I’ve always been of the belief that a little bit of a hidden-camera series goes a long way, and TruTV’s latest addition to the popular genre – “Impractical Jokers” – doesn’t offer anything to change that particular rule of thumb. That’s not to say that the show isn’t in possession of a few funny moments here and there, though.
Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray, Joe Gatto, and Sal Vulcano have been friends since they were kids, and they’ve spent a lot of their long friendship challenging each other to do stupid stuff…or, at least, that’s how the press release for “Impractical Jokers” spins it, anyway. And, hey, it might even be true, given the way the guys react to and act around each other on the show. Each episode pits the pals against each other in a competition to see who can pull off the most outrageous foolishness, with one wearing an earpiece and going into some public situation (in the first episode, they work at a White Castle and a Costco as well as stand in the heart of Times Square answering questions and asking people to sign petitions) while the others throw them random things to say. If they actually have the balls to say them, then they get a point. No balls, no points.
It’s clear that they want to play up this whole friends-for-life angle amongst Q, Murr, Joe, and Sal, but I can tell you this right now: if they don’t tone down the audio on the other three while their buddy is busy making an ass of himself, I’ll only be tuning in whenever I get good word of mouth about a particular segment. It’s annoying as hell, and I don’t think I was even five minutes into the screener before I first thought, “Geez, these guys are obnoxious.” In their defense, if they weren’t so obnoxious, they almost certainly wouldn’t end up getting as many laughs. But I can barely hear my own laughter over their constant giggling.
Here’s a quick clip to tide you over until the show makes it debut on Dec. 15 with back-to-back episodes at 10 and 10:30 PM (EST / PST):
But, hey, let’s not pretend that “Impractical Jokers” are the first people to hide a camera and film crazy shenanigans. As long as I’m talking about these guys, the least I can do is offer up a few clips from some of the other shows that have helped blaze the trail for them.
Yes, kids, your dreams have come true: starting on Oct. 27, your favorite animated dumbasses, Beavis and Butthead, are returning to MTV with their first new episodes since 1997.
First of all, if you’re worried that they might have smartened up some over the course of the past 14 years, let me assure you that, based on the advance trailer for their new season, there is little doubt that they’re as dumb as ever. Secondly, since I know you’re wondering, yes, the Great Cornholio does still need T.P. for his bunghole.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge during this summer’s TCA tour, and we talked about his decision to bring the boys back, what’s changed in their absence, and which recurring characters we can expect to see during the course of these upcoming episodes.
Bullz-Eye: So why bring back Beavis and Butthead – with the caveat that I’m very, very excited that you’re doing so – rather than move forward with a new, original property?
Mike Judge: Well, you know, actually, if you put it that way… [Laughs.] Look, I still like experimenting around and trying different characters, which I’ve done without ever showing it to people, but I’ve also been involved with development on new animated shows, some that never saw the light of day or that people are talking about. I always kind of look at all this stuff, and I’ll think of why it’s not working and what does work, and in the back of my mind, I’m always going, “You know, I actually had a great couple of characters that were working pretty good that I think would still be fun to do.” And I think they’re still fairly unique. I’d like to think so, anyway, just in the way they look and sound. But, I mean, the bottom line is that I really like doing it. And King of the Hill was done, I’d just done a live-action movie and didn’t want to do that again anytime soon, and…it just seemed like it would be fun.
The thing about people who are naturally good at making people laugh is that they often lose sight of when it’s time to drop the mic and walk away. Now take a movie like “Horrible Bosses,” which is 96 of the funniest minutes you’ll spend this year or any other. For a movie so packed with humor and wit, there is surely something just as awesome that didn’t make the cut, right?
Well, maybe. The truth is, we have yet to watch the extended version of the film (it’s eight minutes longer, and if we knew where those eight minutes were, we’d go straight to them), but if the deleted scenes in the Special Features section on the Blu-ray are any indication, the makers of “Horrible Bosses” left nothing in the bag, as it were. There are a couple of alternate openings, neither of which is as good as the one in the final film, and we get to hear the full recording of Kurt’s tryst with Nick’s boss’ wife (hint: it doesn’t take long). The only other scene worth the film it’s printed on is Colin Farrell at the supermarket, accosting the pharmacist (a snippet of which you can see in the closing credits of the movie). There are featurettes on working for horrible people and how much fun it is to play mean, but the general tone of the featurettes is pretty dry. This is a movie worth owning, no question, but don’t expect the bonus features to serve as the motivation for the purchase. They’re really just a pleasant addition.
Of course, we may change our minds on that once we’ve seen the Totally Inappropriate Edition of the movie, but we’re betting against it. ‘Unrated’ tends to mean ‘overrated’ when it comes to these things.
When FX debuted “The League” in 2009, my first reaction was: What took so long? With how popular fantasy football has become over the last decade, I’d been waiting for someone to do a movie or TV show about a bunch of degenerates in a fantasy league. Granted, “The League” is not without its warts, but it fills a growing and rabid niche while also being careful to not exclude people who aren’t into the game. As it says on the show’s official website, “To be a fan of ‘The League,’ you don’t need to know much about fantasy football, or sports at all. You just need to have friends that you hate.” Well put.
In honor of the show’s third season kicking off this week (Thu 10/6 on FX) and Season 2 now being available on Blu-ray and DVD, I decided to stage a one-man mock draft under the following premise: Something has made it impossible for me to manage my team in a long-running fantasy football league this season, and I need to pick my replacement owner from one of the show’s six main characters. From left to right in the photo above, there’s Pete Eckhart, the league’s most successful owner and a shrewd trader who divorced his wife in season 1; Andre Nowzik, the butt of so many jokes who earned a bit of revenge by winning the league’s Shiva Bowl at the end of the first season; Rodney Ruxin, reigning league champ and owner of the well-deserved nickname “The Herdsman”; Kevin MacArthur, lawyer and league commissioner who is still looking for his first title; Jenny MacArthur, who used to co-manage a team with husband Kevin before taking over her own team last season; and Taco MacArthur, Kevin’s younger brother who knows surprisingly little about fantasy football but a considerable amount about weed, women and hooking up. I didn’t include fan favorite Raffi, a no-brainer choice for the last pick, or Raffi’s buddy Dirty Randy, who will be played by Seth Rogen this season in what promises to be a memorable guest appearance.
The commissioner has stepped to the podium and it’s nearly time to make my picks. Check out the quick trailer for Season 3 below and then follow my draft, from #6 to the top pick at #1.
I’ve got nothing against stoners, but I wouldn’t let Taco anywhere near my fantasy team. He’s an idiot, which is usually great for the show but not so much for sustained fantasy success. I’d definitely, however, hire Taco to record a victory song to post on the league message board after I take home the title.
The first thing to know about Kevin is that he’s the only owner in the group never to play in the Shiva Bowl. Ouch. Aside from Taco (and Raffi), everyone in the league knows more about the game, and wife Jenny actually dumped him to take control of her own team when Raffi was replaced late last season. Kevin is more trustworthy than the slimier Ruxin (below), but playing it safe rarely results in league championships.
To be clear, not much separates Kevin and Ruxin in this draft. Ruxin knows what he’s doing when it comes to fantasy football, and he’s ruthless, which is a great quality for any successful fantasy owner. But I just don’t trust the guy. Case in point, near the end of the first season, he let Jenny blackmail him into trading Peyton Manning to Kevin for pennies on the dollar. Still, Ruxin is coming off a Season 2 league title, whereas Kevin has never even sniffed the championship game. I may not trust Ruxin, but I’d choose the upside knowing my team would be competitive with him at the helm.
This guy gets a bad rap. Well, okay, he deserves most of it, but you’ve got to love an underdog. After being the group’s punching bag for so many years, maybe all Andre needs is for someone to believe in him. A case could be made for Andre to go after Kevin and Ruxin, but keep in mind that Andre not only won the Shiva Bowl in the show’s first season, but he also at the time was sleeping with Shiva, the trophy’s namesake and the hot former valedictorian of the group’s high school class. Sure, he took home the dreaded “SackO” as the league’s worst team last season, but I’m playing a hunch and banking on a rebound at #3.
Winning the league three times really beefs up your résumé, but that’s not all Kevin has going for him in this draft. He’s ruthless but not as slimy as Ruxin, he’s mastered the art of lopsided trading, and he arguably knows more about the game than anyone else in the league. He eats and breathes fantasy football, so I know winning would be priority #1 with Pete. Plus, he’s recently divorced and is a notorious slacker at work, so he’ll be more focused on my team than the other guys. So why isn’t Pete my #1 pick? Because he’s not Jenny.
Like a career backup running back finally getting a chance to shine, Jenny seems destined for stardom now that she’s out of Kevin’s shadow. For years, Jenny made her husband look good with her behind-the-scenes counsel and maneuvering (like the aforementioned Peyton Manning trade with Ruxin), and now she’ll flash her skills while managing her own team. She’s already proven her ability and willingness to get a sweet deal worked out, and after so many years in a supportive role, she’s hungry and ready to thrive. Pete is probably the safer choice but, in more ways than one, Jenny is the hot up-and-comer.
Said Hurwitz, while addressing the audience at the New Yorker Festival on Sunday:
“I have been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by there was so much more to the story. In fact, where everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story. So, in working on the screenplay I found that even if I just gave five minutes per character to that backstory, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together. And that kinda gave birth to this thing we’ve not been pursuing for a while and we’re kinda going public with a little bit. We’re trying to do kind of limited run series into the movie.”
Too good to be true? Hurwitz doesn’t seem to think so, judging by his candor and optimism on the subject. Jason Bateman, who plays Michael Bluth on the beloved show, further stirred the pot when he tweeted, “It’s true. We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early ’13. VERY excited!”
“Arrested Development” fans have been waiting five years for good news, and while it’s wise and natural to remain somewhat skeptical until production on the movie and/or episodes has actually started, there’s enough smoke here to at least suggest the existence of a real fire.
This is by nature a fun column, designed to get people pumped up for whatever weekend festivities they may have planned. Sometimes, though, something comes up that is just begging for some kind of commentary. This is one of those times.
This weekend (starting yesterday, actually), deep in the heart of southern Illinois, the twelfth (!) annual Gathering of the Juggalos is taking place. Now, we’ve seen the word ‘Juggalo’ pop up here and there in the news cycle – usually near the word ‘Gallagher’ – but we were quick to dismiss it because Juggalos are fans of the Detroit hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse, who hit their commercial peak in the late ’90s and were perhaps best known for a feud with fellow Motowner Eminem. Are there really enough of these Juggalos to merit their own festival?
One of our friends set us straight. He said, “You have to see this video. Wow. Just…wow.” The song: “Miracles,” by Insane Clown Posse, currently sporting just under 7.8 million hits on YouTube.
Now, the back story to this song is that the two guys in the band (we will not bother mentioning them by name, because it just doesn’t matter) liked the wide-eyed wonder with which they viewed the world as kids, and resented finding out that there is a logical, scientific explanation for everything. Fine, we’ll buy that, but they weren’t content to write a song about these small wonders of the world that says, “Look at this stuff. Isn’t it cool?” No, instead they turned it into an anti-intellectual battle cry. We won’t break the song down line by line, but here are some of our favorite lines:
“Water, fire, air and dirt / Fucking magnets, how do they work?” “I fed a fish to a pelican at Frisco Bay / He tried to eat my cell phone, he ran away” “Fucking rainbows after it rains…” “Magic everywhere in this bitch…” “And I don’t want to talk to a scientist / Y’all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed”
So, to summarize, pelicans eating your cell phone is a miracle, as are fucking magnets and fucking rainbows. Scientists, however, are filthy, filthy liars. Got it. Enjoy your life of aggressive ignorance, guys.
So, back to “SNL.” They’ve been running fake ads for Under Underground Records for two years now, and until we saw the three minute-trailer for this year’s Juggalos gathering, we didn’t get the joke. Then at once, it all came together. Bad voiceovers, blond girl with pigtails, ridiculous graphics, check, check, checkmate. They even lampooned “Miracles,” which, to be fair, wasn’t terribly difficult. What the fuck is a clock?
Ass Dan, you will be missed. But not for the reasons you might think.
The lineup of bands playing this year’s event is frankly shocking. It’s mostly old school hip hop guys and other assorted clowns (namely, Charlie Sheen and Flavor Flav), but they also got George Clinton and Ice Cube, who I’m sure got an earful from his agent before signing on. “I’m going to have a hard time spinning this to Disney, Ice.” The one that stood out to us, though, was Lil Jon, since we never miss an opportunity to share this hilariously obscene mash-up of Lil Jon with the Icelandic kids show “LazyTown.” You’ll never look at cake the same way again. Booooo, muthafucka!