Since the original British run of The Office propelled them out of obscurity and into the comedy big leagues, Stephen Merchant has largely existed in the shadow of his friend and creative partner, Ricky Gervais -- the gawky Samwise to his jerky Frodo. Initially, his sidekick status was something as a hindrance as much of the attention and acclaim that greeted The Office and later Extras was directed at his co-writer. But in the long run, being in the background has probably paid off for as Gervais has steadily gone from being the life of the party to the guy nobody wants in the room (courtesy of those initially funny, then disastrous Golden Globes gigs), Merchant's career prospects and public persona have remained largely unchanged. He's still the gangly guy who practices the same brand of awkward humor as his buddy, but seems far less mean about it.
After two previous Oscar nominations, former Dawson's Creek star-turned-in-demand-Hollywood-actress Michelle Williams looks set to three-peat, playing iconic screen legend Marilyn Monroe in the new film, My Week With Marilyn. Adapted from a memoir by Colin Clark, the film takes viewers behind the scenes on the ill-fated 1957 British film The Prince and the Showgirl, which co-starred Monroe and Laurence Olivier (played by Kenneth Branagh here). The two repeatedly clashed during the shoot and Monroe sought solace by briefly befriending Clark (Eddie Redmayne), then a young production assistant. My Week With Marilyn director Simon Curtis spoke with us about Williams' take on Marilyn and why The Prince and the Showgirl probably should never have been made.
The short answer to that question is yes. Zombies make everything better. But unfortunately this week's episode of Hellcats was only good during the course of the zombie movie, and the rest of it was an awkward disaster. It's a secret shame of mine that I've been watching this show since the beginning, but n my defense, it's an awful trainwreck that I just can't take my eyes off of. The show's about a cheerleading law student who gets people out of jail and gets laws overturned, but who loves wearing half-shirts and appears to spend the majority of her time in a bar obsessing over boys instead of studying. In other words, it's mesmerizingly absurd and I was hoping that the addition of zombies would push the preposterousness into full-on guilty pleasure mode. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
This past summer, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army continued the big-screen exploits of Mike Mignola's devilish comic-book character, and the film was promoted with commercials putting Big Red into some well-known TV shows, including Chuck, American Gladiators and Inside the Actor's Studio. And while director Guillermo Del Toro wants to come back to do one more big screen entry, we may see Hellboy on the small screen again before that happens. And I ain't talking about Ron Perlman being in Sons of Anarchy, either.
A ton of new TV casting news has come out, and you won't believe who's coming to your television! First off, Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman, will be joining the cast of FX's new series Anarchy, where he will play the president of an outlaw motorcycle club that protects its California town from drug dealers and corporate developers. He replaced Scott Glenn, who played the part in the pilot, when the show became more of a dark comedy. Other movies Ron Perlman should replace Scott Glenn in: The Hunt for Red October, The Silence of the Lambs and Backdraft. A little Ron Perlman makes everything better!
Boy, did I really hate this week's episode of Girls, "Dead Inside." I mean truly despised sitting through this skin-crawling episode. And it's not just because the series has concretely proven, once and for all, that the main female characters (Hannah in particular) are actually just self-absorbed sociopaths with few remaining qualities left. But it's that the men seem to be the only characters left with any shred of decency or interesting characteristics or compassion. I'm not saying that Lena Dunham has to make her girls on Girls inauthentically sweet or overly emotional version of themselves, but I do think she has to make them marginally human human beings. They are not. They are mean, nasty people. And again, I don't need heroes and I don't need flawless characters (that's boring and doesn't ring true to life) but the line is blurred about whether we are supposed to be rooting against these people or gleefully basking in their outright horribleness. I quickly lost my patience with Entourage because it glorified a pack of emotionally vacant jerks who got everything they wanted, even if they didn't deserve it, and it became a marathon of pointless, joyless excess. Girls may not be a show about excess, but it does make you wonder if any of these women will actually grow up or they'll get to continue their path of selfishness and we have to just go along for the ride. Are the guys of Girls going to continue to be the only personable characters? Or can the girls get in on that action at some point, too?
Who's your least favorite girl on Girls? It's actually a tougher question to answer than who is your favorite, isn't it? Unlike, say, Sex and the City, where fans willingly identified themselves as the characters ("I'm a Miranda!"), Girls dares you to figure out who you can tolerate this week. And while your answers may fluctuate (Shoshanna's speed-talking insanity may charm you one week, and grate your nerves another), it's pretty apparent who Girls' least favorite girl is: Marnie. This show hates Marnie so much that not only have they made her storyline for the better part of two seasons "pout," but they have had her humiliate herself by singing in public twice now. Last night's episode of Girls, "She Said OK," was no exception to the Marnie-hating rule. But, lucky for her, there's a new girl in town named Caroline (Adam's little sister) and she is totally crazy and hate-worthy. In fact, Marnie hate may actually just turn to pitable from now on. Maybe. Until then, here's the good, the bad and the funny of "She Said OK," in which Hannah has her 25th birthday party and a whole lot goes wrong:
Just in case Miley Cyrus hasn't had enough exposure as of late, the headline-grabbing 20-year-old served as both host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live this weekend. While you have to give the singer/actress credit for being so willing to poke fun at herself (including her tongue, which she can't seem to keep in her head) her persona as a Spring Breakers cautionary tale come to life was still on full display. While Cyrus' comic timing hasn't matured past her work on Hannah Montana, she was as only as good as the material she was given. (That weak cold open and her opening monologue tried -- and failed -- to have anything funny or new to say about that infamous VMA performance, though the cracks at Robin Thicke and Will Smith's easily shocked children were amusing and warranted). If you're a Cyrus apologist, the episode was likely a favorite (she appeared on screen more than last week's host Tina Fey did), but if you're exhausted by the star and her whole wild-child shtick, you probably felt, well, exhausted by the whole production. Here are our picks for the best and worst moments from the mercifully twerk-free episode:
We weren't sure what to expect from this Robin Williams/Sarah Michelle Gellar show. Could SMG be funny? Would Robin Williams be in his manic Aladdin genie role? Would we want to watch a show about advertising that wasn't Mad Men? Would we want to watch more episodes if Kelly Clarkson wasn't in them?
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