TV

The Rundown: Adrien Brody Is The Layered King Of ‘Succession’

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 — Look at this guy

There are a lot of things I like about Succession. I like watching the rich dweebs tear each other apart. I like watching Brian Cox growl profanity at every person who tiptoes within earshot. I like watching Cousin Greg be the most awkward boy in the entire world every single moment he’s on-screen. But I think my favorite thing is the specificity.

There are examples galore here, the little things the show does that make the characters more than caricature, that explain them better than any long monologue could. Things like Greg asking Logan for a rum and Coke when they sat down for the type of meeting where people drink scotch. Things like Kendall Roy having a child whose first name is Iverson. Things like, to get the point I’m wandering toward, Adrien Brody showing up in the third season as a billionaire investor and looking like this.

ADRIEN BRODY SUCCESSION
HBO

Look at this guy. Look at the layers he’s wearing. We’ve got a shirt and a hoodie and a vest and a scarf and a beanie on top of it all. All for a hike from his mansion to his private beach for a meal of various expensive shellfish that they barely ate before turning around and hiking back. Have you ever seen anything so perfect? He’s dressed like he’s hiking Everest. The scarf is what put me over the top. I didn’t notice it at first glance. But there it is, wrapped around his neck, under the hoodie and vest, because why wouldn’t this guy just wear everything at once? It’s such a beautiful rich dipshit move. He woke up in a $50 million home and dressed up like a lumberjack to eat lobster with other billionaires. I’m so proud of everyone involved in every part of this decision.

What do you think his closet looks like? Because I have an image in my head, crystal clear. It’s actually two closets. The first one is full of suits and tuxedos and various formal attire. The second one is down in his basement, near thousands of dollars of fishing and hunting gear he’s never used. There’s a raft on the floor that has never been inflated. And this closet is just full of vests. Dozens of them. In every color. Multiples of some because he forgot he already had them. There are hoodies and beanies and massive outdoorsy sweaters on the other side, like a Chris Evans in Knives Out situation. Some of them cost as much as your first car. And he goes down there and just starts throwing items of clothing on until he starts sweating right there, indoors. And then he wraps a scarf around it all. And then he’s ready.

It all raises an important question, one related to the thing that happened later where he got them lost on the way home (the shortcut that takes longer), where Logan had a health issue that will happen to old sedentary bears who hibernate in an office all day (mixed metaphor, work with me). The question is this: Is this character stupid or evil?

My first instinct was evil, that he set up the whole wandering hike to test Logan’s health and strength as a leader. I wrote it all up that way in my next-day Report Card post. But then…

Then I saw the scarf. With the hoodie and the vest and the beanie.

And I started wondering…

Maybe he’s just a big old idiot. Maybe he was being sincere about the shortcut taking longer sometimes. Maybe he’s just another rich doofus like everyone else on the show, just one who’s dressed like he’s going to fish for crab in Alaska for no reason as all.

Either way, he’s perfect for the show. I love him. I hope he shows up next week wearing more layers. Throw a fur-lined parka on over everything. Put on mittens. Just do it all.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — God bless television’s sweet awkward princes

Joe Pera Talks With You came back on Sunday night. This is good news for a lot of reasons, but mostly it is good news for me because I like it a lot. We’ve discussed this before, plenty of times, but still. The first two 11-minute episodes were about buying a recliner and building a fire. These are perfect topics for episodes of Joe Pera Talks With You because they are both somehow about nothing and everything. It’s a whole thing. Not everyone will like this show, with its deliberate pace and off-center style, but the people who do like it will really, really like it. I love shows like that.

Anyway, he was on Late Night With Seth Meyers to promote both the new season of his show and his new book, which has a title that is worth watching the video for even if that was the only thing in the video. It wasn’t, though. He also showed Seth a pitch for another show he had been tinkering with back when Adult Swim greenlit this one. The pitch is, to be clear, incredible. It’s got PT Cruisers and Mini Coopers and PT Anderson and Bradley Cooper and a character named, I promise, Supreme Court Justice Keith Asshole. I would have adored this show. I adore his current show, too, and am fine with the way things worked out, but I would have been fine with this other version, for certain. It’s like a version of Sliding Doors where I’m just happy in both. It would make for a boring movie but a pleasant existence.

While I’m on the subject of awkward dudes who make shows that are simple on the surface but contain enough depth to fit a submarine, How To With John Wilson is coming back, too. Look, here’s a trailer.

It is also so good and off-center and moves at its own deliberate pace. And I adore it, too. The first season is on HBO Max right now. I recommend you dive into a first watch or a re-watch before season two starts. I recommend this because it’s good and I want you to watch cool stuff that I like too, but also because HBO released the episode titles for season two and I am really excited.

Season 2, Episode 1: “How To Invest in Real Estate”
Season 2, Episode 2: “How To Appreciate Wine”
Season 2, Episode 3: “How To Find a Spot”
Season 2, Episode 4: “How To Throw Out Your Batteries”
Season 2, Episode 5: “How To Remember Your Dreams”
Season 2, Episode 6: “How To Be Spontaneous”

I cannot wait to find out what “How To Find a Spot” means. And to learn how to find a spot. And to go find one. And to be in that spot I found. It’s service journalism he’s doing here, really.

Joe Pera and John Wilson. Good dudes.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — I must know everything about Salma Hayek’s haunted London Mansion

The last time we discussed Salma Hayek it was because she told an interviewer about her fancy wine-drinking pet owl and, like, to be extremely clear, “famous actress Salma Hayek told an interviewer about her fancy wine-drinking pet owl” is pretty much why this weekly column exists. Because I need to talk about that kind of thing somewhere, with someone, and it’s easier to do it this way than to run around and tell each of you individually in person. It’s an efficiency thing, mostly. I’d spend so much money on gas.

Which brings us to another story about Salma Hayek and the reason this column exists: She went on Ellen this week and revealed that her London mansion is haunted. You are welcome to watch the video and hear her talk about her haunted London mansion. I’ve watched it three times this week. Here are the highlights:

  • Salma Hayek’s staff at her London mansion started quitting because lights were going off and doors were closing on their own, leading people to believe there were ghosts
  • Salma Hayek’s husband, French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, thought it was all “nonsense,” but she went ahead and called in an expert to get the ghosts to leave
  • Let’s go ahead and quote Salma Hayek here: “Oh my goodness. So he came…and he starts going through the house and is like, ‘Yeah there’s an old lady here and a child’ and this and that. Everybody’s like freaking out even more. It’s worse because he found like 20 [ghosts].”
  • One of the 20 ghosts the exorcist found was a nun who had “good vibes” and the exorcist would not get rid of the nun because Salma Hayek only tasked her with “getting rid of the bad vibes,” which is maybe the greatest thing I’ve ever heard

Between the haunted mansion and the fancy wine-drinking owl and principled vibe-detecting exorcist, Salma Hayek is basically living in a real-life Muppet movie. This is fascinating to me in ways I’m going to have trouble articulating. It’s just… yeah, fascinating. I’m going to need someone to interview Salma Hayek every three or four weeks for the next year or two, just to see what else she has to share. Nothing could surprise me at this point.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — It is kind of hilarious that It’s Always Sunny is making legitimate television history now

This is the trailer for the upcoming 15th season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is one of those things that seems normal to type until you actually stop and look at it. Fifteen seasons! That is so many seasons! It is so many seasons, in fact, that it will break the record for longest-running live-action comedy that was previously held by The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.

This is funny in two distinct ways: One, because this goofball show about Philly bar goons is making legitimate television history; two, because, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot, I do not think there is a more different show in existence show for them to be taking this record from. This is pretty much the only set of circumstances you could come up with where they’d even be in the same sentence. I’ll stop now, for you, but please know my brain will keep cranking on this for hours.

Here’s the blurb from the press release about the new season:

Like a fine Irish whiskey, Sunny’s distinct flavor has gotten richer and intensified through the years. First barreled in 2005, the show has become a landmark for dark comedy and American satire, uniting the most devoted of fans from all over the country and abroad, and this monumental 15th season is truly one to crack open and celebrate. Continuing to deliver some of the hardest laughs on television while tackling society’s most pressing issues, Sunny turns its fearless focus both outward and inward: to a national and international level but also to a deeply personal level. This is a season that sees The Gang try to exploit pandemic aid, sidestep cancel culture, evade criminal justice, reflect on their origins, and reconcile their identities and homeland roots.

I am vibrating with excitement about seeing these bozos in another country. And the rest of it, too. There’s a lot of smart stuff hidden in here, and there has been for a long time. It’s got a Simpsons-y feel to it that way, mixing the insightful with the deeply stupid. It makes me happy. I’m glad it’s back and I’m glad it’s setting records, in part because it deserves all the accolades it gets and in part because of the thing I said about it all being hilarious to me.

And while I’m on the subject of Always Sunny and things that are hilarious to me…

I don’t want to say this is a perfect tweet because I’ve seen this tweet by Sylvester Stallone, but I will say it’s pretty damn close.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — It brings me great pleasure to report that Jack McBrayer has discovered vodka

Jack McBrayer is a sweet man who was delightful on 30 Rock and has a new show about being solid/nice called Hello, Jack. He’s out doing press for the latter, although he could just keep doing press for the former for all I care (see above), and as part of that press, he swung by The AV Club for an interview. It’s a fun interview for a lot of reasons, but mostly because of, well, this…

Did you pick up any new skills, hobbies, or get into something you hadn’t before during quarantine?

JM: I have to be honest with you. I had never really tried vodka before 2020. Now I drink it readily. [Laughs.] Especially during the summer I was like, “Oh, vodka kind of goes with anything.” So I was having a vodka-lemonade. I was having vodka-Kool-Aid. I’m a grown man who would make my own Kool-Aid to have a vodka-Kool-Aid by the pool. I was like, “Yep. I have figured life out. I cracked the code.”

This is perfect. I have nothing to add. Nor should I. Nothing I type into this box can possibly top the mental image of Jack McBrayer, months into a global pandemic, mixing up a Kool-Aid and vodka in his kitchen and saying, “Well that is wonderful.” So let’s just leave it there.

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 Derek:

I just want you to know that I saw Vin Diesel’s Instagram post where he called The Rock his “little brother” and my first instinct was “I need to make sure Brian has seen this.” We don’t even know each other. We’ve never met. But this was still so important to me that it jumped into my brain before any other thought. So… thank you? You’re welcome? Both?

Either way, I’m so happy for you.

Derek, thank you. It delights me to no end that you felt this way. You weren’t the only one, either. I wrote last week about how much their feud fueled me personally and then Vin posted this and so many people sent it to me. In so many forms. I got emails and tweets and DMs and text messages and someone I saw in person asked me if I’d seen it before we even got through our hellos. It makes me feel great about what I’m doing out here. This is not sarcasm. I love it.

The only awkward thing is that many of these texts/tweets/DMs came in while I was killing some time in a Panera before an appointment, just grabbing a smoothie and a cookie and chilling at a table. I kid you not that I was sitting there at a table, by myself, looking at my phone and openly giggling. It’s a weird thing to be doing for any of us, giggling out loud at a table in a fast-casual lunch/bakery spot, but it’s especially funny for me because of the thing where I’m in a wheelchair and the people sitting near me had to process, like, all of that. They were trying so hard not to stare. It was adorable.

So thank you Derek and everyone else who sent it and Vin Diesel and The Rock. And I’m sorry to the people in the Panera who didn’t know what to do about it all.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Puerto Rico!

With necks craned and eyes shielded from the sun, dozens of people gathered Wednesday around a towering eucalyptus tree in the heart of Puerto Rico’s bustling capital for a most unusual sight: a rhesus macaque monkey on the loose.

MONKEY ON THE LOOSE

“Give it some lunch to make it come down!” one man yelled.

“It’s too fat to come down!” retorted a woman nearby.

“Oh my gosh, it must be scared,” chimed in a third person.

LEAVE HIM ALONE

I’m sorry. This is unprofessional. I should add context. The short version is that there’s a monkey in a tree and no one knows where he came from or how he got there and LEAVE HIM ALONE HE’S A GOOD BOY.

Ugh. I’m a terrible journalist. Let’s leave this to the real one writing this story, who went and interviewed a local animal expert about it all.

He went to the scene with doubts, but there it was: a juvenile male rhesus macaque, which is native to south, central and southeast Asia.

“This is not normal,” Marcano said on Wednesday as he observed workers from his agency place a ladder between the tree and the rooftop of a nearby apartment and filled a cage with water, oranges and bananas to lure the monkey.

I SAID TO LEAVE HIM ALONE

HE’S FINE

MAYBE HE LIKES IT UP THERE

But the monkey refused to budge further, moving up and down the tree at times to the delight of the crowd below that included students, security guards and waiters.

“Look! Look! It’s moving! There it goes! There it goes!” yelled one woman as she pointed upward.

GOOD

Picture and videos of the monkey filled social media, with the animal drawing ever-more attention while staunchly staying in the tree.

“I feel bad for it, honestly,” said Stephen Hoppe, a 34-year-old business owner who shot a video of the monkey. “I imagine it’s terrified. … Everyone is wondering where it came from.”

I need a 10-episode Netflix docuseries about this. It’ll be better than Tiger King. Let John C. Reilly narrate. Or, even better, send him to the scene. Him and Jack Black. Send them both and let them host and interview people. This paragraph started as a joke but now I could not be more serious. Listen to me.

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