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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 125

Dan and Alan talk 'L.A. Complex,' reality TV, 'Game of Thrones,' 'Girls' and more


Happy Monday, Boys and Girls!
In this week's installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, we've got a correction, a review of The CW's "L.A. Complex," Dan's Reality Roundup, discussion of "Mad Men" and "Game of Thrones" and a pile of Listener Mail, including two questions about "Girls" and the controversy therein. 
That seems probably like enough for a full podcast, eh?
Here's Monday's podcast breakdown:
NFL on FOX (00:00:50 - 00:04:20)
"L.A. Complex" (00:04:15 - 00:13:05)
Dan's Reality Roundup (00:13:00 - 00:26:20)
Listener Mail - Two "Girls" Queries (00:26:35 - 00:39:10)
Listener Mail - Twitter Etiquette (00:39:20 - 00:43:15)
Listener Mail - "Arrested Development" on Netflix (00:43:20 - 00:50:10)
"Game of Thrones" (00:50:20 - 00:59:55)
Sunday's "Mad Men" (01:00:00 - 01:15:20)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 125: 'The L.A. Complex,' 'Mad Men,' 'Game of Thrones' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 125: 'The L.A. Complex,' 'Mad Men,' 'Game of Thrones' & more

Dan and Alan also talk about the 'Girls' backlash and check in on reality TV


On this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, Dan and I come to an unexpected consensus on the CW's Canadian import "The L.A. Complex" (I'll have a written review posted tomorrow morning), do our periodic Dan's Reality Round-Up segment, answer a bunch of mail (including a lot of "Girls" discussion), check in on "Mad Men" like usual but also devote a few minutes to recent developments on "Game of Thrones." Busy busy busy.

The line-up: 

NFL on FOX (00:00:50 - 00:04:20)
"L.A. Complex" (00:04:15 - 00:13:05)
Dan's Reality Roundup (00:13:00 - 00:26:20)
Listener Mail - Two "Girls" Queries (00:26:35 - 00:39:10)
Listener Mail - Twitter Etiquette (00:39:20 - 00:43:15)
Listener Mail - "Arrested Development" on Netflix (00:43:20 - 00:50:10)
"Game of Thrones" (00:50:20 - 00:59:55)
Sunday's "Mad Men" (01:00:00 - 01:15:20)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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<p>Marion Cotillard in &quot;Rust and Bone.&quot;</p>

Marion Cotillard in "Rust and Bone."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Cannes Check: Jacques Audiard's 'Rust and Bone'

Continuing our preview series on the Cannes competition

The auteur: Jacques Audiard (French, 59 years old)

The talent: Though Audiard has never been averse to working with actors on the French A-list, his latest represents his shiniest star collaboration to date, with Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard taking top billing -- the Hollywood adoptee's first lead role in a French-language feature since 2009's "The Last Flight." Audiard's male leads, in recent years, have been rather imaginatively chosen, and this one is no exception: Matthias Schoenaerts may still be an unfamiliar name to many, but the hulking, impressive Belgian actor made a major impact in last year's Oscar-nominated "Bullhead," for which he won several festival awards. The supporting cast featueres another notable Belgian, actor-director Bouli Lanners, and relative newcomer Celine Sallette, Cesar-nominated for last year's Cannes entry "House of Tolerance."

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<p>Tom Waits</p>

Tom Waits

UPDATED: Tom Waits postpones 'Letterman' and 'Fallon' appearances

Songwriter skeds late-night TV dates

UPDATE APRIL 23: In a Tweet posted last week, Waits' team announced that these forthcoming late-night TV appearances are off, for the moment: "Tom is postponing his appearances on Letterman and Fallon and will reschedule at a later date TBA"

ORIGINAL REPORT APRIL 9: Tom Waits is trotting out his songs from "Bad As Me" for the first time since the album release with a couple of performances lined up on national television.

The veteran songwriter head to the "Late Show With David Letterman" on April 24 and to "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" the next night on April 25. He'll be sitting down for an interview with each, too, which might prove to be just as entertaining as the songs themselves.

He's visited with Letterman before, but this will be a first for "Fallon"; considering that host's rivalries, I'd expect a stop-off at "The Colbert Report," or maybe just a return to "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart.

Waits has yet to announce any tour dates behind "Bad As Me," but this may signal that organizing may just be ramping up for a trek. He only played eight shows in support of his 2006 album "Orphans," then took up a much more complete itinerary two years later. He's known to play with the dates surrounding his album releases, and in a series of stops that don't always land in major cities.

These performances may also answer the question of: if Waits were to tour, what cracker-jack band would he take with him? During the 2008 Glitter and Doom tour, it was with backers like Vincent Henry on woodwinds, his son Casey Waits on drums, Omar Torrez on guitar/banjo, Patrick Warren on keyboard and Seth Ford-Young on bass. On this record, Casey was all over the thing and Warren was on half; Ford-Young, Henry and Torrez are nowhere to be found; andclassic collaborators like Marc Ribot and special guests like Keith Richards and Flea abounded.

This is all speculation of course. Waits may be already hard at work on something else as soon as the cameras hit "stop."

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<p>Fiona Apple's &quot;Every Single Night&quot;</p>

Fiona Apple's "Every Single Night"

Listen: Fiona Apple reveals firey 'Every Single Night'

That's where the pain comes in

Fiona Apple has been performing new track "Every Single Night" at many of her tour stops this spring, and now the song is officially available to stream.

As previously reported, "Every Single Night" features a refrain of a disturbed war cry, "I just want to feel / everything." Apple's voice is mixed and recorded so close, like fractured and delicate china, her breaths moving over spare plunks and chiming keyboard parts. This is no "single" in the traditional sense, but it carries a lot of weight and personality. Again, the songwriter proves that one of her biggest strengths is her vulnerability.

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<p>The passage of time was a major issue for Don and everyone else on this episode of &quot;Mad Men.&quot;</p>

The passage of time was a major issue for Don and everyone else on this episode of "Mad Men."

Credit: AMC

'Mad Men' - 'Far Away Places': The HoJo code

Peggy, Roger and Don take three very different trips

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I buy you a backscratcher...

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Teresa and Joe Giudice on 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Teresa and Joe Giudice on 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Credit: Andrei Jackamets/Bravo

Recap: 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' season four premiere

Picking up before last season's reunion left off

The last time we saw these housewives they were slugging it out on the third season reunion show.

It was Teresa versus... everyone else. Caroline, Melissa and Kathy still held grudges over Teresa's mudslinging cookbook (and unspecified subsequent events). Relationships had become so strained that Jacqueline couldn't even attend the reunion. But they couldn't "go there" and fill us in on what happened because they were in the midst of shooting season four.

That was quite an advance teaser for what's to come. But first, we'll have to settle for the set up. The season premiere opens four months before that dramatic reunion showdown...

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<p>Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

'Girls' - 'Vagina Panic': We're the ladies?

Hannah and friends suffer the consequences of good and (mostly) bad sex

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I make the continent of Africa on your arm...

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Phaedra Parks Sheree Whitfield on Real Housewives of Atlanta

'Real Housewives of Atlanta' puts a wrap on season four: Phaedra, we love you. Sheree, we'll miss you.

Credit: Wilford Harewood/Bravo

Recap: 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' season four reunion, part 3

This year's reunion went a hour too long

Did we really need three hours for this year's "Real Housewives of Atlanta" reunion? Based on what happened in the final hour, apparently not.

Some key topics were touched on, including NeNe's new gig on "Glee" and more indecent behavior from Marlo. But most of this either could've been shoved into a supersized second half of the reunion, or saved for online exclusives.

So, what did we learn?

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<p>Anna Chlumsky in &quot;Veep.&quot;</p>

Anna Chlumsky in "Veep."

Credit: HBO

'Veep' - 'Fundraiser': Plastics!

What did everybody think of HBO's new political satire?

I posted my review of HBO's "Veep" on Friday morning. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as V-POTUS? If you're a fan of Armando Iannucci's UK work, did this stack up, or did you miss the presence of Malcolm Tucker? Were any "My Girl" fans scarred by seeing Ann Chlumsky in this kind of role? How do you feel Tony Hale did? And, most importantly, are you going to watch again? 

Though I enjoyed this show a lot, I'm not planning to do weekly write-ups of it. Not only are Sundays a complete bear, but the three episodes I've seen are all very much of a piece, and I doubt I'd have interesting/different things to say each week, even if my time was less constrained.

So have at it, and I'll check back in either later in the season if they do an unusual episode, or else at the very end.

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<p>Dave teaches Rachel to drive by yelling at her on &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Dave teaches Rachel to drive by yelling at her on "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Bollywood Travolta'

On Sunday's episode, we learned Men and Women are different
It was an amusing coincidence that Sunday's "Amazing Race" aired on the same night as a Battle of the Sexes episode of "Mythbusters."
The "Amazing Race" episode, titled "Bollywood Travolta," spent 40 minutes on very vocally establishing a slew of gender-based stereotypes (and at least one oft-repeated cultural stereotype). Then, in the last 20 minutes, several of those stereotypes were seemingly debunked, but only somewhat. 
That left me with really mixed emotions at the end of the episode. I'd prepared myself for a rant-filled recap focusing on said stereotypes and then I was left conflicted on at least some of what was put on display. 
Also... Well... You know how the episode ended.
So let's talk about Sunday's India-set episode and gender stereotypes, after the break...
GENDER STEREOTYPE: Women can dance. Men cannot dance. 
ILLUSTRATION: This week's Roadblock asked one player from each team to learn a Bollywood dance number and perform it for a demanding choreographer. Three teams had female contestants available to participate in the Roadblock and, in all three cases (Vanessa, Rachel and Rachel), they did. Art & JJ and Mark & Bopper, however, were stuck. JJ did the challenge because Art previously did the bottle-dancing. Mark did the challenge because Bopper's knee prevented him from that kind of activity.
POINT: Tiny Blonde Rachel was a dancer all through school. She arrived at the Roadblock, studied diligently and completed the routine her first time through. Vanessa and "Big Brother" Rachel had a little more trouble, but even at their worst, they looked semi-competent. The men, however, flailed, particularly Mark, who suffered from his ongoing motion sickness and then struggled to breathe in the thick Cochin air. As Art put it, "Dudes can't dance like chicks." As Brendon put it, "This is a great day to have a female partner on your team." 
COUNTERPOINT: None, really. Then again it took JJ the same number of attempts as it took "Big Brother." We'll leave aside that JJ got an insanely generous bit of judging on his fourth attempt, which didn't appear to be even close to synchronized or properly executed. Mark didn't get that generous of a judging until his 12th attempt, by which time Bopper had begged him to quit, he had decided to quit and then Bopper had begged him not to quit.
"AMAZING RACE" VERDICT: Women can, in fact, dance. Men cannot, in fact, dance. [I am a man. I cannot dance. I feel guilty, but I would have confirmed the heck out of this stereotype.]
GENDER STEREOTYPE: Women are emotional. This is bad.
ILLUSTRATION: No specific illustration required. Brendon, a PhD student, just explained it as an article of faith: "It's good to have a girl on your team because they can do things like this, but it's bad, because they get emotional."
POINT: "Big Brother" Rachel finished her second or third dancing failure and jumped off the stage in Rachel-esque misery, face red and blubbering. On the Rachel-Tantrum-O-Meter, this barely registered a "2." But again, if PhD Student Brendon says it, it's got to be true.
COUNTERPOINT: The last 15 minutes of the episode were spent largely on Bopper crying for the pain he was putting Mark through in making him dance.  And crying about how he wants a million dollars, but he wants his friend more. Then Bopper and Mark both cried about the importance of proving to their children that they didn't quit. And then they got to Phil at the mat and the cried more about how much they'd proven to themselves and their family. Phil's beautiful co-greeter seemed to be on the verge of crying with them. 
"AMAZING RACE" VERDICT: Women are emotional and this is a bad thing. It causes them to throw temper tantrums. They require their husbands-to-be to coach them through the importance of trying. Blue Collar Dudes from Kentucky are emotional, but this is a good thing. Their emotion is based on adversity that they've overcome and the desire to do right by their families. If a man cries, it's nearly heroic, darnit. 
GENDER STEREOTYPE: Women cannot drive. They can, however, be badgered into something that somewhat resembles driving through shouting from male counterparts.
ILLUSTRATION: The Detour was a choice between Cricket and Clutch It. In Clutch It, teams had to learn to drive Indian rickshaw cabs and navigate around a small course.
POINT: Rachel could not maneuver the cab. She found this funny. Dave did not find it funny. He yelled at her and eventually did the course first, completing it on his second attempt. Rachel got back in the drivers' seat and Dave yelled at her on every turn and she successfully finished the course, allowing them to win their fifth Leg. The lesson, as Dave bellowed it? "Listen to your frickin' husband!" Ralph & Vanessa also did Clutch It and we learned that not only did Vanessa fail Drivers Ed, but she also allegedly hit The Alamo. However, with Ralph yelling at her from the backseat, Vanessa succeeded in driving. 
COUNTERPOINT: None, really. But I'll give Rachel credit for how relentlessly she was teasing Dave along the way. I can't tell if she's started being amused by Dave's belligerent attitude or if she's stopped caring and this is all preparatory for a divorce.
"AMAZING RACE" VERDICT: Men drive well. Women should not drive at all. If Women *must* drive, yelling at them improves performance.
GENDER STEREOTYPE: Men are better at sports than women are.
ILLUSTRATION: In Cricket, teams had to bat against a cricket bowler and successfully whack the ball past a fielder. Art & JJ and Brendon & Rachel opted to do the Cricket Detour. Art & JJ were convinced they could do it faster because there was no way Rachel would ever finish the task.
POINT: JJ and Brendon finished first. They're both totally dudes.
COUNTERPOINT: But Rachel finished THIRD! And she doesn't have a penis! That we know of! "It was a good feeling to know that they both got beat by a girl," Rachel gloated, forgetting that she didn't, in fact, beat JJ. 
"AMAZING RACE" VERDICT: Stereotype Debunked! Or maybe Art just stinks at baseball.
So that's what I learned from this week's episode of "The Amazing Race." I also learned that India is a frantic, loud and smelly country, but "The Amazing Race" teaches us that literally every time they go there. 
Oh, and guess what?
Non-Elimination Leg!
So even though Mark & Bopper finished presumably hours behind the other teams, they'll live to fight another day. This is the second time this season they've fallen hours behind at the end and been rescued by an NEL. Last time they were rescued by a travel equalizer. We'll see if they get as lucky this time. 
On one hand, I got really emotional for Mark & Bopper during this episode and I was absolutely impressed with their never-say-die attitude in a challenge that was tailor-made to mess them up. I get that these two guys probably need the money more than the other teams and they're the only team I'm rooting for without reservations.
On the other hand, Bopper can't run and he can barely walk. He's basically passing all of the Roadblocks along to Mark, which will blow up on them eventually. Also, Mark isn't doing especially well. He's puking any time they drive anywhere and he has some sort of respiratory problem. That respiratory problem may just be "Being out of shape and no spring chicken," but it could be something more serious. So anything strenuous has to be done by Mark and Mark can't really do anything strenuous. So that's not a good combination. 
Some other thoughts from this week's episode:
*** "Bollywood" really doesn't refer to the Indian film industry. It refers to the industry located in and around Bombay/Mumbai. Cochin (or Kochi) is a solid 825 miles from Mumbai. I'll let you decide if you feel like that counts.
*** I loved the sitar-ized versions of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" and "Charge" that played during the cricket scenes. 
*** I look forward to asking Vanessa about the time she hit The Alamo with her car when their inevitable exit interview comes around. Speaking of Ralph and Vanessa, how were they they only team that was offered that alternative flight through Kenya that was supposed to have gotten into Cochin over an hour earlier? It didn't end up mattering, because their flight got in only seconds ahead of the other flight. But that still would have been a weird turn of events.
*** I like that even Team Kentucky, possibly the nicest and least judgmental guys ever, called Art & JJ babies for their ongoing kerfuffle with Rachel and Dave.
Anyway, what'd you think of Sunday's episode?
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<p>Liam Cunningham as Davos in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Liam Cunningham as Davos in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: HBO

'Game of Thrones' - 'Garden of Bones': I smell dead people!

Joffrey sends Tyrion a message, Robb launches an attack, and Melisandre shocks Davos

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as mathematicians rule the world...

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