Saturday, 21 April 2007

In praise of Dr Steve Brule

Following my last post, in which I sang the praises of Rashida Jones from The Office, comes another of my new TV heroes. The new [adult swim] live-action comedy show, Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is pretty excellent all-round. For British readers, think Vic & Bob, only more surreal, more puerile and definitely more divisive for the audience.

I'll agree that it won't be for everyone's tastes, but John C. Reilly's cameos as fictional TV station, Channel 5's advice guru, Dr Steve Brule is something that everyone seems to think is fall-down funny. Reilly's displayed his comedy chops in the past, in films such as Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Anger Management and Tenacious D: The Pick Of Destiny, but for most of you, John C. Reilly is the well-respected and very serious character actor from Chicago, Gangs Of New York and all of Paul Thomas Anderson's films.

This is why Dr Steve Brule is such a revelation. His spots, alongside Married News Team, Jan and Wayne Skylar (played by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, respectively), in which he gives advice on how to get those pesky leaves off your driveway ("Just hose 'em off, dummy!"), how to know whether your milk has gone bad or what you should do if you catch fire are just comedy gold.

Also, he brings a more actorly bent to proceedings. Even though his role is a peripheral one and he isn't in every episode, he manages to inject his character with a real sense of pathos. This might seem like a ridiculous statement, seeing as TAEAS,GJ! is only a comedy sketch show (only running at eleven-plus minutes an episode), but Reilly brings a likeability and a certain gravitas to this parade of grotesques and the show wouldn't be the same without him.

Anyway, see for yourself...

The Brule Report - Digestion Problems (The point where Reilly says "That, that was my birthday" is one of the best stand-alone pieces of acting I've seen on a comedy show for a long while.)

Dr Steve Brule - A Special Report On Cool Cars (Just brilliant)

The Brule Report - Cool Clothes

Brule's Rules - Leaves

Brule's Rules - Milk

Brule's Rules - Fire

For your health!

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Friday, 20 April 2007

In praise of Rashida Jones

I've been catching up on season three of The Office lately and I've developed a rather helpless schoolboy crush on Rashida Jones, who plays Karen Fillippelli on the show. Miss Jones is just so completely naturalistic as the girl who has come between Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer), when all she really has to do is flirt with Jim (successfully, might I add) to the point where I'm screaming at the TV for Jim to just wise up and stop fawning for Pam.

Okay, so maybe I'm not screaming but, do you remember in the original The Office when they brought in Rachel? Remember how she just threw into relief the fact that Tim and Dawn were meant to be together? Well, the introduction of Karen into the American version of The Office just seems to have made Jim even more tortured than Tim ever was. It's also made Jim's character a lot more worthy of envy at his choice. Damn you!

I'm going to go and have a lie down/cold shower/whatever. More substantial posts coming your way soon, I promise.

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Sunday, 1 April 2007

TVOD (2.4.07.)

MONDAY: Well, as always on Monday, you've got The Sopranos (11.10pm, Channel 4). Tonight's episode sees this season back on track, with Johnny Sack out of prison briefly to watch his daughter get married and humiliate himself in front of the rest of 'the family'. Elsewhere, a run-in between Vito and some money-collecting goons has far-reaching consequences. Watch it!

Also tonight, Chris Addison goes on The Hunt For Middle England (11.20pm, BBC2), an irreverent, sideways look at the fabled destination that was shown on BBC4 a couple of months ago. Oh and there's Prison Break (10pm, Five), in which we are sure to learn whether Sara escapes from Kellerman's clutches, and Heroes (10pm, Sci-Fi), which is a little too Mohinder-heavy but sheds some light on Claire's shady dad and introduces a perky waitress, gifted with the power to remember anything she learns really well like. God, that's a crap power! I mean, some of the others can, like, see the future, fly, even travel through time and all she gets is the ability to be really handy in pub quizzes! What a rip-off!

TUESDAY: The Wire, The Wire, The Wire! (10pm, FX) Other than that, Channel 4 have bumped Kidnapped back in the schedules in order to show what looks like one of their patented sensationalist, prurient attempts at reportage in the form of Eunuchs (10pm); a documentary about, y'know, guys who've had their balls cut off.

There's football on too, as Liverpool take on PSV Eindhoven in the quarter-finals of the Champion's League (7.45pm, ITV1). If you don't fancy that, Film4 are showing Planes, Trains And Automobiles (9pm), so you can see John Candy's big pants and Steve Martin's foul-mouthed rant all over again.

WEDNESDAY: The big news in the TV world today is that Sky is completely revamping its movie channels. They're going all genre-specific on our arses, with a channel that will be solely dedicated to premieres (then showing them every frickin' night for a week), one for comedies, one for action movies/thrillers, one for indie-fare, you get the jist. Sounds like one of those ideas that they've just decided to do for shits and giggles and haven't really thought it through. I mean, for instance, what channel can house Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind? Maybe they should have kept a channel aside and called it Sky Movies: Weird Shit.

Also tonight, ITV1 launch a new comedy show, entitled Get A Grip (10pm), which is hosted by Ben "Oh, just fuck off" Elton and Alexa "Who?" Chung. Looks like she's going to be the eye candy for the boys, while the girls get a rough ride by having to look at ol' rat-features. I'm not sure whether it's supposed to be a topical satire show or what it is supposed to be exactly, but one thing's for sure, it must be stopped! Anything involving the man who inflicted the Queen musical on the world must be removed from the air before it has a chance to find an audience. ITV do comedy about as well as Men & Motors does female empowerment though, so I guess it's only a matter of time.

THURSDAY: Channel 4 may or may not air Iraq drama, The Mark Of Cain (9pm), in light of recent events in Iran. If they do, however, that's tonight's must-see TV. Elsewhere, there's Lucky Louie and Chappelle's Show on FX (from 10.30pm) and those two are always good for a laugh.

STOP PRESS! Channel 4 will not be showing The Mark Of Cain tonight and will keep it on ice until there is a resolution to the Iran hostage situation.

Tonight, UKTV Gold are re-animating the corpse of Sir Jimmy Saville for a new show called Jim'll Fix It Strikes Again (9pm). It features all-new fix-its but the main reason to watch will be to see people, now all grown up, revisiting the things that Jim'll fixed it for them to do (Christ, what a clumsy sentence!). Cue grown up men trying to eat on rollercoasters and such like. Weren't they a scout troop? They'll just be trying to suppress the remembrances of the times that Akela tried to touch their special areas then.

FRIDAY: It's Soul Night on BBC4 (programmes begin 8pm), which means an excuse to show the late, great James Brown from last year's Electric Proms. There's also a performance from 1979 from Average White Band, followed by an episode of the recent fantastic documentary series, Soul Britannia. There are other soulful gubbins going on, but the real draw is Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, a brilliant documentary about Motown's house band, The Funk Brothers at midnight. Worth staying up for, indeed.

Elsewhere, there's pretty much fuck-all on, unless you like Golf (The US Masters, from 9pm, BBC2) or My Family (8.30pm, BBC1) and if you do, then god help you.

SATURDAY: Well, obviously there's TV Burp (7.10pm, ITV1), which is followed by Vernon Kay's Gameshow Marathon (7.40pm), which begs the question of how the fuck Vernon Kay keeps on getting work?! How?! I can understand the appeal of most things that are seen to be popular but alongside listening to ultra-compressed mp3s through your mobile's speakers on the bus, the enduring love affair of the British TV-consuming public with Vernon fucking Kay continues to baffle me. Having a strong regional accent that you're willing to play on like a vowel-elongating performing seal, whilst mugging mercilessly for the camera like an ADD-addled pre-pubescent on school photo day does not equal personality.

Over on Channel 4, they're running through the 100 Greatest Tearjerkers (9pm). Your guess is as good as mine as to the winner. Continuing with the soul theme, BBC4 has Urban Soul at 10.10pm, an hour-and-a-half documentary about the rise and rise of r'n'b and hip-hop to become the biggest selling music genre in the world. Might be worth a watch. Got to be better than Vernon bastard Kay, anyway.

SUNDAY: Channel 4 cash in on this whole Easter thing that everyone's going on about by running The Passion Of The Christ (10pm), but if you like your entertainment with a side-order of torture, then 24 (9pm, Sky One) is probably a safer bet. That's followed by Lost, which has been really good lately, particularly last week's off-topic episode that followed the fortunes of the previously sidelined Niki and Paolo since they crashed on the island. The macabre ending was one of the best this season.

On the other side, there's Murder In The Outback (9pm, ITV1), a true-life drama about the murder of British tourist, Peter Falconio and the subsequent investigation, starring the always impressive Joanna Froggatt as Falconio's girlfriend and murder suspect, Joanne Lees. Fancy a laugh? The cult hit, Office Space (12midnight, BBC2) is on. Cult normally means unfunny, but trust me, this one's a keeper.


I'm probably the last person in the world to link to this in some way but... "Somebody gonna get pregnant!". American actor and comedian, Tracy Morgan in full-on, belly-out crazy mode on US TV.

Remind yourself of just how funny Brass Eye was by watching the cake segment from the Drugs episode.

And remind yourself just how fucking awesome music television can be by checking out At The Drive-In on Jools Holland in 2000.

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