Tuesday November 28, 2017

CBS has ordered more Man With A Plan and Superior Donuts?

No such luck for Jeremy Piven's Wisdom of the Crowd.  

I watched the premiere of MTV's Floribama Shore last night.  This show makes Siesta Key look like an Emmy candidate.  It's that bad.  It's a poor man's Party Down South (same production company) if that tells you anything.  Stay away. #iwatchsoyoudonthaveto.

"MTV is bringing back one of its biggest series, Jersey Shore, for a new installment. The network has greenlighted Jersey Shore Family Vacation, featuring most of the original cast, for premiere in 2018. The new series was teased throughout the day today on social media and announced during [last] night’s MTV series premiere of the Jersey Shore followup seriesFloribama Shore, which has a different cast."

Reactions to Megan Markle's engagement.  Who's better than Mike Ross?  "Playing Meghan’s television partner for the better part of a decade uniquely qualifies me to say this: Your Royal Highness, you are a lucky man and I know your long life together will be joyful, productive and hilarious. Meghan, so happy for you, friend. Much love."

Goliath is Amazon's most binge watched show ever.

"Fergie has joined Fox’s star-studded singing competition The Four as host. News of the Black Eyed Peas frontwoman’s participation follows the previously announced judging panel of Sean 'Diddy' Combs, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor and record executive Charlie Walk. 'I am very excited and proud to be the host of The Four: Battle for Stardom,' said Fergie. 'This is a unique and modern show format that I believe will set the standard for the next generation of singing competition series on TV. I am looking forward to being by the contestants’ sides during what could be the most important performances of their lives. Along with these amazing panelists whom I know and love, I hope my experiences as a solo artist and as a member of The Black Eyed Peas can help guide them in their quest to make it in the music industry.'”

Updated Black Mirror season 4 details.

Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sex trafficking. Where does this end?

Amazon’s The Grand Tour will welcome the following guests for Season 2’s Celebrity Face Off segment: Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast), Kiefer Sutherland (Designated Survivor), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Dominic Cooper (Preacher), David Hasselhoff (America’s Got Talent) and Ricky Wilson (The Voice UK), among others. Grand Tour returns Friday December 8.

"Morgan Spurlock’s Warrior Poets and LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment are teaming on a documentary series that will follow basketball’s top superstar as he launches a new public school dedicated to helping at risk children in his Akron, Ohio hometown. The aim is to explore the challenges, triumphs and life changing impact of the LeBron James Family Foundation’s 'I Promise School' campaign aimed at keeping inner city students from falling through the cracks. The series will cover the first year and highlight the teachers, mentors and community partners as they tailor a curriculum and environment designed to give the kids a fighting chance. Principal photography begins shortly in Akron."

Bill Goldberg will join The Flash.

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"For each episode of Good One, Vulture’s podcast about jokes and the people who tell them, we have the guest pick a joke from their career (whether from stand-up, TV, film, etc.) for us to discuss. When asked to do so, Jeff Garlin canceled his appearance. Afterward, a compromise was made: He wouldn’t have to pick a joke, but we’d get to talk about why he backed out:

You do not write jokes, per se, instead preferring to improvise your sets. But thinking of a joke as a unit of comedy, what do you see as being the thing making audiences laugh?
Laugh at me, laugh with me, hopefully laugh at yourselves. It’s myself trying as a human being to make it through the world. I will look foolish, I will have made mistakes, I will have not trusted my gut in some of these stories, therefore laugh at me. Or laugh with me because you’ve experienced something of the same.

Chris Rock, in an interview, talked about every singer having three or four songs, and then just rewriting that song. And he said, “I have four or five jokes.” It might be a ten-minute bit about whatever, but essentially it’s about how men and women are different. He thinks all comedians operate that way. Do you?
Let me say something. I couldn’t respect Chris Rock — or Jerry Seinfeld, as well — more, but those two fuckers — and when I say fuckers, I’m more friendly with Jerry then I am with Chris, although with Chris I’ve always had a great relationship — they have their theories and they shove them down my throat. I was with Jerry last week in New York and he had very strong theories about things that I disagreed with, but it’s not worth arguing because he has to be right, and so does Chris. It’s because Chris is so influenced by Jerry. If you want to know who Jerry Jr. is, it’s Chris. He has passed it down to him. Let ’em have his four-joke theory, but I disagree with that. I’m not going to go off on my theory but the truth is true to everyone.

When you started working with Larry [David], as a person trained in improv, how natural of a fit was your style?
Very natural. When I moved out to Los Angeles, I would improvise with Second City alumni and didn’t have the best time. The difference between myself and most people is they’d hear word that someone was in the room, or even it was just the potential, and it was all about them. I became more of a team player in their eyes because I was always about the other person. Immediately upon doing Curb Your Enthusiasm, man, everything in my head was about Larry, not about me looking good. That grew from there. I do think I should win Best Supporting Actor every year. Generally supporting actor is best person who is not the star but who is supporting, like really supporting. If I’m funny, great, but it’s about everybody else.

Your character is a manager, so it would make sense that all you do is support. 
It helps the plot move forward. There’s a good deal of exposition. I am allowed to be funny, but it just happens naturally within the course of a scene. Whether it’s used or not, it’s ultimately not up to me. Some of the things I’ve done where I’ve been very proud in terms of making a choice beyond exposition have been on the cutting room floor.

Does Curb improvise based on an outline? 
Yeah, it’s seven pages long and is essentially the story of the show, and not very much of it is dialogue. I may get one line that Larry will write per episode that he wants me to say. Other than that, I know the story and I know what has to be said and I just say it.

I know you help with the outlines. Do you gather like a writers room?
There’s a paragraph or two about the scene, but we will adapt it to what’s going on. It’s generally just first drafts. If Larry rewrites, he will just rewrite himself or bounce it off Jeff Shaffer, who is one of the producers. But it’s not like we have a room where there are rewrites.

So you have the outline and then it goes where it goes. Could you improvise something that would change the plot in a major way? 
Most definitely. But you don’t necessarily want to if something is working. But I do a different take every time, unless he asks me to repeat something specifically.

Curb has been on hiatus for a while. What is it like getting back? Is there a certain amount of rust?
I’m friends with all the people I work with and I see them all on a regular basis, so it came very easy. The first scene we shot coming back was one with myself, Larry, and JB Smoove. These are friends of mine, so it was like we worked the week before. It was not difficult and it was wonderful.

These are your friends. Your name is Jeff. In a scene, how much are you playing yourself? How much is your brain in character?
I am never playing myself. I put on that suit, literally, and I’m that person. But what comes out is from myself, so people like the character because they like Jeff Garlin.

On a personal level, how did this season feel different? 
It was the most fun I had. The least stressful and least worrisome. On the other hand, I was filming The Goldbergs at the exact same time and that was very stressful. It took away a lot of the joy but it didn’t effect my work. It would have been the most fun I would have had in my life on Curb if I didn’t have to do both shows."

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I haven't watched yet, but might after reading this review of The Runaways: "The so-called golden age of TV has brought us an embarrassment of riches, which means you're just as likely to miss a gem as you are to see 5,000 versions of the same dumb premise. Runaways, which debuted its first three episodes on Hulu last week, is one of those hidden gems you'll want to find. Based on a beloved comic by Brian K. Vaughan (Saga and Y: The Last Man), it's the story of six teens who discover their parents are part of a secret supervillain organization called Pride. The series takes this premise in fascinating new directions and delivers a surprisingly nuanced exploration of adolescent rebellion as a struggle against adult corruption.

Light spoilers ahead.

"In terms of recent comic book TV fare, Runaways belongs in the same camp as Legion, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Like these other series, Runaways is character-driven and has already developed a characteristic style that ignores the 'good guy vs. bad guy' tropes of more conventional (albeit delightful) superhero series like Supergirl and The Flash. Created by Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl, The O.C.) and Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl, Chuck), Runaways seems to exist somewhere between the heightened reality of a smart high school drama and the tech-meets-magic world of Tony Stark. The first episode takes its time introducing our characters, making sure we know who they are as people before we figure out what makes them extraordinary.

Memorable, multi-layered characters

"Case in point: We meet Molly (Allegra Acosta) when she's trying awkwardly to do a dance tryout while having her first period—and while having the worst cramps of her life. What follows is a series of deft, funny/sad scenes in which we realize that part of Molly's pain comes from missing her mother who died in a car accident long ago. But Molly's also trying to cope with her adoptive hippie mom, who gives her herbs for cramps instead of sweet, sweet ibuprofen. We wind up with a concrete sense of who Molly is and why she's dealing with more than just teen angst. Which is right about the time when she gets another cramp, her eyes glow yellow, and she bends a metal bed frame with her bare hands.

"Over the first three episodes, we meet each character in similar ways: person first, superbeing second. Alex (Rhenzy Feliz) is the geeky kid who is still recovering from the death of his friend two years ago (but who is also a natural leader). Niko (Lyrica Okano) is a grumpy goth Wiccan who, like Alex, is mourning the death of her sister (but she's also got actual supernatural powers). Karolina (Virginia Gardner) is the reluctant 'millennial face' of her mother's cult, the Church of Gibborim (but sometimes her arms dematerialize into rainbow sparkles). Chase (Gregg Sulkin) is the abused jock son of a brilliant mad scientist (but he's secretly a gifted engineer himself). And Gert (Ariela Barer) is the purple-haired SJW who can never get anyone to join her feminist club (but luckily the dinosaur living in her basement obeys her every command). They all used to be best friends, but high school has driven them apart.

"Now something has brought them back together. Partly it was lonely Alex, sending all of them an invite to hang out while their parents have yet another Pride meeting in the basement. But after they accidentally catch a glimpse of what the Pride meetings really involve, they're bound by a shared secret. Their parents are evil, and they have to do something to stop them.

Realistic evil

"Except, to this show's credit, that premise is immediately complicated. Unlike the comic book, which focuses exclusively on the teens, the show also invites us into the personal lives of their parents. We get to know them—each extremely successful in their chosen careers—and find out that they aren't exactly zealous in their evil. In fact, they were all hoping to get out of Pride, but then something went very wrong. Instead of being supervillians, these parents are more like corrupt sellouts who have traded in their ethics for mansions and fancy biotech labs.

"Still, there is a certain amount of supervillainy going on, as well as black magic, mad science, and a heaping dose of not giving a crap about human life. With Alex's slightly dorky guidance, the teens forge a new alliance to figure out what exactly Pride has been doing all these years. There's an urgency to their quest that goes beyond plot twists. Runaways makes us care about these characters very quickly, thanks to some great acting and writing. Even if they weren't dealing with superpowers, they would be interesting, multi-faceted people.

"Their struggles would be interesting, too. It's rare for an adventure show to acknowledge the depth and complexity of teen relationships, but Runaways does it superbly, evoking these characters' rocky histories and genuine emotional bonds. Like their parents, these teens are struggling with forces bigger than themselves. But they still have a chance to make better choices.

"Of course, the series delivers on the action, too. Alex and his friends may be dealing with weighty questions about grief and responsibility, but they are also trying to cope with having super strength and much weirder talents. Plus, they're having to lie to their parents about something a lot bigger than sneaking alcohol. The best part is that the show never suggests that the teens' powers reveal who they "really" are, à la X-Men. Gert's dinosaur and Karolina's stardust arms are just odd bends in a much longer road. And it's a road that Runaways made me want to follow, all the way to the end."

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A well-written piece about the fall of Louis C.K.  "Ugh.

"How else to react to the news that Louis C.K., famous for his self-flagellating comedy specials and his  emotionally raw series on FX, had been taking self-exposure to the extreme in his private life?

"I feel sorry for my son, who so admired Louis’ comedic daring and honesty.  I know how it feels.  As a kid I practically memorized all Bill Cosby’s records.  And then I graduated to Woody Allen movies in my late teens.  Now I feel that a large swath of my youthful enthusiasms are covered with slime.

"Maybe there really is something in the DNA of comedians that causes bad choices.  One of the oldest clichés in the book is that people with difficult childhoods and damaged psyches find an outlet for their pain and self-loathing in stand-up comedy.  After all, a great deal of contemporary stand-up revolves around self-lacerating stories, which pick at a comedian’s most obvious wounds.

"This cliché certainly does not apply to all comics.  If Jerry Seinfeld or Jim Gaffigan were accused of sexual misconduct, the shock would be so intense that I’d give up watching comedy altogether.  But there are many comedians who do seem to have screw loose.  As Mark Twain purportedly said, 'The secret source of humor itself is not joy, but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.'

"The list of sexually abusive comics is not short.  It goes all the way from C-listers like Andy Dick to stars like Al Franken.  The power they hold over audiences seems to embolden them to act out off-stage too.  

"Louis C.K., however, is in a class of his own.  He was known for years as a 'comedian’s comedian,' using material that went right up the edge of what an audience could stand. His FX show started out as a word-of-mouth hit among comedy nerds.  I mostly liked the show but it always made me uneasy, which I gathered was his point: Don’t let the audience get too comfortable.

"In the very first Louie episode I ever watched, there’s a scene where he’s stopped by a TSA agent at the airport who finds a tube of gel in his luggage.  He straightforwardly explains that it’s the 'lube' he’ll be using for self-pleasuring when he gets to the hotel.  The TSA agent is dumbfounded and mildly disgusted by the matter-of-fact way Louis owns up to behavior usually considered shameful.

"I have to admit it creeped me out, but not enough to stop watching.  I was also unnerved by the frequent references to self-abuse in his comedy specials, but assumed he was just pushing the envelope.  Who was to know that a comedian lauded for being a truth-teller was actually telling the truth when confessing to audiences that he was a pervert?

"Louis is now in celebrity purgatory.  The theatrical release of his new movie I Love You, Daddy has been canceled, and HBO has removed his specials and other material from their streaming services.   

"Kevin Spacey has suffered a similar fate for his own sexual scandals.  Netflix canceled the upcoming season of House of Cards and he is being completely excised from Ridley Scott’s new movie All the Money in the World, with Christopher Plummer playing Spacey’s former role.

"The effort to make previously lauded entertainers disappear from our consciousness is typical of our overheated social-media-driven culture.  In the old days, we would stone sinners or cut off their hands.  Today we shame them on Twitter until they vanish.

"I can understand that the entertainment business is a business and that no one particularly wants to see a new movie starring Louis C.K. or Kevin Spacey right now, but to pull existing content off HBO Go is vaguely reminiscent those Soviet-era May Day parades, where Politburo members who fell out of favor were erased from photographs.

"And to be honest, it’s a bit rich for HBO to get politically correct on Louis C.K. when it profits so fabulously from violence against women on Game of Thrones or Westworld.  Just saying.

"These spasms of morality always seem to be applied unevenly, too.  For example, we have one sitting president of the United States accused of sexual assault and one former president accused of rape.  Apparently we hold our comedians to a higher standard of conduct than we do our national leaders.

"My guess is that Louis C.K.’s career is not over. At least he had the grace to admit his sins and ask for forgiveness. And unlike Bill Cosby, his behavior was not completely contrary to the persona he presented on stage.  

"I expect an apology tour in a year or two, with a less sexualized performance, and maybe even a grudging concession to the benefits of conventional bourgeois behavior. Because if one good thing comes out of these scandals, it’s the realization that being outrageous on stage doesn’t give you a free pass from basic human decency."

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Per Deadline, "John Stamos is set for a key recurring role opposite Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail in Lifetime’s straight-to-series psychological thriller drama You, from Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble, set for premiere in 2018.

"Written by Berlanti and Gamble based on Caroline Kepnes’ best-selling novel, You is described as a 21st century love story that asks, 'What would you do for love?' When a brilliant bookstore manager Joe (Badgley) crosses paths with an aspiring writer, Beck (Lail), his answer becomes clear: anything.

"Stamos will play Dr, Nicky, who becomes a fixture in Beck’s (Lail) life, much to the dismay of Joe (Badgley). Shay Mitchell also stars.

"Stamos, in collaboration with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also has an untitled drama project inspired by his early professional years set at Amazon. It chronicles the fame and excess of daytime soaps in the 1980s. Stamos’ acting career was launched in 1982 when, at the age of 18, he landed the role of Blackie Parrish on the ABC daytime drama General Hospital.

"Stamos, who produced and starred in Fox comedy series Grandfathered, was a series regular on Scream Queens,  and he also produces and recurs on Netflix’s Fuller House."

I read this book and am very much looking forward to the series.

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Per Variety, "Netflix is putting Sex Education on the curriculum, with an order for a new coming-of-age comedy drama out of the U.K.

Sex Education will follow an awkward teen, Otis Thompson, who lives with his mom, a sex therapist. Although Otis is still a virgin, his mother’s work and openness turns him into an unwitting expert, and when his schoolmates find out, he teams up with street-smart Maeve to set up an underground therapy clinic for teens.

"The series heads into production next spring and will bow on Netflix globally in 2019. The show was created by Laurie Nunn, an emerging writer-director, and will be directed by Ben Taylor (Catastrophe). Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson, co-founders of Eleven, will executive produce.

“'It pretends to be a show about sex but it’s actually a romantic and funny show about love,' Campbell told Variety. 'It’s an antidote to shows that present the teenage experience of sex as superhumanly confident and experimental. Our characters have an endless supply of sexual problems that need to be solved. Otis has the expertise to provide the answers, but has problems of his own, starting with the fact that he’s never had sex himself.'

“'It’s unflinching in its treatment of sex, but it’s not gratuitous. We want to move on the conversation about attitudes towards sex and identity.'

“'We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Eleven team, creator Laurie Nunn, and executive producer and director Ben Taylor to bring Sex Education – a  distinctive, fresh and witty examination of the universally awkward teenage experience – to our members around the world,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content at Netflix.

"Eleven is the U.K. indie behind Sky series The Enfield Haunting and the E4 shows Gap Year and Glue. It has received backing from Channel 4’s Growth Fund and is making real-life ghost stories show True Horror for the British broadcaster, but remains independent.

"In the past year the production company has added former ITV commissioner Jane Hudson, former NBCU exec Dan Cheesbrough, and producer Kate Murrell to its ranks."