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Entries in comedy (180)

Friday
Jun242016

Emmy FYC: Amy Landecker in "Transparent"

Eric here, with a plea for Emmy consideration for a dark horse candidate for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy:  Amy Landecker for Amazon’s Transparent.

Transparent is generous to all of its actors because it gives them dramatically complicated landscapes to play in with dialogue that doesn't always fill in those gaps for emotional transitions and arcs. It's the kind of hard work actors love to do.  This is, of course, how we all make realizations in “real life” so the actors in Transparent are key to the delicate naturalism of the show, and the creative team behind them have the grace and intelligence to capture the work without exploiting their vulnerability.

Amy Landecker, who plays the eldest sibling Sarah, does wonders with an extraordinarily difficult character.  In season one, Sarah leaves her husband Len for another woman (Tammy) in a sex-obsessed haze and a rebellion against her controlled, “perfect” existence.  But in the first episode of season two, under Emmy consideration this year, Sarah realizes that not only can she not go through with the wedding to Tammy, not only does she not love Tammy, in fact she HATES Tammy, and that all of her decisions have been wrong.  

The idea of realizing on your wedding day that you’ve made the wrong decision is a decades-old entertainment cliché, usually reserved for romantic comedies.  But Landecker has to carry the naturalistic weight of what that epiphany REALLY means.  This sense of loss, and of being lost, is her arc throughout season two, and the actress finds layers of anger, humor, and fear that are quite astonishing. Sarah may be a control freak, but she is constantly on the verge of falling apart.  After spending her lifetime building the ideal family, season two finds her completely alone.  Landecker’s natural appeal clues you into the fact that Sarah has always been popular and successful, and for the first time in her life she has driven full-force into a wall. She has no resources for being lonely.  Landecker calibrates Sarah’s unraveling in the way we see it in people we know:  bursts of anger, momentarily losses of control, casual cruelties to others she sees as weaker and less witty than herself.  

It’s also unerring to see such a sexually frank portrayal of a middle-aged mother in any medium.  Sarah not only talks about sex, she makes life decisions based on sex (as, of course, most people do).  She’s extra proud of her boobs (the character is costumed with subtle attention to them) and leads with sexual confidence.  Landecker is also smart enough to show us Sarah's spoiled streak - she comes from a family with money, and she’s accustomed to attention and accommodation, and she’s lost without those things,  too.  This is a fully fleshed-out character, etched by an actress in masterful control.  She makes many actresses getting nominated for sitcom work seem juvenile in comparison. 

Previous Emmy Pieces
Emmy Drama Ballots |  Emmy Comedy Ballots | Donna Lynn Champlin "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" |  The People vs OJ SimpsonGillian Jacobs "Love"Riley Keough "The Girlfriend Experience" | Jeremy Allen White "Shameless" | Constance Zimmer "UnREAL" | Noah Galvin "The Real O'Neals" | "Mr Robot" leads TCA Nominations | Ten Nominees? 

Sunday
Jun192016

Review: Finding Dory

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

One of the best things about breakout supporting characters is that the fandom surrounding them comes honestly. Scene-stealers aren't handed their movies, but earn them. So it went with Dory, Ellen DeGeneres's forgetful blue tang who swam circles around every other character in Finding Nemo (2003), figuratively speaking, though she did sometimes swim in actual circles since she couldn't remember where she was going.

Thirteen years later, though Finding Dory takes place just after Finding Nemo ends, we're swimming in circles again with Dory, via a suspiciously similar movie. Let us count the ways...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun172016

Emmy FYC: Best Actress, Comedy - Gillian Jacobs in "Love"

We're sharing Emmy FYCs as nomination balloting continues. Here's guest contributor Sean Donovan...

When Gillian Jacobs angrily shouts “Surprise! I’m not the cool girl!” to her semi-boyfriend Gus (Paul Rust) on Netflix’s comedy series Love, she is speaking as an actress in Hollywood just as much as she is in character as Mickey. Jacobs was introduced to most viewers as “the cool girl,” Britta in the cult hit Community, initially serving the role of a fantasy love interest: a gorgeous twenty-something with just enough problems to appear “complicated,” but not in any especially strenuous or taxing capacity for male viewers. The cool girl who’s fun at parties, has great taste in everything, and is just chill. She’s not like those other girls!

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun112016

Emmy FYC: Supporting Actress in a Comedy - Donna Lynne Champlin in "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Emmy nomination voting begins Monday. For the next week or two we'll be sharing FYCs of some kind. Here's Dancin Dan...


Let's get one thing out of the way first: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend deserves Emmy nominations for pretty much every category in which it's eligible. Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom gave the most fearless, consistently great performance on TV this year as Rebecca Bunch, an attorney from New York who had a nervous breakdown and moved to West Covina, CA to chase after her ex-boyfriend from summer camp (Vincent Rodriguez III, taking a bland character and shading him just enough to make him more and more worthy of Rebecca's obsession). Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna created the musical comedy that fans of the genre have been waiting for, cleverly challenging expectations at every turn while maintaining a consistent level of quality that has eluded TV's other attempts at the genre (sorry, Glee and Smash).

But if the show can only get one nomination, the one I'm hoping for most - aside from Bloom, who will get and deserve plenty of articles like this until the nominations are announced - is for Donna Lynne Champlin as Best Supporting Actress. Champlin plays Paula, the office manager Rebecca's new law firm. In the pilot episode, Paula becomes as obsessed with Rebecca as Rebecca is with Josh...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun092016

Must Read Noah Galvin Interview

If you haven't yet read Vulture's interview with Noah Galvin do that immediately.

 The Real O'Neals star is candid, cocky, and catty. Though the big 3 networks have a tough time making headway in Emmy categories these days, that show would be a wonderful addition to the comedy lineups in several categories. Though Noah is the lead he's campaigning as supporting actor and he 1000% deserves a nod for his clever, heartfelt, nuanced but hilarious work as out gay teen Kenny O'Neal dealing with his Irish Catholic family and new confidence.

Still, I'm guessing Noah Galvin's scorched earth interview style, talking Hollywood's closeted gays for filth (yas queen!) and trashing Bryan Singer, Colton Haynes, Modern Family etcetera ... is not going to win him much favor in Tinsel Town though we're totally for it here at TFE. Hollywood needs to get woke on so many levels but especially in regards to ethnic and sexual diversity, both of which they're hopelessly behind with.

Here's an excerpt:

Are you trying to get me to throw somebody under the bus right now? Because I've thrown Eric Stonestreet under the bus a solid seven times this week. No, I think as wonderful of an actor as Eric Stonestreet is — I've never met him, I assume he's a wonderful guy — he's playing a caricature of a caricature of a stereotype of stereotype on Modern Family. And he's a straight man in real life. And as hilarious as that character is, there's a lack of authenticity. I think people — especially young gay kids — they can laugh at it, and they can see it as a source of comedy, but like, nothing more than that. And I want Kenny to be more than the funny gay kid.

UPDATE: Noah Galvin has retracted his comment on Bryan Singer and issued an apology to those he offended with the interview saying:

 I am new to this and will certainly commit to being more thoughtful and wiser as I navigate all of this moving forward.

 UPDATE #2 Colton Haynes has responded on Instagram

Tuesday
Jun072016

Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping

Eric here, with a quick review of the new movie from The Lonely Island comedy trio of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping.  

Pop Star is one of those films, like Anchorman or Zoolander, that gives you two choices:  surrender or resist.  You can either dive headfirst into this mockumentary of pop music sensation Conner4Real, and enjoy a hodgepodge of hit-or-miss jokes…or you can yawn at the filmmakers calling in a favor to every famous person they know (Carrie Underwood, Adam Levine, Usher, etc.) to lend some authenticity to the piece. 

If you resist, Pop Star is probably a pretty unbearable sit, because it’s another movie from producer Judd Apatow that features a bunch of male comedy guys conning a studio out of about $30 million just so they can show the world (and themselves) how adorably imbecilic but ultimately likable they are.  While the film itself is about an egomaniac, there’s a lingering ickiness about the ego behind and in front of the camera too.  The film purports to skewer rap star narcissism, but the behavior is celebrated as often as it’s parodied. 

But if you surrender, the laughs deliver...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun062016

Beauty vs Beast: The Sun Also Sets

Jason from MNPP here with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" - I think I must have had fever of the brain (to the lay-person that's called Kopfgeschlagen) last week because somehow I didn't take advantage of the 25th anniversary of one of my most favorite comedies of ever, Michael Hoffmann's Soapdish, the fizzy slapstick tale of backstage shenanigans at a daytime soap opera full of narcissistic psychopaths. Somewhere in the late 90s I wore out my VHS I watched this movie so many times - Soapdish is one you could stand me in front of a crowd, tell me to go, and I could perform the entire thing from start to finish, from crawdad butts to Tawny the Tweety-Bird Couturie.

The cast is to a tee in top form - even semi-cameos like Carrie Fisher's classic bitch Betsy Faye Sharon leave impressions so sharp I can summon up their character-names on command. But it's the poisonous rivalry between show queen Celeste Talbert (Sally Field) and "Nurse Nan" Montana Moorehead (Cathy Moriarty) that gives this Soap its eternal dishiness...

PREVIOUSLY With what could turn out to be her final X-Men movie we took the opportunity to say goodbye to Jennifer Lawrence's two blockbuster turns, and Katniss carried the day to the tune of about 80% of your vote - said Tom:

"I thought she was quite good in First Class (and looked great in that mod costuming). But it seems that her heart was always more focused on Katniss than Mystique. She openly expressed that she doesn't really wish to return to the role. She never seemed bored as Katniss, a complaint often lodged at her in regards to her X-Men performance."