John Goodman deserved so much better than this. The veteran actor and Saturday Night Live host (this weekend marked his 13th time as emcee at Studio 8H) was subjected to a mediocre episode that felt dated, at best. In fact, most of the sketches (with the exception of the exceptional H&M commercial and the uproarious Guy Fieri commercial) looked like they could have been on SNL during the heyday of Roseanne. I'm tawkin' to you, "Three Wise Guys" sketch featuring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone that bummed me out even more than the trailers for Grudge Match. (Wait, that's not true). While I'll always love Goodman (who doesn't?!) and Kings of Leon made for pretty decent musical guests, this episode felt like as depressing as grown-ups regretting their decision to dance around as snowflakes in a Christmas pageant. Here are the best and worst moments from this weekend's ep.
The fact that Community has gotten a third season at all is baffling. Yeah, it's an amazing series, a multi-Tubey winner and one of our favorite comedies in recent history, but the ratings have been so miniscule, we've been shocked for two years running that TPTB continue to let it bloom. More shocked then us is the Joel McHale himself, who -- along with new cast member John Goodman, who plays Vice Dean Laybourne, dean of the highly regarded Air Conditioning Repair Annex at Greendale -- took a media call to tell us about the hopes vs. realities of life at Greendale Community. Below are the highlights.
In our pre-Season 3 interview with Dan Harmon, Community's creator wasn't shy about admitting that this is the show's make-or-break year. If it holds its own or, better still, grabs more eyeballs, it'll likely stay on at least as long as it takes Jeff, Annie and the rest of Greendale's most self-centered study group to graduate. If those ratings keep slipping, though, we may never get to see them accept their diplomas. The musical number that opened last night's season premiere openly addressed Harmon's desire to reach a bigger audience, with such pointed lyrics as "We're going to seem like a mainstream dream" and "We're going to have more fun and be less weird/Than the first two years combined." So how exactly is Greendale different this season? Here are some of the biggest developments we spotted in the premiere and whether we think they'll have an impact on the ratings:
Veep has Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Armando Iannucci. House of Cards has Kevin Spacey and David Fincher (at least for the first two episodes). How can Alpha House, the new political comedy that's launching on Amazon on Friday (the first three episodes will be made available then, followed by a new installment every week), hope to compete with those dynamic duos? Easy -- by partnering the always-reliable John Goodman up with Doonesbury mastermind Garry Trudeau. Based on the pilot episode at least, it's a combination that holds a lot of promise… even if it's not fully realized yet.
With its potent combination of an award-winning director and star (Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington), a celebrated supporting cast (among them, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo), dark, emotional subject matter (alcoholism) and expertly executed spectacle (most notably a terrifying plane crash), the new drama Flight is sure to be one of the fall's leading Oscar contenders. The film, which was penned by actor/screenwriter John Gatins, casts Washington as commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who manages to land his free-falling plane with a minimal loss of life. He's celebrated as a hero for his actions... until it emerges that he's got serious personal problems that may or may not have contributed to the crash. Following the film's premiere at the recently concluded New York Film Festival, the cast and crew of Flight answered questions from the press, including how the project first began and whether it cured (or contributed to) their fear of flying.
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