A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I speak to you in Spanish with the formal "usted"...
A questionable piece of art catches Leslie's fancy, and Ben gets new roommates
Would 'Everybody Loves Raymond' translate to Russia?
"Everybody Loves Raymond" was a sitcom, not a documentary, but showrunner Phil Rosenthal always wanted the show to have some level of truth. The characters were modeled on a mix of Rosenthal and Ray Romano's families, and Rosenthal tried to run the writers' room the way Carl Reiner did on "The Dick Van Dyke Show," kicking off each Monday meeting by asking the staff what happened with their families over the weekend. More often than not, real life provided the spine of the next episode's plot.
Now real life and "Raymond" have intersected in a different way with "Exporting Raymond," a documentary that Rosenthal directed and is the star of, about his misadventures in trying to help a team of Russian TV writers adapt his sitcom for their country. The film, which will begin a limited theatrical release on Friday (the official website has a list of theaters), is part travelogue, part culture-clash nightmare, as Rosenthal struggles to convince his new Russian colleagues - most of them with no sitcom experience whatsoever - that perhaps he knows more than they do about how to make the show (now called "Everybody Loves Kostya") work.
I interviewed Rosenthal a lot during the "Raymond" years, and we got on the phone last week to talk a bit about the origins and experience of "Exporting Raymond."
Raylan hunts for Dickie in a sensational episode
A review of tonight's "Justified," the penultimate episode of season two, coming up just as soon as I ask a rhetorical question...
Tracing the evolution of Michael from jerk to beloved boss
At the end of last week's "The Office," the next-to-last episode featuring Steve Carell as Michael Scott, the office staff came together to serenade Michael with their own version of "Seasons of Love" from "Rent," lovingly listing all the minutes he worked at Dunder-Mifflin, and then all the minutes they in turn spent in his pointless meetings, listening to his corny jokes, reading his e-mail forwards, etc.
It was an extraordinary moment in the life of the series. It was sweet and clever and incredibly touching (Carell was so obviously choked up that you could easily take his reaction as that of the actor or character). It was also the exact perfect gift the staff could give Michael, who had spent the better part of seasons trying to drag his employees kicking and screaming into his fantasies of the office as both a surrogate family and a place where he could sing, dance, tell jokes, do characters and generally have his genius for performing acknowledged.
And that was the most extraordinary thing at all. Because if you go back to the early days of "The Office," it is hard to imagine a circumstance under which Jim, Pam, Oscar, Ryan and the rest of the gang would have not only done this, but done this out of genuine affection for Michael and sadness that he was leaving them.
Family business interrupting coverage
We've had a death in the family, so I need to go away for a few days at a minimum. I'm always working a bit ahead on some shows, so there are reviews of "Justified," "Parks and Recreation," "Doctor Who," "Game of Thrones," "The Killing," "Treme" and a couple of other things set to publish in the next few days (including the rescheduled version of my latest "Friday Night Lights" review), and both my RSS feed and Twitter should be automated to put out links to those within an hour or two of when they publish. (If you're a fan of one of the shows I listed, just check the blog within a few minutes of when it finishes airing on the East Coast, and hopefully they should all auto-publish with relative promptness.)
Beyond that, though, I'm gonna miss a bunch of episodes of things while I'm away, and - with the exception of Steve Carell's last "The Office" (I already wrote a few farewell pieces about it, and will try to cover the episode itself after I'm back on duty) - will likely just skip ahead to the next new episode of things whenever I return.
Back in a while. Please play nice with each other while I'm gone.
Tara and her teacher team up, while the alters learn order
A quick review of tonight's "United States of Tara" coming up just as soon as I put a dress on a tree and take it to the movies...
Alan and Dan also talk about 'Archer,' 'Survivor,' and a lot of other shows
It's Monday, which means it's time for a new Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which Dan and I look back over Steve Carell's tenure on "The Office," talk a bit about NBC's "The Voice" and the state of "American Idol," and answer a bunch of your mail.
Things are looking up for some, down for others, in the season 2 premiere
Linden and Holder investigate Rosie's teacher in a slow-moving episode
A review of tonight's "The Killing" coming up just as soon as I've had enough of the Tickle-Me Elmo...
Parents and children hit the road, together and apart, in episode two
A review of episode 2 of "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I speak for the grotesques...