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 will vary, as will 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 — Sheriff Guy, reporting for duty
Something very strange is happening on Guy Fieri’s Twitter account. No, not the photoshops, although that’s strange, too. Someone — I’m assuming it’s a whole social media team but it’s much more fun to picture Guy doing it himself, so just let yourself have that visual — has been putting Guy into posters for upcoming movies. There was a Toy Story one and a Spider-man one and it’s all very strange indeed but not the strange thing we’re discussing today. Please feel free to stop me on the street this weekend if you want to talk about it, though. I’ll happily give you an hour of my time. Maybe two. It’s important and unsettling in ways that require an extended conversation.
Anyway, the strange thing we are focusing on: Guy Fieri is now, finally, after all these years, explaining the Flavortown justice system. And he’s doing it with a hashtag. And that hashtag is #TheLawsOfFlavortown. It’s really quite remarkable. Here, look.
That’s a good piece of business right there, Guy. So is this. I enjoy the all-caps flare up front to let people know he’s serious.
These are just a taste, too. There have been more. In fact, to date, as I type this very sentence, there have been a total of six Laws of Flavortown tweets, which I will now present in chronological order.
- You don’t have to eat the whole cheeseburger, just take a (big) piece
- Don’t ever use lighter fluid, it’s un-American.
- When cookin’ bacon, count out 3 pieces for each person… then triple it.
- When cooking for a big crew of hungry dudes, don’t think you can get away with fettucini Alfredo
- ALWAYS sauce with authority
- Always nibble away at the ingredients while preparing your dish
Putting aside small issues like the fact that nine pieces of bacon in one meal is a great way to develop heart problems (the Flavortown Hospital must spend all day unclogging arteries), there are two ways to look at all of this. The first way is that it’s just some silly brand-building exercise that Guy’s team set in motion, possibly with the dream of turning it into a book or “a thing.” You could look at it like that if you want to be cynical and insufferable and correct at the expense of fun.
You could pretend that Flavortown is a real place. A place that, prior to these tweets, was a lawless hellscape. An anarchist’s paradise. A place with barbecue sauce rivers and no rules and gangs of spiky-haired marauders rolling through the streets in classic cars. And you could pretend that Flavortown’s ruler, its combination of mayor and king and deity, Guy Fieri, looked around one day and decided he needed to establish some sort of order. Just some guidelines to keep this idyllic bold flavor paradise, this crispy fried utopia, from tumbling further into chaos. And these are the first laws he’s announcing. Not ones about homicide or burglary or arson. Not a tax code or rules about what does and does not constitute free speech. None of that. First things first. You must sauce with authority.
It would be kind of great if he keeps doing these for like six months and then out of nowhere he drops one like “identity theft shall be punishable by between four and six years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.” And then he goes right back to ones about meats. Or maybe he should slip one in there about grand theft auto. I’m just saying… the man has been burned before. Fool me once, shame on you. Steal Guy Fieri’s neon Lamborghini buy rappelling into a luxury car dealership at night and driving it right out the front door twice, shame on… actually, no. That’s still pretty cool.
I suppose we should close with this.
What a world we have here. Ice-T has been playing a cop on network television for well over a decade and now Guy Fieri has photoshopped himself into a mock-up poster of a fake spin-off of the show that is set in Flavortown. Take a few minutes this weekend and really think about all of that. And then think about if you would watch Law & Order: Flavortown.
I would. Every day.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — Look at all the helicopters in the Succession trailer
HBO’s Succession is a show about power. It’s a show about wealth and tricky family dynamics. It’s a show about people telling each other to “fuck off,” a lot, in increasingly blunt and colorful ways. It is also, now, if the recently released trailer for the upcoming second season is to be believed, a show about helicopters.
Look at all the helicopters in this trailer. Here’s one, right at the beginning.
Here are two more.
Here are another two.
And another two.
And one last one for good measure.
That is, if you’re keeping score, eight helicopters depicted in one two-minute trailer. Sure, most of these are the same helicopter shown over and over again, so it’s not so much “eight helicopters” as it is “multiple shots of two helicopters,” probably, but who cares? It’s still a lot of helicopters.
In fact, if we do a little math here… eight helicopters… two minutes…
[Takes entirely too long to do a simple mathematical equation, to the point that I twist my face into a painful-looking knot as the people around me become concerned]
That’s one on-screen helicopter every 15 seconds. In an hour-long show, if they keep up that pace…
[Twists face into pained expression again, someone quickly plugs the numbers into their calculator because watching me try to do this is upsetting nearby children]
That’s something like 240 helicopters. That’s a lot of helicopters. I am excited for Succession to return for many reasons (please note the end of the trailer, which depicts Tom winging things at my gangly naive boy Greg, for one), but now l’m curious. I want to see where this helicopter business goes. I hope there’s a bottle episode that takes place entirely inside the Roy family chopper. I hope Kendall falls out and Shiv has to leap out with a bungee cord tied around her waist to save him. Please.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Please tell me more about the crime farm
Earlier this week, a headline popped up in my little world and brought everything to a grinding halt. That headline was “Nicole Kidman to Produce Drama Series ‘Crime Farm’ in Development at WarnerMedia Streaming.”
A crime farm?!
I must know everything about this. I must know it all at once. Is it about a farm where people grow illicit produce, like marijuana and/or coca leaves and/or poppies? Are they growing all of them, all of the drugs? Or is it a regular farm that serves as a front for a criminal enterprise? Or is it about the cutthroat world of industrial farming and the rise of a new kingpin who uses less-than-legal means to acquire power? Or are they… growing crimes? In the ground? I don’t even know how that would work. I don’t care. I’m just so excited by the idea of a crime farm that I’m willing t-…
The series is described as a psychosexual love story that follows Selma and Richard Eikelenboom, forensic homicide experts whose marriage thrives on their all-consuming investigations into the depravity of the world’s most notorious criminals. As a seminal case upends the paradigm of their relationship, their unique, unconventional and sometimes dangerous arrangement stretches the boundaries of marriage and science to the limit.
Are you telling me there’s no actual farm on Crime Farm?
There are just no farms at all?
Zero actual farming?
Well, this is certainly disappointing.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — More people should goof around on talk shows
Donald Glover appeared on Kimmel this week to promote his role in the new Lion King movie. This by itself is barely news. What makes it interesting to me is that he showed up in a Lion onesie. I like this. I like when people screw around on talk shows. Bill Murray used to do it all the time on Letterman. John Mulaney and Nick Kroll showed up on Conan in character as super-Hollywood versions of themselves. Will Ferrell did an entire interview as Robert Goulet, before Will Ferrell was Will Ferrell, back when he was just some guy from SNL. Bill Hader and Vanessa Bayer did a wonderful bit with Seth Meyers. Sometimes it’s not even a bit. Amy Poehler showed up one night and just talked about the soccer team that got rescued from the cave.
That’s cool. These talk shows can get very formulaic and boring. Shake things up, people. Show up in character. Have a bit. Wear a damn lion onesie, even if you’re not starring in a very prominent lion-based movie. Get a little weird out there. What is the point of being famous if you can’t have a little fun, you know?
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Rest in power, king
It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that Stewart, the dog who portrayed Raymond Holt’s beloved Cheddar on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, has passed away. His owner penned this lovely goodbye on Instagram.
“We went to the beach (his favorite place) where he frolicked in the surf and then enjoyed a picnic lunch of In & Out burgers. We relaxed in the sun and just enjoyed each other’s company,” his owner wrote. “Our veterinarian met us there later and Stewart went to sleep peacefully in my arms while listening to the sounds of the ocean. He was a one in a million kind of dog, he was my supaah staah.”
Goodnight, sweet prince. May heaven be filled with treats and fire hydrants and tummy scratchies and, hopefully, lots of things that are clumped together location-wise so you don’t tire out your adorable little legs racing back and forth between them.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or, like, 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.
I do very much enjoy when judges get a little punchy in their opinions. I would do this constantly. You see this column. I have lots of dumb ideas rattling around this dumb brain of mine and I want to get them out into the world so badly that I tricked my editor into letting me plop them all down in one place every Friday. There’s no way I’d be able to resist sprinkling them into judicial opinions. I would go completely mad with power. There would be 500-word footnotes about Mad Men characters and citations to movies I like instead of actual case law. I would be an awful judge. I think that’s the takeaway here.
I’ll tell you what would be a real kick in the pants, though. Let’s say you’re a big Game of Thrones fan. And let’s say in February you got picked up on a murder charge in a case of mistaken identity. And let’s say you’ve been stuck in jail since then with no access to HBO as your attorneys attempt to clear your name. And let’s say it all finally works out and you get released and you’re hugging your family and friends and everyone is crying and there’s a part of you that can’t wait to get home and sit on a soft couch and watch your favorite show in peace, finally, and then the judge just goes and spoils the whole ending of the show in a too-cute opinion like this.
Talk about conflicting emotions.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
A billionaire hedge fund honcho carved out a personal driveway in a West Village sidewalk — and didn’t pay a dime for the brazen annexation of public space.
I hate this.
The sleight-of-hand was achieved thanks to what the Department of Buildings says is an illegal curb cut — an unauthorized slice into the edges of the city sidewalk to make it appear as if a driveway exists at 777 Washington St.
I hate this so much. I hope some angry neighbor, some perturbed local hero, takes a stand on this one.
Neighbor Eyal Levin found that out the hard way in late May, when he parked in the spot in an act of defiance and then found his silver Toyota Camry towed. It took hours for Levin to track down his car in a lot in Queens ― and he had to pay $201 to get it back, according to documents reviewed by The News.
Levin, 52, has feuded with security at Gottesman’s house over the parking spot for at least three years now, he said.
“It’s all a scam … He doesn’t have a freaking driveway,” Levin said. “He just has fake signs on it. He knows it, everybody knows it and still they try to intimidate everybody about it. I found it to be outrageous. It’s outrageous to put that sign up when you have this huge mansion.”
Oh, hell yes. Three years! Eyal Levin has been livid about this fake driveway for three years! That is some incredibly strong neighbor-griping. And that’s saying something because neighbor gripes are the strongest gripes of all. It’s a proximity thing. Remember the time Rand Paul’s neighbor tackled him and broke a bunch of his ribs and everyone was like “Well, in this heated political climate…” but then it turned out their beef was over “a long-standing landscaping dispute”? Remember this Vanity Fair article about the billionaire who hates his luxury island neighbor so much that he set up huge stadium speakers to blast screeching hellnoise even when he wasn’t there?
In 2005, Nygard addressed his parking-overflow problem by laying down a 15-by-20-foot concrete slab—on Bacon’s side of the property line. Bacon responded by suing Nygard and obtaining a court injunction to remove it. Two years later, Bacon dealt with his long-standing irritation with the noise from Nygard’s parties by installing industrial-grade speakers at the edge of his land and pointing them at Nygard Cay at night. “We hired a sound consultant in the U.K. to see if we could somehow muffle the sound from Nygard’s by emitting a counter-sound, but that proved terribly complicated, so we went and got four huge rock-concert speakers to play something loud in response,” Bacon’s architect, Peter Talty, says.
That’s what I’m talking about. Neighbors can turn sane people into lunatics. Especially when they’re in the right on an issue. Especially when some billionaire builds a fake driveway and you get your car towed for parking in front of it.
On May 23, the parking beef came to a head and Levin’s car was hauled away, which he discovered when he came out the next morning to take his son to school. When he inquired with Gottesman’s workers about his car, he was told to “go to the precinct,” he said. Levin went to the nearby 6th precinct, where he eventually learned his car was towed by a private company to a Maspeth lot.
Get him, Eyal. Roast his beans real good. We’re all behind you on this one.