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Entries in comedy (143)


Small Screen MVPs: The Leftovers, Transparent, Black-ish and more...

Each week or so we're asking member of Team Experience to share the MVP of whatever they've been watching on TV lately. The MVP may be a prop, a theme, a person, or a collective. In past episodes we've talked The Flash and Bob's Burgers, The Walking Dead and The Knick and a handful of others. Now five more shows hit our collective eyeballs. Maybe you're watching them?

The Leftovers' Showrunners
The first season of The Leftovers made for difficult but extremely rewarding viewing. But nothing could have prepared us for the show's second season, which has been more daring, more ambitious, and yes, even more difficult than the first. Take the season premiere, which spent its first nine minutes telling a prehistoric tale of a cavewoman and her infant child, before shifting to present-day Jarden, TX - thousands of miles away from the show's previous setting of Mapleton, NY. When characters we finally knew appeared, they were treated as supporting characters. And it wasn't until the fourth episode of the season that we finally came back to the opening scene's lake in the aftermath of the premiere-ending earthquake during which that entire lake and at least three girls disappeared. 

The sixth episode "Lens" was a killer dual showcase for the Emmy-worthy Carrie Coon and Regina King... More plus Transparent, The Mindy Project, and Black-ish after the jump...

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Annie Hall is the Funniest!

Murtada here.The Writers Guild of America released their list of the 101 funniest screenplays of all time. The screenplays were voted on by members of both the East and West coast branches of the WGA. The eligible screenplays had to be in English and at least one hour in length.

Woody Allen is by far the most popular name on the list. He has seven titles including the WGA’s top pick Annie Hall (1977) which he co-wrote with Marshall Brickman. Compartively Billy Wilder only has two titles on the list, The Apartment (1960) and Some Like it Hot (1959). Other writers scoring multiple films include Mel Brooks, Preston Sturges, Christopher Guest, Charlie Chaplin, the Coen Brothers and surprisingly Harold Ramis.

Perhaps to ward off criticism about the lack of representation of women and people of color, the WGA acknowledged the list’s heavy “white bro dudeness”:

"Comedy screenwriting has long been a playground that women and writers of color have not had enough time in. The work of Richard Pryor on Blazing Saddles, Tina Fey on Mean Girls, Amy Heckerling on Clueless, and Hagar Wilde, co-writer of Bringing Up Baby, makes you wonder what a list would be if the playground had been more inclusive all along."

That’s all well and good but even when included the stories of women were low on the list. Really The Hangover and Wedding Crashers are funnier than All About Eve and Mean Girls ? Come on !

Surely everybody looking at the list will have their own reservations and “Really!!!” moments. Tell us yours in the comments. 

The list in full after the jump:

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Spike Lee's "Bamboozled" - Still angry, still timely

TFE is celebrating the three Honorary Oscar winners this week. Here's Lynn Lee on one of Spike Lee's most controversial joints...

Is Spike Lee an Angry Black Man?  Reductive as the label is, it’s hard not to associate with an artist as reliably outspoken as he is accomplished—if only because so much of his best work is fueled by genuine anger at the condition of African Americans and the state of American race relations generally.  The irony of having achieved major critical and commercial success by channeling those frustrations surely hasn’t been lost on him, even if it’s done nothing to diminish them.

Bamboozled (2000), an incendiary, balls-to-the-wall satire about a disaffected black man who creates a pop culture monster, shows Lee at his angriest and most conflicted.  The film takes its cue from Malcolm X’s famous wakeup call:

You’ve been hoodwinked.  You’ve been had…You’ve been bamboozled”

It tells the tale of a Harvard-educated black TV writer (Damon Wayans, sporting a deliberately outlandish pseudo-French African accent) who pitches a hideously racist modern-day minstrel show as a fuck-you response to his white boss’s demand for “blacker” material—only to have the show become a megahit despite, or rather because of, the controversy it causes.  [More...]

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Situation Linky

Arts.Mic Our Manuel dives deep on TV's family sitcom through history and how it does and doesn't reflect our changing world. Fun and depressing stats.
Dark Horizons BBC will try adapting Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" into a franchise. Exciting since those books are so complex and adult (movies were probably never the right approach) but that said... good luck besting Nicole Kidman's Miss Coulter in the aborted movie franchise
Oscar Conversations [video] director, costume designer, and composer talk Beasts of No Nation
Africa is a Country Noah Tsikas with an alternative perspective on the much lauded Beasts of No Nation

Pajiba lists 20 upcoming sci-fi fantasy movies that are NOT from a franchise. How exciting. Original or fresh adaptations. Of course some of these will launch franchises if they're big
Guardian Colin Welland, Oscar winning screenwriter of Chariots of Fire has died. 
People Adele cites Madonna's "Frozen" as an inspirational song in her life. Same. That song rescued me at the time, no joke. (Love it when artists show Madonna respect rather than dissing her)
Little White Lies has a whole freaking issue on Carol ! Beautiful motion cover, too 
Los Angeles Times the ongoing drama of Quentin Tarantino vs the police
Boy Culture somehow I missed this Mommie Dearest night in Manhattan with actress Rutanya Alda (The Deer Hunter, Mommie Dearest) and Michael Musto 
Awards Daily talks to Tab Hunter about the documentary Tab Hunter: Confidential which is really fun if you're into Old Hollywood history
Playbill Here's a project with potential I hadn't heard a peep about: Shirley Maclaine and Amanda Seyfried will co-star in a movie about an old woman who wants to control everything including her own obituary. A young reporter has other ideas.
Variety Brad Pitt & Marion Cotillard (what a lovely pair) are headling Robert Zemeckis next feature and its got an Oscar hungry Thanksgiving 2016 release date 

Beauty Breaks
if you need it -- and who doesn't from time to time?
My New Plaid Pants Edgar Ramirez three times
NY Times amazing never before seen 80s photos of Madonna, Warhol, and Basquiat
Queerty on Empire's Jussie Smollet. Mmmm. Are any of you watching Season 2 of Empire? I don't like it quite as much this year but Jussie & Taraji & Gabby are still great fun
Vogue chooses best dressed: Meryl, Alicia, and someone named... Sienna Miller (sp?)
VJ Brendan Nicholas Hoult in Hero magazine. I saw this mag cover in London but if I'd known the photos were this good. It's a pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty reminder that he was so great in Mad Max Fury Road earlier this year. FYC people.



Queer Horror Night: You're Killing Me

Manuel here to talk about a new entry in that ever-growing queer horror genre, just in time for Halloween!

What if you were so steeped in irony that, when a random (but totally hot) stranger creeps up to you, admits to stalking you and having killed his ex-boyfriend you think it’s the funniest thing in the world, because, like, who even says things like that?

“Well, he’s not scary. He’s gorgeous! He just has a weird sense of humor…”

That’s the premise behind Jim Hansen and Jeffery Self’s You’re Killing Me, a horror comedy playing at NewFest just in time for Halloween.

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Our Small Screen MVPs of the Week

Who or what was your MVP of this past week on your small screens at home?

We polled Team Experience to share theirs. In this new world of infinite screens and schedules, whether you're bingeing, right up-to-date, or on demand surfing, we're all probably on different time tables so please do share yours as well.

If you watch these shows do you have the same MVPs?

MVPs of the Week

Homeland's Showrunner
Alex Gansa, showrunner of Homeland, has managed to take a great-show-turned-shitshow and make it thrilling again. I said it. I said thrilling. About late season Homeland!? Am I crazy? Maybe. The thing I fear is that it will all fall apart, that three (out of three!) excellent episodes this season will turn, by season’s end, into a fluke. But here’s what we’ve got: Characters behaving in ways that don’t immediately strike you as utterly stupid. Unpredictability. Twists. Bigger twists. Signature Homeland footchases involving losing people in crowds (we all love that, right?). A connection of the CIA to geopolitics that is complex. And I have no idea what Saul Berenson is up to.  I mean, I could have given the MVP to Mandy Patinkin just for drumming his fingers, but there’s so much going on visually, and in the writing, that Alex Gansa is my guy. (I’m recapping weekly here if you’re so inclined.) - Deborah Lipp

The Flash - Whoever Thought This Callback Up
In a strange reversal of current billion dollar movieverses, Marvel goes dark for television (see Daredevil and the upcoming Jessica Jones) and DC (The Flash/Supergirl) lightens up. The Flash's first season was a shock to the system, in that it was genuinely good: well plotted, bravely silly (Gorilla Grodd anyone?), filled with fizzy action sequences, jokey quips, and an unashamedly sentimental soul (has a lead male in a TV series ever cried as much as Grant Gustin on The Flash?) in other words: just like a comic book. Season 2 hasn't been as fun but the addition of drama from Earth Two (don't ask) in the form of another Flash Jay Garrick (played by TFE favorite Teddy Sears from Dollhouse/Masters of Sex) is promising. And this joyful bit ripped directly from comic book pages when a victim calls out for Flash and both heroes come running was pure throwback bliss. It was like I was a little kid hungrily flipping comic book pages again. - Nathaniel R

Bob's Burgers's Kristen Schaal
Confession: I love Kristen Schaal. In many circles that is a somewhat controversial stance since her comedy is at times almost intentionally grating (see 30 Rock which half the time didn’t know what to do with her Hazel Wassername). When it’s harnessed correctly (see The Daily Show, Flight of the Conchords) it is magical to behold. Seeing as her comedy so depends on her distinctive voice (a loony rubber band of a squeal) it’s no surprise she’s found success doing voiceover work (in the Toy Story franchise, in the great Gravity Falls, even in the amazing Archer). But it is her work as Louise Belcher in Bob’s Burgers which may be her crowning achievement. A conniving, no-nonsense, entrepreneurial nine year old whose adult schemes are hilariously at odds with her signature pink rabbit-ears hat, Louise prides herself on being the smartest person in the room. The latest episode, "Hauntening", where her parents attempt to give her a worthy scare with the world’s lamest haunted house was a brilliant showcase for Schaal, as her Louise goes from blasé indifference to outright fright by the end of the episode. - Manuel Betancourt

Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Chelsea Peretti 
When Captain Holt was transferred out of the 99 at the end of season two, and Gina Linetti loyally followed him out the door, devotees of TV's most reliable sitcom feared the worst. But of course the show wasn't going to let its two most valuable characters (give or take Rosa Diaz) go that easily, and if nothing else, the third season's initial episodes have made their contrived inclusions of the pair's new office a chance for Gina to exercise her superiority over everyone in the vicinity. "Gina Linetti," she introduces herself at one meeting, "the human form of the 100 emoji." Stand-up comedienne Chelsea Peretti has been acing this part from the very beginning, giving Gina a confidence that never seems arrogant despite almost complete narcissism. Whenever she speaks, her self-love seems completely genuine, because it is completely valid, but Peretti also roots it in an unspoken sense of the subservience Gina knows most women in her position would likely feel, and makes that rebellion even more empowering. Brooklyn Nine-Nine's most surprising strength is its variety of strong female characters in a workplace not typically kind to females, and Gina Linetti, despite her stereotypical role, is the crown emoji. - David Upton



Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Musical Numbers 
The pilot of the CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does not get off to the strongest possible start. But then, about ten minutes or so in, protagonist Rebecca Bunch (the supremely GIF-able Rachel Bloom) bursts into song, singing the praises of "West Covina, California" - the sun-dappled home of her former summer camp boyfriend Josh, who she not-entirely-accidentally runs into on the streets of NYC. Of course, she decides (much like Felicity before her) to ditch her soul-killing Junior Partnership at a high-powered law firm to follow him. In true movie musical fashion, she moves from the grey-blue streets of NYC to the golden-hued roads of CA over the course of the number, and in so doing kicks the show into high gear. The number just gets funnier and funnier as it goes, until it ends with Rebecca ascending to the heavens on a giant pretzel. It's musical comedy heaven. And that's just the first number. After what happened to Smash and Glee, it's tempting to think that musical series will only disappoint, but right now it looks like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is on the glitter-strewn path to greatness. - Dancin Dan


Golden Globe Musical or Comedy: a thin field or just a mysterious one?

Last week was a good one for Gold Derby. Not only did Ryan Murphy elevate their brand status by ____ them to death with an Oscar on American Horror Story but their story that David O. Russell's Joy would go Drama at the Golden Globes got a lot of "whoa, really?" press. I'm sure it's true-ish now but people are so exciteable about any "news" that I'm always finding myself in the position of splash of cold water realism. Truth: there are few certainties this early as it's only October and there's lots of wiggle room still for campaigns and precursor ponderings and such. Films are still entering (The Big Short) and exiting (I Saw The Light) the 2015 calendar and some switcheroos of fate/precursors/campaigning happen at all junctures on the way to Oscar: remember when My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Gangs of New York were suddenly Original Screenplays (oy); remember when Oscar decided abruptly that all the precursors were wrong and Kate Winslet was a leading lady in The Reader (they were right of course but it was super gross how all the precursors and media were all "Yay, category fraud!!!"); or when Whiplash was determined to be Adapted too late for its FYCs to urge voters to vote that way.

So let's assume that Joy is out of the Golden Globe Musical or Comedy and let's assume The Martian is in (though obviously things could change on either front). And after shedding whatever tears must be shed that the Coen Bros Hail, Caesar! is not opening in time to own this category, we move on.

Is the field thin or just mysterious to our eyes in October? Let's take a look after the jump...

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