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November 27, 2014

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Fred Willard checks in to Modern Family

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 18th 2009 9:02AM
fred_willard_headshotThere's an old adage in show business that says something to the effect that casting is half the battle. If you cast a part well, you're sure to have a winning finished project. If that's true, then the casting of Fred Willard on Modern Family is sure to be a hit. I won't reveal what role Fred will be playing til after the jump, so if you don't want to know, don't read on. Suffice to say, the very funny Mr. Willard is being given a great opportunity to shine.

Willard, who was terrific on Everybody Loves Raymond, not to mention all the Christopher Guest films like Best In Show and A Mighty Wind, was on sitcom TV just last season on Fox's Back to You. In fact, it was on that show that Fred worked with Modern Family's Ty Burrell. Now they get to do it again.

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Chuck: Chuck Versus the Dream Job

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 7th 2009 10:27AM
Chevy, Bakula Chuck
(S02E19)
Chuck, Chuck, Chuck. Just when you think you're on the verge of getting answers, you wind up with a lot more questions. We knew going in that Chuck had finally tracked down his father, ostensibly to fulfill Ellie's dream of having her dad walk her down the aisle at her wedding.

On the most superficial level, Chuck achieved his goal. He did find his father, Steven J. Bartowski, but he also found all the craziness that sent him off in the first place. Only it wasn't really, really craziness. It was something far more nefarious.

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Moral Orel: Nature Part Two (season finale)

by Adam Finley, posted Jul 14th 2007 10:03AM

moral orel(S02E20)

This is an early review.

This two-parter really made me hate Clay Puppington, and I don't think I can say that about any other cartoon character. Hell, Cartman from South Park has done tons of horrible things, even indirectly killed people, but watching Clay treat Orel so poorly and so dismissively made me want to break off his frail, wire-supported arms.

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Moral Orel: Nature Part One

by Adam Finley, posted Jul 7th 2007 11:02AM

moral orel(S02E19)

This is an early review.

Clay Puppington: Hunting dogs are just nature's rabbits.

With every episode, more and more layers have been peeled back from the dynamic between Orel and his father. At first, Orel seemed blissfully ignorant of his father's distance and abuse, but over the course of this season, Orel, like all kids do eventually, is realizing his father is only human, and not a very sane one, either.

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Oprah's father writing book about Oprah

by Adam Finley, posted May 22nd 2007 3:20PM

oprahVernon Winfrey, the father of Oprah Winfrey, is writing a book about his daughter, something the TV host and entrepreneur was unaware of until informed by the New York Daily News.

Winfrey moved in with her father in Nashville after becoming pregnant at the age of fourteen. Her baby died soon after it was born. Winfrey credits her father for helping her through the difficult time, and maintains that the two of them still stay in touch. Nevertheless, Winfrey says she was "stunned" to have found out about the book through other people and not her father.

Vernon Winfrey plans to call his book Things Unspoken, which pretty much describes any book. If the things were spoken, then it would be a book on tape, you see.

Meanwhile, infamous biographer Kitty Kelley is also writing a book about Oprah.

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Lost/SNL parody: Dad in a box - VIDEO

by Anna Johns, posted Apr 12th 2007 8:23AM
lostJust when I got the original "Dick in a Box" song out of my head, it's back in a new form. Some fans of Lost have created a parody of the Justin Timberlake/Andy Samburg music video called "Dad in a Box".

Lost fans will get that title immediately and probably even snicker. It refers to a recent episode where Ben tells John Locke all about a "magic box" on the island where you can wish for something and it will suddenly appear.

The "Dad in a Box" music video is after the jump.

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Conan gets to the bottom of this whole Keith Richards/ashes thing - VIDEO

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 8th 2007 3:02PM

conanI'm sure by now you've all heard that Keith Richards (didn't) snort his late father's ashes. That particular story popped up no fewer than seventy-eight zillion times yesterday during my usual perusal of the news and entertainment sites.

However, I'm not especially trusting of our news media, and I knew that only Conan O'Brien would be able to get to the bottom of Richards' alleged daddy-snorting habit. I've placed a clip below in which Keith himself explains to Conan exactly what he prefers when it comes to ingesting his family members. The Rolling Stones guitarist may have led a wild life of debauchery and excess, but you can't deny the man has discerning tastes. Also, he had his teeth brushed just for the occasion. You have to admire the man's commitment to oral hygiene.

Clip after the jump.

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All CBS shows are secretly about Les Moonves

by Anna Johns, posted Dec 21st 2006 10:22AM
les moonvesThere's a tongue-in-cheek article over at The New York Times about a theory among television critics that all the procedurals on CBS are an homage to Les Moonves. I'm starting to subscribe to this theory (and feel a little jealous that I didn't come up with it first!). The columnist argues that procedurals such as all the CSI franchises, Without a Trace, Criminal Minds, Shark and NCIS all have a lead male character in his 50s who is a workaholic and young minions eager to please him. The writer suggests that this is how CBS chief exec Les Moonves sees himself.

The article points out that while guys like Jerry Bruckheimer produce many of the series, it's Moonves who does the hand-picking of the series that make air. And he chooses the man who will play the 'fatherly' lead roles. The writer notes that, like Moonves, none of these lead actors is bald (except Stanley Tucci, but 3 lbs was canceled after thre episodes). And, Moonves' marriage to Early Show anchor Joey Chen reflects the common storyline in these series about young, beautiful women falling in love with the married-to-work men.

Is it a waste of newsprint? Maybe. But it's still a cute poke at Moonves and all the similar series he has on CBS.

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Monk finally meets his father

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 11th 2006 10:59AM
dan hedayaMark your calendar's, Monk fans. On November 17, a special holiday episode of the popular USA series will reunite the obsessive compulsive germaphobe crime fighter with his estranged father, a man Monk hasn't seen in forty years. Monk's long lost father will be played by actor Dan Hedaya, a name you might not recognize, but you'll probably recognize his face. He's one of those "oh that guy" actors. Well, if you remember Nick Tortelli from Cheers, you know who I'm talking about. As if I even had to mention it, Monk's father is mixed up in a crazy mystery and needs his son's help. You know, otherwise it wouldn't exactly be an episode of Monk, would it? The series returns with weekly episodes in January of 2007.

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Tom Goes to the Mayor: Layover

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 19th 2006 8:50AM

tom goes to the mayor(S02E12) This is an early review.

Bob Balaban plays Tom's father in this episode, and I must say he was the perfect choice. He and Tim Heidecker, who plays Tom, have the same kind of soft-spoken, halted delivery, and it seems perfectly natural they would be father and son, even if Walt doesn't seem to care much for Tom.

The episode opens at the airport with Tom waiting for his father's flight to arrive. We assume he's visiting his son, but actually it's just an eleven minute layover (which is, funny enough, also the length of the episode). Tom doesn't let his father's lack of time keep him from making a minute by minute itinerary, which includes a father/son embrace (tentative). Tom's father sells fish coolers called "Coldinizers" and he doesn't want to miss his flight, else he lose all his sales on the Eastern seaboard. Tom insists they have time to do everything on the list, however.

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Wentworth Miller, cartoonist guy

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 8th 2006 11:01AM

wentworth millerHere's an interesting little tidbit about Prison Break's Wentworth Miller. When he was 19 and majoring in English at Princeton, he and his father (also named Wentworth) worked together on a comic book of sorts called Sewickleyness that poked fun at the residents of the Sewickley neighborhood in Pennsylvania. You can check out some excerpts here. I'm not sure how to describe Miller's cartooning style. It kind of reminds me of George Gately, who drew Heathcliff, or very early Doonesbury. I guess if his television career ever fizzles out he can always fall back on cartooning. Or maybe not.

[via TV Filter]

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The Simpsons: Fear of Flying

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 3rd 2006 9:05AM

simpsons(S06E11) This episode has a great opening scene at Moe's. The gang decides to play a few pranks on Moe, so Lenny puts a cobra in the cash register that bites Moe several times and Barney hits Moe with a flame that shoots from a flower on his lapel. Moe actually laughs these pranks off, but when Homer unscrews the lid to the sugar and it gets on the bar, Moe gets so angry he bans Homer from the bar. As a final insult, he even takes Homer's favorite record out of the jukebox ("It's Rainin' Men").

Homer tries some other bars, and finally ends up at an all-female bar that doesn't seem quite right to him. Finally, he figures it out: "This lesbian bar doesn't have a fire exit!"'

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The Simpsons: Grandpa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 3rd 2006 8:07AM

simpsons(S06E10)

Homer (talking about his father): He said I was an accident. He didn't want to have me.

Marge: You didn't want to have Bart.

Homer: I know, but you're never supposed to tell the child.

Marge: You tell Bart all the time. You told him this morning.

Homer: But when I do it it's cute.

I don't think I would want to see Abe "Grandpa" Simpson made the center of every episode, but I like it when they occasionally give his character a little more dimension than just being a simple satire of elderly people. "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish" is a great example of such an episode, but this one isn't too bad, either, and it gives ol' Grandpa a chance to venture outside the rest home and actually do something.

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Everybody Hates Chris: Everybody Hates Father's Day (finale)

by Adam Finley, posted May 11th 2006 7:44PM

terry crews everybody hates chris(S01E22) The season finale of Everybody Hates Chris wasn't exactly a laugh riot, and it may have even relied on a few sitcom cliches, but nevertheless I thought it was a good way to end the season. A nice and poignant tribute to fathers and Father's Day.

All Chris' father Julius wants is to be left alone for Father's Day. As the elder Rock explains in the beginning, Mother's Day has always outranked Father's Day in order of importance. Of course, most dads really don't mind that at all. If they can have one day when they're not being asked for money or to fix things around the house, they're content. In fact, that's exactly what Julius wants, to have the house all to himself for one day.

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Everybody Hates Chris: Everybody Hates A Part Time Job

by Adam Finley, posted Mar 31st 2006 10:02AM

everybody hates chrisI remember briefly receiving an allowance when I was growing up, but for the most part I never received any kind of weekly stipend from my parents, nor did I ever ask for one. It was pretty much understood when we were growing up that money had to go to more important things like food and shelter, and like Chris' father in last night's episode, on those rare occasions when I would ask for money I would get a speech from my father about all the free food and utilities I was able to enjoy on a daily basis without having to work at all.

Chris' father, in some ways, reminds me of my own father, but he's probably like anyone's father who worked more than one job to support a family. There's a great moment in the episode where Julius (Chris' father) is trying to squeeze the last little bit of toothpaste out of the tube. It's shown for about two seconds, but it illustrates how important it is for him to make money stretch as far as it can go. When Chris decides he wants a leather jacket like everyone else seems to have, his father lets him come to work with him. The work turns out to be much more difficult than Chris bargained for, but their night together adds a new dimension to their relationship. By the end of the episode Chris has a better understanding of who his father is and how hard he actually does work.

Last night's episode seemed more character driven and less reliant on "gags" than other episodes, and it also focused heavily on the financial situation of the family, which is what really draws me to the show. Too many sitcoms focus on affluent families, or people who live extravagantly without any visible means of support. Those shows aren't bad necessarily, but when I watch Everybody Hates Chris I feel a kind of empathy and camaraderie toward the characters I never felt, say, listening to Mr. Huxtable steer the ever-malleable Theo on the right track with some instantaneous words of wisdom. Chris is funny, not just because the writing and jokes are solid, but because the characters actually feel like real people.

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