The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.
ITEM NUMBER ONE — Here’s the situation
Good news and bad news. Good news first, because I am nothing if not an optimist, and because I want to push these GIFs I’ve got coming a little further down the page. They are unsettling. I would never unsettle you this early on purpose.
Hamilton is out. The musical phenomenon dropped on Disney Plus and millions of people watched it from the comfort of their homes for much less money than it would have cost to see on Broadway. They got to see Daveed Diggs strut back and forth across the stage as Lafayette in Act I and Thomas Jefferson in Act II. They got to see Leslie Odom, Jr. belt out the role of Aaron Burr. They got to see Renee Elise Goldsberry sing herself through a brick wall as Angelica Schuyler. This is all very cool. I’m sure it lost something in the translation from the live stage show to televised production, but who cares? Lots of people got to see and experience a buzzy work of art that wouldn’t have been available to them otherwise. That’s a good thing.
Unfortunately, this brings us to the bad news and to the aforementioned unsettling GIFs. We must discuss the spittle.
Did you see it? Flying off the bottom lip of King George during his first appearance in the musical? Here, let’s enhance.
Yes, sure enough, there is the spittle, launching off his face and into the lights and presumably into the first rows of seats which were hopefully labeled “Splash Zone.” It was a not-insignificant amount of spittle. I have a few notes.
— As much as the spittle disquieted me, I do have to respect the decision to include it in the final edit, in extreme close-up, as if the decision was made that if they had to watch it then so did we. I very much would have liked to be in the editing room when that was given the green light. I like to imagine there was a huge argument that ended with one guy shouting “THE SPITTLE STAYS OR I QUIT.”
— Do you think Jonathan Groff — the actor who played King George, who is terrific, for the record — was aware of the spittle in the moment?
— Guess what: He knows, as he explained to Variety recently:
“I spit a lot onstage,” Groff said on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast. “I’ve always been a spitter … I start sweating. I just get wet when I perform onstage. It is just what happens.”
He went on, “For the first couple weeks of the run I felt bad, because I’d walk down to the end of the stage in the second song of the show, ‘Skid Row,’ and I can’t help it, I’m just, like, spitting on everyone. And they’re either enjoying it, or they’re laughing, or they’re holding up their programs to block their face. … I don’t care anymore, but it made me feel self-conscious at first. I’d never been so close to the audience where I was actually seeing the reaction on people’s face while I spat on them!”
— What an incredible series of sentences. Read them through a couple times to let them sink it. Read them in King George’s voice. Roll your R’s and really hit those T’s. Make a meal of the whole thing. Let the spittle fly if you’re feeling it. It’s only appropriate.
— So, I knew Jonathan Groff played King George in this, and I know he’s in Mindhunter, but I don’t think I ever fully squared those two facts in my brain until I saw all of this on my television. It was a lot to take in. I’m still going to have to crank away on it mentally for a while. I kind of want to see Holt McCallany as Bill Tench as Hamilton now.
— Actually, no. Let me be clear: I really want to see Holt McCallany as Bill Tench as Hamilton. Or make Mindhunter a musical. Either or both. I’m not a picky man.
— This is easily the most words I’ve ever written about an actor flinging spittle during the recording of a live stage show
— I titled the GIF up there “Hamilton Spittle” and it’s just dawning on me now what a terrific fake name that would be.
This was a good chat.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — Congratulations to Mark Wahlberg
As you already know if you spend way too much time staring at a computer and/or following the training regimens of maniac action stars (yes, I do have opinions about The Rock’s cheat day meals, but that’s for another time), Mark Wahlberg has some, oh, let’s call them “interesting” fitness practices. Remember when he posted his daily schedule and everyone lost their mind for a few days trying to figure out how any human lived like that by choice, waking up at 2:30 a.m. and getting in a workout, two meals, and a snack by 8? I do. I think about it constantly. He has 6-7:30 a.m. blocked out for a shower. That’s a 90-minute shower. It’s madness.
But I’m already getting off-topic. We are not here to discuss crazed pre-dawn weightlifting. We are here to discuss… plants? We are here to discuss plants.
It’s Wahlberg’s diet that has changed the most in recent months. Instead of eating seven to eight meals a day of mostly protein, he is now on a plant-based diet, something that only was meant to be for a short amount of time.
“I wasn’t getting enough rest, doing two-a-days, six to seven days a week, eating seven to eight meals of mostly protein, and just not feeling good,” he says. “I did a bone broth fast, and then went plant-based for what was supposed to be twelve days. That was four months ago.”
He’s completely unhinged. I love it. I just picture him sipping bone broth out of a champagne flute at dinner while he nibbles on his 400th carrot of the day. You and I will never look like Mark Wahlberg with our shirts off but we get to eat onion rings. It’s a fair trade. But again, not really the point. The point is these next two sentences from the article that pulled up to my brain in a uHaul and promptly moved in.
“I’ve discovered hummus,” he says. “I never had hummus before and I’m loving it!”
Congratulations to Mark Wahlberg for discovering hummus.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Let’s talk about Tom Cruise’s zit-growing superpower
There was a very good interview with Westworld star Thandie Newton over at Vulture this week. She lets it rip on a number of topics, most notably the way she and other women have been treated by Hollywood over the years, up to and including a few disturbing examples with names named. It’s a fascinating chat with someone who has a lot to say, which is really all you can ask for out of an interview.
One of the things she touched on was Mission: Impossible II and working with Tom Cruise. Most of it focused on how difficult he could be due to the massive amount of pressure he and everyone around him put on his shoulders, and that’s certainly interesting, but I am a child, so I screeched to a halt when I saw this passage.
I remember at the beginning of the night, seeing this slight red mark on his nose, and by the end of the night, I kid you not — this is how his metabolism is so fierce — he had a big whitehead where that red dot was. It would take anyone else 48 hours to manifest a zit.
Have you ever read anything so perfect in your entire life? Like, of course Tom Cruise — a madman who taught himself to fly a helicopter for a later Mission: Impossible movie and hung off a plane for a stunt in another, even though there are very talented stuntmen and CGI technicians who would gladly take that responsibility off his hands (and insurance underwriters who would be happy if they did) — is so unrelentingly intense that his pimples grow at three times the speed of a normal human. It’s somehow both completely believable and unbelievable at the same time, equally passable as a medical fact and urban legend.
My favorite part of this story is that Mission: Impossible II came out in 2000, which means Thandie Newton has been thinking about this pimple for two full decades now. That’s not to say it’s unreasonable on her part. I suspect I’ll probably be thinking about Tom Cruise’s super-zit in 2040 now. You might, too. Let’s set a date in our calendars now to meet up then and discuss.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Shoutout to Virgil Sheets, weirdo coroner
I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about HBO’s Perry Mason miniseries. I like parts of it very much. Other parts of it, less so. I’m fairly certain this will sort itself out once the show really gets cranking in the next few episodes.
One thing I do know, though, is that my favorite character on the show so far is Virgil Sheets, the weirdo little coroner with the Charlie Chaplin mustache who lets Perry use the corpse’s clothes as a personal Goodwill and always seems a little too excited to be in a morgue. I love him. He definitely talks to the bodies when no one else is there. He might even sit them up around a table like they’re all having dinner. I must know more about him at once.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Bring back the adorable noodle boy
Two facts, both true:
- John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch was a super fun and super weird special produced on Netflix late last year that featured the comedian doing songs and sketches with a grip of children and also a fully deranged Jake Gyllenhall
- Two new Sack Lunch Bunch specials are coming to Comedy Central
Variety has confirmed that Mulaney has signed a deal with the cabler to host and executive produce two new “John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch” specials. The first special debuted on Netflix this past December.
“I was an intern at Comedy Central when I was barely older than the kids in the ‘Sack Lunch Bunch.,’” Mulaney said. “I wasn’t a very good intern, so I am psyched they hired me again. We are thrilled to bring these specials to Comedy Central: a place where I have had so many good times.”
This is good news. I like that this is happening. All of the children were adorable and disturbingly talented and I can’t wait to watch more Sack Lunch Bunching. That said, if the little boy in the above video — the one I’ve been calling Noodle Boy for months now — is not involved in at least one of these specials, I will heave my television off a ninth-floor balcony.
ITEM NUMBER SIX — I mean… sure
I swear to God this is how Pamela Anderson’s character is introduced on Baywatch pic.twitter.com/cASDajVFEz
— dhm (@dhm) May 22, 2020
I apologize. This tweet from former Deadspin staffer and great Philadelphian Dan McQuade is over a month old. I should have brought it to your attention weeks ago. I am doing it now, though, which feels like it should count for something. Partial credit, at least. Watch the video before you grade me. You’ll see why it had to be done, even this late.
People remember Baywatch mostly for the very small bathing suits and very large surgical enhancements those bathing suits struggled to contain, but please don’t forget that the show was also fantastically weird in a million ways. It’s on Hulu right now. Pick an episode in the back half of its run at random and press play. It’s amazing what you could call a television show in the 1990s.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.
A wizard approaches you on the street and makes you an offer: You get $5 million but you can only watch one television show and one movie for the rest of your life. All the other shows and movies still exist. You are aware of all of them but can’t watch them even for one minute or the whole deal is off. Do you take the deal and what show and movie are you picking if you do?
Ryan, I am absolutely taking this deal. Every day. Where is this wizard? I’ll go find him if it greases the wheels a bit. I have plenty of time. I’ll do it right now.
The answer to the second part almost doesn’t matter. It makes your question less fun to take that position, but it’s true. I would read books and go do things and watch sports — not a television show or movie… loophole! — and find other millionaire things to do. I’d have so many monocles to clean and organize. There’s just not enough time to enjoy all these shows. But now I’m just being difficult. The trick here is to pick a movie that is incredibly rewatchable and a television show that has had a long run. That way you give yourself options. They also can’t be too mentally taxing, because while those kinds of things can be powerful in the moment, you might not want to revisit them too often. You need a good plan.
All of which is to say I will take the $5 million, the full run of The Simpsons and, I don’t know, let’s go with the Clooney/Pitt Ocean’s Eleven. This is a very good deal for me. Get that wizard over here.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
A cat burglar is on the loose and a Metairie family has been trying to get the word out.
People’s clothing kept winding up on the Bardi’s front porch. It all started a month ago when a tank top and some socks appeared out of nowhere
“We just thought alright maybe someone got drunk and had clothes and had some kind of issue,” Joseph Bardi said. “It keeps happening and happening and happening.”
A little concerned, the couple filed a police report.
“We started getting weirded out. Heather bought some surveillance cameras,” Joseph Bardi said.
I can’t wait to discover what kind of sadsack degenerate is out there running around New Orleans stealing small amounts of clothing from people’s yards and moving it to someone else’s property. It’s so weird. Why would any human do something like this? I mean…
They said “cat burglar” in the first sentence.
You don’t think…
“Lo and behold it was the cat,” Joseph Bardi said.
The culprit was their pet Admiral Galacticat. He was caught on camera with evidence of the theft, as a sock clearly hung from his mouth.
Here I was all prepared to be livid about the pun in the opening and suddenly, blammo, they drop “Admiral Galacticat” on me. How can I possibly stay mad at this story now? What a wild turn of events. Almost wilder than the events in the story itself.
“At first I was kind of thinking ‘what kind of idiot lets a cat steal their clothes?’ but then I ended up being that idiot,” O’Neal said. “As soon as she mentioned Nike socks, I was like oh those might be mine.”
Thankful the mystery was solved, he quickly forgave his feline neighbor.
“I patted him on the head and said ‘look you got to stop doing that,'” he laughed
I vote we try this with more small-time criminals. Worth a shot, at least.