Arnold flips out
It’s yet another fantasy camping trip day for birthdays, with Kate Bush, Laurence Fishburne, Hilary Swank, Phoebe from Friends, and Emily Bronte all getting stuck into a cake and a glass of shampoo. In fact, interestingly, Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights, then Kate Bush – her birthday sister – wrote the famous song about it in 1978. Coincidence or what. Anyway, we’ve ignored that little group, because Arnie is 62 today, he’s a great big ex-bodybuilder, now he’s a politics guy, so we thought we’d buy him a gift. We all put on string vests and small swimming trunks and headed into town to talk prezzies, and it wasn’t long before it boiled down to a toss up between some normal vests, or a clip of some early Arnie acting. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Your Schwarzenegger-ness!
Birds Eye Beefburgers
Kathleen Turner – yes, Kathleen Turner – turns a very lovely 55 today. And what a gal she is. She’s done it all. In the 1980s, she was probably the most sensual woman alive, making steamy films like Body Heat, followed by excellent comedies like The Man With Two Brains. Not to mention one of the finest action movies of all time, Romancing The Stone. She had everything in her acting armory, that girl. Everything. And then, in a weird twist, she spent a portion of the 90s playing Chandler’s DAD in Friends. Still, we thought we should buy her a gift, so we drank exactly nine pints of Staropramen each, then decided to discuss things in the back of a speeding cab. It boiled down to a toss up between a bucket to throw up into, or an old advert about beefburgers. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Kathleen Turner!
Garry Shandling, Stand Up
Jerry Stiller, father of Ben, turns a whopping 82 today. He’s had quite a life. As mentioned, he sired Ben Stiller – a man who still has it in him to be funny, he just needs to step away from the Gervais – he’s also played Frank to George Constanza in Seinfeld, making up probably the best sitcom father/son pairing of all time. And that includes David Schwimmer and Elliott Gould in Friends. Hence, we knew we simply had to buy him a gift. We sat on a tube, talking loudly across a carriage, discussing what to get the man who has everything, before it boiled down to a toss up between a DVD of Ricky Gervais delivering a very boring lecture about animals, or a clip of an actual stand up comic being funny, even though he’s not Ricky Gervais. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Jerry!
One could be the next Friends
When it first began, Friends was a straight-faced drama serial about a male actor (Joey) on a slow descent into male prostitution, crack cocaine use, and eventually death. It was to be narrated by his widow hooker girlfriend (Monica), with recurring cast members including a dark-eyed drug dealer known only as Phoebs, and a cigar munching heavy called Roz (pronounced Ross). But then, in an intriguing twist of fate, Matthew Perry was cast as a paranoid pipe smoking street urchin with HIV, and the course of the show was changed forever thanks to his totally accidental comedy timing, which seemed to go down well with the live studio audience. The writers assembled on the floor, and seconds later Friends was transformed into a comedy show about six neighbours all passively-aggressively attempting to have sex with one another. A legend was born. Great times, great great times.
Since Friends, we have been forever on the lookout for the next great TV show, so it was with total and complete joy that we heard from friend of the site and comedy expert, Peter, who thought he’d drop by to point out some new shows on the horizon that we should be looking out for. He had these recommendations…
1. Parks and Recreation
This is a new comedy from two of the Emmy winning writers of the US version of The Office. It stars the great, yet quite tiny, Amy Poehler who recently quit SNL. Here, she is playing the role of a small town official called Leslie Knope. It’s got the same mockumentary style as The Office, and a really good cast as well. The first season was only six episodes, but the word on the street is that they’ve been renewed for a second season.
2. Eastbound and Down
A comedy starring Danny McBride (a Judd Apatow favourite), Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are behind the show, and it totally rocks. It’s about a professional baseball player who becomes a teacher at his old school, with hilarious results etc. It’s good stuff. It’s been renewed for another season.
3. Better off Ted
I’ve heard lots of good things about Better Off Ted, but I haven’t seen it yet. It’s an office-based comedy, and the creator is one of the guys behind (the now cancelled) My Name Is Earl. Oh, and Portia de Rossi is in it…
4. Boldly Going Nowhere
Everyone should be totally looking forward to Boldly Going Nowhere – the new comedy from the guys behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (above). There’s no air date as yet, but there is a leaked script for the pilot floating about the internet…
5. The Unusuals
On the drama front, there’s a new show called The Unusuals, but it has already been cancelled. Still, apparently it’s worth a shot – it had a pretty good cast and was billed as a police detective comedy/drama, which is always a winning combo. Just look at Police Squad.
6. Breaking Bad
You must see the second season of Breaking Bad. The first season was absolutely brilliant and won Bryan Cranston (Malcolm‘s dad in Malcolm in The Middle) an Emmy. A struggling high school teacher decides to produce and deal crack to support his family – what’s not to like!
7. Children’s Hospital
Frustratingly, it’s damn near impossible to find Rob Corddry’s Children’s Hospital comedy anywhere online. It was a webseries shown on the WB networks site… but only to those who live in America. Still, it’s worth looking out for if you can find it. Above is a little interview about the show.
PLUS, friend of the site, Mikey, insists that we should all be watching this:
8. In Treatment
If you’ve been waiting for a drama about psychotherapy, then here it is, and it’s absolutely great. Each episode centres on a therapy session, and there are something like forty episodes in the first series alone. Lots to catch up on, then.
All this for sod all
In these pre-apocalyptic times, everything seems to be going topsy-turvy. Businessmen have been spotted asking tramps for money, city workers regularly share Pot Noodles for lunch – up to ten men to one Chicken and Mushroom. It’s bananas. We applaud anyone who can sniff out a bargain in this harsh financial winter. So big props to our pal David, who somehow spotted a pile of spare Friends DVDs at his local second hand shop. “There were about five or six series’ or something crazy like that,” he laughed, “and they were about a quid each, so I got the lot for under a tenner.” That’s under ten pounds for the priceless commodity of laughter. “I mean, who doesn’t like Friends, right?”
Who indeed, David. Ross is particularly excellent. Nice sticking-it-to-the-recession!