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 — Bless you, Ted Lasso
I assume there are lots of good and very explainable reasons for this, but I cannot get myself to watch anything serious or heavy right now. I’m an episode and a half behind on Lovecraft Country, a very good show that feeds bad guys to monsters. I haven’t even started the docuseries on the NXVIM sex cult even though it fascinated me to no end when the articles about it started pouring out. I still haven’t finished I May Destroy You even though everyone I know who has seen it is raving about it. I want to watch all these things. Maybe I will. I hope I will. But right now I just want to watch Ted Lasso.
I reviewed Ted Lasso a few weeks ago. I said then, and I’ll repeat now, that it is so much better than it has any right to be. It is incredibly sweet and charming and it features a bunch of attractive people learning how to be nicer to each other. Jason Sudeikis sports a terrific mustache, something close to a Ron Swanson. Last week they introduced a character named Dani Rojas who is a very excitable young man who smiles all the time and chants his own name a lot. I love him. If anything bad happens to him, if he even gets a parking ticket, I will be completely inconsolable.
It’s to the point that I’ve stopped watching the screeners for the show because I want to save them. New episodes come out every Friday and I have turned it into a routine. Ted Lasso has become my Friday night show. It’s good to have a Friday night show, something fun and enjoyable and lower stress to ease you into the weekend. For a long time, I would rewatch episodes of Parks and Recreation or New Girl. Sometimes I would watch those old Characters Welcome USA shows, which got a weird dismissive reaction from some fancy people when television became very prestige-y, as though there’s not room for both Breaking Bad and a show about hotshots in sunglasses solving crimes at the beach. It’s good to have that balance in your life.
I don’t have it now, though. I’ve swung the other way completely. My brain is braising in its own juices between the pandemic and the election and everything else happening in the world. The sky was just straight-up orange in San Francisco the other day. That’s not what’s supposed to happen. I don’t want to pile bleak and dark television shows on top of that. I want to watch American football coach Ted Lasso reach the troubled youths on his British soccer team. It helps that the show appears to be targeted specifically at the “people named Brian who are me” demographic, which is the only assumption I can make after they invoked the Allen Iverson “practice” rant last week.
Ted Lasso is a very good show. I don’t want you to mistake it as some fluff because of the way I’m discussing it here. It is well-made and funny and will make you feel good. Sometimes that’s all you can possibly ask for out of a television show. Especially on a Friday night. Ted Lasso is a perfect Friday night show. The world has rarely needed one more.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — Meanwhile, on Holey Moley…
The season finale of Holey Moley was this week. I’m very sad about it, in part because I will miss our nation’s finest television program and in part because the finale did not feature either of my two favorite holes, Double Dutch Courage or Polcano, both of which are just excuses to send limbs and torsos hurtling toward the water in potentially dangerous ways. How can you not have the windmills or the zip line?! Come on! I want to see more clobbering. Ugh. Feed my bloodlust, mini-golf show!
There was one fun development, though. They introduced a brand new hole called Clownin’ Around. That’s it in the GIF up there. The contestants got strapped into some spinning astronaut thing and then had to try to putt while upside-down, thanks to a ball that was magnetized to the surface. Really just a lot going on. And none of that was the best part. The best part was this.
After every missed shot, a clown walked up and smashed the contestant in the face with a whipped cream pie. Blammo, right in the kisser. My favorite part was that it happened, again, after every missed shot. So, like, yes, everyone got smashed while hanging upside-down from moon boots, but some of them got smashed a second time after missing their standard second putts. I have always said golf needs more pie-smashing. It would make things so much more interesting. Brooks Koepka missing an 8-foot putt to lose the British Open and then a clown runs out and smushes a whole whipped cream pie into his face as the winner is celebrating. That would be good television. Great television. I’m trying to help here. Listen to me.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Congrats to the happy couple
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In a wedding officiated by the king himself, the people’s princess wed her devoted, low born, but kind credit card holder in a beautiful ceremony lit by the ashen skies courtesy of a burning state miles away in the midst of a global pandemic. Refreshments were served at a small reception following.
David Harbour and Lily Allen got married this week, which was a surprise for me because I didn’t even know they were dating. I suppose that’s more on me than anything else. Apparently it was reasonably common knowledge, or at least something find-out-able. I don’t know why I’m making a big deal about this part. It’s not like they were supposed to tell me, personally, that this was going on. I mean, it would have been nice. I could have grabbed them a gift. And I’m really a lot of fun at weddings. I mingle with all the children and grandparents, I give a great speech, sometimes I have a drink or two too many and start giving people rides on my wheelchair. Their loss, really.
It does look like they had fun, though, if the Instagram photos with fake Elvis are any indication. Sayeth the groom:
In a wedding officiated by the king himself, the people’s princess wed her devoted, low born, but kind credit card holder in a beautiful ceremony lit by the ashen skies courtesy of a burning state miles away in the midst of a global pandemic.
Refreshments were served at a small reception following.
Hmm, I wonder what kind of refreshments one has after a shotgun Vegas celebrity wedding officiated by a man pretending to be Elvis Presl-
Yeah, I suppose this checks out. They seemed to have a very nice time. Without me. I’m not upset.
This all also serves as a nice reminder that Lily Allen has a bunch of fun songs that sound upbeat and fun but are actually mean as all hell, which I love. There’s this one and this one and my personal favorite, this one…
… which is a song about what a loser her little brother is and uses his real name for the title and guess what: her little brother grew up to be Alfie Allen, best known as Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones and the punk Russian monster who killed John Wick’s dog and set the events of the entire franchise in motion. That’s a lot to think about! She should update the song with all the crappy things his characters have done. Maybe after the honeymoon.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — I’m listening…
Hey, did you want an updated version of Scarface set in the present day and directed by Luca Guadagnino of Call Me By Your Name? Well, I hope you did because you’re probably getting it anyway! Let’s see what he has to say about all of this.
“The truth is that I’m interested in the Tony Montana character. He’s a symptom of the American Dream. And I think that these movies are made for their times. My own Scarface will arrive 40 years after the previous one. I think the important thing about these movies is not the fact that they’re lush and fundamental like Brian De Palma’s one. The important thing is knowing that Tony Montana is an archetypal character.”
I can dig that. Tony Montana is an extremely American character, in that he started out hungry and then consumed and consumed and then bought a tiger and killed his best friend and tried to have sex with his sister and then ended up full of cocaine and bullets and dead in his mansio-…
Wait. It appears I have veered away from the subject. I do that sometimes. But Guadagnino actually makes a good point. It is a classic story, a tragic one about the rise and fall of a man who wants everything and ends up with nothing. We can — and probably should — make a new one every 40 years. That’s reasonable. Like how we make a Scrooge movie every few Christmases. But with drugs. And guns. But otherwise the same. Kind of. Tell me more.
“The important things are: A. It has to be well done, the script has to be great – and it is. B. Our Tony Montana has to be current. I don’t want to imitate anything. C. This movie has to be shocking.”
Okay, I kind of can’t wait to see this now. I’m picturing Timothee Chalamet in a Miami nightclub with an Uzi and… hmm. What’s shocking? An elephant? That speaks Spanish? And supports Trump? I don’t know. It’s probably good Luca Guadagnino is doing this instead of me.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Diana Rigg knew her way around a good zinger
Diana Rigg passed away this week. Most people under the age of, oh, let’s say 45 probably know her best as Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones, which is fair, because she was so good in that role. Just endless zingers and burns, all the time, whenever someone crossed her. Sometimes when they didn’t cross her. Sometimes she was just hilariously mean for no apparent reason, which does not seem like a fun trait in a person you know but is very fun to watch from the safe distance of your own home. She also — spoilers here, I guess — assassinated Joffrey at his own wedding via poison she hid in someone else’s necklace. That was cool. I’ve never rooted for a child’s death harder. I felt great about it. No regrets.
Diana Rigg had a long career before that, though, including a role as London fashion magnate Lady Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper, a movie I just wrote about last week. She delivers a string of zingers in that one, too, most of them directed at her sleazebag brother Nicky (played by a scenery-chomping Charles Grodin), but at least one vicious fireball directed at this poor model.
Maybe you don’t think this is all that bad. Maybe you think her lines as Olenna Tyrell were meaner and more hurtful. That’s fine. You’re allowed to have your own opinion. But do me this favor: Next time you see a woman dressed in a fancy designer dress, walk up to her and say “That outfit’s the pits” just as dismissively as you possibly can. See how that works out for you. Report back.
My point here is that Diana Rigg was pretty great. The Muppets agree.
From delivering plot exposition to lighting up the screen with fabulous fashion, we’ll never forget #DianaRigg, our Lady Holiday. She put the great in The Great Muppet Caper.
— The Muppets (@TheMuppets) September 10, 2020
You know you lived a good life if the Muppets write a tribute to you when you pass.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or 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 assume you saw the news that Fast & Furious 9 is officially going to space. I know you’ve been beating this drum for years so I imagine it feels great to be proven correct. My question is this: If they do indeed go to outer space in this movie, how can they possibly raise the stakes for the next movies? Where can you go after you’ve been to space? It is quite literally the final frontier, after all.
Ryan, this is an excellent question. I believe you are referring to the quotes from Michelle Rodriguez this week that (kind of) (maybe) confirmed the previous quotes from Ludacris that at least one character ends up in the cosmos in the upcoming, delayed ninth Fast & Furious movie. Here is her exact quote, for the sake of accuracy:
“Oh, no way! How did you guys find that out? See what happens? People start talking behind the scenes, man. When a movie doesn’t come out and forget about it, things get out. Nobody was supposed to know that… Oh, well, no, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not lucky enough to hit space, but we did get a female writer and showed a lot of love, I think, on this one.”
Okay, three things about this:
- If they do indeed go to outer space, this will be the second time I called a ridiculous plot development, after I predicted the appearance of a submarine in the eighth movie
- There still remains a 40-50 percent chance this is all just trolling, which would be cruel in a very specific way that targets me, personally
- I really like that I got to type the phrase “confirmed the previous quotes by Ludacris” just now
To answer your question, I… I kind of don’t know. Things start getting weird after space. Like, is time travel on the table? The series has been teetering on the edge of sci-fi for a bit, with its magnet planes and scenes where The Rock removes his own cast by flexing super hard, but… yeah, time travel is probably too much. Maybe Vin Diesel will jump the Grand Canyon in a neon Honda. It’s all very exciting, these unknowns in front of us. And we still don’t know how Han is alive after his death was depicted in multiple movies. Is this a necromancy situation? Did they bring him back with voodoo?
Everything is on the table, in every possible way. It’s thrilling.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
A brown bear dubbed “Papillon” after repeated escapes from its enclosure in Italy was recaptured 42 days after its most recent escape.
Papillon, a 4-year-old male bear officially known as M49, escaped from its enclosure at the Casteller wildlife park in Trentino province July 27 by climbing over three electrified fences and breaking through a barrier of metal bars.
I respect this bear so much.
The bear was returned to Casteller, where officials said work is underway to strengthen the enclosure and prevent future escapes.
“No jail can hold me,” said Papillon the Bear, out loud, in English but with a thick Italian accent (“No jail-a can-a hold me”), in both every daydream I’ve had since reading this story and in the screenplay for a Lion King-style live-action film titled Escape Bear that I will have completed by Sunday evening at the latest.
Papillon had previously escaped twice in 2020. Officials said he was recaptured from a previous escape in April, and the bear escaped again only hours later with a female bear from the park.
And now my screenplay has a love interest. This is all coming together so well. Do you think I should invite him to the premiere, or should I just put out a press release with the date and location and let him figure it out himself. I think he might prefer that option. I have no doubt that my sweet boy Papillon the Bear can figure out how to escape his enclosure again and get from Italy to Hollywood. It’ll be great marketing. And then the story of his journey will be the sequel.
Welcome to the Papillon The Bear Cinematic Universe.