Incest is not best

Just when you thought the show had covered every area of sexual depravity, they throw some incest at you. That’s right, Octavian is back from boarding school and Servilia enlists his sister (and her lesbian lover) to seduce him once she discovers that he holds the secret to Caesar’s ailment. Octavian is a bright kid and after he and his sister get it on, he tells her that he’s suspicious of her motives. A servant witnesses the morally reprehensible act and blows the whistle by telling his master, Atia – pissing her off to no end. Octavia only went along with this plan because she thought her mother had killed her husband (she did) and after confronting her, her mother lies right to her face. Later, Atia arranges for Servilia to get carjacked, leaving her naked and wailing in the streets of Rome – not a pretty sight.

Meanwhile, Lucius comes thisclose to a dangerous confrontation with his old boss (over a slap to the face, of all things) before Caesar unknowingly saves the day by showing up at Lucius’ home and asking him to be his magistrate for a section of Rome. Lucius hesitates, but agrees and this sends Titus Pullo into a tailspin. The two most interesting relationships in the show are Titus’ friendship with Lucius and his budding romance with his slave girl. The latter is cranked up a notch when Titus ties one on and calls the girl out – literally. It’s tough to get a read on the girl; as the two start to get it on, she seems quite distant. I’m interested to see where this takes poor Titus – I think he’s in love.

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Wallace Shawn as an embezzler? Inconceivable!

The casting coups continue, with Wallace Shawn (best known for playing the diminutive Vizzini in “The Princess Bride”) turning up in the role of Susan’s agent, Lonnie. How Susan warrants an agent when she never seems to spend a single moment of her day actually writing or illustrating the children’s books by which she earns a living is not explained…but that’s beside the point.

It’s great to see Shawn working, and even better to watch him reach for the stars: short, squat, balding Lonnie makes a pass at leggy, lean, gorgeous Susan – right after telling her that he inappropriately “borrowed” some of her royalties. Needless to say, the underdog gets neutered this time.

Tune in next week to see clumsy Susan accidentally poison both her and Vizzini’s wine glasses at their reconciliation dinner: “CLEARLY, I cannot choose the wine in front of ME…”

And speaking of wine, alcohol appears to be the solution to all of Lynette’s problems when she uses it to get her uptight boss Nina first drunk and then – in a stellar bit of wingmanship – laid (presumably for the first time in ages). Sadly, alcohol then becomes the cause of her problems: Nina, that crazy sex kitten, wants to get laid AGAIN. Once, apparently, is not enough for this voracious creature. She wants to go out every night, and she threatens to stall Lynette’s career if Lynette won’t play along. No one else can be Nina’s wingman; Nina’s too insecure to compete with other single women for her men.

Lynette knuckles under for a while, until she herself is identified as a “regular” by some skeezy married guy at the bar – and then it’s time for action. A quick trip to the rest room, and out walks the Slutty-Sandy-at-the-End-of-“Grease” version of Lynette: no shirt beneath her vest, no more ponytail in her suddenly remarkably curly and bouncy hair, and no qualms about dancing on the bar, slapping herself in the ass. She garners a host of male admirers, and leaves Nina fuming on the sidelines.

Think that one might get back to Tom? Perhaps. But at least Lynette won’t have to be Nina’s boy-fetching bitch any more.

Elsewhere on the block, Bree finally learns that Rex died believing that she murdered him, and Carlos hires himself a lawyer who admits to wanting to sleep with Gabrielle. And, at last, we learn more about the man in Alfre Woodard’s basement. His name is Caleb, he’s “slow”, and he appears to be responsible for the death of a Chicago teen named Melanie Foster.

Sounds like there’s some Steinbeck brewing on Wisteria Lane. Tell us about the rabbits again, George?


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Lost… and found (in translation)

It’s a real shame that Korean castaways Jin and Sun aren’t more interesting characters, because this week’s flashback episode had to be the worst yet. Despite the look back at the couple’s individual lives before the two met, the audience didn’t learn anything that we didn’t already know. Jin got fired from a job as a doorman and Sun was dumped by a potential suitor. So what? Surely something more exciting has to be happening to them now that they’ve become stranded on a mysteriously island. Nope. Sun just walks the beaches looking for her lost wedding ring while Jin shows off his mad fishing skills to the newest survivors on the other side of the island.

We were teased with the possibility of a little action when Michael suddenly ran off to search for Walt, but all that really happened was a little getting-to-know-you session between Jin and some crazy African castaway who calls himself Mr. Echo. Is this guy in a rock band back home or what? This guy is “Lord of Flies” crazy through and through, but he could be a serious asset to the A-Team back on Plane Crash Beach. And if nothing else, at least Locke would finally have someone to talk to.

Meanwhile, Sawyer and the rest of the new survivors begin the trek back to Plane Crash Beach when they hear the Others mucking around in their backyard, but no one really has no idea where they’re even going. And this poses an interesting question. Why haven’t these castaways attempted a journey like this before? It’s not like they’ve been held up by anything important, save for the production of a creepy prisoner pit and a few nifty weapons. And what ever happened to a little R&R and a round of golf? I’m bored, can we please get Hurley a fresh set of batteries? Watching him listen to his CD player was more exciting than this. Oh, wait! Someone’s going to die? And we have to wait three weeks? The suspense! The suspense! But let’s not forget, there’s a fresh group of red shirts just waiting their turn for a little small screen glory. There’s no way another major cast member is biting the bullet this early into the second season, and you know it.


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An interview with the Dude, Jeff Dowd

To cult movie fans, Jeff Dowd’s greatest accomplishment will likely forever be the fact that he’s credited as being the inspiration for the character of The Dude in “The Big Lebowski.” (For the record, it only requires a few moments worth of conversation with him to determine that Jeff Bridges really nailed the impression of Dowd’s voice.) There’s a lot more to Dowd than The Dude, however. His movie career spans decades, and he’s had his hand in many classic films, from “Gandhi” to “War Games.” Dowd spoke with Bullz-Eye about some of those flicks, his upcoming book, and the special edition of “Lebowski” that’s just hit stores. He also makes twice as many references to Huey Lewis than your average interview subject, and, as you’ll read, performs an act of coolness that confirms that he truly is…The Dude.

Jeff Dowd: Hey, Will, how are ya…?

Bullz-Eye: Pretty good, Jeff; how are you?

JD: Where are you?

BE: I am in Chesapeake, Virginia.

JD: Fantastic!

BE: And where are you today?

JD: I’m out in California.

BE: Good enough.

JD: Chesapeake, Virginia. Where’s that, exactly…?

BE: That is right next door to Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

JD: Fantastic.

BE: Pretty close to the water, anyway.

JD: So you’re an East Coast beach guy.

BE: The palest one you’ve ever seen.

JD: (Laughs) So what can I do for you?

BE: Well, I understand that, unlike “Fargo,” which was purportedly based on a true story, I guess you were more or less the inspiration for “The Big Lebowski.”

JD: Well, the character, anyway. I mean, I knew Joel and Ethan (Coen) quite well; I got to know them during “Blood Simple,” and I think they wanted to do some kind of buddy movie, and they thought the character of what they thought I might’ve been like back in the ‘70s would be a good departure point…to put ‘em in there with Walter (played by John Goodman), a guy who would get him in a lot of trouble all the time, as often happens, whether it’s “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” or “Lethal Weapon” or “Some Like It Hot” or, y’know, any buddy movie where, like, one guy’s getting another guy in trouble.

BE: How did you come across the Coens? I know you met them in ’81, but how did that actually come to pass…?

JD: I actually met ‘em indirectly because of Robert Redford. An investor in “Blood Simple” happened to be in Sundance, when we were starting the Sundance Institute, and he said, “Hey, I put some money into this, what should I do?” And Redford took him over to introduce him to me on the lawn of this mountain up there in Utah. A couple of months later, I met Joel and Ethan Coen back in New York City, when I went back there for the New York Film Festival. I happened to be at 20th Century Fox that day with a film called “Heart Like A Wheel,” and, because I was in New York, I happened to have a jacket and a tie on, which you do in New York sometimes. So I was at the Fox offices, and they came in, and they’re kind looking real grubby, as Joel and Ethan Coen tend to look – especially back then – and chain-smoking cigarettes and unshaven and all that, and I’m looking like the suit from Fox! And they’re kinda telling me about this movie that’s in post-production, and you can imagine trying to pitch “Blood Simple.” “Oh, yeah, this dead guy gets dragged across a field, and, then…” Well, anyhow, we left, and I kinda sensed, “Well, that’s the end of that,” and I think they did, too, even though I was trying to humor them, because the setting was so weird. Fortunately, by chance, I ran into them down in the Village that night on the street. I had a leather jacket on, and we chatted for a couple of minutes. And, even more karmically, two hours later, I’m in a party in the East Village in some loft, and there they are there! So now we’re having a couple of drinks, and so we said, “Okay, there’s something going on here.” And they showed me the movie a couple of months later, and the minute you saw that movie…y’know, there’s certain movies where you’re five or ten minutes into them and you go, “Wow, I’m dealing with some real filmmakers here!” And you could tell that just by the choices they made in the acting and the cutting and everything. So I ended up helping them sell “Blood Simple,” which, I’ll just say parenthetically, was turned down 3 times by every distributor until we finally got it in front of an audience. Well, we had actually shown it to a couple of audiences, but we finally got a distributor to see it in front of an audience at the Toronto Film Festival, and, all of a sudden, the black humor started to work. I mean, if you sit alone in a screening room or watch it on a tape, then it really doesn’t work as well, because you think it’s a little weird to laugh at certain things, but, in the comfort of 800 people in a dark room, people tend to start to laugh at the places they’re supposed to laugh and get it a little more. So, then, we had a minor little bidding war, and the rest is history!

BE: And you’ve maintained the friendship with them over the years…?

JD: Yeah! I mean, they’re not the most social of guys in a lot of ways…not to say that they’re not very friendly guys, but they don’t hang a lot, so to speak. But, yeah, we see each other from time to time…I’ll be in New York or they’ll be in L.A. or we’ll be at a film festival or an event and have drinks or dinner or whatever.

Click here to read the full interview…


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Even Caesar gets sloppy seconds

It was all about Egypt in this episode, as Caesar took a small group of men to find out what happened to Pompey. The child king of Egypt is in a feud with his sister (none other than Cleopatra) and the king describes his relationship with her by saying, “I piss on her! I shit on her!” How’s that for a sibling rivalry? Once Caesar finds out that Pompey was beheaded he realizes that this boy ruling Egypt (for Rome) will not do and he sends out a couple of men – Lucius and Titus, of course – to find Cleopatra.

The two men find her and actually save her life before Cleo orders Lucius to have sex with her because she wants to give Caesar a child, saying that her “womb is between floods.” Colorful imagery aside, you have to like the reasoning – Cleo is a deceptive one, for sure. Having a conscience, Lucius can’t pull the trigger so he orders Titus to do it. As expected, the big fella has no problem sexing up the beautiful princess, and an angry Lucius ends up suffering from serious penis envy. When they return the princess to Alexandria, Cleo seduces Caesar and nine months later, Caesar has his first son – or so he thinks. Titus doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that he may have a son that will never know his true father, but that is a secret that he’ll have to take to his grave, or else face the consequences


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