Comedy Central has been showing episodes from the single season the show lasted in the run up to Michael and Michael Have Issues, and it has been a pleasant reminder of Stella's brief experiment with a half-hour TV comedy. It's hard to imagine keeping that premise going - Wain, Black, and Showalter free associating with different guest stars season after season. But it's been fun to watch it again.
The premise is somewhat similar to that of 30 Rock in which the two friends have a sketch-show-within-a-show. The comedy style of the duo has been somewhat hit-or-miss for me. I enjoyed Stella but didn't think that much of their stand-up comedy when I saw them perform live. Their scripted work (such as the movies Wet Hot American Summer and The Baxter) remains their strong suit so I have high hopes for this series.
I do wonder if the characters are going to have the same names as the actors. Showalter and Black seem to have no problem with blurring the lines between fantasy and reality for the sake of television. Hopefully this show will last longer than Stella's single season.
The premise is a show-within-a-show, with segments from the stars addressing issues that the Michaels have with "themselves, each other and the world at large."
I missed The State, but I did catch episodes of Stella (also starring David Wain), which was another attempt by the same comedians to create a show that blurred the line between reality and fantasy (such as having character with their actual names. You know, the old Jerry Seinfeld trick).
I liked Stella, but didn't think it would last more than a season (and it didn't) because the humor is very abstract and cerebral (sort of the anti-According To Jim). My gut instinct is the same for this show even though I want it to succeed. Is it better to have a good show that lasts one season or a mediocre-at-best show that lasts eight? I vote for the former.
Neil Patrick Harris, the embodiment of Barney, is not writing the book. That'll be done by co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas with Matthew Kuhn, the staff writer who is responsible for Barney's blog. Barney, as fans of the show know, is nothing if not prolific and legen -- wait for it -- dary when it comes to knowing the rules, the rights and wrongs, in bagging the babes.
One of the things that I love about How I Met Your Mother -- there, I said it, I love the show -- is the mystery surrounding who "mother" is and whether we've already seen her on the show or is she still to be introduced. It's not just the Lost fans that are watching scene by scene, shot by shot, frame by frame to uncover clues. Take this very cool observation by a blogger at Seat42f.com.
If you look at the picture, the green boxes, you'll notice that the framed handwritten letter/poem/writing in the background of Stella's home (left), is the same as the framed letter/poem/writing behind the kids in the opening of the show. According to the blogger -- who has HD and studied the scenes closely, it's definitely the same artifact.
David Wain debuted his latest directorial outing The Ten at Sundance. The feature, which sounds like Kieslowski's Decalogue gone zany, puts together ten shorts - each musing on one of the ten commandments. The screening has been getting positive reviews. Those of us without Park City press passes will hopefully be enjoying that film later this year. Keep your eye on The Ten's website for more info.
The former Ed and Stella star is an editor-at-large at the new relaunced Cracked mag, which is going for the hearts and minds of twentysomething guys and not the kids. Mediabistro talked to Black about Stella, how he got the Cracked gig, and what the status is on a State movie (hint: it has something to do with iTunes).
They don't ask him about his appearances on Celebrity Poker Showdown though, which is too bad, since he's been one of the better players on the show. But I guess there's really not much you can ask about that. "So, you're a good poker player, eh?" or "Boy, such-and-such is really a moron, aren't they?"
The comedians are thrown together on the ship in combinations that maximize explosiveness and hilarity; big ol' Gabriel Iglesias and tiny Josh Blue are put on twin beds two inches apart. Explosive Roz and hormonal pregnant "broad" Stella are put in the same room. Stand back and let the wacky sparks fly.
If you're like me and you don't live in NYC, but you're missing Stella and you're wondering when it'll be back (Hello? Comedy Central?)*, you can get your David Wain fix on his website. He has put up a scan of an article in Tokion Magazine called "Writing Comedy", which features Wain and David Cross. Or, you can download the audio version of the interview here.
*Thanks to commenter, Matt, who pointed out that Stella is not getting a second season on Comedy Central (despite its title as one of the best TV shows of 2005 by EW magazine). The official Stella website confirms it.
Anyone who knows me knows how much of a huge Ed fan I was. I even wrote an essay about it that got me more mail than anything else I've ever written.
So, it's really great to not only see Tom Cavanagh coming back to series television (in the it-looks-a-lot-like-Ed-from-the-commercials show Love Monkey). But the good news doesn't stop there: Ed's best friend is back too. Josh Randall, who played Mike Burton on Ed, is the guy who's Courting Alex on the CBS sitcom. (Hey, both on CBS - maybe Cavanagh and Randall can have lunch in the CBS cafeteria). And let's not forget Ed's love Carol Vessey: Julie Bowen is a cast member over on ABC's Boston Legal (and has a recurring role on Lost). And Michael Ian Black's Stella over on Comedy Central.
Now we just need Lesley Boone (Molly), Jana Marie Hupp (Nancy), Rachel Cronin (Shirley), and Justin Long (Warren) to get regular gigs on TV and fans will be all set.
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