Author Archives: Zoë Rice

SNL: Mick Jagger

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ZOË RICE: I wasn’t happy to see “The Lawrence Welk Show,” on the screen, but this (likely final, given Wiig’s exit?) installment was better than most. I chalk it up to 1) Jon Hamm, and 2) Changing…

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SNL: Will Farrell/Usher

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ZOË RICE: When Sudeikis leaves, I will miss his Biden. This was a fun vehicle to work in Will Farrell’s George Dubya. Enjoyable.

MONOLOGUE
ZOË RICE: Farrell’s goofiness can pull off a lot, in this case the Mother’s Day monologue.…

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SNL: Eli Manning

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ZOË RICE: The Fox News spoof wasn’t a home run, and it lagged a bit (with weirdly dated references, to Christmas trees for instance), but it was passable.

HOWARD MEGDAL: SNL’s Fox News problem is that it is consistently battling The…

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Review: Girls

ZOË RICE: Over the past couple weeks I’ve been asked repeatedly if I like the new highly buzzed-out series, Girls. But the more pertinent question for this series is, “Do you like Lena Dunham?” Her name hovers fixedly on the credits screen for a good few seconds as the titles go by: Starring…created by…directed by…written by… The upshot is that even if you only sort of like the show but really like Lena Dunham, you’re still going to make Girls appointment viewing. I think that’s where I am.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I think Girls may have been the best pilot I’ve ever seen. And two episodes in, I am absolutely devoted to this show, and Lena Dunham appears to be on my must-watch list among writers. That was quick. Continue reading

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SNL: Josh Brolin/Gotye

ZOË RICE: One of the better GOP candidate opens this election season. Getting them away from the debate podiums helped. Fun scenario and good work by all.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Feels like Jay Pharoah’s impressions, to SNL, are frequent flier miles about to expire. Got to use them somewhere. Continue reading

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SNL: Sofia Vergara/One Direction

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ZOË RICE: An opener that captures Mitt Romney’s disingenuous pandering and the essence of his campaign woes. A chuckler more than a guffawer, but well done.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Agreed. Perfectly fine, but doesn’t attach to any particular…

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SNL

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ZOË RICE: Even having followed the Jeremy Lin craze only peripherally, this hit really well. A spoof on sportscasting, news puns, and even racial issues. Well done.

HOWARD MEGDAL:
Can’t think…

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Smash: First Two Episodes

ZOË RICE: I came to Smash with mixed expectations. On the one hand, I’m a sucker for a musical number, and before Glee became unbearable I was an early fan. A new TV show with the promise of awesome – dare we hope Fame-like? – musical numbers meant at least a tingle of excitement. On the other hand…theater people. Don’t get me wrong; to use the cliche, some of my best friends are theater people. But man, some of them can be pretentious. And inauthentic. And so “on” all the time. Would the Smash characters be just like that?

JESSICA BADER: I’ve been excited about Smash ever since that day last year when I decided to sit down and watch the trailer videos for all of the new network TV shows. A show about the making of a Broadway musical? With original songs from Marc Shaiman? What’s not to like (other than the whole not-premiering-until-February-sweeps thing)? Yet, I can’t help but feel like both the show and what’s expected of it are a bit too much. Continue reading

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SNL: Zooey Deschanel/Karmin

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ZOË RICE: A sharp take on Mitt Romney’s distance from voters and on political spin in general. Nicely done, even if I imagine Howard remains more moved by Sudeikis’s impression than I am.

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Downton Abbey: Week 4

SONIA BRAND-FISHER When scandal strikes on “Downton Abbey,” we are intrigued and enthralled to be caught up in the frivolous exhilaration. Even when something as wild as Branson’s attempted vandalism happens at the dinner table or when Thomas sobs at the suicide of a blind soldier, we watch from afar, curious yet hopelessly invested. Episode 4, however, brought us closer into the tragedies of the household that were articulated with so much intimacy and humanity that at times it was very difficult to be a part of. This episode took us out of our cozy roles as observers and into the depths of Downton, all the way to the end of the South Gallery, behind white curtains, and into the hearts of the inhabitants.

ZOË RICE: And so this week the camera doesn’t cut away when Matthew and William face their gravest peril yet. Instead we see them lying seemingly lifeless on the battlefield. With that, this season’s most gripping episode of Downton yet is underway.

MICHAEL CUMMINGS: I swear for a minute there I almost thought Julian Fellowes was trying out material for the tragically as-yet-unplanned Star Wars Episode VII post-quel. First, Lady Mary and Daisy started feeling disturbances in the Force when their men took shrapnel at the front. Then, the radical chauffeur reminded the cute daughter to be more mindful of her feelings. Later, Captain Crawley and William (requiescat in peace, by the way) threw down in an epic Darth Vader egg-off. At that point I was honestly expecting to see a 1138 Easter Egg pop up somewhere.

HOWARD MEGDAL: So much to love about this week’s episode. My fellow reviewers have touched on the larger points, and I largely agree. It is almost impossible to imagine that Matthew, whose entrances have provided so much of the show’s lifeblood, will now be a forlorn figure in a wheelchair. Perhaps they can split the difference and give him an FDR persona, but betting on a misdiagnosis seems wise. Continue reading

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