TV & Radio

TV & Radio

What It Was Like to Make the Best Episode of The Office

It was a day that went down in comedic history: “On April 10th, 2008, The Office topped itself with its best half-hour ever—and perhaps the best comedy episode of the decade,“ writes Andy Greene for Rolling Stone. He’s referring, of course, to “The Dinner Party,“ and on its 10th anniversary, he spoke with the stars of the episode, minus Steve Carell, and the creative minds behind it on how those 22 minutes came to be. His article is replete with tidbits bound to satisfy any Office addict: The single change made to the script was ditching a part about Michael Scott’s girlfriend, Jan Levinson, intentionally hitting and killing the neighbor’s dog; “That One Night,“ the song by Jan’s assistant, Hunter, was recorded by New Pornographers guitarist Todd Fancey; Jan’s awkward dancing with a seated Jim Halpert was a move she intentionally surprised him with during filming; and Carell improvised the “snip-snap, snip-snap, snip-snap” line after being told the vasectomy scene was too heavy.

As for how hard it was to get through the filming of the episode without breaking into fits of laughter—which happened over and over, the cast says—Beth Grant, who played Dwight’s former babysitter Melvina, put it best: “I had to hold a beet on my fork and suck on it. I put everything into that.“ The cast also delves into how the Writers Guild of America strike affected things. It hit right before “The Dinner Party” was to be shot, and when the strike ended, the director who was slated for it wasn’t available. So Paul Feig was able to swoop in—and we have him to thank for the scene involving the bench at the end of Jan’s bed, which he explains was based in part on an experience he had while interning for a producer and getting a tour of a female staffer’s house, which featured a cot by the bed. Feig explains why it was “the saddest thing” HERE.

SNL Milks Surprise Cameos

In a romp down Meet the Parents memory lane, Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro crashed Saturday Night Live with a modern political twist—as President Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, and Robert Mueller, respectively. De Niro interrogated Stiller with the help of a lie detector, though his subject was more often than not forthcoming (“I’m Donald Trump’s lawyer!“ said Stiller. “I’ve got a whole hard drive that’s just labeled ‘Yikes!‘“) It was an sketch the New York Times calls “imaginative” and “uproarious,“ and yes, included one of the movie’s most oft-quoted lines. SNL alum John Mulaney returned to guest-host, while musical guest Jack White was, as the Times puts it, “a bit strange and disjointed—but this is Jack White, after all. By the end, it was a runaway freight train.“ Video highlights in the gallery.

Netflix Gives Cannes Film Festival the Cold Shoulder

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Netflix is pulling its films from the Cannes Film Festival, further intensifying an ongoing dispute between Netflix and the world’s most prestigious film festival. Along with selfies, Cannes earlier banned any films without theatrical distribution in France from its Palme d’Or competition, which essentially rules out Netflix movies. In France, it’s a law that films can’t be released on home entertainment platforms until 36 months after their theatrical release. “We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker,“ said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “There’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They’ve set the tone. I don’t think it would be good for us to be there.“ Representatives for Cannes didn’t immediately comment Wednesday, the AP reports.

Last year, two Netflix films—Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories—premiered in competition at Cannes, prompting outrage from French theater owners and unions. Last year’s festival became a kind of referendum on Netflix’s role in cinema. Advocates for the streaming service point to the creative freedom Netflix offers to filmmakers and its financial backing of a diverse and ambitious slate of films. Critics say a platform destructive to theatrical moviegoing shouldn’t be celebrated at the world’s foremost celebration of cinema. For Cannes, losing Netflix—and its growing roster of big-name filmmakers and stars—is a blow, depriving the French Rivera festival of some of the high-wattage glamour it seeks for its red carpet. Sarandos said it’s time for Cannes to “modernize.“

John Oliver’s Weapon Against ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’: His Own

So-called crisis pregnancy centers have come under fire for years for allegedly using misinformation to talk vulnerable pregnant women out of having an abortion, and John Oliver took up the topic Sunday on Last Week Tonight. “What is happening with CPCs is that, way too often, women with unplanned pregnancies are being actively misled while trying to access health care,“ he said, explaining that the centers, which are often church-affiliated, basically pretend to be abortion providers—many of them, for example, include the word “choice” in their names, among other questionable tactics like offering free ultrasounds. Even media often cover CPCs as if they offer women all their options, though they don’t. Once inside a CPC, women are often presented with information that’s simply not true—fake statistics like “abortion almost doubles the risk of breast cancer.“

Some CPCs will even lie to women about how late in pregnancy they can get an abortion, resulting in a woman delaying the decision too long and being unable to terminate. And if you’re wondering whether the centers at least offer women birth control, the answer is no. CPCs also manage to avoid regulation as health care providers, and in many cases they get federal funding. Oliver added there are about 2,700 US pregnancy centers, but only 1,600 or so abortion providers. And there’s about to be a new pregnancy center—one set up by Oliver, who’s filed paperwork for “Our Lady of Choosing Choice,“ which will be housed in a van (a tactic used by many CPCs) so it can go where needed. “There is absolutely nothing stopping us from parking outside an abortion clinic tonight and haranguing people first thing in the morning—and ... there really f—-ing should be.“ See the video in our gallery or HERE.

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