Louie C.K.’s SNL Episode Won’t Be Stopped By Sandy

If anyone on Louis C.K.’s mailing list wasn’t thinking of watching tonight’s Saturday Night Live already, Louis himself has a final word for them.

The New York comedic hero has built one of the most lauded T.V. shows, Louie, as on his own as any T.V. show can be while still managing a new hour of stand-up material seemingly every week. That said, he’s not a man with a million voices and characters or seemingly the capacity to do that, making his appearance on the sketch show an interesting one.

The episode, which in Louie’s e-mail to his fans he says is “completely most probably happening”, should also be an emotional one thanks to Sandy. Not only is he appearing on SNL, a show that very much wears its ties to New York City proudly, but Louie himself is a long time resident.

In the message, he writes about walking to 30 Rock this past week for rehearsals:

And for me, the village being the very place that made me into a comedian and a man, to walk through the heart of it and feel like, in a way, it was dead. I can’t tell you how that felt. And you also had a palpable sense that inside each dark window was a family or a student or an artist or an old woman living alone, just being int he dark and waiting for the day to come back. Like we were all having one big sleep over, but not so much fun as that.

I’m guessing tonight will be something special.

(F.Y.I., as long as we’re talking about mailing lists, the most entertaining music-related one I’m on his for British Sea Power. They might not be the most informative since parts of them seem to go through some free-association generator before they hit my inbox, but they’re a hundred times funner than the million “we’re playing L.A. this weekend” e-mails going around out there.)

Networks Getting Snarky All Up In Their Programming Blocks

I had no idea that CTV news releases could be so… refreshing.

In a strongly worded legal directive, the CBC has accused CTV’s branding of being “confusing” to viewers with respect to their trademark for “Hockey Night In Canada.” “We take this matter very seriously,” the letter said.

Apparently, reasonable viewers could consider encore hockey broadcasts “confusing” with the widely popular comedy series about four socially awkward scientists and their friends.

So, out of deep respect for the millions of viewers that CBC has alleged are “confused”, and in the spirit of the Lady Byng trophy, CTV today pledged that it will heed the request and rebrand its Saturday night programming as BIG BANG NIGHT ON CTV.

Hopefully, the move will prevent further “reducing the esteem” of CBC’s programming.

Read the rest at the link. Truly we live in a golden age of something or other.

Rosie`s Six In The Morning, Brought To You By Billy Jack Dog Food, The Dog Food Billy Jack Eats

WHO WOULD JESUS PROTECT? Nuns challenging the patriarchal system, or bishops paying off child molesters in the church so they can stop gays from marrying? That’s a trick question, Pope Ratzzo.

WHAT HAPPENED IN WISCONSIN? Three things: money talks in American politics (the Republicans spent seven times as much in the recall campaign as the Democratic Party), there’s not much ‘solidarity forever’ in the union movement, as members of private sector unions voted for politicians who would undercut public sector unions, not realizing that private sector unions would be next on the chopping block, and the Democratic National Committee is so screwed up that I don’t think they could get Obama re-elected.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END The last episode of inSAYSHAble is webcast.

CELEBRITY CULTURE Probably the best article about our version of American Psycho – or Derek Zoolander as Charles Manson.

IT’S NOT OVER YET What, they’re STILL playing hockey?

EURO 2012 UPDATE Team England is in a lot of trouble as manager Roy Hodgson dumps former captain Rio Ferdinand and keeps John Terry (Terry is accused of using racial insults against Rio’s brother Anton in a Chelsea-Queen’s Park Rangers EPL tilt this winter). Only fitting, since it looks as though there’s going to be big, big problems with racist fans in Poland and Ukraine during this tournament.

YOUR MUSICAL MOMENT OF ZEN Alice Cooper will be playing Moose Jaw’s new hockey rink this fall, which will be the second greatest event in the city’s history since the Ku Klux Klan drove the hookers out in 1927. In honor of that, here`s Alice in 1971, playing Is It My Body.

Six Hitlers In The Evening

Inspired by last night’s Talkies screening of They Saved Hitler’s Brain, here’s a Six in the Evening dedicated to Hitlers in T.V. and film off the top of my head. (Also, the next Talkies is July 16 at the Creative City Centre. I suggest you go.)

1 THEY SAVED HITLER’S BRAIN It isn’t just Hitler’s brain they saved — it was his hangdog face and the head that goes along with it. He doesn’t say much as they cart him around. Hitler mostly seems bummed out, except when he witnesses a shooting. That really gets him going.

2 DANGER 5 Each week, the heroes of this Australian series from the creators of Italian Spiderman were tasked with killing Hitler. In turn, the German dictator employs mind control, lizard people, robots and every other 1960s B-movie plot to try and foil them.

3 DOWNFALL I’m sure the Dog Blog has posted a few edits of the meme-worthy scene where Hitler flips his lid, accompanied by new subtitles for every version. Just about every big event for a while had a subsequent video of this Hitler getting mad about it.

4 HEIL HONEY I’M HOME! A T.V. show has to hit a lot of different marks at once to get yanked after the first episode airs. This goof on the I Love Lucy-style sitcom, with Hitler and Eva Braun replacing Desi and Lucy, seemed designed to get the boot.

5 INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE It’s a brief cameo, to be sure, when our favourite adventurer bumps into the Fuhrer. But when the two best installments are of this series are full-up with Nazis, if Henry Jones didn’t meet Hitler at least once, it would be a big letdown.

6 THE GREAT DICTATOR Chaplin was sticking it to Hitler before any of the folks above.

Rave On, John Donne

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

John Donne.

The voice of Gumby and the Trololo man died over the weekend.

Dick Beals was 85, Edward Khill was 77.

Jerks Should Lay Off Girls

I’ve been enjoying Girls a lot since it premiered — in fact, I can’t think of another show that premiered this year that I’ve liked more. There are moments of such honesty in this show, mixed with some great, off-kilter humour I wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Which is why it’s such a shame the commenters at the A.V. Club have been so awful about it. I haven’t witnessed it first hand, but I’ve seen Twitter chatter from people like Todd VanDerWerff, who reviews each episode for the site, about the misogynistic streak this show has brought out in their site’s users. Lena Dunham, the star and creator of the HBO series, has apparently had her appearance attacked over and over again, for one.

I’m not sure what comment pushed VanDerWerff over the edge — it was evidently flagged so much that it was removed — but he wrote a response that’s nearly as long as his review.

From that response:

But your comment still really gets under my skin in a way I’m fairly sure you didn’t intend it. And I’m sure if I said that, you’d say, “Whatever. It’s just a joke.” Maybe it’s because I just got done watching a pretty amazing Mad Men episode about how no matter how good a woman is at what she does, some men will always perceive her as an object. Maybe it’s because I’ve known a million amazing women who were far more Lena Dunham-esque than Allison Williams-esque. Maybe it’s because, when you come right down to it, Lena Dunham is a very good looking woman. Maybe it’s because I assume you’re a young-ish kid, 18 or 19 or 20, and I know that if you shut yourself off from women who don’t look TV-perfect, you’re going to be missing out on amazing friends and girlfriends, people who could enrich your life. Maybe it’s because what you said is what an asshole would say, and I don’t like assholes. Maybe it’s because this website’s comments section is full of women — and more and more every day — and too many of you want to treat it like it’s some old boys’ club, where everybody can walk around and make sexist cracks and all the women are just supposed to take it (and you can say whatever you want, but what you said was fucking sexist and disgusting).

He goes on from there. If online T.V. criticism has ever felt essential, the battle VanDerWerff is being forced to wage in the comments section is that moment.

T.V. Heartbreaks To Come

Entertainment Weekly has compiled a list of the fall 2012 T.V. pilots from the five U.S. broadcast networks. So, if having a show you like canceled after one season isn’t enough; if having some great looking shows canned after just two episodes isn’t enough; or if you obviously don’t have a heart to break and don’t get far too attached to the lives of fictional characters, then you can go look at the whole, five-page long list.

In it, you’ll find projects from established cool people who do cool things, like Zachary Levi, Connie Britton, Judy Greer and Scott Foley. There’s also projects from established producers like J.J. Abrams and Supernatural‘s Eric Kripke in addition to fellows like Greg Daniels, who managed to bring Parks and Recreation into this world but who also might be dead inside from having to drag the bloated-and-dying body of the American Office around with him wherever he goes at NBC.

My feeling is that the NBC shows have the most promise, but we’ll see where the episode orders get handed out. For all we know, The Selection, starring Friday Night Lights alum Aimee Teegarden and, based on its premise, seemingly a hair away from carrying the alternate title The CW Presents The Hunger Games: The Show, might be the smash hit of the season.

Of special interest to our offices at the prairie dog — and maybe to our Google presence, if it takes off — is a Fox sitcom called Prairie Dogs. Kal Penn, he of Harold and Kumar and White House fame, has a role. Here’s the logline:

Neil, an uncool cubicle worker, or prairie dog, at one of the coolest companies in the world, is victim to identity theft. When he discovers the thief has created a much more fulfilling, kick ass life with his identity, he engages the charismatic conman to help him reinvent himself.

Obviously, if it goes to series, we’re doing recaps and reviews on the Dog Blog, every week. Get ready to hear “You’re such a Neil” a lot around these parts.

Savage Talks To The Kids

We talked about a big accomplishment for a member of the Stranger‘s staff yesterday. Today, let me point you towards another — Savage U, Dan Savage’s new MTV show.

(By mentioning those two things in one breath, am I saying winning a Pulitzer Prize is comparable to getting an MTV show? Sure. The accomplishments of the Icki Twins, the stars of MTV’s Double Shot at Love, are roughly analogous to those of Cormac McCarthy, without question.)

Savage U presents some of the columnist’s talks at colleges and universities to students on sex, along with some additional, Savage-on-individual-students bits mixed in there. If you read his column or podcast, you’ll recognize some of the territory he covers. I think I’ve heard the line “If you dump the honest foot fetishist, you will marry the dishonest necrophiliac” a good three or four times by now, though it always bears repeating.

The show also feels like MTV through and through. Annoyingly-brief clips of songs need to underscore virtually every sentiment expressed.

But never mind all that — Savage is a straight charmer of the first degree, funny and engaging at all times. And he’s made one of the few really positive reality shows on MTV since one of my personal favs, From G’s to Gents. Plus, if he browbeats even one kid into using condoms, this show will have been worth it. You can watch it for free over at MTV Canada’s website.

Mother Told Me, Yes She Told Me, I’d Meet Girls Like You. She Also Told Me Stay Away, You’ll Never Know What You’ll Catch

The auditions for The Batchelor Canada have begun. Of course, don’t think for a minute that this is ‘reality television,’ because the reality is that the producers are looking for crazy — maybe not axe-wielding crazy or totally nymphomaniac, but crazy enough to attract eyeballs to advertisers.

My advice to The Bachelor, and to viewers? Run. While you still can.

More About The Worst Television Show In Canada

Apparently on The L.A. Complex (IMDB) tonight, either Raquel or Alicia is supposed to be in a sex tape (according to my Twitter feed). It took four episodes for the writers (prairie dog, more specifically the ninth paragraph) to get around to revealing, if you pardon the pun, the extent they will go to attract eyeballs when they don’t have anything else to offer. Like decent acting. Or a plot. Or a reason why we should care about these characters.

God, at least The Red Green Show encouraged us to laugh with the characters as much as we laughed at them. These poor folk don’t even get THAT self aware.

Headline Of The Day

Your headline of the day: “CW orders ‘musical chairs’ game show Oh Sit!

When I spotted that in my RSS feed, I thought it was a sarcastic A.V. Club headline. Nope — it’s Entertainment Weekly, writing with no snark in sight. Maybe the mocking is implied; really, how could you goof on a show the post describes as “musical chairs for adults” any more than it goofs on itself?

The only explanation for this show’s existence is that the failure of H8R really messed with CW’s worldview. How could audiences deny Mario Lopez? Couldn’t they see that professional-asshole Joe Francis is just like us? In short, we’re all to blame for this mess.

The L.A. Complex Isn’t The End Of The World For The Canadian TV Production Industry, But You Can See It From There

If I were Jewel Staite, (IMDB) I wouldn’t answer the door. I wouldn’t open my mail unless it was the bills. I’d take a deep breath – better yet, several deep breaths into a paper bag to avoid hyperventilating. Staite, a good second-banana actress in several short-lived television series and a few Grade B movies (Higher Ground, Firefly, Serenity, Wonderfalls, Stargate Atlantis), (IMDB) turns 30 in less than six months, where the Logan’s Run button on a female actor’s career blinks if she isn’t an A-lister, hasn’t appeared on the cover of People or Us at least three times, or isn’t the life partner/sex partner/beard of an A-lister.

I would answer not the phone, texts or emails until I’ve really thought about things. I’d give a short call to parents and one or two best friends to let them know I’m all right. Everybody would want to talk to you as if had been stricken with a terminal disease, and while things may be bad, they’re not that bad (or if she thinks it’s that bad, I’m pretty sure Vancouver has a crisis/suicide line). If I would want to continue in this career, I should, for inspiration, search YouTube for Space 1999 scenes involving Barry Morse, the late great Canadian thespian who managed to do professional work during the first season of that Godawful 1970s British science fiction show.

If CTV/MuchMusic’s publicity department keeps calling, tell them you’re not feeling well, which will be true, in a way. And if the producers, directors or writers from The L.A. Complex (CTV) call, you think very long and very hard before you reply. The Canadian television industry is a small community, and you really can’t afford to alienate anyone if you want to keep working, so you have to eat it and smile. But, unless Staite has the hide or the self-awareness of a stegosaurus (prairie dog), she should be cursing anybody involved with the design and structure of this show with the intensity of a supernova.

(more after the jump: not all of it is safe for work)

Continue reading “The L.A. Complex Isn’t The End Of The World For The Canadian TV Production Industry, But You Can See It From There”

Names Are Tough, But Not This Tough

The A.V. Club‘s T.V. editor, Todd VanDerWerff, has been doing some extremely entertaining tweeting at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. Events like this might be easy picking for funny comments, but regardless, he’s hitting it out of the park.

My favourites so far have been for the new midseason NBC sitcom, Are You There, Chelsea? The main topic of conversation has been the baffling name. Anyone familiar with comedian Chelsea Handler should be a little puzzled, too. Her book, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, is the basis for the show.

That title makes plenty of sense. Are You There, Chelsea? doesn’t. It makes the show sound like more of an existential journey then I think they’re going for. Why the change? According to Handler — and as quoted by VanDerWerff — the name change came because “not everybody likes vodka.”


VanDerWerff also notes

“Because we were a midseason show, we really had time to fine-tune the show,” says Laura Prepon… of the title change. #tca12 #doubt

Add in this gem:

This executive producer is comparing Chelsea Handler (the character) to Roseanne. Now, he calls her “half-male/half-female.” #no #tca12

That’s a heck of a lot of red flags for one show. Combine all that with the show it’s blocked with on the NBC schedule, Whitney, a show based on the comedy of Whitney Cummings that has been trying to revive uninspired relationship sitcom plots for a season to no avail. Handler has a huge following thanks to her talk show, Chelsea Lately, which she has built into a cable favourite. But wow does this ever seem hopelessly mismanaged.

The Couch Potato Divide

I’ve been alerted (thanks Terry!) to a poll that contrasts U.S. Democrat supporters favourite television shows with those of  self-identified conservative Republicans. From Entertainment Weekly:

In a report prepared exclusively for EW, the company calculated some of the favorite — and least favorite — TV shows of political partisans. (Specifically: the report measures which shows among the survey group were watched by the highest concentration of self-identified “Liberal Democrats” and “Conservative Republicans.”) In the findings, “sarcastic” media-savvy comedies and morally murky antiheroes tend to draw Dems [while] serious work-centered shows (both reality shows and stylized scripted procedurals), along with reality competitions, tend to draw conservatives.

The thing that surprises me is that there’s no overlap in the top 25 liberal Democrat’s fave TV shows and top 25 Conservative Republican’s most watched programs. Democrats don’t like This Old House? Republicans don’t like The Walking Dead? Weird.

It’s pretty funny that Republicans like more PBS shows than Dems, though. But I’m a little annoyed that Republicans are bigger Mythbusters fans than Democrats.

Top 6 T.V. Update

If you want to read my write-up for the six best T.V. premiers of this season, you’ll have to pick up an ink-and-dead-tree copy of the prairie dog, since our Top 6s are print-only.

This is just a quick update on the status of my newly-beloved shows. See, when I wrote my list a few weeks back, I purposefully wrote about new T.V. shows that hadn’t yet been cancelled. (Which precluded the inclusion of Free Agents, a show that I found so so charming and only had four episodes air.) I was lucky that none of that changed by the time it went to print, at least officially.

A quick rundown of where we now stand:

– ABC’s Suburgatory and NBC’s Up All Night both seem like good contenders for second season pick-ups, even if the latter is getting bumped around in the network’s mid-season shuffle. Fox’s New Girl also had some scheduling issues, getting pushed back thanks to baseball, but will still probably be around this time next year.

– ABC’s fun show with a delightful French woman named Collette, Pan Am, will probably end after its current run of 14 episodes. Boo. Same goes for NBC’s Prime Suspect, a great procedural. I’m honestly baffled by why this one didn’t catch. I guess it couldn’t compete with the near-dead air that CBS puts out and calls cop shows.

– Showtime’s Homeland, one of the best T.V. shows that you should be watching right now, is already picked up for a second season. Damn straight. (That’s Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin in character above. I imagine Patinkin was probably wearing that same expression when he got news of Homeland‘s second season. I think he always has that expression on.)

If you wanna torture yourself with all the numbers for these shows — and the inevitability of Fringe getting cancelled — hop on over to TV by the Numbers.

In Worrying-But-Non-Occupy-Related News

If you listened closely yesterday, you could probably hear the gentle splashing of T.V. nerd tears on keyboards as NBC announced that anemically-rated but cult-adored sitcom Community has been bumped from the midseason schedule. The details aren’t all bad — they’ve still got an order for 22 episodes, so the current season will still be a full one.

For a show that’s had a season-to-season renewal question mark hanging over its head, a move like this is enough to throw fans into a frenzy. As it did; for example, the A.V. Club‘s great blogger Sean O’Neal wrote this post. Shortly after, he took to Twitter, saying, “Holy shit, 53 comments in approximately 45 seconds on our Community post. I think I can probably just stop for the night.”

Besides the fact that NBC still has an order for more episodes, T.V. by the Numbers’ Bill Gorman points out one promising sign for a Season 4 of Community: the threshold for T.V. syndication these days is no longer 100 episodes, but closer to 88. Community‘s production company, Sony, has in the past reduced the price to the network for a renewal so that they could hit that syndication number.

So, some hope yet.

Muppets On WWE

I might not be the best person to give an appreciation of the Muppets recent appearance on Monday Night Raw — maybe Dan MacRae can sound off on what Beaker being related to Sheamus might mean for the WWE Universe — but I’ve got a few quick observations nonetheless.

WWE FANS ARE ALL ABOUT THE MUPPETS At least the ones on camera. But even if there were some haters in the crowd, they were outweighed by the delight some of the bearded wrestling fans had seeing Kermit and Miss Piggy. And that delighted me.

DR. BUNSEN HONEYDEW IS MAKING AN ENERGY DRINK For real, if they started bringing this out, that would be wonderful. Anything would be better, really, than the incredibly embarrassing cans Monster of Full Throttle come in. Although the conceit of a Honeydew creation that actually works as it should is a little off.

IT FEELS AT LEAST A BIT LIKE THE MUPPET SHOW Make no mistake, it’s still clearly Raw in tone and, well, they’re wrestling and stuff, but seeing the Muppets play off real people and having to accommodate them felt a lot like the classic Muppet Show.

THEY’RE MISSING SOME MUPPETS Namely, Granny the Gouger and Sam the Eagle. The latter would have plenty of moral outrage to throw around at event filled with such colourful characters.

Dead Keep Walking

The Walking Dead, AMC’s most successful zombie-related and non-zombie-related show, has been renewed for a third season just two episodes into Season Two.

To celebrate, why not take a stroll over to cast member IronE Singleton’s website? There, you can read his acting tips or even listen to a rap track he composed about the hit show. Yeah, that second thing exists, and it’s called “We Are the Walking Dead”.

Ultrasonic Alarm Call Episode 10: Signal To Noise

What is orgonite and how can it help with that chem trails problem? Why are crop circles so darned pretty? Do dogs have auras? How can Archangel Michael help out with the lotto?

We answer all these questions and more in this week’s Ultrasonic episode as we recap our roadtrip to beautiful Fort Qu’appelle for the Extraordinary Fair, a paranormal symposium.

We have interviews with a ghost hunter, a crop circle researcher and an angel channeller! And we drink Manhattans! It’s 100% pure fun!

(And if you want even more paranormal thrills, be sure to check out the next issue of prairie dog, which will be hitting newsstands and countertops city wide later this week. We have more on the paranormal fair and we have an interview with someone very amazing.)

Also in this episode, Shane and Aidan have seen Drive. Did they like it? Does a Chevy Malibu have a soul? Can it learn to love? I imagine it must. Why else would people keep them as pets? And what about the Emmys? They’re long over but why did they suck so hard? Aidan has a few ideas.

Ultrasonic Alarm Call Episode 10 — Signal To Noise: At the table, Aidan Morgan (host), Vanda Schmockel, Shane Hnetka, and me. Music by the always excellent Lazy MKs. Runtime 31 min of free-ranging mockery, 11 min 28 sec guilt.o download this episode for your later listening enjoyment, click on the radio above or on the little down arrow in the player window.

To download, click on the radio above and be sure to check out our podcast library here.