Question: After reading your latest Dispatch about The West Wing going out on a creative high (but with lousy ratings), I began to wonder. When was the last time a drama or other hourlong show went out on both a creative and ratings high? In recent years we've had Everybody Loves Raymond and, arguably, Friends go out before they got stale and the audience grew bored, but when was the last time a drama was allowed to go out with some dignity? Certainly not once-great shows like ER and NYPD Blue. I can't think of a single one. Can you, Matt?
Answer: That's a good question. If I get some readers' answers worth sharing, I'll do so in a future column. Or maybe in my Dispatches area, which, starting later this week, will evolve into a blog format. It is a sad fact that successful drama series rarely retire at their peaks. I'm hard-pressed to think of one that didn't either exit too early because of ratings or stay on past its prime because the network and studio kept it going long beyond it ...
Anna Faris, Scary Movie 4
Believe it or not, Anna Faris likes it when her lovable but clueless Cindy Campbell, who returns in Scary Movie 4 (now in theaters), takes a hit or two as she saves the world. "I'm always pretty game for that," says the actress. "Cindy's so sweet and innocent, which gets a little annoying, [so] it's fun to take me down every now and then."
Faris gets her wish in one scene in the latest sequel, when an airplane cart slams into Cindy's face. "It looks like it could have been [my] stunt double, which was frustrating because it was me," she reveals. On the flip side, Faris thinks moviegoers will see that it's definitely her "twin" taking hits from a Mike Tyson look-alike in the spoof of a boxing film. "[We] had this 10-minute, very choreographed sequ
Question: Love your column! Just wanted to ask you something: Over the years, we've seen great shows like ER and others take a tumble. It seems to eventually happen to every show. Even Friends seemed a little pushed on us at times. With such an intriguing and inspiring show like Grey's Anatomy on the air, how long do you think it'll be until its fire burns out and a new hit show comes in to compete? How long can Grey's, in your opinion, last?
Answer: I have no idea. The show churns through stories and relationships like mad, and I don't know how it'll be able to sustain this pace and/or top itself next season. But I know it will try, and I know I want it to succeed. We can only hope that a couple of new shows emerge next season with the same broad appeal as Grey's, but there should be room for many more hits across the spectrum. Bring 'em on. On the other hand, will there be those sharpening their knives in anticipation of a slump after this amazing season? No doubt. But I don't want t ...
Question: I remember a TV show that I think was on Saturday mornings in the early '90s. I believe it was called "California Dreamin'," and it was about a group of kids in a band that performed at their local eatery. I swear Matthew Perry played the drummer on that show, shortly before he got the role on Friends. Am I completely mad?
Answer: Nope. But you're not completely correct, either. The series, California Dreams, ran on NBC for five years beginning in 1992. But the only Matt on the show was the lead character, Matt Garrison (Brent Gore).
From the same people who brought you the teen phenomenon Saved by the Bell, the series focused on a band of Redondo
What lurks in The Office of Steve Carell's boss man?
There is no episode of The Office airing this week. NBC is putting an episode of Teachers in our place tonight. I shared a changing room with three of the actresses from Teachers at a press event earlier this year. They were sweethearts, so I do hope their show does well.
With no Office episode airing tonight, I thought this might be a good week for some more frequently asked questions. These are all from your e-mails. Here we go!
I was wondering: Will you guys ever tape in front of a live studio audience? — Misty, Atlant
Question: I'm not sure if you can answer my question, but you seem to be in the know about everything, so I thought I would give it a try. I am a really big fan of the Bravo network's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I've noticed lately that Bravo is no longer showing the show in its regular time slot. I know that the show's ratings have slipped, and that it is not the phenomenon it once was, but its core fan base is still strong. And it's a disservice to the loyal fans who are still actively watching the show. Because honestly, the only reason I began to watch the Bravo network was because of Queer Eye. And I would hazard a guess that it is because of the Queer Eye phenomenon that many people began watching Bravo. I can hear the bells tolling for the finale of the show, and I will be sad, but I would hope Bravo at least does another season to wrap things up and give the true, steadfast fans a real chance to say goodbye to our favorite show. I can name any number of shows that I have ...
Dude looks like a lady: Felicity Huffman, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Question: Why are actresses playing transsexuals in movies lately? First Felicity Huffman and now possibly Catherine Zeta-Jones. I think it's completely ridiculous/offensive that these roles aren't being cast with actual transsexual actors. Not only would that be a wonderful way to represent more diversity in Hollywood, but it makes sense to cast someone whose own life is the same as the character's. Being a transsexual is not a mere lifestyle choice that an actor can emulate; it's a gender. This new trend is like having a man play a woman, a woman play a man or even having one race play another — a practice I thought had finally left Hollywood.Answer: First, I need to point out that even by the laziest J-school standards, it takes three instances to make a trend. Right now we've got one confirmed instance — Felicity Huffman as a fictional pre-op transsexual in Transamerica
Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow, Friends
"I'll be there for you...." "And so will I." "Me, too." "Count me in." "I'm game." "Eh, I dunno about this." That's pretty much the scenario that's being reported by Newsday regarding a Friends reunion. Five of the sextet were into the idea — and Kathleen Turner even claimed to have been approached about reprising the role of Chandler's father — but, Lisa Kudrow is being quoted as saying, "One member has said no. It's one of the guys. I'm gutted." C'mon, after Joey, would anybody really miss Matt LeBlanc if the show went on without him? I hear Ugly Naked Guy is available to fill in.
Question: I saw in the Biz column that NBC has not yet decided if they will renew Scrubs. So this leads to a series of questions: Why would a network that has a limited number of quality shows even think about letting one of them go off the air? If the show is struggling, why does NBC refuse to put it on Thursday, where it could become part of a great comedy lineup? Finally, if it isn't renewed by NBC, could it be picked up by ABC? I think I read that someone at ABC was part of the team that developed it for NBC. I really do hope it survives, because it is a shame to see shows go off the air that have some sense of originality and can actually make you laugh. Thanks for the time.
Answer: All are legitimate questions, and most have been asked repeatedly during a season when NBC often treated Scrubs, despite its Emmy nominations and general acclaim, as if it were toxic and contagious. We've speculated before that if NBC dropped Scrubs at this point, ABC might jump at it, given that the
Fred Goss and Jerry Lambert sing for their supper on Sons & Daughters.
We had our big red-carpet premiere last week at Universal Studios in Hollywood. The producers invited the entire cast and crew, and we ate popcorn and watched the first two episodes in a movie theater. It was so great to be together once again with everyone involved in this show. Several cast members of The Office showed up to support us. After the screening we moved to a nearby restaurant for food, drinks and sparkling conversation.
Let me fill you in on what's fappenin' on Sons and Daughters this week. ABC is broadcasting two episodes back-to-back again on Tuesday at 9 pm/ET. The first episode is called "Film Festival." Cameron tries to connect with his son Henry by getting the whole family to attend the screening of one of Henry's short films. Henry is extreme