Last night’s 30 Rock was the most quotable episode of the show since the classic “Secrets and Lies” back in Season 2. It would be so even without Tracy Jordan’s litany of horrific, repressed childhood memories brought to light after his entourage tried to convince him to do Oscar bait film Hard To Watch, Based on the Book ‘Stone Cold Bummer,’ by Manipulate. But it was those dredged-up memories that provided the biggest laughs. Here they all are, in list form:
Saw a pidgeon fight a baby
I slept on an old dog bed stuffed with wigs!
I saw a prostitute stab a clown!
Our basketball hoop was a ribcage! A ribcage!
Some guy with dreads electrocuted my fish!
A crackhead breastfeeding a rat!
A homeless man cooking a hot pocket on the third rail of the G Train. The G Train, Nermal!
I’ve seen a blind guy bite a police horse!
A puppy committed suicide after he saw our bathroom!
I once bit into a burrito and there was a child’s show in it!
I’ve seen a hooker eat a tire!
A pack of wild dogs took over and successfully ran a Wendys
The sewer people stole my skateboard!
The projects I lived in were named after Zachary Tayor – generally considered to be one of the worst Presidents of all time!
I once saw a baby give another baby a tattoo…they were very drunk.
Bill Bailey has, unfortunately, gone home — as has snarky host Simon Amstell's shag — but everyone's favorite UK pop culture comedy quiz show, Never Mind the Buzzcocks' , is back with its 22nd season. First episode with Mark Ronson, Adele, Jamie from the Klaxons, and a bunch of British comedians you've never heard of:
Though the actual show was horrible, it's hard to argue with this year's Emmy winners. 30 Rock won all the major awards it was up for, including the entirely deserved Best Actor statue for Alec Baldwin, who had it in the bag thanks to the above scene for his nominated episode, "Rosemary's Baby."
I was a little worried they were going to give Best Drama to Boston Legal again, but thankfully Emmy voters wisely went with Mad Men, easily one of the best shows on TV. (I woulda been happy is LOST won too.) The biggest, best surprise was Bryan Cranston winning Best Actor in a Drama for his fantastic work in AMC's underseen Breaking Bad which I've written about before.He is Breaking Bad the way Hugh Laurie is House. And I was glad to see Pushing Daisies get something — Barry Sonnenfeld won for his direction of the show's near-perfect "Pie-lette."
The only wins I had issues with were Jeremy Piven for Entourage and Jean Smart for Samantha Who? Actually I've never seen Samatha Who so maybe she deserved it, but I can't imagine she did moreso than Kristen Chenowith in Pushing Daisies. Piven deserved it the first year, but last season was horrible, and it felt like the old case of once somebody wins once, they'll continue to win till the show ends. (See Frasier, The Sopranos, The West Wing…) His costar Kevin Dillon woulda been a better choice, or Neil Patrick Harris.
Piven did give a good acceptance speech, though, making fun of the nearly unwatchable opening featuring the five hosts of the Emmy's, Ryan Seacrest, Jeff Probst, Heidi Klum, Tom Bergeron and the entirely unfunny Howie Mandel. Seriously, whoever thought having them be hosts would be a good idea should be fired. That opening was one of the most painful ten minutes since Rob Lowe danced with Snow White on the 1989 Oscars. And the whole schtick with recreating classic TV show sets was bad too, as was Josh Groban's theme song medley.
But there were a few nice moments. Fey and Pohler's bit was good; Don Rickles still has his wits; Ricky Gervais' getting his Emmy back from Steve Carrell was funny; and Steve Martin's intro to Tom Smothers' honorary Emmy was pure class…and funny. Was it better than last year's in-the-round debacle? No, just as horrible but in it's own unique way.
I admit it… I watch Gossip Girl. Furthermore, I like it. It started off a too melodramatic but has, over the course of the season, upped the humor to a point where I think it’s genuinely enjoyable. Not quite first season O.C. but close.
However, I have issues with the Gossip Girl conceit. GG is a dishy website that has spies everywhere, yet not once did it ever say anything like, "Spotted: A certain Brookynlite seen hanging with his S’s ex best friend, G." This is monumental dirt, and it never comes up on a gossip blog? And the whole "Serena killed someone" cliffhanger last week turned out to be a whole bunch of nothing, and we had to sit through some Lisa Loeb, which was just as bad as when when it first happened 15 years ago. Plus I don’t see why Georgina still has a hold over miss Van der Woodsen when all it will take is one sentence to instantly refute everything (even if she and Dan do it he won’t stay with her)… yet I still enjoyed this first season’s penultimate episode, if just for the dialogue. I loved the scene where Chuck, Blair and Nate were all trying to one-up each other on who was the most horrible person. ("The non-judging Breakfast Club.") Chuck won with "I’m Chuck Bass," which I’m still laughing about. Chuck has become my favoritist Gossip Girl character.
I like this Republic Tigers album, Keep Color, especially the dreamy songs but they are a snooze live. They played the that Tribeca Film Festival show at Webster Hall and actually said, "This is our last song, ‘Fight Song.’ You can hear it on Gossip Girl next week." Republic Tigers are signed to Chop Shop, which is run by GG music supervisor Alex Patsavas. Also on that bill — The Virgins who once had every song on their EP featured in one GG episode. They were actually pretty good but it felt like Gossip Girl Live!
I’m looking forward to Georgina’s dressing down on next week’s season finale.
So my cable provider, Time Warner, just announced that by the end of this year they’re upping the number of "free" HD channels to 50 as of today and promise over 100 by the end of the year. Wisely, they have eschewed things like AMC, Sci-Fi, FX, or Bravo in favor of channels like the Hallmark Movie Channel HD and A&E HD which, by the looks of the schedule, should actually be called the CSI Miami HD Channel.
But the best new addition to TWC’s HD line-up has to be NY1 HD, the station everyone turned on in the morning to get the time and temperature before we all got a widget to do the same on our computers. Actually, I’m pretty sure today was the debut of NY1 HD, and oh boy was it worth the wait:
I really feel sorry for the people with old-fashioned 4-3 TVs who don’t get to experience what I’m dubbing NY1’s "HD bars." This is truly "next gen."
If the weather’s as bad where you live as it is in New York, you might consider staying home and watching all three episodes so far of AMC’s awesome new series, Breaking Bad which I wrote a little about last week. The mini-marathon starts at 8PM. [AMC]
Yay, the writers strike is over! Find out when your favorite shows are coming back and how many new episodes will be made before the end of the season. Sorry, Bionic Woman fans… all three of you. [TV Guide]
If you’re not passed out after the Super Bowl and can tear yourself away from whatever super-extra-complicated disease FOX has cooked up for their post-game episode of House, I highly recommend you switch over to AMC for the rebroadcast of the first two episodes of Breaking Bad, maybe the best new television show since the network gave us Mad Men over the summer.
While initial descriptions made it sound like another Weeds, we’ve got much darker material here, with Brian Cranston (the dad from Malcolm in the Middle) as a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher who, upon turning 50, experiences a mother of a midlife crisis. Cranston absolutely makes the show that might have been crass with another actor. And when I say dark, I’m talking tar black. But it’s also very funny and, after two episodes, I really have no idea where it’s going next. I can’t say that about many shows.
The episodes start at 10pm tonight… set your TiVos/DVRs if you have to. Or if you don’t have cable, you can watch them right now online.
I’m 100% behind the WGA strike, even though Fall 2007 has been disappointing as far as most shows go. But there two shows I’m really gonna miss when we soon run out of new scripted television — Pushing Daisies and 30 Rock. The latter faltered a bit out of the gate but has really brought the funny these last four episodes, and last night’s "Secrets and Lies" was one of the funniest the show has done yet, with maybe the most quotable lines ever. Don’t read below if you didn’t see it already (go ahead, watch it online), but here were my many favorites:
"The whistle part fell off but I liked how it looked, so I kept it."
"I got a squeezer from an Indian girl on a bunk-bed, so I think I got the whole Harvard experience."
"That word bums me out unless it’s between the words ‘meat’ and ‘pizza.’"
"This corporation has a very strict ‘Bros Before Hos Policy.’"
"Try not to dress like a small-town lesbian."
"I spent two days making this movie from home and what did I get? A million dollars, a yellow Bentley and nothing!"
"Thanks a lot, Puritans!"
"Your lame thing is on his pants!"
"Perfect. That’s just when I get back from Maiden Voyage — Newark’s first offshore Gentlemen’s barge."
"What’s your favorite pizza topping? Mine’s plain, but I like others!"
"I drag myself out of bed at four in the morning, go home, get dressed, come in here… and he doesn’t even mention my name?"
"The squirrel! It’s not afraid of people!"
"Oh god, it was my birthday yesterday!"
"That’s NBA sexual assault money."
"Everyone looks good in a Sheinhardt."
"But the Toofer/Frank rivalry has finally exploded!"
"…and your name is probably something like Melissa."
"Oh Melissa, your face is on the phone. Soccer practice is over, and you need to pick it up!"
OK, this is driving me crazy. Does anyone know what band/artist is performing the cover of The Monochrome Set’s "He’s Frank" in the club scene of tonight’s episode of Heroes? ("Four Months Ago") I have Googled, gone on message boards, etc, all to no avail.
I love the Monochrome Set and "He’s Frank" is one of their best-known songs. The only band I’ve ever heard cover it is The Sneetches, which they actually released as a single back in 1989 or so. This version sounded more like Iggy Pop or Alabama Three or Leonard Cohen. But I’m stumped. This is what the Internet is for, right? Surely someone knows.
In the meantime, here’s both the original and the Sneetches’ cover:
UPDATE: Unlikely as this sounds, I remembered this morning that an old friend of mine, Errol, is actually producing the Heroes soundtrack. So I emailed him with my query and I got this response: "Ah – thats off the forthcoming soundtrack and is not available anywhere yet… ; )." Gee, thanks, Mr. Evasive. I then prodded him further and he told me but asked that I not reveal it. It was recorded exclusively for the soundtrack… which doesn’t have a release date yet but will be "early 2008."
And if you aren’t familiar with The Monochrome Set, they were certainly one of the odder bands from the post-punk era — dandys with razor-sharp, funny lyrics, and cabaret stylings but yet they kind of rocked in their own way. Also makers of great instrumentals. You can’t miss with this Greatest Hits collection. I’m going to have to do a proper post on these guys sometime soon….
I should’ve posted this earlier, but just a reminder that the Season 2 premiere of Friday Night Lights is tonight at 9pm. It’s good that the show is now actually on the night of its name but I imagine this will be one of the most time-shifted (industry speak for watching it on another night via DVR) shows of the week. Then again, I live in a big city, maybe people in other parts of the country stay home and watch TV on Friday nights. When I was growing up Dallas was the biggest thing on television and that was on Friday nights at 10pm.
Anyway, you should watch. You’ve probably heard it enough about how good FNL is, but it barely got picked up for Season 2, so set your DVRs if you got ’em. And if you haven’t watched it at all, you can get the First Season DVD Set for less than $20 — with a money-back guarantee if you don’t like it.
I’ve seen the Season 2 premiere and it’s just as good as last year… until Something Happens in the last ten minutes which makes me and others who’ve seen it already worry that the suits at NBC have forced the producers to throw in some overly melodramatic plotlines to get more viewers into what is one of the more realistic portraits of small town life ever on TV and the best portrayal of high school since Freaks and Geeks. (Even if the actors are too old for high school, but that’s been a problem since Happy Days.) It’s even more troubling as it involves one of my favorite characters — Landry, who has been mainly a welcome source of comic relief. But for now I’m trusting that FNL main man Jason Katims is not going to allow this show to so obviously fumble. I know, but hey, I’m allowed one lame football reference.