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 — Okay, try to follow me here…
Quick background, which I provide both because it is helpful and because I will really enjoy typing it. Last week on 9-1-1 Lonestar, a volcano erupted in Texas. Are there volcanoes in Texas? I don’t know. I don’t think so. But that’s not important now because it happened. Some guy at a frat party basically melted in a swimming pool. A lady got chased from her vegan Tex-Mex food truck by scorpions who invaded it to seek refuge from the lava. I wrote a little about it last week. It was a whole thing.
This week, the fallout from the volcanic eruption continued, as I suppose it will. Firefighters from all over the country were called in to help, including the department from Los Angeles, which feels improbable in very funny ways but also allowed for a 9-1-1/9-1-1 Lonestar crossover, so who cares? There was a bus hanging out of a fifth-story window the other week and now the whole department is like “Screw it, things will be fine, let’s go to Texas to do lava stuff.” As always, it’s best to just roll with it and brush aside your questions.
One other important note: Rob Lowe sees ghosts now. Actually not “Rob Lowe.” It’s his character, Captain Owen Strand (a heroic firefighter who rebuilt his department after 9/11 and came to Austin to help rebuild their department after a janitor at a manure plant tried to reheat his burrito with the foil wrapper on it and blew the whole facility and the firefighters inside it to kingdom come), but I’m sorry, if I see Rob Lowe on television, it’s just Rob Lowe. He’s seeing the spirit of one of the guys who died in the volcano wreckage last week. And I would tell you more about it if I weren’t so excited to get to the dog driving the flaming car.
So the firefighters from the two shows were standing around making small talk, which was actually just them telling each other about the craziest emergencies they’ve dealt with, which was honestly kind of funny. But as we’ve learned from both these shows and any episode of Law & Order ever, two people engaging in idle small talk means something wild is about to happen. Let me direct your attention to a hill in the distance.
Oh, hell yes. We have what appears to be a burning car barreling down a hill through a volcano-induced wildfire. This is already starting out great. Let’s get a little more context via GIF, mostly because I made the GIF and want to show you.
Just wonderful. Firefighters from all over the country teaming up to combat the fallout from a geologically improbable volcanic eruption in Austin, Texas, and as if they didn’t have enough to deal with, a flaming car is screaming toward them with no regard for human life or personal property. Like, I know we’ve all had bad days, but very few of us have had a “burning car speeding toward you while you are standing in lava” bad day. It’s good to keep things in perspective, you know?
Yup, the car was being driven by a dog. The dog apparently unlocked the parking brake and shifted the car into drive after the owner stepped out for a second. This raises all sorts of questions, including but not limited to:
- Why was this guy just out cruising with his dog during a volcano-related emergency?
- What did he need to get out of the car for?
- Was he like running into the convenience store to grab a Dr. Pepper or something?
But again, there’s no point in lingering on any of these for very long. Just roll with it. And by “it,” I mean “the burning car being driven by a very mischievous boy whose name is apparently Clyde.”
So…that was weird, right? Like, we can all agree on that. It was a weird thing, even for a franchise that deals in weird stuff every week. I bet if you asked the firefighters involved — the ones who have seen and dealt with all of the weird stuff — they would have to agree that this was some extremely weird stuff.
Okay, good. Confirmed.
I will continue to keep you informed about what happens on these shows, as it is quite literally my job, but please treat yourselves and get involved on Monday night. Let the chaos wash over you. It’s freeing.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — This one is about dogs, too
The Super Bowl is this weekend. I suspect you already knew that. The Puppy Bowl is this weekend, too. You probably knew that as well, or at least said “Ohhhh, right” when I said it just now. The Puppy Bowl is great. It’s great in theory and it’s great in practice. How could it not be? It’s a few dozen puppies just running around for a while. I don’t even watch it most years. I just like knowing it exists. And I like knowing that even more now that I know it’s being hosted by Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart.
The lifestyle mogul, 79, and the rapper, 49, will both sport their own Puppy Bowl gear at the competition. Stewart will represent Team Ruff in an orange jersey while Snoop will back Team Fluff in a blue jersey.
Stewart and Snoop’s pooches will also be in attendance for the big event.
I know I should be past the shock of Snoop and Martha being friends. This has been going on for years. They had a cooking show together on VH1. Martha sells CBD gummies now. Their dogs are friends. But come on. This is still a little strange, especially if you’re old enough to remember the Snoop who was on trial for murder and made a song about it Imagine going back in time to right about when Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading and telling someone that she and Snoop Dogg would be hosting a puppy football game together during the Super Bowl. I guess that’s not the first thing you’d do if you had a time machine. And depending on the various ripples caused by the other things you do, it might not ever end up happening. You could change history and wipe it right out of existence. You might just leave some stranger with a great story about meeting a crazy person who said they were from the future and said some wild stuff about a puppy football game. Might be worth it anyway.
During the game, viewers can receive shoutouts from Stewart’s French Bulldogs, Crème Brûlée and Bête Noire, and Chow Chows Empress Qin and Emperor Han.
Snoop’s French Bulldogs, Juelz Broadus and Chalk, will also be available for fan messages.
You know, I don’t think I could have predicted that these were the names of Martha and Snoop’s dogs if you had run up to me on the street and shouted “Quick, what are the names of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg’s French bulldogs,” but if you had run up to me on the street and told me these were their names, I definitely would have believed you.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — This is, honestly, perfect, I love it
I think this is my favorite story of the week. David Lynch, beloved filmmaker and delightful weirdo, came out and said he had a big announcement to make. People got excited because it raised the possibility of a new season of Twin Peaks, or another new project, or almost anything, really. That’s the beauty of David Lynch. When he says “I have a big announcement,” it could be anything from “I’m making a new season of Twin Peaks with George Clooney and Zendaya” to “I met a nice horse named Benjamin.” And I am very pleased to report it was much closer to the latter.
Short version: David Lynch has been going on YouTube for a while now, every day, and giving a weather report for Los Angeles. The most straightforward weather reports you’ve ever seen, too. Like, he looks out the window and says “It’s sunny here. Pretty nice,” and that’s basically it. It’s the best use of the internet I’ve ever seen. And his announcement, the big one he teased that had the entertainment community abuzz, was going to be that he planned to stop doing the weather reports. But then he changed his mind.
Transcription below provided by my colleague Josh Kurp:
“This is a day I was going to announce that I was going to take a break from doing the Weather Report and picking the number of the day,” Lynch said (he also picks a number of the day). “But then I read the comments yesterday and it hit me once again what a great group you all are who subscribe or visit the David Lynch Theater. So thoughtful and so kind you are, and I’m so thankful there are people like you in this world. So, we’re going to continue on and I wish, no matter what the weather is, I wish for all of you blue skies and golden sunshine internally all along the way. Everyone, have a great day.”
- David Lynch announced an announcement
- People got excited
- He announced that his announcement was going to be the end of his daily YouTube weather reports
- But then he changed his mind
- So the weather reports will continue
A perfect news story.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Say what you will about The Little Things but it is the only movie I’ve seen where a Jared Leto character tells a Rami Malek character that the two of them aren’t so different, after all
Regular readers of this column know that I adore the scene in a movie or television show where one character tells another that they’re not so different, really. It brings me so much joy, in part because once you notice how often it happens you won’t be able to stop noticing it, and in part because it is deeply funny to me that people keep writing the line and actors keep saying it over and over. The purest version of it is “We’re not so different, you and I,” which is not the way any regular person would structure that sentence. There are variations, though, little rephrasings that mean the same thing, and those pop up a lot, too. This brings us to the new HBO Max movie, The Little Things.
I have not seen The Little Things yet. I suspect I will because it is a movie where Denzel Washington tracks a suspected serial killer played by Jared Leto, and that sounds like exactly the combination of “Hell yeah, a Denzel movie” and “this sounds like unwatchable garbage” I need in my life sometimes. But, because of my stated love of the “not so different” trope, I have had no fewer than a dozen people alert me to the screencap above since the movie came out last week. This, to be very clear, is the best. Please always do this. Always tell me when you see this happen. Send me a screencap if you can. It brings me so much pleasure.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — People should be allowed to deface the Hollywood sign once a month, in my opinion
Maybe you remember back in 2017 when some goofball scaled the hill where the famous Hollywood sign stands and screwed around with the letters so it read “Hollyweed.” I do. I always will, probably, because it is my favorite kind of thing: a profoundly stupid but harmless act that requires a ridiculous amount of planning and follow-through all for the purpose of entertaining fellow goofballs. Think about all the work that went into doing that. Think about how much time it took. This knucklehead could have started a business with that time, or made good headway on learning French, but instead he made the Hollywood sign say Hollyweed for a few hours before someone saw it and took it down. I love this person very much.
And guess what: It happened again this week, kind of, but instead of Hollyweed, the sign was altered so it read “Hollyboob.” I need you to take a minute right now and get a really good picture in your head of, like, Tommy Lee Jones, waking up in his house and pouring himself a cup of black coffee and looking out his window toward the hills and seeing the word “Hollyboob.” Do it with lots of other celebrities, too. Picture their reactions. Have some fun with it.
And as much as part of me wishes this all just happened mysteriously and was never explained, I am pleased to report that the Los Angeles Times was on it. Turns out it was a lady who was mad at Instagram. I can work with this.
Two social media influencers who managed to make the Hollywood sign read “Hollyboob” before being arrested on suspicion of trespassing Monday said they did so to challenge censorship on Instagram. One of them, they said, lost millions of followers — and part of her livelihood — when her accounts were shuttered for nudity.
Sure. Fine. Great. I can dig this. And in case you think this woman was not truly dedicated to the cause of nudity, please note this useful bit of information.
“It’s awesome,” said Julia Rose, 27, of L.A., whose Shagmag company brands itself as a modern rival to Playboy. “All of it combined together has been really, really great.”
Rose previously gained notoriety, along with a friend, for flashing her breasts during the World Series in 2019. For that stunt, she received a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball.
I’m so proud of her. Banned from Major League Baseball and defaced the Hollywood sign for goofs by age 27. What had you accomplished by that age? Or what will you accomplish by that age, if you’re not there yet? All I had done was funnel money into various bars and karaoke saloons in the greater Philadelphia area and gone to law school, only one of which I now regret. (Hint: It’s not the karaoke.) This woman should be an inspiration to people everywhere. You can do anything in this life if you put your mind to it.
I mean, look at this…
Instead of two tarps, they would only bring one, for the “W.” They’d achieve the second “B” by pulling a much smaller piece of material through the middle of the existing “D.”
They then got a double stroller to wheel the one tarp up an established trail that takes hikers above the sign, “pretending to be husband and wife,” Tenney said with a laugh. “We just kind of went for it, knowing that we could get caught.”
This is great. It should be legal. People should be allowed to screw around with the sign once a month. If it’s really good, they should get a prize. We’re all just trying to get through life any way we can, you know? Let the rascals have their fun.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at email@example.com (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.
Reading about Helen Mirren getting behind the wheel in Fast 9 got me thinking about one of my favorite things in movies/TV: the actor who is clearly having a good time.
To me, this is when an actor knows exactly what kind of show or movie they’re in and regardless of the overall quality refuses to give it anything but their all. They’re not just committing to the role, they’re committing to elevating it and everything around them.
Pedro Pascal in Wonder Woman 1984? That is a man having a good time.
Rupert Grint in Servant? He gets to hang out in Philly, drink wine, use an American accent, and occasionally be freighted by a grown man in a crib. Good times all around.
Helen Mirren in Fast 9? Presumably an all-time great good time role.
Who is at the top of your list for Actors Having a Good Time?
The thing I like about this email is that it is very true and good — actors having a blast and devouring scenery is one of my favorite things — and allows me to just go ahead and post the video for “Misbehavin’” again because, come on, find me anyone anywhere who is having more fun than Walton Goggins in having in this scene.
I will also accept Hugh Grant as a Paddington villain, also for song/dance reasons.
This was a good chat. I’m glad we had it.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
A particular bird — the Cedar Waxwing — is creating a buzz across North Texas treetops.
If I know anything about local news stories, and I think I do, the word “buzz” was chosen with a purpose here. Local news stories cannot resist a crappy pun, and I respect them so much for it. My suspicion is that the birds are getting drunk somehow, and yes, let’s all please pretend that I haven’t read this entire article and know exactly where it’s headed. It will be more fun that way.
“They’re a very beautiful bird,” said Rachel Richter, an urban wildlife biologist with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. “They’re a very eye-catching bird with that black mask. They actually get their name from the little red tips on their wings.”
Dammit, Rachel. I know this is important background information and I’m glad you’re sharing it with us, but I can’t be expected to wait for the payoff of this “buzz” foreshadowing. I need to know. Are these birds getting drunk or what?
But the birds are also known for something else: getting ‘drunk’ on berries.
“Because they eat predominantly berries, sometimes they eat berries that have fermented and are a little bit past their prime,” Richter explained. “Sometimes they tend to overindulge a little bit, which can get them intoxicated.”
The beautiful birds can get disoriented from imbibing the fermented fruit, causing them to act uncoordinated, Richter said, or even crash into windows.
Good for them. Give the birds the booze berries. It’s been a rough year for everyone.