The Larry Sanders Show

Rupert and Rodney Ruxin (above).

The resemblance in looks and manner between Jeff Goldblum and Nick Kroll is scary, making his casting as Ruxin’s dad on The League brilliant for more than just Goldblum’s brilliance.  Perhaps you recall Goldblum as himself way back on The Larry Sanders Show, in a love triangle with Larry and Gina Gershon replete with a foot fetish, seeming to make Gershon come right in front of Larry on his living room couch from a foot massage.  As for Kroll, you know we love the comedic talent (by the way, Kroll will reprise the voice of Stu on The Life and Times of Tim when Tim returns to HBO for the start of season 3 on Friday, December 16th @ 9 PM EST), but we now appreciate his other talents much more and the obvious chemistry between him and Goldblum, as we are left wondering if they might really be related.

Never was their chemistry better than with regard to the cardio bet plot line.  Because Ruxin is so prone to lying and completely morally bankrupt, the group forces him to wear a strap on pedometer so they have proof that he has actually done his pre Thanksgiving cardio in compliance with their bet.  Ruxin has discovered that the pedometer calculates any movement, and therefore has been circumventing his cardio by wearing the device on his wrist when he masturbates.  When he is sitting down to watch porn with the pedometer attached to his wrist and his father interrupts, he explain to the elder Ruxin, visually, how the pedometer racks up numbers by simulating the motion of jerking off.  A disgusted Goldblum tells him to stop and declares, “…a bunch of morons you hang around with.”

Goldblum is a consistent show stealer.  When Pete (Mark Duplass) tells him over drinks that they used to raid his liquor cabinet when they were kids, Goldblum says ‘that’s why I got there first and peed in all the bottles.’

Andre: “That’s why the Mescal never tasted the same.”

A good deal of the credit goes to Paul Scheer, who plays Andre, and to Scheer and Kroll, who wrote this brilliant episode.  Another pearl delivered by the sexually naive Andre comes when Ruxin tells the group he is looking forward to his wife’s trip so that he can jerk off freely. Andre tells him not to put any Noxzema on it.

Ruxin: ‘Why would I put Noxzema on it?’

Andre: ‘Because it’s cold and tingly like a woman’s vagina.’

Speaking of vagina, could they have possibly riddled out a more perfect role for Sarah Silverman, as Andre’s slutty nympho sister, Heather?  Who, coincidentally happened to deflower Kevin (Steve Rannazzisi), Pete, and Taco.  How about the conversation between Heather and Jenny (Katie Aselton) in the kitchen about cunnilingus? ‘I know how happy you make him’, she says, ‘and how happy he makes you.  Orally.  Because he learned from the best.’ She then points both her thumbs back at herself.  “This guy.”

They proceed to have an awkward conversation about female oral and Heather offers to re-teach Kevin how to ‘go to church’ and show him what to do with the labias majora and minora.  One might have figured the episode’s climax would’ve been the conversation at the Thanksgiving table about eating ‘sorbet’ in which Jenny tells Kevin how to eat the sorbet and then Heather provides her tutorial about eating the sorbet.  Then Taco adds ‘don’t be afraid to stick your finger in the sorbet’ and then Ruxin’s father provides his sorbet eating tips, discussing and demonstrating how he likes to keep “an active tongue” while eating the sorbet.

But it’s not the climax because when the turkey tastes a little funny and Andre  spits out a little purple name tag that says “Shakespeare”, it becomes clear that the missing pet hamster has been cooked and eaten along with the turkey.  Get them a palate cleaner for their palate cleaner for their palate cleaner.

Heather: ‘So you’ve got 8 minutes to stuff your face, then make an excuse that you’re going to the bathroom, and we’ll meet back here where you’ll lick my vagina.  GAMEPLAN!’

If you love funny, you’ll love The League.  Despite the sports talk, this show could command a large opposite sex audience, because it’s funny and well done, similar to the way Sex and the City had a strong male following.  And the Thanksgiving episode could have hardly been funnier, even though Ruxin’s brother-in-law Raffi (Jason Mantzoukas), our favorite League guest character by far, was not on hand to eat hamster.

Crack (

When the very gifted Bob Odenkirk debuted on Breaking Bad in s2, e8 (“Better Call Saul”), we first see the smarmy Saul Goodman, criminal attorney, pictured in a print ad on a bus stop bench.  When next we see him, it’s in a low budget, low rent late night TV ad, his siren call to Albuquerque’s criminal element.  Next we see Goodman in action, in a  prisoner interview room, come to represent Jesse’s boy Badger, fast talking from the word go, kicking out the undercover detective, reminding Badger to never give up his right to remain silent, and asking for his fee in one simultaneous motion. 

Goodman tells Badger straight away, after confusing him with a public masturbator, that he needs his fee, $4,650, that he doesn’t care if it’s put up by a relative, his ‘parrish priest or boy scout leader’, and while he takes cashier’s checks, he prefers money orders, made out to “Ice Station Zebra Associates”, which he assures Badger half-heartedly is completely legitimate, and solely for tax purposes.  Later, Jesse assures a doubtful Mr. White, while in Goodman’s parking lot, that he is indeed the right lawyer, paying the Odenkirk character the following um, compliment, “you don’t need a criminal lawyer, you need a criminal lawyer.”

From there Walt and Jessie flip for the privilege of not having to go into Goodman’s office and be seen while presenting him the $4,650, a flip that Walt loses.  In Cranston’s and Odenkirk’s first scene together, Goodman remarks on Mr. White’s alias.

“Mayhew?  Is that English or Irish?”

When Walt says it’s Irish, Goodman explains that he too is Irish, that his real name is McGill, and that he only goes by Saul Goodman for “the homeboys” because they seem to want a “pipe hitting member of the tribe.”  Goodman tells “Mr. Mayhew” that Badger is in good hands since the D.E.A. is involved, which unnerves Walt, who then offers a bribe on the condition that he keeps the D.E.A. out of things.  Mr. White asks Saul to review their options, at which point Goodman testily informs him that his nephew Brandon has 2 options, to play ball with the D.E.A. or go to prison, where his rectum will be “resized YAY big”, illustrating the point with a hand signal for  wide, cylindrical hole.

Quickly thereafter, Walt and Jessie revisit the parking lot at night.  They get plotted up in ski masks, kidnap and bring Goodman to the desert where he quickly begins negotiating for his life in Spanish, very comically planting the idea with the audience that Goodman as hostage is par for the course.  Goodman is delighted to hear Walt and Jessie address him in English, recognizes “Mr. Mayhew” by his cough, and asks them to remove the masks because he feels like he’s been taken by the “Weather Underground.”

Goodman tells them that with the D.E.A. involved, someone is going to jail, “it’s just a question of who.”  Then a plan is hatched whereby a career criminal who is more comfortable in prison than outside, “Jimmy In and Out”, will go down in the buy and bust, satisfying both the D.E.A.’s need to jail someone and throwing them off the scent of the mythic Heisenberg.

In the end, we see another aspect of Goodman’s resourcefuness.  He has located Mr. White, tracking him to his classroom, proving to Walter how easily it can be done and consequently, how much Walter still needs his help.  From there, Goodman continues to establish himself as a major character, sending his PI, Mike, to sanitize the scene of Jesse’s girlfriend Jane’s overdose, getting Jesse squared away in a top notch rehab center, and setting Walt up with Gus, the big time distributor Walt needs who will allow him the luxury of just having to cook without lining up buyers or precursor chemicals and lab space.

At the end of last season though, Walt and Gus are on the outs to the point where Walt is about to get got.  Still, Goodman proves invaluable, figuring into Walt’s plan to try and avoid the innevitable, after Walt has defied Gus by killing 2 of his street level dealers who use kids to complete their transactions, and who then kill them when it suits them.

Something that still has us bothered about last season, ’til this day, is that plausibility suggests that Walt’s days are still numbered, even if Jesse has murdered, or at least kidnapped Gail, Walt’s lab assistant who knows the recipe for that banging blue crystal.  As for the cliffhanger regarding the fate of Gail and other stretched plotlines, we have to say, even as the staunchest of BrBa fans, that we are unsatisfied.  As we see it, Walt broke a vase that can’t be unbroken.  The recipe for the blue crystal should not be enough to reverse an execution order.  Any chem grad student, and perhaps some others, could theoretically break down and reproduce the formula.

Since Jessie seems to have known the plan and they have killed before, it will irk us to no end if he’s suddenly gun shy with Gail, which we are expecting based on the nature of the s4, e1 photos up at  We can run on with our list of complaints.  Like, can Walt really be so morally wounded by Gus’s actions and those of his street crew?  After all, is Gus not a kingpin/criminal mastermind with at least 1 murderer for hire on his payroll?  Or does Walt think Gus is really just busy managing chicken shacks?

It appears that no solution is imminent on the horizon between Walt, Jessie, and Gus, though we feel that Walt has needed to off Gus as soon as Gus became increasingly meddlesome in Walt’s family affairs and with Walt’s brother-in-law Hank.  Whatever the case, we are still excited that our favorite show returns in 2 weeks and 1 day (July 17th), and that Bob Odenkirk has a regular credit as Saul Goodman.  We have loved Odenkirk ever since he played the role of Larry Sanders’ scumbag Hollywood agent Stevey Grant on The Larry Sanders Show, and as one half the avant-garde comedy duo, Mr. Show with Bob and David.

Crack (,

Evan Almighty.  Date Night.  Dinner for Schmucks.  We’ve got no problem saying this: The Office, a superior outift with exceptional writers made Michael Scott, not the reverse.  The tired Seth Rogan/Paul Rudd movie factory may have given us 1 good Carrell film–The 40 Year Old Virgin–but little to nothing else with Carrell worth watching.  Most of the reaction we’ve heard with regard to Carrell leaving The Office has been pessimistic pertaining to the future of the show.  We, on the other hand, have no doubts that The Office can function without Michael Scott.

We think Steve Carrell is crazy to leave The Office, which will undoubtedly be the absolute best product he has ever worked on.  We think it’s a poor decision to abandon his $300,000 per episode salary.  And we are extremely confident that the show, which has perhaps needed a shot of enthusiasm for a few seasons (not for lack of trying with the guest addition of Timothy Olyphant and Amy Ryan’s role reprisal of Holly Flax), can be an excellent and dynamic program and can return to the top of network sitcom television.  The Office can even reach new heights if they follow through on their plans to replace Michael Scott’s character with someone from outside the show.  While we love Jim, Dwight, and Andy, none do anything for us in the lead role.

The late summer talk about The Office producers contacting Flight of the Conchords alum Rhys Darby (top) and Eastbound and Down star Danny McBride (bottom), and to a lesser extent, recent rumors about Arrested Development star Will Arnett (middle) have our full attention.  McBride has seemed to generate the most excitement and buzz so far.  Frankly, he is absolutely hilarious as crass, washed up pitcher Kenny Powers, and has one of the funniest hairstyles of all time.  From what we’re reading though, at least out of HBO, is that McBride is unlikely to get the gig.  Producer Paul Lieberstein (Toby) recently denied that McBride was in the running, but it was confirmed that McBride would be doing a guest spot this season.  HBO has been less coy than Lieberstein, saying that McBride is signed up long term to do Kenny Powers, is paid very well, and went so far as to suggest that McBride would have no interest in joining the cast of The Office.

The cable network issued no similar statements with regard to Darby, leading us to believe that something is cooking.  We would emphatically endorse the hire.  Darby, as Brett and Jemaine’s band mannager on Flight of the Conchords was exponentially quirky in a way very reminiscent to the Michael Scott character, only with a New Zealand accent and the added awkwardness of a tourist with less than zero street smarts.  Darby, like Carrell, has even demonstrated his proficiency with the occasional musical number.  Darby’s low profile in America and immense respect in comedic circles would be a win win for a program in need of new talent and a network looking to make a reasonable deal with an actor.

The wildly popular and recognizable McBride would not come cheaply and without obstacles, or at least, that’s what HBO wants us to think.  And we have questions about how well McBride will do without the luxury of of his hysterical foul mouth rants and drug humor, which is not about to play on NBC.  He’d be unwise to leave the role of a lifetime on Eastbound and Down for the huge pressure associated with filling Michael Scott’s shoes.

Recently several Arrested Development actors have been mentioned for the job, including the legendary Jeffrey Tambor, Tony Hale, and most notably, Will Arnett, who Ricky Gervais has been publicly pining for.  We love Tambor.  “Hey Now” Hank Kingsley?  Classic.  George Bluth Sr?  JT played that role to a tee.  And we look forward to his frequent cameos as himself on Entourage, the long term client of Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven, another Larry Sanders Show alum).  Tambor isn’t really new blood to us though.  Hale is not a heavy enough hitter, and Arnett, though we love him across the board and loved his GOB character to death, we have way more enthusiasm for Rhys Darby, who we feel is the perfect fit.

Though we will not be surprised if Arnett gets the nod, having done a guest shot on his wife Amy Poehler’s very funny NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, and having played a corporate foil to Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy for 3 years on NBC’s 30 Rock.  Can Arnett jump to a 3rd Thursday night NBC sitcom?  No doubt he could.  But how about Ricky Gervais shuts the fuck up so that BJ Novak (Ryan), Lieberstein, and Mindy Kaling (Kelly), all Office producers, can go with their gut and bring in Darby?

Can you tell that we are really hoping for an Office dick meeting?  Wait…that sounds bad.  Just a Murray Hewitt/Flight of the Conchords reference!

Crack (,