Tag Archives: Brian Moylan

That’s What They Said

John Hudson at The Altantic

Lane Brown at New York Magazine:

Just how much is Steve Carell leaving The Office when his contract expires at the end of next season? So much!

From his profile by Tad Friend in today’s New Yorker (not online, sadly):

[Carell] plans to leave The Office when his contract expires, next year, at the end of his seventh season; most of the actors and writers believe that without him there wouldn’t be a show, but he insists that they could make it work.

Still don’t believe him?

He told EW‘s Michael Ausiello last night:

“I think [season] 7 will be my last year,” he told us over the weekend at the premiere of his new animated flick, Despicable Me. “I want to fulfill my contract. I think it’s a good time to move on.” Asked if there’s anything that could change his mind, Carell said, “No. I just want to spend more time with my family.”

And E!:

“I just think it’s time,” Steve told our Kristina Guerrero. “I want to fulfill my contract. When I first signed on I had a contract for seven seasons, and this coming year is my seventh. I just thought it was time for my character to go.”

Probably nothing to worry about until we get a fourth opinion.

Brian Moylan at Gawker:

Knowing NBC, the network will greenlight one more disastrous year without him before ultimately canceling the show.

Jim Windolf at Vanity Fair:

The last sitcom to survive the loss of a major character was probably Cheers, which traded Shelly Long for Kirstie Alley and came out fine. Long-running dramas with big ensembles, such as E.R., have also been able to work around cast changes without losing their audiences or their identities.

Mindy Kaling, who has written roughly 20 episodes of The Office while also playing the charmingly vapid Kelly Kapoor, hinted in an interview a few years back that the show’s writers were ready for the challenge of writing an Office sans Michael Scott.

This interview took place before the show Parks and Recreation was on the air, so the stuff she said about Amy Poehler no longer carries much weight. Otherwise, though, Kaling’s comments suggest the show’s writers feel like they can handle the departure of any cast member. Here is what Kaling said in an interview with The Onion‘s A.V. Club:

I haven’t seen ER in about 10 years, but there’s something about ER that I like, which I kind of hope happens with The Office, which is the way that the characters are recycled out and new characters came on. At the beginning, no one cared about the Noah Wyle character, but by season eight, he was a huge star on the show. I feel like that’s what we can do with The Office. As John Krasinski goes on to do Ocean’s 15 or whatever he’s going to star in, we can cycle in some interesting new young actors, and a new boss. My dream is that when Steve leaves the show, we could have Amy Poehler come on as the boss. I think Amy’s flawless. I have this fantasy that we’ll get this female boss, and at the beginning, she’ll seem totally normal and what a relief, and then we’ll find out that there’s lots of different horrible, crazy kinds of bosses. Or Kathy Bates or something. How funny would that be?

The story arc for next season seems like it could write itself. Michael Scott’s main love interest, Holly Flax (played by the hilarious Amy Ryan), is all set to return to the Scranton office of Dunder-Mifflin—this was something that came up in the closing minute of last season’s final episode—so it’s easy to envision that Michael Scott will woo her, win her back, lose her through some idiotic move, and get her back once again in time for a big fat double episode for May sweeps, in which they will marry and say farewell to Scranton. I’m looking forward to it, partly because there hasn’t been such a well-matched TV couple since Ross and Rachel. After that? I agree with Kaling’s suggestion that the show’s writers will be able to make up for the loss of Carell.

Jamie Kapalko at Salon:

Er, what? Can anyone envision a scenario in which Michael Scott riding off into the sunset in his Sebring convertible is a good thing for “The Office?” Michael puts the cringe in the show’s cringe comedy with his desperate yearning for a family, strange combination of selfishness and loyalty, and utter lack of any sense of boundary. He’s the show’s vulnerable, pathetic-yet-sympathetic heart.

The series isn’t what it used to be, but without him, it won’t be anything at all. His departure will leave a hole in “The Office” that can’t be satisfactorily filled by anyone else.

That’s what she said.

Caroline Stanley at Flavorwire:

Michael Scott (“It doesn’t certainly mean the end of the show. I think it’s just a dynamic change to the show, which could be a good thing, actually. Add some new life and some new energy…I see it as a positive in general for the show.”), we’ve considered the TV comedy past its expiration date for a few years now. After the jump we’ve got a few suggestions on how we think things should wrap up inspired by some other famous series endings that you might recognize. Feel free to add to it in the comments.

– Michael reveals that most of the people from the series weren’t actually real, but characters that he dreamed up to help him deal with the boring life of a middle manager at a paper company.

– Cece Halpert, Jim and Pam’s baby daughter, is now a grown woman, and making a documentary about the documentary that first brought her parents together.

– After several deaths involving the Sabre printers, the entire office is put on trial, and characters ranging from Jan to David Wallace are brought in to testify. They are all sentenced to a year in jail together.

– Michael discovers that Sabre Corp was a tax write-off and designed to fail. He convinces Jo to let the company try to succeed, and in exchange for his silence is promoted to Vice President and relocated to Florida.

– The romance between Michael and Holly Flax is rekindled and they decide to marry. As the two of them are boarding a plane bound for Nashua, New Hampshire, Michael gets off, realizing that he’s happier working at the office.

– After losing control of the Scranton office to Jim, his Co-Regional Manager, Michael contemplates suicide. Darryl reveals to Michael what everyone’s lives would have been like if he’d never existed. The last scene shows Jim walking into Michael’s office, and we hear a gunshot off-screen.

– The news that Michael has been fired causes waves of celebration to spread throughout the office. When the news turns out to be false, Stanley drops dead of a heart attack.

– A light turns on, and David Brent wakes up alone in his bedroom. As it turns out, the entire series was just a recurring nightmare that he had about being an annoying middle-manager in America named Michael Scott.

UPDATE: Erik Hayden at The Atlantic

UPDATE #2: John Hudson at The Atlantic



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And Then There Was One


Rue McClanahan, one of the last surviving stars of the seminal sitcom ‘The Golden Girls,’ has died after suffering a massive stroke, her manager has confirmed to PEOPLE. She was 76 years old at the time of her death. “She passed away at 1 AM this morning. She had a massive stroke,” Barbara Lawrence told the magazine, adding that the actress “had her family with her. She went in peace.”

The comedic star was best known for her role as saucy Blanche Devereaux on the hit 1980s series, about four retired ladies living it up in Miami. Her death now leaves Betty White as the only living ‘Girl.’

James Poniewozik at Time:

The Golden Girls was a popular and long-lived sitcom in its time, of course, but one of the most striking phenomena of vintage TV today is how popular the show has stayed among TV fans, including those well below retirement age.

Part of it, of course, is simply that the show was well-executed and the performances, McClanahan’s among them, were consistently sharp and well-timed. But the show also seems to strike a chord, both because of how its characters represented their age and transcended it. On the one hand, it was and is refreshing to see a group of senior women—second-class citizens on much of TV then and now—bickering, living and refusing to be invisible. And on the other hand, there’s also something universally appealing about the characters’ insistence on owning their lives, their voices and their sexuality.

Like Sex and the City’s characters later, their appeal was in their power to say whatever, do whatever—and in Blanche’s case, do whomever—they wanted. And its hard to imagine the show without the way McClanahan embodied Blanche’s life force; it spoke not just to senior ladies but to young women, gay men and, for that matter, fans of strong characters whatever their own gender, sexuality or age. McClanahan’s performance transcended her demographic niche, and it will surely outlive her death. RIP.

Michael Musto at Village Voice

Brian Moylan at Gawker:

It was the role that she was always meant to play, brash, slutty, and not afraid to use her feminine wiles to get what she wants. Rue was much like this in real life. I only met her once a few years ago. I interviewed her to talk about her last role in the Logo television show Sordid Lives where she played the tough matriarch of a trashy Texas clan. Aside from talking about how thrilling it was to be acting so late in life, she also told stories about her Golden Girls castmates and off-color tales of her many husbands (some of which are in her autobiography My First Five Husbands). Sorry, most of them were off the record, but I can tell you that talking to her was an absolute blast. She was lively and engaging. Rue had that spark that marks a true entertainer, someone who loved having every eye in the place on her and knew how to keep it there.

Now Betty White, who is enjoying a career resurgence late, is the only member of The Golden Girls cast still alive. Estelle Getty died in 2008 and Bea Arthur passed last year. These deaths seem harder than when most actors of celebrities pass away. Maybe it’s because the characters they played were close to the actresses’ personalities, that we feel like we were so close to them. Their infamous theme song wasn’t so much about the women’s relationship to each other, but thanking us for being their friends and sharing in their adventures.

For younger people who grew up watching the sitcom—or discovering it in syndication, where it still lives today—these were like our surrogate grandmothers. Funny ladies who were at turns gentle, kind, funny, and daffy. Ones that lived a full life of friendship, dating, multicolored caftans, and lots and lots of cheesecake. Yeah, it was a TV show, but thanks to the wonderful actresses who inhabited the roles, it always felt like the real thing.

Megan Carpentier at Spencer Ackerman’s place:

And although Blanche’s coquettishness and high post-menopausal sex drive were often played for laughs, she represented a grandmotherly type you didn’t (and still don’t often see) in popular culture: not a MILF or a GILF, but a woman who found herself attractive, felt herself sexy and pursued her interests and pleasures (and conquests) unabashedly. She might try out a new beauty cream, or extol the virtues of a girdle, but she wasn’t headed to a plastic surgeon for an eyelift here, a tummy tuck there or (God forbid) a vaginoplasty — unlike, say, Margaret Chenowith on Six Feet Under. Blanche was the woman we wanted to be (at least, until we were old enough to be Sophia): she wasn’t sarcastic (and constantly getting back with her unworthy ex) like Dorothy or dotty like Rose, she was there to show us that there was life, love and great sex for the taking, even as a widow, even as a senior citizen. She was a woman of her time, in the sense that she saw the strict differentiation of the genders, and ahead of her time, as she defied conventions about how older women are supposed to feel, what they are supposed to want and how they are supposed to act.

Blanche wasn’t the character most like my grandmother, and Rue might not have had the biting wit of Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty or (as we’ve all come to realize) Betty White, but she stood for something that is as important to women as intelligence and humor (both of which she had in spades)  — the idea that we don’t stop being women (and sexual beings) when our hair turns white, our breasts head south and our periods (finally!) stop. And for that, though Rue might be gone, neither she nor the character she created will be forgotten.

Andrew Scott at TV Squad

Lea Lane at Huffington Post:

I spent a few days with Rue McClanahan, who died this morning of a stroke at 76.

About 15 years ago I was invited as a travel writer on a “Love Boat” Valentine excursion where everyone on board was getting their marriage vows renewed. Our little solo group included Gavin McCloud, who went on most of the trips in the Captain Stubing persona from The Love Boat. He had grown up in Pleasantville, NY, north of New York City, near where I lived. I interviewed him for the local papers and he told many tales of life on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He loved the opportunity he had to meet people and travel.

Another in the invited group was Rue McClanahan, who played Blanche on The Golden Girls. She was sweet and soft-spoken, and single at the time. She commented that she had met a man on board who had given her a teddy bear, and she figured that if he was on this cruise that he was married.

She had been married a few times and seemed interested in finding love again, and I remember reading that she did a couple of years later. The bunch of us invited guests hung out together for the long weekend, talking of men and life. I remember thinking that she reminded me a lot of her character on The Golden Girls. Lots of giggles. Soft voice. Full of life.

She talked often of working with Bea Arthur, both on The Golden Girls and on Maude, where Rue portrayed Vivian, Maude’s best friend.

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Levi Johnston’s 115th Dream


Vanity Fair:

For “Me and Mrs. Palin,” Johnston tells Vanity Fair his story about life with the Palin family—with whom he lived for two months after the election—over the course of his two-and-a-half-year relationship with Bristol. He turns a number of commonly held beliefs about the former governor—the purportedly loving mother, devoted wife, and prolific hunter—upside down.

“The Palin house was much different from what many people expect of a normal family, even before she was nominated for vice president. There wasn’t much parenting in that house. Sarah doesn’t cook, Todd doesn’t cook—the kids would do it all themselves: cook, clean, do the laundry, and get ready for school. Most of the time Bristol would help her youngest sister with her homework, and I’d barbecue chicken or steak on the grill.”

Even before Palin became John McCain’s running mate, she seemed worried about what a grandchild would do to her political career. According to Johnston, she had a plan for how to handle her daughter’s unexpected pregnancy.

“Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret—nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant. She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him. That way, she said, Bristol and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Sarah kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging—she wouldn’t give up. She would say, “So, are you gonna let me adopt him?” We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid.”

Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner:

Levi Johnston has now had his (dramatic, hanging off a building’s ledge) Vanity Fair cover shoot (video available online) and delivers a gift the world wide web is already running with. From comments on the Vanity Fair site (soon on an Atlantic Monthly blog near you?):

hmmm… When Levi says,”[Sarah] didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid,” is the kid to which he is referring Trig or Tripp? Bristol was 17 when Trig was born, as well as when Tripp was conceived….

Posted 9/2/2009 by sctina45

Levi has every right to tell his side of the story. I too wonder if Levi is talking about Trig or Tripp. I think both kids belong to him and Bristol. Check out palingates bloggspot.

So, according to Levi, Governor Palin was very, very interested in avoiding embarrassment for her daughter – and a political problem – by passing off someone else’s child as her own and adopting him. This kid’s name was Tripp. But this exercise is called “proof of principle.” If anyone believed that Palin wasn’t nutty enough to try to pass off her own daughter’s baby as her own, they need to reassess.

Ann Althouse:

First, Johnston didn’t say that Sarah would pass the baby off as her own, only that she would adopt it. Whose baby is Trig supposed to be? Who else in the world would Palin have wanted to protect by taking on a new baby? The motive would have to be entirely different, such as thinking she’d look good having a Down Syndrome baby. So the principle is a different one.

Second, is it nutty for a grandmother to take over the role of raising a child born to a too-young mother? Let Andrew Sullivan step up and answer a clear yes to that if that’s what he thinks. Do you realize how many women he is tainting with an accusation of insanity? Many, many women — including Barack Obama’s grandmother — have done that over the ages. No one with any sensitivity to the condition of women in society should say that it’s crazy for a grandmother to step in. It is a good and gracious thing that many good women have done, and emphatically not crazy.

4. If you want to talk crazy, how crazy is it to want so badly to paint Sarah Palin as crazy? She is your political opponent, Andrew, and you don’t think she’s good enough for high office. It’s not so dramatic. It’s utterly banal. Ironically, Palin draws energy from your overheated hatred. Have you heard she’s about to make $100 million?

Dan Riehl

Robert Stacy McCain:

The scumbag has an agent. The scumbag has a lawyer. The scumbag does a Vanity Fair photo shoot and appears on network news programs. People say they’ve seen him wheeling around in a brand new $30,000 truck. And other people say the scumbag hasn’t bought a single diaper for his own baby son.

M.J. Rosenberg at TPM:

Palin won’t survive this because — no matter how you cut it — this teenager is infinitely more credible than Palin. He has no reason to lie. He can sell a book even if he told how wonderful the Palins are.

My favorite part. I was one of those (like Andrew Sullivan) who thought that baby Trig was not Bristol’s but Sarah’s. My friends said I was a conspiracy nut. And, it turns out, I was wrong. Trig is Sarah’s but Sarah tried to get the kids to agree to pretend that Bristol’s kid, Tripp (the one she had with Levi) was Sarah’s too, to avoid bad press on a pregnant Bristol.

So I was only kind of wrong.

Not every horrible thing we believe about the right is correct. We may be off by 5-10%.

There is a lesson in this for us all. Do not mess with a 19 year old jock. He or she definitely will get you back.

Michael Scherer at Swampland at Time compares Levi Johnson to Bob Dylan.

I fell into watching “Don’t Look Back” last night, the great documentary of Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour through England. Dylan never cared much for the press, even though, as the movie showed, he read the tabloids voraciously and spent a ton to time giving interviews. (He expresses this view in an extended verbal assault on a TIME magazine reporter, arguing that the magazine would get closer to reporting the “truth” if it printed a cut up montage of photographs than the rewritten “facts” that is its usual trade. See the exchange, which is great fun, here.)  And in retrospect, the concurrent reporting on Dylan’s early rise was ridiculous. The press struggled mightily to fit Dylan into a box with questions about whether he was “folk” or “rock,” “political” or not, and what his message was for the children. His music was, of course, far bigger, and deeper, than these narratives could contain.

Now this may be a stretch, but I remember thinking something similar when I saw Levi Johnson at the Republican National Convention, standing on stage in Minneapolis with Republican nominee John McCain and his pregnant girlfriend, Bristol Palin. He was so out of place, like a man who had arrived by time machine from the past, or by light speed from a distant galaxy. His world–rural Alaska, hockey, sex, high school, hunting–had almost nothing to do with the media hot box he had been thrown into. The press, meanwhile, struggled to put Levi into a box: What did he represent? Sex education works? It doesn’t work? Premarital sex is inevitable? Avoidable? Etc. But none of the questions had much to do with Johnson. He was just a kid who got his girlfriend pregnant, and then, inexplicably, became famous for it.

Now here we are, a year later, and Levi Johnson has been transformed from media outsider–who like Dylan once had nothing to do with the press or its story lines–to a parody of himself, the star of his own unsigned reality show, made by and for the media machine. He is just another one of those people who has become famous for being famous. He does talk shows, gets followed by paparazzi, and, in his latest incarnation, gets photographed like a model, and paid (presumably) like a rock star, as a correspondent for Vanity Fair. The conceit of his Vanity Fair piece, which he “writes” for the October issue, is that he is going to spill newsworthy dirt on the family of his child’s mother, an act that is without question dishonorable, but for which we all, from the sidelines, applaud, for the same reason that we slow down when passing car wrecks. For those who have any doubt about what is really going on, Vanity Fair has been kind enough to post a video online in which Johnson talks about the size of his penis and how many leaves it would take to cover his genitals if they were photographed by Playgirl. (Now I have your attention, right? Sigh.)

Marc Ambinder


UPDATE: Josh Duboff at New York Magazine

Brian Moylan at Gawker

Jim Treacher at Daily Caller

Jules Crittenden

Andrew Sullivan

UPDATE #2: Patterico

Huffington Post


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