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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 183: 'Behind the Candelabra,' 'The Goodwin Games,' 'Motive' & more

Dan and Alan also review 'Save Me,' talk about 'SNL' departures and a wacky 'Mad Men'

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The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast is actually on a Monday for once this week, though we'll be back to an irregular schedule next week thanks to both the Memorial Day holiday and Netflix's release of "Arrested Development." (Dan and I want to have enough time to watch it all.) In the meantime, we had an awfully busy podcast today, including reviews of three summer series, the best HBO movie in forever, analysis of two finales and debate about an especially wacky episode of "Mad Men." 

The lineup:

"The Goodwin Games" (00:01:30 - 00:13:19)
"Motive" (00:13:20 - 00:22:35)
"Save Me" (00:22:37 - 00:34:20)
"Behind the Candelabra" (00:34:25 - 00:46:00)
"New Girl" (00:46:00 - 00:56:30)
"Saturday Night Live" (00:56:35 - 01:13:25)
"Mad Men" (01:15:45 - 01:44:00)
 
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>You would smile like this, too, if you were sitting on a Scrooge McDuck pile of money like the one Todd Phillips has made off the 'Hangover' films.</p>

You would smile like this, too, if you were sitting on a Scrooge McDuck pile of money like the one Todd Phillips has made off the 'Hangover' films.

Credit: HitFix

Todd Phillips almost designed 'The Hangover Part III' as a goad to 'Part II' critics

Instead, he explains how he feels the new film defines the whole trilogy

I think it's kind of amazing that Todd Phillips is now the guy behind the biggest comedy franchise of all time.

Not because I don't think he's capable of it, but more because of the Todd Phillips I originally met many years ago at this point. The Phillips I got to know at first was so far outside the mainstream that even imagining him working on a studio comedy seemed unlikely.

What I find really impressive about the way he's managed his career is how he's kept his voice intact while working on bigger and bigger films. When I saw "Hated: GG Allin & The Murder Junkies," a deranged documentary about a deranged punk performer, I would have never guessed that director would go on to create a genuine box-office juggernaut. "Frat House," same thing. I think of the early work by him and by Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko, guys who I always think of as part of that same initial creative moment, and they were all so far out that it really seems amazing to me.

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<p>Don Draper</p>

Don Draper

Credit: AMC

Was last night's 'Mad Men' about Vietnam?


Was last night's "Mad Men" about Vietnam?

Is the Chevy account a substitute for Vietnam? That's what Forrest Wickman thinks: "I have a crackpot theory: After a season that began by teasing a year of violence in Vietnam, this episode’s trip down the rabbit hole finally led to that distant war abroad—a 'fever dream' treatment of the nation’s panic not unlike the show's treatment of the Kennedy assassination—or at least that's how I'd explain everything that went down at the office." PLUS: Aaron Staton on "Dancing," "Mad Men" gives a nod to Muhammad Ali, who was the real Dr. Feelgood?, Why make "Grandma Ida" black?, the 12 most surreal moments from last night's episode, did the "energy serum" work as a story?, the whorehouse has become a dead horse, and January Jones on anti-Betty hate.


NBC orders "Siberia," a scripted drama about a reality show gone bad

The adventure thriller focuses on 16 reality contestants stranded on a Siberian island where strange things happen. It debuts on July 1.


NFL Draft likely moving to mid-May, where it'll compete with network season finales
Next year's draft is likely to take place from May 15-17, instead of late April.


DirecTV-owned Brazilian satellite company allows customers to record via Twitter
When users tweet a special hashtag, the satellite company connects the Twitter handle with the customers' home DVR.


Stop comparing everything to "Girls!"

As Salon notes, "'Girls' has become the chic reference du jour — its plotlines allowing anyone writing about practically any topic to get a hit of that sweet, sweet SEO (search engine optimization)." PLUS: Spoiler: There will be a "Girls" fight next season.


"American Chopper's" Paul Teutul Sr. gets a new reality show on CMT
He'll star in "Orange County Choppers."


Jon Stewart is still picking up fans in China
"The Daily Show" host has become "the new voice of America in China."


"Celebrity Apprentice" hits another low
The season finale was down 24% from last year, with just 5.6 million viewers tuning in. PLUS: Where was Bret Michaels?


Kerry Washington: We filmed the "Scandal" reveal many different ways

"It was like a crazy game in acting class," she says, "where every time I'd get into the car, we would each make a bold choice about the relationship, but we didn't tell each other what it was." PLUS: Happy 53rd birthday, Tony Goldwyn!


Watch every Bill Hader impression he did on "SNL"

He's impersonated more than 80 celebrities. PLUS: Fred Armisen's Top 5 "SNL" musical sketches.


"The Young and the Restless" losing Michelle Stafford
Stafford has been on the soap for 16 years.


"Rules of Engagement" ends tonight after 7 seasons

"Good luck America," tweeted David Spade, "you're on your own now."


"Comedy Bang! Bang!" returns July 12

Guests this season will include Pee-wee Herman, Jessica Alba, Zach Galifianakis and Aziz Ansari.


Mitch Hurwitz on "Arrested" frenzy: "I can't believe that anybody gives a sh*t"

When told about the frozen banana stand lines, Hurwitz responded, "You're kidding!"


Watch a NYC subway car get converted into a late-night talk show
Improv Everywhere performed the stunt for YouTube's Comedy Week.


Freddie Highmore: "Bates Motel" will end the season tonight with a "fun" scene
Actually, he says, "it's not really a fun last scene in any way. But it's intriguing." PLUS: "Bates Motel" employs tour bus Emmy campaign.


Vanessa Lengies: Why I left "Glee" for "Mixology"

The actress says: "Getting to play Sugar Motta was one of the biggest opportunities of my life, and I met some of the most fantastic people, but I was being hired per episode."


Drew Carey: "I always feel like I'm going to get fired"

"The Price is Right" host says: "In TV you should never feel like you have a job forever."


Mel Brooks tonight gets the PBS "American Masters" treatment

"Mel Brooks: Make a Noise" runs 90 minutes and wastes no time telling Brooks' story.


Check out 17 tattoos inspired by TV shows
From "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to "Doctor Who."


Prisoners: Reality TV's saddest stars
Should shows like MSNBC's "Lockup" be filming prison inmates?


Danica McKellar: I breastfed my son until he was 2 1/2
"The Wonder Years" star is a big proponent of attachment parenting.


New book tells the story of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

Go behind the scenes of the '70s sitcom in "Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic."


VH1's "Single Ladies" adds a Wayans family member

Wayans Brothers nephew Damien Wayans is joining the cast along with Letoya Luckett and Lesley-Ann Brandt.


Creed Bratton says goodbye to "The Office's" Creed Bratton
"When I boarded this ship nine years ago, I had been signed on as an extra," he writes on The Huffington Post.


Canadian "Motive" cop show debuts tonight on ABC
The police procedural -- which reveals the killer and victim upfront -- has a great idea but doesn't know what to do with it.


Stupid/sweet "The Goodwin Games" doesn't appear to be built for the long haul
The Fox comedy debuting tonight from the creators of "How I Met Your Mother" has a story that, as the L.A. Times puts it, "does seem particularly well suited for a finite amount of screen time." PLUS: This comedy might actually work.


"Weird Al" meets The Lonely Island
Check out SNL alums posing with Samberg for GQ's comedy issue.


"Game of Thrones" is much improved in its use of nudity

As Todd VanDerWerff points out, "I actually think 'Game Of Thrones' has gotten quite a bit better at utilizing nudity and sex in the midst of everything else as a method of telling its story. It’s come a long way from the 'sexposition' days of season one, when it sometimes seemed like the series would toss some breasts into the background of a scene just in case we got bored of hearing somebody talk at length. It felt vaguely insulting to the actors, who were really giving these monologues their all. Now, for the most part, the nudity on the show has good story reasons for existing." PLUS: Jimmy Fallon filming "Game of Desks," Joe Dempsie on being the bastard son of King Baratheon, "Thrones" really has had it in for penises lately, "Thrones" shows mercy on its viewers, Sibel Kekilli and Sophie Turner on the wedding, and Peter Dinklage deserves another Emmy after last night.

 

 

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<p>Dave Grohl, John Fogerty and the Sound City&nbsp;Players perform on &quot;Jimmy Kimmel Live.&quot;</p>

Dave Grohl, John Fogerty and the Sound City Players perform on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

Credit: ABC

Listen: Foo Fighters and John Fogerty on 'Fortunate Son'

Plus, watch Dave Grohl perform 'Bitch' with The Rolling Stones

When I wrote about hearing John Fogerty’s new album, “Wrote A Song For Everyone,” which pairs him with acts like Miranda Lambert, My Morning Jacket, Bob Seger and Keith Urban on some of his best-known songs, I raved about the raw energy of his remake of “Fortunate Son” with the Foo Fighters. Now you can hear for yourself.

[More after the jump...]

 

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<p>Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias cut loose in the woods in 'Kings Of Summer'</p>

Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias cut loose in the woods in 'Kings Of Summer'

Credit: CBS Films

'Kings Of Summer' gets a great new red-band trailer

You want to know what this summer sleeper's really like? Check this out.

Now this is more like it.

I saw a film at Sundance this year called "Toy's House," and I walked away smitten with the film's sense of time and place and with the wonderful young cast. Chris Galletta's script is smart and funny, and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts managed to make it all feel real, like something captured instead of something created.

The main trio of kids in the film, played by Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and the one-of-a-kind Moises Arias, all do excellent work, and they get great support from an ensemble that includes Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Angela Trimbur, Kumail Nanjiani, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. You can read my full review from Sundance if you'd like.

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Review: Darius Rucker's 'True Believers' is a lighthearted, enjoyable ride
Credit: Capitol Records Nashville

Review: Darius Rucker's 'True Believers' is a lighthearted, enjoyable ride

Guests on third country set include Lady Antebellum and Sheryl Crow

Several years ago, I interviewed Darius Rucker as Hootie & The Blowfish’s third album was coming out. He talked about how anyone could make a first album, the second one would happen if your first one did OK, but if you got to make a third album, then you had a career. By that point, you probably had enough hits under your belt that fans and radio really had started to believe in you as an artist.

And so tomorrow (May 20), Darius Rucker puts out “True Believers,” his third country album as a solo artist (he put out a pop solo album during his Hootie days that I’m not counting here). And his words have proven true once again.

There are a lot of reasons for Rucker’s country success: Perhaps, most importantly, his timing was impeccable. Many of Hootie fans from the ‘90s have migrated to country radio since what country radio plays now much more closely approximates what they were listening to then than today’s Top 40. Also, despite having sold millions of records, Rucker approached the country format with the humility of a brand new artist. He went to every radio station, shook every hand, kissed every baby, and never, ever acted as if his multi-platinum pop success gave him any kind of leg up. Furthermore, unlike many of the pop carpetbaggers who just happened to declare their love of country when their pop career dried up, Rucker really did grow up listening to country music. You don’t want to go against him in a conversation about Merle Haggard or George Jones’ catalog. You will lose.

And then, of course, there’s the music. As he shows again on “True Believers,” he has established himself as a country artist who loves singing about his kids and his family, which makes him 100% the same as every other country act, but he does it with a lighthearted honesty that resonates. On the title track, which peaked at No. 24 on the Country Songs Chart,  he admits that even though “we are one, now and forever,” there have been difficult times in his marriage. On “Miss You,” he sings about longing for the person who shares a bed with him, yet feels so far away.  Maybe he just sells these ideas better than other artists even though he’s mining the same territory.

Second single, the good-timey, jaunty “Wagon Wheel,” a remake of the Old Crow Medicine Show tune, featuring backing vocals by Lady Antebellum, hit No. 1. and with good reason. It’s a charming, toe-tapping slice of Americana that doesn’t sound like everything else on the radio. “Take Me Home” has the same roots/gospel feel (and a rollicking piano bed) that recalls The Band.

Other highlights include “Love Without You,” a stripped-down ballad about trying to move on featuring Sheryl Crow. There’s a nice, jazzy piano touch on the tune. “Heartbreak Road” is another peppy trip down those Carolina highways and byways he loves so much with a flirty, catchy twist.

Rucker  throws in a soulfulness and bluesy touch on many of the songs. “Leavin’ The Light On” starts with “A Rainy Night In Georgia” feel before seguing into praising nocturnal activities. “I feel like I ought to tip my hat to the man upstairs” for his wife agreeing to leave the light on may be a bit of a lyrical stretch, but we’re sure many men may try to convince their wives that it’s the godly thing to do now.  “Radio,” a upbeat reminiscence about controlling the car radio, has an irresistible funky back beat that should be a summer single.

Rucker’s music isn’t challenging or particularly deep, but from his star’s perch, he still manages to touch on the mundane aspects of quotidian life in a way that seems totally genuine and relatable whether you’re a CEO or a fork-lift driver. That could be an even bigger gift than his gritty, instantly recognizable vocals.

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<p>Jason Bateman seems genuinely excited to be back as Michael Bluth in the new series of 'Arrested Development' episodes.</p>

Jason Bateman seems genuinely excited to be back as Michael Bluth in the new series of 'Arrested Development' episodes.

Credit: HitFix

Jason Bateman talks about returning to the role of Michael Bluth in 'Arrested Development'

He's still holding the family together

As NetFlix was no doubt hoping, I recently started rewatching all the existing episodes of "Arrested Development," and I have found myself amazed by it all over again. The writing on the show is dazzlingly funny, dense and smart, and it still confuses me why people didn't pick up on what they were doing in a bigger way.

One of the things that really holds the show together is the work done by Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth. If you weren't a fan of the show, the premise is simple. The Bluth Family, headed by George Bluth (Jeffrey Tambor), is a rich family who built their fortunes on bad behavior, and as the show begins, the Feds close in on George, forcing Michael to take over the business and somehow keep his family, full of truly terrible people, intact. Bateman's work in most shows would be the straight guy role, but he scores just as many giant laughs as any of the more colorful characters around him.

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Kelly Rowland

 Kelly Rowland

Credit: AP Photo

Rumors are flying, but who do you want at 'The X Factor''s judges' table?

Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio are rumored to be stepping up

The revolving door over at "The X Factor" might be pausing long enough to welcome in a new pair of judges. Kelly Rowland and Mexican pop star Paulina Rubio are the two names currently being bandied about as the most likely to fill the shoes of exiting judges Britney Spears and L.A. Reid. It seems Simon Cowell and the rest of the gang have decided once again that previous experience may be, if not necessary, helpful.

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<p>Seth&nbsp;MacFarlane hosting the 85th annual Academy&nbsp;Awards</p>

Seth MacFarlane hosting the 85th annual Academy Awards

Credit: AP Photo

Seth MacFarlane will not host the 2014 Oscars

'Traumatized critics exhale.'

When last year's Oscarcast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron were tapped for the 2014 Academy Awards, speculation immediately swirled around the possibility that they would offer hosting duties to Seth MacFarlane once again. With Academy president Hawk Koch keeping the "consistency" mantra going -- citing a ratings boost, though failing to consider that the films in play had plenty to do with it -- it made sense that MacFarlane might be back, regardless of the critical thrashing he and the telecast took in February.

Indeed, an offer was extended to the "Family Guy" funny man, despite his stern "no way" response to a Twitter query in the wake of the 85th annual show about whether he'd consider it again. Well, whether he was game or he wasn't, MacFarlane has officially dropped out of the running today, he revealed on Twitter. And he even took a bit of a shot at that critical thrashing in the process.

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Seth MacFarlane declines to return as Oscar host next year, recommends Joaquin Phoenix


Seth MacFarlane declines to return as Oscar host next year, recommends Joaquin Phoenix

"Tried to make it work schedule-wise, but I need sleep," MacFarlane tweeted this morning." He added in another tweet: "My suggestion for host is Joaquin Phoenix."


"Arrested Development's" banana stand may not make it home to Newport Beach
Netflix has no plans to bring the banana stand to its hometown, which has prompted a petition from a local resident. PLUS: A guide to "Arrested" running gags.


Watch long-haired, bearded Larry David in his HBO movie teaser
He'll reunite with J.B. Smoove in "Clear History."


Bates from "Downton Abbey" auctioning himself off to be waited on
The winning bidder of the Brendan Coyle date will have to wait on the British actor "hand and foot."


3 original "Idol" judges have a Twitter lovefest

Simon, Paula and Randy tweeted each other over the weekend.


Faith Hill: I'm not joining "The X Factor"

One report claimed the country singer was set to join the Simon Cowell show.


Here's a breakdown of Stefon's "SNL" wedding guests
From black George Washington to human parking cones.

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<p>Louis Ferreira and Kristin Lehman in &quot;Motive.&quot;</p>

Louis Ferreira and Kristin Lehman in "Motive."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's Canadian cop drama 'Motive' gets summer off to a slow start

A police procedural that doesn't bother with whodunnit, but doesn't replace it with anything interesting

The broadcast network TV season doesn't officially end until Wednesday night at 11, but it already feels largely wrapped up. Many of TV's biggest hits, from "NCIS" to "Big Bang Theory" to "American Idol," already aired their finales last week, and while several big shows aren't done yet ("The Voice" will run into mid-June), the networks have already started slipping into their summer clothes. FOX brought back "So You Think You  Can Dance" next week and is beginning the Summer Burn-Off Theatre run of "The Goodwin Games" tonight (I hope to write a short review of that later today, and I'll definitely be discussing it with Dan on the podcast), and tonight ABC launches another of its Canadian import dramas: the police procedural "Motive."

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New 'Star Wars' animated series will be set between Episodes III and IV


New "Star Wars" animated series will be set between Episodes III and IV

The Disney XD series will bridge the gap between the prequel and the classic trilogies.


Jay Pharoah deletes tweet saying that Jason Sudeikis is done with "SNL"

Pharoah tweeted Sunday: "Hader, Armisen & Sudekis the talent of those three and just them as people in general will be missed but we will be strong and carry on.." Meanwhile, there's still no word on Sudeikis' future.


Did PBS go too far to appease a billionaire contributor who was a documentary subject?
David Koch, who has given $23 million to public television, was a negative focus of a documentary on income inequality. In response, New York's WNET, where Koch was a board member, tried to appease him by giving him a roundtable discussion show to air after the film.


"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ended 10 years ago today
Last week, Sarah Michelle Gellar said of the 10-year anniversary: "You can't be prouder of that show. It still holds up in reruns and I'm blessed every day ... I've been pretty lucky."


Watch the "Teen Wolf" Season 3 trailer

MTV will air a special before the June 3 premiere.


Watch Miguel do a Billboard Music Awards leg drop ... on a fan
The artist also inadvertently kicked another fan in the face. PLUS: Billboard awards get best ratings in a decade.


20 years ago today: "Cheers" said goodbye
After the series finale aired on May 20, 1993, the cast appeared drunk on a special Boston edition of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

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