In the midst of the season finale of “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” son Nick teases his rock star dad, saying, “You are a sitcom. Who writes you?” It’s a question that could be asked of the entire episode, which hits every sitcom beat (and sometimes better than a lot of the actual sitcoms in prime time, but still). Gene orders a custom ring. It doesn't arrive when it's supposed to! He wants to propose at the top of a Mayan ruin but gets too winded to do it! He tries to pop the question during a biplane ride, but she can't hear him over the engine! Wacky, wacky hijinks abound!
The season finale of “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” is tonight (10 p.m. on A&E) and the network has already released a wowza preview: Gene Simmons, humbled by the events of the season, actually vows his devotion to his “girlfriend” of the last 25 years Shannon Tweed and, wait for it… proposes. It’s a little disconcerting to see the rock god who has staked his reputation on screwing around and keeping his options open staring at Tweed, equal parts fear and longing in his eyes, as he takes a knee and finally acts like a grown-up at the tender age of 61.
Still, they opt for the luxury suite. They swim in their private pool, then Ben carries her inside for hot sex, or at least we can presume.
Okay, I'll be honest -- just got back from Comic-Con and boy, are my arms tired. Or something like that. In any case, this recap might lean toward short and sweet, but I'm sure you understand.
Even though the CW's "Supernatural" was sandwiched between fan favorites "Glee" and "Dr. Who" in Hall H during Comic-Con, the show still managed to attract plenty of its own rabid fans. Those loyalists were treated to some plot reveals, a cute gag reel and a quick hit of the show's new anime series.
Waiting in line for "The Secret Circle" panel at Comic-Con turned out to be a lonely experience. When asking if the people around me were waiting to see a sneak preview of the new CW show, I was greeted with blank looks and awkward smiles. "I'm here for 'Nikita'" or "I just wanted to get here early for 'Mythbusters'" was the usual response. Though the show is about witches and is from Kevin Williamson, the mastermind behind swoony "The Vampire Diaries," clearly those fans were slow coming over from that show's panel in Ballroom 20.
'Once Upon A Time' gets 'Lost' in a fairy tale
Fans can look for mysterious clues in this series, too
Maybe it was the hope that show creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (and moderator David Lindelof) might finally explain how polar bears got onto a tropical island, but many of the fans present for the "Once Upon A Time" presentation at Comic-Con seemed more interest in dwelling in the past than embracing a new TV series.
While reaction to the screening of "Once Upon A Time" was warm, there were certainly a few fanboys who whipped out their cell phones to amuse themselves rather than dive into the pilot, which introduces the idea of what happens when fairy tale characters are, through the curse of an evil witch, stuck living out mundane lives in small town Maine. The pilot was solid but, if fairy tales make you groan or are just too Disney-ingrained for your taste, it's likely a hard sell. The "real life" fates of characters like Snow White and the evil witch are certainly clever (and performances are strong across the board, especially from Lana Parrilla ("24"), Jennifer Morrison ("House") and Robert Carlyle ("The Full Monty"), even the clever little touches (a bowl of apples on the modern-day evil witch's table, for example) are perhaps already too familiar. For the fanboy-heavy audience, though, fairy tales (even by the "Lost" guys) may have been just a little too girly. Blame Disney princesses.
After the screening, the creators discussed how the project came after they were briefly unemployed following "Felicity"'s cancelation. "Our agent said, 'you need a new sample.' And we started to think about fairy tales. We liked them, and they're like a lottery ticket. You buy them and you think your life will change," said Kitsis.
The pair didn't bristle (too much) when several fans mentioned similar TV and comic book projects that cover the same terrain, including the 2000 miniseries "The 10th Kingdom. "As we said, we had this idea from 2002 and to be fair, I never saw the 2000 miniseries, but now I want to to see what I can steal from it," Kitsis joked.
The creators both praised Lindelof, Kitsis joking, "[He] helped us out of an eight year writer's block and got us out of crying on his sofa that we had no ideas left."
It seemed that playing fairy tale characters was an easy sell for the cast. "I told my agent, 'I'll take it,'" recalled Ginnifer Goodwin. "And he said, you need to read it. And I said, seriously, I'll take it. It really didn't take much.
Morrison, who plays Snow White and Prince Charming's daughter, doesn't get to be part of the show's flashbacks to fairy tale land, but that doesn't mean she doesn't like the costumes. "I'm jealous," she said. "It would be fun to wear the pretty outfits. but It's exciting to play a character who's brand new, a new fairy tale character."
While the creators (and Lindelof) said they wouldn't answer "Lost" questions, they did offer an enticing draw for the new show. "We hope this is a show you can watch and relax and enjoy, but if you're looking we want to put out things there for you to find."
Kitsis added, "You can either get into your slippers or get out your magnifying glass."
But don't expect any huge "Lost"-like jumps out of the fairty tale arena. Prince Charming (and his modern version) are here to stay. "One of the great things is everyone knows these stories, and that's why they keep getting told," Horowitz explained.
Kitsis added the more practical reality: "That, and they're public domain."
The horror movie "Attack the Block" (opens Friday, July 29) got a boost at Comic-Con this week. Sharing a hall and time slot with cult favorite "Underworld," the British indie and midnight feature award winner at SXSW had a solid platform on which to show off its creative twists on horror.
The footage, which was familiar to many in the audience (the film was previously released in the U.K.) was a funny, scary mix of gore and punchlines as a group of kids, trapped in a government housing apartment complex, must do battle with aliens featuring furry pelts and glow-in-the-dark teeth. Fans of "Shaun of the Dead" will likely notice Nick Frost playing the building's resident long-haired pot smoker.
Director Joe Cornish, who shares a writing credit on "TinTin" with his "Block" (and panel) partner Edgar Wright, explained that, as a fan of 80s horror movies, he wanted to pay homage to the classics, but with a 21st century spin. "[They] take reality like a suburban environment, a world we can recognize, then fuse it with fantasty," he said. "Our aliens wish they landed in Elliott's backyard." Instead, Cornish plants them in the a rough part of London, where their prey isn't soft suburban kids but gang bangers and street toughs. "We has eleven actors between the ages of 11 and 18. And every single one gives an incredible performance."
The kids easily capture not only the urban patter but the seen-it-all nonchalance of kids living in poverty. "We like to call it 'Super 8-Mile,'" says Wright.
Even more unexpected are the aliens. From a distance, they almost look, well, cute. "Sometimes you feel like the monsters are all a bit same-y," Cornish explained. "The dragon from 'Harry Potter' could wander into 'Cloverfield' and nobody would notice."
The film may have plenty of fresh material, but don't look for one thing -- subtitles. When one fan who'd seen the movie asked if they could be tossed in to make sense of the thick accents, Cornish flatly refused. "You know what? I think you guys are smart. Hip hop's been around for what, 20 years now? This movie is specially designed to teach you the language, we had a lexicon of ten or twelve phrases, repeated over and over through the movie in different contexts. Watch this and you'll be ready to put on a hood, come to london and slice some alien heads off."
Not that this is just a movie about tough kids and tough aliens, according to Cornish. "This is a movie about character. It has something to say. I don't want the jokiness to undermine the heart. But it's also a bit crazy and stupid. Because it has aliens with glow-in-the-dark teeth."
At the Comic-Con panel for "Fright Night," director Craig Gillespie, writer Marti Noxon and stars Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Christopher Mintz-Plasse all showed up to plug the new horror movie. But as far as quite a few fans were concerned, they all played second fiddle to the guy playing the movie's decidedly non-glittery vampire villain: Colin Farrell.
Some of that could be excitement that Farell, long a bad boy off screen, would be a very, very bad boy on it for "Fright Night." "I wanted to write a vampire who didn't play the piano, nothing against that in the original. But I missed a viciousness and sexuality I felt Colin imbued." On stage, however, Farrell was hardly vicious, instead joking around with his co-stars, poking fun at himself and seemingly having a good time.
The star, whose bad rep has included the usual stints in rehab and a sex tape, explained his improved attitude. "I have enjoyed the work a lot more the last 5 or 6 years. I came to success really quickly, the idea of coming up fast and the chaos around you; it was insane. And i personally lost sight of why i went to my first acting class when i was 17 in Dublin. So the last six years I reconnected with the Colin who was 17 and didn't know anything, because my lack of understanding bred curiosity. I reconnected with the mystery of the whole thing. It's a lot of fun. It's such a fortunate place to find yourself."
Farrell wasn't shy about making fun of his previous behavior. When a fan asked him if he found it easier to pick up wearing fangs or pick up salsa for a previous movie, he joked, "I can certainly remember picking up fangs better than I can picking up the mojitos. Bit of a black out."
He even joked about his previous drinking problem by saying, "My Jerry [his character name] has to borrow a six-pack off the neighbor. Reputations, you just can't shake them."
Farrell did have moments of seriousness, however. The self-described vampire movie fan who saw the original when he was "10 or eleven or so" said he initially hesitated to take the role. "When I heard they were making it, I was dubious at first. Oh, here we go, Hollywood and its originality. But I really liked it. I'd done three or four films that were serious, and I wanted to have fun. There was enough homage to the original and enough that was different, it had a new direction... It was contemporized in a really clever way."
The series of clips (some of which had been censored for liberal use of the F word) were likely familiar to the audience (most of the material has been available online), but Farrell easily stole his scenes (though a scene with "Dr. Who" star David Tennant, who wasn't present but filmed a short message for the crowd, was met with hearty applause). But even though Farrell was happy to play a bloodsucker, he isn't fired up to get into a superhero unitard anytime soon. "I kind of played the superhero when I played Alexander [the Great] and it didn't pan out. Some of it's cultural, but I didn't grow up in the world of comic books or the lore that comic books represent. I don't know the backstory. But a lot of it I really enjoy."
At the end of the session, a female fan screamed for Farrell to give her his paper name placard, which he agreed to do as Mintz-Plasse offered his as well, adding "I have Hershey's kisses!" As Farrell bent down to sign the placard before handing it over, a fast thinking camera guy took a shot of Farrell's rear view, inspiring Gillespie to kid the actor about going commando.
Farrell, blushing, hiked up his pants and joked about having a pimple on his butt. Well, it was a good moment while it lasted.
"Beavis and Butt-Head" has been off the air since 1997, but if the crowd at San Diego's 2011 Comic-Con was any indication they have been sorely missed. When moderator Johnny Knoxville and "Beavis" creator Mike Judge entered the room, the SRO audience exploded. But they weren't attending to just see the "Jackass" stare and Judge -- they were in the room to get a first look at clips from the new episodes of the show.