The first 4.5 minutes of this awards video of Brad Bird’s extremely well deserved Windsor McKay Award from the Annies is pretty much your standard career retrospective about the former “Simpsons” creative turned writer/director of the instant classics, “The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” and “Ratatouille.” In the second half, Bird himself appears. He’s presumably somewhere near the set of his live-action debut, the next “Mission: Impossible” installment, which will star Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg, among others.
The weird part is that he says he’s giving up animation forever, but then it gets weirder and more worrisome.
As has been the case with most of this season, tonight’s episode revolved around Vince’s downward spiral – not just professionally, but personally as well – as his relationship with Sasha continues to affect his life. Although the guys don’t think Vince could ever be serious with anyone, they clearly don’t know the new Vince as well as they think, because he’s falling for Sasha… hard. So when she tells him about an offer to shoot a new adult film, Vince gets a little overprotective, offering her the $200,000 she would have been paid for the gig not to do it. Of course, not only does Sasha plan to the movie (maybe a little bit out of spite, but mostly because she’s a freaking porn star), but she also informs him that it’s actually a five-guy gangbang. Ouch, for both involved.
And while Vince is busy trying to persuade Sasha not to do the porno by getting her a part in his new movie, Eric is desperately trying to keep Vince attached to said movie. That’s because the studio wants Vince to take a drug test, and he flat out refuses, claiming that he’s never been in any kind of trouble that would suggest he should need to be tested. Thankfully, Billy finally confesses to Eric that he did witness Vince doing some coke with Scotty Lavin at that party, and after ripping Scotty a new one right in front of a prospective client, he then confronts Vince about his drug use. But instead of apologizing to Eric for lying, Vince just acts like a giant prick, warning Eric to stay out of his personal business and practically demanding that he find Sasha a part in “Airwalker” or else.
Personally, this behavior still seems a bit out of character for Vince (especially after everything he’s already gone through following the “Medellin” debacle), but he’s still attached to the movie when it’s all said and done. Unfortunately, Randall Wallace is not, who chose to walk away from the project after the studio bent to Vince’s will. The real question isn’t whether they’ll be able to find a new director, though, but just how in the world Vince is going to bounce back a second time when Hollywood becomes privy to this scandalous behavior.
It certainly can’t end well for him, but at least Ari is trying to mend his broken relationships as he experiences trouble on both home fronts. Not only has Ari promised a “kinder, gentler” workplace to his current staff just as old employees begin to come out of the woodwork to sue him, but Mrs. Ari feels embarrassed by the entire situation, going so far as to call an emergency therapy session to try and work out their marital problems one last time. Ari would probably tell you that there’s nothing wrong with his marriage, but Mrs. Ari wants some changes (including a no-Blackberrys-in-the-house rule and no more broken promises) lest she have to reevaluate their relationship. Though Ari seems a little hurt by the ultimatum, he eventually agrees, if only because he’s already late for an important meeting with Mark Cuban.
I rather suspect that Gary Coleman had long ago resigned himself to the fact that, on the event of his death, he would be forced to endure a series of obituaries which liberally utilized the adjectives “diminutive” and/or “pint-sized,” used the phrase “child star” as an obscenity, and found some way, no matter how desperately, to incorporate the words “whatchu talkin’ ’bout” into their text. Fair enough: the man had a legacy, and that legacy – for better or worse – inextricably revolved around his work as Arnold Jackson on the fondly-remembered-almost-exclusively-by-those-who-lived-through-the-’80s sitcom, “Diff’rent Strokes.” In that I resemble that remark, however, I do not deny that I mourn Coleman’s death.
Coleman, who died today at the age of 42 after suffering an intercranial hemorrhage, was as much a part of my childhood as any other pop culture icon. Despite the fact that my father hated “Diff’rent Strokes,” my sister and I forced him to endure it week after week, much as NBC forced me to endure a crossover with “Hello, Larry” just so that I could see how the crossover between the two series panned out. The character of Arnold Jackson was the classic example of the kid who was ostensibly saying everything that we were thinking, and Coleman played the role to perfection…so much so, in fact, that he parleyed the same characteristics into every other character he played for the next several years, be it a boy scout (“Scout’s Honor”), a baseball player (“The Kid from Left Field”), a brain (“The Kid with the 200 I.Q.”), or even an angel (“The Kid with the Broken Halo,” which was spun off into an animated series simply entitled “The Gary Coleman Show“). This served him well during the ’80s, but once “Diff’rent Strokes” ended, so for all practical purposes did Coleman’s career.
Oh, sure, he continued to make guest appearances in films and on television series, generally as himself…or, at the very least, someone who had a tendency to demand to know what people were talkin’ ’bout. Once reality television took off, he was able to pick up even more work, courtesy of shows like “Star Dates” and “The Surreal Life” (and, unfortunately for him, “Divorce Court”), and, lest we forget, he made a few memorable voiceover appearances on “The Simpsons,” too. For the most part, though, you tended to feel bad for him. His financial battles, many of which could be traced back to when his parents wreaked havoc on his “Diff’rent Strokes” money while he was still a minor, were almost as legendary as the health battles which kept him trapped at a height of 4’8″ into adulthood.
In the wake of Gary Coleman’s death, better we should forget all of the years we spent watching him painfully trying to wring a few more moments of fame (and, in turn, a few more paychecks) out of his past and, instead, focus on what made him famous in the first place. It might’ve been an albatross around his neck as often as not, but when I was 10 years old, I thought it was the funniest thing on earth to hear him say his signature line, so I think I’ll listen to it one more time and remember how much laughter he gave me back then.
The network upfronts roll on, this time with the fine folks at Fox trotting out their new fall schedule and revealing which new series have been selected to accompany those series which have survived. As of this writing, there are no clips to accompany the descriptions of the new shows, but I’m led to understand that we’ll be getting those in due course, so…oh, wait, scratch that: they just arrived!
Well, with that being the case, you can read the descriptions and check out the clips of what Fox has for us for the upcoming season. Just be sure to let us know what you think about what they’re offering up! Oh, and before you ask, we didn’t forget to include a clip for the last series. They didn’t offer a clip for the last series…but, hell, I don’t even think they’ve cast it yet, so at least they’ve got a good excuse.
8 – 9 PM: HOUSE
9 – 10 PM: LONESTAR: a provocative soap set against the backdrop of big Texas oil, from Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman, the creators of “Party of Five”; Marc Webb, the director of “(500) Days of Summer”; and creator Kyle Killen. Robert / Bob Allen (newcomer James Wolk) is a charismatic and brilliant schemer who has meticulously constructed two lives in two different parts of Texas. He’s juggling two identities and two women in two very different worlds – all under one mountain of lies. As “Bob,” he lives in Houston and is married to Cat (Adrianne Palicki, “Friday Night Lights”), the beautiful daughter of Clint (Jon Voight, 24, “Midnight Cowboy”), the patriarch of an ultra-wealthy Texas oil family. More than 400 miles away in the suburban west Texas town of Midland, he’s “Robert,” living a second life with his sweet, naïve girlfriend, Lindsay (Eloise Mumford, “Mercy,” “Law & Order: SVU”). In Midland, he plays the perfect boyfriend while secretly bilking local investors of their savings. In Houston, he’s a devoted husband, charming Cat and her family to cement his position in the rich family business he aims to clean out. Bob has lived both lives successfully for years without arousing any suspicions…so far.
While one brother-in-law, Drew (Bryce Johnson, “Popular,” “The Mentalist”), admires Bob, his other brother-in-law, Trammell (Mark Deklin, “Nip/Tuck,” “Desperate Housewives”), is suspicious of his motives. Bob begins to fear his secret lives may unravel. With the cons closing in on him, Bob is divided by his love for two women; his loyalty to his father and mentor, John (David Keith, “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “The Class”); and his respect for his father-in-law, Clint. Now as he tries to hold his two lives together, while fending off angry investors and the suspicions of those around him, Bob puts it all on the line hoping he can beat the odds, leave the schemes behind and keep two separate relationships afloat.
Too old to trick or treat but not popular enough to get invited to a Halloween party? Fortunately, we have the perfect solution to keep you in the spirit of the holiday while keeping your brain occupied enough to forget how uncool you are: a list of 31 great Halloween episodes from throughout TV history. It’s not a complete list, of course, and we’ve left out specials, so leave your complaints about the exclusion of “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” at the door. Instead, just embrace the fact that we’ve found as many clips and complete episodes for your viewing enjoyment as we possibly could. You’re welcome…and Happy Halloween!
1. The Addams Family, “Halloween with the Addams Family”: The Addams family are all busy preparing for their favorite holiday, but their celebration is bolstered by a pair of bank robbers…one of whom is played by Don Rickles…who they welcome as trick-or-treaters.
2. The Andy Griffith Show, “The Haunted House”: Maybe it isn’t officially a Halloween episode, but it first aired in October 1963, and it focuses on Barney and Gomer trying to retrieve a baseball from a supposedly haunted house and finding some strange goings on inside. As far as I’m concerned, that’s close enough for jazz.
3. Angel, “Life of the Party”: Lorne throws a Halloween party for all the firm’s clients and employees, but during the gathering, his advice to his friends starts happening literally: Fred and Wesley get drunk after Lorne tells them to loosen up, Spike and Harmony dance the night away, Angel and Eve do the horizontal bop, and, Gunn, uh, relieves himself after being told to “stake out his territory.” Good times.
4. Beavis and Butthead, “Butt-o-ween”: It starts simply enough, with the guys trying to master the concept of trick or treating, first without costumes, then wearing Beavis’s “monkey sheets” and going as ghosts. Eventually, however, Beavis + Halloween candy = Cornholio. The equation was ever thus, and here it leads to a quest for more candy…and, y’know, some T.P. for his bunghole.
5. Beverly Hills 90210, “Halloween”: The stock line is that Halloween costumes allow a woman to bring out her inner slut, and when the gang from West Beverly goes to a Halloween party, Kelly’s seductive costume leads a college student to translate “no” as “yes.” It’s absolutely inexcusable, of course, but – whew! – you can’t say she doesn’t make an impression. Meanwhile, Brenda and Dylan go as Bonnie and Clyde, Steve is Zorro, and Donna comes as a mermaid, a move which seriously hinders her dance moves.