Author

Brian Moylan
After getting his master's degree in poetry, Senior Writer Brian Moylan started writing about television and pop culture for Gawker, The Guardian, The Washington Blade and a few other reputable publications. Brian has an honorary PhD in “Jersey Shore” studies from the University of Chicago. He's shared his often hilarious views about the tube on VH1, MSNBC, TV Guide Channel, MTV (Canada), BBC radio, and NPR. He can usually be found at his apartment in New York yelling at the TV and dodging calls from Real Housewives. He is a Taurus and likes long walks on the beach, fried chicken, and almost every reality television program ever created (especially “The Swan”).
  • The Diablo Cody Reality Show Is the Most Exciting of the New TBS Schedule
    By: Brian Moylan May 15, 2013
    It's been six years since Juno won Diablo Cody an Oscar, but now her career is taking a very different turn: television. She's not going to be writing a show, but she's going to be showing us all around Hollywood in her TBS reality show Me Time with Diablo Cody. Huh, the title makes it sound more about massages and reading magazines in a comfy chair.  The network unveiled all of their new shows at their upfront on Wednesday (jeez, even your cousin's YouTube channel seems like it has an upfront these days) and this show seemed to be the best of the bunch. We also heard about Steve Carell cop parody Tribeca, the self-explanatory Bad Parents, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me which is about Jamie Foxx and some of the movie roles he chooses, old/young odd couple comedy Dream House, barbershop comedy Clipsters, and Cheeseheads, which is about the fans of the Green Bay Packers, not a sci-fi show about people who live on the moon and are made out of cheese.  TBS slogan is "Very funny." Let's hope that at least the Diablo Cody show is! Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: Diablo Cody Updates on 'Sweet Valley High' MusicalDiablo Cody to Direct 'Lamb of God'How Diablo Cody Turned Backlash into 'Young Adult' From Our Partners:Zoe Saldana Strips Down For Magazine (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • Even Mandy Patinkin Can't Make Us Love Zach Braff's Kickstarter Movie 'Wish I Was Here'
    By: Brian Moylan May 15, 2013
    Mandy Patinkin is awesome. He kicks ass in Homeland, sings the hell out of Sondheim on stage, and, in case you forgot, his name is Inigo Montoya. You killed his father. Prepare to die. Still, as cool as he is, even he is not going to make me think that Zach Braff's Kickstarter movie Wish I Was Here is a good idea.  Patinkin has been cast as Zach's father in the project, for which the Scrubs millionaire has already panhandled $2,621,656 (as of this writing) to produce on crowd-funding website and Veronica Mars love affair Kickstarter. Mandy (who came and then gave without taking) is going to play the father of Braff's character, a struggling actor who whine whine whine whine. The role of Braff's brother will be played by a Koosh ball come to life that goes by the name of Josh Gad. That's just what this movie needs.  I know that thousands of people have donated their hard-earned money to see a spiritual follow-up to Braff's emotastic first effort, but I still can't get behind their project. You all already gave him everything he deserved when you paid cash to see Garden State and tuned into his mediocre sitcom. Shouldn't he put that money to work rather than sitting on the Internet's doorstep with a cardboard "Will Direct for Food" sign in order to get you to pay for a movie that you're going to have to pay to see again anyway? Sorry, Mr. Patinkin, but even you won't change that backwards funding structure.  Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: Zach Braff Is Begging for Money on KickstarterHow Zach Braff's Kickstarter Is Secretly A Good ThingZach Braff Reaches $2 Million Kickstarter Goal From Our Partners:What Happened to 33 Child Stars (Celebuzz)40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)
  • 'The Mindy Project' Better Not Dare Put Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina Together
    By: Brian Moylan May 15, 2013
    It's been an uneven freshman year for new sitcom The Mindy Project. After a rocky start we've seen a few characters come and go, a string of Mindy Kaling's boyfriends get the axe, a bunch of truly memorable episodes (like Seth Rogen's visit or the company triathlon), and, of course, one  haircut so awful it could have been made with a Flowbee. When the finale aired last night, I was so happy that there was another high point not only of Fox's Tuesday night lady-comedy block, but of the week in general. That is until the last few minutes of the episode where I was more disappointed than Mindy finding out there are no peanut M&Ms in the vending machine. I was pissed because it looked like Mindy and Danny were going to smooch. By the last scene, Mindy had won her man Casey back and planned to move to Haiti with him for a year. But then she had a touching moment in the doctor's lounge with her coworker and foil Danny (the impossibly dreamy Chris Messina) and he leaned in toward her for what looked like I kiss and I shouted out, "No!" at the television screen. They didn't kiss, but they had one of those conversations in soft tones that is supposed to make the audience think, "Maybe she should leave her boyfriend, the one who is impossibly handsome, giving, kind, funny, wonderful, and has a big penis, so that she can be with Dr. Danny." Let's get this clear, writers and producers of The Mindy Project...No one wants Mindy and Danny to get together. Not one single person who watches this show regularly wants this to happen. None! This seemed like the intention as the show kicked off, but like so many things this year, it seemed to course correct in a different direction. They went from Sam and Diane on Cheers, adversaries whose chemistry crackled with sexual tension, to Jack and Liz on 30 Rock, friends who approached the world from different angles but learned from each other. They've grown so close in a Platonic way that when they went for what seemed like it might be a kiss it seemed like Danny was about to kiss his younger sister or was going to lay one on a baby goat, something that would make us squirm or maybe giggle, but nothing that was going to make the live studio audience let out a collective "Awwww." Not every man and woman on a show need to get together. Sure, New Girl has fast-tracked the Jess and Nick romance so that they're sweetly bumping uglies at the end of Season 2, but The Mindy Project is not New Girl. Unlike its predecessor in the lineup, it is essentially a workplace comedy (which is why they ditched the dead weight of having Mindy's friends in the episodes) and people hooking up with their coworkers never ends well in real life and ends even worse on TV. So give it a rest with the Mindy and Danny hot and heavy action, will you? With all the improvements made this year, Season 2 is shaping up to be humdinger, as long as they don't mess it up with Mindy and Danny humming and dinging for each other. Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 'The Mindy Project' Finale Recap: Hot Messes, Haiti, and HaircutsThe Dos & Don'ts of Dating from 'The Mindy Project'Everything You Need to Know About 'The Mindy Project' From Our Partners:Zoe Saldana Strips Down For Magazine (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • HBO Greenlights Gay Version of 'Girls' With 'Glee' Star Jonathan Groff
    By: Brian Moylan May 14, 2013
    If your favorite part of Girls was Andrew Rannells' bitingly humorous Elijah, Hannah's gay ex-boyfriend slash roommate, then your life is about to get a whole lot better. HBO just gave the go-ahead to a project that sounds just like Girls except all of the characters are guys...and gay...and live in San Francisco.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network ordered eight episodes of an untitled show from producer Sarah Condon (Bored to Death), David Marshall Grant (Brothers & Sisters) and writer/producer Michael Lannan. The show stars Glee's Jonathan Groff as one of a trio of gay dudes who live in San Fran and get up to wacky antics and explore the world of the modern gay man. That sounds like there is going to be a Grindr subplot! The pilot, which HBO obviously loved, was directed by Andrew Haigh who made critically-loved gay indie Weekend, so I have high hopes. The show doesn't have a name, but I don't think I'll be the first to suggest Boys. Or Gays. Gay Boys? Gurls?  Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: Jonathan Groff and Taylor Kitsch to Play LoversJonathan Groff Covers 'Rolling in the Deep'Zachary Quinto and Jonathan Groff are Dating From Our Partners:Zoe Saldana Strips Down For Magazine (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • 'Real Housewives of Orange County' Recap: Tamra and Vicki Get in a Winery Fight
    By: Brian Moylan May 14, 2013
    You know that there are those words or phrases in life that you just can't stand to listen to people say for whatever reason? Mine are things like "gift certificate," "cool beans," and "Yummie Tummie." There is a new one we need to add to the litany: "Wine by Wives." God, I hate it. It just sounds like some sort of spirit made by women in pastel dresses with high bangs and long braids crushing grapes in moldy bins somewhere in the Utah desert. It sounds like something having to do with the Duggars. I think the other problem is that we just heard it over and over and over last night from Tamra. God, if those three words were peroxide, she'd never have to touch up her roots ever again. Everyone piled into some limos for a wine-tasting trip up on Malibu, a region that is as well known for their wines (and their wives!) as Mississippi is for its racial tolerance. Yes, Malibu wines are famous. They're like Rita Ora: you've heard of them, probably, but you have no idea what they are and then when you find out, you wish you didn't know in the first place. Then, when they get to the "vineyard" there is just two card tables with plywood covering them set up in a dusty parking lot. "Where are the grapes?" Vicki asks? "Oh, they're not in season right now," the owner of the Grifter Vineyard says to the collection of people standing on the other side of some boards he picked up that morning from next to a Dumpster on a construction site. "Yeah, we just harvested all the grapes and, um, it makes the ground really fertile if you just remove the entire plant and start over again next year. That's how we get our best wine." Later, after sitting around at brunch and drinking stuff that is not wine, they went to a shack on the side of the road with some benches out in front. It looked like the General Store in Urinetown or maybe an abandoned Cracker Barrel that this fake vineyard rented out so the Housewives would have some place to guzzle booze and pretend like it was for work. And it was work, at least for Tamra and Vicki, who were supposedly shopping for their Wines by Wives (ugh) which is sort of like QVC for the Franzia enthusiast. I don't even know what Wines By Wives is. It's stupid. It's some dumb wine club so that these two can try to build their own Skinny Girl empire from nothing at all. Tamra says that Vicki isn't doing enough work on WBW because she's too busy building Vicki's Vodka, a bathtub swill that eats through the paper of a Dixie Cup if you try to make Jell-O shots out of it. Yes, Vicki is working on that and not WBW, which has its own office in a ratty office park now. Tamra has a desk there. It is a real place. And these Real Housewives do not monkey around with the adjective "real." Oh no. Vicki left early to go to some dinner party with "Pookie an' 'em" and Tamra was like, "You don't do anything," and Vicki was like "Yeah huh!" and Tamra was like "Nuh uh," and Vicki was like "Whatever," and Tamra was like "Bitch," and Vicki was like "Excuse me?" and I was like "ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz." This is a stupid fight. What has Gretchen done this season? Well, nothing. What did Gretchen do this episode? Well, nothing. Oh, I take that back. She did do something. She dressed wildly inappropriately for every occasion. First she showed up at wine tasting weekend wearing a black and white stripped top and these big billowy pants. It was basically the same exact thing that every backup dancer in every R&B video from the '90s wore. I'm shocked that BuzzFeed has yet to write a post of The 74 Black and White Striped Spandex Tops from '90s Music Videos. Yes, Gretchen looked like she was about to Shoop, shoop e doop, shoop e doop, shoop a doop a doop a doop all over that "vineyard." Then, the next day, at the farm stand that was doubling as a wine emporium and fleece jacket seller (because nothing goes with wine like a shitty fleece jacket) Gretchen shows up in this long, magenta evening gown. She rolls up to the bar and everyone else is sitting around on rickety stools dressed in their finest sweats and muu-muus like they're going to a tailgate party for a minor league baseball team. Then there's Gretchen, dressed like Malibu Barbie. Well, they are in Malibu, but it's not like they're at some fancy beach mansion. She looks like a Malibu Barbie that got left out in the mud. Oh Gretchen, get a story why don't you. Speaking of needing to get a story, so do Heather and Terry. I'm sorry if they're having real trouble in their marriage, but their whole fight over something stupid seems, well, stupid. It seems like they're both acting and they made up this whole dispute so that there's a reason to put them on camera. I will say though, if Terry is acting, he's doing a really good job, because he was annoying the living beJim Bellino out of me when they were having a fight in their bathroom/clothing mausoleum. (PS – Why on earth does Heather Dubrow have large glass containers of purple M&Ms and sticks of rock candy in her bathroom? Isn't that the worst place to have candy, next to the place where you shit and where Terry annoying clips his toenails while half listening to you?) Terry was just being a jerk then and not paying attention to her while she was trying to seriously discuss an issue and then he nitpicked her little speech about all she does for the kids and says, "Did you say tutor twice?" which seemed like a line that they scripted beforehand, but if it was real, I would have given him a pistol whipping with my scrotum (because I am a man, unlike Heather) and then packed all his spread collar shirts in a bag, taken a huge dump in them, lit the bag on fire, and then thrown it out of the second story window onto his car below. I mean, seriously, Terry. Later at boozy wine brunch Terry brings up that they have been fighting and says that he "said some things" that he regrets and tries to leave it at that. Oh, silly Terry, tact is for kids! These are Real Housewives, they are going to ask for every damn dirty detail and then tell you what they think about that. It is in their contract. That is what they do. Finally he tells them that he said "the d word." At first I thought he meant "dong," because, where I come from, that is the only d word. Apparently he meant "divorce," but whatever. That's dumb. See! Another d word. Actually Vicki did have some nice things to say about fighting with Donn and both of his Ns and how they would say the "divorce" word how each time the did it was like a brick and that built a wall between them that ruined their marriage. It was actually very sweet, real, honest advice from Vicki. For one minute I could excuse everything she does and just think about a brick wall being built in front of her, piece by piece until she couldn't breath anymore. I thought of the "Cask of Amontillado" and, well, that brought me great joy. Lydia didn't really do anything this episode either except wear ridiculous things on her head. I don't know how she keeps all these giant hats on with her tiny little chicken carcass neck, but she does. Oh, does she ever. The only other thing that Lydia did was seem pretty awesome. She showed up at the Malibu Wine Fiesta with a get well card her son made for Slade's son after he heard about his illness and surgery. Sure, this might have been prompted by mommy, but was a really sweet gesture. Later, when Vicki was whining by wives about how she was the only single gal on the couple's trip, Lydia and her husband, Hunky Doug the 13th Apostle, offered to let Vicki stay with them. Aw, it was really sweet. Right now I'm inclined to think that Lydia is a smart, giving Christian woman and she really means these things. I will continue to think that, but I have a feeling I am going to be proven wrong soon. That just leaves us with Alexis. She did not go on the trip because Tamra would rather chew piece of gum she pulled off the toe of a shoe that she's been wearing in the dirt than spend two minutes with Alexis. Ms. Bellino, who is nasty, instead had to open the SkyZone Trampoline Amusement Park and Christian Science Reading Room, with her husband, our lord and savior Jim Bellino. Oh, he was so excited for his new business. "This is going to be one of the top SkyZones," he said in the car. Yes, that is the great thing about Jim Bellino's business. It's just a franchise. It's a kids' birthday party trampoline park franchise. He didn't even think up the idea or design it or anything. He just got the money together. That's sort of like opening a KFC and telling everyone you're Col. Sanders. But Alexis stood there at the front of the SkyZone. She was like Mrs. Sanders, with her giant cardboard scissors putting on her smiling face and pretending to be happy for her husband. She thought about those women all those miles away surely getting in a fight, thinking about how mean and awful she is and, well, she kind of missed it. While it was torture, it was also independence. It was her thing. It was everything she brought to the table. She stood there for a moment and thought that she could run out into the parking lot and hop into a limo and be up in Malibu to get in a squabble by sundown. But she didn't. Jim came over and asked if she was OK and smoothed his hand down her back. "Yeah, I'm fine," she said, her blank look turning into a fake smile. "I'm just so happy to be here." Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 'Real Housewives of OC' Recap: Lydia McLaughlin's Mom Is Amazing'Real Housewives of OC' Recap: Alexis Bellino Is Not Being Bullied'Real Housewives of OC' Recap: Everyone Heats Alexis Bellino From Our Partners:Zoe Saldana Strips Down For Magazine (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • Most 'Real Housewives of New York' Sign Contracts for Season 6, But Who Is Holding Out?
    By: Brian Moylan May 14, 2013
      For a change, all the drama on the Real Housewives of New York is happening off camera. There weren't any wigs pulled, glasses of wine thrown, or tables flipped, there was just some nasty back and forth in the cast's contract negotiations with Bravo. All six women from Season 5 were holding out for more money and filming for the upcoming Season 6 was delayed from the start of May as the ladies went on a hunger strike (like they need to get thinner!) to help get more cash.  Bravo announced today that four women — wine-swigging Ramona Singer, fashion plate Carol Radziwill, Yummerz Tummerz founder and CEO Heather Thompson, and the human party bus known as Sonja Morgan – have all signed contracts. Still holding out for more money are veteran Countess Luann and newbie Aviva Drescher. That is a little crazy because Luann and Ramona supposedly made $500,000 each for Season 5, and are perhaps the two highest paid Real Housewives, so we can't imagine how much more they would get. Considering just two weeks ago the network was threatening to recast the entire show, we can see how if this isn't cleared up soon, they'd definitely give two (and Aviva's fake leg) the heave ho. You know that somewhere on the Upper East Side, Jill Zarin is staring at her phone and willing it to ring. Now, let's hope they can only replicate all this drama once the cameras start rolling.  Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: The Resurrection of Jill Zarin'Real Housewives of New York' Reunion: Is This Over Yet? 'Real Housewives of New York' Finale Recap: These Crazy Ladies
  • 5 Theories About Bob Benson, The Mystery Character of 'Mad Men'
    By: Brian Moylan May 13, 2013
    As soon as we met Bob Benson, the handsome go-getter on Season 6 of Mad Men  played by James Wolk, we all knew that something was going on with him. We're seven episodes into the season with only six left to go and we still have no idea what Bob's purpose is. But, since he's in every single episode so far, series creator Matthew Weiner must have big plans for him. Here are some of my ideas about Bob. 1. He is a homeless person living in the SCDP office. In the last episode, Bob tells Joan, "I have nowhere to go." That's because he is a bum with a suit who just showed up one day and started pretending to be an account executive. That would explain why he has no office and just wanders around. He might not even have a job! 2. He is Don Draper's long lost son. Maybe Don knocked up one of those hookers in his uncle's house and Bob is the fruit of that union. Now he's back to get into his father's life. But do you think he is a force for good or a force for evil. With a smile like his, it has to be evil. 3. He is a spy investigating Don Draper. That is Rolling Stone's idea but I don't really agree. He's trying to impress everyone in the office, not just Don. It's gotta be something else. 4. He is Mad Men's Nikki and Paulo. Remember when Lost introduced these two characters well into the show's run inserting them in various scenarios only to give them one episode all their own where they end up buried alive with a bag of diamonds (spoiler alert)? That's what's going to happen with Bob. He's going to get one episode all about him and then hurl himself off the building and teach us all some stupid lesson. 5. He is just some ambitious jerk. Is this one of those cigars that is just a cigar? Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 'Mad Men' Recap: Don Draper Gets Super Kinky10 Things You Should Know About the 'Mad Men' Season 6 Premiere'Mad Men' Season 6: Who Is Going to Die? From Our Partners:Zoe Saldana Strips Down For Magazine (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • 'Mad Men' Recap: Don Draper Gets Super Kinky (Season 6, Episode 7)
    By: Brian Moylan May 13, 2013
    While this season of Mad Men seems to be improving, it still wasn't very subtle with the theme of this episode. As soon as Don told his mistress Sylvia to crawl across the floor and pick up his shoes, we all knew that this hour was going to be about dominance and submission. While it played out — quite literally — in Sylvia's hotel room, it played out figuratively at work. This is a natural theme given that SCDP and CGC are merging and everyone is worried about their jobs and which agency will end up on top when they finally blend. Mad Men has always been about Don's dominance. When we started the show, he was a man entirely in control of his job, his wife, and everything around him. He was ascendant. Even when he went out of control with the philandering and the divorce and the booze he was still so good at his job that it seemed like life was his gimp. This whole season has been about Don being passed over by time. It's about him going from dominance to submission. He is being set up to be someone whose power is robbed from him, someone like Bert Cooper, a figure head doddering at a meeting rather than a man in his prime. This entire life cycle plays out over the course of an episode. After Sylvia confesses to needing him, he tells her to crawl across the floor and pick up his shoes. First of all, Megan crawled on the floor for him in the Season 5 premiere (the same episode as that song that will get stuck in your head just by thinking about its title) so there is some precedence for this groveling turning him on. Secondly, after this and Girls, if another show has a woman crawling around for a man, it will officially be a trend. Don sits like a king in his throne as she puts his shoes on, but his power lessens with each interaction. She does as she's told, stays put, and doesn't answer the phone. At first, it excites her but eventually it levels off and her Catholic shame gets the best of her. He says it's easy to leave something when you're satisfied, she says it's easy to leave when they're ashamed. Sylvia also knows that they will both go back to their lives and nothing will really change. This was nothing but a distraction. Cue long parenthetical. When I eventually go back to school and get my PhD in American Studies, I will write about the use of elevators in Mad Men. Last night we started with Don descending alone and he hears Sylvia fighting with Arnold (we never hear him) and she says, "Tell them how you don't listen to anyone because you have it all figured out," which is the theme from last week's episode: Don acting on his own. She directs that at Arnold, who quit his job and is moving to Minnesota presumably to work at the Mayo Clinic. Don sees Arnold as a role model, but they now appear to be the same man. Don's transformation into Arnold is complete and he doesn't want to share the elevator with him again, closing the door before he can rush out and join Don, who always held the elevator for him in the past. Later in the elevator, Sylvia and Don are ascending and Sylvia is staring down and Don is staring up. This is their fundamental difference. As a Catholic, Sylvia is thinking about hell and how she is doomed for her adultery. Don, on the other hand, is always thinking about transcendence, about headed toward heaven and how he can change his life to be a happy person. I have a feeling neither is going to get where they're headed. End long parenthetical. The other S & M relationship here is between Don and Ted, both of whom are vying for creative control of their new merged agency. Don pulls a classic power play by blowing off and then showing up late for a meeting. When Ted holds the meeting anyway, Don holds a meeting after the meeting to show Ted who is really in charge. He then gets Ted so drunk that he can't think and can barely talk. Don, loosened up, comes up with a brilliant campaign right off the cuff, showing Ted he is boss. Ted then embarrasses himself by passing out in front of the staff. He then has a conversation with his old partner about Don (he even dominates a dying man's last breaths) and he tells Ted to march in there like he owns half the place. Later, Ted gets his chance to show Don when he literally takes Don's life into his own hands piloting their aircraft. They both use their special talents to prove dominance, Don with booze and Ted with plane. Seriously, this episode should have been called "The Pissing Contest" or "The Ruler." After a bumpy start, they break through to the clear skies above the rain clouds, Ted puts on his shades like a boss and steers them toward a successful meeting. Maybe this is going to be a metaphor for their entire relationship going forward. Interestingly, the lynch pin for Don's control is Peggy. She comes in right at the crux when he goes from control to submission. She is the first one to stand up to him and tells him to "move forward." The problem is that Don doesn't seem capable of moving forward. He seems to be living his life on repeat and making the same mistakes repeatedly. Before that was fine, because he had so much control that he could always wrench things back under his grasp. But now that he's losing it and the world is moving on without him, the people who used to be subservient to him (Peggy) are now standing up to him and showing him who is really calling the shots. The idea of Don living in a really long version of Groundhog's Day is reinforced at the end when he goes home and tunes Megan out, just the way he used to with Betty. If that didn't reinforce his idea that he's living in a marriage he doesn't want, then Megan's reaction to Kennedy's assassination should do it. She reacts exactly the same way Betty did in Season 3, sobbing uncontrollably at the TV set. Just like Pete's senile mom conflates him and his brother, Don conflates the two Kennedys. Both of their assassinations were the same through his eyes and in all the time that passed between them, he hasn't been able to make one substantive change in his life. He doesn't have the power he thought he did and the world is completely unmanageable. I would like to think that this ending points toward an impending divorce (much like the ending of Season 5 did) but what Don said earlier still rings in my mind, "It's easy to leave when you're satisfied." Does that mean it's hard to leave when he's unsatisfied? Is that why he's stuck with Megan? Joan's story didn't seem to fit in with the overall theme of the episode. There was a nice moment between her and Peggy. Their relationship has always been fraught, but they seemed genuinely pleased to be around each other again, Joan showing Peggy to her place in the office, just like she did in the pilot, but now Joan is a partner with her own office and Peggy isn't a secretary but a coffee, oh, I'm sorry, copy chief. Just as Don is stagnating, these two are still on the rise. That reminds me, when did Joan stop wearing her gold pen necklace? Anyway, Joan had a cyst on her ovary and it made her so sick that she had to go to the emergency room under the guidance of everyone's favorite meddlesome red herring Bob Benson. I'm still not sure exactly what purpose this guy is serving, but his charm offensive seems to be working quite well. Taking Joan to the hospital and checking up on her got her to stick up for him at the meeting where they decide who was getting fired. That football with a bow on it sure was a sound investment. Roger only had one great scene this week (the actor John Slattery was too busy directing the episode, his fourth), but it was a hilarious doozy, where he got to fire Bert (who I don't even remember from past seasons) for the second time. I would like to think that it was genuine kindness that prompted Bob to take Joan to get some help, but it might have just been that he was really worried about his paycheck. Pete, on the other hand, got quite a story and it didn't really seem to fit in either. His mother clearly has Alzheimer's and now he has to take care of her. I'll be interested to see how this plays out, but as of right now, it wasn't that surprising. Pete has always been Don's opposite though, and he is fighting for a dominance that Don only assumes. Maybe this was the contrast, he's fighting for control just as his mother is completely losing it. Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 'Mad Men' Recap: The Great Merger'Mad Men' Recap: Fathers, Sons, and Martin Luther King'Mad Men' Recap: Finally Some Time Alone with Joan From Our Partners:Watch Justin Bieber Attacked in Dubai (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • 'Survivor: Caramoan – Fans Vs. Favorites' Finale Recap: And the Winner Is...
    By: Brian Moylan May 12, 2013
    Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites, which was marked by it's unpredictability, has the most unlikely of winners: John Cochran. Yes the nerdy Harvard law student who was a Survivor superfan was not only victorious, but he won in a unanimous vote against Dawn Meehan and a zombie that told everyone its name is Sherri Biethman. Though that seems very unlikely based on how Cochran played on his first season, Survivor: South Pacific, and the opening episodes of this game, where he was remarkable more for overcoming a crippling sunburn than he was for his bombastic game play, but as soon as the show started it seemed fairly clear that he was going to win. When the episode began, Eric had to be evacuated from the game for the reason that seems the mostly likely but has never stricken a player before: starvation. He was dizzy and about as crazy as Dawn on a crying jag in a bag full of wet cats. This seemed to take all the guess work out of the rest of the proceedings. The only person who seemed like he could possibly beat Cochran was now removed through no fault of his own. What was probably going to be an immunity challenge was then turned into a reward challenge to give whoever won an advantage in the final challenge (however last season Malcolm won a reward challenge that gave him an advantage in the final too, so maybe there was just a challenge they scrapped and this was the intent all along). This type of challenge has become more popular with Jeff Probst than that one shirt with the double pockets that he has in every color and seems to be the only garment he wears on camera. It's a challenge where everyone has to build a house of cards to a certain height and the first one to watch all of House of Cards in one sitting wins. Wait, that's some sort of Netflix challenge. After more back and forth than the world's first Pong tournament, Cochran ended up winning. That means at the final challenge – where everyone had to run up an obstacle course, collect bags of puzzle pieces, and then build a puzzle – Cochran didn't have to untie his puzzle pieces from a series of knots like everyone else. Though the advantage didn't help him out too much, he ends up winning the challenge and taking the necklace. The big conundrum then became whether he should take Dawn (his ally not only in this season but their last one as well) along with him to the finals or if he should take Eddie, who is kind of stupid and didn't do much in terms of game play or winning challenges. Zombie Sherri was going to the finals because, well, she's a zombie and while she might have Outlasted, Outwitted, and Outplayed everyone on the jury, she didn't Outlive any of them. What really irks me about the final three setup is that the holder of immunity doesn't even get to make the decision of who faces the jury. When there is a final two, the fate of the finals isn't necessarily decided by the person who won immunity and I think that is not only unfair, but it makes for boring TV as well, which is the ultimate crime of any reality show. But I think that keeping Dawn was a very clever strategy for Cochran. He said when casting his vote that he was doing it based on what he thought the jury wanted. They didn't want someone who played mean and cutthroat, which is what he would have been if he axed Dawn so late in the game. Instead she gets to be the one to take the heat for blindsiding Brenda and Andrea and he gets to look like the nice guy who took his friend along to the end even if it might have cost him a vote or two. It made him seem that much warmer than Dawn and like he was unafraid to face deserving players in the end. Cochran was clearly the best player there. Not only did he own the strategic game, he also did a great job in the challenges, something he didn't really play up to the jury. In fact, everyone's presentations seemed to be short on specifics. Cochran says that he was a master strategist, but never told us why. Zombie Sheri kept saying she played a strong game, but never gave one example. She just groaned and shuffled and mumbled something about brains. The final tribal council was the mix of stunts and speeches that we've come to expect, and which are always a letdown after Sue Hawk's genius oratory in the first ever Survivor finale. There were two really intense moments, however. The first was when Eric confronted Sherri and told her she did nothing in the game, which is sort of like the pot calling the kettle a zombie. Then Sherri told Eric he was wrong and she didn't need his vote and to sit down. I don't want to pile on Sherri because the jury already did, but that was really her only good action the entire season. The second moment to remember was when Brenda confronted Dawn and made her take out her teeth. Like so much else this season, it just seemed a bit mean. I totally know where Brenda was coming from, she wanted Dawn to do something to prove how painful it was to vote her own friend out by debasing herself. But still, man, it was hard to watch. In the end it was Cochran's articulate levelheadedness played so much better than Dawn's teary-faced paranoia. After his winning votes were read, we had to endure the reunion show, where Jeff Probst completely ignored Sherri and everyone who didn't make the jury so that he could talk to a bunch of his favorite men, macho bullies like Phillip, Boston Rob, and Rudy (who managed to use the word "queer" twice in 20 seconds). I'm shocked that the entire Hantz family didn't get up there and sing some sort of choir number about treating people like crap and beating up your enemies. All this did was to show why Jeff Probst's talk show got cancelled so damn fast. Then at the end of the reunion, we got to find out what is up with the next season of Survivor (which, I'm guess, Reynold, like all the other chauvenistic a**holes that Jeff Probst loves, is going to be on). It is called Survivor: Blood Vs. Water and it's totally going to pit family members against each other, right? I will say that it was totally gratifying to watch this season and have a bunch of scrappy misfits take out the cool kids and make it so far and to see Cochran, the ultimate underdog, take the top prize after growing so much as a person. That has always been the enchanting thing about Survivor from the beginning – that we all think that, given the chance, we could go out there and win a million smackerinos. Seeing Cochran, a guy who seems more likely to win a Magic: The Gathering tournament than a survivalist nightmare, walk away victorious only makes us think, even more, that we can win. What isn't fun to watch is the cruelty that has seeped into recent seasons of the show. We saw it this year with the casting of Brandon Hantz (who was banned from the finale, even after supposedly being cleared to play the game) and with Brenda and Dawn robbed of their loved ones and made to watch everyone else enjoy theirs right off their beach. That cruelty is built into a season where family members are pitted against each other and it might be, sadly, the first season of 26 that I don't actually watch. Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 'Survivor' Recap: Everyone Is Absolutely Sobbing'Survivor' Recap: Double Elimination Means Twice the Fun'Survivor' Recap: The Best Tribal Council Ever
  • Dear 'Great Gatsby' Book Lovers, Shut Up About Hating the Movie
    By: Brian Moylan May 10, 2013
      The other day I went to this great little macaroon store around the corner from my house and I had a buttered popcorn-flavored macaroon. Buttered popcorn, especially the kind you get at the movies, and baked goods are two of my favorite things in the whole wide world, so the combination of the two had to be great, right? Well, the Orville Redenfaker cookie didn't really taste like my favorite Cineplex treat. It was salty and the taste was sort of based on popcorn, but it was totally different. However, it was still delicious, because it had the flavor profile (God, I sound like a Top Chef rerun) but a totally different mouth feel (shoot me now). It was great. And when I had real actual popcorn a few days later, it made me appreciate that even more after the strange facsimile I'd had previously.  The Great Gatsby novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald is the popcorn in this extended metaphor and The Great Gatsby movie by Baz Luhrman is the sacriligeous macaroon. Before the movie even opened this weekend, countless literature lovers have opined on Facebook and Twitter and at cocktail parties (which is like IRL Facebook and Twitter, but with more booze and without the reverberating echo) that trying to adapt the movie is some sort of personal offense that would cause every copy of the book to spontaneously combust. Like making a movie based on the high school junior year staple would somehow ruin something that is considered the "great American novel." All of these people need to shut up.  First of all this is a tired reaction that every fan of a book has when studio execs attempt to adapt it into a movie. Enough already. We get it, smarty pants, you're outraged that vile Hollywood wants to capitalize on this brilliant thing and destroy it forever. Fill your fan forums up with something else, because this argument is as tired as Lindsay Lohan's parole officer on rehab check-in day. Secondly, the book and the movie based on the book are two different things. They are popcorn and a popcorn cookie. You will never mistake one for the other and consuming one won't make anyone think that they don't have to bother with consuming the other. As soon as everyone understands that these two objects can exist simultaneously in the universe based on their own merits, we'll all be OK. Comics fans learned decades ago that the Spider-Man movies have nothing to do with the quality or sanctity of the Spider-Man comics. And don't get us started when they get all the reboots, TV series, and cartoons. Bookworms should learn what geeks have known forever: loving a character in one format often leads to loving it in another. What is so bad about a movie driving people to your favorite book? Are those readers somehow less pure or something? Plenty of idiots still waiting to get to 12th grade will watch the movie thinking that it will tell them everything they need to know to write their term paper. Yes, they'll get the plot, but they'll miss the substance, the beauty of the language, and all the extra special treats you get from reading the book. But they weren't going to read it anyway. It's not your problem to save them. Their ignorance is thier own punishment.  Everyone who has already read it, how does a movie version harm your memory of having read and enjoyed the book? It does not. Hollywood has been churning out adaptations since it was nothing but a glimmering desert wasteland in Louie B. Mayer's eye and somehow, miraculously, litearture is still alive and well.  In fact watching the movie version, much like eating that crazy cookie, can make the work of literature you love even better. You've been thinking about that book so long and hard, you've only seen it one way. A movie made by a director (a piece of art inspired by another piece of art) lets you see what another great thinker saw in his head when he was reading. You may agree, you may disagree. You may think that his vision is full of s**t and that there is no way that Tobey Maguire looks like Nick Carraway, but that will make you reexamine your own thesis. It might prove you wrong and make you reexamine the way you've always interpreted a scene or character or it may be so wrong that you rage against it and it only strengthens your original idea of the text.  I'm not saying you have to like the movie. In fact, you are welcome to go see it and tell everyone why it is a steaming pile of s**t if you want. You can love it as well, but go and see the damn thing before you make any sort of judgment against it. Don't judge the movie by the book cover! Or, if you want to preserve the schoolhouse sanctity of your memory, don't go see it at all. That's fine too. But don't rage against the idea of it. That's just as stupid as writing your English AP essay based on the Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter. Just be at peace with the fact that no matter what you say and do, novels will turn into films and some will be great and some will be lousy. Give some of them a shot and you might at least enjoy the popcorn – and maybe even the cookie that tastes nothing like it.  Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: 4 Fatal Differences Between 'The Great Gatsby' Book and MovieCarey Mulligan Based Her 'The Great Gatsby' Daisy on Kim Kardashian'The Great Gatsby' Movie Review From Our Partners:What Happened to 33 Child Stars (Celebuzz)40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)