For this installment of TNL, I've decided to focus on the most beloved new show of the fall season. That's right, Whitney. Since NBC has chosen to give it a full season pickup, I think its time to accept the show is here to stay until May. So before I get to the other recaps from last night, allow me to offer a few suggestions for how to make Whitney worthy of the laughter generated by its studio audience.
I wish that The Hangover had hit theaters in 2007 to get that roundtable's perspective on Mr. Chow, because my immediate reaction to the role in the context of Asian American stereotyping was that it represented more of the same. Don't get me wrong: Ken Jeong is a hilarious scene-stealer. And I get the fact that the comedy intentionally flaunted stereotypes to elevate the oh-no-they-didn't factor, but I still give Mr. Chow a meh.
In a kooky coincidence, the phrase "battle royale" was uttered on both Community and Parks and Recreation. In the spirit of the strange competitions exhibited on both shows this week, I'm going to crown one of our NBC comedies the winner of the Thursday Night Battle Royale.
(Spoiler alert: It wasn't the show filmed in front of a live studio audience.)
Like many people in the '90s, I tuned into NBC's enormously popular Thursday night comedy block for Friends, Seinfeld and many other shows in that time slot over the decade. At the time, it was like the TV equivalent of seeing Jurassic Park on opening weekend: It just felt like the thing to do.
Thursday nights on the Peacock Network are a completely different experience today. Unlike their '90s counterparts, Community, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and The Office aren't huge rating successes. (And 30 Rock is currently on hiatus until midseason due to Tina Fey's maternity leave, replaced by a little show called Whitney. Maybe you've heard of it?)
I just finished watching the new NBC comedy Up All Night, and though repeat viewings might reveal plot holes and problematic jokes (it is a network sitcom, after all), I absolutely loved it. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate are terrific as Reagan and Chris, a completely charming married couple who support one another but aren't too sappy or perfect, and Maya Rudolph is hysterical as Reagan's boss Ava, the Oprah-esque talk show host with a flair for the dramatic. I may be speaking a bit too soon since I've only seen one episode, but color me psyched about this show. (Yep, I said color me psyched. That's how psyched I am.)
I have always had a baseless, irrational hatred for Cameron Diaz. I've never kept up with any tabloid news about her personal life, so it's not like I think she's a bad person; I don't even think she's a bad actress. I just don't like her. So it was inevitable that I would have disliked Bad Teacher, even if it hadn't been so... bad.
While in Austin for SXSW, Kjerstin and I saw the highly anticipated (and highly publicized—there were posters all over town) Bridesmaids, a new potential blockbuster comedy from Judd Apatow, directed by Paul Feig and written by Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo. As the title suggests, it's about a woman (Wiig) whose best friend (Maya Rudolph) asks her to be the Maid of Honor at her upcoming wedding—Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Rose Byrne round out the cast as the titular bridesmaids. Bridal party formalities, bachelorette party wackiness, and bouts of barfing ensue. (We should note: We attended a "work in progress" screening, but Feig, who was in attendance along with Wiig, assured the audience that what we saw was basically a finished product.)
Maybe it was the hour-plus wait in line, the midnight showtime, or the beers we snuck in to the theater, but Kjerstin and I left this movie with distinctly different opinions.
Fresh off the harddrive, this episode of Bitch Radio features women from the Make-Believe issue of Bitch! If you're into women who make pop-culture collage art (say, Sonja Ahlers, author/artist of The Selves), who make it in Hollywood sans plastic surgery or selling out (I'm talking about the hilarious Jamie Denbo of Ronna and Beverly, Weeds, and Best Buds), who document the riot grrl movement (maybe Sara Marcus, author of Girls to the Front), or who use what most people consider a nerdy pastime for social change (like LARPing expert and player Sarah Bowman), then you should not miss this podcast! Plus it features music from Twin Sister, whose latest EP, Color Your Life is available from Infinite Beat records and they are currently on tour with the Morning Benders. .
Stream it below, subscribe on iTunes or RSS, or download at archive.org. Transcription available here (.doc). (Thank you, Katie!) Script after the jump.