The Rundown: An Incomplete List Of TV Characters Who Should Have A Peloton-Related Catastrophe At Some Point

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 — This is officially a thing now

A few weeks ago, Chris Noth’s character on the Sex and the City continuation series, And Just Like That, died as a result of a Peloton-related calamity. This was, and still is, extremely funny to me. It was a whole big thing, too. It was all over the news. Peloton had to put out a statement and everything. A full-on fiasco. The chaos of it all was delicious.

Then, this Sunday, against staggering odds, it happened again. Kind of. It kind of happened again. On the season premiere of Billions, Mike Wagner, played with mustache-twirling glee by David Costabile, was cranking away on his own Peloton when the paramedics burst into his home to inform him he was having a heart attack. They knew because of the device’s various monitors and gizmos and such. I don’t understand it all, to be honest, beyond knowing that it is very, very funny that it all happened again. Here, proof.

billions wags peloton

The takeaways from all of this are twofold:

  • It does not seem like a fun time to work in the media relations department at Peloton
  • This is officially a trend now

That second thing is important. Two characters have suffered Peloton-related health emergencies this year. The general rule is that things in life tend to happen in threes, which raises a question I am beyond delighted to try to answer: Who is next? What television character will — should — suffer a Peloton-related health crisis to complete the circle?

Below, I have listed some options. The key things to know here are as follows:

  • Some of these are characters I would like to see killed or maimed because I hate them a lot, but most are just the ones I think would be funniest
  • I have included characters who are no longer on television, in part because Sex and the City came back and killed someone off and in part because it’s really funny to me to picture Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos having a heart attack on a robot bicycle

Make your own list if you’re so great

Here we go.

Literally any character on Succession

I’m serious here. Any of them. More than one. Kendall, sure, yes. Roman, of course. Shiv and/or Tom would be hilarious. Cousin Greg is maybe too on the nose but still something I want to see as long as he survives it. Karl or Frank would be perfect for this, too. Especially Karl. There is a 100 percent chance he owns a Peloton. I can see him right now with the towel wrapped around his neck. You can, too. Just give it a second.

Henry Winkler’s character on Barry

Henry Winkler could make an entire meal out of a Peloton crisis and I think we should let him do it.

Judy Gemstone

gemstones JUDY

Peddling with alarming intensity until her heart tries to burst out of her body, BJ finding her and shrieking a little. I need it.

Pete Campbell

The tricky thing here is that Mad Men was set in the 1960s and 1970s and the Peloton was not invented for another 40ish years. I get that. I do. But consider this: It would be hilarious. Pete Campbell was the worst. I once wrote 1000 words about how I wanted him to get eaten by a bear. This works, too.

Paulie Walnuts

Please take five minutes today and picture Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos having a mild heart attack on a Peloton. My gift to you.

Frank from It’s Always Sunny

Danny DeVito on an exercise bike, pumping away, really getting after it, then clutching his chest dramatically. This is comedy.

Queen Elizabeth on The Crown

It would make me happier than any of you could imagine if the next season of The Crown threw historical accuracy into the toilet and killed off Elizabeth via exercise bike disaster. I would never stop laughing.

Dewey Crowe from Justified

I miss him a lot. Just make this like a web short. For me. Send it just to me.

Kim Wexler and/or Lalo Salamanca

Kim and Lalo both exist in Better Call Saul but they’re both gone by Breaking Bad. Why? What happens?


Steve Martin’s character on Only Murders in the Building


Just for the physical comedy.

George Costanza

Perfect. No notes.

Baby Yoda

Baby Yoda trying to ride an exercise bike with his tiny little limbs, maybe getting electrocuted and launched 50 feet through the air, then landing, healthy and alive but dazed, and making one of his little faces.

This is television.

Vision from WandaVision

Here for the robot-on-robot violence.

Laszlo from What We Do in the Shadows

Need to hear him call it like “a confounded contraption” in the full Matt Berry voice.

These are good ideas.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — Being a historically great Jeopardy! champion seems weird

Amy Schneider Jeopardy Champ
Jeopardy Productions

The bad news here is that Amy Schneider’s run as Jeopardy champ ended this week. It’s bad for a few reasons, too, but mostly it’s bad because I love a dominant Jeopardy champ. I love to see them rip off win after win, I love to see people get excited, I love to see the close calls where they squeak out a win over a worthy competitor. Sometimes I daydream about being the one to take them down and I picture the crowd cheering for me — the scrappy underdog defeating the invincible champ — like it’s the end of Rocky IV or something. You are not allowed to psychoanalyze me for this. It is, I believe, a HIPAA violation.

There is good news, though, starting with the fact that she’ll actually get the million-plus she won for winning all those games. Jeopardy winners don’t get paid until their winning streaks are over. I learned that this week from this article in The Ringer by Claire McNear, who is basically the world’s foremost Jeopardy expert, and just generally very good at this stuff. Other things I learned from her article:

  • Amy actually had to get demoted on-purpose at work because she was missing so much time
  • Keeping the secret kind of forces you to become a spy

Here, look:

For players like Schneider, whose streaks have necessitated repeat trips to Los Angeles for taping, the secrecy of a streak-in-progress is that much harder to preserve. Jennings, for one, was forced to tip his hand to his boss, who covered for him with a series of excuses about sudden conflicts and illnesses, to the point that Jennings felt like he had a secret identity.

“Lying to everyone I know for months on end is taking a psychological toll as well,” Jennings wrote in his 2006 memoir, Brainiac. “The secret starts to make me feel a little schizophrenic. A couple days a month, I’m the Ken Jennings who’s shattered game show records, whose ever-growing daily winnings total is starting to look like a life-changing amount of money. But nobody knows about him yet. I still have to come home and be Ken Jennings the boring suburban dad, in his same old mundane treadmill of an office job, pretending nothing has happened.”

I want to be very clear about a couple of things here. The first is that this sounds both cool and stressful. Equally so, basically. I think it would be fun at first to play secret agent about all of it. I would have a blast coming up with excuses and sneaking around and having a little secret. One that’s good and won’t hurt anyone. A nice little secret, for me. And money. A secret and money. That could be cool.

This brings us to the second thing, though: There is something approaching a 100 percent chance that I would blab this secret to someone/everyone if it lasted longer than, say, two weeks. I would try to get cute about it, like “maybe I’ll be on longer than you think…” and then people would start grilling me and I’d spill it out everywhere. Everyone would know. The people at Jeopardy would be so mad at me.

The lesson here is that you should not tell me if you commit a crime. You will absolutely go to jail because of me. I’m sorry. But it’s better that you know.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Finally, someone has made a movie about thieves who use speedboats to rob yachts


Okay, so technically, if we’re being sticklers here, the picture at the top of this post is tangentially related to the subject matter. At best. It’s a screencap from a movie called Speed Kills, where John Travolta plays a champion speed boat racer who gets in business with drug runners and it becomes a whole thing. I watched it three years ago and wrote like 2000 words about it. I have so many screencaps of John Travolta driving a speedboat. Still. Today. Which turned out to be useful today. Joke’s on you.

Anyway, context. The greatest movie I’ve ever heard of was announced this week. Look at this. Read it all twice.

Jake Gyllenhaal is set to star in “Cut and Run,” a heist thriller about a group of thieves who use high-powered speed boats to rob super-yachts. Their caper takes a turn when they steal the wrong thing from the wrong group of people.

This is quite possibly the best one-two punch of sentences I’ve ever read. There is so much going on here, almost all of it wonderful. It keeps getting better, too. Because you think it can’t get better than “Jake Gyllenhaal starring in a heist movie called Cut and Run about dudes in speedboats robbing dudes in super-yacht” and then, blammo, “they steal the wrong thing from the wrong people.”

I’m already dying to know what this means. What is the wrong thing? Who are the wrong people? Did they steal a nuclear bomb from an arms dealer? Did they steal Dominic Toretto’s child? Did Jake Gyllenhaal steal an unreleased collection of songs by Taylor Swift, who in this scenario is playing a version of herself that is also secretly an international supervillain who has a pet alligator named Randy Sugarman?

Anything is possible right now. I’m almost too excited. I hope this becomes a franchise and I hope it goes on for decades and I hope the ninth movie features Jake Gyllenhaal driving a speedboat to outer space.

I’m a simple man.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — If this is an Olympic event this year, I will definitely watch the Winter Olympics

It is my position, generally, that the Summer Olympics are better than the Winter Olympics. The Summer Olympics have cooler events and a more diverse slate — track and swimming and gymnastics and fencing and basketball and horse things and so on — and just feel more right in a bunch of ways. Maybe it’s because I hate winter, as a concept. Maybe it’s because I was never into stuff like skiing or skating. Maybe it’s because so many of the events seem to me like falling down a mountain in different elaborate ways. I don’t know. It’s just how it’s always been.

That said, if this commercial represents a real new event this time, in the Winter Olympics that start next month, I will change my tune. Because, like…


See, this I can work with. Why are you racing down an icy mountain on two skinny planks? Because DINOSAURS ARE CHASING YOU. Every world record would be broken. It would be thrilling. Some skiers and spectators would get eaten, sure. But the survivors would be true champions. Maybe we can put the dinosaurs on skis too. That would be funny. They’d be so mad. Stupid angry dinosaurs.

There is a very real chance that this commercial for the Winter Olympics and the new Jurassic World movie ends up bringing me more joy than the Winter Olympics and the new Jurassic World combined. I feel okay about it.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Hey look, some good tweets


Joe Pera is the best. We’ve discussed this. His show, Joe Pera Talks With You, is so good and so pure and so sweet and so funny. But that’s not the point right now. It’s true, but not the point. It’s kind of the point, actually. Because Joe Pera is also from Buffalo. He roots for the Buffalo Bills. Do you see where I’m going here? I’ll explain.

The Buffalo Bills played the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL playoffs last Sunday. It was one of the craziest football games I’ve ever seen. The last two minutes and overtime featured like four touchdowns and insane twists and I was almost out of breath watching it even though I don’t care about either team too much. People were going nuts. My twitter feed was scrolling faster than the Price Is Right wheel, with dozens of “BEST GAME OVER” and “HOLY SHIT” tweets, and then, mixed in there, like a flawless diamond in a pit of spiders, was Buffalo Bills fan Joe Pera tweeting this.

Beautiful. Perfect. I love him so much. All three seasons of his show are on HBO Max and all the episodes are like 12 minutes long and I just said all of this earlier this month. Please listen to me. I’ll just keep repeating myself until you do.

Hey, speaking of good tweets that I love…

I promise this is not hyperbole: I have watched this video at least 50 times this week since my colleague Josh Kurp showed it to me in Slack. It could be closer to 100. I watched it like 10 times in a row just now, while I was supposed to be writing this section. I bet I’ll watch it at least five more times before I finish. I refuse to do any additional research into it because it’s probably a bummer and I simply will not research myself into ruining something so beautiful.

I’m going to move on now but I understand if you get stuck here and just keep watching this clip. You’ll miss the phrase “contraband bologna” if you stop here, which is coming up soon, I promise, but I’ll understand. We’re all doing the best we can.


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 Matt:

Somehow, you have missed the most important pop culture event of the past two weeks: the debut of the intro video for Peacemaker. I don’t care that you ignored the show. It’s the dance routine we must discuss. First, let’s watch.

Where to begin. Is it the amazing choreography for John Cena’s weirdly swollen body? The seriousness of the expressions? Robert Patrick’s crotch explosion? I am going to propose it’s actually with the song, “Do You Want To Taste It” by Wig Wam. Consider that this song was recorded only 10 years ago. By these Norwegian guys. One of them is named Flash– can you guess which?

All of this is amazing.

James Gunn is somehow our greatest director now.

This is just a really good email. I like that it takes me to task for whiffing on something I should have — given everything we know about me at this point — covered extensively. I like that it includes both links and research. I like that it kind of does my job for me.

But first, just in case you didn’t click on the hyperlinks in there, here’s the aforementioned Peacemaker opening credits, which are beautiful and borderline revolutionary…

… and here is the full-length music video for the song by the aforementioned Norwegian band.

It’s all quite lovely. Yes, sure, the Succession credits with its theme song with the cascading tinkly pianos. We all love it. But that’s a little too classy for all occasions. Sometimes you need something chaotic and silly. That’s what this is. Chaos and silliness for the sake of being chaotic and silly. I appreciate it a lot. I’m so proud of all of them.

It’s a good reminder, too: there really aren’t as many rules out there as you think there are. You can get weird and break stuff a little sometimes. The only thing stopping you is the guardrails you slapped on your imagination around age 12. Bust those suckers down if you want. Get weird. Have John Cena dance a little.

This is admittedly a pretty specific example. Most of us don’t even know John Cena. And it would be weird if you ran into him and just shouted like “DANCE, JOHN.” So maybe don’t do that. But the rest of the point stands. Excellent email, Matt.


To the Texas border!

Hundreds of pounds of contraband pork bologna were seized at the Texas border as U.S. citizens tried smuggling the lunch meat in two recent incidents, officials say.





In the first case, a 40-year-old resident of Albuquerque tried entering the U.S. at the Paso Del Norte crossing in El Paso on Jan. 13, according to a CBP news release. He did not declare having any meat products. During an inspection of his car, agriculture specialists with the agency say they found 55 pounds of bologna hidden under a bag of chips, under the seats and in the trunk compartment of the SUV.

Imagine getting arrested for smuggling 55 pounds of bologna. Imagine explaining that to… anyone.

“It says here you were arrested in 2022. What happened?”

“So… you’re familiar with bologna, the lunch meat, right?”

Fascinating. And it gets weirder.

In the second incident, on Jan. 21, a 40-year-old resident of Pueblo West, Colorado, tried entering the Ysleta border crossing in El Paso, officials say. She also did not declare any meat products. But when her vehicle was inspected, officials say they found 19 rolls of bologna totaling 188 pounds under the back seat, inside the duvet cover liners and hidden with some luggage

The thing about this one is that I kind of just want to see 188 pounds of bologna. It seems like a lot. I also kind of want to see footage of the search, just to see the faces of people nearby when the agents just keep pulling bologna out of the car, over and over and over.

I’ve got to believe this kind of thing is rare, though. I can’t imagine bologna smuggling happens a lot.

This isn’t the first time someone tried illegally bringing bologna into the U.S.


Tell me everything.

In September, McClatchy News reported that a motorist tried bringing 320 pounds of bologna and 30 pounds of turkey ham across the Texas border.

And in February, 277 pounds of contraband bologna were found in the floorboards of a car crossing the New Mexico border. Also that month and in New Mexico, McClatchy News reported that 194 pounds of bologna were seized from a different vehicle.

I need three seasons on any streaming service about this as soon as possible. We can start with a McMillions-style documentary and then branch out to the Narcos-style loose fictionalization. Get Paul Giamatti as a frustrated bureaucrat. Get Brian Tyree Henry as a border patrol agent. Get Florence Pugh as an international bologna smuggling queenpin.

I am not joking. I would never joke about contraband bologna.