Pop Culture Roundup – Post Thanksgiving Edition

Hopefully by now all the effects of the massive amounts of turkey everyone consumed over the holiday weekend have worn off. It’s funny – I only had two days off from work for Thanksgiving, yet it felt like a lifetime. It feels weird to be back to work and be putting in a full week.

While I readjust to life in the office, check out the usual roundup of some pop culture nuggets from the last two weeks.

  • RIP Larry Hagman. J.R. Ewing goes down in the record books as a great TV villain. Hagman was one of the best things about the Dallas reboot on TNT. A handful of episodes for the second season have already been filmed, but his death will be addressed on the show.
  • The only thing surprising about this is the timing, since I’m guessing the show won’t be back after this season – Chevy Chase has quit Community.
  • Monday night I let my nerd flag fly as I went to a lecture by famed documentarian Ken Burns. He was being recognized by the NYS Achieves and it is no exaggeration to say that I was definitively the youngest person in the room. Between this and Lincoln, I’m spending a lot of time with octogenarians recently. I am a big fan of Ken Burn’s Baseball anthology, so I was interested to hear what he had to say. He was great and even gave the audience a sneak peek at his 2014 documentary The Roosevelts.  He’s also working on a documentary on the history of country music.
  • I don’t know what is in the water over at Two and a Half Men, but it apparently makes their cast act erratic. Angus T. Jones (the half man from the title) made a video in which he refers to the show he stars on is “filth” and has encouraged people to stop watching it. (Side note – Angus T. Jones sounds more like the name of an Old West Sherriff than a child actor). Yesterday he issued a statement apologizing for the remarks. Jon Cryer – your move.
  • Since it looks like I’m not going to make it to the 12-12-12 Sandy relief concert at MSG, I’m glad I can still see it on cable.
  • Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino are reuniting for Martic Scorsese’s new film, I Heard You Paint Houses. The title isn’t promising, so hopefully this isn’t another Righteous Kill.
  • Neil Patrick Harris’ new webseries, Neil’s Puppet Dreams, has debuted:


  • FX has ordered more episodes of Brand X (Russell Brand’s show) and Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell. Not a Brand fan, but I have been meaning to check out Totally Biased. Glad I’ll have the chance.
  • A 90s TV reunion that apparently isn’t happening? Kenan and Kel.
  • I love this headline from Gawker comparing Halle Berry’s life to an episode of Maury. Not a big fan of her, but I do feel for her daughter.
  • If NBC’s Hannibal fails, it won’t be from lack of star power. And yes, Hannibal refers to Hannibal Lecter of Silence of the Lambs fame.
  • A Hip-Hop Tribute to The Goonies? Kind of terrible and kind of awesome all at the same time.


  • If you’ve got some spare change lying around, the piano from Casablanca is up for auction at Sotheby’s next month. (Better use of your money – sending it to you favorite pop culture blogger).
  • Though the Candy Corn Oreos eluded me, I finally found Ben and Jerry’s Cannoli flavored ice cream. It was OK – I’d be hard pressed to think any ice cream is bad – but probably wasn’t worth the months of searching.
  • Portlandia will air a special winter episode on December 14th on IFC and season 3 will premiere on January 4th. An impressive list of guest stars is lined up for the new season.
  • Alicia Keys stopped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to sing a very special song:

PS. Did everyone else know that Alicia Keys was on The Cosby Show? She is the second little girl in this clip:


  • Those scamps over at The Onion tricked a Chinese newspaper into believing they had really named dictator Kin Jong Un the “sexiest man alive.”
  • This Guy Fieri sketch for SNL was done in dress rehearsal, but never made it to air:
  • NPR did a story on Chuck Lorre, producer of The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly and Two and a Half Men. I only consider one of those shows watchable, but you can’t argue that all three are successful.
  • It’s the beginning of the end – the cast of Breaking Bad is receiving scripts for the first episode of the final season. I will probably cry when this show ends – it is one of my all time favorites.
  • Anna Nicole Smith’s 6-year-old daughter will model for Guess, following in her mother’s footsteps.
  • CeeLo teamed up with the Muppets for a music video:


  • HBO’s Beyoncé documentary will premiere February 16th. You think that woman isn’t powerful? Microsoft Word just autocorrected the spelling of her name to include the acute accent mark.
  • My freshman year of college I would hang out with some of the guys in our dorm lounge to watch CHiPs re-runs in between classes, so this Star Wars/ CHiPs mashup made me smile:
  • As an avid fan of all things The Wire, I couldn’t pass up this interview with Dominic West (McNulty).
  • Killer Karaoke and Wives with Knives? Real shows.
  • Want proof of the power of a laugh track? Watch Game of Thrones reimagined as a sitcom:


  • And finally, The Shining: The Musical:

Much more creative than Oklahoma and Grease, both of which my high school did.

Happy Wednesday!!


Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Working Late Edition

Blerg. I’m stuck at work until at least 8:30 tonight, which means I’m putting in a solid 12+ hours at the office today. I like my job and all, but that is a long freaking day. This will also throw off my delicately calibrated television viewing schedule. While most normal adults are watching the news and having dinner with their families, I use that time to catch up on The Daily Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and whatever 10 pm shows I didn’t finish the night before. At least I’m getting some comp time.

So while I settle in for the long haul, enjoy your bi-weekly roundup of pop culture nuggets:

  • People magazine announced their Sexiest Man Alive – Channing Tatum. With Magic Mike and 21 Jump Street (not to mention that body), I can’t say that I blame them. But I thought this might be Ryan Gosling’s year.
  • Liza Minnelli will guest star on Smash. This had better not interfere with her ability to reprise her role as Lucille 2 on Arrested Development.
  • Conan has been doing a great bit where he imagines what the new Star Wars film would look like in the hands of different directors.

Woody Allen

Kevin Smith

Michael Moore

  • If you spend any time around tweens, you probably already knew this – Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have apparently called it quits.
  • A Drive/Mario Kart mashup
  • Music group INXS finally gets around to announcing that they are done touring, only 15 years after lead singer Michael Hutchence’s suicide.
  • Louis C.K.’s next comedy special will air on HBO (but will also be available for download on his website).
  • ABC has given Nashville a full season pick up. I still haven’t had the chance to watch the show; perhaps over Thanksgiving.
  • Showtime is airing a ten part documentary series, Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States. I can only imagine what that’s about.
  • Check it out – Joe Biden was on Carmen Sandiego in 1993
  • Vulture examines what James Bond villain plots would work and which would not with the help of an economist (If they told me I could have done stuff like this with my economics degree, I might pursued that instead.)
  • Mumford and Sons + Idris Elba = Happy Heather
  • Bret McKenzie will once again write the songs for the new Muppets film. Double Yay!
  • The Dr. Who Christmas Special will debut in the U.S. on December 25th (fitting) at 9 pn (ET) on BBC America.
  • The New York Times critic was not a fan of Guy Fieri’s new Times Square restaurant
  • And finally, I saw this trailer for the new Jackie Robinson movie 42 over the weekend and I practically squealed. I seriously cannot wait for this movie.