Breaking Bad sledgehammered its own viewership records over and over during its final eight-episode run, and Sunday night's disappointingly cat-free finale — very solid in other aspects, though! — was no exception. After last week's all-time high of 6.6 million viewers, "Felina" drew 10.3 million slobbering fans, 6.7 million of them coming from the Get That Cheddar demographic occasionally referred to as the 18-49 set. Only The Walking Dead has beaten those numbers for AMC's original programming. There were also 1.24 million tweets, so that's good, even if the #goodbyebreakingbad hashtag was gross and weird. BrBa's premiere, back on January 20, 2008, pulled a scant 1.41 million viewers, and, per THR, "only cracked the 2 million mark on one occasion during the first four seasons." Heisenwalt’s empire grew quite impressive indeed — even if, as this groundbreaking clip suggests, everything almost turned out a lot differently and more Quantum Leap–y.
The Emmys Are Become Death, Destroyer of In Memoriam Tributes
Alex Pappademas: I think if Cory Monteith were still alive, he'd have wanted his mom to find a way to for some reason get into an argument with the heirs of the late Jack Klugman via TMZ. But that's beside the point. I need to talk about this show's treatment not of individual deaths but of death itself. Knowing that there's an In Memoriam montage on deck has always been the thing that gets me through the slough-of-despondiest moments of even the most endless and joyless awards-show telecast. I don't even care who wins or loses. Give every award to Modern Family, even at the BET Awards. Dig up Jonas Salk and give his Presidential Medal of Freedom to Seth MacFarlane during the next Golden Globes — whatever, I don't care. Just bring out the dead. As long as I get to sit on the couch and watch my wife suddenly learn, thanks to this montage, of the often-not-recent deaths of at least five famous actors, and hear her say "[He/she] died?" with a pang of genuine sadness in her voice, I'll sit through travesties of justice and entertainment alike.
But this year's Emmy People Who Died montage reduced everyone to a black-and-white head shot, like a tribute assembled by a very bereaved dry cleaner. No clips? Not even in those very special spotlighted tributes to extra-iconic performers we're meant to feel extra-sad about, the Oneworld Elite Pass Dead People Club treatment that Jack Klugman was controversially denied, thus causing his spirit to roam the wastelands of Burbank in eternal torment forevermore?
The American Idol producers must be very tired. They've been retooling ceaselessly for so long that they're getting glassy-eyed and confused, the latest example being the return of Randy Jackson, who had hardly exited the old warhorse as a judge before reportedly being invited back as a mentor for next season, replacing Jimmy Iovine. TMZ is reporting thatAI’s powers that be are attempting to get Scooter Braun onboard (the headline politely reads "American Idol Wants Scooter Braun to Finger Next Kelly Clarkson"), but don't get your hopes up: Braun, apparently, isn't eager to take the job because he doesn't want to get recognized while he's grocery shopping.
The director of the Olivia Wilde–Jake Johnson rom-dramedy Drinking Buddies, and co-star of director Adam Wingard’s twisty, droll home-invasion thriller You’re Next, Joe Swanberg is sort of the new Kevin Bacon. With several dozen acting and directing credits in the last eight years, you could make a game out of connecting recent American indie-film luminaries back to Swanberg in even less than six degrees. Between directing and acting, in web series, shorts, and features, over the last eight years Swanberg has worked with Lena Dunham, Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach, Mark Duplass, indie horror legend Larry Fessenden, and more. With both Drinking Buddies and You’re Next opening theatrically on Friday, you may have questions. Here are some answers.
George Clooney & Stacy Keibler's "Months Without Sex" Before the Breakup: When Keibler and "George Clooney, 52, split, they hadn't had sex in months. He's been in Europe and she's in L.A., and they haven't seen each other in a long time. Some girls would be OK with that and just be happy dating George, but not her." Well, what's in it for her, besides lots of publicity? Stacy pretended she was cool with things being casual, but "held out hope she'd be the one to tame the famous bachelor." When his two-year dating limit ran out, she was toast. "She knew he wasn't looking to get married. But there was always that fantasy that he would commit. Sadly, it just ran its course."
Lena Dunham is less than titillated by the fact that Girls is getting its own porn parody (kinky cupcakes in the shower or I don't care). Among other objections ("because it grosses me out"), Dunham takes issue with the dude-centric sexual gaze of the porn's producer, Hustler, "because Girls is, at its core, a feminist action." The comments section under that link are basically the rudest, by the way, but off of Dunham's closing tweet that her XXX name would be "Murray Broadway," one person chimed in to say "If you’ve spent years combating the perception that you’re an entitled child of entertainment privilege, you may want to skip reminding people your first pet was named Murray and you grew up on Broadway."
Or, in less histrionic terms, B.J. Novak got a book deal.
As the New York Times reports, Novak has signed a two-book deal with Knopf worth seven figures, with the first book — a collection of stories — due in 2014. NBD, though, cause it's already been written. Says Novak's agent Richard Abate, "The closest analogy for me is Woody Allen. Underneath these stories is a real intellectual curiosity. I think their appeal is that they’re incredibly accessible and comic, but at the same time they’re exploring the modern condition." And if you've caught Novak live, you may have gotten yourself a sneak preview. THR says the stories will be adapted from "a series of live shows he performed at Upright Citizens Brigade." They also point out that Novak's deal gives a masculine spin to the recent trend of high-profile book projects from funny people, which includes Abate's clients Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey, plus upcoming joints from Amy Poehler and Lena "The $3.5 Million Woman" Dunham.
This week the Girls in Hoodies bid farewell to Girls's divisive second season. What are we to make of the show's trajectory now that Hannah and Adam are "Together" again? How much responsibility do TV writers have to reassure us they're not as dumb as their characters? Has Ray been the hero of Girls all along? We then move on to address a different sort of televised horror, the premiere of A&E's Bates Motel, and the recently announced American Horror Story: Coven, and what it is exactly that makes a scary show work. Finally, we talk about the recent success of the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter and a modern fandom culture that just doesn't know when to quit.
Forget Steve Martin and Victoria Tennant (you probably already did forget about her): Chris Ryan and I forged our own L.A. story this week. Reunited on the West Coast, we traded stories about rude airplane passengers and desperate, day-drinking directors before digging into the regular rotation, which included the soppy Girls finale, the problematic new Phil Spector movie, and the promise and implications of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter success story. Because two is never enough, we then invited Rembert Browne in. Rem is in L.A. after 10 grueling days at the SXSW festival, and he arrived loaded for bear with stories about sketchy panels, incredible concerts, and Prince shows that never end. We finished off the hour plus with some chatter about Justin Timberlake and Chris's damning thoughts about luxury. Do you fall in the center of a Venn diagram about Lena Dunham and Large Professor? Then do we have a podcast for you!
After Adam broke down Hannah's door and cartoonishly came to her rescue, there should've been a moment like the one at the end of The Graduate, where you see Ben and Elaine sitting on the bus together, already no longer sure that busting up Elaine's wedding to run off together was the right idea, wordlessly contemplating whether it might in fact have been a terrible, irreparable mistake. Following the big grandiose gesture, after the speech that changes everything, after the hot makeup sex, there's always a soul-crushing point when reality sets in. With evil quickness, life goes back to being tedious and mundane.
Even though we're deep in blockbuster reality season — with American Idol, Survivor, and the just-wrapped The Bachelor all filling the airwaves with hypercompetitive, catfighting, backstabbing energy — the Girls in Hoodies would rather talk about the feel-good phenomenon RuPaul's Drag Race, which may just be the most positive reality show on television. All the talk of wig-tossing and lip-synching puts us in good spirits before tackling one of the darkest episodes of Girls yet. Our feelings about Adam grow ever more complicated, to say the least, but that probably won't stop us from posting Adam Driver fan art all over Tess's Facebook wall.
For her latest adventure in accidental self-harm, Hannah abraded her eardrum during an overzealous session with a Q-tip; an incident based on something that actually happened to Lena Dunham if she was telling the truth in her tweets about how she ruptured her eardrum by Q-tipping it too hard. Hannah can't do anything without overdoing it. She has a lot of problems with restraint. She always wants the whole jar of olives, but that means she consistently ends up with a huge wooden splinter lodged in her ass. She was drawn immediately and then continuously to Adam because she identified with him; they share the same contradictory mixture of strict asceticism and crazy appetites. Hannah's OCD has the spiritual tinge of compulsive prayer, and she literally cannot stop touching herself. She goes only to extremes, either zero or 11. On the plus side, other than her wails of pain, grisly body horror close-ups, and pathetic call to her parents, Hannah basically dealt with her ear issue like a grownup, even if her emergency was exactly like something a toddler might do.
A defining part of Lena Dunham’s deal is that in the entertainment big leagues, she’s a rising three-tool player who can write, direct, and act. But the reality is that doing all of that on your own on a television show is too much flor just one person to handle. Accordingly, over half of the episodes of Girls’s second season were directed by others, with Jesse Peretz tackling more than anyone else. Peretz’s three episodes were the cocaine-fueled “Bad Friend,” the contentious “It’s a Shame About Ray,” and last night’s “It’s Back,” which is the last of this season’s non-Dunham-directed episodes. Peretz previously did the Charlie and Marnie breakup episode from the show’s first season and directed the indie features First Love, Last Rites, The Châum;teau, and Our Idiot Brother, as well as the Zach Braff vehicle The Ex. A founding member of alt-rock cuties the Lemonheads in the late 1980s, he left the band in its early stages and initially made a name for himself as the music-video director responsible for such Alternative Nation classics as the Foo Fighters’ Mentos-spoofing “Big Me” and Nada Surf’s “Popular.” Peretz will join the staff of Girls in Season 3 as a producer and has since started directing other TV shows. Here he speaks about the process of working with Dunham and whether he thinks Nina Persson of the Cardigans can act. (Spoiler alert: She can!)
The girls of Girls like to try on new lifestyles the same way you would shop online; picking out items that look great on models in the carefully styled pictures posted on the site, then feeling stupid when it shows up as a physical package and doesn't fit or look flattering at all. Maybe it's cut for a different body type, maybe it's way out of realistic price range, or maybe it's just not made well and falls apart after a couple of wears. They keep shopping anyway, conveniently forgetting the past so they can pursue more fantasies of new personas they can try on, ignoring former magical items that ate holes in paychecks only to become bunched up dirty laundry on the floor, pretending not to remember how much they needed that wasted $50 to make rent. PVC dresses go from shiny to scratched to bottom-of-the-basket debris. Somehow, the lust to consume springs eternal.
Molly, Tess, and Emily had a long gabfest over cosmos this weekend about branding and gender identity and decided to rename the podcast Girls in Hoodies. Now that we finally have a name that won't possibly annoy anyone on the Internet, we can focus on more important things, like this week's Academy Awards, and why exactly it's pretty much impossible not to love Jennifer Lawrence. We also chat about the now-infamous Onion tweet and the pifalls of the infectiousness of Hollywood snark. Finally, we rehash Girls’ road trip to Manitou, where we thankfully didn't run into any murderous demon babies, but where there was still plenty of irresponsible behavior on display.