THE BEST AND WORST LOVERS IN HOLLYWOOD:
It wasn't a very funny week for fans of culty comedies. Within about 24 hours, ABC evicted Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 from its Tuesday-night perch, and Fox did the same with its freshman flop Ben & Kate. Both shows have filmed episodes remaining — eight for the former, six for the latter — though neither network has announced any sort of plan to air them. The big bad C-word — cancellation — is about as popular around television these days as another C-word. (Community — what did you think I meant?) Instead, both networks are referring to the shake-ups as "rescheduling." But come on. Even Dawson knows what's up.
Fourteen months ago, Fox debuted New Girl as a star vehicle for the considerable, if occasionally adorkable, charms of Zooey Deschanel. Now in its second season, the sitcom has evolved into one of the best shows on television largely thanks to the comedic firepower of its emerging ensemble. Much of the credit for this transformation goes to Jake Johnson, who plays Nick, a struggling bartender/zombie novelist whose preternaturally old-man crankiness clicks beautifully with Deschanel's Etsy-fied whimsy. Johnson's role was originally written as the quiet straight guy; New Girl took flight once its producers realized the good things that can happen when Johnson — a Chicago native with a welcome dash of Belushi bile — starts yelling.
Scarlett Johansson Is Depressed: "She was totally out of control in Moscow recently" at a champagne brand's promo event. "She was drinking nonstop and barely slept. It was obvious that she was trying to numb her feelings." She's sad about her breakup with ad exec Nate Naylor. "She's not used to going home alone — it's a shock to her system. The fact that Ryan Reynolds is happily married while she's single again has done a number on her. And the drinking is taking its toll — she's been crying because she feels so fat." She got a lucky horseshoe tattooed on her ribcage "because she's feeling a bit unlucky." A rebound with ex-boyfriend Jared Leto quickly went south. "She thought a fling with Jared would make her feel better, but since it was only a hookup, it only made things worse." Time for Lost in Translation 2? I know I'd pay good money to watch Scarlett be sad in Russia.
Unlike his aggressively unmotivated New Girl character, Nick Miller, Jake Johnson is proving to be quite the industrious type. Along with Max Winkler, scion of the Fonze (note: "He was just a regular dad. It wasn't like he drove me to school on a motorcycle in a leather jacket, while I was in a little side car with my hair gelled back"), Johnson has sold a comedy pitch to his current home, Fox.
I have a confession to make: I'm a Munnhead. That's an Olivia Munn fan, for you non-Munnheads (and future Munnheads). Therefore I was very excited to hear about the casting of Olivia Munn as a new love interest for Jake Johnson's character Nick for an arc on the sophomore season of New Girl. How did Munn turn her reputation around from a "women in comedy" lightning rod to an actual bona fide woman in comedy? By proving she can take a joke.
Writer Kay Cannon’s already had a career-making autumn. Pitch Perfect, the delightful-even-if-you-hate-human-beatboxing comedy she wrote, opened wide this weekend after an impressive start in limited release, and she’s about to begin work on the pilot script for her own series, a sitcom set behind the scenes of an NFL show, that she just sold to Fox. All of this comes on the heels of a cross-country move, which saw Cannon leaving the cozy confines of 30 Rock — where she’d been since the beginning, rising from story editor to Emmy-nominated executive producer — to a new day job on New Girl. Despite a 9 a.m. recording time last week, Kay came ready for a riff-off: We talked about her unlikely relationship to Pitch Perfect’s collegiate-singing source material (being from Chicago, she thought a capella was an East Coast fantasy, like chill lax bros or a rent-controlled apartment), what it’s like working with Tina Fey, and why she prefers Los Angeles to New York (hint: it has something to do with healthier food delivery options). Super funny — and super into all the sports memorabilia in the Grantland studio (she’s a die-hard Bears fan) — Kay was a fantastic guest. She was even gracious enough to sing us out.
Last season, Fox’s New Girl provided a fascinating glimpse into the hard work of turning a promising pilot into a successful series. Despite some early growing pains, the adorkable sitcom finished its freshman campaign strong, with a sparkling, engaging ensemble just beginning to hit its stride. In other words, things were pointed in the same direction as Schmidt’s broken dong. (That’s up. We think.)
If Zooey Deschanel, and by extension, the Fox sitcom New Girl on which she stars, is the epitome of “Adorkable,” then the polar opposite would probably be a room of 20 moth-eaten TV reporters, turned loose in an elite club for an evening of schmoozing and chasing down all the free hors d'oeuvre they can find.
But last Thursday night worlds collided, as the show that brought the A-word to the masses invited a cadre of scribes to the Soho House in West Hollywood for a cocktail reception following a screening of the first-season finale. As Emmy season revs up, the streets and billboards of Los Angeles are filled with reminders of the wonders this year's crop of shows have bestowed. The event was a timely chance to jog the reporters' memory and appreciation of one of the most successful sitcom launches of the year.
The cavalcade of press for Fox’s break-out sitcom The New Girl has, for good reason, focused on said girl herself, Zooey Deschanel. But after a careful, unicorn-free viewing of last night’s second episode — as well as the even better third, airing October 17 — it’s clear that behind every new girl lurk three strong male characters. This is meant as no slight to Deschanel’s performance: Her Jess is a pan-dimensional pixie, a fully-realized comic disaster in a sundress and clogs. But the secret weapon of the show, the ballast that has thus far kept it from tumbling over a candy-colored cliff into insufferable tweeness, has been the performances of Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, Lamorne Morris, and, briefly, Damon Wayans Jr. as Deschanel’s “why me?”-asking, Y-chromosome-having roommates.