See Arnold Run
I'll start with a minor quibble: the accent. The Austrian Roland Kickinger has no problem with young Arnold, of course. And Nora Dunn's got Arianna Huffington's down, too. But German actor Jurgen Prochnow sounds, well... German. Did the producers figure, Austrian, German Americans don't go anywhere anyway, so they won't know the difference? If so, whoops. Arnold's one of the biggest box-office stars in recent history and is governor of "Golly-fornia." Even those without passports know what he sounds like.
But the cardinal sin: the tiny Speedo. Wearing a wee, '70s-era Speedo is like blathering on a cell phone in a crowd or yelling in public because you want to converse and crank your iPod: You wouldn't if you could see yourself through others' eyes. My friend Dave knew this. When he and his roommates lived in Brooklyn, they got tired of playing darts for money, so they upped the stakes and played for dignity. The loser had to wear just a Speedo and sneakers to a popular local bar on a Saturday night. For the entire night.
"Did anyone look good in the Speedo?" I asked.
"Nobody looked good in the Speedo."
"It's called taking advantage. It's what gets you ahead in life." Gob, pontificating from his Segway
How many sitcoms start good and actually get even better as they evolve? Few. But this one, peppering you with jokes and visual gags like a live-action Simpsons, does. And it's damn funny.
And when Michael's stuck wearing the restaurant jacket because of the lunchtime dress code? Been there, brother. Man, are they big. And smelly.
Pompeii: The Last Day
So fresh from my laughing at the mayhem of AD's Bluths, I'm all set to write about jumping to another AD (79, in fact, when Mount Vesuvius erupted), giggling about the fact that the people of the time used human urine to get grease stains out (given that choice, I'll keep the spot on my Dockers, thanks) and pointing out that the whole phenomenon is a lot more fun when it's Tommy Lee Jones running around L.A., yelling, "Get outta there!" in his trademark twang. I mean, it happened 2000 years ago, and if you believe the aphorism that comedy is tragedy plus time, it's fair game, right?
Well, no, actually. Thousands of real people were killed. The deaths of many are frozen in poignant representation, their bodies given way to preserved castings of ash. There's no word for "volcano" in Latin; these poor people, who died horribly, had no idea what was happening to them. Sobering, informative stuff and well done, BBC and Discovery Channel.
According to Deliverance goon No. 1, the Crone's real name is a three-word phrase that starts with an "f." Then I'd say having that scary old lady sew your lips together oughtta teach you to drop a Mrs. in front of that, with a "ma'am" thrown in for good measure, Monkey Boy.
The Surreal Life
You know the best part about this jumping to VH1 from WB? Repetition. VH1 can run these things over and over again so you, after a night out, can stumble upon a choice moment late at night.
Such as Chris Knight letting rip and getting away with it because he's the nicest, most stand-up guy in the house. And then watching a tipsy Joanie guffaw about it to a tipsy Adrianne, who thinks his muffin-cutting only makes him more attractive. Or seeing Da Brat, who's still trying to remain above it all, come out of nowhere to play yenta.
Joan of Arcadia
I'm not sure what bothers me more, that I actually know what Ugg boots are, or that I'm wasting brain capacity on an opinion of them. In case you're wondering, I think you'd look better in holy crap! Joan just saved Hilary Duff! Lindsay Lohan's gonna be so pissed!
Later, Little-Girl God says things must be pretty bad for Joan to seek solace in the bathroom stall. Trust me: God wouldn't say that to a guy. (And don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about, all you sports-page-reading dads out there.)
Two weeks ago I called this show pretty darned good. With this episode the best I've seen yet I'll up that a bit to... darned good? Nah, better than that, only I can't come up with quite the right word to describe it because, well, what am I, a writer?
My gimmick alarm goes off when a show uses flashbacks and out-of-sequence storytelling to gussy up a mediocre story line. But that's not the case here; it's grown-up writing that, unlike more pedestrian sci-fi fare that falls back on rockets and lasers, gives us actual emotions and well-crafted drama. And to all you fans of the original who think this is too dark? Please. Any small shortcomings I see ("frack," for instance) stem from attempted fidelity to the first version.
Besides, I like dark.