Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More than a Mustache

For a few years now, Ron Swanson’s mustache has become a household…hair item. His hilarious straight-faced, straight-laced, Midwestern wood-maker remarks refresh the comedy scene on Parks and Recreation, amidst television’s obsession with over the top, young humor. Parks and Recreation has banded together an array of comic styles from actors spanning a wide range of ages, and none are more satisfying then Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson. At first his character started as little more than a gruff glare over a bushy soup strainer, focusing on his manly attitude and no-bullshit ways. Now, the writers of Parks and Recreation have jumped to depths of good ole fashioned character comedy with Ron Swanson, bringing out storylines so true to the specific style of Ron Swanson, it feels like one of the more original slices of comedy on television today.

In a recent interview with Hollywood Reporter, Nick Offerman described some moments of uncontrollable laughter on set, and his wildly upsetting sex scenes with his real life wife Megan Mullaly, who he calls one of his comic heroes. In this interview, it’s clear Nick Offerman is a part of the club formed by the likes of Steve Carell, Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Jon Stewart, and the like, where humility and humbleness off screen brings trust and respect to their characters on screen. Now up for Emmy consideration this season, and rightfully so, Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson may go down in TV history with the other hall of fame surprise characters that seemed to come out of nowhere, much to the happiness of the show’s creators and writers.

What will be curious to follow about Nick Offerman is his ongoing career. As did comics like Steve Carell, he is entering his prime at an older age, but also provides a significant attitude that could translate well to the big screen. Despite his character having tendencies and opinions that the audience might disagree with, he is so damn likable in the same way that Michael from the Office pulled off this feat. Playing a down and out guy with an odd lifestyle who finally gets the girl, or a gruff father who struggles with a teenager’s sexuality would all be roles knocked out by Nick Offerman, and it’s exciting to think of what he might do in the future.  If you have a look at his upcoming projects, I think you’ll share in my belief and excitement. As for Ron Swanson and Parks and Recreation, there are seemingly endless plots and comedy moments for this ensemble cast, and there’s no end in sight. Good stuff all around for Nick Offerman. 

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Friday, June 22, 2012

What to Expect from Season Two of Wilfred

Wilfred, which was a breakout hit for the FX network last season, is coming back this week with its second season. And if the first season was any indication of what to expect, the second season is going to be hilarious and somewhat “off.” The producers of Wilfred have already given the audience a sneak peek at the second season which lets us know just how funny it’s going to be.

In fact, the second season isn’t schedule to officially start until June 21st. But FX aired an episode on June 14th entitled “Progress.” In this episode, Robin Williams (yes, that Robin Williams) played a psychiatrist that is trying to help Ryan (Elijah Wood’s character) come to grips with having Wilfred being a part of his life. But that episode didn’t air on television. It was only available through the various on-demand avenues like Hulu, the FX website, Yahoo TV and some satellite providers.

However, when the new season does officially start on the 21st, this episode will air at 10:30 p.m., right after a repeat of last season’s cliffhanger episode. That episode was more of an experiment in existentialism, according to what Wilfred is writing in his will. Ryan also decides in the last episode to represent Jenna in court because the “court of imaginary Wilfreds” made him feel guilty. It’s then that we find out a secret that had been hidden all season: Why Ryan was disbarred. It turns out that he used to tamper with evidence and do other unethical things when he was a lawyer and he got caught.

Another interesting thing that happened in the season finale was the writers taking a shot at Lost, the ABC show that basically captivated audiences for several seasons with its questions and storylines. That’s a gutsy move for a TV show on cable during its rookie season, which makes us wonder what else the writers and producers will think about doing during the show’s sophomore season now that it has been deemed one of the more successful shows on the network in recent years.

The cliffhanger also has something about a basement that didn’t exist and it was just a closet filled with pillows, but it’s difficult to explain. That’s why it’s best to watch the episode on June 21 at 10:00 p.m. Even though there is a new episode immediately following it, the official first episode of season 2 will not air until June 28. Get ready for a great season that will likely have a lot of dog jokes and some answers for the questions left over from season 1.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Great Shows of Saturday Night Live Over the Years

Saturday Night Live (season 32)
Fans of the show Saturday Night Live know they’ve been lucky to see some great years of the show recently, thanks to some solid performers, some great new character development, and Kristen Wiig and Any Samberg. Unfortunately, both will be leaving the show after this season. Wiig’s departure was more than predictable this year given her recent success with the movie Bridesmaids, enjoying a rare occasion for an SNL alum – an Oscar nod. Samberg’s departure was a little more of a surprise, but not quite as sudden as when Jimmy Fallon left. When Fallon left, he did a movie with Queen Latifah, then dropped off the map. If it wasn’t for his late night show, I’m sure he would have been tramping along the road playing big to mediocre stages around the world. Samberg seems to have some inventive comedy talent, but his acting ability remains to be seen. Luckily, he seems to have picked up a rather interesting gig with BBC Three.

In a six-part comedy series called Cuckoo, he will team up with Welsh comedian Greg Davies playing a slacker with crazy new age ideas. According to sources, Samberg’s character will be the new husband of Tamla Kari’s character, much to the chagrin of her parents, played by Greg Davies and Helen Baxendale. Created by Robin French and Keiron Quirke, the show will film over the summer and hit TV screens later in the year. BBC Three is a public broadcaster in the UK, obviously part of the BBC networks, with a target demographic of 16 to 34 year-olds, perfect for Andy Samberg’s audience.

The real question I have with this move is how it will play in the United States. Will his popularity flourish in the UK, but dwindle in the United States? And if so, will that affect his ability to find the right comedic role in Hollywood. I hope for his sake he’s aiming to pick up a project to do as soon as he’s done taping the BBC Three TV Shows, because I have a funny feeling that this new Adam Sandler picture is just not going to solidify Samberg as a post-SNL star. I don’t think Samberg will end up hosting a late night show either to save his career. Although, I thought the same thing of Fallon. I like Andy Samberg, so hopefully he will find the right roles right off the bat to keep him at the level that he deserves for helping SNL get back to a glimpse of its former glory.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dukes of Hazzard Star John Schneider Plays New Roles These Days

John Schneider as Bo Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard

The man who was a household name as Bo Duke in the 1980s has turned over a new life in his life. He still has fond memories of sliding across the hood of the General Lee, climbing in the window of the bright orange car and outrunning the law on the Dukes of Hazzard TV show, but his acting choices are a little different since he found Jesus. Schneider now stars in several faith-based films that are more positive and uplifting, including one of this latest films entitled “October Baby.”

October Baby has been talked about a lot for several weeks and this indie movie made more than $5 million in the two  months since it made it to the screens in select places across the country. The $5 million revenue is quite impressive for being an indie film that only had a budget of $1 million for production. Schneider, who is now 52 years old, plays the father of a college-aged girl who finds out two things about herself that shatters her world. First, she was adopted at a young age. Second, she is the result of an abortion gone wrong. The movie chronicles her search for her biological mother and her journey through the emotions along with the healing and forgiveness process that she endures.

The storyline of October Baby is near and dear to Schneider’s heart because his family has experienced similar situations. He has been married to his wife for 19 years, but she had to make some difficult and very similar choices when she was a young teenager. He explains that at the age of 15, she got pregnant and many people in her life told her that she should get an abortion. Instead, she decided to have the baby and give it up for adoption.

But 18 years later, Elly decided that she wanted to find her daughter and have a relationship with her. After a long search, she finally found her and they both have a strong relationship with each other. Elly is also a proud grandmother to her daughter’s first child. “It’s the coolest thing in the world,” Schneider says, referring to the unique situation.

Schneider has also starred in other faith-based films in recent years. One of the – Doonby – is a pro-life film that is scheduled to come out in the fall. The storyline involves him being a mysterious drifter that comes to a small town and improves the life of the people that he encounters. According to one description, it’s like a combination of “The Twilight Zone” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

While Schneider isn’t trying to forget about his Bo Duke days, he doesn’t only want to be recognized for that role. He has done some very important and thought-provoking films and movies since he lived with Uncle Jess and cousin Daisy in the Dukes of Hazzard. But he enjoys the recognition nonetheless.  

John Shneider's General Lee will always be remembered.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About “Married with Children”

Married with Children – The Complete First Sea...

The prototypical suburban dysfunctional family that comprised the Bundy Family was an instant hit with American audiences during the show – Married with Children’s – airing. Perhaps because some people who came from dysfunctional family units could easily relate, while others who did not found humor in the notion. Either way, people loved the show; that is unquestionable. To this very day, the sitcom has been ranked as one of the most popular and longest running TV shows in American television history.

Much like any show, it would eventually come to an end. The end of it actually came as a shocker for Ed O’Neill, who was on vacation when Fox axed the show and actually read about losing his job in a newspaper. And even Christina Applegate, the vivacious, foxy bombshell mainstay, only learned about the demise of the sitcom after close friends informed her. What follows are a few more things you probably never knew about Married with Children.

·         Longest running TV show to never win an Emmy until Baywatch was later canceled in 2001.
·         Producers tried a similar show called Unhappily Ever After, which did not fare nearly as well.
·         Sam Kinison and Roseanne Barr were initially offered the roles of Peg and Al Bundy (that would have been disastrous).
·         Top of the Heap, later renamed to Vinnie & Bobby, was a spin-off that failed epically.
·         The opening for the show depicts a cut to a scene from National Lampoon's Vacation, where you can clearly see the brown Ford Crown Victoria station wagon that was driven by the Griswold family.
·         That nifty fountain in the opening intro is Chicago’s Buckingham Fountain.
·         Ed O’Neill is the only cast member who actually appeared in all 260 episodes of the show.
·         The Bundy telephone number was: 555-2878.

WATCH: Married with Children Funniest Moments
Be sure to relive the crazy good times and laughter with this compilation video that features some of the most hilarious moments from the show.

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