Ever since last December, when the Anchorman team teased a 2013 Christmastime Ron Burgundy rebirth that will pull all the focus from the baby Jesus, fans have been impatiently waiting for their sumptuously coiffed hero to return and drench them in Sex Panther. The time for that drenching has finally arrived. And now we know what awaits us six months hence: Burgundy and his team will be dragged from the local desk and into the world of 24-hour cable news. In the '80s.
You know those accusatory, ticking-time-bomb questions two married people aren't supposed to ask each other? Well, after two previous installments of complicated bliss (in 1995's Before Sunrise and 2004's Before Sunset), Celine (Julie Delpy) is going there on Jesse (Ethan Hawke). "What's the name of the pediatrician?" "Would you notice me on a train now — like, right now?" Tell me you managed not to fuck the girl you met on your book tour!
That last one wasn't a question. None of them truly are. But one of the glories of this movie is the way Celine expertly corners the slick man she's now married, and how Jesse's become an expert at evading capture. Another is the way Delpy, Hawke, and Linklater have managed to build a comedy around the creep of middle age and the way familiarity breeds not only contempt, but also security and insecurity. I've seen this movie three times, and each time I'm struck at the suspense in the film's long, complete conversations, at how you're able to laugh at the truth of what these two are still trying to do after meeting 18 years ago on a train, having an affair, and marrying.
Because it had been too long since he burnished his leave-a-pretty-girl-sad reputation, John Mayer just released a new single called "Paper Doll" to accompany an announcement that he has a new album called Paradise Valley coming out on August 13. Judging by the cover art, he is aiming for the Empire Strikes Back of his Ditch Trilogy, following last year's folksy roots-rocker Born and Raised. Mayer underwent vocal surgery and couldn't perform for two years. He recuperated in Montana, and Paradise Valley is his tribute to the area.
The charming lyric video has newly famous fitness guru Joanna Rohrback prancercising her way down a green suburban street to the tune of Mayer's new song. The lyrics tell of a mystery woman who is "22 girls in one" and wears a "scarf, Moroccan red," a cryptic but tellingly intimate detail along the lines of "your scarf, it was apricot." Based on those clues and a couple others, "Paper Doll" was immediately and widely speculated to be about Taylor Swift, in belated response to Taylor's confessional song about Mayer possibly having hit-and-quit her, "Dear John." Just a year ago, Mayer criticized Taylor for kissing and telling, saying "I will say as a songwriter that I think it's cheap songwriting." So either he changed his mind or decided that there's nothing wrong with cheap songwriting, since it generates cheap press like this.
Hey, remember the television program Anger Management? Why, yes, that is a thing that is still happening. In fact, it's roughly halfway toward fulfilling its ridiculous 100-episode order (churned out on the cheap on an accelerated schedule; it's the Tyler Perry model) for FX. And it just hit a bit of an iceberg. As Deadline reports, Selma Blair has now been fired from the show following disparaging remarks she made about Charlie Sheen's work ethic. Sheen found out, threw a fit, and declared it was either him or her. Also, he reportedly sent her a text message calling her that not-so-nice word that starts with a 'C' and rhymes with that thing you usually do on fourth downs. No, not "cield goal."
The world's boyfriend, Russell Brand, appeared on Morning Joe. The hosts were pretty tacky to him, referring to Brand in the third person and generally treating him like an "extraterrestrial." Sure, the comedian rocks the casual chest hair, but harping on his appearance, asking for jokes on command, and complaining that he's unintelligible on the radio because of his accent were unwelcome distractions from Brand's promotion of his show Messiah Complex, which Brand was more than prepared to intelligently plug. When he'd finally had enough of the a.m. provocation, he took control of the program and administered a smackdown, focusing a lot of energy on making Mika Brzezinski blush after getting called out on stroking her beverage. It's OK, Mika. You can marry him. I don't want to. I'll just admire him and his boots from afar.
Of all the Bluth family members, Lindsay has the most fraught sense of self, the biggest questions about her role in the family. She grew up thinking she was Michael's twin (twinness itself a complication of identity, multiplying it), and then discovered at the end of Season 3 that she was adopted. In "Red Hairing," she approaches her literal identity crisis in a very literal manner: Changing her appearance, or, given the eerie manipulation her face seems to have undergone since 2007, it might be more accurate to say that she's changing it even more. "Who am I?" she frets throughout the episode, trying on different looks and different relationships until, like all Bluths must, she returns to the sea … Cinco de Cuatro, to be specific.
The episode picks up almost exactly where the first Lindsay episode began: at an ostrich farm run by Marky Bark, freegan activist son of Lindsay's one-time protest partner Johnny Bark. Lindsay and Marky met cute, as many couples do, dropping their original partners off at the methadone clinic. Now Lindsay has joined her face-blind, speedy lover at his desert ostrich farm and is experiencing a little sweat-and-squeeze herself. She's so hot she'd "give $20,000 for a lemonade," even as Marky's mother presses her into grimy service as Marky puts pressure onto the neighboring businessmen's retreat that's rubbing up against their property lines.
OK, yes, technically, the news here is that Dan Harmon has apologized for knocking Community’s fourth season (the one he had no involvement with) in graphically over-the-top fashion. On his Harmontown podcast, he called watching it like "flipping through Instagram just watching your girlfriend blow everyone" and "being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach." And for that, he is truly sorry: "After five seconds of thinking, I realized, as usual, that other people might be hurt, and that I really need to do this whole 'saying things and thinking about other people' cycle in a different order at some point."
He went on Tumblr and issued that apology quickly, first to the fans, then the cast and crew, then the writers themselves; he never meant to make anyone feel silly for having invested their time in the season, or for having worked their asses off to make it. It was a considered, sensitive response, and it's hard not to buy it. But as Harmon himself has made clear, over and over, this is what he does: He talks shit constantly because he finds himself — as do many, many other people — endlessly fascinating. At some point, that gets him in trouble, which isn't necessarily something he didn't know would happen as soon as he opened his mouth. In response, he'll do something somewhere on the spectrum of justification, equivocation, and out-and-out apology. Everyone'll move on. Then [insert that little arrow-loop on iTunes that puts your songs on repeat].
The Kimye baby, the one foretold in the prophecy, the one possibly conceived while recording the opening robogasms of "I'm in It," the one to whom an entire season of reality television has been prededicated, the baby whose life force Bruce Jenner will quietly siphon until the nannies become suspicious about what he really means when he says "It's time for another feeding" six times a day, has a name.
Every week, television documentaries present us with so many unusual people, with so many strange and/or disturbing problems, you might find it hard to keep up with all of them. That's where I come in! Here's an unflinching look back at TV's Week in Freak Shows.
Couples Therapy (VH1)
Who Is This Now? Liz.
Why Are We Watching Her? She's entered in-patient couples' therapy with her boyfriend Flavor Flav.
How Did She Get Here? She thought it would be a good idea to stay with the kind of guy who'd star in his own dating reality show after he'd entered into a committed relationship, and then continued to stay with him for nine years.
What's the Grossest Thing We See? Flav is not the most sympathetic character: Within minutes of meeting Teen Mom stars Catelynn and Tyler and learning that they'd placed their daughter for adoption, he berated them for taking away her opportunity to grow up with "two parents" (even though … the couple who adopted her are her two parents). And yet, when Liz can't stop sulking on a therapist-mandated bowling trip, crawling under a table and eventually going outside to cry about Flav for not paying enough attention to her, she manages to be even more gross than Flav.
When I met Mac Miller two years ago, he told me he planned on being "Beatles big." It was one of the funnier hyperboles tossed off in the 79 minutes, at least on tape, we sat talking about his career in the back of his tour bus in Denver. Throughout the weekend — which I spent tagging along behind the then-19-year-old and his crew in Colorado, on assignment for Billboard for what would be his first cover story — half the words out of his mouth were meant to impress someone. It started the moment we were introduced — with a grandiose announcement to the bus that a lady was on board, so everyone was to be on his best behavior — and was a constant throughout: elaborate, attention-commanding jokes; group consultations about who he should ask to open for him; excited accounts of text conversations with Drake (about sippin' lean, of course). One afternoon I sat on the edge of the stage at the Ogden Theatre as Mac and his DJ, Clockwork, sound-checked; that day he spent extra minutes fooling around on a recently purchased, incredibly expensive guitar, requesting Clock play songs for him to solo over, checking casually, every few seconds, to see if people were watching him. Everything about the rapper — whose career was about to explode thanks to a YouTube account, a few high school friends, and some truly intimidating Twitter wizardry — was annoyingly charming, like a gifted, insufferable class clown who always gets his way. You just hope the damn kid grows into all that energy.
On this week's pod, Andy and I kicked the tires on the beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy that is Kanye West's new album, Yeezus. Using Jon Caramanica's indispensable New York Times interview with the man as a jumping-off point, we tried to place the album within the Kanye canon, wondered what it says about fatherhood, sex, and hip-hop (the holy trinity!), and tried to find the light in all the darkness.
Of course, after all that heavy lifting and deep thinking, we needed to change gears a bit, so we decided to touch on that most romantic of comedies, Mad Men. With only one more episode left, we asked that age-old question: Has Don Draper gone past the point of no return? And is that exactly where show creator Matthew Weiner wants him? Assume the fetal position, people.
This week on The Bachelorette, the journey to find love made a natural progression. Des and the guys went to Atlantic City, where all true love is nourished. Most of the guys got the chance to show off their secret talents in the Mr. America contest, but mostly they just used this week to show off their neon-inflected wardrobe. Maybe they hadn't done laundry in a while, but seemingly all the guys broke out their hot green–accented athletic gear. Is that the color of love?
Why he'll win: Because Des talks about him like she already knows him well. Brooks didn't get a one-on-one date, nor did he get the group date rose, but none of that matters. Brooks is the Kobe Bryant of this show: He has no rivals. After his turn in the swimsuit portion of the competition (note: he was not wearing a Speedo), Des commends him for "handling it the way Brooks would with his personality. It was so funny." Yup. It was just Brooks being Brooks. She loves this guy.
"Nutjob," "magician," "foam," and "Stonehenge" in one sentence? Reading this e-mail and realizing I was only an hour away in Christiansburg, Virginia, unofficial home of the hotel gas leak, dizzy spells, roadblocks, nighttime fire truck light shows, and the cancellation of all food delivery, this was no difficult decision. I was headed to Natural Bridge, Virginia, to find this nutjob.
Needing to find his whereabouts, I searched the Internet for his website.
First there was the Veronica Mars movie, then Zach Braff's new project. Now James Franco is joining the Hollywood crowdfunding party. As THR reports, Franco is looking for half a million dollars to make Palo Alto Stories, a trilogy of films based on — wait for it — his own collection of short stories.