The Rundown: Jessica Williams Is Doing Something Kind Of Incredible On ‘Shrinking’

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 – Think about this

Are you guys watching Shrinking? I hope so. Man, that’s a good show. It comes from the Ted Lasso / Scrubs brain trust and stars Jason Segel as a psychologist who is going through… kind of a lot, actually. It’s sweet and sad and really funny in places and it’s pretty much exactly the kind of show I find myself digging lately: People who are all going through something and leaning on each other to move forward. That’s good. It’s also nice because it’s a reminder that even your therapist has a personal life and is probably just trying to do the best they can out there, too. Oh, and it co-stars Harrison Ford. He plays a cranky therapist in the office who rests his glasses on his forehead a lot in defiance of the law of gravity. I probably should have pushed this part up higher in the paragraph, I guess, but I did write about it just last week. I’m doing the best I can, too.

But that’s not the point. It’s kind of the point. But not, like, the point. The point is that the show also co-stars — in addition to Ted McGinley and Christa Miller and a bunch of other faces you might recognize from other sitcoms you liked — Jessica Williams, an actress and comedian who you probably know from The Daily Show and/or the show 2 Dope Queens. And she is absolutely killing it. Just crushing. The funniest part of the show, for sure, and a barrel of charisma that pops off the screen. Here she is explaining to Kelly Clarkson how much fun it is to say “panties’ to Harrison Ford.

It’s great. Like I said, there are moments where this sucker gets a little heavy. There are dead spouses and scary medical conditions and estranged children and people with felonies related to combat-induced PTSD. Things get real out there sometimes. But it’s also a good hang. Sometimes people are just drinking wine in the yard and Jessica Williams is talking a little shit. Sometimes Harrison Ford and Jessica Williams do carpool karaoke to Sugar Ray. Yes, I posted this video the last time I wrote about this show but I’m doing it again anyway. I might do it every time I write about the show. Or just for no reason. It’s really very good.

Which brings me back to the important thing. Do you realize what is happening here? Do you realize what kind of ridiculous degree of difficulty there is to steal scenes and be the best part of a show that co-stars freaking Indiana Jones? That’s honestly kind of incredible, especially when you consider that I went with Indiana Jones there when I could have just as easily gone with “Han Solo” or “the fugitive from The Fugitive” or about five of his other roles. She is so good on this show. Somebody needed to say that. This is me saying it. We are all accomplishing a lot today.

In conclusion:

  • Jessica Williams is a star and should get way more opportunities to show that
  • I think you would like Shrinking, which drops its season one finale, uh… today
  • I would like to see Jessica Williams and Harrison Ford perform “Shoop” by Salt N Pepa next

Thank you.

ITEM NUMBER TWO – This is a good idea, Brian Cox


Succession returns for a fourth and final season this Sunday, which is a real Good News, Bad News situation, as I kind of explained in my review of the first few episodes earlier in the week. I’m pretty conflicted about it all, honestly. I can’t wait for it to be back dominating the pop culture discussion and I’m glad it’s not overstaying its welcome like some shows that are still on the air in defiance of good sense and I’m excited to see how it wraps the whole burrito up, but I’m also suuuuuuper bummed that I’m going to run out of new episodes to watch in a few months. It’s a real problem. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Let’s move on.

The cast of the show has been out making the rounds for a press tour and the fancy red-carpet premiere, which is fun for a bunch of reasons. It’s fun because it’s nice to see everyone all dressed up and having a good time. It’s fun because everyone asks Brian Cox about Jeremy Strong’s Method acting and he grumbles through an answer about how much the whole thing annoys him. And it’s fun because everyone asks the cast about potential spinoffs. Which is what is happening………. here.

Another big conversation on the carpet was that of possible spinoffs, and though Cox admitted that he doubts Armstrong would do another show about any of the characters, he joked, “I suppose Greg really would be the natural spinoff, ‘the life of an idiot’ would be an interesting thing — a tall idiot at that.”

Snook had similar thoughts, pitching, “Tom and Greg, some sort of half-hour comedy setting up the head office in Vancouver, Canadian outpost,” though Braun said, “You’d have to drop Tom and Greg into some weird world, drop them into the Philippines or something, drop them into some crazy weird micro-business world we never saw in the show. That’s the way.”

These are somehow the most obvious ideas (EVERYBODY LOVES GREG) and the best ones (I WOULD WATCH THESE) and also just very bad/dangerous. There’s a real chance a whole show about Greg wouldn’t work for the same reason you don’t eat a bag of potato chips at dinner. He might be best as a little snack between meals, you know? Don’t get me wrong: I think Greg is a blast and there’s definitely more story to tell there, but also… maybe I also want a chicken breast or a crab cake or even some vegetables. I don’t know. I went and made myself all conflicted again. And hungry. This will not do.

I need a palate cleanser. Something silly and fun that will not send me tailspinning into crisis. Something like… oh, I don’t know. Something like the cast and crew of Succession all dancing and singing along to “Call Me Maybe.” But I don’t think that’s a very reasonable thing to ask f-…

Okay, yes. This will work. I feel much better now.

ITEM NUMBER THREE – A quick story about John Wick’s dog


Okay, quick personal story, which I am sharing this week only because John Wick 4 is out this weekend and also because I really want to tell it. Both equally important.

Last year, for my birthday, my coworker Kimberly Ricci sent me a John Wick Funko because I apparently talk about John Wick in the work chat so much that she knew it would be a good gift. (It was.) The Funko came in two parts: One, John himself; and two, a little doggie to go next to him. I keep them on the bookshelf behind my desk. Here they are:


I tell people I put them there so my friends know they have to return the books they borrow. Because John and the dog will get them if not. I find this much funnier than anyone else in the world. I feel okay about it.

Anyway, about three or four months ago, I bumped into the shelf with my wheelchair and the dog went tumbling off. But it wasn’t on the floor. Anywhere. I looked all over, multiple times. I was so confused. And, like, scared, a little, if only because we are now four whole movies into finding out what happens when you mess with John Wick’s dog. I would turn around and look at him on the shelf and kind of freak out a little. The face… isn’t… angrier… is it? That I lost his dog? Am I sure that’s a fake gun? I’ve seen the Toy Story movies. I’ve seen toys come to life in character. I know how this goes.

Time passed. Weeks. No sign of the dog. Then one day I was getting into my van after a haircut and looked down and… the dog was there. On the floor of my van. After not being there when I got into it before the appointment, or at all for the whole time it was lost. It left me legitimately shaken. How? How did the dog get from my shelf to my car? I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I’ve settled on two possibilities:

  • It landed on the base of my wheelchair way back when it first fell and it stayed there for weeks as I buzzed around my living room and Target and various other places I went, and it just finally bumped loose when I was bonking around on the road on the way to the barber
  • The dog went on its own little adventure

Both seem equally plausible to me. Happy John Wick weekend, everyone.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR – Shoutout to the Sandman

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Adam Sandler is receiving the Mark Twain Prize for Humor tonight. That’s not true, actually. He received it a little while ago. It’s just being shown on television tonight. Either way, it’s pretty wild. Adam Sandler, the dude who was synonymous with juvenile potty humor for a few decades, is receiving our nation’s highest award for comedy. I like it. Sandler has always seemed like an extremely good dude to me, one who does his thing and tries to entertain the public at an almost relentless clip, even if some snotty critic-types have poo-pooed his work. That’s important, too. There are fart and poop jokes in Shakespeare’s finest works. It’s okay to chill out a little sometimes.

It doesn’t hurt that he also pops up in a more serious role sometimes to remind everyone that he’s super-talented. Uncut Gems, Punch-Drunk Love, etc. A lot of this was covered in a much more thorough way in this recent big sit-down profile in the Washington Post, which is itself weird because Sandler never does those, for reasons explained in the aforementioned big sit-down profile. It’s a good read. Check it out if you haven’t. I just want to talk about this part of it.

On a recent Friday afternoon, the bearded Sandler enters the room with a slight limp courtesy of hip replacement surgery he had in the fall. A few days earlier, he was in Boston, helping Sadie look at colleges. The next day he’ll go to the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards with his daughters who will watch him receive the King of Comedy Award and submit to the inevitable sliming. (Sandler is the first person to receive the top comedy honors from Nickelodeon and the Kennedy Center, let alone receive them in the same month.)

Did you see it? Did you see that last sentence in the parentheses? That might be the best encapsulation of Sandler’s career ever written. It’s true, too. That’s him getting slimed at the ceremony in the image at the top of this section. I find this incredibly cool. It also made me picture other Mark Twain prize winners getting slimed. David Letterman, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, etc. A fun little mental exercise.

It was also, to no one’s surprise, not the first time Sandler has been involved in a sliming. Here he is getting doused in 2019.

Here he is blasting Josh Gad with a slime cannon in 2015.

Talk about a life well lived, you know? Critical success, love of the masses, respect from your peers, prestigious awards named after iconic writers, and multiple slimings. Not many have done it better. Good for the Sandman.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Everything you know is a lie

Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar Welcome Event
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There’s a new interview with Guy Fieri in the Wall Street Journal, which is, I respect, a startling way to begin a paragraph, but it’s true. They ask him all sorts of stuff. Which is cool! Fieri is kind of like Sandler, in a way, in that they’re both Good Dudes who love doing things for the people. Guy Fieri drives around the country shining a spotlight on independent local eateries and once presided over a mass wedding of 100 gay couples right after California made it all legal. Again, Good Dude.

And I would gladly talk about that all day long if it wasn’t for this blockquote that shook me all the way to my core.

How many bowling shirts do you own?

I don’t think I even own one. You want to hear how that story started? I get a call to do “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and they said, “Bring a short-sleeved collared shirt.” I’m pretty much a T-shirt-and-jeans guy. Shorts. Flip-flops. I’m not a real fashion icon. I had this one Dickies work shirt that was gray on the sides and had a dark gray panel in the center. When the show got picked up, that’s what I had worn in the pilot. They go, “That’s the wardrobe.”







I will need the rest of the weekend to contemplate this. It’s like finding out Santa isn’t real. Or that he wears jeans and t-shirts. I guess that’s the better analogy. And it allows me to link to this thing I wrote a few years ago, which I still stand by today. So, not a total loss.


If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at (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 Joseph:

Dude. I’m sure 100 people have told you this already but please tell me you saw Ken Jennings doing the NoHo Hank voice on Jeopardy. I saw it and thought of you immediately. Please take this as a compliment and not the ravings of a weirdo.

Now we just need questions about Cousin Greg and James Wolk slapping a military officer while shouting “WHERE’S THE SLOTH?” I would really like to hear Mayim Bialik shout that.

A few notes here:

  • I can always tell an email is going to be a good one when it starts with “dude”
  • This was, in fact, a good one
  • So many people told me about this, including Rolling Stone chief TV critic (and my former podcast partner) Alan Sepinwall, who texted me on Friday night as soon as it happened, which was all very sweet and funny and makes me feel better about what I’m doing here than all the fancy accolades in the world
  • I still would like some fancy accolades, if that’s on the table

Thanks, buddy. Here’s the video for everyone who missed it.

Now, I just need Ken to snort a line of cocaine out of a golden box and say “Hot damn… mama like.”


I think we can get there if we put our minds to it.


To The Netherlands!

The bags stowed in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam were supposed to contain 54 metric tons of nickel. When the warehouse operator weighed the sacks, it found stones.

Well… that doesn’t seem ideal.

The missing nickel, disclosed today by the London Metal Exchange, is a blow for the exchange at a delicate time. It’s also a black eye for the nickel market, which has become the problem child of the metals industry just as demand for the silvery metal is shooting higher among EV makers.

I’m sorry but you simply cannot publish information like “nickel has become the problem child of the metals industry” without me zipping off into Daydream City for an hour with images of a bag of nickel wearing a leather jacket and throwing a house party when its parents are away while the more responsible older siblings Gold and Silver look on with disapproval. That’s just what’s going to happen. And it did. It’s happening again now, a little bit. Titanium shows up with a keg. Cobalt jumps naked into the pool. Platinum crashes his BMW into a tree but gets away with it because his dad knows the District Attorney. Everyone bolts when Copper shows up with the bubble lights flashing. I could do this all day. I won’t, but I could.

The amount of metal in question is relatively small. Nine lots, or 54 metric tons, would be valued at $1.3 million at current prices. That’s just over 0.1% of all the nickel deposited at LME warehouses and “on warrant”—or available to be delivered against exchange contracts.

I do not know exactly why or how 54 metric tons of nickel got replaced with stones, but my suspicions are either a) that someone switched them out in a nickel heist, which is hilarious when you think of the amount of work that would go into moving 54 tons of anything; and b) someone scammed them from the jump and gave them stones after they paid for nickel.

Either way, I would watch a 10-episode docuseries about it.

The LME said the company that thought it owned nickel had been informed, though it didn’t name it. The exchange asked all warehouses to check their nickel stores, and said it is working with the operator to find out what went wrong,

Please check your nickel warehouses this weekend. There could be a metal bandit on the loose. You can’t be too careful.