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Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup: March 20

Weekly Roundup is a feature posted each weekend (or thereabouts…) on I Wonder if You Wonder. It gives me a chance to react to the week’s industry news and to provide some quick thoughts about the films and TV shows I’ve been watching. (Plus it’ll give you some idea of the sheer amount of stuff I watch!) Let’s dive right in.

This week’s secret ingredient – the theme upon which I will offer my succulent commentary – is Community. But first, some news.

News:

Luck Cancelled: A strange and unfortunate story here, as HBO’s Dustin Hoffman series Luck was cancelled after it was revealed that several horses had died on set over the course of the show’s first year-plus. In reality, I suspect that the network was already leaning towards cancelling the show given its decidedly mediocre ratings and lack of critical buzz, but it’s still nice to know that there is some concern about the animals present in shows like this. We don’t need another situation like Stagecoach situation on our hands.

Don't mess with perfection, Michael Bay.

Michael Bay/TNMT: This one is sure to get the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fanboys (*ahem*, me, *ahem*) in a tizzy. Michael Bay is going to be directing the next TNMT movie, which will be a combination of CGI and live-action footage, and he made a curious comment at WonderCon the other day: that the turtles in his movies will be aliens rather than the ooze-altered turtles of the established continuity. C’mon, Michael Bay… you’ve already stolen countless hours of my adult life, and now you’re gonna mess with my childhood? Not cool, man. (For what it’s worth, Bay released a statement about the situation today, urging fans to “chill.”)

CBS Renewals: Late last week CBS renewed a whole slew of shows for another season, including NCIS, Survivor, 2 Broke Girls, The Amazing Race, and the original CSI. They join the likes of How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, which had already been given multi-year renewals. Notable in its absence was Two and a Half Men, as CBS is apparently still trying to work out a deal with Ashton Kutcher for another year. With this news, it’s clear that A Gifted Man, Unforgettable, and at least one of Rob and Rules of Engagement are not long for this world.

Viewings & Reactions:

TV:

Community Returns: Last Thursday, Community FINALLY returned to NBC. It was one of the show’s stronger episodes of the season, with Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) deservedly getting some love from the writers. My favorite moment? The episode’s extremely subtle reference to the show’s Halloween episode of several months ago that I only picked up on with my second viewing. In the Halloween episode, Abed (Danny Pudi) hums a sensual soft jazz tune while he’s telling his own version of a scary story:

A few episodes later, Troy (Donald Glover) picks up the tune:

And in the most recent episode, Annie (Alison Brie) gets in on the joke:

And just for giggles, here’s the entire Community cast humming the tune during their recent panel appearance at PaleyFest.

For the record, the song is “Daybreak” (also known as “Break of Day”) by Michael Haggins. (Here’s a YouTube link.)

Community Ratings: This news almost made me cry when I saw it. Community, which has been touch-and-go regarding the possibility of being renewed for a fourth season, scored its highest ratings of the season on Thursday. It was the second-highest rated show on NBC that night (being barely edged out by The Office) and from 8:00-8:30 it actually beat American Idol in the coveted 18-34 year-old male demographic. Needless to say, this is FANTASTIC news if you’re a fan of the show.

Community Syndication: Even more good news! Last week, the rights to Community reruns were purchased by Comedy Central. Why is this such good news? Because off-network syndication rights holders generally prefer that shows they pick up have at least 80-100 episodes, so they aren’t showing the same episodes constantly. After this year, Community will have in the neighborhood of 70 episodes, so this deal could create pressure on NBC and Sony Pictures Television to continue the show for an additional year.

Maulik Pancholy in WHITNEY.

… and in non-Community News: Last week, NBC’s Whitney did something unexpected: it aired a truly great episode.

In truth, the show has been trending upwards for a while now, but last week’s installment, entitled “G-Word,” reached new heights as one of the show’s main characters, Neal (Maulik Pancholy), came out of the closet. It was a moment that hearkened back to Ellen DeGeneres’ character coming out on Ellen some 15 years ago, except thankfully without the ridiculous and bigoted backlash. Like Ellen, Whitney pulled off a story that could easily come across as an ’80s-style “very special episode” without being too preachy or over-the-top and remembering that the primary mandate of the show is to be funny. I’m not sure if this character development was the result of a suggestion from Pancholy (who has played several gay characters in the past on shows like 30 Rock and Weeds), a simple creative decision by Whitney Cummings and the writing team, or a calculated move by NBC to have more gay characters on their network, but no matter the reason, kudos to all involved.

Coming Soon:

Previewing features and articles I’m working on for I Wonder if You Wonder, some of which will be posted this week, some in weeks ahead, and others that’ll be abandoned due to laziness or frustration. (Hey, at least I’m up front about it.)

  • The Big Bang Theory article I mentioned last week (it’s coming very shortly).
  • More Listmania.
  • In April (I hope): “30 Days of…”. I’ll be writing about the same movie every day for a whole month, with each day’s article touching upon a different aspect of the film. Movie to be determined. (Kudos to writer Matt Singer of IndieWire for giving me the idea. Also, check out what he has to say about Filmmaker Magazine’s epicly cool “Blue Velvet Project.”)
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About A.J. Simpson

Creator and moderator of I Wonder if You Wonder.

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