Another bitch is about to get welcomed to The O.C. As reported exclusively in today's Ask Ausiello, The Comeback's Willa Holland has been tapped to play Marissa's MIA younger sis, Kaitlin. She'll surface in early '06 and, according to Fox, "wreak havoc, turn heads and introduce a darker, edgier element" to the show. Also in today's AA: Major Gilmore Girls spoilage, breaking casting news on House and Will & Grace and another clue about the big Las Vegas death.
I'm beginning to wonder if NBC is going to torture us all season with live episodes of shows that are pretty much on life support, creating prime-time stunts in hopes of compelling us to watch (although it rarely works out that way).
First came the underwhelming live season opener of Will & Grace, with its tittering and mugging. Now we have The West Wing showing that it can stage a fake debate that looks and sounds pretty much like the real thing, only with a bit more animation as old-school Senator Vinick (Alan Alda) demanded the "stupid rules" be dropped in favor of "a debate Lincoln would have been proud of."
(Which brought to mind, after sitting through the long and tedious hour that followed, the old joke: "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the show?")
There was no assassination, or really even any
The West Wing
When I first heard about this debate, I was a little skeptical. Between the parade of guest stars and the announcement of a live stunt, I thought this thing had a whiff of Will & Grace desperation stink. And while it didn't reach the level of President Bartlet's debate drubbing of Rob Ritchie a few seasons back, it was still pretty darn exciting to watch Bobby Simone and Hawkeye Pierce get it on without a net.
First off, did we need Ellen DeGeneres playing host? I dig Ellen as much as the next guy (or girl), but she doesn't exactly ooze executive-branch gravitas. I was also kinda surprised they started with a backstage segment. I guess director Alex Graves really wanted to try his hand at a live West Wing walk-and-talk.
Wasn't Alan Alda's long opening pause great? For a minute, I thought he had lost it like Admiral James Stockdale in the 1992 VP debate. Vinick's gambit to dump the debate rules turned o
Question: Since the heyday of Friends, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, Frasier (or even going back further to The Cosby Show, Mad About You, Cheers and many others), the sitcom format has become nearly obsolete and the networks have clearly reached a point of desperation. In the last few years, only The Simpsons, Scrubs, Arrested Development and Family Guy have succeeded in making people laugh while watching network TV. HBO has a distinct advantage due to its lack of censorship. This year, however, the networks seem to be improving with the additions of Kitchen Confidential and the close-to-being-very-funny How I Met Your Mother. Once Mother finds its true voice (Ted and Robin are simply not funny) and NBC brings Scrubs back from its inexplicable hiatus, we might finally be able to enjoy a few amusing comedies. Notwithstanding the dissertation above, my question is about Freddie. In my not-so-humble opinion, Freddie Prinze Jr. is not funny. His family on the show is not funny. The concept of ...
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
The Eye Network resoundingly won Thursday, the first night of the November sweeps ratings period, as Survivor: Guatemala's 18.5 million torch carriers beat out NBC's Joey and Will & Grace (netting about 8 mil each) and Fox's The O.C. (6.6 mil). At 9 pm, CSI's 28.5 million loyalists had an easy victory over runner-up The Apprentice (albeit with a season-best 11 mil), while at 10 o'clock Without a Trace's 20.3 million viewers bested ER (14.3 mil), though the two were almost neck-in-neck in key demos. And ABC, you ask? Its airing of Pirates of the Caribbean didn't capture much booty, averaging just 8.4 million for the night.
Question: I've got a theory about why so many people are down on sitcoms nowadays. It seems like ever since Seinfeld ended, half-hour comedy series have become increasingly mean-spirited. Will & Grace isn't about situational comedy; it's about making fun of other people. It's not about laughing with the characters; it's about laughing at them. Mean-spirited comedy certainly has its place, and there were times I found shows like Will & Grace, Malcolm in the Middle etc. funny. But now they just wear on my nerves. What do you think? And do the new comedy shows you've been praising fit (or not fit) into this theory?
Answer: What's so great and encouraging about the early success of My Name Is Earl (most notably) and Everybody Hates Chris is that they manage to be both edgy in tone and somehow sweet-natured, and they're not drowning in self-conscious irony. Earl pokes fun at its lowbrow characters (see my recent Review), but is inherently good at heart. Chris benefits from Chris Rock's
Question: I know NBC will probably see it as admitting defeat, but Joey is just so dull and awful, why not just put it out of its misery and let Scrubs have a good slot on Thursday? I would much rather see Scrubs come back now than one more second of Joey. I watched only a smidgeon of the premiere and thought it just as banal and unwatchable as I did last season. I worry that NBC just won't make the tough decision.
Answer: This is the question of the moment. If Joey looked like a dud last season, it's a full-blown failure now. NBC needs to grow a spine and fix this problem. Even more essentially, Scrubs needs to get back on the air sooner than later — November sweeps would be a nice time to start, if not earlier — but the question is whether to pair it with My Name Is Earl on Tuesdays, move an Earl-Scrubs combo to Thursdays, pair Scrubs with Will & Grace, or even maybe welcome more comedies back to Thursday and find another perch for Trump's Apprentice (although the last option i ...
I was very excited to be able to write about attending tonight's West Coast season-premiere live broadcast. I've been anticipating this for weeks, ever since I knew I was going. A good friend works on the show, so I've been to approximately 40 tapings. But I was extremely nervous, so you know I was really looking forward to this night. Due to the multiple takes, normal tapings take about four hours. The writers often rewrite the scenes to make them funnier, so the actors flub their lines and director Jimmy Burrows is a perfectionist. So knowing this was live, I wondered how they could possibly do it ,since they couldn't do scenes over and over and only had a half hour — twice — once for each coast. Truth is, they've been rehearsing this for four weeks to get it down pat, and the script had gone through so many changes, it had to be perfect. Well, you didn't have to be in the live studio audience to be able to enjoy it, but it certainly made it even better. I c
So after going to the live Will & Grace taping and getting a bite to eat at the after-party, where I told the cast how fabu they were, I was really in the mood to go home to watch my favorite Chicago-based medical drama. Actually, I wasn't — I had it TiVo'd, so I would have preferred to watch it at a later time, but an assignment is an assignment, right? Luckily, I got all my laughs out of my system at the taping, since this was an especially intense and depressing ER. You can't get much sadder than an injured surrogate mother who gives birth to a baby with toxic brain defects, causing the new parents not to want it anymore. Nice to see Amy Aquino back guesting on the show, but this was the second episode in a row without Kerry Weaver. At least Laura Innes directed it. Interesting how Sam and Luka chose to spend time away from each other, thus giving Goran Visnjic more screen time with Maura Tierney, which hasn't happened in ages.
Ready for NuCassie?
As previously reported by TVGuide.com, Guiding Light is recasting Cassie Winslow, Reva's ex-stripper sister who married into Caribbean royalty. The role was abruptly vacated when Laura Wright jumped ship to play General Hospital's new Carly. As a result, Nicole Forester will make her daytime debut as NuCassie on Nov. 4. Who the heck is she? Well, Forester has previously guest-starred on prime-time shows like Two and a Half Men, Monk, Will & Grace and Beverly Hills, 90210. She also costarred with Michael Madsen and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, The Young and the Restless) in the 2003 straight-to-DVD fright-flick Vampires Anonymous. Keep reading for another juicy nugget of Cassie-related casting news....