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 — Our nation’s finest television program has returned
Many of the world’s most respected scientists and other losers will tell you that the first day of summer is June 21. This is fine, and accurate in the most technical sense of things if we want to fall into their trap, which we do not. Summer cannot be quantified by things like dates on the calendar or positions of various objects in the solar system. Summer is more fluid than that. It’s more of a vibe than the other seasons. To paraphrase the United States Supreme Court in a ruling on a… different subject, you know summer when you feel it. Maybe it’s seeing kids in a pool, or smelling grilled meats, or feeling drops of sweat develop on your lower back when you’re driving around in a hot car. This is also fine, and I can’t really go about telling you you’re wrong when I just got done saying how subjective it all is. But it is my position, and the position of this column, that summer does not officially begin until some bozo gets wiped out by a cartoonishly complicated obstacle on our nation’s finest television program, Holey Moley.
Point being: Welcome to… summer?
Hmm. Well, this is a little awkward. I just went on this whole rant about how the show signifies summer and they went and changed the volcano hole to a Santa one. It’s a winter wonderland now. Although… now that I think about it… yes, okay. This still plays. And I’m not going to sit here and complain to any of you about them adding reindeer and candy stripes to the whole endeavor. That is good, objectively. It’s still summer. We just have reindeer now. That’s fine, too.
And guess what: It gets better. The windmills have fire now.
What a perfect television show. They had an obstacle where people attempted and usually failed to run through some windmills, almost always resulting in them getting wiped straight out of the screen and into a pool, and they were like “… but what if there was fire?” Never mind the fact that the Dutch hillside is not generally known for wildfires, or that none of this makes sense. There’s fire now. Look, again.
I could easily just keep posting GIFs here, and I suspect I will in the coming weeks, but I’ll stop for now because I feel like the point has been made. You see where I’m going with this. The good show is back and they have raised the stakes needlessly and borderline recklessly for no reason other than to please you and me. This is commendable if only for the legal liability they appear to be assuming to bring the people some belly laughs. There are new holes, too, with innuendo-laden names like Cornhole and The Pecker, because everyone on this show is 12 years old and I love them. There’s a jousting hole where contestants sit on what appears to be a lubed-up plastic horsey and face off against a knight who launches them into the watery abyss. There’s a ski jump hole for… I don’t know, reasons?
Also, hosts Joe Tessitore and Rob Riggle are back and really finding their groove. I don’t think anyone on television is having more fun than those guys. I mean, just look at their reaction to one of the better wallopings…
It’s all so stupid and so perfect and it makes me so happy. They gave Riggle a telestrator this season, which would thrill me if it didn’t make me so mad he didn’t have one before now. But I’ll live. The vibes are just too good. Summer is here and it is dumb as hell in the best possible way. Grab your swim trunks and sunscreen. And maybe some ibuprofen. It’s gonna get weird.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — The Batman discourse is out of control
I’m going to assume you spend as much time online as I do. You don’t, probably, hopefully, both because my job requires me to be online all day long and because I choose to believe readers of this column are all attractive and well-adjusted millionaires. But it’s easier this way. It will save me from explaining The Batman Discourse in anything beyond posting a cursory blockquote, which I will do now.
“It’s incredibly gratifying and free to be using characters that are considered villains because you just have so much more leeway,” says Halpern. “A perfect example of that is in this third season of ‘Harley’ [when] we had a moment where Batman was going down on Catwoman. And DC was like, ‘You can’t do that. You absolutely cannot do that.’ They’re like, ‘Heroes don’t do that.’ So, we said, ‘Are you saying heroes are just selfish lovers?’ They were like, ‘No, it’s that we sell consumer toys for heroes. It’s hard to sell a toy if Batman is also going down on someone.’”
(In fairness to DC, both Halpern and Schumacker went on to say that the company has been remarkably supportive of their series and has allowed them to push the envelope numerous times. Still, it remains to be seen if Batman and Catwoman will be shown engaging in some bedroom antics in Season 3 or if it will simply be implied via cunning linguistics.)
So, yes, chaos everywhere. It was nice in some ways because it made social media fun for about 48 hours, which is a staggering achievement in 2021. And it all led to Actual Former Batman Val Kilmer weighing in with a tweet that featured a GIF of himself as Batman, which is an astounding power move and still only about the third most remarkable thing here. It was, to put a needle-fine point on it all, a week.
But before we put it all to bed and move on to other, less fun things to shout about, let’s all be clear on one important thing: Harley Quinn is such a good show.
We’ve talked about this before, a few times, because it’s true and we value the truth here, sometimes. There’s not really a need to re-hash it all in any depth. So we’re not going to do that. What we’re going to do instead is post some screencaps from the show. Ones I made this week. Ones that feature the show’s hopelessly depressed version of Commissioner Jim Gordon — voiced by Christopher Meloni, who is also having a week, in a good way — having a complicated relationship with Batman and the Bat Signal. Like, for example, these, from the very first episode.
And these, from later in the first season.
Those are just wonderful little pieces of business. Harley Quinn is a good and fun show, no matter what Batman is or is not allowed to do with his face in the upcoming third season. Trust me on this. I would not lie to you. Thank you.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — While we’re on the subject…
Every now and then a headline will cross the screen that makes you stop dead in your tracks. It’s one of the many ways you can tell words are powerful. Choose the right ones and put them in the right order and you can alter someone’s entire day, or week, or life. It happened twice this week to me. The first time was when I saw this tweet.
NBC Halts Production on Ultimate Slip 'N Slide amid Report of 'Explosive Diarrhea' Outbreak on Set https://t.co/uBSSyZx1eb
— People (@people) June 12, 2021
And the second time was a few days later, when I saw this perfect and straightforward announcement at Deadline: “Zoë Kravitz To Make Directing Debut On ‘Pussy Island’; Channing Tatum Playing Tech Billionaire With Mysterious Tropical Island.”
I will require information about this news at once. Tell me about this movie. Someone. Anyone.
Frida is a young, clever, Los Angeles cocktail waitress who has her eyes set on the prize: philanthropist and tech mogul Slater King (Tatum). When she skillfully maneuvers her way into King’s inner circle and ultimately an intimate gathering on his private island, she is ready for a journey of a lifetime. Despite the epic setting, beautiful people, ever-flowing champagne and late-night dance parties, Frida can sense that there’s more to this island than meets the eye. Something she can’t quite put her finger on. Something terrifying.
The biggest shocker here, in the grand scheme of things, is that Channing Tatum is starring in a movie called Pussy Island and it’s not the dramatic conclusion of the Magic Mike franchise. Tell me you would not watch Magic Mike: Escape From Pussy Island. Do not lie to me.
And somehow that isn’t even the best part of that Deadline story. Because that Deadline story also contains this anecdote.
“When someone can just come out and tell me I should not be wearing Crocs, and is so adamant about it, she completely convinced me and I never wear Crocs anymore,” Tatum said.
“I was just trying to be a good friend, Chan,” she said.
“I get it, but I totally loved Crocs for a hot second, and in one hang she was like, you can’t ever do that again. And I said, ‘OK, fine.’ “
Said Kravitz: “Just to be clear, there are people out there who can pull off the Crocs thing; I just wasn’t sure you were one of them.”
Zoe Kravitz, an extremely cool person who is the child of two extremely cool people, told Channing Tatum he was not allowed to wear crocs anymore, and Channing Tatum listened to her and stopped wearing them. And the conversation happened while they were discussing a movie they are making together called Pussy Island. Everyone is really just doing a tremendous job this week. I’m proud of all of you.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Let’s all go to a Vin Diesel concert
The cast of F9 is out making the publicity rounds. This is good for a number of reasons. It’s good because it means the movie is actually coming out, finally, almost 18 months after the first trailer dropped. It’s good because I love everyone in these movies very much and like to click on links about them. But mostly it’s good because it resulted in Vin Diesel talking about making an album. A music album. With lots of songs and everything! Here, look at this Vulture interview:
I remember being in London and I told Paul Walker that everyone really freaked out at me for singing the song and posting it. And he said, “Pfft. Don’t listen to that. You know you’re a singer.” So my point is, he encouraged me to sing. That led to Kygo wanting me to sing. Steve Aoki wanting me to sing. Nicki M. wanting me to sing. And I eventually got the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and went for it.
Just to be clear here, he is talking about this song, which he released on Valentine’s Day last year.
And if we had more time I would get into the thing where I think he called Nicki Minaj “Nicki M,” which is perplexing on a number of levels, but we do not have more time. Because of this.
I would love to do an album. Chris, I think something that you alluded to in the beginning conversation speaks … You talked about, “Do you want to do other things?” What you’re implying is what’s real. And that is, I do go deeply into stuff to the point of being myopic at times. And that’s the only thing that could prevent me from having an album out: the beautiful pressure to deliver [Fast] 10 for 2023 or 2024.
Mark my words: If, after Fast 10 comes out, Vin Diesel releases a full album and goes out on tour to support it, the following things will happen:
- I will see a Vin Diesel concert regardless of price
- I will write a lengthy reported feature about it
You can come, too. We’ll tailgate. Coronas only.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE— Welcome to Henry Winkler Fish Picture Season
Emmett and are trying so hard this morning pic.twitter.com/XpdlBwdxNr
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) June 17, 2021
Regular readers of this column will recognize Henry Winkler Fish Picture Season. It is a lovely time of year. It starts whenever Henry Winkler goes on vacation and posts pictures of the fish he catches and lasts until he goes home and stops posting pictures of the fish he caught. The best part is that he posts them on Twitter, the angriest and pettiest website in the world. So you’ll be scrolling through like 700 tweets about something some grifter politician said or did and then suddenly, out of nowhere, blammo, the Fonz has a fish.
It is so good and pure that it almost makes me uncomfortable. I do not want it to stop. Henry Winkler Fish Picture Season only lasts a few days at a time. Please take a moment to stop and cherish it this weekend. Let it cleanse your soul. You need this. We all do.
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.
Matthew McConaughey is thinking about running for Governor of Texas. Cynthia Nixon ran for Governor of New York. The Rock is apparently considering a run for President. This is just in the last few years too, and comes after Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor of California and Ronald Reagan was the actual President. My question has two parts:
First, why do so many actors want to get into politics? Second, what actor or actress would you like to see run next? I’m picturing Keanu running on a “Giant Wine Glasses For Everyone” platform.
This is a good question. Both parts of it. The first part is good because it is something that has vexed me, too. I can’t see why anyone would want to get into politics. I’ll go even further: I am suspicious of anyone who wants to hold elected office. It seems awful. And everyone you work with is awful. Wanting to be a politician, by choice, should automatically disqualify you from holding office. People should have to be dragged into Congress kicking and screaming. That’s the only way you know you can trust them.
It’s more true for celebrities. I’m glad they want to help, I guess, but what are we doing here? Why would anyone give up that life for politics? The Rock and Matthew McConaughey are both widely adored and fabulously wealthy. They don’t need this. It’s madness. Someone please tell them to stop.
As to the second part, if I really have to choose, if there’s no way around it… I guess… hmm… I guess I’ll go with Helen Mirren. I know she’s British. I know this is a bad idea for a bunch of reasons. But I feel like, between the accent and the thing where she’s played a queen over half a dozen times in various projects, people would at least feel obligated to behave around her. That’s a start.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
Here comes Bird scooters. The presentation by Bird starts with them saying the issues in Topeka are pretty normal.
"We know there are issues and we are taking action," Adam with Bird said. (I didn't catch his last name when he was introduced. I will call him Bird in this thread) pic.twitter.com/m7UAQqnNVD
— Blaise Mesa (@blaise_mesa) June 16, 2021
This seems like a boring thing for me to highlight but, I swear, it’s about to get good. Just hang tight.
Council member Mike Lesser is the first council member with a question. He is wondering if it is possible to have "non-marking wheels."
Bird said they do not have that technology available right now.
— Blaise Mesa (@blaise_mesa) June 16, 2021
Ahhhh, but why? Why would the authorities in Topeka be in favor of tires that don’t leave marks? That seems like an oddly specific concern. There has to be more to this. And there is. Look at this tweet.
Apparently Topekans have been making skid marks with the scooters. They have been drawing shapes with the skid marks. Yes, they are drawing penises.
Bird is working with a power wash company to remove skid marks.
— Blaise Mesa (@blaise_mesa) June 16, 2021
Three things are worth noting here, in no particular order:
- This is hilarious to me, a child
- All I could think about when I saw it was the first season of American Vandal, the fake documentary within a documentary about someone spray painting penises on the cars in a high school parking lot
- Let’s all watch the first season of American Vandal again
Just got some clarification from Adam Davis, government partnership manager for Bird. Topekans are drawing penises with the scooter's skid marks at levels Bird hasn't seen in other cities.
Do with that what you will.
— Blaise Mesa (@blaise_mesa) June 16, 2021
The rascals of Topeka are to be commended this. Good for them. We’ve all had a weird year. If taking some scooters out and screeching wieners into various parking lots helps people heal, I say let them do it. This is America, after all.