'That '70s Show' Turns 20!

That ’70s Show

A mix of mindless, predictable fun and sly exploration of weighty issues, ‘That ’70s Show’ enamored audiences for a whopping 200 episodes. If there was any doubt young adults could be immersed in an era other than their own, That ’70s Show erased it. The comedy set in the back half of the 1970s in a fictional Wisconsin town quickly became a cultural phenomenon for young audiences when it premiered in 1998. In honor of the premiere’s 20th anniversary August 23, 2018, let’s take a look back at That ’70s Show. The core cast The stars of That ’70s Show, unlike those of many TV shows that have centered on a group of teens, were for the most part actually appropriately aged. When the series kicked off, they were all in their teens or had just entered their 20s and looked the part, too. Obviously, as the series continued, they        …read more

10 Steve Carell Moments That Sum Up Why We Love Him

Celebrate Steve Carell’s birthday with these iconic moments from his TV and film career. The year 2005, though not a particularly eventful period in U.S. history, marked one very important development in pop culture. I am, of course, referring to Steve Carell’s rise to fame thanks to stellar performances on both the big screen (who could forget the modern-day classic 40-Year-Old Virgin?) and, of course, the premiere of the U.S. version of The Office. In 2007 Steve Carell reflected on 40-Year-Old Virgin making him a bona fide movie star. “I have a helluva lot more money than I used to! That’s the only perceivable difference,” he told People. “I will definitely be able to send my kids to college now, which was a question before.” In honor of Steve Carell’s birthday on August 16, let’s revisit 10 of his best moments. A few of them were even filmed before he        …read more

Steve Martin Is the Renaissance Person of Our Time

Steve Martin

Steve Martin’s restless spirit keeps him going. Steve Martin is a prime example of how to live a full, rich, creative life. The very definition of a renaissance person, to this day he continues to pursue his artistry in an impressive array of forms. On August 14, 2018, he celebrates his 73rd birthday and shows no signs of slowing down, currently touring with Martin Short to present An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, an earlier performance of which is currently streaming on Netflix. Steve Martin not only embraces sudden left turns in his career choices; he seems to thrive on them. Stand-Up Comedy Thirty-seven years after Steve Martin unexpectedly quit stand-up comedy, it’s hard to fathom the unprecedented success of his act, which dispensed with the witty wordplay, intellectualism and raw confessional comedy popularized by Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor and embraced infantilized absurdity, balloon        …read more

10 Best Burns by Golden Girl Sophia Petrillo

Estelle Getty

Celebrate Estelle Getty’s birthday with her feisty ‘Golden Girls’ character’s iconic laugh lines. “Look, you didn’t ask me for my opinion, but I’m old, so I’m giving it anyway.” The wig, the glasses and especially the purse that aged actress Estelle Getty’s look enough for her to play The Golden Girls’ Sicilian matriarch Sophia Petrillo were iconic. But they paled in comparison to what came out of Getty’s mouth. Sophia’s insults were legendary, as I learned growing up in the 1980s. I first discovered the show staying up a little late at my grandparents’ house (my grandmother was a huge fan from the jump) and soon found myself devouring the entire series many times over in syndication. “They give her all the best lines!” my grandma would say, laughing, and she may have been right. Within a core cast of fall-down-funny actresses, the biting and oft-bitter perfectly-timed zingers from Getty’s        …read more

Robin Williams' Best Stand-Up through the Years

Robin Williams

On his birthday July 21, the world remembers the extraordinary impact of Robin Williams (1951-2014) on comedy and the larger entertainment world. While he’s as known for his dramatic roles in movies, such as Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting, as for his comic turns in movies like Good Morning Vietnam, it’s as a stand-up comic that Robin Williams first came to prominence in the 1970s with his free-wheeling, manic, improvisational style. After graduating from high school, Williams decided to attend Claremont Men’s College in California to study political science. He eventually dropped out to pursue acting, studying at the College of Marin and then attaining a full scholarship to the Juilliard School in 1973, one of two students that year accepted by the legendary John Housman for the advanced program. There he met lifelong best friend Christopher Reeve. However, in 1976 Williams left when Housman said there was        …read more

The Genius of Actor and Comedian Will Ferrell

comedian Will Ferrell

To celebrate his birthday on July 18, revisit the great roles of comedian Will Ferrell. He’s more than just a slapstick comic with a rubbery face. He’s an actor with 104 acting credits in 23 years, and his star isn’t waning. The critics might not be throwing around those four-star reviews any longer, but the legacy of the comedian Will Ferrell doesn’t rely on critical acclaim. If it makes him laugh, he’ll do it. A list of his memorable roles might trigger nostalgic glee: Ron Burgundy in the Anchorman films, Buddy in Elf, Frank in Old School, Brennan in Step Brothers, Mugatu in Zoolander, and the countless comedic turns during his stint at Saturday Night Live. Then there’s a roll call of all the memorably weird scenes where Ferrell has put himself out there more than most actors: He fought a baby in The Campaign, wrestled with a bear in        …read more

HBO's 'Sharp Objects' and the Rise of the Antiheroine

Sharp Objects

The 'Sharp Objects' miniseries is every bit as disturbing as its source material, and it couldn’t have hit our small screens at a more perfect time. Before Gone Girl skyrocketed to the top of best-seller lists everywhere, Gillian Flynn’s 2006 debut novel Sharp Objects found a niche audience with psychological-thriller aficionados. Twelve years later, it’s come to life on our small screens in an HBO miniseries executive produced by Flynn. Devoted fans of the book can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the series is every bit as gritty and dark as its source material. There’s no “glossing over” to see here. The small-screen adaptation of Sharp Objects arrived at the ideal cultural and social moment. Its July 8 premiere scored 1.5 million live viewers, HBO’s strongest showing since Westworld’s 2016 series premiere. It’s hard to imagine the show would have seen this level of commercial success 12 years        …read more

The Lasting Legacy of SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob

SpongeBob has been sharing his childlike outlook on life since 1999. With a third movie coming in 2020, the famous sponge won’t be stopping anytime soon. SpongeBob SquarePants has been around my entire childhood and adulthood. I spent many evenings watching SpongeBob reruns while babysitting the kids in my neighborhood, watching their faces light up when he outsmarted Plankton’s latest scheme. It seemed no matter how many times they saw the same episode, they could still find something new to giggle at. Throughout my high school years, he became more of a symbol, and I watched him show up on peers’ clothes, backpacks and cars. Since 1999, Nickelodeon Animation Studios’ character SpongeBob SquarePants has been living it up in his pineapple under the sea in his home of Bikini Bottom. He’s a lovable sponge whose greatest joys in life are going on adventures with his best friend Patrick and making        …read more

Inside the Genius of Writer and Comedian Larry David

comedian Larry David

Honoring the ‘Seinfeld’ co-ccreator and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ star on his birthday, July 2, with a deep dive into what makes the humor of comedian Larry David so special. When Susie Elman, comedian Larry David’s longtime costar on Curb Your Enthusiasm, told Rolling Stone about David’s early stand-up days, she recalled, “His material was just brilliant, as you can imagine. But there were also nights when he would just walk onstage, look at the audience and be like, ‘Nuh-uh, I don’t think so,’ and just walk off. Nobody did that!” Few anecdotes capture the essence of Larry David’s genius better than that. The main point to highlight? “Nobody did that!” Larry David lives by that motto in his role as writer/creator of Curb and Seinfeld. He isn’t interested in writing the same old cookie-cutter comedy; Larry David, celebrating his 71st birthday on July 2, would rather revel in breaking convention with        …read more

Why 'The Good Place' Is the Best Show on Television

The Good Place

‘The Good Place’ redefines the sitcom with its journey into moral quandaries. In 2017, 487 original scripted television series aired, according to FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. This is up from 182 series just 15 years earlier, in 2002. Thanks to the emergence of online services like Netflix and Hulu and the growth of original programming in that time by basic cable services like FX, the demand for original ideas is staggeringly high. Somehow in this environment, at old worn-out broadcast network NBC, The Good Place — the most original, unique and surprisingly deep sitcom in years — has emerged. Is it the best? Constrained by the limits of time and space, I haven’t seen all 487 original series produced this past year, but it’s certainly the most bold and fascinating, so I’ll take the leap and say, yes, it’s the best. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut0ai4s4mjU Created by Michael Schur, cocreator of Parks        …read more