Tag Archives: Stella

Winter Cleaning: My (Belated) Top 10 TV Shows of the 2000s

With the snow keeping us indoors we thought it might be a good time to go through our drafts and let some of these long-languishing, somewhat unfinished posts see the light of day.  First up, our best shows of the 2000s, which we held off publishing until we could embed some video evidence.  But, at this point, we’ll put that responsibility in your hands.

My belated best TV shows of the 2000s! (in a semi-particular order)

1. LOST: For the reasons I outline here.

2. The Sopranos: The Godfather of dark, fearless cable shows with flawed central characters.  Might be responsible for killing network TV.

3. Arrested Development:  Simply the smartest sitcom of all time.  It was probably to clever for its own good.  It was basically teaching a master class in comedy while throwing out an impossible amount of sight gags, call backs and cutaways.  We should just be thankful that we got 3 seasons of this masterpiece.

4. Veronica Mars: Could have put it below Freaks and Geeks, but I give it the edge for somehow making it to season three (even if that was a neutered, watered-down version of VM).  I’d put the first season up against any season from the last decade.

5.  Freaks and Geeks: The most gut-wrenchingly accurate depiction of high school ever.  18 episodes of achingly beautiful growing pains [editor’s note: just watched much of IFC’s Freaks and Geeks Holiday Marathon, and if we revised this list today we’d be tempted to put this show at the top of this listIt’s that fucking good].

More: 6 – 10 and Honorable Mention

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Filed under Best Show You're Not Watching, Bob Loblaw, Dillon Panthers, Discos and Dragons, Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam, Flashback!, Lists, LOST, Mars Investigations, Mr. Gaeta, Prepare for Jump, The Roaring 10s!, The State

On the Seventh Night of Hanukkah Jumped the Snark Gave to You…

…Seven Stella clips!

(Sorry we missed night #6.  It was six pairs of socks, so, you know, no biggie)

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Only one more night!

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Filed under Lady Holiday, The State, Woody Allen, Bar Mitzvahs & Bagels

Muppet Monday: Rashida Jones May Join ‘Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made’, Moving Us Closer To A State-Muppet Movie Directed By Judd Apatow

In things-that-I-love-meeting-other-things-that-I-love news, reports indicate that Rashida Jones is close to joining Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller’s forthcoming Muppet motion picture, The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made (in addition, the adorable Amy Adams and the cute Chris Cooper are also in talks to come on board).  Now that Jones appears to be in, we can only assume that Paul Rudd will not be far behind.  And when you have Paul Rudd and Rashida Jones there’s a pretty good chance that you’re eventually going to see Judd Apatow and at least one member of The State.  Rudd, we all know, is one of the key faces of Apatowian comedy, as well as frequent a collaborator with State members David Wain and Ken Marino (see: Role Models, Diggers).  Jones, in addition to appearing in the Apatow-esque I Love You Man with Segel and Rudd (plus State member Tom Lennon), had a small role in Apatow’s masterwork Freaks and Geeks, and has shown up in State related productions Stella, The Ten and Wainy Days.  So from there it’s only a matter of time before Jones, Rudd, Segel, Apatow, The State and the Muppets all team up.  We already know that The State and the Muppets have a history together:

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One complaint:  Sources say that Jones would portray an ABC exec in the movie.  Between her roles on The Office and The Social Network, we think we’ve seen enough of her in business attire.  No more blazers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further information, please consult the Judd Apatow Chart

via Vulture

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Filed under Discos and Dragons, Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam, Freak Out Control, Intersection of the venn diagram of things that I love, Judd Apatow, Muppet Mondays, Muppets, The Big Screen, The State, Yasmine Bleeth

The State Continues Its March Towards Dominating All Forms Of Media, Just 14 Years Later

From 1993 – 1995 The State was the premiere sketch comedy show on MTV, if not of all of cable.  In the fall of ’95 they crossed over to network television into the pantheon of classic variety shows with the well received if little-seen one-off “The State’s 43rd Annual All-Star Halloween Special.”  They then followed up their assault on television with the release of their somewhat legendary, thoroughly inaccurate and mildly successful travel guide State by State with The State.

And then, like that, they were gone.

Sure, members of the troupe would soon pop up in things like Ed, Men Behaving Badly, and Game Boy commercials.  And then, of course, they all basically found various degrees of success with other efforts, such as Stella, Reno 911, Party Down, and, in the case of Joe Lo Truglio, playing the creepy guy in Judd Apatowian films, and now they have wallets made out of money.  But, with the exception of a somewhat recent appearance at Sketchfest, there have been no projects featuring the whole team, just our grainy VHS tapes, our oft-removed YouTube clips, our creased paperbacks, and, after what seemed like an interminable wait, our glorious DVDs to sate our appetetite.  But, even with the DVDs, and their extensive special features and informative commentaries, there remained a void, a void created by a long-rumored, never been heard State comedy album.

Well, that myth is now a reality.  Fourteen years later Comedy for Gracious Living will finally see the light of day.

Sketch comedy, variety shows, travel literature and now, after many years, The State officially enters the hallowed ground of comedy albums.  What’s next?  Who knows?  But if I were you, Broadway, I’d watch out.

To celebrate, let’s go to the zoo and watch the monkeys do it.

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Filed under Freak Out Control, Good Humor, The State

Michael Ian Black Does Understand

If there was one comedian/mid-level celebrity whose career I’d like to emulate it would probably be Michael Ian Black (okay, there’s a laundry list of comedian/mid-level celebrities who careers I’d like to emulate, and an even longer list of A-list celebrities whose resumes I wouldn’t mind having.  But there are few people out there who I admire and appreciate at the level of Michael Ian Black.  One of the reasons I like Mr. Black so much is because, obviously, he’s as funny and smart as anyone else out there (if his work in I ♥ the [Insert Decade] didn’t convince you of that, check out his stand-up album I Am A Wonderful Man, an excellent performance from someone who is not known as a stand-up comedian).  But, beyond his humor, I especially appreciate the fact that he has the courage to say or write just about anything, the best examples of which are found on his Twitter feed, where he makes fun of everyone and everything from Asians to his kids to his wife cutting off the tip of her finger to himself.  Often times I’ll find myself wanting to tweet something potentially offensive, and I don’t do so because I fear that not everyone will get the joke; sarcasm and satire sometimes don’t play so well in less than 140 characters.  But Black has been able to pull that off, so much so that he’s participated in several Twitter fundraisers in which for a small donation he’ll make fun of you mercilessly, usually mocking your Twitter name or criticizing your photo.  He has created this persona of being an arrogant, insensitive asshole (again, refer to the name of his comedy album), which is a weird achievement to want to replicate, but it seems clear to me that it’s just a put-on.  It might be an extension of the real Michael Ian Black, but, if so, it’s a huge exaggeration.  I mean, he lives in Connecticut with his wife and kids (who he appears to loathe, if his tweets are to be believed), so how terrible can he really be?

Amidst this backdrop of bombastic, often crude, tweets and blog posts it was surprising that Black received the most backlash for a tweet he composed on Friday night to commemorate Conan O’Brien’s last night as host of The Tonight Show:

Typical trenchant, insightful, slightly dickish Michael Ian Black commentary.  But out of all his tweets this one caused the most commotion (although, as you can see, it was retweeted 100+ followers, so I guess not everyone was outraged).  It was a joke, but like many of his jokes, he had a point, a good point.  Which is another aspect of MIB I appreciate: his candor.  He’s a fan of Conan too, but the truth is Conan fans didn’t turn out in droves until these last two weeks, when it didn’t matter anymore.

So, to clarify his point, Black knew he needed more words than Twitter would allow, so he took to his blog (and spared us from a full on tweet procession), and exemplified another quality I admire: intelligence.  He composed his actual, and, as he noted, “unfunny” thoughts on the Conan situation, comparing Conan to Sally Fields in Norma Rae and asking “how did a Harvard-educated, multi-millionaire late night talk show host magically transmogrify into a guy who got laid off at the local car plant?”  Now I’ve basically been glued to the computer the last two weeks reading every update on the late night wars and watching every relevant monologue the night before, and I’ve even contributed my own thoughts, but Black does have a point.  In the end, it’s just millionaires playing in the sandbox, and Conan doesn’t really represent the oppressed, jobless masses.  In his essay, Black puts aside the sarcasm and the deadpan humor, presenting refreshing clarity about the whole thing.  I’m not sure I’ve read a better breakdown on the skirmish.  Despite the working title of his latest TV show, Michael Ian Black does understand.  A lot better than most of us.

Bonus: How I once gave Michael Ian Black unsolicited career advice. Sorry!

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Filed under Interweb, Other people's stuff, Talkies, The State

Best Year Ever For Members of The State, State Collaborators, and Titles Containing the Word ‘State’

Two Jumped the Snark favorites,  The State member Tom Lennon and friend of The State Rashida Jones, are working on two new, exciting projects (independently, of course.  Although I wouldn’t mind seeing them collaborate).

Tom Lennon

When news broke that Comedy Central canceled the long-running (dare I say institution?) Reno 911, (comedy geeks’) hearts were broken across the country (while Reno might have been growing a bit long in the tooth, it seemed like an odd time to cancel the show, considering that with the arrival of Michael and Michael Have Issues, the recent release of the long-awaited State DVD,  and the addition of State-alum to Joe Lo Truglio to the Reno cast, it seemed that The State-related projects were experiencing a wave of enthusiasm).  However, the demise of Reno stings a little less with the announcement that Tom Lennon has signed a deal to create and star in a yet untitled comedy for NBC (in addition, the plot is apparently “under wraps”  Unless it’s the story of the next generation iPhone, not sure if the secrecy is necessary).  Also unknown at this point is when NBC will cancel the show (let’s just hope it’s not a gritty cop drama).  Unless the show slots in on Thursday nights, looks like NBC might have to make space elsewhere for comedy (they might want to start with the 10pm slot; at the moment, this hour is devoid of comedy).  Additional good news is that frequent Lennon collaborator, fellow State and Reno member, Ben Garant will co-create and also appear on the show (let’s also hope it’s not a serialized version of the Lennon-Garant penned Night at the Museum films).  To celebrate, a State sketch!

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(and my list of the Top Ten The State sketches)

Keep reading! Rashida Jones!

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Filed under Good Humor, Must See TV, The State