Checking In…with the Voice Cast of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

"A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality."

If you don't like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, featuring the gang from Peanuts, then, I'm sorry, you're a monster. It's a heartwarming tale about childhood belief, dogs fighting in World War I, getting dissapointed by well-meaning, yet idiotic adults, and not being able to stay awake through the night. In other words, it's perfect.

Great Pumpkin first aired on October 27, 1966 on CBS, and it's been re-aired on that network and, beginning in 2001, on ABC every year since. Like the comic strips themselves, it was written by brilliant man Charles M. Schultz, and it's become as much a part of Halloween as dressing up and eating hideous amounts of candy. But what are the kids (and adult) who provided the voices for Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, etc. up to today? Come take some proverbial candy from this definitely-not-a-stranger and see. READ MORE


Community Recap: "Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps" (and the Show's Best Costumes)


As shown during the tag of last week’s episode, Britta asked everyone in the Study Group to fill out a simple psychology test for her. Now, she has the PENIS to the PENIS, and the PENIS shows that someone in the Seven could have been in Seven. To find out the potential-killer, she gets everyone to tell supposedly spooky stories, which end up revealing not which of them might slash their throats in the middle of the night, but rather, about the kind of people they are, and how they see everyone else in the group.

For instance, Abed’s story is logical to a fault. He chooses to fill plot holes rather than tell an actually scary story (and that maybe he has affections for Britta and her symmetrical face, too?), while Pierce spins an old man yarn about how he’s irresistible to the ladies (Shirley, Britta, and Annie, AT THE SAME TIME) and his penis is evidently long enough that he can beat up people with it. Shirley’s an angel who comes down from Heaven not to save her weed-loving, flannel-wearing friends from the Rapture but to rub it in their faces that they should have been more Christian, and Troy literally can’t live without Abed, when the two are sewn together by a crazy, racist old guy who bares a strong resemblance to another crazy, racist old guy they know. Then there’s Annie, our dear sweet Annie. READ MORE


Kermit Was Kind of a Dick: Dissecting the Worries About the New Muppets Movie

Ever since Disney announced they were relaunching the Muppets with a new Muppet movie, one that stars my imaginary BFFs Amy Adams and Jason Segel, as well as my actual BFFs Rizzo the Rat and Crazy Harry, I've been counting down the days until the film's release. (Less than a month now!) So I was extremely disheartened to read in the Hollywood Reporter that Frank Oz and others in the old guard Muppets crew are expressing concern about how much Segel really GETS the Muppets, y'know? (Read that sentence again as Janice, and it's a lot more fun.) But then I read it as a Muppet Show fan, and thought to myself, "Maybe they're just bitter?" In fact, there's only one thing I'm scared about from the trailer that might make it into the movie: the use of "We Built This City" by Starship. Let's go through the Reporter article, shall we? READ MORE


Checking In…with the Creators of MTV's Animated Comedies

In t-minus six days, the guys who once called Pavement out on not trying hard enough will be back cornholio’ing our hearts all over again. I am, of course, talking about Beavis and Butt-head, the fire-and-boob loving stars of Beavis and Butt-head Do America. Oh yeah, and they also had that TV show, which ran on MTV from 1993-1997. It’ll be a welcome return not only for fans of the show, but also those who loved MTV’s slate of animated programming in the 1990s and 2000s. Let’s take a look at what the creators of Beavis and Butt-head, Daria, Celebrity Deathmatch, and 3 South are up to today. READ MORE


Checking In…with the Singers of Billboard-Charting Funny Novelty Songs

In 1978, America had King Tut fever. The Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibit, which had previously visited Washington DC, Chicago, and Seattle, among other major American cities, made its way to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Over 1.3 million people paid to see artifacts from the Boy King, and over 30 years later, it’s still the Met’s most popular exhibition in its 141-year history. Elsewhere, “King Tut,” a song written by Steve Martin (“Buried with a donkey, he’s my favorite honky”) and first performed on Saturday Night Live, hit #17 on the Billboard charts, a rather remarkable feat for a novelty song. But “King Tut” wasn’t the first one of its genre kind to hit the Billboard charts. Here’s a look at five other artists who have done the same, and what their careers looked like following their wisecracking success. READ MORE


Community Recap: Timeline-by-Timeline Analysis of "Remedial Chaos Theory"

"Bienvenido de la casa Chez Trobed."

There is a lot to go over in last night’s brilliant episode of Community, “Remedial Chaos Theory,” the show’s most clever way of spending little to no money yet (with the exception of the rights to “Roxanne”), so let’s do this timeline-by-timeline, yes?

Actually, before we get to that, a question: Pierce mentioned that he had sex with Eartha Kitt in last week's episode, when the Seven speaks to Omar, and no one blinked an eye; does that mean these episodes airdates were swapped? That would explain why their apartment is 303, the episode's production order. Also: props to writer Chris McKenna, who also penned "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" and "Paradigms of Human Memory" (and the best episode of American Dad!, too: "Rapture's Delight"), for thinking everything out, Lost-style, and evaluating how the Seven would react with one member missing.

To the timelines! Just remember the paraphrased advice your father gave you on your wedding day: if you travel through time, don't step on anything. READ MORE


Six Things The Simpsons Could Do In Seasons 24 and 25 to Rejuvenate the Series

Late last week, news broke that after seemingly months of speculation, even though it was in reality about a week (a HELLACIOUS week, though), The Simpsons will air for two more seasons, its 24th and 25th. That means that in the spring of 2014, there will be over 550 episodes of the world’s most perfectly cromulent show for public consumption, and millions of “This show is still on?” comments on whatever social media platform that will soon destroy Twitter.

But yes, The Simpsons is still on TV. Although it’s not as era-defining as it was during seasons 2-12, it’s still a good sitcom, one that can occasionally come up with a great episode, like “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” and “Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words.” But there are ways of improving the show for its final two seasons (we're going under the assumption that it's done after that), and for the writers to have some fun. Such as… READ MORE


Checking In…with the Recurring Characters of Arrested Development

You’re probably all sick of this by now, but what the heck? ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT IS (probably) COMING BACK. YAYYY. Almost nothing is known about the plot, when it will shoot, how it will be released, or even who’s involved, but as long as they don’t bring back Rita, I think we’re in for a mighty fine fourth season/movie. (Uncle Trevor can come back, though.)

One of the greatest things about AD (and there are many) was the show’s wide array of recurring characters, second only to The Simpsons in my mind. There’s, of course, Gene Parmesan, Ted, Office Taylor, Sally Sitwell, Larry Middleman, Lucille Austero…the list goes on and on. Below I’ve picked ten of my favorite returning characters, and what the actors and actresses who played them are up to. READ MORE


Community Recap: "Competitive Ecology"

"Your love is weird and toxic."

I’m a big fan of sitcom episodes where a new, normal character begins hanging out with the main cast of the show, and he or she quickly realizes, “These people are awful.” Think of the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode from last season, where Jason Sudekis, as Schmitty, joins the gang again (and gets thrown out of a car), or when Frank Grimes meets Homer Simpson. It’s a step further than a show paying attention to a character it hasn’t before, or winking at the fact that Joey, Chandler, Ross, Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel never hang out with anyone who’s not Joey, Chandler, Ross, Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel.

It’s much funnier, too, because really, the Greendale Seven is made up of some self-centered people. READ MORE


Scenes from Behind the Scenes of The Onion News Network

I walk over to Suzanne Sena, the star of satirical news program Onion News Network, which premieres tonight at 10 p.m. for its second season on IFC, and after only 15 seconds of conversation, something is immediately clear: I’m not sure whether I’m talking to Sena or her anchor alter ego, Brooke Alvarez.

This discussion occurred two weeks ago at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, NY, where the sophomore season of ONN was filmed. ONN was being shot as if it were an actual, live news program, where the anchor has to move from one desk to another in the time it takes for a segment to air. Sena, wearing a loud pink dress, is sitting (you’d want to relax your feet, too, if you had to wear the heel she had on — she later put on slippers to decrease the tension on her toes) and drinking water from a bottle with an orange straw, in the middle of everything, while the crew prepares for the next scene. She's getting a much-needed breather, or was until I'm invited over.

We exchange formalities, and I ask how things are going. Possibly because of the demanding nature of her character, an award-winning anchor who believes to be a good journalist, you must have both the beauty and bite of a Venus Flytrap, Sena, a former Fox News personality, remains half in-character the entire time, talking about herself and referring to the “gleefully single” Alvarez in the third-person in the same sentence. They’re one in the same, those two, and it’s only when she winks at you or flashes a genuine smile, revealing her so-white-that-it’s-no-wonder-she’s-an-anchor teeth, do you realize Alvarez’s personality might be huge, but Sena’s acting is subtle. READ MORE


Checking In…with the Cast of 3rd Rock from the Sun

Following in the long line of American Splendor and Funny People, the "cancer comedy" 50/50 is released in theaters today. It's written by Will Reiser, who was diagnosed with cancer in his 20s, and stars Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or JGL for short. JGL's been in the public eye since the late 1980s, when he appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies and in two episodes of Family Ties. But his biggest break-out moment came when he was cast on 3rd Rock from the Sun, about a family of aliens living on Earth. The show ran for six seasons and was nominated for a plethora of Emmy Awards. Since 3rd Rock went off the air in 2001 after 139 episodes, JGL's gone on to have a very successful movie career, including lauded roles in Brick, (500) Days of Summer, and Inception. He also owns hitRECord, an online collaborative production company, and seems to be an all-around swell guy. But what of the rest of the 3rd Rock cast? Well… READ MORE


Animated Archer Recap: "Hearts of Archness, Pt. III"

"Don't talk like black people, OK?"

Before I get to any actual recapping: Archers of Loaf reference! Archers of Loaf reference! Archers of Loaf reference! It's like Andy and April talking about "The Neutral Milk Hotel," but BETTER. Why? Because it's the name of a lacrosse team, and it gives me a reason to listen to "Web in Front" from their masterpiece of an album Icky Mettle, which gives me a not-at-all-forced segue into: wasn't the third and final part of the "Heart of Archness" trilogy rather icky? READ MORE


Community Recap: "Geography of Global Conflict"

"Uruguay kindly requests that Somalia stops pronouncing it Ur-a-gay."

When I think of Annie, I’m reminded of the opening line from the Silver Jews song “Random Rules”: “In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection.” She tries so damn hard to be flawless at everything she does, from her grades to her love life, that it’s painful to watch. Because she takes so much control of her life, only one person can get in her way: herself. Or, in “Geography of Global Conflict,” her Asian Annie doppelganger. READ MORE


The Legacy of Baby's Day Out, the Only Comedy Movie I've Ever Walked Out On

I have only walked out of two movies my entire life, and neither one of them was Theodore Rex. In November 1994, being the bad Jew that I am, I made my dad take seven-year-old me to go see Miracle on 34th Street. No, not a re-release of the original with Maureen O’Hara, but rather, the remake with Matilda and John “Spared No Expenses” Hammond. We left 30 minutes in because the movie was just so BORING, a very reasonable evaluation for someone my age at the time. It’s a two-hour, slow-paced movie, with an emotional climax involving In God We Trust. (Or so I’ve heard.)

I also saw Baby’s Day Out with my dad, because that’s what we did: we saw movies. He and my mom had gotten a divorce when I was 3, and I lived with her and saw him on the weekends. We would always see at least one film on Saturday, oftentimes at the New York State Museum in Albany, because of their weekly Kid Pixs program. It was the equivalent of going to a third-run movie theater, where films that had been out for weeks would screen at a discounted price. The reduced ticket cost is the only reason I don’t feel totally guilty about making my dad pay to see Blank Check, Monkey Trouble, 3 Ninjas Kick Back, and Camp Nowhere. We even saw Freddie the Frog, one of the lowest grossing kids’ movies of all-time. No one's seen Freddie the Frog.

I remember literally nothing about Baby’s Day Out, other than I disliked it so much that I just had to leave. Was it scary? Was it Miracle on 34th Street-level boring? Was it too complex? Was the idea of a little baby crawling loose in the big city too much for my soon-to-be-scarred-from-Mufasa’s-death brain to handle? (The Lion King came out a week after Baby’s Day Out). I was seven at the time (July 1994), and loved similar baby-titled films, like Baby: Secret of the Dinosaurs (the scene where the dinosaur has the underwear on his head absolutely KILLED). To figure out this mystery that has haunted my existence for the past 17 years, I went back and re-watched the movie. And yup, it was BORING. READ MORE