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.
"He accused her of being a man-hater and she said, 'No I don't hate men, I just hate you," Ricky said. Then when Ricky and Larry met for lunch in New York City, the 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' star's quirks really came out, and it was "like being on [his] show."
Watch the video after the jump.
For nine seasons, NBC and Jerry Seinfeld successfully dominated the ratings with the self-proclaimed show about nothing. According to producers, the rules of the ever-popular and manically-rerun 'Seinfeld' series were simple – no hugging, no learning. Who knew that Seinfeld could accomplish all of these goals all over again with his new series, 'The Marriage Ref'?
Now nearing half a dozen episodes, 'Ref' attempts to solve the little squabbles plaguing married couples, pegging one against the other in a win or lose contest. The show found a home on NBC thanks to the tragedy that was 'The Jay Leno Show,' the 10 pm-slotted experiment that went horribly wrong.
The Seinfeld-produced reality/game show was fast-tracked into the open Thursday position. 'Ref' features stand-up comedian and long-time pal to Jerry, Tom Papa, as the so-called Ref. According to his website bio, he has no experience in the field of couples therapy or any other professional credit in the field. That's why we decided to talk to a real psychotherapist, someone who actually dispenses advice to warring couples.
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.
Yes, according to Reuters, HBO's long-running dark comedy 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' looks set to return for an eighth season. David, who famously co-created 'Seinfeld' prior to developing 'Enthusiasm' for the cable network in 1999, announced the imminent return of his show during a recent symposium. Typically for David, he downplayed the show's return.
"I think there's a pretty good chance," David said. "Not definite yet, but we're working on some stuff."
I don't know why I keep watching 'The Marriage Ref.' I hated the smugness and the idiocy of the premiere, and the second episode, with Tina Fey, Eva Longoria and Jerry Seinfeld passing judgment on couples' arguments, was even more painful to watch. But I wanted to watch last night's episode before I dismissed the show completely.
Why? Maybe I like rubbernecking when I see smoking wrecks like this, whether they're on the highway or on my TV. Maybe I'm a masochist. But I'd like to think that my patience with this show was due to the high-powered panel that Seinfeld had coming up for the show's third episode: none other than Ricky Gervais, Larry David and Madonna.
My patience was rewarded... somewhat. What this episode showed me was that, with the right panel, the show can be entertaining and the smugness level can be tolerable, especially if the celebrities spend as much time ripping on each other as they do the hapless couples on the show. And with the self-loathing David around, you knew that there was a pretty good shot of that happening.
Gervais agrees, noting, "I feel like someone's put crack in my drank! What is going on? This is the weirdest show I've ever been on."
Ever quick to respond, host Tom Papa shoots back, "Oh, and like every show you're on is sooooo normal."
Watch the video after the jump.
"All of a sudden it became his idea," said an inflamed Philbin. "To this day, no one knows that it was your idea! 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' -- Jeff Garlin's idea!"
Watch the video after the jump.
'The Marriage Ref' is a strange beast. After watching last night's post-Olympic sneak preview of the show, which moves to its Thursday at 10PM ET slot on March 4, it feels like a '60s-style celebrity panel game show joined to a TLC marriage show.
It's a pretty straightforward idea: a married couple is depicted having an argument over a specific issue. In the pilot, for instance, one husband wanted to get his recently-deceased dog stuffed and display the mutt in the living room, over his wife's vehement objections.
The celebrity panel, who in the premiere consisted of Kelly Ripa, Alec Baldwin and executive producer Jerry Seinfeld, talk and joke about the situation, coming down one one side or the other. The final decision is rendered by the ref, host Tom Papa, who tells the couple via satellite feed.
But the pilot made me want to see much more of the couples having their funny conflicts than the celebrities yukking it up over those conflicts. And that's a problem.
Could season 4 be the final one for 'Mad Men'? Which hit sitcom is on its way to Hawaii? There was lots of TV scoop (and more than a few laughs) found at the 2010 Writers Guild of America Awards, which were handed out to television, film and video game writers on Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Century City, California.
The evening kicked off with a promise from host Seth MacFarlane ('Family Guy') to do the best "Tom Bergeron, Jeff Probst, Heidi Klum, Ryan Seacrest and Howie Mandel" job he could do, a reference to the five reality show hosts' critically panned performance at the 60th Annual Prime Time Emmys.
For example, Elaine isn't the only one who can work for J. Peterman. In fact, J. Peterman is a real person with a real catalog that 'Seinfeld' just happened to make famous. And John O'Hurley, who played J. Peterman on the show, actually bought the company a year after Seinfeld ended, bringing it out of bankruptcy to co-own it with J. Peterman himself.
"To be honest, I work about six months out of the year," the actor told AOL while in town Tuesday night to promote the new 'Damages' season 2 DVD release and the season 3 premiere.
"I have family weddings and have been moving into a new house, but I haven't been working that much. Truthfully. It looks like it. I could write a book, 'How to Work Half the Year'. Except when you work, when you act, it is so much easier than the real-life part. I've never been so busy in my life when I'm not working."
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.
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.
After running into Cheryl and discovering that she liked things better when Larry had a job, Larry becomes enthusiastic about a 'Seinfeld' reunion, though he has a hard time convincing Jerry of his change of heart.
When the reunion gets picked up, Larry comes up with another one of his wacky schemes -- this time, to cast Cheryl as Amanda, George Costanza's ex-wife. This weaves in the running gag that barely any of that cast, especially Jason, realize: that George is based on Larry. Luckily for Larry, the scheme doesn't blow up in his face like it usually does.
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