Curb Your Enthusiasm
Take the case of the network's acquisition of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' Not only did the network decide to run each episode in its entirety in a one-hour timeslot, a good move considering that Larry David would have tore what's left of his hair out trying to edit them, they've decided to fill the hour with panel discussions that relate to the "issues" brought up during the episode.
Among the announced panelists are going to be Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Hamm, Seth Green, Rob Zonbie, Taraji P. Henson, Adam Carolla and Patti Stanger (yes, the 'Millionaire Matchmaker' herself will weigh in on 'Curb's' issues). The panels will be hosted by Susie Essman.
There's good news and bad news regarding the Glenn Close legal drama 'Damages.' The bad news is that FX has real concerns about picking up the show for another season because of the cost. The good news is that Sony has turned to DirecTV to co-broadcast 'Damages.'
If this sounds like a paradigm you've heard before, you have. Currently, DirecTV shares the broadcast rights to 'Friday Night Lights' with NBC. That's how the Peabody-award winning program has remained on the air.
The fourth season of 'Friday Night Lights' has already run on DirecTV's Channel 101 -- a fantastic season by the way -- and NBC will give present the same episodes again for a much larger audience when the show premieres on May 7. (Of course, NBC could have chosen a night other than Friday -- one of the least watched nights of the week -- but there are fans out there waiting for this quality TV show.)
The New York Times reports that the episodes will air complete on TV Guide, and in every episode there will also be a seven to ten minute panel discussion of the episode hosted by co-star Susie Essman, who I assume will swear less than she does in the episodes. The panel will be made up of other celebrities, writers, and, as Essman says, "sports figures, intellectuals, and rabbis."
Seven to ten minutes? I think they should go a little bit longer than that, especially if they get some funny people to comment on the episodes or argue with each other.
A moody Larry David gave fans of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' plenty of cause not to embrace the spirit of his hit HBO show's title Sunday night -- announcing that he's planning on an upcoming eighth season.
David told a happy PaleyFest 2010 crowd that an eighth season "isn't definite yet. But we're working on some stuff. HBO definitely wants more of the show."
It was a case of "What a difference one night makes..." at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, as a generally older, more subdued yet equally affectionate gathering of supporters replaced the giddy, screaming masses that greeted 'Glee' the night before. That's not surprising if you consider fans of a show called 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' are not likely to act like 1960s coeds watching The Beatles on 'The Ed Sullivan Show.'
In fact, it'd be difficult to describe David as happy about his appearance at PaleyFest. Maybe he was playing to his TV show character or doing a deadpan bit, but nothing about his demeanor told me David was pleased to be up there with his costars and supposed friends.
The actual award is called the Paddy Chayevsky Laurel award for television, and Larry has most definitely earned the recognition. Seinfeld remains a masterpiece of character and comedy with or without a plot. The very nothingness of Seinfeld made it historic television. It was a show that NBC nearly canceled because the suits didn't get it (what a shock!), then went on to become America's favorite half-hour. Twenty years later, Seinfeld is embedded in the psyche of pop culture. Not bad for a nothing kind of show.
Since the DGA noms come from the directors themselves, these awards are indicative of what the professionals really think of their peers. Very illuminating, if you ask me. Check it out, category by category, and feel free to comment on my comments.
If you want to be a great comedic actor, you can never let on that you know you're being funny. Your character never knows what the joke is. That's why Rodney Dangerfield was a great, legendary stand-up comedian, and a fairly poor comic actor.
Everyone on this list excels at the comedic poker face. Steve Carell and Ricky Gervais, in their Office boss characters, don't know that most of the rest of the office is laughing at them. Or at least they don't understand why. Stephen Colbert, despite all of the attention The Colbert Report have received, may be the most underrated comic actor, because the character is so seamless, sometimes it's hard to tell it's a character. Shatner is a legend for playing campy with a poker face. And Neil Patrick Harris as a cad? A straight cad? Perfect.
Here are a few of our favorite comedic actors from the past decade, and may their characters never realize the joke's on them.
Drama Ensemble: The Closer; Dexter; The Good Wife; Mad Men; True Blood
Interesting that CBS's The Good Wife made the cut, especially over Lost or House or Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy or Damages or Friday Night Lights. And I love The Closer, but the inclusion here is a surprise. I guess NCIS would be too big a surprise to get recognized.
Comedy Ensemble: 30 Rock; Curb Your Enthusiasm; Glee; Modern Family; The Office
Glee and Modern Family are freshmen, but clearly excellent ensemble comedies. And for Curb Your Enthusiasm, are they honoring the Seinfeld team all over again? Also, where's The Big Bang Theory?
(S07E10) "It's the Seinfeld reunion! That's a big deal!" - Cheryl
Yes, it is a big deal. A little over eleven years after we saw Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George behind bars, the reunion we've all been waiting for has finally arrived. I'm not sure if this even counts as a category to classify TV shows, but last night's Curb Your Enthusiasm season finale was easily the best "show within a show" episode I've ever seen... of any show.
Jane was kind enough to step in for me and write up last week's penultimate ep and I actually waited until last night to see that one as well -- I watched them back to back. I was struck by how well it all flowed together; how much it actually felt like we were watching a real episode of Seinfeld, even during the table read. However, seeing it play out, scene by scene, in the finale? Talk about nostalgia.
(S07E09) "You don't loan Jason anything ... anything that can be inserted." - Jerry Seinfeld to Larry David, about the pen Larry loaned to Jason Alexander
It's me, the Fill-In Girl! And thank you so much, Jonathan, for leaving me with the mammoth responsibility of writing a thoughtful review about the Seinfeld reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm. I'll do my best.
First of all, it was really great to see the gang back together again. It's like they've never been apart, and the whole scenario of a behind-the-scenes look at a table read of a Seinfeld reunion show put together by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld was pretty brilliant.
And yet, it fit right in with Curb, bringing in elements like Cheryl being Larry's real wife and are they together or not, and is she a real actress or not...
Mind you, the show's language is somewhat racy for basic cable. There will be some bleeping here and there. At least there's no prevalent nudity in any episode that I recall. There is some adult subject matter, but nothing basic cable hasn't seen before. Hey, if The Sopranos can make it to basic cable then Larry David should have no problem.
Given Susie Essman's vocabulary on the series, she may have every third word bleeped. That could possibly make her lines even funnier.
With the Seinfeld reunion coming up quickly (next week's episode is "The Table Read") things kicked into high gear last night on Curb -- especially when it came to the role of Amanda, George Costanza's ex-wife.
It came down to Cheryl and a busy, very popular actress named Virgina Sloane (played by Elisabeth Shue). Right off the bat, that creates a huge conflict since Larry assured Cheryl that she had the role. But beyond that, there were a lot of issues with how "Officer Krupke" played out in terms of conflict. Curb works best when the laughs are organic and too much of this episode felt forced and manufactured.
(S07E07) "Look, it may have been an accident, but you're a murderer." - Marty
Blame is a funny thing. In the absence of facts, the owner of the blame (i.e. the person at fault), is about one thing and one thing only -- public perception. Spin a good yarn and you can make 'em believe whatever you want. However, when you're Larry David, getting past the hurdle of your own reputation can be an issue. If you listen to even half the stuff that Larry says, why would anyone want to believe a guy like him?
(S07E06) "Larry?! You sprayed on Jesus??" - Maureen
For as good an episode as "The Bare Midriff" was, it still had one huge problem that has plagued many past episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm as well. The central conflict -- Maureen's exposed stomach -- was just too much of a stretch (no pun intended). Why's that? The beauty of Curb is how well it sheds light on awkward situations we all relate to. Not so much on this one, because honestly, who in their right mind would think a short shirt like that was work appropriate attire? It wasn't believable, that Maureen thought her shirt was OK for the office. Fortunately, if you were willing to look past the absurdity of the issue, it paid off with arguably one of Curb's top five endings ever.
(S07E05) "Have you noticed if she has any proclivity for chopsticks?" - Larry
It's amazing to me that the main topic of last night's Curb Your Enthusiasm, people in wheelchairs, has never been tackled by Larry before. I'm sure there have been a few wheelchair jokes in the past that I'm forgetting, but this? This was a full-blown, inappropriate mess of incorrectness and every second of it was brilliant. Save for "The Reunion," this was easily the strongest episode of the season. Wheelchairs, wrestling Rosie O'Donnell, and the return of Leon! How can you go wrong?
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