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 — We are witnessing greatness
The Righteous Gemstones is so good. This is, I suppose, not exactly breaking news. I’ve been shouting and/or writing about the show for weeks now and will probably continue doing so long after the season finale airs this Sunday. A big part of this is the cast. What a murderer’s row. What an embarrassment of riches. Danny McBride and John Goodman and freaking Walton Goggins just killing it as Baby Billy Freeman. And Tim Baltz as BJ, who I love dearly for a bunch of reasons. But please, whatever you do, if you’re ticking off reasons and people that make the show great, do not forget to mention Edi Patterson as Judy Gemstone.
It’s an amazing performance, honestly. Every scene is a revelation, every line delivery a masterclass in just doing everything all at once. Nothing is left on the table, ever. It’s like looking straight into a supernova. I can’t get enough of her and I can’t get enough of her relationship with BJ — a man who we have seen swirling and sniffing milk as though it’s wine at a big family dinner — and I kind of want to see an entire spinoff limited series about how they met and started dating and their wedding and all of it. This is a woman who is so equally proud and insecure that she can quickly back herself into statements like this when the subject of Disney World comes up, which is perfect both with and without context.
Patterson talked about some of her process in finding Judy as a character this week at Vulture, and if you are wondering if every quote about Judy gives you a window into the demented funhouse between her ears, I am pleased to report that the answer is a resounding yes.
“She does take me over, and I love it and I welcome it, and I’ve invited her in,” says Patterson of a creation she describes as a “walking id.” She herself is exuberant where Judy can be fatalistic and nimble where Judy can go askew, but all she needs to feel “fully Judy” is the character’s exuberantly curly hair. She is committed enough to getting character details right that she practiced her clogging routine for the series’ breakout season-one song “Misbehavin,’” which she co-wrote “over and over and over and over and over and over and over,” but the key to her embodiment of Judy is more instinctive: getting “as free of logical thought as I can get.”
Yeah, that about sums it up. Judy has rocketed up my list of favorite characters on the show for exactly these reasons, too. Sometimes I find myself just like watching her in the background while other characters are talking or doing things. She’s always making a face or fidgeting in her chair or doing some other tiny thing that gives you a little glimpse into what a maniac she is.
Sometimes you don’t need to work that hard to see this, though. Sometimes it’s right there in the center of the screen in a sparkly dress. Sometimes, to cite one specific example, she’s doing this.
I have watched this maybe 600 times since it happened on the show and it has blown me away a little bit each time. It’s like a whole silent comedy bit, filled with exaggerated gestures and dramatic stomping and about six other things that are happening in there. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen on television in months — maybe years? — and it’s important to me that we don’t lose it in all the “Baby Billy selling Covid-curing elixirs out of a trailer attached to a BMW convertible” of this season.
Judy Gemstone is a treasure. Edi Patterson is a treasure. The whole show is a treasure, top to bottom, but those two things are important to remember. As is this next paragraph, also from that Vulture piece, in which things get surprisingly deep and kind of meaningful.
“Judy helps me to remember that we’re all gonna die someday, and none of us knows when we’re gonna die,” Patterson says matter-of-factly, her expression the most serious it’s been during our entire 90 minutes together. “You might as well just let it rip because all you’ve got is this moment.”
“You might as well just let it rip because all you’ve got is this moment.” That’s… profound. A powerful life philosophy. Maybe the best yearbook quote I’ve ever seen. Please take at least five minutes this weekend to think about it. And to appreciate what Edi Patterson has been doing the last few weeks on your television screen. So, 10 minutes, total. You can squeeze that in somewhere.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — I am concerned about John C. Reilly
I am very excited about Winning Time, the upcoming HBO series about the Showtime-era Los Angeles Lakers. It has everything I’ve ever asked for in a prestige television series, including but not limited to:
- An excuse for me to talk about basketball a lot as part of my actual job
- John C. Reilly as legendary hedonist and Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss
Perfect, all of it. And it has the thing about its title, where it is based on the book Showtime by Jeff Pearlman and Showtime is an objectively perfect name for a television show, except for the small issue where Showtime is also the name of one of HBO’s top premium cable competitors, and so now the title is the objectively worse Winning Time. It’s all quite silly and petty and it makes me laugh a lot.
But back to John C. Reilly. He is so perfect for this role. He even looks a little like Jerry Buss. It’s great. It’s the best. But it’s also kind of an issue, as we see all laid out once again in a new Hollywood Reporter feature about the making of the show. The short version goes something like this: Will Ferrell allegedly really wanted the role, but his longtime collaborator Adam McKay (producer and top banana on the show) first cast Michael Shannon and then called up Reilly when Shannon backed out. Without calling or telling Ferrell. Which may or may not have.m broken their already strained relationship. From the article:
But before Reilly signed on — before he grew out his hair and his mustache and got into a physical shape that allowed him to squeeze into Buss’ tight-fitting pants — he reached out to Ferrell. Recalls McKay: “It was at this weird moment where Will and I weren’t exactly hugging each other, even though there was nothing that terrible, and he called Will and said, ‘Hey, McKay just came to me with this.’ And Will was very hurt that I wasn’t the one to call him, and I should have. I fucked up.” Reilly is more diplomatic, offering only: “Will is one of my best friends, Adam is one of my best friends, I was delighted to get the job and that’s all I really have to say.”
Which brings me to my point: I feel kind of bad for John C. Reilly here. It stinks when two of your friends are fighting and you’re stuck in the middle of it. It is legitimately one of my least favorite things in the whole entire world. And it’s even worse here because John C. Reilly seems super proud of and happy about this show — again, I’m very excited — but he’s got all of this hanging over his head now and has to answer questions about it all.
It does not seem fun. This is a bummer, in part because John C. Reilly seems like a good and talented dude, and in part because it means I won’t be able to watch Step Brothers again without thinking about it all. This last part is admittedly a smaller issue. A borderline non-issue, really, unless you happen to be in the room with me when the movie is on and I launch into this whole story again and ruin the movie for you, too.
So it’s a problem for all of us, really.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Patti Harrison freakin’ rules
The fact of the matter here is that Patti Harrison is the best. You’ve seen her. You know this. You’ve watched her steal entire sketches on I Think You Should Leave. Go watch the Capitol Room sketch again where she’s shouting about bald boys and wine. Go watch the “Santa isn’t coming” sketch from the first season. Watch the sketch I posted right up there, in which she mostly just shouts about tables and turns it into high comedy. It’s incredible and chaotic and I love it a lot.
This is one of the many reasons it’s cool that she was featured in a big fancy New Yorker interview this week. Another reason: I do not know if I’ve ever seen a print interview come across funnier and more engaging. It’s hard to be fun and charming in print. You lose all the stuff you can rely on in-person — delivery, body language, etc. — to accompany your words. Things can lose context and come across wrong. Your best hope usually is just to come across as, like, not a loser.
Which, again, makes this all kind of awesome. Look at this answer about getting started in comedy and having interactions with celebrities.
I later worked in a writer’s room with Jason Segel, and at the end I was, like, “I didn’t want to be a freak or anything, but my college improv group was named after a quote from ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall.’ ” It’s when Russell Brand’s character is performing and Jonah Hill’s character is, like, “I just went from six to midnight.” Jason was, like, “Oh, yeah, that was actually an ad-lib that Jonah did!” Then years later I saw Jonah Hill at an event, and I was so trashed. I was, like, [slurring drunkenly] “I need to tell you, my college improv troupe . . .” He was an angel. I don’t think there’s any world where I tell either of them this dull information and they’re, like, “Fuck you, bitch.” But maybe that’s what I wanted? Maybe that’s the response I feel I deserve.
That’s just great. All of it, beginning to end. I can see her doing it and I can see Jason Segel’s face and I can see Jonah Hill’s face and I can see them both being sweethearts about it. I love that she told this story in the freaking New Yorker.
I also love that she told this story about growing up and having parties at her house on account of having a cool fire pit.
Yeah, you make a ton of beautifully meaningful friendships that way, based on if you have a fire pit, and if people are allowed to drive their trucks through your back yard. I was kind of a terror, to my mom and my neighbor, because I was, like, “Dude, it’s O.K. It’s going to be fine. They can drive their trucks back there.” And then they would leave big tire marks in our yard, and my mom would have a meltdown, and I was just, like, “Hey, I didn’t know Corbin was going to do that. That’s just not like Corbin to have done that.”
Come on, Corbin.
There are two primary takeaways from all of this:
- If you have ever thrown a party at your house where your idiot friends broke and/or trashed something and you later had to explain it to your parents, this anecdote probably had you squarely in the cringelaugh zone
- Again, Patti Harrison is the best
In my mind, Corbin was bald. It makes this screencap a little funnier, which I did not think was possible.
Great work by everyone here. Except Corbin. Just, like, be cool for once, guy. No one will get to hang out at the fire pit if you ruin it for everyone. Come on.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Abbott Elementary did the window thing!
The fact of the matter is that I will simply not shut up about Abbott Elementary, a fun and good network sitcom in a time when fun and good network sitcoms seemed like a thing of the past. It makes me really happy, for a slew of reasons I’ve discussed many times, some of which are related to it being set in Philadelphia and nailing little authentic touches like the use of the word “jawn” and people pronouncing the word “hoagie” like “heaugie.” (Go Birds.) I am thrilled that it is putting up Modern Family-style numbers on the ratings scoreboard. I hope it runs for 10 seasons and leads to a million more shows set in Philly and I hope one of them is about Allen Iverson and my beloved 76ers.
But that’s an issue for another day. Preferably tomorrow, but still. For now, I need to discuss the thing where this week’s episode gave me another GIF to add to my increasingly/surprisingly full “WINDOW STUFF” folder. Here, look at this, which I will share stripped of context only because it is better with context and I want you to watch the show.
It’s a good piece of business. But it also, as I alluded to earlier, brings the total of window-related GIFs I have on my computer to at least four. That feels like too many window-related GIFs for any one person to have. I do not care. They crack me up. The best example here is the one from Bosch a few years back where Lance Reddick tried to murder a man using only disdain. If anyone ever looked at me like this, I suspect I would turn to dust and blow away immediately. I mean…
And it gets better because, up against truly staggering odds, he did the same thing again a season or two later. Look at a king do king things. I need him to start doing it in every show. And in John Wick. I need him to retroactively go back and do it on The Wire. He’s so good at it.
And it gets even better than that, because not only are there multiple GIFs of Lance Reddick rolling up a window as he’s chauffeured off to presumably go stare someone into stone on a show where he also grumbles the main character’s last name once every 4-6 episodes, sometimes while sitting at a piano, there’s also this: my beloved Lalo Salamanca from Better Call Saul rolling up and rolling down like the diabolical prince he is.
The takeaways here are as follows:
- There is a surprising amount of quality window-related business on television
- You will not be able to get any of this out of your head now either, a fact I feel like I should both apologize and take credit for
- I’m doing great
Show me Cousin Greg from Succession doing this next. Or NoHo Hank from Barry. Or Judy Gemstone. You know what? I’ll just go ahead a make a full list this weekend and get it to you Monday.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Something is afoot here
Two things are true about Wordle. The first is that, yes, it can be a little annoying to see 700 people post their results on social media every morning and I can understand if the whole thing makes you roll your eyes, especially if you don’t play it yourself. The second thing is that I am hopelessly hooked on it and involved in no fewer than three group chats where we post results and talk shit, including one with my mom, who is, like me, a competitive maniac. It’s been fun, both for the challenge and for the way it’s provided an easy excuse to stay in touch with a lot of people and serve as an ice-breaker in a bunch of conversations with people I might not otherwise be texting with every day. In conclusion, Wordle is a land of contrasts.
Anyway, my point here: Earlier this week, 227 and Sister, Sister star Jackee Harry posted this on Twitter.
You can’t tell me shit today! ✨
Wordle 248 1/6
— Jackée Harry (@JackeeHarry) February 22, 2022
There are, as far as I can tell, three possibilities here:
- Jackee guessed the word “thorn” — this particular day’s answer — on her first try, which would be a weird word to open with
- Jackee is cheating at Wordle
- Jackee is doing a bit
The good news here is that all of these fascinate me equally. Any one of them would bring me endless amounts of joy if we could confirm it all. Please ask Jackee about this if you see and/or know her. This is important.
And speaking of important Wordle-related issues, there’s also this:
Wordle 245 X/6
What a rotten, terrible day. I love it.
— Oscar the Grouch (@OscarTheGrouch) February 19, 2022
I know what you’re thinking and I can explain. Yes, I follow both Jackee and Oscar the Grouch on Twitter. Yes, I feel great about it. No, I will not be explaining any of this any further.
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’ve seen this already but it’s too important to risk it. Have you seen the news stories about Hank the Tank, the bear in California who has been breaking into homes and stealing food? The articles about him read like they were written specifically for you, not just because of the “FOOD HEIST” part of it. There’s also phrases like “no apparent fear of humans” in there, too. So I guess my real question here is… why isn’t this a television show already with a talking bear who robs houses? Like a Yogi Bear crossed with a Home Alone? There are so many shows. I’m sure some streaming services could do it.
A few important things here:
- This was a perfect email
- I received it on Thursday morning
- There are now updates to the Hank story
Specifically, we learned that Hank the Tank, the bear that robs people’s houses, is actually… THREE BEARS.
On Thursday, state wildlife officials issued a pardon and vindication of sorts for the 500-pound black bear that they had originally said was solely responsible for burglarizing nearly three dozen homes in the Tahoe Keys neighborhood of South Lake Tahoe over the past few months.
Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday that DNA samples collected from the properties showed that at least two other large black bears had broken into some of the homes.
First of all, I love it, obviously. Hank the Tank received justice due to DNA evidence. It’s a perfect news story, beginning to end. And the end gets even happier, because this could have all gotten really sad otherwise.
As a result, the distinctive bear with a light-brown muzzle and an inky black beach-ball shaped body won’t be killed or relocated to a sanctuary — options state officials had been weighing as they decided what to do about the habitual bear burglar.
So, yes, Zack, I also need this to be a television show now. Let’s have Jack Black voice Hank and let’s have Patti Harrison voice one of the other thieves and let’s have… hmm, let’s have Jake Johnson play the park ranger who suspects there’s more to the story. Eight episodes on Hulu as soon as possible.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
Thieves have stolen over $200,000 worth of props from the set of Netflix series “The Crown” while the production was shooting nearby.
WE HAVE A PROP HEIST
A ROYAL PROP HEIST
Over 350 items were taken during the heist, including a replica Fabergé egg, a grandfather clock clockface, a dressing table, crystal glassware and silver and gold candelabras.
Is it weird that, to me, all of this is now significantly more intriguing than anything that is happening on the actual television show where this happened? Like, all due respect to The Crown and Claire Foy, but I would much rather watch a show about a guy — possibly a team of guys? — plotting and scheming to steal six figures worth of props from a fancy show about the Queen of England. That sounds like some Extremely Brian Stuff.
I need it at once. Cast Walton Goggins. Or do it in the next season of Lupin. And cast Walton Goggins in Lupin. Listen to me.
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire police told Variety: “Police were called at 4.30pm on Wednesday 16 February following a report of theft from vehicles at Pastures Road, Doncaster. It is reported that three vehicles containing props used in film and TV were broken into and a number of items taken. Officers investigated the incident but all existing lines of enquiry have now been exhausted. The case has been filed pending any new lines of enquiry.”
As exciting as this all is to me, I do have some bad news: I posted this story on Twitter and got this reply and I have been furious ever since that I did not think of it first.
I suspect I will take this to the grave with me.