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Alex Onsager created the Pokémon Fusion website a while ago, but artists have been using the creations (abominations?) to create artistic renditions of their favorites.
The results are fantastic. Which fusion is your favorite?
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Whisk Yourself Away Into the Faniverse!
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Movie spoilers are one of the many things that the Internet deals in like currency -- once a film has been released, it's tough to avoid having the ending ruined for you unless you power down every electronic device in your home and live like a frontier fur trapper. However, sometimes the movie gives away its own ending (or at least crucial upcoming plot points) by dropping vague little hints early on. You just have to keep your eyes open.
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NEW YORK — Portia de Rossi only believed it was happening when her agent got the good news from the producers. Michael Cera only believed it was happening when the cameras rolled.
It happened all right. After years of clamoring from fans and rumors firing them up while the cast hung on for a green light, "Arrested Development" has risen from the dead with 15 half-hours premiering en masse on Netflix on Sunday at 3:01 a.m. EDT.
"Arrested Development" is the cock-eyed comedy blessed with a king's ransom of talent and the twisted vision of its mastermind, Matt Hurwitz, that aired on Fox for three seasons as a cult favorite, then was canceled for low ratings – and maybe because it befuddled everyone who wasn't hooked on its lunacy. (Those original three seasons are available for streaming on Netflix, too.)
"I think the show scored some `cool points' for dying before its time," says Cera. "But there are still a lot more places for it to go."
Yes, "Arrested Development" died young with a beautiful, if funny-to-look-at, corpse. But its fans weren't ready to bury it. And said so.
"Clearly a lot of people DIDN'T like the show," Jason Bateman allows, "so I guess all we were hearing from were those who do – and that happens to be a brand of people who are not afraid of speaking their minds."
Now reanimated by public outcry, "Arrested" is going new places.
"Mitch and the cast didn't want to do something not as good as the old series," says Bateman (who plays Michael Bluth, the fractious family's would-be mediating presence). "We didn't want to do something lateral or just a retread."
"I think it's new at every opportunity," says Cera (who plays Michael Bluth's straight-arrow son), "while retaining the show's original heart."
The new Netflix season takes the form of what you might call an anthology as it updates viewers, character by character with each episode, on the Bluth family – that once-wealthy, now-broke and at-each-other's-throats clan squabbling in Newport Beach, Calif.
A wicked homage to the scandals of Enron and Tyco and a loopy foreshadowing of the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, "Arrested" premiered in 2003 as a sendup of high-end vanities, greed and corruption as displayed within the Bluth family circle.
Besides de Rossi, Cera and Bateman, the cast of "Arrested" Redux brings back Will Arnett, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter, who reconvened in a strategic yet catch-as-catch-can fashion.
"There was no reality where we could get everybody for a full 7- or 8-month period," explains Hurwitz. "That gave birth to the form we came up with for the new series."
The 15 episodes dwell on individual characters during the six-year span from when the series was canceled in 2006 up through 2012. That structure was supposed to make it simple to book each actor for an isolated shooting schedule.
Then Hurwitz took his creativity another step. Since all the episodes are happening simultaneously, he couldn't resist including crossover appearances from other actors in each episode. He wanted characters and story lines from different episodes to intersect. But his ambition made it all the trickier getting all the actors he needed in place for any given episode.
"In a quarter of the scenes, someone is green-screened in," says Hurwitz, who goes on to concede that what began as a solution to a problem of logistics inspired him to create new problems for himself. For instance: "If two characters are having a conversation in one of those characters' episodes and that character's life changes, then in the other character's episode you show the other side of the conversation and the result of it on THAT character."
The overall effect is a sort of hypertext array for the 15 episodes.
"Matt made it a choose-your-own-adventure season, in that you can watch any episode out of order and it makes sense but, depending on which order you watch them, the series kind of tells a different story," says de Rossi (who plays spoiled materialist sister Lindsay).
Not that "Arrested Development" has ever chosen the simple or obvious path. From the start, it was dense, convoluted and layered, packed with sight gags, self-referential jokes, flashbacks, hand-held cinematography with run-on sequences (promoting improvisation to enhance Hurwitz's scripts) and, of course, its droll, documentarylike narration by Ron Howard, one of the show's executive producers.
On Fox, the show won six Emmys and a Peabody as well as critics' love while always fighting for its life in the ratings. But Hurwitz is philosophical about the obstacles his show has faced. They seem to have given him license to obliterate boundaries that otherwise would have hemmed him in.
"All of the limitations," he says brightly, "are great creative opportunities."
That applied to the new episodes' shooting pace, which Arnett describes as "run-and-gun and crazy."
"But it really worked to our advantage. It was `OK, get over here, here we go,' and we were right back into it," says Arnett (who plays Lindsay's older brother, Gob, a preening, mediocre stage magician). "After working together on the series before, all of us just kind of knew what we're doing. There's an implicit trust there. I know that sounds corny, but it's true."
This is a mutual admiration society: The cast heaps praise on Hurwitz, who volleys it back at his actors. And they all join in celebrating "Arrested" viewers, but for whom the show would be long dead and forgotten.
"There are way, way more fans of `The Big Bang Theory,'" notes David Cross (who plays Tobius Funke, a quack-psychiatrist-turned-actor-wannabe). "But they're not as passionate as `Arrested Development' fans – because there's more to be passionate about."
"In either a conscious or unconscious way, our audience thinks – and rightly so – it's THEIR show," says Jeffrey Tambor (who plays jailbird-patriarch George Bluth Sr.).
"A lot of people have told me over the years that they would build friendships around the show," Ron Howard adds. "They would judge first dates on whether that person likes `Arrested Development' or not. It was a means of evaluation."
Does that mean there might be children walking around today whose parents were united by "Arrested Development"?
"I think that's fair to assume," Howard says with a laugh.
EDITOR'S NOTE – Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at . http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier
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She GIFs it her all, and wins big.
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We've got pizza boxes stacked haphazardly in the kitchen and we play video games until 3:00 in the morning!
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The chances of "Game of Thrones'" Sansa Stark getting out of King's Landing may have just disappeared. But if she has to be "wedded and bedded" by someone, better Tyrion than anyone else, especially since he is in no rush to give Tywin more grandkids. Sophie Turner weighs in on even pretending to get married, whether Sansa could learn to love Tyrion, Peter Dinklage's amazing affinity for playing drunk, and her rap sessions with King Joffrey.
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(1+61): Did she boldly cum where no one has cum before?
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(1-240): Austin, I will climb on top of your shoulders and slowly suffocate you with my vagina.
Stephen Colbert is having way too much fun with the trifecta of scandals plaguing the Obama administration. So much fun, in fact, that he's devoted an entire Scandal Booth (sponsored by Mazda) to help him choose which scandal to tear apart.
He started off by addressing Benghazi, and the back-and-forth between the administration and the press in figuring out when and where exactly things went wrong. For instance, it might help the 41% of Republicans who think Benghazi is the biggest scandal in American history for 39% of those polled to learn what country Benghazi is in.
Check out the clip above to see Colbert unpack Benghazi and even announce that ABC's Jonathan Karl, the journalist who misrepresented the administration's talking points on the matter, will appear on "Colbert" (spoiler: he won't).
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Martha Stewart, 71, said that she's had trouble meeting a male companion and admitted she attempted to (unsuccessfully) join Match.com. Apparently she loves dating, but the questionnaire seemed impossible and so she's just going to keep looking on her own.
Well, I've never attempted online dating, but I think I could really help her out with this thing. After all, if weirdo Guy Fieri can find his Gal Fieri, there has to be hope left for Martha.
Username: Martha Stewart
Headline: Lifestyle guru, businesswoman, author, magazine founder and publisher, TV personality and domestic diva seeking companionship and snuggles with someone who appreciates the finer things in life.
Age: A spritely 71
Sign: Leo, which is perfect because I love my Himalayan cats!
Ethnicity: Whitest woman on the planet
Nickname: In prison it was "M. Diddy," but I would prefer to just go by Martha. Bygones!
Income: Well this is curious! My income range is not represented. No matter. I get by.
Religion: Cleanliness is next to godliness. Also, Dog is my co-pilot. Ha!
Relationships: One ex-husband and several ex-beaus, most notably a software billionaire and Anthony Hopkins, who I had to break it off with after viewing that wretched film, Silence of the Lambs. I was unable to avoid associating Hopkins with Hannibal Lecter, a man with absolutely no table manners or sense of proper etiquette.
Children: I've had many lovely dogs, cats and horses over the years, but I won't bore you with those details yet! However, if you're interested, my two blogging pups, Francesca and Sharkey, have created a photo gallery of all my pets.
Oh, and I have one daughter, Alexis.
Body Type: It depends on what I'm eating, but I prefer an Asti for a light-bodied wine and a Barbaresco for a full-bodied wine.
Celebrity Look-Alike: I've been told I could be a mix of that lovely woman who played Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen) and Diane Sawyer.
Smoke: Do you mean salmon? If so, yes. It can make a delightful appetizer when done correctly.
Drink: I love a whiskey sour with fresh juice or a mojito, but it has to be a purple basil mojito and the basil has to be cultivated from my own garden and tended to with painted garden tools.
Hobbies: Anything involving a hot glue gun -- decoupage, scrapbooking, creating snow globes out of glass from upcycled chandeliers; knitting blankets from the hair of my prize-winning Chow Chows, baking "green" brownies with my pal Snoop Dogg/Lion out of cupcake tins I've created from paperclips and aluminum foil; building a billion-dollar empire and tweeting. I love the Twitter!
Who I'm Looking For: Someone who I can laugh with that knows they can use half a potato to unscrew a broken light bulb. He should love animals, personal transformation and organized bed linens. There's something incredibly satisfying about opening up the linen closet to see not unholy chaos, but color-coded bundles neatly tied in a bow.
Note: Stockbrokers and actors who have portrayed cannibals need not apply.
I think it's pretty solid and can only imagine that the men would be lining up. And if all else fails, I'm pretty sure she could try Craig's List or get cast on The Bachelorette.
Martha might just meet her match.
(210): I totally almost forgot you fucked that guy. St. Patty's bar crawls always have a drawback.
The "Arrested Development" cast members had a lot of TV and film credits before they were the dysfunctional Bluth family.
Jessica Walter -- matriarch Lucille Bluth on the former Fox, now Netflix series -- has been making TV appearances since the 1960s. She won an Emmy for "Amy Prentiss" in 1975 and in 1977, Walter guest starred in a "Wonder Woman" episode, "The Return of Wonder Woman."
Jason Bateman (Michael Bluth) started acting at a young age and appeared on "Silver Spoons," "Little House on the Prairie" and "Valerie"/"The Hogan Family."
Alia Shawkat and Mae Whitman met as co-stars in Fox Family's 2001-2002 series "State of Grace" before they were Maeby Funke and Ann Veal.
Click through the gallery below to see the "Arrested Development" cast in their early roles.
"Arrested Development" returns with new episodes on Netflix on Sunday, May 26.
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The L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center held their annual An Evening With Women fundraiser this past weekend.
When the event's host, Kathy Griffin, was asked about her thoughts on the lesbian community while walking the red carpet, she mentioned that even though they are "tough to make laugh," she "freaking loves [her] lesbians" and is even still holding out for a lesbian president.
"You know I've been saying President Orman for quite awhile. I love my Barack Obama, but I'm saying President Suze Orman would be a very good move," said Griffin, who added that a lesbian in the White House would "be a dream."
An Evening With Women is an annual fundraiser that raises money for the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, which provides shelter, food, clothing, and medication for gay homeless youth in the Los Angeles area. Last year's event, which included performances by Courtney Love, Aimee Mann, and Linda Perry, brought in over $450,000. This year Ozzy Osbourne (who reunited with his wife, Sharon at the event), Natasha Bedingfield, and Sia performed, while Griffin hosted.
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Sometimes when a kitten gets all up in your biz, you just have to take it.
Via Tastefully Offensive
Like us, Conan O'Brien gets inspired by HouseholdHacker's series of "Quick and Simple Life Hacks" videos, so much so that he recently uploaded a special video reply to their latest YouTube video.
As it turns out, Conan has some pretty awesome "life hack" ideas of his own. Watch the video above to hear Coco's tips for making life just a little bit easier (sort of).
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Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 37 years. In our column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member every other week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure.
While it's difficult enough to track down the stories of oft-forgotten SNL cast members, early eighties bit player Matthew Laurance poses an added level of complication: He's an identical twin to slightly-older brother Mitchell Laurance, who not only worked alongside him as an SNL staffer in the late seventies but also appeared on HBO's Not Necessarily the News from 1983-1990. The sibling rivalry spilled from personal to professional for the Laurance brothers and has since blurred their shared but separately obscure histories as actors, but while Matthew would only land about half the roles as his brother, he can lay claim to SNL as his first onscreen gig in the biz.
Raised in Long Island, New York, both twins (originally named Matthew and Mitchell Dyckoff) attended Tufts University in Massachusetts — Matthew for political science and Mitchell for English. While Matthew didn't major in drama, he still took advantage of local opportunities in theater: "I just auditioned for the plays I liked," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1987. "My formal training came afterward, when I spent a year (1972-73) at the Neighborhood Playhouse and another year with Uta Hagen at HB Studio."
In New York after graduation, Laurance worked day jobs while landing small acting gigs where he could, such as a part in the Sidney Lumet film Prince of the City released in 1981. From 1977-1980 he had worked on SNL as an assistant director while his brother also climbed the ranks from SNL production assistant to associate director, but it wasn't until after Jean Doumanian took over as producer in 1980 that Matthew was tapped to join the sixth season cast. Until then his only television credit was in a margarine commercial costarring Mitchell.
Starting the fifth episode hosted by David Carradine, Laurance was officially credited alongside Yvonne Hudson, Patrick Weathers, and rising newcomer Eddie Murphy as a featured SNL player (after spending the first few episodes as a featured extra). Due to Dick Ebersol's overhaul as producer following the Bill Murray episode in 1981, Laurance's stint as an official player only lasted eight episodes, but he still still made a few appearances in utility straight-man parts like the reporter interviewing "Eddie Atari" (Eddie Murphy) inside his starship in "SNL Sports Central," as a desperate NBC executive looking for the next new virgin female SNL cast member in "Virgin Search," or as part of the improv-like ensemble acting out Bill Murray's ever-revising script in "Script in Development." Alongside Ann Risley, Gilbert Gottfried, and Charles Rocket, Laurance was not kept on the cast when Ebersol took over Murray's episode in March 1981, and only Piscopo and Murphy would survive into the following season, having dominated most of the screen time during Laurance's run.
Looking back on his SNL stint, Laurance told the Inquirer that "it was a very weird scene involving new producers, actors and crew — we could have been brilliant, but nobody would watch." Following some time working as a nightly radio show host in Boston, he moved to Hollywood and scored television appearances on Taxi, Who's the Boss, Matlock, and a leading role on the Fox sitcom Duet from 1987-1989. He also appeared in the 1985 film St. Elmo's Fire, and his biggest role came with his nine-year run as Brian Austin Green's dentist dad in Beverly Hills 90210.
Since his last onscreen film credit in 2009, Laurance has devoted his time to hosting sports radio shows, first in Durham, North Carolina and currently as cohost of The Sports Huddle on Lexington, Kentucky's WLXG radio station. He summed up the biggest obstacle in his path to onscreen success quite simply in a 1992 EW interview: "If you have to pick a business not to go into with an identical twin, this is it." Then again, the Laurance brothers have appeared together in dual and/or twin roles in shows like Cop Rock, The Commish, Room for Two, and The Outer Limits, so twindom certainly has its advantages.
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SO. MUCH. PUN.
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The Russian dashboard cam is the gift that keeps on giving. Today's present: a pedestrian took equitable revenge on a driver who stopped in the crosswalk. The driver was not pleased.
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Phoenix hates being in the car. The only thing that can console him is repeatedly saying the name of the rightful 43rd President of the United States.
You Can Now Pre-Order the Stand-Up Album ‘Holy Fuck’ Featuring Rory Scovel, James Adomian, and Tons More
Since it was founded in 2009, the live comedy show Holy Fuck has become a staple of LA's stand-up scene, and now, the show is being immortalized with a new two-disc album that you can pre-order from Rooftop Comedy. The Holy Fuck album, set for a May 29th release, features some of the best comedians going doing five minutes of their best material. A nice mix of established stand-ups and up-and-comers, the album features sets from James Adomian, Kyle Kinane, Rory Scovel, Natasha Leggero, Jackie Kashian, Eric Andre, T.J. Miller, and tons more. The only reason to skip this one would be if you hate comedy and/or profanity.
Check out the full track listing below:DISC 1
1. The Fringe Riders
2. Dave Ross
3. Dana Gould
4. Michelle Buteau
5. Johnny Pemberton
6. Eric Dadourian
7. Brandie Posey
8. Allen Strickland Williams
9. Ron Lynch
10. Joe Wengert
11. Brent Weinbach
12. Matt Braunger
13. Hasan Minhaj
14. Jarrod Harris
15. Beth Stelling
16. Eli Olsberg
17. Shawn Pearlman
18. Cornell Reid
19. Ron Babcock
20. Baron Vaughn
21. Jackie Kashian
22. Natasha Leggero
23. Rory Scovel
24. Power Violence
25. Jeff Wattenhofer
26. Pat Regan
27. Jake Weisman
28. Andy Peters
29. T.J. Miller
30. Raj Desai
31. Lizzy Cooperman
32. Matt Ingebretson
33. Sean Green
34. Eric Andre
35. Hampton Yount
36. Sean Patton
37. Nick Rutherford
38. Karl Hess
39. Megan Koester
40. Paul Danke
41. Barbara Gray
42. Will Weldon
43. Kyle Kinane
44. Zach Sherwin
45. James Adomian
46. Moshe Kasher
47. Josh Androsky and Joe Wagner
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(1-775): So you brought her to my house and left her on my couch.
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Lots of people have stories about their grandmother's cooking. Lots of us carry around grandma's advice, using it every step of the way in the kitchen. Others use grandma's cooking as a goalpost of what not to do. If Yiayia from this new series of Athenos Feta commercials was our grandma, we're not exactly sure how we'd relate to the kitchen.
The curmudgeonly character of Yiayia has been part of Athenos marketing campaigns for a few years now, but her most recent iteration is definitely our favorite -- called simply "Cooking with Yiayia." Watch hilarity ensue below, as poor Jessica just tries to show us how to make an omelet with feta. As Yiayia so dutifully reminds us, "milk come from teat, not from box." It looks like Yiayia is really enjoying milking this goat.
Oh, did you need that goat-milking in GIF form? Gotcha.
Other videos in the series include Yiayia calling a stand mixer a "devil machine," which she promptly attacks with a broom, as well as a video in which Yiayia hears the voice of God (or the commercial voice-over, you decide). We thank Athenos for this series of PSAs -- keep your Greek grandmother away from your kitchen appliances, and for the love of all that is holy, let her milk her goat in private.
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At this point, there are so many scandals in DC there's no reason to differentiate, we might as well call them all collectively ScandalGate™.
But even as the overall picture suggests that the Obama administration may have been asleep at the wheel, their accusers – and the media covering the whole mess – aren't coming out smelling so great either. As Jon Stewart asked on Monday, "Can anybody do their jobs in that town?"
Watch Jon pick apart the latest scandal news above.
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Vine is a toy from Twitter that challenges users to make the most profound work ever committed to video in exactly six seconds. Or at the very least, challenges comedians to bring a little more laughter into this world. Every Tuesday we showcase five of the funniest short shorts of the past week.
Your RSS feed might be difficult and not show the videos, but trust us – they are there.
"ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT: the money was IN the standing banana... #chickendance"
By Ian Padgham
Even on Vine, you couldn't get away from the Arrested Development hype. Sorry. But you have to admit that Ian Padgham's stopmotion tribute to the show is really cool. There are plenty of references from the show besides the money being in the banana stand, the chicken dance, and the blaring of one of Europe's greatest songs, like the fact that the banana never gets completely nude. There is of course no shame in being a Never Nude, whether you're a analrapist, a Girls with Low Self-Esteem DVD producer, or a fruit high in potassium.
"I'm Not the Father"
By Eric Dunn
I feel really bad for the kid there. Sure, Eric Dunn is not awfully considerate of a child's feelings, but the guy's vines are pretty good. His shirtless run around a white neighborhood caught a lot of attention last week, and there's something really amusing to how fragile his mornings can be. "I guess without having to read Goodnight Moon every night, he had more time to make his funny six second videos," a therapist will hear fifteen years from now.
By Kurt Braunohler
Featuring Jon Daly
Speaking of insensitive, here is Jon Daly reminding Kurt Braunohler that he has whisks for hands. It's bad enough to not have the use of human fingers, but for your insurance plan to just leave you with whisks? Instead of celebrating the utterance of a double entendre, a touchdown by the local football team, or a tweet that earned more than fifty retweets with a high five like everybody else, Braunohler makes eggs. That's what you get for putting your hands on The Cornballer.
"Chandler Bing Loses It"
After Matthew Perry's best post-Friends series Go On was canceled by NBC after one season, and a reporter tried to spin his loss of employment in a positive manner in front of however many people watch a playoff hockey game, Perry apparently went back to where the fame and fortune first found him all those years ago, to try to find out what went wrong. In a vest, of course.
By Walsh Brothers
Picking watermelons at the supermarket is difficult. It seems like all of them have something wrong with them. And then you start thinking about whether anyone will be good enough for you, and you'll be sixty five years old, at the supermarket, picking a watermelon, alone, with nobody to go home to, and you'll be standing there, finding fault with all that you see and feel in front of you, and you think about whether anyone will be good enough for you, and you'll wonder if the lazy symbolism was something you picked up on before, and oh no you're having a stroke. Don't pick the talking watermelon, idiot.
Playing in Theater 2
6 Second Interview On Newbury Street in Boston, Ma. by Ry Doon
Boston comedian and host of the Vine series High Society discovered that young adults with trust funds can be dishonest and douchey.
How I feel when someone disses my mom. Don't mess with my momma! by Marcus Johns
Good news! You can insult Marcus Johns' mother in front of mama's boy Marcus Johns, because you probably have faster reflexes.
White Solomon/Black Josh by Solomon Georgio and Josh Androsky
Apparently life as a white person and life as a black person are sometimes different.
No! That badass "Corey" dude was DEAD! How did he escape his shallow grave and post on my Vine again?! by Will Sasso
Despite Marlo Meekins murdering him, Corey continues to be a badass that occasionally manages to take over Will Sasso's vine account.
#HowTo ask really obvious questions at Home Depot by Brittany Furlan
This reminds me of that time that I asked a book store clerk where the fiction section was. I was really out of it.
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And whaddaya know, the facepalm face is highly appropriate here!
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Heavy metal music has done much good for the world, introducing us to the talents of Bruce Dickinson on vocals, Jeff Hanneman on guitar, and the sartorial delights of a really close-cut stonewash jean.
Unfortunately, for fans of the genre it has also been responsible for much ill in the world too.
No, we don't mean the music (though much of the output between 1998 and 2004 is fairly questionable).
We're talking about the genre's ideas for robots.
While browsing our favourite music streaming service this week, we noticed an album which reminded us just how many terrible ideas for androids, cyborgs and mechanical humans metal bands have come up with over the years.
We've pulled some of our favourite examples below. Let us know if we've missed any. And in future if you see a long-haired Viking wandering around Maplin with a Flying V in one hand and a Raspberry Pi in the other, for the love of all humanity do everything you can to stop them.
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is going to Carol Burnett this year, the Kennedy Center announced today. The lifetime achievement award, given out annually by the Kennedy Center, is the most prestigious accolade in comedy, and this is the 15th anniversary of the prize. Past recipients have included Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, and, more recently, Will Ferrell and Tina Fey. Burnett, who turned 80 this year, is best known for her long-running TV variety show, which aired for 11 years on CBS from 1967 to 1978. In addition to the show, she has had an eclectic career that has seen her working as an author and a Broadway and film actress. The ceremony will take place on October 20th and air on PBS on October 30th.
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Love Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers? Well, good news, it's super easy to start your own Mumford band. No drums required!
The Key Of Awesome explains it all above for YouTube's Comedy Week.
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For the past 15 years, Comedy Central’s half hour specials have showcased the future stars of standup. Looking back, the early years of Comedy Central Presents included memorable sets from the likes of Mitch Hedberg, Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Dane Cook and dozens more. Re-branded The Half Hour in 2012, the series continues to feature the best up-and-coming comics in the country.
For many comedians, it’s that history that makes doing a half hour special so significant. While a half hour may once have been a comic’s first major exposure, comedians now have many ways to build an audience. Almost everyone who taped a special this year does non-standup comedy as well, branching out into the worlds of podcasting, sketch and improv, web series, acting, and more. In this new series, I sat down with each of this year’s 16 Half Hour comedians to talk about their specials, their careers, and their generation of comedians. Each interview will also feature an exclusive clip from the special. All the interviews can be found here.
Beloved as half of the fantastic comedy duo "Gabe and Jenny" with Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman co-created the amazing New York standup show Big Terrific with Slate and standup Max Silvestri. Though he now lives in LA, I caught up with him in Brooklyn before Big Terrific's fifth anniversary show to talk about his first ever televised standup and the benefit of doing a weekly show.
So how was the taping?
Awesome. It went perfectly. It was really fun and looking back, it just went perfectly. Can't wait to see it. No regrets.
What did doing a Half Hour mean to you?
I guess I've always thought of myself as doing something different than standup. And so when I got to do an album this year, and then a special, it made me feel like part of the community. I guess I always felt like what I was—when I started, I was worried that what I was doing was not standup and now I feel like it's definitely standup.
Why did you feel like it wasn’t standup? You did sketch first, right?
Yeah, I started improv and sketch, and then Jenny and I were like a standup duo, and it was really different than what everyone else was doing. Sure, there was like a precedent for it, but I think I always felt like a weirdo or a kid compared to who we were performing with. And planning a half hour is tricky. A lot of my bits are like 11 minutes long, and that's not normal. So it just feels really nice to know that Comedy Central thinks of me in the same terms that they're thinking of everyone else. It feels good. And everyone else that I was taping with, I felt had done Live at Gotham or had done at least one set on a late night show or something shorter, and to think that I went straight to a Half Hour is mind-blowing to me. That was my first standup on TV ever. So it was cool that I got to skip steps.
Is there a lot of overlap between the album and the special?
There is. There are two or three bits are from the album, but they have been re-written. It's mostly like the premise is there, with different punchlines.
Wow. That sounds almost more difficult than writing a new bit.
I know, but that's how I think. It’s weird, if you look at a lot of other people's sets, a lot of people are talking about the same premises, it’s what you say about it that makes it different. And so like, something new will occur to me about Netflix or about the idea of a fantasy, and then it's like, it feels better to do something fresh than old. So the album was rewritten from how those things started, and then since then I've rewritten most of it. And I even opened with a brand new joke that I wrote like a week before hand, which is psycho, I don't know why I did that but I did. And it went great. [He laughs.]
What I was thinking is that, I didn't want to go into autopilot. So, whatever trick I could up come up with to make sure I was paying attention was what I wanted to do. Because I, and I bet everyone else who taped too, could do their 30-minute set while thinking about something else, or asleep. But that's not a good performance.
And how’s LA?
I love it. It's the best. It was a much-needed change. Not that I dislike New York, but I was here for 13 years, and was spending a part of every year there working or auditioning and stuff. And everytime I went I was just like, this is so nice. Yeah, so I'm happy that I got a job writing Kroll Show and got to move in an easy, happy way.
The Half Hour
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I know you write for TV a lot. What’s your normal gig like?
I make most of my money from writing for TV. So, in the last year I wrote Billy on the Street, and then I wrote for Inside Amy Schumer, and that was the best. And now I'm writing Kroll Show. It's really only been in the last year or two with festivals and now this special that I'm making money from standup.
Are you still performing a lot in LA?
Yeah, I perform a ton in LA. I still perform every week, at least once. The reason I'm here is because Max and I are doing this big show at Music Hall.
This is the fifth anniversary of Big Terrific. How did that show help you when you were coming up?
It was everything. It did everything. Before you have an album, or a special, it's so valuable to just be able to tell someone, “Oh, you can catch me here every week.” It's like your resume, its better than your headshot. And any writing job—I've like been a full-time TV writer for maybe four years now, and it's all been because people could come see me live.
It’s such a great show.
I'm so proud of it. I can't believe it’s lasted—I mean, I can believe it because its so easy and fun, but when we started it, we started it just to have fun. It wasn't for work, but you know, that's where people saw Jenny for the first time, that's where people hired me or Max to write. It's the most valuable tool.
So many of the people doing special this years have or are regularly on podcasts. Any plans to do that?
I don't know if I plan to. I mean, I love them. I'm an avid podcast listener and I love guesting on people's. I think podcasts are an LA thing. It feels like every young comic in New York has a monthly show, and then it seems like everyone in LA has a podcast. Because that's where the companies are, in LA. That’s where Nerdist and Earwolf they have studios. There's not a big infrastructure for podcasts in New York yet. I'm sure its coming.
And you still perform with Jenny. How does that play into your standup? Is that totally separate material?
It's funny, it used to be home base. That's what was normal to me, was “Gabe and Jenny,” and then when I would do solo, that was me trying to figure out my voice or whatever. And now solo feels like home base and “Gabe and Jenny” feels like a fun celebration. And it’s like a totally different energy. There is some overlap now with material, there are some things that I say in a set with Jenny that is part of my solo act and vice versa, there's stuff from her solo act that we use together, but honestly, when the two of us perform together, it's just like hanging out. It's like, no pressure. She's funny. She still gets nervous for absolutely every show, no matter what. Whereas I, when I'm with her, the pressure's off.
You guys always look like you’re having so much fun.
It's true. We're totally having fun.
So what’s next for you?
We still have a couple months of writing for Kroll Show, we're writing season two. It's gonna be amazing. And it's pilot season now so there's a lot of constant auditions and meetings, which feels really good. I don't exactly know what I'm doing for my summer job, but that's normal for me. Every job I have has an end date. But I'm sure it'll be fun and good, whatever it is.
Gabe Liedman's Half Hour airs Friday, May 24 at 12:30 am (technically Saturday morning). He's on Twitter at@gabeliedman.
Elise Czajkowski is a contributing editor at Splitsider and comedy journalist in New York City. She occasionally tweets at @EliseCz.
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It snuck up on us, didn't it? The end of SNL Season 38 brought along with it key staff changes, among them the upcoming departure of head writer Seth Meyers and the immediate departures of cast members Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and (unofficially) Jason Sudeikis. Few people have shaped SNL over the past 8 years more than these men — Meyers with his leadership in the writers room and charm as Weekend Update host, and Hader, Armisen and Sudeikis as the cast's workhorses and loadbearing performers. Indeed, many pegged Season 38 as a "transitional year" in the wake of Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg leaving the show a year ago, and one of the most fascinating things to watch this season has been SNL's attempt to reconfigure itself during this phase: new cast members to nurture into reliable regulars, new types of video sketches to fill the "digital short" void, and a redistribution of roles as supporting cast members step out from the fringe and into the limelight.
We'll look more at each cast member and his or her contributions in greater detail in tomorrow's piece, but for right now let's reflect upon some of our favorite moments from this past season, including our top political sketches (a limited selection for an election year) and top hosts (also a limited selection for a year full of A-listers, Oscar nominees and SNL regulars), as well as a few random categories like end-of-night sketches and sketches cut after dress rehearsal. We even threw our favorite musical guest in there, just to prove we comedy nerds didn't fast forward through every musical act... just most of them.
Cold Open. Perhaps we can blame a lackluster election season for the mostly uninspired political cold opens that kicked off the episodes of the first half of the season, which often took the form of overlong debate parodies or low energy press conferences. The second half of the season opened the door for some more inventive concepts, like President Obama being visited by MLK's ghost or Elton John (Justin Timberlake) singing at Hugo Chavez's funeral. But the writers truly found their groove with this open to the Kevin Hart episode, which balanced Jay Pharoah's much improved take on Obama with a full cast exploration of the effects of the budget sequester.
Monologue. This season ran the monologue musical number trope into the ground. Louis CK's stand-up anecdote about escorting an old woman through an airport was a breath of fresh air, but Justin Timberlake's cameo-packed induction into the Five Timer's Club takes the cake as a season highlight.
Commercial. SNL has been as much a powerhouse for classic fake commercials as it has always been, churning out an awesome new fake ad nearly every episode of Season 38 — Rosetta Stone, Your Hometown Vacation, New Balance Shoes — without relying on the annoying habit of re-airing old ones. My vote goes to Z-Shirt, which was an on-the-nose parody of 90s ads targeted at children and gave us a hilarious callback at the end of the episode.
Political Sketch. As with cold opens, we didn't see too many clever political sketches this season, and outside of Seth Meyers' jokes in Weekend Update, SNL didn't make any good points about the election that we didn't hear from Jon Stewart of Stephen Colbert. There was one exception, however: a mock political ad targeted not at a candidate or Washington, but at ourselves — the idiot uninformed voters whom the media tolerates far more than they should.
Film Short. Andy Samberg's departure from SNL at the end of last season freed up an extensive film crew to utilize week to week, which gave us some beautifully composed film shorts to provide episodes with some variety and texture. While few of these went "viral" the way many of Samberg's did, Sad Mouse and Cool Drones were two of the most creative things we've seen on the show in recent seasons. However, there was no comparison to Louis CK's brilliant parody of his FX show, with the comedian playing a jaded, frustrated 16th president.
Weekend Update Segment. I love a Big Bird cameo as much as the next guy, but really, is there any debate here?
Host-Specific Sketch. Some of the best SNL moments occur when the writers challenge themselves to write material specifically for whoever is hosting that week — it allows the host to poke some fun at himself and gives the show a fresh, written-this-week taste. Last weekend's Bengo F— Yourself allowed Ben Affleck to poke fun at his film and Oscar acceptance speech, and the Bieber Body Doubles sketch gave that episode some of its only laughs. But the Pandora Intern sketch from the Bruno Mars episode allowed the singer to show off his vocal chameleon skills and resulted in one of my favorite moments from the season.
Celebrity Impression. When it came to new impressions on SNL this season, Jay Pharoah's taking over the role of Barack Obama from Fred Armisen has had more words written about it than any other. While I remain doubtful that Pharoah will ever truly fit in with the cast, his Obama is actually quite good — not just an improvement from Armisen's, but an improvement on his own, growing increasingly precise and humorous each time we see it. Unfortunately, Pharoah has as of yet been unable to truly encapsulate the president's "character" and form his own comedic hook on the man, which probably says more about Obama's ambiguous poker face than about Pharoah's talent, but remains a problem nonetheless. Meanwhile, Kate McKinnon, who was added to the cast late last season and has divided some viewers with her broad delivery, has been three-for-three with her Ellen Degeneres, even getting the opportunity to do that dumb "real Ellen vs. fake Ellen" schtick on Degeneres' show.
New Character. With Kristen Wiig gone from the cast and Bill Hader taking on more of a supportive role this season, as well as what seems to be a general shift away from character sketches to more concept based sketches, we've seen fewer new characters this season. Of course, any of the 20 great characters Melissa McCarthy played during her episode made up for it, but as for the cast, it has been a season that has for the most part gotten extra mileage out of Stefon and Drunk Uncle. That said, newcomer Cecily Strong has truly hit the ground running, pumping out hit character after hit character, with her Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started A Conversation With being the most popular new character to emerge this season.
10-to-1. The "10-to-1" slot, or the sketch that airs at the end of the night, is normally the part of the show that Lorne places a sketch that runs the biggest risk of bombing. In previous seasons, this slot was home to some of Fred Armisen's weird musical parodies, but in this season, the writers have gotten some different uses out of the final sketch of the night, such as with two excellent Last Call sketches (with Louis CK and Vince Vaughn) and a near perfectly executed Coroner sketch with Jeremy Renner. But if you've been following my recaps you'll remember how smitten I was with Zach Galifianakis' Darrell's House stunt, which spent an awkward few minutes of setup earlier on in the night to give the episode a spectacular finale.
Musical Guest. I don't consider myself qualified to review the musicians who appear on SNL, unless they make the mistake of appearing in sketches. I'll say this much: Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake were fun as hell, and Kanye West scared the crap out of me... but the Alabama Shakes absolutely killed it.
Cut from Dress. Since a large number of you watch SNL sketches on Hulu anyways, it's probably worth mentioning the dress rehearsal sketches that for whatever reason didn't make it into the live broadcast. Bill Hader and Fred Armisen cracking each other up as doormen Renaldo and Alexei was a lot of fun, and Martin Short got plenty of laughs in Malibu High, but Zach Galifianakis' Kanish, a 70s detective show with a closing-credits gag, was the cut that seemed the most unfair.
Best Sketches. Excluding ones already mentioned above, below are five sketches that I particularly loved this season:
Host. We've seen greater polarity in terms of host quality this season — either they've been very good, like Seth MacFarlane, Anne Hathaway, Martin Short, Christoph Waltz, Melissa McCarthy, Zach Galifianakis, and Ben Affleck, or very bad, like Daniel Craig, Jeremy Renner, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lawrence, Adam Levine, and Justin Bieber. There were a few surprises in there, with Louis CK, Bruno Mars, and Kevin Hart proving to be better than expected, and highly anticipated hosts like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Justin Timberlake, Kristen Wiig performing admirably but presiding over less-than-stellar episodes. Christoph Waltz, in particular, impressed me with his showmanship, while Melissa McCarthy delivered yet another powerhouse performance. But no host played the SNL instrument so deftly as Seth MacFarlane, who silenced the haters with Baldwin-esque range and killer timing, resulting in one of the finest season premieres SNL has ever seen.
Rookie of the Year. After the show picked up no new cast members between seasons 36 and 37, Season 38 premiered with three newbies from Chicago's improv and sketch scene — Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson, and Cecily Strong — as well as one holdover from the end of the previous season, Kate McKinnon, who came to SNL by way of UCB-NY and Logo's Big Gay Sketch Show. Of those four, McKinnon and Strong have received the most attention for their character work, while Bryant and Robinson have struggled to make an impression (which is often the case for first-year cast members). And while Kate McKinnon has won over audiences with her wide-eyed, all-in style, Cecily Strong has stood out as a true utility player in the cast, capable of teaming up with other cast members (Girlfriends Talk Show, Pornstar Commercial), playing supportive roles (deaf translator Lydia Callis, Rachel Maddow), and carrying bits on her own (Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With, Mimi Morales). And in Strong's variety of roles, she has rarely missed, giving her one of the strongest first seasons we've seen on SNL in years.
MVP. Of course, it's easy to make a case here for Bill Hader, who received the most amount of screen time of the cast members by playing all sorts of roles: political figures like John Boehner and James Carville, celebrities like Al Pacino and Clint Eastwood, eerily dark game show hosts, and pretty much any character the writers needed him to play any given week. And that's not to mention Stefon, who is perhaps the only recurring character in SNL history to never truly gas out. Jason Sudeikis deserves credit as well: his dual roles as Mitt Romney and Joe Biden pretty much carried the season's political sketches, especially when Jay Pharoah's Obama wasn't panning out as we hoped. However, my vote goes to Bobby Moynihan, who jumped from 7th place last season to 2nd place this season in overall screen time, and, with his Drunk Uncle, Chris Christie, Anthony Crispino, and Guy Fieri, seemed to make the most aggressive shift to star status this season. And now that the cast's stars are moving on to bigger and better things, the show needs a star more than anything else right now.
Episode. I prefer to separate the episode category from host, simply because a great host doesn't always result in a great episode. Seth MacFarlane's season premiere gave us the season's funniest live sketch (Puppet Class), a great Weekend Update segment (Ryan Lochte), and a hilarious 10-to-1 (Amish Spoons). Meanwhile Christoph Waltz's episode featured one of the season's best cold opens (Carnival Cruise), a hilarious movie parody (Djesus Uncrossed), and the Alabama Shakes. But those two episodes were far from perfect, each with a few duds that kept them from true greatness. I loved Martin Short's Christmas special, but with so many musical numbers by Paul McCartney, we didn't really get to see Short in enough sketches. Ben Affleck's season finale was golden, but I imagine much of its strength relied on its emotional farewells to Bill Hader and Fred Armisen. That leaves us with Melissa McCarthy's April 7 episode — a 90-minute character gauntlet by McCarthy, with equally stellar performances by the rest of the cast, giving us no true misses (I still stand by my claim that Million Dollar Wheel would have been a hit in any other episode this season) and a few season highlights: Coach Kelly, Pizza Business, Ham Contest. I know going with an episode carried by a host seems counter-intuitive to my "great host doesn't always equal great episode" philosophy, but to see a scene-stealer like McCarthy host an episode that still managed to showcase the cast is truly impressive.
What do you think? Any picks you disagree with or sketches I forgot to mention? Which episodes/hosts were your favorites? If you want a more in-depth analysis of each cast member's contribution this season, check Splitsider tomorrow for my cast break down.
Erik Voss is a writer and performer living in Los Angeles. He hosts the Evil Blond Kid podcast and performs improv on the Harold team The Cartel at the iO West Theater.
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I was bored studying...........so I I decided to investigate the Physics of lifting.
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...it's always rattling around in the washer when I forget to empty my pockets.
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Set List is an improvised stand-up show that originated in LA before touring the world and becoming an upcoming TV show in the UK and Australia, and now the show is premiering in the US as a web series on the Nerdist YouTube channel. Basically, each comedian comes out with no planned material and is given topics they must discuss as the show goes on. The first three episodes of the Set List web series debuted this week with Bob Odenkirk (above), T.J. Miller, and Glenn Wool (below) rising to the challenge. It's a unique concept for a stand-up show that often yields interesting results, and you no longer have to be at the live show to see the show.
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This week on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin show, Jeff interviews Matt Golden, who has played Mr. Met for more than 10 years. They talk about how to deal with fans at the stadium, how to talk properly to people when you are wearing a giant head, and what it's like acting as a mascot compared to acting in a Shakespeare play.
"When you had the microphone we had to come up with ways that people couldn't talk too much on the microphone, where you'd sort of ask them a question and then pull the mic away and they would give you the answers, and then you would speak the answers into the mic and avoid people just shouting things." – Matt Golden on what they did to avoid any outbursts when talking to people at the stadium.
"Generally in the baseball mascot world, the epitome of mascots is the Phillie Phanatic. It's a great costume, it's well designed and the performer is fantastic. Different mascots have different parameters, so The Phanatic can be very antagonistic towards other teams, which is good for a laugh, and he is known for smacking the helmets of the other teams. Mr. Met doesn't do that. Mr. Met is supportive of his own team, but not antagonistic towards other teams." – Matt Golden on the difference between mascots.
"You have to know your limits. You are in this costume and you are always on. You have to pace yourself. If you are doing an appearance and you are going to be in the costume for an hour, you better know how to last through that hour. If you are indoors and it is an air conditioned room you are going to sweat a lot, and if it is outdoors on the east coast in the summer time you are going to sweat profusely and you have to keep hydrated and be aware of what your limits are, and work within that." – Matt Golden on why stamina is an important quality for a mascot.
This episode is sponsored by Audible. Head over to audiblepodcast.com/jeffrubin to grab a 30 free trial of Audible and a free audiobook of your choosing! Any book you want, for free!
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Here's a video made for YouTube's Comedy Week in which Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, House of Lies) plays a movie executive trying to convince Wedding Crashers/The Internship duo Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson to do another movie together despite being a crazy person.
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Last month, Patton Oswalt went on an eight-minute filibuster as a guy at a city council meeting talking about his dream Star Wars sequel, and now, artist Isaac Moores has added animation to that rant because that's what the internet is for.
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After seven quiet seasons, "Rules of Engagement" finally reached its series finale on CBS. In doing so, it also achieved a rather impressive feat. The series finale was also the long-running pinch-hitter's 100th episode. In the end, as expected, things wrapped up neatly for the principal characters.
Jeff and Audrey got their daughter, thanks to their surrogate. And finally, Adam and Jennifer got married. Even Russell and Timmy got a happy ending -- or was it? Thanks to Russell, Timmy was about to be deported, so Russell proposed to him and the two got married.
But "Rules" wasn't done yet. As Jeff and Audrey were bonding over the new addition to their family, Audrey had one more piece of news. "You know I’ve been feeling kinda sick lately, so I decided to get checked up," she said. "Jeff, I’m pregnant.”
The AV Club said that it's a little crazy to think "Rules" has been on as long as it has, saying, "Seven seasons is a damned fine run, no matter how you look at it, but it’s a particularly remarkable achievement for 'Rules of Engagement', a series about which ... no one has ever exclaimed, ‘Oh, my God, that is my absolute favorite!’”
Entertainment Weekly gave the show props for its longevity, and relative success considering it never had a consistent time slot on the network. “Not since Fox’s ''Til Death' has a sitcom on-the-bubble pulled off so many narrow escapes," they wrote. "'Rules' still had semi-decent ratings this season ... But as a show ages, its costs tend to rise, which in turn adds more performance pressure.”
TV Replay scours the vast television landscape to find the most interesting, amusing, and, on a good day, amazing moments, and delivers them right to your browser.
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"The Goodwin Games" features Beau Bridges as a father who wasn't much of a father to his kids. When he knew he was dying, he devised a complex game that would hopefully bring them together. More specifically, perhaps, it would award one of them his $23 million fortune.
The new Fox comedy premiere introduced the three siblings who would be reluctantly playing the game. First up was a customized version of Trivial Pursuit. All the questions were about the siblings. They revealed that they'd never been able to finish a game, and that proved the case again. As always, it ended in a huge fight.
After thinking they'd lost everything, the brothers were ready to go home. But daughter Chloe picked up on the morse code their father used in his final video to continue the game. And they agreed to play, and finish, the game. Doing so triggered the next step in the titular "Games."
They were lured into a photo booth, where their father's image appeared and told them how the game would progress. "Before you get a penny of your inheritance, you’re going to transform your selves into the very best Goodwins you can be. And the only way you can ever truly do that is together," he said. "Here’s step one: you’re all moving back home! Smile.”
“FOX ordered this show a year ago, planned to rotate it in with its Tuesday comedies at midseason, then gave up on it when ‘Ben and Kate’ failed out of the gate and the entire night imploded," wrote HitFix of "The Goodwin Games." "Seven episodes were shot, then shelved, and that was it. Scott Foley went on to do an arc on ‘Scandal,’ Beau Bridges did a CBS pilot ('The Millers') that got picked up, etc. Everyone has moved on. It's as pure a case of Summer Burn-Off Theatre as you can find.”
In other words, if you're a fan, don't get your hopes up that you'll ever see this again. The LA Times seems okay with the show's short-lived fate, saying that the show is "stupid yet sweet."
The burn-off of "The Goodwin Games" continues on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox.
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0:51 In Theaters WEDNESDAY June 12th Submitted by: ThisIsTheEnd Regular Keywords: movie this is the end seth rogen craig robinson end of the world fire rihanna aziz ansari james franco alien aliens beast beasts fight fighting Views: 625
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4:53 Meet Doug Farber, one of the Mickey Mouse Clubs most talented mouseketeers and see what exactly he's up to today. Submitted by: Funny Or Die Regular Keywords: mickey mouse club mouseketeers britney spears justin timblerlake christina aguilera ryan gosling children kids children's show variety show walt disney disney tv host hosts kids dancing dancer danced dance dancing annette funicello jody lambert matt oberg jc chasez taxes tax cpa accountant where are they now taxing taxed keri russell baby don't cry singing singer sings song songs wife family funny video music Views: 2,077