January 2, 2012
November 17, 2011
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Taco’s offline Facebook page, called “My Face” (above).
In season one of fX’s The League, a distraught Pete (Mark Duplass), who was reigning league champion (The League is a fantasy football league) and holder of the Shiva, the much coveted winner’s trophy, brought the trophy to Kevin’s house and told Kevin, by the curb in front of his house, that he was quitting the league. Pete’s wife Meegan (Leslie Bibb) was hounding him about getting pregnant, badgering him about couples activities, and doing just about everything she could to take his oxygen away. Some guys might know the feeling. Kevin (Steve Rannazzisi), married to Jenny (Kate Aselton), and father of one daughter, knew the feeling. He was beside himself to learn of Pete’s decision and he refused to accept it. Kevin, a litigator by profession, at that point gave a powerful oration.
‘You find something else to give in on. Make some other compromise. Believe me, I know. I’ve done it myself. But you can never, never quit the league.’
So Pete goes home and he’s in bed with Meegan, who wants some sex. They get into it pretty quickly, and in a flash, he’s on top of her, right? And a second later she jams a digit or two up his ass and starts finger raping his rectum during intercourse and she’s got a hold so tight in that ass that he can’t shake loose, despite ample squirms and protests.
The next day, when the league members meet up for a casual drink at their usual spot, Pete announces he was not dropping out of the league any longer. And that he was getting a divorce. How could he do that, his friends asked, startled, shocked, amazed.
He had his reasons. Ruxin, played by Nick Kroll, who also happens to play one of our favorite characters anywhere as Stu on The Life and Times of Tim (which returns to HBO for season 3 next month), explained that for him and his ultra hot wife, Sofia (Nadia Velasquez, My Name is Earl), divorce would never be an option. As he explained it, his wife was super hot and she’d get half of his money and guys would “be pounding her” left and right, while he’d never score such a fine chick again because he looks like a “stereotypical cartoon Jew in a Nazi propaganda video.” To keep this so fine wife happy, and to guarantee somewhat regular sex, he gives Sofia a “perfect lady day” in which he does not text, talks no football, and pays attention to every little thing she says–once every “2.6 months.”
Andre, played by another Best Week Ever alum, Paul Scheer, who also does some of the writing, is a fad crazy plastic surgeon with universal bad taste, and often finds himself the butt of their jokes, in a league where cruelty is the done thing. After having impaled himself on the Shiva in a Vegas nightclub, he became the ironic subject of Taco’s hit duet, “I’m Inside Me”, performed with none other than Ocho Cinco himself, who frankly can act and sing pretty good for a football player. Take a look:
Taco (John Lajoie) is the group oddball/artist/nonconformist and is always ready with an inappropriate song, some herb or shrooms, or a video display. Like when he made both Ruxin’s and Kevin’s lives miserable by playing his own movie that he had filmed of Ruxin’s wedding, at Ruxin’s 5th anniversary party. The video starts with footage of Sofia cavorting around in her lingerie as Taco told her how good her ass looked, then cut to Ruxin complaining about the fact that he was marrying a woman from a different culture and religion, and finally caught Kevin, his own brother, talking Ruxin down from the ledge, and steadying him before his big wedding speech, which Ruxin was in a panic over and convinced he couldn’t do.
The film catches Kevin firmly instructing Ruxin to pull himself together. He tells him all he has to do is say ‘love is a (add noun), love is a (add different noun)’, and then to conclude with ‘love is…(pretend he is too choked up to talk). Rather interesting moment for Jenny, who, like Agent Couyan in The Usual Suspects, has that moment of recognition, putting the pieces together to Kevin’s latest speech, an ode to his wife earlier in the evening, because Ruxin’s anniversary and Jenny’s birthday are on the same day.
“Love is a commitment. Love is a journey. Love is…”
They’ve all had their very funny moments, including Jenny, who is also convinced she will never divorce because as she explains, “I have confidence in my pussy.” And when those players aren’t enough for you, The League has gone to great lengths to bring in big time pinch hitters. In addition to numerous football player cameos, this season alone has seen Seth Rogan (Dirty Randy), Brie Larson (slutty au pair), and tonight will feature Jeff Goldblum and our girl Sarah Silverman, fresh off her appearance last week in Bored To Death, as Ruxin’s father and Andre’s super slut sister, in what we are sure will be a great Thanksgiving episode.
One we would expect to also feature Ruxin’s heinous brother-in-law Raffi (Jason Mantzoukas, Enlightened, The Life and Times of Tim), who is always good for big laughs, making the out there Taco look tame. If you like good clean old plain dirty sexist humor, then Raffi’s your guy.
And The League’s your show, until next month at least, when Chris Lilley and Tim return. Bang!
September 5, 2011
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Rodney, Stu and Tim (above).
HBO’s comedy lineup will receive a much needed boost in December when one of our absolute favorites, “The Life and Times of Tim” returns, and what we are sure will be a new favorite, “Angry Boys”, written, directed, and starring Australian uber talent Chris Lilley, makes its American television debut. Like the internationally acclaimed and award winning Lilley product “Summer Heights High”, which HBO debuted for American audiences in November of 2008, “Angry Boys” is shot in the mockumentary format, and features 2 characters previously portrayed by Lilley in his first major television self production, “We Can be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year.”
Summer Heights fans should not be disappointed that none of the characters that Lilley portrayed in that series, Jonah, Ja’mie, or Mr. G are reprised in Angry Boys. Lilley often revisits his characters and those characters frequently pop up in subsequent works, as do Daniel and Nathan Sims, who debuted in We Can Be Heroes and are now reprised in Angry Boys. Lilley’s Ja’mie of SSH also debuted in We Can Be Heroes and Lilley often performs on stage and in stand-up as the illustrious Mr. G. Angry Boys, which debuted in Australia in May, features an array of Lilley characters including an African American rapper, with a juvenile hall for the backdrop.
If you are thinking that Jonah Takalua would have made a perfect inmate, we can almost assure you that he wasn’t needed. Lilley is receiving much flack for the controversial behaviors he portrays in Angry Boys, notably the racial slurs employed at the juvenile facility. We think Lilley should be commended for revisiting comedic boundaries and for being a champion of free speech. Angry Boys will debut on HBO on December 5th, 2012.
When season 3 of The Life and Times of Tim returns to HBO, we are not sure if our old friend Tim will have his job back at Omnicorp, but if we had to wager, we’d bet that Tim does reunite with best friends Stu (Nick Kroll) and Rodney (Matt Johnson), and the boss (Peter Giles). Only in Steve Dildarian’s vast imagination personfied by the life of Tim could we find Rodney’s wife having an affair and knocked up by Islanders forward Petite Guy LaBelle (Andrew Daly), Stu having night terrors about among other things, the ’86 Mets, and Tim’s boss, who has never taken the subway before and who thinks the oncoming train is some sort of underground serpent/monster.
Dildarian has given us so many great moments and lines, whether they be out of the mouth of Tim’s hedonist, womanizing priest (Rick Gomez), a pharmaceutical rep who got into that business when the owner of a pharm company grabbed her in a bar and said, “with an ass like that, you should be working at my drug company”, or from a random member of the crowd at a press conference for the female fire fighter who “saved” Tim’s life, who shouts at Tim that he’s a “frail fuck.” Or who could forget Tim’s co-worker, played by Bob Saget, teaching Tim the ins and outs of an expense account when on a business trip to Cincinnati? “You know how I expensed a brick of Cocaine? Trip to Kinko’s.” In fact, we couldn’t understand HBO’s reluctance to greenlight The Life and Times of Tim for season 3, which was actually briefly cancelled last summer by HBO until FOX began making overtures at Steve Dildarian in the hopes of bringing Tim to their networks.
Hopefully HBO has begun to realize that they are in no position to be dismissive of a talent like Dildarian after passing on AMC megahits Breaking Bad and Mad Men, inscrutably cancelling Deadwood, and failing to bring back Da Ali G Show for season 3.
The Life and Times of Tim will return in late December.
May 17, 2010
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Dustin Clare (L.), Anna Hutchinson (C.) and Matthew Newton, 3 of the stars of Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities.
I was very upset when my special Directv channel, The 101, had run through all of the two seasons worth of episodes of the Showtime original series, Sleeper Cell, starring Michael Ealy. As a late arrival to Showtime’s programming, Sleeper Cell had never been on my radar, and my take on what I thought was a fairly realistic glimpse into al-Qaeda’s world was that Sleeper Cell was an excellent show that was very well acted, and the terrorists–the head honchos–were, well, terrifying. Oded Fehr, who played Farik Al Farik, a holy warrior who had taken the oath of martyrdom, was excellent in season 1 as the cell’s leader, and in season 2, he was even colder and scarier, as he ran the show from Yemen, completely protected from America’s grasp. Farik’s second in command, Ilija (Il-ya) Korjenic (Henry Lubatti), a Yugoslavian national and muslim who had been through the ethnic conflict in Kosovo, was almost as stone cold as Farik’s second in command. By episode 18 I was nearly rooting for the bad guys, they were so good. And my friend’s and I would repeat back and forth to each other the terrorists’ code, which we found especially poignant, for terrorists, or for soldiers or for anyone who needed to fight, even metaphorically, to get what they wanted. Q: where is God’s paradise? A: in the shadow of the sword.
Needless to say, when my terrorists were out of my life, I needed a new show. And The 101 stepped up again, and gave me one in my absolute favorite entertainment genre: drug fiction. Enter Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities, brought to us by Australia’s Nine Network–and in fine fashion. Australian television had delivered another quality product to the American airwaves in about a year’s time, the other being Chris Lilley’s Summer Heights High.
The first episode, called “Aussie Bob and Kiwi Terry”, featured a simple but effective plot. A New Zealender, Kiwi Terry (Matthew Newton) comes to the small town of Griffith in New South Wales, where some of the heaviest mobsters lived, and the drug distributors. New South Wales was known as Australia’s cannabis capital, and the main man was Aussie Bob Trimbole (Roy Billing, The Chronicles of Narnia) who Terry Clark approaches to see if he would be interested in helping him move China White Heroin (named by the way by our friend Dr. Shulgin, who figured out for the D.E.A. why it was so powerful and where it came from by analyzing its chemical structure), the strongest and most pure heroin in the world. Bob is interested, but immediately wants to discuss a partnership, which Aussie Terry dismisses out of hand, a conversation that took place at a race track owned by the dapper white haired George Freeman (Peter O’Brien). A fitting locale, since Bob is interested because he knows good heroin is a huge money maker, and he loves to bet the ponies, which places a drain on his finances.
When Clark, nicknamed “Mr. Asia” for his ability to get his hands on China White–he had flooded his home country, New Zealand, with the stuff before fleeing to Australia–rebuffs Trimbole’s idea, Aussie Bob gets on the phone to his friend George Freeman, and tells him that it upsets him when some “dipshit from New Zealand” takes George’s name in vain, as he places a bet on a horse. Freeman took the call while on his yacht with a beautiful topless woman, less than half his age. But when George gets back to dry land he invites Clark to a meeting in which he and his henchmen beat the living daylights out of Mr. Asia, causing me to recall Ray Liotta’s famous line in Goodfellas: “the way I see it, everybody takes a beating sometime.”
Clark returns to Trimbole, a bit more humble, and with a better idea of how the underground works in New South Wales, and brings him a peace offering–an expensive bottle of wine. They “rip the cork” on the bottle and drink it down all polite like, and then they have a walk through Bob’s stables. At one point on their walk, Bob pulls a gun on Terry and tells him to get down on his knees and to put his hands on his head. Terry complies, and then Bob tells him to pick up the garbage bag to his left, which we immediately think is someone’s carved up remains. Surprise. It’s a garbage bag stuffed with weed. Bob tells him it’s a gift, but to “never, ever fuck him.” And then he demands a sample of the white, which Terry doesn’t just yet have.
A side plot is that of an aspiring politician in Griffith, Donald Mackay (Andrew McFarlane), running on the anti-drug ticket, who enrages Aussie Bob by calling him out publicly at a political rally. Kiwi Terry happens to arrive at that rally with Bob’s heroin sample (see below), and hears Mackay label Bob Trimbole as the biggest drug dealer in New South Wales. Terry confronts Bob in private over Mackay, and tells him to handle Mackay. The last thing they needed was an anti-drug crusader up Bob’s ass while they jumped from marijuana to heroin. Terry had enough to worry about coming through customs a few times a month from Singapore on a fake passport with pounds of heroin taped up under his suit. Bob tries to entice Mackay with a prostitute and then catch him in the act to blackmail him, but Mackay is too smart for that, so he’s gotta go. And he needs an out of town hit man to do the job who can not be Italian, because just about the only thing that a totally corrupt police force would care about was a mob hit on a politician.
Bob then sends Frank Tizzoni (Tony Poli), a close associate in the marijuana trade to Melbourne to recruit a shooter for Mackay, who in the end of episode 1, puts a bullet in Mackay’s head, which paves the way for a few years of crazy money making that fly under the radar.
Things are good for Terry but become even better, when he recruits a new lover, Alison Dine (Anna Hutchinson), to be his mule to and from Singapore, and now, he even gets the nod of approval at the social club for heavy hitters from George Freeman, who delivered to him express that vicious beating in episode 1.
All is well in New South Wales indeed, but when Frank Tizzoni overhears Bob on the phone to “the family” and doesn’t hear him mention tribute from the China White trade, he tells Bob that if the family finds out, they would feed him to the pigs. I was so taken by this series that when my tivo went out on episode 3 during a storm, I went to www.surfthechannel.com and ended up watching the whole season over 2 or 3 days.
By the way, Bob’s reply to Tizzoni, you ask?
“Some of me best friends are pigs.”
After The Wire and Breaking Bad, Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities might be my favorite show done in the genre. Don’t let me spoil any more of it for you.
April 19, 2010
Chris Lilley, who most recently starred in HBO’s Summer Heights High, a smash hit comedy on Australian television, will star in a new show that he has created and written, called Angry Boys, which is currently being filmed in Australia, in association with Australian television, HBO, and ABC.
Lilley surprised American audiences with Summer Heights High, in which he played the three starring roles. One role was the drama teacher, Mr. G, which was such a popular Lilley character that he reprised it for SHH, shown below, with his dog that he brings with him each day to school (left). Lilley also played the role of adolescent aborigine student nightmare, Jonah (center), and Ja’mie (Juh-may), the stuck up, boy crazy 11th year transfer student (right, bottom middle).
Lilley’s SHH simultaneously told the stories of the 3 characters within the Summer Heights school community, all played by Lilley, who has gone to the top strata of mockumentary television performers and producers. SHH was reminiscent of HBO’s Da Ali G Show, though Lilley’s shows, to date, have been scripted and Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters, on television, were improvisational. Lilley is an impressive actor and story teller, and may be one of the finest comedic talents in the world.
While The Formula loved Lilley from the start of his first run on HBO, we found most hilarious the episode in which Jonah draws a picture of a dick and balls, grafitti style, in art class, and then tells school officials that his father ‘grabs his cock.’ When confronted, Jonah’s dad beats the shit out of Jonah for lying about being abused, and tells him that if he keeps acting up, he will have to send his son to live with his uncle in Samoa.
While it will take a few successful movies in the format before he approaches the star quality of a Sacha Baron Cohen or Christopher Guest, another successful stint on HBO couldn’t hurt. And we hear that Angry Boys is open ended, and could enjoy a run of several seasons. Does it mean that we will be looking at Chris Lilley’s “hramm” or “ashenholler” on the big screen any time soon?