black snake crossed her path? I think when that happened an evil spirit wafted up from that animal and entered her body through her nose and has completely taken over. She's like that nun on American Horror Story where one minute she is being perfectly nice and sweet, but you know it is totally fake, like that hint of artificial sweetener you get when drinking the clear Gatorade. Then the next minute she has black pupils and she's speaking curses in Aramaic and is floating in the air and raising her arms into the sky over a virgin chained to the alter. That is what is going on Kernya Moo-ah.
We see this when she meets up with Phaedra and Apollo. She brings along her man Walt and then just shamelessly flirts with Apollo in front of their respective significant others. In Apollo's defense, he doesn't play into it, but it is making everyone squirmy. Phaedra is sitting on her fists so she doesn't punch this bitch square in her face and Walt is just slumped over with his undershirt hanging out of his sherbert colored button down in a pose that says, "What you gonna do? I'm lucky she'll have me." And Kernya is all, "Damn, Apollo, you are foine!" which is a direct quote, more or less.
Well, the four of them are going to ride Go Karts and Kernya shows up in a dress and heels because that is exactly what you wear when you are about to squat down into an exposed car and race around a track in front of decent human beings. It's apparent that the evil spirit that resides in Kernya Moo-ah's body is a speed demon because as soon as she gets in that car she starts to freak out. "Aye Aye Aye," she rattles as she grimaces at the camera. "I don't need a seat belt. I feel the need. The need for Speed Demon!! Aye Aye Aye." She shows her fangs and looks at Phaedra with glowing eyes and she just turns up her shoulder at Kernya, hoping that she just has some gas or something. Then Kernya starts shouting, "I am so evil. I am so eevvvviiiillll. Aye Aye Aye!" She speeds off with a big cloud of dust behind her while Phedra just fans it out of her face and spits the grit out of the side of her car. Apollo races confidently and assuredly, like anyone with a body like his would. And then Walt, sad Towtruck Walter, pulls up the rear, going so slowly it's like little bursts of smoke are going to come busting out of his tailpipe at regular intervals trying to propel him along. He's still confused because there's not another vehicle trailing his on the way to the garage. He's not used to driving like this. He's used to picking up after the demolition derby. But Kernya, she is possessed by the devil. She crosses the finish line and hops out of the car and draws a pentagram on the pavement and the whole course bursts into fire and transports everyone to hell where they will have to sell their souls just to get a glass of water, just to get back to Atlanta. That is the hell that Kernya Moo-ah has wrought.
Speaking of Kernya Moo-ah, Kandi invited her to Planning Brunch and Cynthia Bailey got her face tied up so tight it almost swallowed one of her giant earrings that were made from the crystals of two dying stars that lived next to each other. Then Kernya was like, "Oh, you're going to Anguilla? I would like to go," and when no one said anything she said, "OK, well, I'm coming, and that's that. Read my contract!"
But this whole Planning Brunch thing was a mess. First of all Pheadra arrived with not only lilies but all the lilies in the damn valley and apologized to Cynthia for butt dialing her and talking shit and told her that her quote was taken out of context and she didn't mean anything negative and she was very sorry. You can say a lot of things about Pheadra, but she is always classy. I give her mad props for being up front and trying to make things better.
OK, so then everyone files in and they're talking about the trip and Kernya invites herself and then Kim, who is the last one there, starts hemming and hawing and saying she might not be able to make it. All that I learned from all the previous planning meetings was that they all planned their trip around Kim's schedule and had rearranged all their dates so that she and Kroy could join them. Kim is making all this noise about how she might not be able to go because she's so pregnant and her due date has moved around and she has to talk to her doctor and blah blah blah. But it's just Kim making excuses, as she has for the past two years. It's just like our other favorite Kim, Kim Richards, always showing up to a party late, leaving a party early, or bailing at the last minute. She just doesn't want to be around.
Then Kim says that she and Kroy are going on their own vacation while the rest of them are in Anguilla. That is it for everyone. Kim says, "Well, we could have kept it in the country. We could have gone to Miami or Destin..." Ha! Those are Kim's alternatives. Destin? Destin! Are they all going to ride together in a pick up and camp out at your aunt's trailer and then go to the Applebee's for dinner. Destin. NeNe is pissed off at, in the first time she's had an extended conversation with Kim, she lets her have it and lets Kim know that she is ungrateful and a liar. NeNe might have gone too far, but I'm on her team in this one.
Anyway, this is all bullshit. As the ladies say, if Kim had concerns she could have brought them up earlier. She knew how pregnant she would be, and she sent the dates saying when she could travel. She either should have sent real dates or sent her regrets. But no, she made everyone rearrange their lives to go on this company trip that is contractually obligated and now she is totally skipping out on it. And they all know it has nothing to do with pregnancy, it has to do with Kim being over it.
Yes, Kim is entirely over these women, she is done being on the show, she is done. She wants to go back to her townhouse that is crammed full of tacky furniture and nuzzle with her baby and let her daughters run around the house eating pizza and yelling, "Mom! Mom!" and not answering. That is what she wants. Last season I loved that Kim sort of gave up and was over it all, but she was still engaged with the group. She didn't want to mess with any of their fighting, but she would still go and be the voice of reason. She would be her fun self, which is all we ever wanted from Kim. Now... well, now she's just boring. Now all she talks about is moving, fast food, and where she's going on vacation. It's like having my Cousin Audra over for dinner, and there is a reason why I do not ask her to come down from Rochester very often. It is because she is boring.
Kim is getting her own show, an extension of her Don't Be Tardy for the Wedding special and it will be all about her life and her family. She is the southern Bethenny Frankel, but the difference between the two of them is that Kim now holds the platform she launched from in the highest disdain. Bethenny was too smart to ever do that. She grew past the Real Housewives but she never thought she was better than them. Well, she probably thought she was, but she never let on. She was always grateful for the opportunity, and Kim should keep that in mind. Next week when she goes pushing the camera out of her face, she needs to remember that she owes everything to that camera in her face. She owes it all to those people around that table. She owes it all to acting out on television and being fun and crazy and entertaining.
But she got up and left Fight Brunch. She waddled off to the car and had her confrontation (which we'll see next week in full) and Kroy drove them back to the town house, and Kim couldn't do anything but look out the window. She just watched it all go buy, the closed businesses in the strip malls and the little bits of trees that separated one development from the next. The sprawl scrolled by as they stopped and started and drove in silence, the radio turned almost all the way down humming something incomprehensible, a skittering baseline of the quiet around them.
Kim stared out the window and thought about it all. She thought about that day when NeNe came over to her house with some guy she barely knew who had a camera. "Come on, Kiiiiiimmm," NeNe said. "Snatch on that wig and let's go. We're going to Sheree's and we're going to make a tape."
"A tape?" Kim said, in that way she always did where a question could be the ultimate indictment. "What kind of tape?"
"We're gonna make a tape to be on a show, honey. We're going to be reality stars, and we need someone like you."
"What am I going to do on a show? I got two kids, a fat ass, a boyfriend who won't leave his wife, a bunch of debt, no prospects, and nothing to do this afternoon but drink a bunch of wine and goof off."
"That means you're coming?"
"Damn straight I'm coming. We're going to make the hell out of that tape."
"It will probably be nothing.""Yeah, who cares. I just want to have some fun with my girls."
"Yes, we are all about fun. Plonk!"
That's how it all started, she can't forget that day, and how it all changed after that, how it changed everything. She would admit that it even changed her. Kim was starting to get hot and she took off her wig and put it in her lap. Kroy looked over at her, not to say anything, just to see what she was doing and he put his eyes back on the road, his jaw fixed tight. That's what she liked the most, finally being around someone quiet, someone she could be herself around. She messed up her matted hair and turned away from the side window and looked straight ahead. She reached out and put her hand over Kroy's as it rested on the stick shift in the middle of their seats. She just let it lay there, her heat transferring into him. And he didn't move his hand but bucked up his middle finger to sort of grab in between her knuckles. He was there for her. Just her. She kept her eyes fixed on the two yellow lines in front of her, going straight and straight and straight into the future without an end, impossible to see where the lines stopped. "It's just not fun anymore. It's just not fun at all."
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
'Real Housewives of Atlanta' Recap: Kenya Moore Can't Cook
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Eight minutes. Yes, that is how long it took us to get from the opening of Real U-Hauls of Rent-a-Wreck Center until we got to the first commercial break, and the whole first eight minutes were about the most trivial, everyday, household occurrences that it was like the television equivalent of writing a grocery list. Most of this entire episode was about moving. It was about Kim moving and Kandi moving, which I have vowed that I'm not going to talk about. Now, moving is the worst thing in the world. Well, not as bad as cancer. Probably not as bad as AIDS. But it's third, right behind cancer and AIDS there is moving and it is the worst thing you will never diagnose yourself with on WebMD. I don't want to do it in my life and I certainly don't want to watch that on television. So, sorry everyone, no moving talk today.
This entire episode, actually, was about being a homemaker in one way or another. The other mundane task in the first eight minutes of the show was Phaedra and her husband Apollo taking their young son Aiden to the barbershop for the first time before his second birthday party. Now, according to Phaedra, Apollo is a master barber and before they even get inside the shop, Apollo is showing him his clippers. Now, if this guy is a master barber (is that some sort of extra certification process, like past a bachelors in barber, you have to get a masters hair maintenance?) and has his own clippers and even shears his own son at the barbershop, why are they even taking this kid out in public to begin with? Just sit him down in the bath tub and shave his head! You don't need a shop for that.
Now that Aiden is gussied up, it is time for his second birthday party at the Atlanta Aquarium. This thing was planned and lorded over by Atlanta's very own party Willy Wonka, Deeeeee-wight. I don't know if you know this, but Dwight is actually the Planters' Peanut man who got sick of shilling for nuts and one day molded his face out of Silly Puddy and walked right out of the nuthouse and into the world. He still uses the cane and monocle, but now he has a whole collection of hats. Last night's appears to have been made from reclaimed Burmese rickshaws. Dwight, formerly quite a presence on this show, didn't really have much to do except play Major Domo to Phaedra's excesses. Yes, after everyone arrives, she, her husband, and her son are lead into the room by a marching band while riding a choo-choo train. Yes, drum corps and locomoties. Of course! These are two things that go together like marshmallows and Frisbee, like beach balls and Abe Lincoln's Birthday, like hot air balloons and oxen.
The only good part of the Aiden haircut/birthday party was that Aiden, whenever he is sick of something and wants to ignore it and be left alone says, "I'm sleepy." This is so genius that I just gave it an honorary PhD from Brian Moylan's Real Housewives Institute and Bagel-Making Academy. Aiden is two years old and already knows how to get out of just about everything: by feigning sleep. I bet he learned this trick from his mother, who probably uses it all the time to turn down sex with his father. "I'm sleepy," she says and rolls over and everyone just leaves her alone as she snores a deep baritone while her donkey booty props up the blanket. Yes, Aiden, you keep that somnambulesence about you. It's going to come in handy some day.
Now was have to talk about Kernya Moo-ah and her lack of household skills. Kernya makes me sleepy, so very sleepy, but I can't ignore her. No, I can not. She is pathological in the most interesting way I have ever seen. It's like those gold highlights in her hair are made with bat shit, actual real bat shit from a cave in Brazil (do you think that is what they use to do those Brazilian blowouts?). Kernya is trying to make her man Walter marry her, because she wants a baby and because everyone else who she has gotten close to duping into a lifetime commitment has finally seen past the bat shit highlights into her real crazy brain and run off into next Tuesday like their shirt was on fire and there was a sale on asbestos at Home Depot. But before she can marry him, he has to pass the panel of her family. Kernya invites him to dinner with her aunt, uncle, and two cousins and they asked him more questions than the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Sonja Sotomayor before she could be sworn in on the Supreme Court. This thing was intense and awful and if I was Walt I would have got into my tow truck, lit a joint, and forgotten about the entire Moo-ah clan for the rest of eternity.
That was totally stupid, but was even better was the next night (well, let's pretend it was the next night) when Walt comes over to Kernya's house and she is going to cook him dinner. The problem is Kernya is either too dumb or untalented to cook a dinner so she puts some salad from a bag on a plate and then microwaves two Lean Cuisines and puts those on individual plates and has it ready right when Walt comes home so he thinks she cooked dinner. OK, whatever. That's the oldest trick in the book. Who hasn't bought prepared food and tried to pass it off as maybe your own? You just don't say anything and hope the person who is eating it doesn't ask any questions and will just be silently impressed.
This is not what Kernya Moo-ah does. She says to Walt, "This is just a little taste of what it will be like every night if you marry me." Yes, she is going for the hard sell and is totally swindling him into marriage. "You think you can do this every night?" Walt asks. Then Kernya gets all upset, like how dare he question her cuisine. "You don't think I can do this every night?" Well, of course you can, Kernya. It is not that hard to follow microwave directions. Even Aiden can do it when he's not too sleepy. But then the lie gets even worse. "This was so hard to make. First you have to marinate the chicken and then you have to grill it," and Kernya just goes on and on totally fabricating what she went through to make this dinner. I'm sorry, that is just absolutely bonkers. Like I said, passing off Lean Cuisine as your own and not saying anything about it is like a little white lie. Making up a whole story about how you slaved over a hot stove all day is fraud. It is fraud pure and simple. I don't understand why people do this, put on some sort of front about how great or smart or awesome they are before marriage, like the person who marries you isn't going to know as soon as you move in together that it was all a ruse. That is why you should just fart and wear comfy pants and make your crappy pasta and be your lousy damn self. Someone might still want to buy that, for whatever crazy reason. Also, lying is bad, Kernya. Nothing good ever comes from lying.
Now the difference between Kernya and Porsha isn't that one can cook and the other can't. No, they're both shitty cooks but it's how they approach it. Kernya tries to pretend like she can cook by duping her (hopefully) husband-to-be. Porsha can't cook and, well, she's not afraid to burn her biscuits again. Yes, this is not the first time that Porsha has burned the biscuits, and I'm not talking about sitting her ass to close to the fire around Christmas time. No, these are actual biscuits in an oven and they are singed. Porsha is trying. She is trying to make Carvell (her husband who is a walking Cookie Puss) happy and she succeeds. He loves her in spite of her faults, not because she's trying to cover them up.
The reason Porsha can't cook is, well, Porsha is kind of an idiot. But she's a harmless idiot. She's a fun idiot. She is like a lady Barney Fife, fumbling her way through life with the best of intentions trying not to shoot the people who love her. And you do love her, if only because she's so incredibly stupid. When she recaps calling Kernya Miss America instead of Miss USA she says it was a "fraudulent slip." Ha. Oh, Porsha. You just shake your head and smile because she really thinks that is what it is. That is her truth and she is speaking it. You can hate idiots, but you have to love authenticity.
I guess the only thing we have to talk about is Phaedra's Butt Dial. I just opened up my big sack of groans and they all escaped, spread on the wind like melancholy leaves blowing against your window pane. Groan. This is now a plot point on a reality television program: the butt dial. It's happened to all of us, but usually in our pocket and you call it a pocket dial. But not Phaedra. Her butt does everything in her life. I'm beginning to think that it is big enough that it has finally gained its own consciousness and is acting independently of the rest of her body. I think it heard Pheadra having a bitching conversation about her fellow Housewives and said, "Ah ha! I am going to call a friend of NeNe's so when the voicemail picks up, it will record all of this viciousness." It seems the butt was a little too late and all it recorded was Pheadra saying she didn't give a fuck is Cynthia came to her son's birthday party or not.
NeNe plays the tape for Cynthia who books a dinner with Phaedra. Cynthia arrives and is like, "How was the party? I am so good about going to all of Aiden's events. I'm so sorry I wasn't there." This is why Cynthia is a crappy Housewife, the passive aggression. We do not watch the Housewives to watch passive aggression. We watch for aggressive aggression. Sorry, Cynthia, and I'm going to let you finish in a second, but that is why the sadly departed Sheree Whitfield was one of the best Housewives of all time. She was always on the attack, even when she was being defensive. She would come right out with the truth and make an accusation. She would wag her finger in your face and dare you to check her, boo. Not Cynthia. She has to put on a smile and weasel around it.
When she does eventually tell Phaedra about the butt dial, Phaedra just changes the subject and giggles and tries to make it go away. Now, this might not have been the right response, but it worked with Cynthia because she's way too passive to actually hold Phaedra's feet to the fire, or her butt in this case. I hope her biscuits don't get burned.
That's it. That's all we have to talk about, all the domestic bliss to look at, all the moving to be done. And as the meals are burned and microwaved, as the children sleep with their hair newly shorn, as Dwight goes back home to the peanut farm, there are houses that stand empty. The big brick monstrosities have the boxes backed up, the brick-a-brac in piles in the middle of the room, the margarita makers and coffee tables sitting hodgepodge waiting to be transported to have some place new. The people who live in these houses have relocated, moved their bodies and their families somewhere else, but it's just the clutter that remains. The detritus that is so hard to scoop. You can relocate your family, but what about your stuff? What becomes of it when it is forgotten? What becomes of it when it doesn't have a drawer or cabinet, when it gets shuttled off to storage and forgotten about until one sad day when someone new finally tears through it and discovered it. What about all of our stuff? And it sits their quietly, not even knowing that it should be sad, that life has moved on without it, that everything around it echos with loneliness.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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This Week’s episode of Once Upon a Time was heart-breakingly beautiful. Charming and Snow’s fiery passions are ignited in a bittersweet reunion and Hook’s true allegiances are revealed. Check out all you may have missed and more from “Into The Deep”…
The Deal is Off: The episode opens with Hook finally climbing down from that beanstalk and surprise, surprise! Cora is waiting for him at the bottom, and she does not look to happy to see the ridiculously attractive pirate. Needless to say when she discovers that he does not have the compass she quickly becomes furious and says that their deal is off and she will be finding a way to Storybrooke without him. So Killian does what does best. He unleashes his smoldering eyes and sexy charm in hopes of wooing the witches affection. Cora flatly tells him, “You’re pretty face buys you a lot, but not my time. It’s too valuable.” Damn. She really is heartless. And speaking of heartless: we soon see that Cora has her own vault of hearts in Fairytale Land (like mother like daughter!) and it only takes one gentle touch before the whole wall of hearts begin to glow. With one frightful word, (“Rise!”) all of the townspeople that she slaughtered begin to come forth in a zombie like haze.
From Enemies to Allies: Snow and Emma quickly confirm that the boy in Aurora’s dream is indeed Henry and they can now use these dreams as a walkie-talkie between realms. Snow is most excited at their newfound connection because if there is one person who can help stop Cora, it’s Rumplestilskin. Emma snaps, “Oh yeah princess you’re going back to sleep.” Poor little Aurora is now just a pawn in their quest to get back home, but hey, at least she’s somewhat useful now. Over in Snow’s apartment, Henry wakes up from his most recent fiery visit with the princess and Regina is waiting by his side. He says that Snow and Emma are in desperate need of help to fight off the most dangerous and wicked of villains. “Who?” Regina asks. Henry’s response is simple: “Your mother.”
Regina quickly realizes that she and Rumple need to team up in order to take out mommy dearest, but the former “Dark One” is less than thrilled to talk things out. Rumple is trying to enjoy a day date with his beloved Belle but it seems that everyone keeps interrupting. It’s clear that Granny is not the biggest fan of Rumple: “I change extra for pickles,” she coldly tells him. (Yeah Granny, that’ll show him!) And then Regina shows up mid-bite asking for his help. Rumple quickly calls attention to the awkward elephant in the room: “Belle you remember the woman who locked you up for 28 years?” However, Rumple’s demeanor quickly changes when he realizes that his first and most powerful pupil is trying to come to their home. Regina says it best: “There’s a big difference this time, this time you have someone you care about. This time you have a weakness.”
Over in Rumple’s shop, Regina and Charming are nervous about sending Henry back into the fiery dream, but Henry insists that this is what he wants, ““I’m done reading about heroes. I want to be one.” Okay well that was pretty cute. Rumple tells Henry a bedtime story with all the details that Snow and Emma will need to get back home, but the story is actually one we already know. Remember back when Snow and Charming captured and immobilized Rumple using Cinderella’s quill? Well it wasn’t actually the quill that did it, it was the ink. Rumple explains, “Harvested from the rarest species of squid from the bottom of a bottomless ocean. Impossible to find unless you’re a mermaid. Or me. I happen to have a private supply, in my jail cell. That is where they will find it.” But before Henry could pass along the message, Aurora is ripped from the room. Mulan is shaking the princess awake because Cora’s zombies are attacking their camp in hopes of stealing back the compass. Snow once again shows that she is Hunger Games worthy with her bow and arrow, and saves Emma a number of times form becoming post-apocalyptic zombie food. However, none of the girls were able to protect the helpless Aurora from being princess-napped.
I Knew You’d Be Here!: Henry is badly burned from his most recent adventure in the Netherworld, so of course Charming and Regina jump into over-protective parental mode and refuse to let him go back to sleep. Charming is absolutely positive that Snow will be the one to go back into the room so he demands that Regina put him under a sleeping curse so that he may be reunited with his on true love. “When I see her she’ll kiss me and I’ll be fine.” The two evil-doers hesitate for a moment but Charming is set in his decision, “Now put me under. I’ve spent far too much time looking for my wife. It is time to bring her home!” (Swoon. He’s so damn romantic.)
Regina prepares the sleeping curse while an astounded Henry watches in awe of his mother’s villainess skills. But Henry is beyond worried that his royal grandpa won’t be able to find Snow and wake up from the curse. Regina calmly says, “If there is one thing I know about your grandparents, they always find each other.” See! Even the evil queen knows how amazing their love is. Rumple reveals that they must put him under the curse “the old-fashioned way,” so Charming must prick his finger on the poisoned needle of a spinning wheel. Before he falls under the curse, Rumple explains that he needs to find the room with no doors in order to get to Snow. Charming questions how he is going to complete that seemingly impossible task, “And that dearie is the conundrum we’re all depending on you solving,” Rumple retorts.
Charming enter the Netherworlds and is in a dark room filled with mirrors—not flames. The Prince feels the floor is burning hot and he quickly realizes that he is just above the red room. He uses the sharp bottom of his torch to break through the glass bottom and falls flat on his face in the room with no windows or doors. Not to worry Charming lover! He’s not upset because Snow is there too! She is shocked and surprised to see her beloved; “You found me!” And Charming sweetly says, “I knew you’d be here.” But Snow is quickly less excited once she realizes that the only way her husband could be here is via a sleeping curse. Charming tells his wife everything she needs to know to defeat Cora and then jumps past the flames to go in for a kiss to wake him up. Unfortunately our two star-crossed lovers cannot physically touch, they are like really really attractive holograms. Snow begins to panic because she is waking up, but Charming stays calm and collected, “It’s okay, you’ll get back and then you’ll wake me like I woke you.” They exchange bittersweet I love you’s and then Snow is whisked away.
The Princess Puppet: Cora has Aurora locked up in one of her dark dungeons and has her sweet voice on as she tries to coax information out of the princess. But in her act of being a little badass, Aurora kicks away they witches tray of food and snaps, “I’m not as stupid as you think nor are my loyalties so easily bought, you can bring me a hundred meals and make me a hundred promised but I will never help you!” Cora throws Aurora against the wall and she promptly falls asleep again. A little while later, Hook arrives and sets Aurora free in what seems to be an act of rebellion against Cora. But before you get too excited that our sexy pirate is on the good side, read on. He took her heart! And then gave it to Cora as a gift! Now Cora can control Aurora like a pretty little doll and can spy on our heroines in their quest to get back home.
What did you think of “Into The Deep”? How amazing was that scene between Charming and Snow? Worried that they’ll never get home? Cast your spell in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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Happy almost Thanksgiving TV Lovers! While many people have been stuffing the turkey, baking pies and preparing for an awkward weekend of bumping into your old high school friends—“Oh hey… you! Wow. You’re still working at Target? That’s nice…”—I’ve been busy whipping up a healthy heaping of spoilers for you! And they smell delicious! (Oh honey, please stop sniffing your computer. I was just kidding and someone, somewhere is silently judging you right now.) In this week’s home-cooked edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List, I got all the American Horror Story: Asylum answers you’ve been craving from Zachary Quinto and convinced Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter to dish on what’s next for Deb’s love life. I sautéed up some scoop on the upcoming CSI/CSI: NY crossover special and I’ve got all the delicious details on what’s coming up for Glee, The Mindy Project, and Ben and Kate! Pull up a chair and put on your stretchy pants because y’all are about to be stuffed with some calorie-free spoilers. Dig in!
1. American Horror Story: Asylum: Heroes v. Horror
Last week’s reveal of Bloody Face was a terrifying and jaw-dropping shock for everyone. The fact that my beloved Zachary Quinto (as Dr. Thresdon of course) could commit such horrifying acts was a hard thing for me to handle as I peeped at the screen through my fingertips. Luckily I was able to chat with Quinto last week via a conference call and his sweet voice and thoughtful answers were almost enough to make me forget the terrors that wont leave my brain. Almost. This week’s episode, “The Origins of Monstrosity,” will give us a deeper and darker look into the patient’s pasts of Briarcliff as well as shed some light on Thresdon’s serial killer tendencies. While I can’t fully reveal his motives, let’s just say that Dr. Freud would hit the nail on the head when suggesting that Mommy issues are to blame. Quinto explains, “I think part of being a psychopath is an ability to dissociate from one reality and create another one completely. I think he does that expertly… He could have made a more significantly positive contribution had he only rechanneled his traumas, his energy.”
Many TV lovers like myself know that Quinto is no stranger to playing the evil one. For years on Heroes he was the baddest of bads when playing Gabriel Gray, but Quinto says that he prefers AHS’s unique character development that all takes place neatly in one little season. “[American Horror Story] is just more rooted in character and relationship, and less rooted in the sort of peripheral elements like superpowers. I liked that this was grounded and real. It’s something that I’m always drawn to is that kind of direction… it’s not a six-year commitment as it could be with another show.” A few other nuggets about tonight’s episode: We finally learn the fate of our horrified honeymooners (RIP one of them…) and there’s a new killer introduced. Let’s just say that when this new psychopath isn’t murdering people, she really enjoys playing dress up and having a tea party with her dolls. Creepy!
2. Dexter: A New Love for Deb?
Holy crap Dexter! You know just how to tug on our heartstrings while simultaneously making us cringe with incesty vibes, don’t’cha? Sundays episode was flawless when Deb dropped her “I’m in love with you!” bomb to her serial killing brother and everyone is asking the important/obvious question: Now what?! To get you the goods, I recently sent one of my spoiler fairies out to New York to catch up with Jennifer Carpenter at the premiere of her new movie, Ex-Girlfriends. (I had a date with my DVR and it would’ve been oh-so rude of if I ditched Stevie my TV at the last minute.) Carpenter says that Deb’s emotional turmoil and confusion over her feelings for Dexter (Michael C. Hall) have greatly evolved. When talking about last season’s first inkling to loving her brother, Carpenter said, “She never actually said that she’s in love with Dexter. She thought that she was and she wanted to know as much [as she could.] and I think that was also a tool that writer’s use to sort of pace her piecing the puzzle together of what it is that he does.” Now that Deb has actually confessed those powerful three little words to Dexter, Carpenter warns that this knowledge will dramatically shift the dynamics for the rest of this season. “I think that the new information sort of trumps those feelings that she was having. Not sort of. They absolutely do.”
Since Deb has opened the Pandora’s box of awkward secrets, we pressed Carpenter to see if she thinks that Deb can ever move past this sibling super crush and find a new (less murder-y) person to love. The actress smiled, “For once, I mean this is all just me speculating, but I think that now that she is claiming her life as her own, if she is ever going to meet love, it will happen now.” Squee! Fingers crossed that she wil have a happy ending. But speaking of endings, Carpenter recently revealed that she would be a-okay if Deb were to die at the end of this final season. “I don’t want this life [for her].” She stressed. Well that’s completely understandable, who would? But the biggest question is would she rather Deb’s death be at the hands of her brother? Carpenter was quick with her answer, firmly saying: ”Hell no.”
3. Ben and Kate: Smile for the Camera!
To me this show has it all. It’s funny, quirky, cute, and it has one of the only child actors—the lovely Maggie Elizabeth Jones—that I don’t want to ship off to a far away foreign land. (Yes, Modern Family’s demon-spawn Lily I’m looking at you!) I love the fact that Ben (Nat Faxon) and my TV bestie BJ (Lucy Punch) don’t coddle Maddie. They’re brutally honest with the their pint-sized pal and it makes for a refreshing and hilarious sitcom dynamic. So you can imagine my extreme delight when I snagged the following scoop: Maddie and BJ have a squee-worthy storyline together in an upcoming episode—12 to be exact—called “Bake-off.”
While Kate (Dakota Johnson) is off getting her flirt on, a casting agent in a restaurant mistakes BJ and Maddie for a mother-daughter duo and encourages them to audition for an upcoming commercial. Genius. One thing leads to another and the two attempt to dazzle the director at a casting call, but of course in true Ben and Kate fashion, the audition doesn’t go as planed and hilarity ensues. Let’s just say that Maddie’s catwalk skills may not be quite up to par. Not to worry Maddie, I’ll still love you! (FYI: If Ben ever enters Maddie in a Toddler and Tiaras type competition, I’m pretty sure my heart will explode from excitement. I'm not kidding.)
4. CSI: Crossovers and Corks
There’s something oh-so special and exciting when a long-standing show like CSI decides to shake things up a bit. This February fans can prepare to feel the love because CSI and CSI: NY are staging a special 2-part crossover. Plus there’s even more exciting news for shippers of the New York series! It looks like things between Mac and Christine are going to get even sweeter as the season continues. In the episode entitled, “In Vino Veritas” Mac (Gary Sinise) will head out to Las Vegas for a little romantic get-away with his lady Christine (Meghan Dodds) but his love-filled weekend is quickly destroyed when he realizes that not only is she missing—she’s been kidnapped. So Mac enlists D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) and the rest of Las Vegas CSI team to find her.
The drama continues in the second episode when D.B. heads back with Mac to the big apple to help track down the kidnappers and determine whether or not Christine is alive. (Side-Note: Please TV Gods let Christine be okay! Mac can’t handle another heartbreak like this!) Somehow tied into it all, fans will also watch the team crack the case of the murder of a Mr. Davari. The deceased was a wine-dealing delinquent who used to auction off counterfeit cases for millions of dollars. But who did it? The prostitute? The waiter? Or the guy who got conned out of a small fortune for some high-priced grape juice? One thing I do know for sure is that I take wine very seriously, so I can’t say that I’m going to be particularly heart-broken knowing that this fictitious criminal will be laid to rest.
5. The Mindy Project: Hey There Neighbor!
Would you like to meet the newest lady of The Mindy Project? Of course you would! We’re soon going to meet Maggie, Mindy’s friend from college who also happens to live in her same apartment building. What a coinkidink! Maggie is the typical overachiever: She graduated from Princeton and moved straight onto the Teach For America program to lend her skills as an educator. How noble! I already like her very very much.
On her first assignment in the P.E. department, Maggie discovered that her tomboyish qualities had plenty of room to shine, so she decided to become a full time gym teacher. Unlike Mindy, Maggie is wildly confident, totally comfortable in her own skin and completely fine with the fact that most people assume that she is a lesbian because of her job. Damn stereotypes. In reality she’s quite the man-eater! Maggie has plenty of handsome suitors knocking at her door and hopefully she’ll be able to share some of her dating secrets with our leading lady.
6. Glee: Spandex and Sweater Vests
Remember a few episodes back when Blaine (Darren Criss) went club crazy and signed up for pretty much everything extra curricular? Well get excited glee-bees because this week’s all new episode give us a more in depth look in to the coolest club of all: The Secret Society of Superhero’s! “Dynamic Duets” features some of the funniest (and sexiest) super hero costumes I’ve ever seen. My top 3 would definitely have to be Tina’s Asian Persuasion, Brittany’s Human Brain and Kitty’s Femme Fatale. Girl power! Despite being socially immersed in all things McKinley, Blaine still feels lost without Kurt (Chris Colfer), and the lure of perfectly stitched Warbler blazer is tempting our former bow-tie lover into another potential school switcheroo. Klaine fans will also get some answers surrounding Blaine’s heartbreaking indiscretion with this mysterious Eli that we heard all about in “The Break Up.”
Fun-Fact: When I first saw Finn (Cory Monteith) in this episode I seriously had to do a double-take! I understand that Finn has taken over for Mr. Schue while he’s gone, but it looks like he also decided to raid his closet too. If Santana (Naya Rivera) saw him in these sweater vest and plaid shirt combos, she would most likely pass out from snark-overload and then—upon regaining consciousness—she would go off on a 20-minute verbal attack. Of course it would all be in good fun because we know that Santana and Finn are clearly buds after she came to save the day in Glease. (Side-Note: But seriously fingers crossed that something like this happens down the line because I truly miss our lovely Latina’s word-induced whiplash.) After fumbling at first, Finn quickly finds his footing (via spandex) and we get to witness some truly delightful duets. Kitty and Marley FTW!
Bonus Scoop! Looking ahead, the powers-that-be at Glee are currently searching for a new leading man named Paul. (Not the cutest of names, but I guess I can look past it…) Paul is a fella in his mid-twenties and is described as being “handsome, confident and extremely charming.” The new mystery man is set to appear in episode 11 and it’s safe to say he’ll become a familiar face on our TV screens. But just who will this new beau be charming? It seems like Rachel (Lea Michele) has her hands full right now with teacher’s pet Brody, so the next logical assumption would be that this is a new potential love-interest for Kurt. I personally don’t want that to happen so this is my counter speculation: give him to Quinn (Dianna Agron)!!!
What do you think is going to happen on Dexter now that Deb has spilled her steamy secret? Excited for the hilarity that’s coming up on The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate? Who do you think this “Paul” should be romancing on Glee? Tell me everything in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
—Additional reporting by Lindsey DiMattina
[Photo Credit: FX, FOX, CBS, Showtime]
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There are many things in Beverly Hills: fancy cars, big houses, a legion of fake-boobed Botoxed warriors in Roman sleeves waiting to destroy all the men who cross their paths. But there is one thing that there is not in Beverly Hills, and that is a sense of humor. OK, well, some people have it, but many do not. Lisa Vanderpump has a great sense of humor, one that is a little wicked and tinged with just a bit of acid, like one of those British sitcoms you watch on PBS. But those self serious women Lisa mixes with on Real Former American Idol Contestants of Gramophone Gulch, they just don't understand what is funny at all.
The reason I'm bringing this up is because, well, we finally discovered why Adrienne, the queen of the Maloofs (a race of lizards that lives beneath the mountain) and her husband, Paullo the Chimp, are mad at Lisa. Yes, Paullo told us while they were riding in a limo with the bag of facial ticks and white knuckles that is Kim Richards (much more on her later). Here are his three grievances against Lisa, which they are waiting for an apology for: Lisa called Adrienne's shoes "the Maloof Hoof," she referred to their dog Jackpot as "Crackpot," and she said that when she moved out of her house across the street she was going to throw all the furniture she didn't want over their fence. OK, first of all, who even has the problem of having to worry about what goes over your fence? Who has a fence? Secondly, those are all jokes. We heard all those things on the show and it is absolutely obvious to anyone watching with one brain cell and one working eye that it was a joke (which means even Andy Cohen got it). They were kind of funny jokes too. Lisa was teasing. And if your whole reason to hate this lady is because she made a few groaners at your expense, well, then you're a jerk.
So at Yolanda's dinner Paullo is all, "After what she did to us, I'm never talking to her again." Oh please. What she did was tell a few jokes. He's acting like she paid the nanny to kill all of his kids. She's kidding, Paullo, you freaking clown. Oh, sorry, you're a chimp. Whatever. Same deal. Lisa made nice at dinner but really has no interest in mending their relationship until Adrienne apologizes. Now they are playing the Real Housewives' favorite game: Apology Chicken, where one party feels she is wronged and waiting for an apology from another party who also feels wronged and waiting for an apology. In most cases both women have done something totally screwed up and the Emily Post Stand-Off (can we call them Mexican Standoffs anymore? Is that racist?) is totally warranted, but in this case, Lisa has done nothing wrong. Adrienne invented this giant slight and went around spreading lies about Lisa. There is only one wrong party here and she has a whole mountain full of lizards at her command. (Lisa only has one lizard at her command and his name is Ken, so I mean Adrienne.)
OK, before we can start talking about how The Widow Armstrong can't laugh at anything (this has nothing to do with how anatomically improbable her mouth is, but from some sort of mental deficiency) we need to talk about Yolanda's dinner party. Yolanda H. Bananas Foster has a giant freaking house. It is gorgeous and she designed it, every slat on the floor and over-stuffed sofa in the living room. She put her personal touch on all 17,000 square feet of it, even though they only use about three rooms: the kitchen, the living room, and the bedroom. She doesn't use the infinity pool or the outdoor living room. The arboretum lies empty and the conservatory without music. There is no lounging in the lounge and nothing to wrap in the wrapping paper room. They haven't once used the indoor bocce court and, just as the contractor told them, the faithful restoration of a French city block in their basement turned out to be an absolute waste.
The funny thing about Yolanda Bananas Foster is that she planted a ton of lemon trees and then, to her shock and dismay, they grew a million lemons. Now her life is entirely full of lemons and she can not make lemonade. This is her personal failing.
Yolanda invites everyone over and has her butler/caterer, which she has on loan from St. Camille of Grammer, come up with a menu and cocktail list and everything is going well. Lisa and Ken arrive, and Kyle and MMMmmmmmauricio show up with The Widow Armstrong, who is wearing a long, black Victorian mourning gown with a black velvet choker and trailing a black parasol, folded in, behind her and it is jostling her bustle. Adrienne and Paullo bring Kim Richards and the gang is all there. Yolanda invited Mr Body, who I thought was the evil blackmailer in Clue but he's really some jazz musician. She also invited Michael Johns, a very distinguished musician whose career highlight seems to be finishing eighth on Season 7 of American Idol. He wore a fedora to dinner which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about him. Yolanda thought that either the 50-year-old trumpeter or the 34-year-old Australian also-ran would be a good match for Brandi, who didn't even come to dinner. They are not. Brandi, I got your back, even when you're not there.
When everyone arrives their first stop is Yolanda's refrigerator. We need to talk about this at length because, did you see that freaking refrigerator? It was like a giant jewelry display case or the glass coffin where they kept Eva Peron so that everyone could come and view the body. It was like nine feet tall with clear glass doors and just stocked with baskets of fruit that were professionally arranged by a food stylist who comes in every day to rotate the produce and make sure it looks lovely. Also, there were a million lemons and still no lemonade. There were enough lemons in there to make gin and tonics for a room full of British people for a month or one Housewife for a week. This thing is a marvel. It's big enough to walk into, even though you don't need to because you can see everything through the glass door. What does she do with left overs? And condiments? Why is there no half-full ketchup in there and a soy sauce stained white container of last night's noodles from Chinese take out? This isn't just a refrigerator, it is a space ship from the future that has come bringing only gorgeous fruit that will never age or rot. That is what Yolanda ingests to keep her face from aging or rotting.
OK, so everyone is hanging out and The Widow Armstrong is sitting next to Mr. Body and she unfurls her black lace fan with a snap and gives herself a little bit of air and asks why Brandi isn't there. Then she tells everyone, "She told Yolanda that she has slept with everyone in Beverly Hills. Considering there are 16,000 people in Beverly Hills, she has been very busy. Very busy in-deed!" OK, Taylor, first of all we got a sepia-toned flashback to Brandi's comment and she didn't say she slept with everyone, she said "in Beverly Hills everyone sleeps with everyone." That is true. Also funny. The Widow Armstrong, like Adrienne, doesn't get the joke. Also, if Brandi said that she 69ed with everyone in the 90210, which she didn't, but if she did, who would think she was being literal? Who would think she took the voting registry and went house to house dispensing free love and ticking names off her fuck list? No one would think that. No one thinks that is true but The Widow Armstrong and everyone is rolling their eyes as soon as she goes to sit down on a fainting couch.
The Widow Armstrong says all of this after a few too many glasses of sherry and Yolanda says, "There is nothing I hate more than a drunk woman," or something like that. Oh my god. This is like the lemons all over again. Does she know what show she's on? This is like moving to Alaska and after being there a week saying, "There is nothing I hate more than a long winter." Seriously, Bananas.
After dinner The Widow Armstrong gets even worse. Everyone gathers around the piano to listen to Yolanda's husband David Foster (no Wallace) sing on his piano that is made of gold. No, not just gold, it is coated with the metal made from melted down Grammys. That's how many he has, he smelts them and made a piano out of them. (I don't really want to talk about him because he's awful in the blandest way possible. He's been told his whole career that he is great and awesome and a genius and now he believes it so he rattles on and on with his stories about musicians that no one cares about and shows off in front of company and it's just blah. I would hate to spend an evening with the man, but whatever, it's not like he's messed up in his own unique way.) Kyle Richards, ever the showgirl, wants to get up and perform but when the ladies won't calm down, he tells them to shush and that there will be no talking and no singing. It was a little stinging, but he was trying to stay jocular. The Widow Armstrong did not get this. She was all upset. "Well, I never!" she said, while fanning herself faster and faster with her fan and trying not to pass out on her chair. God, Widow, learn how to take a joke.
Then after playing "Amazing Grace," Mr. Body started to play Danny Boy on the trumpet and The Widow Armstrong starts fanning more and more. "Bring me my smelling salts. I'm going down," and she passes out in a heap on the floor because her grief was just so overwhelming that she can't hear a down-tempo song. Paullo the Chimp takes her pulse and determines she's alive and then says, "Why don't we play something a little bit more upbeat?" OK, sure the song selection was whack, but are you really going to go into this guy's house and tell him he can't play "Danny Boy" because The Widow Armstrong lost a loved one a year ago? That's crazier than Courtney Love in detox.
The evening ends without any major atrocities other than the jealousy we all feel for Yolanda's insane refrigerator and the vague pangs of discomfort we feel upon meeting her husband. Now we get the set up is for Lisa and Adrienne's big Contractually Obligated Drinks Discussion About Why We're Mad, but I'm saving that for next week.
That's mostly because we have something tremendously important to talk about. Yes, something happened last night that was sublime in its impact: Kim Richard's daughter Kimberly went to the prom. Oh man. This was the best thing that happened to me since I discovered, through yoga, that I can fit my penis in my own mouth. OK, that is not true, which means this is the best thing I have ever seen.
We already saw Kim and Kimberly go to their sister/aunt Kathy Hilton's house to pick out a frock from her Kathy Hilton's Premiere Elegance Dress Collection that is available on HSN (I made all that up), but the big day is finally here. Kim is dressed in her flowiest dirt brown top and a choker that has never been in style so I have no idea where she got it. She walks to the door and lets in Kasea, the makeup artist who has a name that has never been uttered in any language before this day. Kasea is there to make Kimberly beautiful – wait, no – more beautiful. Kimberly sits down in the chair and Kasea goes to work and Kim gives her a big wad of beads and says, "Listen, Kimberly. I haven't always been there for you. It's been a few really rough years. Mommy's been in and out of the hospital, but I'm here for you now. I'm going to make it up to you. I'm going to make it right." Kimberly gives her the "Yeah, OK, mom," that every teenage girl perfects by the age of 13 and tries to ignore her while a human with an alien's name paints her face.
Kim goes into the kitchen and says, "I'm going to make chicken salad. I'm going to make a whole spread. We're going to make this the most magical day. Look, Kimberly, I'm making the salad. I'm putting in the chicken and the walnuts and the mayonnaise. Look, I'm making salad!" Through the window into the kitchen we can see the Kim is just throwing random amounts of ingredients into a bowl and stirring them up with her fingers. Doot-dee-doot, she's singing as she stirs and stirs, kneading the chicken like it's a big ball of dough. "Look, Kimberly. I made salad!" she said and takes it over to the sideboard that has a cloth runner across the top and is covered with four different plates of hor d'ourves. There are pigs snug in their blankets burned on one side. There are chips and dip in a chip-and-dip that is shaped like a sombrero and is meant for tortilla chips and salsa but is instead full of Ruffles and an onion dip. There's a plate with grapes on it. Just grapes. And there is an empty box of Bagel Bites with some freezer burn slowly seeping inot the runner. Kim puts her salad next to those and goes back to the kitchen to do some more work.
"Cupcakes! We're gonna need some cupcakes!" Kim shouts and pulls some Hostess cupcakes out of the box and unwraps them one at a time before slapping some colored frosting onto the top. She brings them over and puts them onto a glass cake plate that has been broken in half. "How did that happen?" Kim thinks as the first cupcakes she pushes toward the back fall off and stumble onto the floor. She knows how that cupcake feels. She lets it just lie there. It will get up when it's ready.
As she's admiring her handiwork on the sideboard, she hears a little girl voice behind her. "Mom," Kimberly says, as Kim turns around she holds her hands out from her sides a little bit, as if that will help Kim get a better look of her black dress which is frayed on the bottom, like a black swan that is still moist from sitting in a pond. Her makeup is done, her hair aligned in a row of knots along the perimeter of her skull. She looks beautiful and young. She looks like Kim Richards going to a movie premiere.
"Oh," Kim says, holding her hand up to her mouth, joyed that her daughter looks so great and that she could do so much for her on this special day. She's so pleased and so sad. This is going to be the best day of her life. For Kim, things never got better after prom. She tried and tried to recapture that day, that feeling that there is a big strong man coming who will protect her and make her feel better, she tried to burrow her way into that cocoon a million times, but she never quite got there. Maybe she didn't cook long enough, popping out while here butterfly wings were still a bit unfinished and sticking to her sides. Maybe she was grounded for good. But not her daughter, not her beautiful daughter flying before her very eyes.
That's when the strains of the "Star Spangled Banner" start up over the house with its jangly tones and everyone sings along in the heads for the first few bars. "That's the doorbell!" Kim shouts, surprised every time that it's not the start of a Lakers game. She runs down the steps and lets in Joe (I forgot his name, whatever) Kimberly's 20-year-old boyfriend. He's a little old to be going to such a thing and totally huge. "Oh, you're a giant," Kim says. "That so good. You can fight everyone off from my Kimberly!" she does an awkward karate chop and then laughs at her own joke, an awkward smile spreading over Joe's face. "Is, um. Is Kimberly ready?" He asks? "Of course! Come in."
"Wow, you look great!" he says when he sees her and goes in for a kiss, lifting her off the ground a little bit. "Are you ready?" Kimberly asks. "Yeah," he says.
"Wait!" Kim shouts. "You have to have something to eat. Look. I made all this food. Aren't you waiting for your friends? I figured you'd bring them all over and their parents and we can all take some pictures out in the front lawn, because you guys look so great. I frosted cupcakes. There's chicken salad!"
"Sorry, Mom," Kimberly replied. "We're going over to Julie's house. She arranged the limo so it's picking us up there, so we actually have to get going."
"Can I take one picture? Come on, one picture," she says getting her phone out of her pocket and pushing the two of them together at the top of the stairs. "Say 'Prom Date!'" They smile and she pokes her finger at the screen of her phone and it makes that recorded snap sound. "Oh, one more." She turns her phone and pokes again.
"OK, Mom. We really need to go."
"Are you sure? Are you sure you don't want to take some food with you?"
They walk out the front door and off to the car. Kim rushes inside to the window next to the sideboard, the food poised precariously on top. She lifts the blinds up with one finger and peers outside like she's watching something she shouldn't be, like she's peeking. She sees Kimberly walk over to the side of Joe's truck and she remember's the pickup truck that her date drove to her prom. He had a trailer rigged up in the back and they spent the night in it cuddling. The first time she kissed a man. The first time she drank. The first time she ever really felt like she could do something that mattered.
It's going to be different for Kimberly, she thought. She is my do-over. Before opening the door Joe put his arms under Kimberly's and picked her up while kissing her and spun her around. "Joe stop!" she said and let out a little laugh as he opened up the door and let her in, closing it gingerly after her and putting his other hand over the door as if to double seal it, to keep anything bad from happening. This was going to work, Kim thought. This was going to be perfect. As they pulled away she kept staring out into the driveway, wondering what she could do now, trying to figure out how her story was going to end. She was never good at endings, she was never good at the future. Her future just drove off and where did that leave her? Home, on a Saturday night, with no one to call, with no one to bother, with no one to care for.
She picked up the glass bowl from the sideboard and walked into the kitchen. She opened up the door under the sink and slid out the garbage can, quiet on its oiled track. She threw the chicken salad into the bad, bowl and all. It made a thump and the cracks filled the bowl but didn't break it. It just sat there, dead weight. Kim said to no one in particular, maybe to the cracked bowl, "No one even touched my salad."
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: AP Photo]
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It's easy to be cynical about holiday movies or even the holidays themselves. Rise of the Guardians simply won't let you though even if you don't partake in Christmas or Easter. Without getting too highfalutin the stars of Guardians have more in common with pagan myths than the craven cash-grabs we associate with Judeo-Christian holidays. What's more North (aka Santa voiced by Alec Baldwin) and Bunny (as in Easter voiced by Hugh Jackman) are joined by more universal figures like Tooth (as in Fairy voiced by Isla Fisher) the Sandman Jack Frost (Chris Pine) and Pitch (aka the Boogeyman voiced by Jude Law). Overseeing it all is the silent Man in the Moon who gives the Guardians their directions.
Jack Frost wants to be believed in and seen by children as much as he wants to understand where he came from. When he's called to help the Guardians protect the world from Pitch he's hesitant to join but the possibility of being believed in and recovering his memories is too great to pass up. When Pitch succeeds in giving boys and girls bad dreams they stop believing in the Guardians which in turn threatens their existence. Nothing is worse than not being believed in. They also get some help from one open-minded little dude named Jamie (Dakota Goyo) who is a big believer in the unknown. (A little detour in the story with Jamie's little sister is freaking adorable.)
The characters are fabulous and no small part of what makes the movie work. Based on The Guardians of Childhood books by William Joyce and adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire (who wrote the excellent Rabbit Hole) Guardians stands out because the story isn't wedded to any one mythology. North is a big Russian with tattooed forearms and his real helpers are yetis — yet another mythic creature. Bunny is more of a wild hare with an Aussie attitude and his inner sanctum is lush and green calling to mind the fertility rituals originally associated with spring. Tooth is a fantastic hummingbird woman who has an army of beautiful tiny hummingbird ladies who travel around the world to collect lost teeth. The teeth contain memories so they're treasured by Tooth and her Baby Teeth as her helpers are called. Sandy is silent and communicates through symbols that appear over his head formed from his own sand; he's funny but also laid-back as you'd want the creature doling out dreams to be. Jack Frost is a mischievous cute young guy with anime hair who loves snowball fights and snow days and Pitch is a sour Brit who sends out awful but beautiful black stallions made of sparkly dust to put fear in the hearts of children.
It's a visually stunning experience making full use of 3D; famous cinematographer Roger Deakins acted as a visual consultant as he did on animated films like WALL*E How to Train Your Dragon and Rango. Alexandre Desplat's score is evocative without being overbearing or manipulative. The writing is funny without being too self-referential and the only pop culture reference I caught was to Crocodile Dundee. Frankly it's hard to find fault with Rise of the Guardians. Maybe they could have included Hanukkah Harry?
"I have an interest in the idea of America as a perpetually budding utopia. It was interesting to speculate on a place that a particular cusp of culture that could even consider itself post-utopian static place where achievement and well-being were manifest and the waters had become some what tepid. I think of the human desire for utopia as a pretty grotesque thing. It's probably at the root of our troubles and our disconnect with the natural world. It's troublesome."
As one might discern from the above quote regarding the themes behind his new film The Comedy, writer/director, Rick Alverson is a deep thinker, an artistic force, and a self-described pessimist. Not exactly the type of guy you might expect to join forces with actor/comedian Tim Heidecker (Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!). Turns out, that's exactly why they made the perfect collaborators for Alverson's latest.
In the film, Heidecker plays Swanson, a 30-something guy from New York who resides in a houseboat, lives of a trust fund, and balances his days between goofing off with friends and harassing people with his aggressive sense of humor. He's desensitized to the world, only feeling anything when he provokes the people around him, be it his dad's hospice worker ("have you ever had to deal with a prolapsed anus?") or a group of Harlem bar patrons (let's not even quote that one). At first, it's hilarious: Heidecker in the groove that has made him an important voice for counterculture comedy. But minutes into Swanson's many tirades, the laughs turn to gasps of horror. There is no stopping the man when he gets going and it's shocking.
"To the extent for this movie, humor is on the bulletin board for how Swanson uses it," says Heidecker. "He uses it as a shield as well. He communicates through it. He tells people he loves them through that. If you're ironically telling someone you love them, you're probably also telling them that you love them." While Swanson's joking escalates throughout the film, its starting point is often from casual fun had with close friends (played by Heidecker cohort Eric Wareheim, LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, and a handful of others) — a familiar scenario for the actor himself. "I don't play that kind of guy in the Tim & Eric stuff. It's a little more our sense of humor off camera than on. Minus some of the vitriol, race-baiting. But the general mischievous sense of humor that I and my friends have. Casual, recreational humor."
After being passed along some of Heidecker's TV work, Alverson knew he found the right man for Swanson. The director gravitated towards Heidecker's comedic sensibilities, which he argues couldn't be played by just any comedian. "[I'm drawn to] Tim and Eric's latent kind of flirtation and mistrust and troublemaking with the comedic," says Alverson. "They use it as [is] not just as a wedge to disturb the tiny waters of propriety, but as an exploration of sincerity and communication. To me, those things are complex and fascinating."
"Our comedy has always been about comedy," Heidecker says. "I hate the word 'anti-comedy.' People use that around us and I don't think it's true. It's about trying to make people laugh. Whether it's an uncomfortable laugh or a feel-good laugh, that's what we're about. There is a sense that it's not cool to be funny, or that it's post-comedy. That some kinds of comedy aren't funny anymore because they're tired and overdone. No surprise to it."
The script for The Comedy left the door open for plenty of experimentation for Heidecker. As Alverson describes it, the 20-page document included "very particular scenes and particular moods and textures," a series of scenes that allowed the actors to take any given moment in unexpected and realistic directions. "This was more improv with the dialogue, but Rick had a pretty good head around what he wanted the movie to ultimately be about," says Heidecker. "We didn't go out into the world with a camera. But the performances needed to feel natural. The best way to do that is to not write a script!"
Don't tell Alverson he didn't write a proper script ("He reminds me everyday that he wrote a script without dialogue," jokes Heidecker). Alverson describes his writing process as recreational and loose, devising moments that would paint the less-than-perfect picture of The Comedy. "Initially, the idea was that there was an individual who tested the boundaries of social norms," says Alverson. "The objective to have these recreational engagements with the world were in the service of a desire to affect the world or be affected by the world. The tragedy is neither one comes to pass." It's evident from speaking to Alverson that he has some gripes with the modern world. "Optimism is not my forte."
Alverson expressed his feelings on Swanson to his actor, but stepped out of the way when the cameras started rolling. "The movie you see would be very different if Tim wasn't the protagonist," the director says. "Tim said things that Tim ended up saying, but Tim said them in a way that only Tim could approach them and with a particular kind of nuance. A particular kind of contradictory nature. His genius lies in his capacity to flirt with sincerity and humor and persona in a way that is anarchic and horrifying."
The task of performing in a demanding film wasn't easy for Heidecker, but being surrounded by his friends and an thoughtful director like Alverson helped him slip into the unusual way of working. Heidecker's regular partner in crime Gregg Turkington appears in a scene in which Swanson enjoys a Bloody Mary over brunch, riffing on neighborhood nonsense that's revelatory in its patience and simplicity. Heidecker says that having Turkington, one his real life friends, "act" as opposed to do their usual comedy routines.
"When we started shooting, within the first three or four minutes it was uncomfortable, embarrassing… not on a film level, like a human level, a personal level," says Heidecker. "The cameras [would roll], 'Now act like you're having a drink!' It's an uncomfortable thing like, 'What are we doing?' And then we get into a rhythm, given parameters. When we're in the middle of it it felt natural." Heidecker learned to put aside his worries, and steered Swanson into the darker scenarios depicted in the film. When he did, Alverson would let him know they got the material they needed. Simple as that. "We felt confident that if we explored scenes during the take, we would get great natural moments."
The Comedy premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it was well-received by some, and detested by others. Walkouts were frequent, and the reaction is almost a testament to what Alverson set out to accomplish. "I was very happy for us to be able to accomplish those uncertain, muddy spaces. Moral ambiguities." Even Alverson's visuals in the movie are designed to unnerve audiences. The director set out to ugly up New York City — a metropolis often glamorized by film — and the effect is as disturbing as the lead character. "There's an attempt to shy away from depictions of New York City as ... a decayed urban environment. These romanticized portraits. That exists in our imaginations. So that was one of largest practical concerns: how to shoot with all of this aesthetic baggage."
Thankfully, fans of Tim & Eric seem to have taken to Heidecker's new venture. "I think, in general, our fans are a little more creative, artistic, and liberal-minded than your average population," says the actor. "They're open — they like new stuff and they like comedy as much as the new P.T. Anderson movie. It's the same group and they've appreciated it for what it is." Heidecker has had a successful career as a comedian, but still has ambition for acting in other people's films and challenging himself as a performer. He has comedy inspirations, but he also looks up to actors. "I was just watching The Shining, and I keep going back to Jack Nicholson as a guy who is just so f**king captivating to watch. Playing basically himself from movie to movie but being so captivating to watch. Funny, intense – such a classic example, but look at his old work. Phenomenal."
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: IFC Films (2)]
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This week’s episode of How I Met Your Mother finally gave us some much-needed progress in this borderline pointless new season. With “The Autumn of Break-Ups” currently underway, it’s time for another HIMYM couple to parts ways — but not before triggering a serious sitcom flashback of course! While one relationship crumbles, another is secretly saved, but rather than reading my beyond vague introduction, let’s get straight to it, shall we?
The day after a fondue-filled dinner party, Marshall and Lily decide to express some concerns they noticed between Ted and his recently rekindled flame Victoria. Apparently, Victoria was dropping some pretty huge passive-aggressive hints that show she is hoping for a more committed relationship. For example: “Hey, Ted, can you pass me a cracker? It’s the least you can do considering I left a guy at the alter for you…” Sheesh, that’s pretty harsh, Little Miss Cupcake.
Ted is under the impression that their relationship “reset” when Victoria chose him over Klaus five months ago. However, according to Lily and an Aunt Jemima-esque Marshall, their relationship was merely put on pause six years ago and now resumes from where they left off. Ted decides to confront Victoria and ask if his friends are correct in their reset vs. pause/resume theory. Victoria is quick to answer, exclaiming, “Of course they were right! When a girl jumps in your car in her wedding dress, you can’t act surprised to find out that she wants to get married.” No Ted! Don’t you dare do it! Aww crap. He’s going to do it…
Later that night, Victoria enters Ted apartment to find it filled with dozens of red roses and candles — and although it’s very romantic, I can’t help but groan and yell at my TV, “She’s not the mother, you idiot!” But of course Ted doesn’t listen to my words of warning, and he proceeds to ask, “Victoria, will you marry me?” (Side-Note: I give this proposal a 4/10. There was no heart-filled speech about how much he loves her or how he can’t imagine living without her. Instead this proposal seemed like rewarding a temper tantrum-prone child with a toy just to get her to shut up.) Victoria excitedly says yes, but then adds in an ultimatum: “You can’t be friends with Robin.”
Friends fans everywhere then give a blatant hiss, because this is exactly like when Emily told Ross that he couldn’t be friends with Rachel. Regardless of whether or not Ted and Victoria are each other’s lobsters, (I vote not) this is a beyond selfish move. Victoria’s insecurities are showing when she explains that Robin was the reason that they broke up six years ago, and then proceeds to call her “the deep dark pit where our relationship goes to die.” Jealousy? Party of one? When talking it out with Marshall and Lily, Ted says that he can’t imagine his life without Robin, but “she’ll never be in love with me, she’ll never by my wife, she’ll never be the person I grow old with — but Victoria could be.” It seems that Ted — with Lily’s support and Marshall’s disbelief — is going to tell Robin that they can’t be friends anymore.
Ted sends Robin an urgent text asking her to meet him at MacLaren’s, but in an oh-so classic HIMYM fake-out, it’s actually Victoria that he meets at the bar. Ted calmly explains to his potential fiancée, “I’m not in love with Robin, but she’s like family to me, and I can’t end that. So can you accept that?” Victoria smiles and for a brief moment of insanity, I was holding my breath hoping that she’d actually say yes. Instead, Victoria takes Ted’s hands and tearfully whispers, “I really hope you get her someday,” before walking out the door for good.
I’m sorry, but this is the main reason that I am starting to lose interest in the series. The show is called How I Met Your Mother, not How I Wished That Your Aunt Robin Would Finally Love Me After 8 Seasons. However, Ted made Lily and Marshall promi