TV

The Rundown: ‘Better Call Saul’ Just Did Its Funniest And Most Unnecessary ‘Breaking Bad’ Callback Yet

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 — Congrats to Spooge

My position on prequels is that they are weird. They can be good, sure, and they often are, but mostly they are weird. We already know what happens to all or most of the characters. We’re just filling in the stuff before all the other stuff we already saw. Again, it can work. But again, it’s… weird. This is high-level professional television criticism. It also brings us to Better Call Saul.

Better Call Saul is the prequel to Breaking Bad, which you probably know. It’s been a blast pretty much all the way through. We’ve seen old friends like Saul and Mike and Gus, we’ve met a slew of terrific new characters like Kim Wexler and Lalo Salamanca, and we’ve seen lots of little callbacks to the original series. There was one from this week’s episode that cracked me up. It happened just as the man we met as Jimmy McGill was full-on turning into Saul Goodman, working for cartels and opening new offices and all of it.

Specifically, it was this moment.

BCS
AMC
BCS
AMC

I actually did not catch this at first. I wrote up a whole recap without acknowledging the fact that we had seen Spooge before. Luckily, if you are wrong on the Internet, people will tell you. And people told me. A few times. And then I went on the Breaking Bad Wiki and looked up Spooge and remembered. He was in an episode from season two, about 13 years ago. He was a drug-addled mess in that episode and he and his drug-addled wife kidnapped Jesse and had a stolen ATM in their living room and he kept calling her “a skank” and then… let’s just let the Wiki summary take this one.

Jesse comes to and finds Spooge’s wife aiming his own gun at him while Spooge rifles through Jesse’s pockets. Later, Spooge leans the ATM against a chair and positioned himself underneath to drill into its base. Spooge once again argues with his woman and calls her a skank, in response, she pushes the ATM upright, crushing Spooge’s head. Nonplussed, Spooge’s wife grabs some dope off his body, crosses the room, and passes out on the couch. A shocked and panicked Jesse retrieves his gun from the body and begins wiping his fingerprints from around the house and off the ATM. As he does so, its door suddenly swings open and cash spills out.

I feel like a visual will help. It helped me. Also, I made this GIF and now I really want to use it. So… here we go.

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AMC

I need you to take a few minutes to think about this one over the weekend. This guy — David Ury, who has been in everything, including my beloved Lodge 49 — got a call in 2022 to reprise a role he played in 2009 where he got his head crushed by an ATM and was named Spooge. Imagine being his agent and listening to that whole pitch and taking it to him and it all working out. It’s basically a miracle. We should have been talking about this all week. Some of us were. The people who were yelling at me, mostly.

I do appreciate it all. I like that Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan are doing it, just getting the whole band back together piece by piece, one instrument at a time, even if dopes like me who have little goldfish brains whiff on the recall the first time through. It made for a fun journey for me again this week. I got to reacclimate myself to the legend of Spooge. And I got to make that GIF. I didn’t even know how to make GIFs when that episode first aired. We’ve all come so far. You, me, Spooge, all of us.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — This is just a lovely piece of business

A few things here are not in dispute:

  • Weird Al is the best
  • Someone should have made a movie about Weird Al a long time ago
  • It’s good that someone finally did

It’s also good that the movie about Weird Al is, well, weird. Super weird. The movie appears to be for music biopics what a Weird Al song is to the original version, which is to say that it keeps the general structure but makes everything about 200 percent sillier. I appreciate this, and him, so much. My colleague Josh Kurp wrote about the trailer when it was released this week and had this to say.

In the teaser trailer above, Radcliffe is a ripped, hard-drinking Yankovic, who in real life doesn’t drink and has never done drugs. “I’ve been around people that smoked dope, pot, Mary Jane, reefer. I enjoyed being around those people in college because it was very easy to make them laugh. But it was never my thing and my parents drilled into me not to ever take drugs, so out of respect for them I never did,” he told Rolling Stone. “Maybe when I’m 75 years old I might be ready for them. We’ll see what happens.”

This is just all really cool and I’m happy it exists. I’m also happy for Daniel Radcliffe, who is playing the fake ripped Weird Al in the movie about Weird Al’s alleged life. The dude made a ton of money playing Harry Potter throughout pretty much his entire youth, and was one of the most recognizable teenagers on the planet for all of his teens. Lots of kids don’t make it out of that in great shape, or at least take some time to right the ship. Daniel Radcliffe seems to have his head on pretty straight. He’s doing fun and goofy projects and not melting down in public and, again, playing a ripped version of Weird Al in a fake Weird Al biopic. That’s cool.

Good job by everyone here. Including me. I admittedly did less than Weird Al and Daniel Radcliffe to make all of this happen, but I did post the trailer and say how cool it was, which is not nothing. It’s just a tiny bit more than not nothing. But still. Not nothing.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Barry remains a good show

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HBO

Are you watching Barry? I hope, both because Barry is a great show and because it will make this next thing a lot easier to explain. It’s a scene from the second episode of this new season. It aired on Sunday. I saw it in a screener a few weeks ago and full-on shout-laughed at my computer, and I have been waiting for to it air ever since so I could talk about it. It was torture. I have a very difficult and serious job.

Anyway, short version, with as few spoilers as possible because, again, you should start watching Barry if you’re not: Henry Winkler’s character, acting coach Gene Cousineau, is running from a dangerous man who had just kidnapped him. As soon as the chase gets heated, though, the action cuts to a conversation at a dinner table between the couple in that screenshot up there. They are breaking up. The woman on the left is trying to figure out why the woman on the right is ending it. They go back and forth a little, and then you see Henry Winkler pop up in the yard behind them (he’s back there in the screencap), and then you see him tear off in fear, and then you see…

Well, this.

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HBO

It was maybe the hardest I’ve laughed at any non-Holey Moley thing I’ve seen on television this year. Just perfect. The mixture of menacing and strange and stupid — I mean this as a compliment, I swear — created just about the best 90 seconds of television you can possibly make. I watched it a second time to grab these images and I cracked up all over again, even though I knew it was coming. Barry is a good show.

Speaking of Barry, there’s also this: Liz Shannon Miller interviewed Anthony Carrigan — my beloved NoHo Hank — last week. I had the pleasure of interviewing him last year. He’s a lovely man. Which is how and why you get answers like this when you ask him what you think is a straightforward question.

Looking forward — like, let’s say the show goes on for another few seasons and NoHo Hank survives, what’s something you’d really love to see him get to do?

Oh, wow. You know, let’s see. I don’t know. [Laughs] Maybe I should just say something that’s so unrealistic — maybe NoHo Hank going to Disneyland. Like, just that as a montage on its own, I feel like I would watch that. I would watch that as its own episode.

Hmm. Yes, I would watch that episode, too. I kind of need to watch that episode now. Hell, make it a two-parter. Give Hank a whole arc at Disney. Show me him riding Space Mountain. Show me him posing with Goofy and Pluto. Show me NoHo Hank with the little Mickey Mouse ears hat on. I was kind of joking when I started typing this paragraph but now I’m serious.

Bill Hader, if you’re reading this, please send NoHo Hank to Disney. Please. For me. And Anthony Carrigan. For me and Anthony Carrigan. Thank you.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — I think about this a lot

There’s a great article about Jeopardy over at The Ringer this week. It’s by Claire McNear, who quite literally wrote the book on Jeopardy, so there was already an expectation it was going to be good, but then it also was really good. It’s nice when things work out like that. The whole thing is about the awkward little chat the host and contestants have coming out of the first commercial break, and specifically about how tough it is to keep coming up with quick and fun anecdotes to share about yourself when you’ve already won a slew of games in a row and burned through your best stories. It’s also about how it can sometimes be deeply, deeply funny (please watch that video up there), but mostly it’s about that first thing.

I think my favorite part was this bit about Jeopardy superchamp and noted rascal Ken Jennings.

With his games stretching across nearly six months, Jennings has said that coming up with fresh fodder to discuss with Trebek proved to be a real challenge—so much so that he started to get creative. “After my first round of shows, I was out of fun stories,” Jennings told Vulture in 2020. “But every week, Jeopardy! would call and be like, ‘You’re taping again next week, we need more stories for your cards!’ I didn’t have any other stories to share. I’m gonna admit that sometimes I’d make things up. I wouldn’t pretend to be a hero or anything, but you can put anything on those cards. The show doesn’t fact-check that stuff. Alex would look at my card and be like, ‘Hey, Ken, it says here you really like airline food.’ And I’d be like, ‘I do Alex, I kind of think it’s a fun treat!’”

While getting into the upper reaches of winning streaks means that the well of factoids starts to run dry, Roach says, it does have its advantages. “The thing that’s nice about getting into the higher numbers in terms of a run is like, at a certain point, I do think that you’re able to make up anecdotes that are basically just talking about how you’ve won a bunch of games,” she says. Indeed, what could be more relevant to Jeopardy! than having already won double-digit episodes of Jeopardy!?

That’s great. I love the idea of someone just lying in these. Who would know? Your family and friends, I guess, but that’s it. Say you climbed a mountain. Say you won a quiche bake-off in college. Say you have a dog named Randy Montreal. There’s really nothing stopping you.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what my first Jeopardy anecdote would be if I ever end up on the show. (I say “first” here because I expect to win many times.) I think I would have to go with the time in high school when I was pitching in a baseball game and I beaned the same kid twice in one inning. That’s a good story. Although, it does dawn on me now that you guys might think I’m making this up. I did just go through a whole thing about how I would lie on the show. But I’m serious about this. It really did happen. As far as any of you know. But it did. They batted around the lineup on me and he came up the second time batting from the opposite side of the plate with a snotty little smile on his face. I would never lie about this. Again, as far as you know.

In conclusion…

It would be hilarious to hear Paddington explain the entire plot of Paddington 2 in little 90-second blips over the course of like a 35-episode winning streak. That’s the main thing you should take away from this.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Impostors at MarkWahlberg dot com

IMPOSTORS AT MARKWAHLBERG DOT COM

IMPOSTORS AT MARKWAHLBERG DOT COM

IMPOSTORS AT MARKWAHLBERG DOT COM

IMPOSTORS AT MARKWAHLBERG DOT COM

IMPOSTORS AT MARKWAHLBERG DOT COM

IMPOSTORS AT MARKWAHLBERG DOT COM

IMPOSTORS AT MARKWAHLBERG DOT COM

IMPOSTORS AT MARKWAHLBERG DOT COM

I’m sorry for shouting but this is probably the single most incredible email address I’ve ever seen. It’s been days and I’m not over it. It might be weeks before I even start getting over it. I don’t see how to even start. This is my problem, not yours, but mostly I’m hoping that typing it out a bunch like I did up there will help exorcise it from my bra-…

IMPOSTORS AT MARKWAHLBERG DOT COM

Welp. So much for that.

READER MAIL

If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at brian.grubb@uproxx.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.

From Lee:

I think about this Tiktok a lot and devote an unreasonable amount of mental energy trying to manifest it into reality. I enjoy it because it’s true to the character while showcasing what makes Matt Berry so enjoyable. Do you have an actor or actress that you think would shine doing voice acting that differs from their regular body of work, and what would you cast them as?

I hope you’ve been well, as always you are one of my favorite writers to read and you radiate good vibes. Haven’t been writing in because I’ve been too present, distracted by the moment. Sorry but thank you.

To be clear, I did not leave that last paragraph in there because of the compliment. I am not that insufferable. (I am insufferable, just not that insufferable.) I would have cut it out, I swear, but I left it in because it references one of the greatest tweets ever and I wanted an excuse to post it again.

Anyway, I have two answers here. One is Rosie Perez. I might have picked her before I heard her narrate a chapter of the Beastie Boys Book audiobook, but I am definitely saying it after hearing that. It’s amazing. I know I talk about it all the time but the reason I talk about it all the time is that it’s amazing. Go listen to it. Rosie Perez is the greatest.

The second answer is Lance Reddick. I want to hear him bring this kind of intensity and gravitas to pretty much anything.

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AMAZON

There are others, probably. I bet I’ll think of a million of them right after this publishes. But these are a good start. Make a show where they play an animated husband and wife who steal priceless artwork. Listen to me.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Washington!

Firefighters rescued a woman who had tumbled into a Mt. Walker vault toilet while attempting to fish her lost cellphone out from the waste on Tuesday afternoon.

Look.

This happens.

You see it all the time.

Let’s not make a big deal out of it.

Brinnon Fire Department Chief Tim Manly said the woman, who was at the top of Mt. Walker, had been using her phone and had dropped it down into the vault. After she disassembled the toilet seat, she used dog leashes to try to retrieve the phone and eventually used the leashes to tie herself off as she reached for it, he said. That effort failed and she fell, horrifyingly, into the vault, headfirst.

This is yet another one of those situations where two things can be true at once. The first is that I feel awful for this woman. The second thing is that if you filmed this and put it into a Ben Stiller movie from the early 2000s, I might still be laughing today.

But I feel awful for her.

But still.

“They didn’t work very well and in she went,” Manly said.

Well said.

The woman was washed down and “was strongly encouraged to seek medical attention after being exposed to human waste, but she only wanted to leave,” the department said.

“She only wanted to leave.”

I mean… yeah.

Understandable.

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