completely different


… The Televerse! Friend and colleague Kate Kulzick invited me to kick off the guest-host era of The Televerse podcast. In this episode, we talk about Key & Peele, Married, Hannibal, Review, and more.

Then it’s time for The DVD Shelf, where I talk about the absurdity and downright surrealism of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Remember, if you want to pick a fight with me about Monty Python, it’s one pound for a five minute argument, but only eight pounds for a course of ten.


True Detective, S 2

True Detective, S3 (Rachel McAdams, Sabrina Grdevich, Slings & Arrows, Acorn Media)

I’m now working on a female-centered version of True Detective, which I will produce under the name Chick Titzolotto.

Just as the first season was preoccupied with cisgender white men’s desires and the second is preoccupied with their potency, the third season will center around cisgender white women’s bodies, featuring pervasive and powerful vaginal imagery; unsurprisingly, it will take place in the vast subterranean subway system of a major metropolitan center.

The central mystery of Chick Titzolotto’s True Detective S3: Do women exist when men aren’t looking, or do we wink out like a fridge light when you close the door?

[SCENE: A DARK BEDROOM. FEMALE LEAD lies in bed, staring moodily out a window at a light in the distance. Her male companion, whose name is not important, lies propped up on his elbow next to her, listening in attentive silence. She does not look at him.]

FEMALE LEAD: It’s all so uncertain. It’s like particle physics, or like a refrigerator light. It’s all so uncertain. It’s all so uncertain. It’s all so uncertain. Am I a particle or a wave? Do you know where I am, or what, or when? If you stop looking, do I still light up? Or do I just… wink out, like the light in the fridge?

[The distant light goes out. FEMALE LEAD exhales gustily, closes eyes. AND SCENE]

Thanks in advance for the Emmys.

note: Dennis Perkins gets a contributing creator credit on this project, but only under the stipulation that he’s credited as Penis Derkins.

“We’re on kind of a mission”


Over at The VideoReport, fearless leader Bill Duggan has an announcement to make, former VideoReporters of years past have some memories to share, your tireless editor keeps on highlighting new releases, and I have one last recommendation for a free rental that will break your heart, and it should.

I’ve been trying to count up how many friendships, marriages, partnerships, and careers Videoport nurtured in that cool, well-stocked cellar, and I can’t even begin to tally ’em all up. Thank you, Videoport, for everything — for even more than the movies, when just the movies would have been gift enough.

kill is kiss

Pontypool screenshot

A year ago on The Toast, I discussed Pontypool, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:

St. Valentine’s Day is an excuse to express our most intense or obscure passions. But words can be a frail tool to capture the complications and complexities of this thing we call love: the sweet blush of infatuation, the kinship and kindness of true companions, the frenzy of unfettered lust, the torments of jealousy, betrayal, or heartbreak. So perhaps it’s no coincidence that three films set on Valentine’s Day hinge on the fragility and feebleness of words, creating worlds where meaning and reason fall apart.

pleasure party

Kane picnic

Irony alert:

Orson Welles’ iconic “Citizen Kane” has been set for its first-ever showing at Hearst Castle on March 13 as part of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

The movie will be screened at the private theater at the massive hilltop estate — the inspiration for Xanadu in “Citizen Kane” — for about 50 people. Tickets will cost $1,000 each and proceeds will benefit the festival and The Friends of Hearst Castle preservation group.

No, wait, there’s more. It’s not just that the Hearst Castle is hosting an elaborate, expensive screening of Citizen Kane, the film William Randolph Hearst famously tried to suppress, using every threat and contrivance at his considerable command.

The event will also include live auctions of a pair of Hearst Castle party packages — a movie night for 10 and a pool party for 10 at the indoor Roman Pool — with bidding starting at $7,000.

Because if there’s one message to take from Citizen Kane, it’s that extravagant outings and ostentatious gestures lead to happiness.

“Sure, ya gimme things! But that don’t mean nothing to you!”

Other suggested auction items for the Hearst/Kane pleasure parties:

Starting at $50: One good cigar, wrapped up to look like toothpaste or somethin’, delivered to your door.

Starting at $5,000: Enjoy a week of private lessons from Signore Matiste, vocal coach to the stars. His motto: Some people can sing, some can’t. 10 packages available, schedule inflexible.

Starting at $20,000: Spend one thrilling night as the star of your very own opera house! Only one package available! Bid early, bid often!

Flat $1 donation: An anonymous account will tweet @ you, then delete, an image of a girl in a white dress holding a white parasol. You will see it only for a moment, but you may revisit the image as often as you like for a lifetime.

Benched for the season

Benched - Season 1

I could have mentioned this back when the season started: I’ve been covering Benched, a legal sitcom created by Michaela Watkins and Damon Jones and starring Eliza Coupe and Jay Harrington, for The A.V. Club. USA wraps up the first season with back-to-back episodes tonight, and you can catch up with my reviews for the full season here.

It started out as a whip-fast workplace comedy that leaned heavily on Coupe’s facility with physical comedy and open-ended rambling and a plausible but predictable will-they/won’t-they romantic angle between the leads to the detriment of the excellent supporting cast. As sitcoms went, it was entertaining and zippy, but nothing special.

But as the season went on, Benched evolved from a show I enjoyed into a show I loved. The characters developed and deepened (including great roles for Maria Bamford and Oscar Nuñez), the tentative flirtation broadened into a friendship, and the show set its sights audaciously on the legal system, portraying a world where there are no villains, no antagonists, no bad guys or good guys, just an overburdened institution and overworked, underpaid lawyers working within it. I began the season happy to review a new show; I’m ending it hoping — hoping — to see it return for season 2.