Archive for April, 2011

That’s What He Said…A Fond Farewell To Michael Scott

Some people love television. “American Idol”, “Dancing With the Stars”, whichever “CSI” happens to be on that night, but I’m not one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I like TV, heck I even work in TV, but I don’t “love” it like most of America. I find most of it to be formulaic and boring. And frankly, I do not have the time to watch.

That’s why, I have a 2 show limit.

No more, no less. Although, I will admit I have been forced to watch a few episodes of “Real Housewives” on Bravo. What is with Sonja’s attitude this season?!?!

The 2 shows that I do latch onto, I tend to really enjoy. One was “Lost.” Since that departed into the light nearly a year ago, I’ve been left with just one. “The Office.” That’s why it depresses me greatly to see Steve Carell leaving “The Office” this week. No matter what anyone is trying to sell you (namely NBC and remaining cast members) this show will not “go on” without Michael Scott. The shows may have been built around Jim and Pam’s “will they, won’t they” relationship, but ultimately it’s always been Carell carrying this comedy.

I mean, just look at the plot. Downtrodden office workers try to cope with the daily grind of living in Scranton, PA, being employed at a paper company and dealing with their obnoxious boss. This isn’t replacing Valerie Harper with Sandy Duncan on “The Hogan Family”, it’s not forgetting about Sam and Diane to focus on Sam and Rebecca on “Cheers” and it’s definitely not Tiffani Amber-Thiessen filling in for Shannen Doherty on “90210.” This is “that’s what she said” Michael Scott. The World’s Best Boss.

So, to mourn the loss of one of my favorite TV characters of all-time, I am putting together a list of my personal favorite Michael Scott moments. It won’t be easy to narrow it down because frankly, I have loved them all.

Michael Marks a Woman’s Arm Because He Thinks She and Another Woman Look So Similar.

In Season 3, Dwight tries to take over the office, even telling Michael he’s going to the dentist, but in reality he meets up with Michael’s boss Jan to ask for control of the branch. What follows is an exchange that I quote at least once a week.

One of my favorite episodes is the Season 2 premiere, The Dundies. Carell gives an amazing performance, showing audiences just how stupid he can be, but offering up a vulnerable side when he nearly gets booed out of Chili’s by some rowdy customers. I love the first clip because of Michael’s use of “shut it” at the end and the second for his use of “lame.”

Nothing beats Michael’s blind optimism or pessimism, depending on his wildly erratic moods. That’s why when he’s at his best during highs and lows. Here he tells audiences exactly why it’s great to get awards and in the second clip his failed marriage proposal to a woman he’s been dating for a few weeks.

In Season 4, Human Resources Rep. Toby Flenderson is leaving the office to go to Costa Rica. Michael despises Toby so much that he turns his going away party into a carnival, even singing a parody “Goodbye Toby” song to send him on his way.

Michael put into a tough situation, such as having an obscene water mark on paper shipped out to dozens of clients, always brings out the best worst in him. And by worst, I mean best. This short clip packs in as many laughs as an entire episode of other sitcoms.

And despite all his laughter-inducing rants, nonsensical statements and hilarious “that’s what she saids” at the heart of Steve Carell’s Michael Scott is his need and journey to be loved and to fall in love. And that side is what makes audiences care for his character, instead of just rolling their eyes at what could have easily been a one-trick pony. All of that is summed up in this clip with Jan and Holly.

So, those are only a handful of clips out of hundreds that I have followed and admired over the last seven seasons. Michael Scott/Steve Carell you will be sorely missed.

And as for the mystery boss who’s going to take over…it’s certainly going to be hard for the next guy that comes in. “That’s what she said.”

posted by Seth Szilagyi in The Office and have Comments (2)

‘Scream 4’ Review

Slasher movies are not really my thing. I work at a job where all I hear about is murder and horrible people, with an occasional inspirational story squeezed in. So, the last thing I typically want to do is see people tortured, maimed or hacked to bits on the big screen. But, I’ve always had a sweet spot for the “Scream” franchise. And I think, even though it does contain a lot of violence, it’s more cerebral than your typical knife-wielding maniac flick. The first incarnation in 1996 revived the horror genre by giving audiences the gore they expected, while adding snappy dialogue and a self-awareness that almost made viewers feel like part of the film. The second film was not quite as inventive (especially the out-of-no-where ending) but it provided an interesting insight on what should and should not happen in a sequel. The third was probably the weakest of the trilogy, although on repeat viewings it does improve a bit. The trilogy was rounded out by the “movie-in-a-movie” theme that did not quite resonate and the ending was somewhat of a non sequitur.

And that brings us to “Scream 4.” Although, I wanted to see this film, my expectations were low. There had been reports of battles between the studio and scribe Kevin Williamson, strange last-minute re-shoots in Detroit and the much-publicized breakup of stars Courtney Cox and David Arquette. However, this is a very entertaining and smart film.

The opening sequence (something these movies excel at) is a tease, but in a good way. Without spoiling anything, it’s a great spin on the past installments. At around an hour and forty minutes, “Scream 4” moves along at an exciting pace, daring the viewer to guess the killer and then throw up a big fat “wrong” in your face when that person bites it. And that, to me, is the best part. The mystery.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) comes back to her home town of Woodsboro to promote her new book that deals with her bloody past and how she’s moved forward with her life. Of course, she quickly runs in to a few old friends, Officer Dewey (now the Sheriff) and his wife Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox). From there, a new Ghostface starts knocking off townspeople left and right. One gets offed by a garage door, another with a knife to the head and another that gets hurled off a building onto a TV satellite truck. Just one of the film’s many knocks at the media. (And as a member of that media, I can tell you, any scrutiny and/or parody is well-deserved.)

So who is the new man or woman in the mask? A creepy boyfriend ala “Billy Loomis” from the first “Scream?” One of the two horror-film geeks who throw a “Stab-a-thon” party at an old barn? An overly flirtatious deputy on the police force? Or could it be Sidney herself, trying to come “Out of the Darkness” in a perverse manner like the title of her self-help book? Or D). None of the above? Those are answers I cannot give away. But, any moviegoer should have a fun time finding out.

Of course, the top question many had going back to this long-dormant franchise, would any of the original players make it through? Writer Kevin Williamson stated in one interview that he was hoping to reboot the series with a second trilogy. And it seems at one point, he may have done it. The second trilogy appears it will be launched in quite the unorthodox way, but then, as many a horror film is apt to do, it goes for one more thrill. And that, is where this movie may end up failing.

Jason Voorhees, Jigsaw, these are spooks that have “more gravy than grave” about them to quote the great Charles Dickens. But Ghostface and the “Scream” movies go beyond mere murder and senseless violence. When you’re done, you’re glad you had a chance to pick it apart, look at the evidence and maybe have a “Scream” trying to figure out the puzzle.

***Ring*** Oh, it’s the phone, I better get that. Until next time, I’ll be right back.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Scream and have No Comments