What Culture put together a great list that I never would have thought of on my own, but is so true: the best performances by actors who just gave up. Sometimes you can tell, clearly, that an actor is not at all pleased to be in a film and the performance comes across (Marlon Brando in Superman; Brando appears TWICE in a nine person list). Sometimes, the actor knows the movie is truly awful and decides to steal it with a legendarily good performance in a legendarily bad film (Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). Sometimes a great performance comes across despite an actor being miserable on-set (Chevy Chase in Community or Robert Shaw in Jaws), but whatever the reason, it’s always interesting to get a behind-the-scenes peak into what made a memorable performance so memorable.
Today is Presidents’ Day here in America, where we remember our leaders, long for the days of statesmen past and stare with horror at the contenders for 2016. What helps Americans deal with absurd politicians? Merciless humor. From Mark Twain to Will Rogers and on to Saturday Night Live, political satire is an ingrained part of the American psyche. We don’t exactly require our presidents to be funny, but they’d better be able to take a joke.
Saturday Night Live, over it’s four decades plus of sketch comedy, has produced some of the funniest political humor of the century. It’s impersonators of candidates have literally impacted elections. After John McCain’s disastrous choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate in 2008, SNL’s Tina Fey so accurately and witheringly mocked the former Alaska Governor that both she and McCain ended up going on the show to try to stem the damage (didn’t work). SNL never really got a handle on Obama. Aside from his halting speech pattern, they never seemed to get an angle on him. The current cast is pretty weak, so I don’t think we’re going to see anything as glorious as Fey’s Palin, Amy Poehler’s Hillary Clinton, Darrell Hammond’s Al Gore, just to name a few brilliant impersonations that didn’t achieve the Oval. Here are my five favorites over the course of the show, and their best work.
1. Phil Hartman (Ronald Reagan & Bill Clinton)
4. Chevy Chase (Gerald Ford)
5. Dan Aykroyd (Richard Nixon & Jimmy Carter)
This was tough. Naturally, I drifted toward the most brilliant episode of any comedy in recent years: The Paintball War. That, really, is more of a whole episode of awesome rather than a single moment. Back when this was just a show about a community college, the break out moments were always the 30 seconds of credits where Troy and Abed would do something completely random and hysterical. The best of these…ladies and gentlemen….THE DISCO SPIDER RAP!
I’m not sure which is more surprising: that NBC renewed Community for a fifth season, that it’s continuing without Chevy Chase or that (and this is probably it) that NBC swallowed their peacock-sized pride and hired Dan Harmon back to run the show. Continue reading Trailer Time: Community Season 5 (2014 – NBC)
Fans of the adventures of Greendale Community College may rejoice. If you felt like the fourth season of the show lost its way entirely, that was due to the heart and soul of Community, creator and showrunner Dan Harmon, having been fired after season three. I was almost sad when Community was renewed for a fifth season because what was once the most original and hysterical sitcom on TV had become just a bizarre parody of itself. Now I cannot wait and must immediately locate my Troy & Abed In the Morning Mug to off-set the fact I’m writing this at 5 a.m. Coming Soon’s coverage of the RETURN and Harmon’s confirmation Tweet below:
It was just over a year ago that series creator Dan Harmon was replaced as showrunner on NBC’s cult hit “Community” following a public dispute with cast member Chevy Chase. Since Chase will not be returning for the recently-announced fifth season, rumors have persisted for some time that Harmon might be reinstated as showrunner.
“Yes yes yes!” Harmon posted this morning on his Twitter feed. ” I’m back I’m back I’m back. You can thank @joelmchale.”
The 13-episode fourth season featured David Guarascio and Moses Port (“Just Shoot Me”) as the series’ co-showrunners and executive producers. Although Harmon was listed as a “consulting producer,” he made it clear that the title was in name only.
Starring Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi, Jim Rash and Ken Jeong, “Community” appears to have outlasted its own “darkest timeline” and the odds are looking better than ever that it might actually live up to the fandom’s goal of “six seasons and a movie.”