TV

The Rundown: Three (Kind Of) Simple Ways ‘The Mandalorian’ Can Replace Gina Carano

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 — Let’s discuss the issues of the day

The wild thing about Gina Carson getting fired from The Mandalorian — or, like, not being brought back, if you prefer — for bad posts is that they weren’t even bad old posts. That’s something we’ve seen before and something that makes me a little uncomfortable because it kind of removes the motivation for a person to grow and get better, if we’re always going to hold them to the dumbest and worst things they’ve ever said. I don’t know. That’s an issue with a lot of gray areas in it and, thankfully, we don’t have to solve it today because that’s not what happened here. Gina Carson did not lose her job because someone pulled up bad posts from a decade ago. Gina Carano just kept posting and posting and posted herself right out of a gig, after what I have to assume were multiple warnings from high-ranking people at Disney. Everyone’s eyes were wide-open on this one.

You are all, as always, welcome to dive headlong into the lava-filled swimming pool of the political discourse surrounding all of this (which, I suppose, makes it more of a lava-filled moat than a lava-filled swimming pool), but I will not be joining you. That is, to put an extremely fine point on it, not what I am interested in or about in any substantial way. The solution to all of this is fewer bad posts, not more bad ones. But no one listens to me. If they did, golfers on the PGA Tour would all have NOS-powered carts and the winners would be determined by how fast they completed the round, regardless of the number of strokes it took. I am trying to help.

And so, with all of that in mind, let’s instead look at a few (kind of) simple ideas for what the show can do to replace her going forward, or at least explain her absence. I must stress that these are not very good ideas. But when has that ever stopped me before?

FIRST OPTION — We straight-up Fresh Prince this sucker

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air famously — and controversially — just up and switched out Aunt Vivs between seasons three and four after various on-set issues that you are welcome to Google. This is one way to go, and one of the funnier ones because it requires the audience to just, like, accept that there’s a whole-ass new person playing the role of Cara Dune and none of the characters on the show are acknowledging it at all. It’s also fun because it opens up the “well then who should it be?” discussion, and that is always a place where idiots like me thrive.

It should probably be someone who can handle themselves physically, just because Cara Dune is a warrior. Do we go with another Fast & Furious veteran like Michelle Rodriguez or Ronda Rousey? Do we go with a John Wick veteran like Ruby Rose? Do we listen to the fans and get Lucy Lawless involved? Do we put in a call to Helen Mirren, just because it seems like Helen Mirren is having a lot of fun being an action star lately? Yes, sure, Helen Mirren is a little older than Cara Dune, but I think I would like to see it and that is what is important here.

SECOND OPTION — The Poochie option

We just move right along and let Pedro Pascal and Baby Yoda do their thing and pretend none of any of this ever happened. This is probably the way it’s headed, without the title screen above, or without the “Cara Dune died on the way back to her home planet” of it all. That’s fine, I guess, and sensible for a controversy-averse mega-conglomerate like Disney, but it would be funnier if season three opens with a huge explosion and a smash-cut to a funeral. Let Werner Herzog’s character give the eulogy. Let Werner write it himself. Listen to me.

THIRD OPTION — CGI Cara Dune voiced by someone doing a Gina Carano impression

Is it more expensive and more labor-intensive than the other two? Yes. Is it a good idea? No. But it is any worse than me suggesting they swap her out with Helen Mirren without referencing it a single time within the show? Also no.

So these are a few things worth considering. Kind of.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — Warrior is a good show

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I started watching Warrior this week. I don’t know why it took me so long to start. It was recommended to me by many people I like and/or respect, and it features lots of people doing sick martial arts stuff, and it has some of the best captions I’ve ever encountered, which is something that is admittedly more important to me than most (normal, well-adjusted) viewers, but still. Look at that one up there. I love radical martial arts music.

I’m not far enough into the show that I’d feel comfortable explaining the plot beyond the basics, so here are the basics: Warrior is about a guy — Ah Sahm, played by Andrew Koji — who comes to San Francisco from China in the early 1900s, and he attempts to navigate a dicey racial situation, and he starts working for a Chinese criminal organization, and he is so good at martial arts. He is so good. The show is very violent and graphic and filled with blood and guts and nudity, facts that all make enough sense when you realize that it airs on Cinemax and is produced by one of the minds behind Banshee, another show that was fun and relentlessly graphic. Here’s another screencap with another terrific caption that explains this as well as any of the words I’m typing.

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The story behind Warrior is cool, too. The show was the brainchild of Bruce Lee — yes, that Bruce Lee — and was brought to television almost 50 years after his death thanks to his daughter Shannon and Fast & Furious director Justin Lin. From a Deadline story back when the show was first announced.

Bruce Lee had spent many years working on Warrior, but it was never published or produced. Years after the Enter The Dragon actor’s sudden 1973 death at age 32, his daughter found a large collection of handwritten notes that Bruce wrote himself on the concept for the series that became the inspiration for the show.

“I’ve always admired Bruce Lee for his trailblazing efforts opening doors for Asians in entertainment and beyond,” Lin said. “So I was intrigued when Danielle told me about the urban legend of his never-produced idea for a TV show and suggested we bring it to life. Then when Shannon shared with us her father’s writings: rich with Lee’s unique philosophies on life, and through a point of view rarely depicted on screen – Danielle and I knew that Perfect Storm had to make it.

This, to be very clear, is awesome. Again, I don’t know why it took me so long to get started watching it. It’s got everything I like. And both of its two seasons are available on HBO Max right now. And, in the second episode, one of the characters does this, which might be the second coolest thing I’ve ever seen a television character do, just behind Raylan Givens throwing a bullet at Wynn Duffy and saying “Next one’s coming faster.”

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It’s a good show. It’s a show I feel more comfortable watching with my headphones in (see above, re graphic sex and sloshing innards), which is fine and only awkward when I let out a little “hell yeah” at a volume I think is under my breath but is actually not. If you are looking for a good show and typically like a lot of the things I like, I vote give it a shot. It’s a little like if Peaky Blinders had dudes doing radical martial arts in the streets two or three times every episode. This is one of the highest compliments I know how to give.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Kate Winslet, Philadelphia icon

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Kate Winslet is a good actress who has been famous for many years thanks to her role in Titanic over 20 years ago. One of those is a statement of opinion and one is a statement of fact, but I don’t think I’m going to get much blowback on either one. She’s pretty beloved and respected and has managed to be both of those things for a long time. It’s not an easy trick to pull off. And it’s even more impressive when you realize she had never publicly come out as pro-Wawa.

Two things are important to know for this to make sense:

  • Wawa is a chain of Philadelphia-area gas stations and convenience stores that serves hoagies and coffee and lots of other stuff and has developed a fairly rabid fan base among deranged Pennsylvania residents
  • I am one of those deranged Pennsylvania residents

Another fact that is important to this story: Kate Winslet filmed a television series in the Philadelphia area recently, one for HBO called Mare of Easttown, which the local Philadelphia newspaper was all quite excited about.

Created and written by Berwyn’s Brad Ingelsby (The Way Back), and apparently set in Easttown, Chester County, the seven-episode limited series features Winslet as Mare Sheehan, described by HBO as “a small-town Pennsylvania detective who investigates a local murder as life crumbles around her.”

This all sounds like a very Kate Winslet project and one I will watch both because it is my job and because I want to see how accurate her Philadelphia-area accent is. But none of that is the point. The point is that now, courtesy of the TCA Press Tour and my former colleague Alan Sepinwall, we know that Kate Winslet is, in fact, pro-Wawa.

Kate Winslet, come over and watch the Sixers and eat chicken salad shorties with me. I will buy you an Allen Iverson jersey. Let me teach you the rest of our ways.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — My sweet boy

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I follow Paddington Bear on Twitter. It’s a ridiculous thing for me to be doing, on paper, devoid of context. It’s an account run by a social media team that is tweeting in character as a small bear from a series of children’s movies and yet I, a man in his 30s who spends most of his day conversing with similarly jaded and very online people, adore it. It helps that I love the movies. They are legitimately good and sweet and I don’t know why I’m explaining myself like this. I don’t have to prove anything to you. Paddington rules.

Anyway, the Paddington account, which I choose to believe is actually run by Paddington, tweeting with his little paws, tweeted this past week.

That’s nice. What I did not expect, however, was an entire week of follow-through. Well, guess what.

Is it weird that my favorite tweets from the last week have been a CGI bear cub asking politely for marmalade sandwiches in various languages I don’t understand? It probably is. I’m fine with it. He’s a good boy.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Let’s have some fun with this

HBO

The most important news from the TCA Press Tour was the thing about Kate Winslet going to Wawa, but this is notable, too: New HBO top banana Casey Bloys says the network is considering a fourth season of True Detective, one without the involvement of the show’s creator and mastermind Nic Pizzolato.

Sayeth Bloys, via Deadline:

“It’s safe to say we’re working with a couple of writers to find the right tone and take. It’s definitely an area that could be very interesting and I think it would be interesting with a new voice. Quality is what’s going to guide us so if we end up with scripts that we don’t feel are representative or are not at a high enough quality, we’re not going to do something just to do it,” he said.

Okay, hear me out.

HBO is considering making a fourth season of True Detective with a new writer. The show was better in the third season than it was in the second but it had still fallen into a bit of a rut. It needs a fresh voice with a different perspective. HBO already has long relationships with Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down, Vice Principals, The Righteous Gemstones) and Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers, Watchmen). I think it would be cool to see either of them take on a season of the show. HBO should offer them a lot of money to try. I am barely joking.

I mean, I would prefer having them both create more new projects or continuing ones they’ve started, but this could work, too. Put in a call to Phoebe Waller-Bridge, too. Let’s get weird.

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 Tony:

Brian

BRIAN!

I know you’ve seen the news. We’ve all seen the news.

WHO’S GONNA STAR BRIAN?

(Also this is yet another great excuse for you to give us some stonkin character names.)

Frédéric Façade Brian, it’s right there.

Look at all that additional je ne sais quoi on those letters!

The guy has a French accent, because with a name like that how can you not. But it’s a bad accent, and the actor who swops with him has a perfect one.

That’s how they know it’s not really him. Or maybe they both do terrible French accents or he lives in the French Quarter, who knows!

But you do Brian, I know you do.

My favorite thing about this email is that it came in early Friday morning with the subject line “FACEOFF BRIAN FACEOFF!” and gave me an excuse to mention the recently announced Face/Off sequel-type project that is being directed by the director of Godzilla vs. Kong and produced by the producer of the Fast & Furious movies. Most of the rest of this column was banked before the news broke late on Thursday and I was legitimately irked about not squeezing it in (I’m fine). So thank you, Tony. Please know that I am thinking about this and will continue thinking about it forever and will probably blog about it in greater detail as soon as, like, this afternoon.

I still think they should just bring back Cage and Travolta, a full 20+ years and a few dozen straight-to-VOD movies later. That would be delightful.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To New York City!

A man who allegedly stole at least eight pints of ice cream from a Manhattan business ended up clinging to the side of a building during his unsuccessful getaway, prompting police to come to his rescue, according to the NYPD.

Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is an attempted small-scale ice cream heist with what I’m going to assume was an “opening scene of Casino Royale”- parkour getaway gone wrong. I know there was probably no parkour involved. I know it was probably just a bumbling attempt to flee that went sideways in a hurry. But I’m having too much fun picturing a guy doing cool parkour stuff across NYC rooftops and fire escapes after stealing eight pints of ice cream. I will not let any of you take it from me.

According to the NYPD, police responded to a 911 call of larceny inside of a CVS located at 1500 Lexington Ave. When officers arrived, they allegedly engaged in a foot pursuit with a 30-year-old male who fit the description of the reported ice cream thief.

Something about the phrase “who fit the description of the reported ice cream thief” is killing me. It’s not as good as the parkour chase I’m still picturing, but it’s not bad at all.

Police say that officers followed the individual to the courtyard of 183 East 98 Street where he climbed over a fence that led to a long drop to an alleyway below. The man apparently tried to get down to the alleyway and got stuck on a small ledge, police said. ESU was called and the man was rescued and subsequently taken into custody.

I’m going to pretend I didn’t read this part. You are, too. We deserve to have the image of a fence-hopping, wall-scaling ice cream thief banging around in our heads a little while longer. At least until winter ends.

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