Now that we’ve got Ricky Martin’s gyrations on Glee sort of out of our system (they should invent some sort of celebrity cleansing diet for that–I’m thinking something along the lines of the dreaded cabbage soup diet, except this one is called Ricky B Gone), it’s time to turn our eyes forward, ever forward, to the rest of the (fairly impressive) celebrity guest lineup for February’s television programming. Here are a few of my personal favorites: Continue reading
The pressure of Valentine’s Day can make a single person do some desperate things. Last night’s episode of Parks and Recreation featured a prime example of succumbing to Valentine’s Day anxiety when perky nurse Ann agreed to go on a date with wannabe-playa Tom. The pairing came completely out of left field as the two characters have little in common, other than an association with the Pawnee Parks Department.
Unfortunately for Tom, he probably won’t get a second date with Ann, but if he did it wouldn’t be the first time that two TV show characters hooked up, despite being completely wrong for one another. These odd couples may not last for very long, but they do provide us with some strange TV moments
Rachel and Joey – Friends
The romantic tensions between Ross and Rachel were always front-and-center during the entire run of Friends—except for that weird era when Rachel and Joey were a thing. After the two became roommates, Joey began to develop feelings for Rachel, who wasn’t exactly keen on him at first. The two dated briefly near the end of the series, but decided to remain friends. It’s just as well—the Joey and Rachel relationship never really caught on with fans and it felt like treading water until Rachel and Ross finally ended up together.
Lee and Dee – Battlestar Galactica
Lee Adama always had a thing for his partner Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, but the two never made their relationship official. Instead, Lee ended up unhappy and fat after marrying Anastasia “Dee” Dualla . Dee had always harbored feelings for Lee, but Lee still had feelings for Starbuck, which interfered with their marriage. This left Dee with no choice but to end the marriage by ending her life.
Ruth and Arthur – Six Feet Under
Before he was Dwight Schrute, Rainn Wilson played creepy mortician’s apprentice Arthur on Six Feet Under, where he developed a May-September romance with Fisher matriarch Ruth. The awkward relationship didn’t last long as the two seemed sexually incompatible. To make matters worse, Ruth married her second husband George soon after, which led to some uncomfortable moments for Arthur who was still staying in the house.
Xander and Cordelia – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Cordelia was always a kind of frenemy to the Scooby Gang and when she started dating Xander that spiteful dynamic continued in their relationship. The two traded insults long before hooking up and didn’t think it was worth stopping when they got together. Xander’s relationship to Cordelia left him with a strange taste in women as his next girlfriend was Anya, a former revenge demon.
Sawyer and Juliet – Lost
After Jack and Kate left the Island on Lost, their respective romantic interests, Juliet and Sawyer, were left with nobody to bat googly eyes at—except one another. The actors made this forced pairing a little more bearable, but it was clearly a case of the leftover characters getting tossed together. Juliet’s death marked the end of this relationship, though the two apparently meet up again in the afterlife.
You probably know who Judy Greer is, even if you don’t know her name. This funny gal has made a career for herself playing supporting roles such as Kitty from Arrested Development and “Fatty Magoo” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. If you don’t recognize her face, you might recognize her voice as clueless secretary Cheryl on the animated comedy Archer.
Even if you don’t know Judy Greer by now, you will get to know her soon enough. Greer has her own sitcom in the works over at ABC called American Judy, in which she plays a city gal who moves to the suburbs with her new husband and his family. For those of us who have been following this talented comedic actress, it’s about time she got the recognition and starring role she deserves.
Judy Greer isn’t the only supporting TV actress to be recently promoted to a starring role. Mindy Kaling, who plays vapid customer service rep Kelly on The Office, is in talks to star in her own sitcom at Fox. We love both these funny ladies and wish them all the success in the world on their new shows.
We also can’t help but wonder which other supporting sitcom actresses deserve the chance to step into a starring role. These four actresses are poised to hit it big, if and when their chance to star in a sitcom ever comes along.
Kristen Schaal is best known for her portrayal of obsessed fan Mel on HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, but the actress has also provided commentary on The Daily Show and the voice of Louise on Bob’s Burgers. Her next gig will be playing a reoccurring NBC page character on 30 Rock. Schaal has a knack for playing oddball characters, which would translate well into a single-camera comedy.
Even after eight seasons on the air, The Office is still pumping out comedy stars. Ellie Kemper joined the cast in 2005 as Erin, the happy-go-lucky but incredible naïve secretary. Since then, she’s gone to play a memorable supporting role in the hit movie Bridesmaids. Kemper plays innocent-yet-stupid with an effortlessness that almost makes you wonder how much she’s faking it.
Audiences know Aubrey Plaza as Ron Swanson’s sarcastic assistant April on Parks and Recreation. This stand-up comedian turned actress has also had memorable roles in movies like Funny People and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. We love her dry, deadpan sense of humor and would love to see this young actress rise to prominence over the next few years.
We all know who Jane Lynch is by now—her Sue Sylvester character on Glee is practically infamous at this point. She’s done it all—she played an actress turned waitress on Party Down, she made memorable cameos in a number of films including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, she even hosted the Emmy Awards. Lynch can only get bigger from here and it’s time prove that with a starring role.
There is nothing more annoying, more nail-screechingly appalling, than a sitcom laugh-track. I’m not a fan of sitcoms in general—they’re formulaic, predictable, fake-as-heck and just plain boring—but a sitcom with a laugh-track is like a fat-free frozen yogurt “sundae” with carob chips. It was disgusting already. Now it’s repulsive. Did you think I’d be fooled by “delicious morsel” imposters? Did you think I’d be all, “oh wow, this is totally chocolate!” Um, no.
Laughing is supposed to be the reward for a clever joke. It is supposed to be the delightful product of a job well done, erupting organically from an involuntary reaction to something funny or fun, like an amusement park. When a laugh happens, a real laugh, an angel baby gets its fairy wings… or something. A devil fairy gets its baby feet? Whatever, the point is: there ain’t no substitute for actual laughing. Period.
The first laugh track appeared on the Hank McCune Show in 1950. I can only imagine the television executives being like, “Wait a second… fake laughter? Do you know what this means? We never have to write an actually funny joke again!” It’s like when Hormel invented Spam. In America, we have a long and storied history of replacing perfectly good real things with significantly less good fake versions of those things. It’s big business.
I can’t watch a show with a laugh track. It doesn’t matter how funny the show is, how much I love the actors or how drunk I am. I tried to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory and, for the first time in my life, I thought Blossom totally sucked. Yeah, I know, Blossom had a laugh track too. See, back when Blossom was popular, I was a kid. It may be hard to believe, but back then I wasn’t as super smart and wise as I am today. I heard a laugh track and I thought, “Oh look, there’s an audience, and they’re laughing.” I probably also thought, “huh, Spam, is that like some kind of chicken?”
It may be a controversial opinion, but I think it’s good writing, good acting and good old-fashioned showmanship that make a show funny. My favorite comedy shows on television today—The Office and Parks and Recreation—don’t have laugh tracks. They don’t tell me when I’m supposed to crack up and I don’t need them to. The jokes stand alone, proud and tall, monuments to that old-timey, nearly forgotten television art: comedy.
I love a lot of things. My husband and daughter. My cats. The ironic dance grooves of Cobra Starship. But most of all, I love bacon. And through this love, I discovered my love of Ron Swanson.
I was late to get into Parks and Recreation. It failed to grab me in its first season, and I never went back to give it another shot, even though people whose opinions I value continued to sing its praises. But my husband watched it, and after several weeks of it being on in the background, I began to fall for my fictional, mustached, libertarian paramour. Here are just a few reasons that Ron Swanson is my TV boyfriend:
Break out the party hats and pop the champagne—New Years Eve is almost upon us. If you find yourself without plans on the biggest party night of the year, then spend some quality time at home with these TV party animals.
10. Stefon – Saturday Night Live
We want to hang with Weekend Update correspondent Stefon because he knows all the best clubs to go to on New Years Eve. Hopefully we can get in past the bouncer– a bulldog that looks like Wilford Brimley
9. Homer Simpson – The Simpons
Homer has that combination of likeability and dumb luck that makes him a good candidate for New Years Eve. Not only can he hold his liquor, but his drinking usually leads to crazy adventures, which would prevent us from having a dull night.
8. Chelsea Handler – Chelsea Lately
When TV comedienne Chelsea Handler wrote a memoir of her life, she titled it “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.” She’s always ready to have a good time and her spitfire wit would keep us in stitches all night.
7. Bender – Futurama
Bender is an alcohol-fueled robot that loves to have a good time– in abundance. Without having to worry about pesky human flaws, like hangovers and brain damage, Bender can party from this New Years Eve all the way through 2012.
6. Cast of Jersey Shore – Jersey Shore
Sure they’re obnoxious, crass train wrecks that look like Oompa Loompas—but they also know how to throw a good party. You wouldn’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself either, not with The Situation, Snooki and Pauly D around to be the center of attention.
5. Charlie Harper – Two and a Half Men
Charlie was a ladies man that never turned down a good party—much like his real life alter-ego, Charlie Sheen. Charlie may have been unceremoniously killed off, but before he died he would have been the perfect New Years Eve wingman.
4. Cast of Entourage – Entourage
Partying with the boys from Entourage would mean that we’d get to meet all sorts of different celebrities—and possibly get into a fist fight with them. For all the drama (and Johnny Drama) we’d have to put up with, it’d still be worth it to get the Hollywood treatment.
3. Tom Haverford – Parks and Recreation
Craps tables, bounce houses, Bengal tigers—these are just a few of the things that Tom Haverford can bring to your party. Nothing is too decadent for Tom, who’s personal motto is “treat yo self.”
2. Tracy Jordan – 30 Rock
Tracy has thrown parties on stolen yachts, regularly attends after-after-after parties and once turned Kenneth’s corny get-together into a raging nightmarish party. In the world of “30 Rock,” Tracy is an actor that built his career on his ability to create a party where there previously was none.
1. Barney Stinson – How I Met Your Mother
Barney is the man with the plan—for a perfect New Years party that is. Some people love to party, but Barney lives to party and his passion is your gain. Do you want your New Years to be memorable, or do you want it to be legen—wait for it—dary!
(WARNING: Contains potential spoilers)
Yesterday we paid tribute to television actors who passed away in 2011, but they’re not the only familiar faces we’ll no longer see on TV next year. We watched some of our favorite TV characters die in 2011— many of them when we were least expecting it.
10. Charlie Harper – Two and a Half Men
It wasn’t much of a surprise when CBS decided to kill off Charlie Sheen’s character on “Two and a Half Men” after his massive falling out with the network. What was shocking, however, was the gruesome way they killed off Charlie Harper—by hitting him with a train (that presumably ran on tiger blood.)
9. Li’l Sebastian – Parks and Recreation
This enchanting equine may have been small, but his death left a big impact on the town of Pawnee, Indiana. The loss of Li’l Sebastian did, however, give Andy’s band Mouserat its biggest single yet with “5,000 Candles in the Wind.”
8. Sophia Peletier – The Walking Dead
When little Sophia disappeared in the woods earlier this year, we were sure she was zombie bait from the start. But it was still shocking to see her come out of Herschel’s barn and watch Rick have to put her down with a shot to the head.
7. Jesus Velasquez – True Blood
Lafayette’s Brujo boyfriend Jesus taught him how to awaken his magical powers—although it would have probably been better for Jesus had he not. While Lafayette was possessed by the spirit of Marnie he killed Jesus to gain his Brujo powers.
6. Ben Harmon – American Horror Story
When a show openly admits to being a horror story, you shouldn’t become attached to any of the characters—and yet, Ben’s death in the final episode still came as a surprise. After his family talked him out of suicide, we thought he’d start a new life with the baby. Unfortunately the ghosts got to him before he could escape.
5. Bill Henrickson – Big Love
After such a tumultuous final season, we were not expecting Bill to bite the big one in the last episode. Bill was shot in the chest over a petty lawn dispute with his neighbor and his death brought about the death of the show itself.
4. Gustavo Fring – Breaking Bad
When drug lord Gustavo Fring crossed the line with Walter White, it was certain that one could not live while the other survived. Gus came to an explosive end when Hector Salamanca turned suicide bomber.
3. Mags Bennett – Justified
We were completely expecting Mags to poison Raylan at the end of season two, so when she took a swig of her own poisoned moonshine we were stunned. We knew their cat-and-mouse game would eventually have to end, we just never expected Mags to do herself in.
2. Jimmy Darmody – Boardwalk Empire
Nucky and Jimmy started out the series as partners, with Jimmy playing the role of the number two. When Jimmy wanted more than what was given to him, Nucky put him in his place with two shots to the face.
1. Eddard “Ned” Stark – Game of Thrones
Although fans of the book series already knew it was coming, the rest of us were shocked when main character Ned Stark was beheaded by King Goffery, the son of his best friend. This unexpected death made it clear that no character is safe—not even the series lead.
When a relationship between two men becomes too epic to be labeled as a friendship, it can only be defined as a “bromance.” In 2011 we saw a number of bromances blossom between best buds on TV. Here’s just a few of our favorites.
10. Sam and Dean – Supernatural
Sam and Dean may be actual brothers, but face it—when’s the last time you treated your own brother as good as the Winchester boys treat each other? When you’re battling the creatures of the night, it’s nice to know your bro has your back.