That Time Matt Smith Directed A Soliloquy About Life, Adventure, And The Universe Right At Us

Notting Hill Be Cool

Posted by Sage

As if our obsession with each other wasn’t already groan-inducing enough, I’ll tell you that my blog wife and I have a yearly celebration of the start of our friendship. Friendaversaries are the shit. I highly recommend celebrating them with all of your people.

Last year, the event happened to coincide with the US premiere of the 7th season opener of Doctor Who: “Asylum of the Daleks,” and our first journalistic endeavor. Kim and I were lucky enough to attend not only the premiere screening at the historic Ziegfeld theater, but also the pre-screening press roundtable at the BBCAmerica offices to talk with Karen Gillan, producer Caroline Skinner, and, the man himself – Matty Smith.

BBC America Matt Caroline Karen

Zoommmgggg….

Rory So Cool
Samuel L Jackson Be Cool

Somehow we gathered our wits enough to conduct ourselves professionally (on the outside, at least), and I even managed to ask Matt Smith a question. From there, he launched into a complete and heartfelt answer that exemplified his deep understanding of his character AND singularly ruined us for good. Head to the bottom of the post for the full audio.

 

Me: “It seems like the stories of this season are just so huge, but one of the reasons that the fans are so passionate about the show and in fact THE reason that the fans are so passionate about the show is because it’s about relationships and character. (Matt: “Mm.”) So how do you hold on to those little moments when something like that (*Note: There was a poster of the “Asylum” promo still in the room.) is happening behind you?”

*Midi music goes off*

OMG MATT SMITH, OMG: “That’s actually my alarm! Sorry. My apologies. Um, well. I think, I think that’s a good question, because fundamentally it has to be about – I think people tune in to see the relationship between the Doctor and the companion. Ultimately. Every week. I think Steven invests in that. And around it, what’s so wonderful about the show and the form of the show is that you can explore any world, without restraints. There are no limits to where you can take this character. Um, but you know, I think what’s sort of – and it’s very interesting this season, you know, because Amy’s sort of worried about the Doctor being alone, and, and, um, I think, you know, I think he needs a human companion by his side. I think that, I think allowing – I think seeing the universe alone is different to showing the universe and letting someone else experience it. And I think, at its heart, that’s sort of what the show is. He’s giving people this gift of all of time and space. And that’s what’s wonderful about playing him. Cause, what a thing to say to someone! ‘Do you wanna come with me?’ (*Note: KIM AND I AUDIBLY SWOON. You can actually hear it on the recording.) And she’s like, ‘What’ll I see?’ ‘Everything. You can ever imagine. Everything. Possible. Ever.’ And, you know, as an idea, I think that fuels the sort of heart of the show, really.”

Bob's Burgers Dying
John Watson Consumed by Lust
Psyched What Is The Point

Thank you for indulging me in this reminiscence. May this memory live in our hearts forever and ever, amen.

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(It should be noted that “What a thing to say to someone! Do you want to come with me?” is now my text message alert. #sorrynotsorry –Kim)

Live Blogging the VMAs

Posted by Kim and Sage

We weren’t going to do this.  We really weren’t.  And THEN we were promised a reunion of epic proportions.  *NSYNC, you guys.  This had BETTER be happening.  So join us here at 8/7C PM for our VMA liveblog.  We’re waaaaaaaaaay too old for this shit….

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*N The Mix: The Defining VHS of A Generation

'N Sync sign

Posted by Sage

My hopes have risen and fallen with every confirmation or denial from “sources close to the band,” but this might really be happening, friends. When the New York Post first broke the rumor that my ride or die boy band was planning a surprise reunion at today’s Video Music Awards, I was hesitant to unleash the happy dance that I’ve bottled up inside for just this occasion. Dare I put myself out there and take the chance of getting hurt again?

But the Wright Entertainment Group has acquired and verified the @NSYNC handle and even gotten NSync.com back up and running. Could we be in for even more than a single reunion performance? In just a few hours, ten years of wishin’ and hopin’ will come to an end with the return of crisp dance moves, smooth harmonies and, if there IS a god – coordinated outfits. My preparations have begun. I’ve got the *N Sync catalog queued up on Spotify. I’ve been trading from-the-vault YouTube clips with my partner in *N Sync fandom crime. And last night, I revisited this seminal classic, a veritable rulebook for fans, the starter kit for knowing and loving JC, Joey, Lance, Chris, and Justin: *N The Mix.

*N The Mix VHS

Maybe, like me, you now own the remastered DVD version of this band bio. But your parents originally bought it for you on VHS, maybe from Sam Goody, maybe from Suncoast. When it wasn’t being carted around to every sleepover you attended, it was in your VCR, queued up to your favorite part. In a world without YouTube, *N The Mix was the fount to which we could return again and again to feed our need for ill choreography and vital information about the guys. And, as we prepare for a reunion performance that will surely end in tears (mine), I’d like to review its highlights with you.

Band History

Lance Bass N The Mix Band History

One cannot properly fangirl a boy band without knowing its origin story. *N The Mix offers this handy guide to remembering who knew who and from what in that teeming metropolis of talent: Orlando, Florida. The secret behind the legend was revealed years later in VH1’s Driven piece on the band, when we learned that the second N in *N Sync didn’t stand for “Lansten” at all. (The jig was up, frankly, when no one EVER called him that. Also, it’s not a real name.) The original bass was some guy named Jason, who quit the group because he didn’t think they were going anywhere. Oops.

“Little Jazz Versions”

JC Chasez N The Mix For the girl who eats everything

JC shares his slow-jammed, food-themed interpretation of “For The Girl Who Has Everything” and everyone melts at his angelic voice. Sexy even when you’re trying to be funny, JC. It’s your lot in life.

“Here We Go”

N Sync Here We Go Video

Don’t forget that *N Sync, like the Backstreet Boys, first hit it big in Germany before taking the US by storm. The “Here We Go” single was only released in the German market, along with this incredible, Europop-tinged video. The concept is what I assume Germans think Americans do all day, which is to pull some jerseys on our chicken-armed bodies, play basketball, and jump around like idiots. It’s flawless.

“500 Miles”

N Sync 500 Miles

The stars – they’re just like us! *N The Mix makes us feel closer to our dream men by showing them goofing around on stage, backstage, and on the road. It certainly worked on me. 45 seconds of lip-synching to The Proclaimers was worth hours and hours of performance in terms of my love for these dummies. And who can hear “500 Miles” without singing along? Not these guys.

N Sync Joey Chris Car

“I Love Lance!” Girl

Bless.

Hobbies

N Sync Lance Jetskiing

But what do my musical heros do in their downtime? 17-year-old (!) Justin Timberlake plays ball, because he’s tragically “not old enough to go clubbin.'” Chris tells the camera that he’s got some of the “craziest hobbies” you’ll ever find, which he reveals to be…spinning records and “chilling.” What a wacko! Lance likes to buzz around the coast of Florida on his jet ski; Joey’s all up in the club; and JC just wants everyone to leave him alone. JC is my spirit animal.

N Sync JC Sleep

“(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You”

After prepping us with two big pop tracks, *N Sync hit us with their first creamy ballad and wedding bands across the midwest are still indebted. The song was accompanied by their first story-driven video, which, thanks to the black and white palette, still looks pretty polished. GMHSALMTOY has everything a boy band ballad should: cute boys in white suits; Lou Pearlman’s weight in dry ice; a twist ending; and an obscenely long, parenthetical title. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore, kids.

“I Want You Back” – US Version

N Sync I Want You Back US

That’s enough with the high concepts and saccharine sentiment. Let’s drive over to Universal CityWalk and dance in the fucking street. Or, as JC puts it, “The minute you hear a hype beat, you just wanna go BOOM and hit something hard.” Indeed.

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Hot Switch Podcast: Episode 3, You STILL Want To Be In Love In A Movie

Notting Hill Girl Standing In Front

Hot Switch Podcast
Episode 3, You STILL Want To Be In Love In A Movie
Posted by Sage and Kim

While Jaime was out living a real life (boo, hiss), we wrap up our romantic comedy discussion with Jenn. Join us as we cover the canons of rom com queens Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore; defend the picks on our list that no one else chose; and only call Jaime a monster once. Plus, news on fandom favorites Doctor Who, Sherlock, Parks and Rec, and the return of Breaking Bad.

In Appreciation of Joey Tribbiani

Posted by Kim

Well after doing our Ross and Phoebe appreciation posts, one thing became clear.  We HAD to give all six of our favorite friends their moments in the sun.  Let’s give Joseph Francis Tribbiani some love today, shall we?

To put things in Freudian terms (“All you want is a dinkle!!”), Joey represents the Id of the group.   Joey is driven by his basest desires (namely food and sex.  He just wants girls on bread!) and also tends to blurt our whatever is on his mind at the exact moment he is thinking it (“I WANT TO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”) but that is all part of his charm.  Joey could have easily been a caricature of a dumb ladies man, but in the hands of Matt LeBlanc…yes, he was a dumb ladies man.  But he was also goofy, sweet, strangely wise, and the best friend a person could ask for.  There is not a malicious bone in Joey Tribbiani’s body.  Despite being a ladies man, he actually respects women.  Think about it.  With as many women as Joey hooked up with, he never came off as mean or coniving…he was just Joey.  Even when he threw a girl’s wooden leg in the fire it wasn’t done in a cruel manner!  Joey is the first one to come to the defense of all his female friends whether it is when Mr. Traeger yells at Rachel or when he proposes to Phoebe when he thinks she is pregnant and alone.  He’s nothing short of a stand-up guy when it really comes down to it!  Joey is definitely someone I would want in my corner.

There are millions of reasons you should love Joey Tribbiani…but for the sake of (moderate) brevity, let’s spotlight ten of them…

1) “How You Doin’?”

Ladies and Gentlemen, the world’s GREATEST pick-up line.  Simple and to the point.

Also, your response to “How you doin’?” is a good way to measure how drunk you are…

“Ross!! Don’t let her drink anymore!”

2) His Relationship with Food.

One time my sister and I went to my favorite Mexican place in Nashville, where the queso is basically liquid crack it’s so delicious and addictive.  As we were waiting to place our order, she turned to me and asked “Wanna share a queso?’  My response?  “KIMMIE DOESN’T SHARE QUESO!!”

Thank you, Joey.

Monica: Anyway, it just doesn’t seem worth it to make a whole turkey for just three people. Okay? It’s a lot of work.

Joey: But you gotta have turkey on Thanksgiving! I mean, Thanksgiving with no turkey is like-like Fourth of July with no apple pie! Or Friday with no two pizzas!

Monica: All right fine! If it means that much to you! But just—there’s gonna be a ton left over.

Joey: No there won’t! I promise I will finish that turkey!

Monica: All right, you’re telling me you can eat an entire turkey in just one sitting?

Joey: That’s right! ‘Cause I’m a Tribbiani! (To Rachel) And this is what we do! I mean we may not be great thinkers or world leaders, we don’t read a lot or run very fast, but damnit! We can eat!

Joey Tribbiani is the reason that every Thanksgiving morning as I put on my stretchy pants I say, “These are my Thanksgiving pants!!”

Joey’s not a hard man to please.  Just give him sandwiches.  Or an English Trifle mixed with Shepherd’s Pie.  Or just plain old jam.  Or the true love of his life (aside from Chandler)…Pizza.

Our Friends trivia team is called “The Joey Special” and every time they say our name, we shout “TWO PIZZAS!” at the host.

3) His Love Affair with Chandler.

Forget Ross and Rachel.  Forget Monica and Chandler.  The true OTP of Friends is Joey and Chandler.  J-Man and Channy (who CALLS them that??) are one of the ultimate friendships in all of television history.  From their shared love of Baywatch and Yasmin Bleeth (“Run, Yasmin! Run!”) to being Bracelet Buddies (“That’s what they’ll call us!”) to raising a chick and a duck together, Joey and Chandler are soul mates.  They have their own secret mumble language (“PUT JOEY ON THE PHONE”) and they also know exactly how to push each other’s buttons (“I’m Chandler! Could I BE wearing any more clothes?”), which is something that only the closest friends can do.

And let’s face it…when Joey moved out in season two, it was sadder than Ross and Rachel splitting up because of the list.

The wonderful thing about Joey and Chandler’s relationship is the sense of give and take.  Early in the series, when Joey is a struggling actor trying to make ends meet, Chandler supports him.  And then later on, when Chandler is out of work and Joey’s doing well on Days of Our Lives, Joey repays the favor.  The only time you see the money as a bone of contention is in “The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant” and even then it is really an issue within the whole group.  You never see either of them holding the money issue over the other’s head in a resentful way, which is a sign of a true and deep friendship.

In my head canon, Joey now comes out to Chandler and Monica’s place on the weekends.  He stays in his Joey room.  He plays with Jack and Erica. He cleans out Monica’s refrigerator and she pretends to get mad about it.  He and Chandler kick back with some beer in their matching recliners (that Monica lets them have in his study) and watch Baywatch repeats.  And they all lived happily ever after.

Because we are ALL agreed that Joey never happened, RIGHT??

4) Hugsy, His Bedtime Penguin Pal

Only Joey can make a stuffed penguin seem manly. Sometimes we all just need a friend to cuddle.

(Honorable mention goes out to Alicia May Emory, Joey’s Cabbage Patch Kid.)

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Live-Blogging the 12th Doctor Announcement

The Joker Here We Go

Posted by Sage

The BBC is announcing the casting of the 12th Doctor live at 2pm EST and we are – to put it mildly – FREAKING OUT. Kimmie will be watching the broadcast on the go, but I’ll be right here live-blogging with you. Who’ll be taking over the TARDIS controls this Christmas? We’ll find over in just over an hour!

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“Welcome to the high ground.” – Checking in on The Newsroom

The Newsroom Will McAvoy blog

Posted by Sage

We’re three episodes in to the second season of The Newsroom, one of the most highly anticipated and exceptionally frustrating series of the last few years. It’s super-scribe’s Aaron Sorkin’s first foray into premium cable, and because of that cache, inspired instant and passionate opinions from viewers after its debut. While some – especially the critical community – loathe The Newsroom with a broiling hatred usually reserved for shows about how funny it would be if fathers actually had to take care of their children (hilarious!), the show also has its die-hards. For me, the lives and loves of the ACN crew make up a grain-of-salt situation of a series. I see its flaws clearly, but still get great joy out of watching it.

And what’s so bad about that? I’d take a polarizing, ambitious, occasionally misguided series made by some really smart people over all the safe and boring the networks can throw at us. But let’s not rest on those dubious laurels, Newsroom. I believe that growth is possible, so long as you don’t throw up your defenses and ignore all of your critics. (I’m not naming names, but come on Aaron.) I’ve composed this list for you so you can focus on giving us more of the good and less of the infuriating. Make good TV. Just ask yourself: what would Mackenzie McHale do?

What’s Working:

Will McAvoy

Will McAvoy be with you all night

Will McAvoy is Sorkin’s Mary Sue, which gives us an extra special glimpse into his psyche AND ensures that Will gets all the best lines. The Newsroom hugely benefits from being built around this ego trip. Will is annoyingly saintlike, grumpy, self-absorbed, and a terribly compelling lead character. Only Sorkin could make us root for a newsman who truly believes that he is the only person who can lead this country in his “mission to civilize.” The character sketch is so clear in the dichotomies designed to endear him to us: He’s a loner who begrudgingly accepts the hero/father figure role of his team. He’s a registered Republican who thinks that his own party has lost its focus and its humanity. He’s the jilted boyfriend who cannot allow himself to hate the woman who cheated on him. He’s too tragically noble to be the piece of shit he WANTS to be.

Get Jeff Daniels to flawlessly deliver some of Sorkin’s loftiest speeches, and it works. Though he doesn’t have a chance against Cranston and Hamm this year, that Emmy nomination of his was well-deserved. Also, he could get it. Carry on.

Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn Newsroom I'm delightful

You guys, Olivia Munn is KILLING. IT. I had little to no opinion of her before this gig, other than being righteously indignant at the backlash declaring her a fake geek girl simply because of her blistering hotness. But she’s made to deliver Sorkin dialogue. Her delivery – all that alternating boredom and rage – reminds me more than a little of Toby Ziegler himself, the awesome Richard Schiff. Jeff Daniels is the MVP of this show, but Olivia is the breakout.

All that glorious dialogue.

Mac: You’re going on a date with a cheerleader?
Will: Not a high school cheerleader, a professional cheerleader.
Mac: That doesn’t make it better!
Will: Can I help you?
Mac: She’s a student!
Will: A graduate student.
Mac: In philosophy?
Will: Physical therapy.
Mac: There are better ways to get back at me.
Will: I’ll put up a suggestion box.
Mac: Can I warn you about something? You’re a rich and famous person, and for that reason only, she may want to sleep with you.
Will: That didn’t sound like something that should come with a warning, that sounded like something that should come with balloons.
Mac: … I loathe you right now.
Will: You have ink on your face.
Mac: I WORK WITH PENS!

Every once in a while during my recent West Wing marathon, I’d get overwhelmed. There’d be some amazing walk-and-talk, with two characters bantering back and forth in a perfectly matched cadence, as their colleagues flew in and out of the conversation like acrobats. And it was so beautiful. No “ums,” except those that were painstakingly placed, and no gasps for breath. Just a barrage of WORDS.

It’s theater, with a dash of His Girl Friday (which, not incidentally, was based on a play.) Aaron Sorkin is a playwright and writes like one, even in film and TV. The ACN newsroom may as well sit on a Broadway stage. I love me a grand, posturing speech as much as the next guy, but it’s the dialogue of The Newsroom that creates momentum and shows off the talent of this sick cast. Is it realistic? Probably not. Is it fun? So much fun, it should come with balloons.

Sam Waterston giving us bowtie realness as Charlie Skinner.

Sam Waterston Newsroom son de la bitch

He’s delightful.

The slow burns

Newsroom Will Mac drink

The Newsroom threw all its ships at the wall in Season 1, and now we’re finding out which ones are sticking.

First, there’s obviously endgame with Will and his producer/ex Mac. Now that we’re past the convoluted backstory – intended to prove to us that Will can and does get hurt – we’ve entered the sexual tension phase. Episode 1 of this season alone brought us at least two squishy Will/Mac moments: that late night phone call (“What are you doing up this late, Mackenzie from midtown?”) and Will, waiting in the hallway during Mac’s deposition. Now that Will’s anger towards her has all but evaporated, this season is going to be about the missed connections caused by that fateful voicemail. I want Will and Mac to happen, but not until every last meaningful gaze and tragic misunderstanding has played out. I survived seven seasons of Josh and Donna (Maybe I’ll make myself a t-shirt.), I can handle this.

Newsroom Don Sloan chin up

While I’m in it for the long haul with Will and Mac, I’m ready for Don and Sloan to be a thing. One reason that the Jim and Maggie storyline wasn’t as effective as it could have been (more on that later) is that it made no sense to anyone why Don and Maggie were together in the first place. Poor Don was relegated to being the guy who adorable, lovelorn Jim had to overcome – the guy who just couldn’t understand how amaaaaaaahzing his boring, immature girlfriend was. The Don/Sloan dynamic saved Don from being a minor villain in the ACN universe. Their flirtation is grown-up, on the same level, and comes as much from their mutual respect as their mutual attraction to each other. More, please.

Sorkin’s dorky musical theater/classic literature/classic rock references.

Newsroom Mac life philosophy

Charlie: You’re making the interns learn musical theater history?
Will: You’re welcome, America.

They speak to me on a spiritual level.

What’s Not Working:

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In Appreciation of Phoebe Buffay

Friends Phoebe buy a computer

Posted by Sage

Get ready to feel old as the hills, y’all, cause our favorite flighty Friend turned 50 this week!

Well, Lisa Kudrow did anyway. And that makes now the perfect time to post my companion piece to Kim’s In Appreciation of Ross Gellar. Because we all know that Phoebe Buffay is the most historically underrated of the Central Perk girls.

“She was the weak link.”
“They’re all my favorite, except for Phoebe.”

These statements and others like them inspire rage deep inside my heart, and not just because I am a TOTAL Phoebe. (“P as in Phoebe, H as in Hoebe, O as in Oebe, E as in Ebe, B as in Bebe, and E as in…’ello there, mate!”) Rather, it’s because Lisa took on such a deceptively one-note character with the full weight of her comic talent. And any fan of The Comeback or Web Therapy can attest that it’s formidable.
The Friends ensemble grew into each other over the years, and it’s clear that the writing staff wrote more and more to each actor’s strengths in every consecutive season. Phoebe was never just the crunchy one or the dumb girl, even in the pilot. But that character is as much Lisa Kudrow’s as she is the writers’, and I doubt that another actress would have inspired the lovable evil genius that Ms. Buffay became.
Won’t you join me in appreciating one of my favorite comedic characters of all time? Here’s 10 reasons why you should.
1. She’s humble.

Friends Phoebe ass that won't quit
While Monica and Rachel would occasionally hem and haw over what boys thought of them, Phoebe was all confidence. She was cute, knew it, and wasn’t going to let anyone make her question it. She wasn’t above using her sexuality as a weapon, and heaven help the poor sap in the crosshairs.

Friends Phoebe a little bit of this

2. Her street-smarts

Friends Phoebe he stabbed me first

In the event of a nuclear apocalypse, Phoebe would be the only Friend to survive past the first day of our crumbled civilization. Her vagrant days prepared her to live off the land and maybe – just maybe – kill to survive. She’s the only one who has it in her, and you know it.

3. Gladys

Friends Phoebe Gladys Joey

She’s also an accomplished artist, with an impeccable grasp of texture, color, and scary-as-fuck mannequin heads, from which not even Hugsy the bedtime penguin pal can protect you.

4. “They don’t KNOW we know they know we know.”

Friends Phoebe seduces Chandler

Remember that poor sap from reason #1? Well, in “The One Where Everybody Finds Out,” it’s Chandler.

Find me a Friends fan who doesn’t have this episode in their top 5 list. Chandler and Phoebe’s double-fake-out dance of seduction will just never not be funny. Phoebe, of course, wins this game of sexual chicken, by saying hello to “Mr. Bicep”; suggesting that Chandler rub lotion on her; and in a final power move, just showing him her bra. Watch, learn, and don’t eat her cookie.

The Chan-Chan Man just can’t handle the thunder, which is just as well, since he’s in love with Monica anyway. Not just doin’ it. And who do we have to thank for that revelation and the subsequent validation of Chandler/Monica? That’s right.

5. Oh, for god’s sake, Judy.

Friends Phoebe pick up the sock

In my opinion, no matter how old you are, the birthday is sacred. Your friends simply have to drop everything, ignore all responsibilities, and spend the day – okay, the week – telling you how fantastic you are and doing all the things you want to do. Having a kid or two? No excuse.

So I can understand Phoebe’s frustration when Judy and Emma crash her birthday dinner and Ross and Rachel try to mime a little parenting note to grandma at the bar. It’s just a sock. Nobody’s getting hypothermia in midtown. But seriously, Judy. Look alive.

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