Screen Junkies » tca Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Wed, 17 Sep 2014 22:16:30 +0000 en hourly 1 ’2 Broke Girls’ Creator Michael Patrick King Is Gay, So He Can Mock Whoever He Wants Wed, 11 Jan 2012 23:12:17 +0000 Wookie Johnson It seems he's proud of his work.

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Note to self: If ever interviewing 2 Broke Girls creator Michael Patrick King, don’t railroad him with questions like, “Why do you suck so bad?” He doesn’t respond well to that.

Vulture has the lowdown on today’s TCA panel with King where things took a turn. As the creator of this season’s hottest new show, King was excited to meet with the press and soak up their accolades. Unfortunately for him, today is not Opposite Day.

During his roughly 30-minute session with scribes, King was barraged with a slew of questions focusing on the show’s use of caricatures and suggestive language.

But when HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall tried to explain to King that there were some in the room, including him, who felt the great parts of 2 Broke (the relationship between Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs) were being weakened by the not-so-great parts (the Sexist Chef), King simply turned his back to Sepinwall (and a handful of other reporters) and walked away.

The questioning again shifted to the ethnic stereotypes on the show, and eventually, King exploded. “I’m gay!” he said, adding that he found “it comedic to take everyone down.”

How embarrassed those bulldog reporters must have felt when they learned that the well-dressed director of Sex and the City is gay. He should have been more upfront about his license to sass.

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J.J. Abrams Talks ‘Person Of Interest’ And ‘Alcatraz’, Defends Flashbacks, Blames Himself For ‘Undercovers’ Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:54:57 +0000 Fred Topel Expect two new shows from him this year.

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J.J. Abrams was at the CBS party for the Television Critics Association. He produced Person of Interest, which premieres on CBS in the fall. He also produced Alcatraz for Fox midseason. Each show is designed to have a story of the week, but also series long mythology. Person is about an organization that uses surveillance technology to prevent violent crimes. Alcatraz is about inmates from the infamous prison resurfacing in present day, who need to be caught.

“I don’t know how you do an hour long show and don’t have some ongoing stuff,” Abrams said. “The fact is both of these shows, Alcatraz more than Person of Interest, definitely has overarching questions you can’t answer in one episode. I love that stuff. It’s one of the reasons I love Walking Dead, I can name 12 massive questions that I must have answered. I love that. I know that not everyone does and I think Person of Interest is definitely a more unserialized weekly crime show that does have threads that if you watch will reveal bigger, larger answers. There’s the mystery of the week thing but there’s also who are these guys who are working so well together? They’re not quite trusting each other. It’s really fun.”

Alcatraz requires flashbacks to show who the prisoners were back on “The Rock.” After producing the ultimate flashback show of all time, Lost, Abrams had no hesitation about using the same structure on a new show.

“There’s a flashback in Person of Interest also. I love flashbacks. There will often be flashbacks. For me it was a necessity of the show as opposed to feeling it’s borrowing an existing gimmick that Lost happened to use well. One of the awesome aspects of Alcatraz is the mystique of Alcatraz as the rock itself, what it was like 50 years ago down Broadway in the middle of these cells. What was it like to have these criminals behind these bars be out in that yard, to have the warden in that office? It would be crazy not to embrace that.”

The only Star Trek 2 update is that he’s still trying to make “a movie that’s worth people’s time.” On Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Abrams confirmed there are four full IMAX sequences, like the Burj Khalifa sequence in the trailer.

In more surprising news, Abrams answered questions about last year’s failed show Undercovers. Abrams produced the married spy series and directed the pilot, and he blames only himself for the show’s failure.

“I do feel the problem with the show was I made bad choices. I wasn’t as respectful of the audience or the characters. I didn’t give people substance. The thing that’s fun about fluff is it needs to be contextualized. It needs to be fun and fluffy within something of meaning and it was kind of fluff on top of fluff as opposed to something more substantial. I wrote it into mediocrity and I feel guilty because I love the actors, I love the idea of the show, I love the idea of a couple who loves each other.”

Person of Interest premieres this fall on CBS.

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David Hornsby Lets Us In On ‘How To Be A Gentleman’ Thu, 04 Aug 2011 00:55:31 +0000 Fred Topel First rule: gentleman don't follow the rules of The Game.

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We’re at a point in society where just being a gentleman can be the premise of a sitcom.

David Hornsby created and stars in the new fall comedy How to Be a Gentleman. Based on the book by John Bridges and the lost art of chivalry, Hornsby plays Andrew, a men’s magazine writer obsessed with being a gentleman. He meets Burt (Kevin Dillon), a personal trainer who wants to toughen him up.

Now if being a gentleman is funny in a fish out of water way, how does Andrew function in a world where guys read The Game and practice The Mystery Method?  “Burt’s the kind of guy that would have The Game or have his own sort of game system,” Hornsby said after a Television Critics Association panel on Gentleman. “The gentleman’s game is just being a mannered respectful person. I think that’s where the two worlds collide. You have Burt dragging Andrew to a bar to pick up women. Giving a line to a woman can be a very tacky situation. So Burt has his own angle in to pick up women whereas Andrew tries to find the higher road.”

The fact that The Game and pick-up artist methods are effective flies in the face of gentlemanly behavior. Hornsby would stand by gentlemen’s methods. “Well, a gentleman can succeed in his own way in picking up women. Those techniques are used by a certain type of person. I don’t think it’s quite the gentlemanly thing to do. Yes, they do smack the face.”

Full disclosure, former Screen Junkies editor Patrick Schumacker is writing on How to Be a Gentleman with his $#*! My Dad Says collaborator Justin Halpern. Hornsby is glad to have them on board, particularly for the details of how a men’s magazine operates.

“They really have funny, unique voices. It’s great to have them on the show. They worked at Maxim literally so they’re sort of like the physicists that The Big Bang has, we have Justin and Patrick.”

How to Be a Gentleman comes to CBS this fall.

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’2 Broke Girls’ Creator Calls Show “The Evil Twin Of Chic Lit” Wed, 03 Aug 2011 21:56:22 +0000 Fred Topel This ain't no 'Sex and the City'.

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5 photosKat Dennings

The new CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs as waitresses trying to pay their rent and saving up for their own business. Sex and the City creator Michael Patrick King created the show with Whitney Cummings, so of course the media wants to compare Broke to Sex. King explained the difference to the Television Critics Association in a dude-friendly way.

“That show and this show are completely different DNA,” King said. “Everyone is saying that there are so many girl shows, like they’re all the same show. Whenever there’s a character in a book that’s female, they call it chic lit. 2 Broke Girls is like the evil twin of chick lit.”

Max (Dennings) and Caroline (Behrs) should be girls who guys like. They won’t be obsessing over designer brands or dream weddings. “Carrie Bradshaw in her closet was Narnia. We played with reality fantasy. Those girls had relationship checklists. These girls barely have checks.”

Caroline is a former rich girl whose father got caught in a ponzi scheme, so the family lost everything. King pointed out that just specifying dollar amounts makes 2 Broke Girls kind of a TV first.

“We also liked the scary dynamic of talking about money on TV. There’s rarely sitcoms where they say what something costs, including the rent. The artifice of doing a show in front of an audience is already false enough because you never even turn around. The idea that we would try to do that show and actually deal with rent and numbers and say numbers [is realistic].”

2 Broke Girls premieres this fall on CBS.

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Doug Liman Gives Dating Advice, Talks ‘Bourne Legacy’ And Space Heist Movie Wed, 03 Aug 2011 21:10:45 +0000 Fred Topel It's all about texting nowadays.

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Doug Liman directed the pilot of MTV’s upcoming show I Just Want My Pants Back. The title comes from the main character’s one night stand where the woman wore his pants home, but left him a fake number so he could never contact her again. The director of Swingers tackles a whole ensemble of characters dealing with modern dating in New York.

At MTV’s cocktail party for the Television Critics Association, Liman schmoozed with the hot young stars of his own and other MTV shows. I was the old guy who still remembers leaving six messages on an answering machine, so maybe Pants will give me some new pointers. The show is currently in production aiming for a 2012 airdate.

Q: I was at the right age when Swingers came out. Actually, I’m still in that place, but how has the dating game changed since Swingers?

Doug Liman: Well, I’m still single so unfortunately I’ve been tracking it all these years. The storylines in Pants Back are completely universal. They haven’t really changed but the specific characters that David Rosen have written have a specific approach to dating that I just love. It’s completely infectious.

Q: What would be the equivalent of the six date rule now?

DL: It’s all about texting. When you text, when you don’t text. Maybe the technology has changed but the strategy hasn’t changed at all. Kim [Shaw’s character] spends most of the season dealing with an on again, off again relationship that plays out a lot through whether she does or does not text, how long she waits to text.

Q: That was a huge hurdle for me. I hated texting until I met a really nice girl who texted cute and funny things. Now I like it.

DL: It’s all about sexting now.

Q: I never got into that, but how do you portray texting on screen? Isn’t it obnoxious when characters talk what they’re typing because the camera needs to hear it?

DL: No, like Swingers, what’s really at stake is whether you are or are not texting, whether you are or are not making the other person wait. So it’s not actually the content of the text, which would be annoying. You have to speak it out loud or cut to an insert. Since we’re operating on the more primal level of did the guy text you or didn’t he text you, or if he did text you, how long do you wait to text him back, that doesn’t play out between somebody and their phone. That plays out between friends.

Q: Would swing dancing still impress someone today? Would there even be anywhere you could go to do that?

DL: Lincoln Center during the summer does it, but that’s Manhattan so that’s for a different age group. People in their 20s that live in Brooklyn and more of the fringe Brooklyn like Greenpoint or Bushwick, I’m not seeing any signs of swing dancing in those places. Swing dancing happened to be the thing of the moment when I was doing Swingers. There’s other things going on in Greenpoint that these characters are participating in that are of the moment.

Q: What are some aspects of Swingers that still work today?

DL: Well, Swingers still works today because it’s a universal story and it has amazing characters. Films with characters like the ones Jon Favreau wrote are timeless.

Q: They still call right after you’re not interested in them anymore.

DL: That is unfortunately true.

Q: As a producer, how are things going on The Bourne Legacy?

DL: Pretty great. We start shooting this fall.

Q: I’m excited about it, but I kind of wish Matt Damon would still be willing to continue Jason Bourne. Why couldn’t Jeremy Renner still be playing Jason Bourne?

DL: Well, Jason Bourne has completed his arc. The franchise from its very inception was a character-driven action franchise. Unlike James Bond, which is sort of an action driven franchise, it’s character driven and the character has completed their arc. If it were a TV series, we would have slowed down the arc so you could build 50 episodes out of it. But it wasn’t a TV series. It was a movie so he’s got to complete his arc.

Q: But as fans, we trust you and Tony Gilroy to come up with another great issue for Jason Bourne. Like life, more things still happen to him.

DL: But the most interesting thing happened and was resolved. I mean, Robert Ludlum in the original novel completed his arc in the first book and did what you said, reset him in the second book, completed his arc, then reset him again and completed him in the third book. But it’s a little gimmicky.

Q: What is the issue for the new legacy?

DL: I can’t even tell you about the character.

Q: You have an amazing cast for Luna. What do Chris Evans, Andrew Garfield, Zoe Saldana and Megan Fox get to do?

DL: I’m not really talking about it yet other than it’s a heist in outer space.

Q: Well, I know you usually have an interesting subtext to your movies. You’ve said that The Bourne Identity started from wanting to address Iran Contra. What is the subtext of the space heist?

DL: It’s actually a companion piece to Fair Game so I very much have those same lofty ideals that have permeated all my films to date. While Fair Game was dealing with America at one of its low points, my outer space heist film ultimately celebrates America at one of its high points.

Q: Is it a period piece in the space program?

DL: No, it’s present day.

Q: So with NASA ending the shuttle program, how does that affect your story?

DL: That is the backdrop against which the heist takes place.

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Details Revealed On Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Two And A Half Men’ Character Wed, 03 Aug 2011 16:36:50 +0000 Fred Topel He's rich and broken-hearted.

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At the beginning of today’s CBS day for the Television Critics Association press tour, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler answered questions about Two and a Half Men, Ashton Kutcher and, sort of, Charlie Sheen.

“Who could have predicted that we would have been here six months ago?” Tassler said. “The great news is that the show will be as irreverent as it has always been. Our program practices people are already on high alert. That’s some of the good news coming out of it.”

By irreverent, read more sexual innuendos. She would not confirm the season premiere would be Charlie’s funeral, but introduced Kutcher’s character. “His name is Walden Schmidt and he is an Internet billionaire with a broken heart and it will be a two-parter over two weeks. A little bit of the mystery is part of the marketing, but he is a unique character. As we said in the marketing plan, all will be revealed on X date. The mystery is a part of the marketing. It’s going to be a big event. The chatter and the conversation and the discussion about it is part of what the fun of it can be.”

When asked what she learned from the Charlie Sheen situation, and the suggestion that many people would have predicted his meltdown six months ago, Tassler spun it into a positive future.

“We look at where we are today. I look at where we were six months ago. Our whole focus right now is moving forward. We have an extraordinary actor in Ashton Kutcher. We have someone who is committed to doing their job, to being there, an incredible professional. So as I said, six months ago today, we’re worlds apart. We made the decision, everyone made the decisions relative to the situation at hand.”

Asked if the Sheen situation would change CBS’s casting practices when considering actors with potential issues, Tassler responded, “That would probably be every actor in the business so it would be kind of hard. I don’t think we would change the practice with which we hire actors now. It’s an artistic creative process. You have actors audition. It’s professional, so I don’t think it would change the way we employ actors.”

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Kathryn Hahn Talks NBC’s ‘Free Agents’, How To Destroy 22 Paintings Tue, 02 Aug 2011 23:43:41 +0000 Fred Topel She plays a publicist with a dead fiancé opposite Hank Azaria.

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NBC’s new fall comedy Free Agents stars Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn as colleagues at a PR firm who sleep together. Alex (Azaria) is fresh off his divorce and still cries over being separated from his kids. Helen’s (Hahn) fiancé Pete died a year ago and she still keeps portraits of him all over her house. A the office everyone wants Alex to score, even when they don’t know he already did with Helen… twice.

I ran into Hahn at the NBC party for the Television Critics Association. I’d seen the Agents pilot so I knew about a bravura scene where Helen finally destroys all her Pete paintings, but I also knew her from films like Anchorman, The Last Mimzy and Our Idiot Brother. She was the perfect mix of scoop and having fun with her crazy show coming out this fall.

Q: What do you get to do with a leading role?

Kathryn Hahn: Well, what I’m thrilled about doing this leading role in particular is that she’s not your typical [leading lady]. She’s really well put together but she’s not the straight woman. She’s not the glamorous straight woman to the guy’s shenanigans. She’s equally a disaster, emotionally and in her personal life.

Q: Like with the paintings in the pilot.

KH: She’s crazy. Oh my God, she’s nuts. What I love about it is that she really is in total denial about the wreckage of her personal life. She thinks she’s got it together. What I love about it is when you meet her at the end of the pilot, she’s actually kind of starting to awaken to that. It’s going to be fun to see where she goes. That’s where I love to be, a little bit left of center. I can’t be a polished girl all the time. I love the women on the verge.

Q: Isn’t the totally polished girl the weird one?

KH: Yes, because who is that person? Where does she exist? This person is so much more real to me. As extreme as her circumstance is, she’s totally in denial, which I think a lot of women can relate to.

Q: How many paintings did you go through in that scene?

KH: 22. I love that they all look like they were from Olan Mills.

Q: How do you top the pilot moving forward?

KH: I feel like we get to see the power dynamics shift back and forth. Sometimes she has the upper hand. Sometimes he does. He might start dating. I think what’s great about the foundation of the show is that it’s not really a romantic comedy as much as it is a workplace comedy. I feel like will they or won’t they won’t be as important as watching the relationships within the office.

Q: As far as emotional/violent scenes, how do you top the paintings?

KH: I have not read it yet but I know where some things go. She’s still working through Pete so she is going to start to see him and other people, date somebody that reminds her of him. She’s going to start dating a therapist. She’s a mess. She thought she had the perfect life in place and when her fiancé died it all fell apart.

Q: Was there a lot of discussion of how much time had passed so a dead fiancé would be funny? Less than a year is still sad.

KH: Right, there was a lot of discussion and we figured a year was kind of perfect. It was just about the time other people would start saying, “Maybe you can date other [people].” I think there’s just a perfect amount of time for her to think, “Maybe I should take down a few of these 22 photographs on the wall.”

Q: Is there a line you won’t cross in comedy?

KH: If it’s mean. I don’t like mean humor. I just don’t like being mean. Beyond that, there’s very few.

Q: Is there a lot of Kathryn Hahn we haven’t gotten to see yet because you haven’t had a vehicle like this?

KH: I think this is exciting because a lot of the roles I’ve been able to book in films have been pretty broad and have been able to exist kind of on the outskirts of society shall we say. They’re a little bit crazy so there’s something about this. I think this kind of vulnerability, I don’t want to say a real woman because they’re all real to me, but there’s a vulnerability in her that I’m excited [to play]. I went to Yale. It’s funny, I didn’t just start in comedy.

Free Agents premieres this fall on NBC.

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John Krasinski Offers Up ‘The Office’ Season 8 Spoilers Tue, 02 Aug 2011 21:49:52 +0000 Fred Topel Jim buckles down to impress Robert California.

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At the NBC party for the Television Critics Association, I noticed the office’s John Krasinski stepping off the red carpet to go enjoy a drink and some gourmet cuisine. I managed to stop him for an exclusive interview before any of my colleagues found him.

Now I’m sure you’re expecting me to goof around and be funny with the smart alec from the hit NBC comedy. Well, I’m not an A-list TV comedy writer, so get off my back! I went the straightforward path and got some scoops on season eight and spoilers for Jim’s storylines.

Q: What is the new dynamic like with James Spader?

John Krasinski: Spader is unbelievable. I’ve been the biggest James Spader fan forever. To have him on set is a huge, huge coup for the show but also for me. I’m just really excited because his energy as a character is unlike anything we’ve ever had on the show.

Q: Is it different than we saw in the season finale?

JK: Not really. It’s a similar episode. He’s definitely that guy. He’s incredibly competent. We offered him a boss position and he wanted the CEO position and he got it. That’s how incredibly persuasive he is. Robert California, which I think is one of the greatest names and funniest characters ever.

Q: Michael Scott always wanted to be your friend as well as your boss. How does it change everything when you have a guy who’s not trying to do that?

JK: It’s really interesting. I feel like we’re definitely all inferior to James’ character and I think he very much knows that. He puts us on the spot immediately for being not so good at what we do which is weirdly incredibly motivating. We get to be a lot better very fast.

Q: What’s going on with Jim and Pam?

JK: Pam’s pregnant. Jenna, her commitment level is so high to get pregnant for this part. No, Pam’s pregnant and Jim’s finding it a lot more fun to be at work and just providing for his family. He starts to feel like with the office being run a little more efficiently he can have a lot more fun himself.

Q: Do you have scenes with different characters than you’ve had in the past?

JK: Yes, I will definitely start having different [scenes]. I know that I have a lot of fun stuff with Andy who needs my help in different ways, shapes and forms. I have a lot of stuff with Kevin, which is great. It feels a lot like the first couple seasons where just inter-office relationships are the thing that was so fun.

Q: Were you ever a guy who messed with people at work?

JK: No, I was never clever enough to do any sort of pranks whatsoever.

Q: How will Jim be messing with Dwight this season?

JK: We have a whole bunch of different pranks. One of my favorite ones will be at Schrute farms.

Q: One of my favorite episodes was when Jim started taking over a management position and started to tone it down, nobody liked him. He was trying to be fair and it just didn’t work. What were your thoughts on that storyline?

JK: I don’t think Jim was made for the leadership role. I think he’s a really good middleman and he’s a good cushion and filter for the rest of the office. I don’t see him running the office any time soon.

Q: Do we need a guy like Jim to take the bosses down a peg?

JK: I hope so, that way I’ll have a job.

Q: When you do movies, are they pegging you as the rom-com guy, or the male friend in the rom-com?

JK: I don’t think so, I hope not. I feel like right now, it’s just been a lot of fun to work on projects at all in the hiatus. It’s a short little window and I’ve been really lucky to be a part of some great movies.

The Office returns to NBC this fall.

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Stop Asking Alison Brie For Her Underwear Over Twitter Tue, 02 Aug 2011 18:56:44 +0000 Fred Topel You're not going to get them.

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7 photosAlison Brie

Alison Brie touched my leg. She is such a gracious, affectionate person that when I sat down to speak with her at the NBC Television Critics Association party, that’s just something two adults do when they’re connecting over conversation. So yeah, my dream girl touched my leg.

Annie became a fan favorite character on Community. When she kissed Jeff (Joel McHale) in the first season finale, she had Jeff/Annie shippers rooting for her. She’s gotten dramatic when Troy (Donald Glover) walked her home and turned full on action babe in the paintball episodes.

Brie was wearing a leggy white skirt and black heels for the NBC party, with her hair done up all cute. Even with costars like Chevy Chase coming over to give her a kiss, she gave me her complete attention.

Q: I get such a happy feeling when I watch you on Community because I feel like you are just going all out to make us happy, whether it’s playing Annie as her nervous self or sexing it up as the gunfighting paintballer.

Alison Brie: Thank you for saying that. I think Annie as a character is someone who throws herself into whatever she’s doing and that’s why she’s fun to play. I gues I am that way as well, so whatever they throw at me on the show, I really want to do it 100% and go all the way. That’s kind of what’s great about our show, that we’re not locked into one thing and our character doesn’t stay the same all the time. You get these different outlets to play a sexier version of the character or a more neurotic version of the character.

Q: Well, original Annie is no less sexy.

AB: [Laugh] Thank you. Well, good. It’s just a lot of fun. I find it more fun to go all out with it so I’m glad that you enjoy watching that as well.

The Donald Glover Meltdown Supercut

Q: What do you get to do in season three?

AB: Well, we just started so it’s early on. I think we’re going to see a little bit more of the badass side of Annie. We might get some darker sides of her, some bits of her drug-addled past and how that is affecting her still. She may have some darker Adderall moments maybe surface.

Q: Is this all in the first episode?

AB: No, no, it’s not. I’m giving you secrets. I’m giving you scoop. There’s some good stuff for shippers, shippers of any kind. We’re two episodes in and I already feel like Annie’s having moments with a number of characters. So that’s good.

Q: Do you feel like you get two characters since they named the monkey Annie’s Boobs?

AB: No, I don’t take any ownership in Annie’s Boobs. She is her own character. She’s an amazing actor.

Q: What do the throngs of adoring male fans do for your ego?

AB: [Laughs] They’re great. They make me feel awesome. I love them. I will never begrudge loving fans.

Q: Do you get it a lot more constantly now that you’re on Twitter?

AB: Twitter is great because it is a direct throughline to fans. I would assume it’s what it would be like when people would get fan mail. It’s sort of like instant fan mail, or weird creepy things. You never know what you’re going to get.

Q: Was there a weird creepy one that’s funny enough to repeat?

AB: I mean, requests for like my underwear are always interesting.

Q: Who thinks they’re actually going to get a pair?

AB: I don’t know! More often I think that they think that I probably just don’t read it. What I would say to those people is I read almost all of people’s responses. I just don’t have time to respond to them usually.

Q: How many @mentions do you get a day?

AB: It depends. If there’s something of note that day like a GQ spread is issued, it might be hundreds. If I haven’t tweeted in a while, it might be 15. You never know.

Q: Your tweets are very provocative. Do you come up with them off the cuff or are they well planned?

AB: Usually they come right off the top of my head but then I will sit and agonize over grammar, because there’s nothing worse than a grammatical error in a tweet. You will never hear the end of it.

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‘Awkward’ Star Ashley Rickards Loves Both Ghandi And Daria Mon, 01 Aug 2011 18:04:55 +0000 Fred Topel She's also a big fan of Beavis and Butt-Head.

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6 photosAshley Rickards

I think the title Awkward is all hype. I see Ashley Rickards on the show and I think she’s out of my league. But then Hollywood has a long history of beautiful women playing outcasts in ‘80s movies and teen shows.

MTV’s new show stars Rickards as Jenna, high school girl who starts to get attention after an accident is mistaken for a suicide attempt. Even walking around in a neck brace and cast, Jenna’s the girl I would hang out with. In person at MTV’s cocktail party for the Television Critics Association, Rickards looked like a star with high heels and a designer blazer over an aqua dress. It wasn’t awkward (I don’t think) when I stopped her to ask a few questions about her new show.

Q: I think you’re a lovely girl. How do you feel awkward when your fans think you’re great?

Ashley Rickards: This whole show is a message to all of them and we love them so much. We made the show for them. I think the show transcends the teenage years. I think you can pluck out the players and the setting and put it in any stage of life. The topics that we explore are friendship, pushing the limits, what aspects do you need in a relationship, physical and emotional and which one should come first.

Q: Is awkward just my type?

AR: I hope so. I hope that’s a lot of people’s type. I think Jenna’s a great girl and that’s one of the messages of our show. Smart girls win eventually.

Q: What is coming up in future episodes?

AR: Wow, we have coffee down a bra. Jillian [Rose Reed] spits in my face. It’s actually her saliva on my actual face. Jenna wears heels which is a big deal. Jenna gets to wear some lipstick. It’s going to be exciting.

Q: What do you love about Jenna?

AR: She’s very reserved but she’s intuitive. She’s also very introspective and non judgmental which I think the general public could really take a lesson from. One of the most striking things about Jenna is how kind she is to Sadie, the mean girl because she sees that there’s a reason why Sadie’s being that way. She doesn’t instantly jump on the bandwagon of being really mean to Sadie.

Q: That’s like Gandhi. He said you should love your enemies because they’re lacking love.

AR: I like Gandhi. I have a picture of him in my house. Gandhi inspired Jenna. No, that would be interesting if Awkward were centered around Gandhi. First of all, I don’t think it would be called Gandhi.

Q: What were the MTV shows you watched growing up?

AR: I loved True Life, My So-Called Life. I did even catch a little bit of Daria.

Q: Are you excited that Beavis and Butt-Head are back?

AR: I’m so excited! I remember I think I was about seven staying at my aunt’s house and my mom said, “Hey, you can’t let her watch South Park or Beavis and Butt-Head.” To this day, those are my two favorite shows. It’s not only because they’re awesome, but it’s a little bit because my mom told me I couldn’t. But I was seven so I understand why.

Q: Where does the season finale leave Jenna?

AR: It leaves her alone in her room. I cannot elaborate on that but you’ll see. It’s a big turning point.

Awkward airs Tuesdays at 11 on MTV.

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‘Jackass’ Director Reveals Details On Ryan Dunn Tribute Sun, 31 Jul 2011 17:02:30 +0000 Fred Topel Van surfing might finally see the light of day.

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Jackass director Jeff Tremain hung out at the MTV cocktail party, even though the network did not present any new Jackass material at their Television Critics Association panels. Over a couple of Mai Tais, Tremaine told me that the tragedy of Ryan Dunn’s death will inspire a new collection of Jackass hilarity.

“We’re gearing up to do a tribute to Ryan,” Tremaine said. “That’s our next project. It hurt pretty bad. It’s hurt everybody but we want to celebrate his life and show everybody. We have just such an amazing bank of footage of him. We’re going to dig it all up so we’ll discover it too.”

The 'Jackass' Crew Pay Tribute To Ryan Dunn

The special will include never before scene outtakes from the Jackass movies and TV-show. Tremaine remembers one that would be the ultimate find.

“There’s always been the Van Surfing, him and Chris re-enacting a scene from Teen Wolf that didn’t go well. We’ll see if they’ll let us air it but it’s pretty funny. Ryan was riding on the roof of the van and the van was speeding towards a body of water, stopped a little bit short. He made it to the water but the water was only like five inches deep, slammed pretty bad.”

MTV’s new Teen Wolf series didn’t even do the van surfing. Actually, the Jackass team self-censored that one, and Tremaine is still on the fence. “We decided not to air that because we thought that kids might imitate it too easily.”

The Jackass crew will shoot new interviews for the special, which Tremaine hopes will air in the fall.

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Cool Details On New ‘Beavis And Butt-Head’ Series Fri, 29 Jul 2011 23:34:49 +0000 Fred Topel It's just like old times, butt-munch.

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The clip real for the new Beavis and Butt-Head show played before Mike Judge’s panel for the Television Critics Association. It showed the boys gaining hundreds of pounds eating fast food like that “Morgan Sherlock” dude, as they called him. They found out about the Twilight phenomenon and tried to become vampires, instead getting Hepatitis C. Of course they thought the sores and sickness were their sexy transformation. And further expansion on the Cornholio episode shown at Comic-Con had cultees analyzing the dual nature of “The Great Cornholio” and “The Almighty Bunghole.”

Comic-Con 2011: Mike Judge Unveils New 'Beavis And Butt-Head' Footage

“We’d been talking about doing another movie over the years,” Judge said. “I’d written down ideas for that. King of the Hill was done and I just thought who am I to turn this down? I really like doing it. I’ve been through development on animated shows. I thought, ‘I have a couple of good animated characters. Maybe I should just do it while I still can.’ I also feel like I’m a better director now.”

We know now that Beavis and Butt-Head will watch and give commentary on shows like Jersey Shore, 16 And Pregnant, UFC fights and internet viral videos. Judge promised some movie reviews too. “We got a little thing where they’re kind of like Siskel and Ebert reviewing a movie,” Judge said.

Judge actually tried branching out from music videos in the original series, but it didn’t work until MTV’s latest crop of reality TV. “We tried The Real World back in the day and for some reason it didn’t click. I watched a lot of Jersey Shore and now I’m hooked on it. It really clicked. It was just paydirt, 16 and Pregnant and all this.”

Judge promised they would also still watch music videos. With October 27 still months away, there’s time to work out the deals. They’re still waiting on Lady Gaga, but have the following confirmed. “Let’s see, Deadmaus. Yolanda B Cool. MGMT, T Baby It’s So Cold in the D. YouTube that.”

These videos will all be on the eventual DVD sets too. “That’s the other thing. The original run, the videos were only cleared for MTV so that’s why it’s very hard to get those on DVD. Now they’re going to be all cleared for everything.”

Beavis and Butt-Head are no longer hand drawn cell animation, but Judge made sure they look the same. “I think the digital process has gotten a lot better. Beavis and Butt-Head still look crappy. I’m using the same model sheets but ‘look better’ in the way I think looks better. It’s Hi-def but there are a lot of differences. To me it still feels like them to fans.”

Unfortunately, Judge confirmed, they have still never scored. Here’s hopin’.

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AMC Says Production On ‘Mad Men’ Starts Next Month, Dodges Frank Darabont Questions Thu, 28 Jul 2011 16:06:52 +0000 Fred Topel They also "hear you" about 'The Killing'.

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AMC senior VP of original programming Joel Stillerman opened the AMC presentation to the Television Critics Association with some important news about their biggest shows. Mad Men, after a hotly contested season renewal negotiations, has added another season to its return order.

“We are announcing the return of season 5 and 6,” Stillerman said. “Matt and his incredible team are in the writer’s room breaking stories. Production starts Monday, August 8.”

As an added bonus, Jon Hamm will lend his handsomeness behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera as Don Draper. “Jon Hamm will be making his directorial debut for the season premiere of episode 5,” Stillerman added.

'The Walking Dead' Trailer: It's Still About Zombies

After the departure of Frank Darabont from The Walking Dead, Stillerman was happy to praise new showrunner Glen Mazzara and the remaining crew, and even props to Darabont. “A very heartfelt thank you to Frank Darabont. He’s a visionary writer and director. He wrote a brilliant pilot and directed a brilliant pilot. His fingerprints are all over the adaptation.”

Stillerman still wouldn’t say why Darabont left though. “I don’t have much to add to the circumstances of it. I really mean what I say when I say Frank’s contribution to the series was invaluable and he’s a brilliant writer/director. We have full confidence in the team moving forward.”

For The Killing fans, season two promises to resolve the mystery of the first season. “I think the major takeaway for us after the finale of The Killing starts with the headline that for everybody who was frustrated, we hear you. If we had to do anything differently, we would certainly have taken a different approach to managing expectations within that season. I can tell you it was never intentionally meant to mislead anyone. Our goal was to create a brilliant piece of character-based storytelling. Veena Sud has an incredible vision for that show. Her writer’s room for season two opens next month and we’re incredibly excited about what’s coming down the pike. You will find out who killed Rosie Larson in season two definitively.”

More on AMC’s new series Hell on Wheels with the cast and creators soon.


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Zachary Levi Divulges Some ‘Chuck’ Intel Mon, 31 Jan 2011 20:17:20 +0000 Fred Topel He's tight-lipped, but we managed to coax some episode tidbits out of him.

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I found Zachary Levi in the star-studded crowd at NBC’s party for the Television Critics Association earlier this month. He was posing for pictures with the cast of “Community,” and “Perfect Couples” star Olivia Munn who’d guest starred on his show “Chuck.” I got my private time with Levi, but as “Chuck” fans know, he wasn’t giving up any spoilers. He still had some things to share about the new episodes.

Q: What are you excited about for “Chuck?”

ZL: Oh, it’s just a lot of the same. A lot of the same fun missions that we go on and defeating evil bad guys. More comedy, more drama, all that same stuff.

Q: Are you surprised where the story has gone?

ZL: I guess. Kind of. You always wonder where they’re going to go with the next season. I certainly had no idea where we would end up or that we would even end up with a fourth season, but here we are. We’re still around and still coming to these little fun deals.

Q: Has the show become a well oiled machine?

ZL: Yeah, it’s certainly more well oiled than it was when we started but that’s with any show. You start a show, you’re finding your feet, you’re finding the tone and just with the crew, finding how to shoot it, how to capture all that. Then you really get into a groove. Days aren’t as long anymore, which is nice and everyone’s kind of more cohesive. We’re still shooting long days. It’s still hard work.

Q: What funny stuff is coming up?

ZL: I got to do a fun wire gag where I’m dangling on this wire and shooting some bad guys. That was pretty fun. It was like kind of the epitome of the show, action and comedy combined. It was fun.

Q: Do you have much to do with the new baby?

ZL: No, not much so far. It’s tough scheduling the babies. It’s brought a whole new dynamic to the show for sure but they’ve been smart about it, not scheduled too much of it. I have met the babies and they’re adorable. I mean baby but played by twins.

Q: How much emphasis has there been on the family?

ZL: There’s always a lot of emphasis on it. It’s kind of the grounding of the show. Sarah Lancaster’s character, Ellie, my sister, she’s the heart. She’s so much of the heart of the show and keeps it grounded so family is always what brings Chuck back into the real world, family and friends. So there’s a lot of emphasis on it.

Q: On Twitter, how many @mentions do you get?

ZL: Gosh, I don’t know. A lot. It depends. They kind of ebb and flow. It depends on what time of the day, because Twitter’s global. If you hit it at the right time when there’s a lot of people up in the world that follow you, then you get a lot more. If you tweet at another time of the day and everyone in the Philippines is asleep then maybe you don’t get as many. But Twitter’s an amazing little tool, man. It’s a really cool way to stay in touch with fans. I like it.

Q: Do you try to keep the tweets non-“Chuck” related?

ZL: Yeah, contractually. I can talk about “Chuck.” I’m not even sure if I can talk about it. It’s funny how legalities have worked out how they have in the last few years with Twitter and set pictures and stuff like that. Look, fans of the show are going to watch the show. They don’t need me to tweet about the show. I try to tweet about other things like my brand,, just random life things. I think that’s what fans are ultimately kind of fascinated with anyway. That’s why gossip rags sell the way that they do. They want a little insight into your life and I’m happy to give that, especially when you have control over it and you can say, “I’ll show you this little bit of me. I’ll show you this bit of me.”

“Chuck” is back in the new year with new episodes, Mondays at 8 on NBC.

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Conan Wants You To Stop Chanting “Conan!” Wed, 12 Jan 2011 23:08:25 +0000 Fred Topel Conan O’Brien welcomed the Television Critics Association to the set of his new TBS show “Conan.” It may have been the only audience that did not begin the show by chanting, “Co-nan, Co-nan!"

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Conan O’Brien welcomed the Television Critics Association to the set of his new TBS show “Conan.” It’s the first time most of them had spoken to O’Brien since NBC, except for Bill Carter who wrote the books on the talk show wars of two generations. It may have been the only audience that did not begin the show by chanting, “Co-nan, Co-nan!” O’Brien joked that that got old “about three weeks ago.”

But seriously, O’Brien appreciates the love and doesn’t expect it to last forever. It won’t become his “Woof woof.” “We can’t even stop it,” O’Brien said. “I think it’s like anything else. It’s going to play itself out over time. The last year has been a crazy journey of discovery and this show will be the same I think. So we’re going to find out as we go. I think we’re playing it out and like I say, it’s an organic process. So I think this show could become a game show in a year. Who knows? I have no idea. I’m as interested as anybody else to find out what’s going to happen.”

The chanting is only one component of the audience that has reinvigorated O’Brien’s hosting abilities. He feels working off of the audience’s energy has brought out his best. “I mean last night’s crowd, it’s a Tuesday in January and they were unbelievable. It feels like it’s got a little bit of a rock n’ roll energy and people have made things and some of them are in costumes. Sometimes it looks like ‘Let’s Make a Deal in here.’ I didn’t design any of this. I don’t know where it’s going but all of us, everybody in this room is facing the complete transformation of our business and you can resist it and hate it and fight it or you can go with it. I’m saying let’s go with it. I go into the crowd more and I do monologues I’ll see people and I’ll engage with them and I’ll go up into the seats sometimes and bring them into it. Last night I’m playing with some guy in the crowd and we’re just seeing where this goes. If it feels good, we do it.”

It works in the writer’s room too. So many people followed O’Brien from NBC that it’s just a love fest on and off stage now. “What happens is a lot of our people came over from the last gig, really a shockingly high number of people were able to stick with us and rode out this last year and I felt just put together this show. There’s a feeling here with everybody. The crew, the staff, a lot of people in their early 20s who are working on the show, we’ve all been through something in the last year so there’s sort of a spirit. There’s a little pirate ship feeling to this show which I love. Everybody has it because we all went through it. None of us knew what was going to happen, were we going to get other jobs, how are we going to make it through this thing? We stuck together and we did. That creates a strong dynamic here at the show that I think is coming through on television.”

Even David Letterman expressed his feelings for O’Brien in a phone call over the holidays. “He wanted to know what I was wearing,” O’Brien joked. “It was just a quick call. We hadn’t spoken for a long time and he just called to basically say, ‘I haven’t checked in on you, I just wanted to make sure that we were good.’ I said, ‘We’ve always been good.’ I have a lot of respect for that guy. I said he didn’t owe me a phone call but I appreciate it and then we chatted about other silly things and that was it. So it was not a lengthy phone call. He’s not a blabbermouth but it was nice. It was just nice to get the call and I made it quite clear to him he didn’t owe me a call but I was happy to talk to him. So it was nice to get it but I wanted to reassure him that he didn’t owe me any call or anything like that.”

However, O’Brien thinks it is still unlikely he would ever have a sit down with Jay Leno. “I don’t think so. There’s nothing to be figured out. We all know the story and we all know what happened. I think it’s better, just life is short. I’ve got kids and a family. I’ve got life to live and I’m really happy here so I don’t think about it too much. And I’m sure he’s busy.”

“Conan” airs weeknights at 11 on TBS.

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