How long is a year in cultural terms? Or maybe a better question is, when a public figure disappears from a show for a year after a tearful good-bye, at what point does his or her return become what you want it to be? The problem with inviting Kristen Wiig back to host SNL 12 months after her departure to reprise her roles — as Gilly, improvisational songstress Kat, Doonese, a Californian, and the Target Lady — is that we haven't had enough time to miss them yet. The best sketches of the night were the ones that featured Wiig in roles we hadn't seen her in before (scuttling across the ceiling as a Korean water ghost!), but SNL is predictably self-referential, so Wiig's best-of collection was practically obligated to appear. It didn't make for a bad show, especially because of Wiig's matchless energy and the obvious joy on the cast's part to get to play with her again, but the laughs you get from being borne back ceaselessly into the past are always tempered with a little sadness, like showing up to your one-year high school reunion. Being reminded of the events of a year ago lacks the potency of real nostalgia as well as the fresh promise of something that straddles the present and the future, a sketch that works so well the first time around that you crave more of it (and then repeats four times after you've grown unable to stand it anymore). Wiig is still one of the best comediennes out there, but occasionally she was upstaged by her own homecoming.
The cold open was terrible, but the good news is that everything improved from there. C-SPAN's coverage of the Benghazi hearings is trolling for ratings, so Jodi Arias (Nasim Pedrad) and Ariel Castro (Bobby Moynihan) appear to testify as special guest stars. The audience sounded pretty chilly on this little joke desert, but I'll give it points for being brief. Wiig's monologue, during which she sang “I'm So Excited” and danced herself backstage, was charming enough: misidentifying her former cast mates and dressing room, Tasering Kenan Thompson twice, and happening upon a pregnant Maya Rudolph making out with Jonah Hill in the closet (“We're trying to make a baby”) were high points. Gilly's moment was over in a blink, which was good news for me over in the Gilly-averse corner. It's nice that Wiig is poking fun at her camera-1, camera-2 amnesia after such a short absence, but if you didn't already figure that you were in for more old than new sketches, this monologue killed any lingering doubts.
Look, here's this alternate ending from Silver Linings Playbook. Ideally, this scene would go on for another 15 minutes with De Niro straight-up murdering Ricky for wearing a Vikings shirt, then wiping the blood off his hands and digging into some braciole while Cooper and Lawrence suck on each other's tongues in the La-Z-Boy.
20. Chris Brown: For "beating his girlfriend Rihanna." (Duh.) "Even though Rihanna has taken him back, many music industry insiders don't trust him, perhaps because he claims to be the real victim."
19. Jesse James: "People began to turn on the reality star with reports of his cheating on Sandra Bullock, but his tone-deaf statements made matters worse."
18. Taylor Swift: "The talented singer-songwriter has not only dated what seems like every guy in Hollywood, but she's made millions bashing them in her songs!" Whatever, they're great songs and those dudes were fuckos! "She also can't seem to take a joke. After Tina Fey made a lighthearted quip about her boy-crazy rep, Taylor responded by saying 'There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.'" OMG, she was like just quoting Katie Couric! Boo, you whore.
Where has Kristen Wiig been since Bridesmaids made her a bankable movie star? Straight stackin’ ’em, yo. Since her big cinematic breakout in 2011, Wiig's got five flicks wrapped up and ready to go: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Despicable Me 2, Girl Most Likely, The Skeleton Twins, and Hateship, Loveship. And that's not even counting Anchorman: The Legend Continues, shooting now.
Angelina Jolie is "Surprise! Boring in bed." Whaaaaaa? This alleged information comes from shade thrown by her ex, Billy Bob Thornton, who has said, "sometimes, with the model, the actress, the 'sexiest person in the world,' it may be literally like fucking the couch." FUCK YO COUCH, BILLY BOB!
Obviously, you should not hitchhike unless you really have no other choice. It's also wise, in general, to avoid killing someone with a hatchet. But if you HAVE to hitchhike, and you HAVE to kill someone with a hatchet, you really should do it just like this. Homeless hitchhiker Kai Has-No-Last-Name ("No, bro, I don't have anything"), of indeterminate age ("I can't call it"), is maybe the only person who has ever been a hero in a story involving thumbing a ride and blunt force trauma.
Kate Middleton Is Pregnant: "Royal-watchers all around the globe had been on tenterhooks for months." THAT SOUNDS UNCOMFORTABLE. "At long last, Will and Kate are expecting a little prince or princess!" While they were hoping to keep the story under wraps until Kate was 12 weeks along, and release the news on Christmas Day, it came out early when Middleton was admitted to a hospital for morning sickness. Nevertheless, "William and Kate are elated." They started trying in September, "once their Malaria medication has run its course" after their "royal tour of Southeast Asia." The holy "VIP baby leapfrogs Harry to become third in line for the throne behind William and his father." A nursery "is in the early stages" as the couple continue with their move into Kensington Palace. Get ready to hear all about the future royal baby for months from weirdo superfans.
Jennifer Aniston & Justin Theroux Are Engaged: So much for that other story from last week saying they'd broken up. "Justin Theroux was a bundle of jangled nerves" on his 41st birthday, since "the only present he wanted was to hear Jennifer Aniston say yes to his proposal of marriage." The nervous Theroux "even swore to a friend she'd say no." The tabloids would have gone nuts if she'd said no. "Jen cried. The proposal was simple. He was surprised she said yes, but he is so happy." They celebrated at a Greenwich Village restaurant. In 2005 she told Vanity Fair "There's an amazing man that's wandering the streets right now who's the father of my children." She meant in the future, I think. In the following years "she kissed a string of frogs — ahem, John Mayer — and now friends are thrilled that the actress has finally found her prince at age 43." Because women are princesses until the day they die, duh. "Jen's had a really hard time with love. She hasn't always given herself the respect she deserves." The tabloids profitably hammering on her self-esteem and life choices probably didn't help. It's cute how they're like a passive-aggressive frenemy suddenly pretending to be happy for her!
Katie Holmes, Newly Strict Mom: Suri and Katie hit a pet store "to play with a 9-week-old Morkie (a mix of Maltese and Yorkie)." Despite Suri's "best pleading eyes and sad pout," they escaped without a new pet. Suri "was really upset. She will have to get used to not always getting her way." With an unlimited budget for clothes and toys, Suri "had become very demanding and bratty. "Katie saw that Suri was growing into a monster." Now she aims "to be more than just her daughter's best friend. She wants to really become a parent and start teaching her strong discipline." GOOD LUCK WITH ALL THAT. "Tom bought Suri whatever she wanted whenever she wanted it." As a Scientologist, Suri was allowed to have "ice cream for dinner and choose her own business." Wait, that sounds rad. "Tom just used to let her stay up all night watching Scientology kids videos!" Okay, that's less rad. Suri doesn't love the new parenting style. She may enjoy going to prep school, since it will allow her to genuinely socialize for the first time. "Suri's best friend is Katie. She's not used to sharing or playing with other kids." It's going fine. "It will be a process. Katie knows it will take time to undo the damage, but she sees this as a way to start over."
A few years back, when Channing Tatum's early days as a stripper in a Florida male revue were first revealed, snickers abounded. "It's nothing I'm ashamed of, and I'm not proud of it, either," Tatum explained about his days booty-popping and thong-dropping; a nation responded with a dismissive hand pat and a smug, "Sure thing, Channing. Sure thing." This week, though, sees the unlikely triumph at the end of Tatum's stripper saga. Magic Mike, the movie he developed with director Steven Soderbergh about his nudie-bar days, is landing in theaters today with love both from the critics (Rotten Tomatoes: 82 percent) and the masses, who are projected to push the $7 million production to an opening in the $25 million range.
So here's the question: Knowing that Hollywood is nothing but a lover of the tried-and-true, wouldn't it now make sense to repeat the Magic Mike formula? A bankable, likable star + their unlikely, sort-of-crappy pre-fame job + an effectively dramatic script about striving to make it out = Hollywood gold. Wouldn't you like to see Hugh Jackman revisit his days as a children’s birthday party clown? Or Jon Hamm return to his past as a Skinemax set dresser? In hopes of getting this Magic Mike mini-genre jump-started, Grantland has taken the liberty of visualizing the plots for five possible iterations. Ayo, big-time Hollywood producers? These are on the house.
Last weekend, the topic of the short-lived but supposedly really great (11 Emmy nominations! Conversational endorsements!) Buffalo Bill came up. I haven’t seen Buffalo Bill, and there was no time to fix that between when it drifted across the table of La Scala salads and when I hopped Griffith Park and took it to the 5 freeway where I drove “forever,” but there were only 26 episodes, so I’ll probably get around to it next weekend when I have no SNL episode to recap for you. Apparently, canceling Buffalo Bill was Brandon Tartikoff’s biggest professional regret: It showed up at the party, dazzled everybody, ate some appetizers, and breezed out the door in a cloud of little question marks asking what could have been. The gripe about Saturday Night Live is usually just the opposite — a once-beloved sketch stops by for a martini, then leaves and comes back five minutes later, just real quick, to grab its coat. Door closes, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. But wait! Then it stumbles back inside, apologizing, because it just wanted to tell you one more thing that it forgot to mention earlier. You shoo it away. At midnight it returns because it wants to know if anybody’s got any cocaine. At two in the morning it wants to sleep on your sofa, and it keeps repeating the same story, except now it’s drooling and smells like the subway and you just want to beam it to the moon and import some other entertaining alien in its place. Still, a few weeks after you’ve Febrezed its odor off of your futon, you remember it with fond nostalgia (well, not always). The sketches and cast members of every golden period of SNL have to get dumped into the Lorne Michaels recycling bin eventually, but when the door shuts for good there’s a creepy feeling of uncertainty that hangs in the air, empty Solo cups of butts and booze.
Nobody panic, but SNL might be getting rocked this offseason. According to US Weekly — the most trusted name in tabloid journalism — Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Jason Sudeikis are all flying the coop.
Michelle Williams and Jason Segel: "No more blue valentines for Michelle Williams! The demure three-time Oscar nominee has fallen for longtime pal Jason Segel." The demure Jason Segel, you mean. "They are smitten and very serious." Despite living on opposite coasts, they've been spotted having dinner on both. "He put his arm around her and made her laugh as they walked."
Pregnant Jessica Simpson Is the Best Quote Machine:
"Oh, my God, y'all. I just had a daydream that my vagina ate a bag of Skittles!"
"I made 'slutty' brownies today!"
"The average person expels gas 15 times each day. The average pregnant woman farts 15 times that!"
"It's time for my big girl panties and sleeping bra!"
"I feel like I have a bowling ball sitting on my hoo-ha. Apparently I have a lot of amniotic fluid, so whenever my water breaks, it will be like a fire hydrant!"
"I just started calling myself Swamp Ass. Like, I have 'swamp ass' right now. I had major swamp ass because I was wearing these Spanx to hold in my gut. It's like the bayou up in that region."
Each week, marketers release new movie posters, many for films whose releases are still months away. But for those who know where to look, one-sheets can reveal studios' hopes and insecurities about their products. In this space, we will attempt to decode the hidden meanings of the week's new posters.
Following talk that renewal negotiations had turned tense and Sony was shopping Breaking Bad to other channels, it now looks like TV's Best Show will stay put at AMC. The network has an offer on the table for one more 13-episode season, but indications are that the final deal will include 13 to 20 more episodes, possibly spread over two seasons. Are there even 20 more awful things left for Walter White to do? Pressure's on, Vince Gilligan. Grade: A [Deadline]
Yesterday, Universal heroically backed out of plans for a movie version of board game Clue, one of seven Hasbro properties it once planned to adapt (the studio previously dropped Monopoly and Magic: The Gathering, but will still make Stretch Armstrong, Candy Land, Ouija, and next year's Battleship). But worry not! Work on the movie will continue, with Hasbro paying development costs and director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) still attached. Grade: B- [Deadline]