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slate.com

Sonnenfeld responds to story about Pushing Daisies budget overruns

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 9th 2007 6:27PM
Barry SonnenfeldLast Wednesday, Kim Masters of Slate.com wrote an interesting article about Pushing Daisies, one of the most highly-anticipated new fall shows. In the article, Masters reports that not only is the first post-pilot episode of Daisies over-budget, but the director of both the pilot and the first episode, Barry Sonnenfeld, has been punished for it; his "role as director was curtailed," as Masters put it.

When I was at the premiere for Daisies at the New York Television Festival last night, my main purpose on the event's red carpet (pictures of and text about the event will be posted on Tuesday) was to ask Sonnenfeld to reply to that article. Luckily, the director of Get Shorty, Men In Black, and The Addams Family wasn't reluctant to respond. "You know, the writer of the piece hasn't written a lot about Hollywood, I think," said Sonnenfeld. "Almost every show after the pilot is over-budget, whether it's Bionic Woman, Chuck, last year's Ugly Betty... I suspect they're all over-budget." More after the jump.

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Even Christopher Hitchens is writing about Paris Hilton

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 12th 2007 4:01PM

Paris HiltonI always look forward to what Christopher Hitchens has to say. I don't always agree with him (for example, his Vanity Fair piece saying that female comedians aren't funny was just stooopid), but he's an intelligent guy and always has a unique take on politics, history, and culture. And now he has written an article for Slate on the Paris Hilton case.

Should he even be writing about someone like the Simple Life star, when he himself admits that the case has been covered way too much? He confronts this paradox, but I still wonder if he succeeds in defending his choice to write about her (though I don't really think he needs to defend it).

But the piece is interesting. Hitchens admits he has seen the Hilton sex video, says he doesn't like Sarah Silverman (big shock), and thinks that the treatment Hilton is getting "stinks" and that she should be left to live the life she has been given.

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How to be a guest on The Colbert Report

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 2nd 2006 6:13PM

Stephen ColbertI've always found the guest interview segments of The Colbert Report to be the oddest part of the show. Because it's not like a separate segment, where Colbert comes out of his character for a serious chat with the guest, he stays in character throughout the entire interview, and it's up to the guest to make his point, plug his book, or just completely play along with the "sketch" and have some fun with it. Some of the best moments of the show is when the guest catches Colbert offguard and Colbert laughs and slips out of character for just a moment.

So what should you do if you're a guest on the show? Troy Patterson over at Slate has some tips. Basically, it comes down to 1.) Act your age, 2.) Laugh Uproariously, 3.) Embrace The Theater, and 4.) Go on the offensive.

Sounds like good advice to me.

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Easy listening TV?

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 25th 2006 12:28PM
What About BrianInteresting piece in Slate today, on all of the TV shows on ABC that writer Troy Patterson calls a "nauseating lineup of yuppie dramas."

Which shows is he talking about? You can probably guess: Men In Trees, Brothers & Sisters, What About Brian, and Six Degrees. I think that Patterson's whole viewpoint can be summed up with this paragraph:

These shows share a view of the human mind modeled on Dr. Phil's and an aesthetic sense shamelessly cribbed from a Pottery Barn catalog. When you watch them, you're mostly watching people feel bad over beverages. Despite it's pseudo-literary ambitions, the genre's got a certain soap-operatic streak, and the soap's an orange-lavender bath wash.

Ouch.

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More proof that computers won't replace televisions

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 8th 2006 4:04PM

ViivHaving a computer/TV setup seems like a dream come true, especially for couch potatoes and geeks. You can watch TV, download music and movies, surf the web, and check e-mail from the comfort of your couch, using a remote to control the megasystem that's in one area of your house. So how come we haven't really seen that happen yet?

Slate has an interesting piece today that talks about computer/TV products that never came to be, or came to be and then quickly died (like the Viiv):

"My theory is that PC-TV hybrid products like Viiv aim for a sweet spot that doesn't exist. Very savvy consumers will hack together these setups themselves. The less savvy will just keep their TVs and computers separate. And the folks in the middle? If they're around, nobody has found them yet."

Hmmm...I consider myself in the middle. I'm a bit savvy, but I still want to keep my computers and TV separate. Not because I wouldn't necessarily want to have a computer/TV mix if a perfect setup could be created. It's more because I don't really see a need to have my computer on my TV, or vice versa. And I don't want to play games on my cellphone or watch a TV on my refrigerator or take notes on a Blackberry.

What do you think?

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Stupid article of the day: J.J. Abrams is a hack?

by Bob Sassone, posted May 10th 2006 3:50PM
J.J. AbramsHere's a good example of why some people are destined to write TV shows and movies and why some people are destined to write about them.

Julia Turner at Slate is in the latter category. She has an article that pretty much calls J.J. Abrams a "hack," and a "self-plagiarist," because he borrows ideas and themes from Alias for the new Mission: Impossible movie.

Of course there are similarities. That's bound to happen, especially when you consider that Cruise hired Abrams because he had seen Alias and loved it.

In fact, Turner sort of debunks her own thesis when she says "of course, every action movie rips off the action movies that came before it, and Alias itself is filled with references to spy capers past: It's no surprise that secret agents spend time in ducts and sewers, that prisoner transport is dicey, or that there's ample use of the body double and the dazzling speedboat getaway." She also dumps on him for using flashbacks in both, then mentions that Lost uses them a lot too. She then wonders if Abrams is a hack.

I think it's clear who the hack is.

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The Internet will never replace TV!

by Bob Sassone, posted May 9th 2006 9:50AM


That's what Sean Captain over at Slate says. We completely agree. I mean, what would we write about? OK, a lot, but we'd have to change our name.

Why does Captain say that the web will never replace television? Oh, it's complicated. It has to do with data packets and pixels and network congestion and routing equipment and bandwidth and megabits and ... gah. Just go on over and read it for yourself and let us know if you agree or not.

Pesonally, I think that the web will never replace TV for the simple fact that people like to have different things to do different things in their home, no matter how "cool" it is to see a video on YouTube.

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Smells like celebrity spirit

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 23rd 2006 2:23PM
Alan CummingEvery celebrity has a fragrance nowadays. I mean, you would expect people like Jennifer Lopez and Maria Sharapova to have their own fragrance. But Alan Cumming? Celine Dion? Paris Hilton? Michael Jordan?

Slate dives into the sweet smelling waters of celebrity perfumes and colognes.  I like the description of Cumming (yes, yes, yes, insert you own joke here): "a witty, rather macho blend of bergamot, black pepper, Scotch pine, whiskey, peet, and white truffle that belies the star's epicine image."

I'd like to have a cologne of my own, but it would probably be an unappealing mixture of cheese pizza, Reese's peanut butter cups, and newspaper ink.

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