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Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
Curb Your Enthusiasm turns 20
ALSO: NBC vs Trump vs Biden. AND: CBS tell better police stories
Happy(?) 20th anniversary Curb Your Enthusiasm
On October 15 in the year 2000 HBO birthed the ongoing series Curb Your Enthusiasm. It was a joyous event that has given us all sorts of great memories involving spite stores, respect for wood, and beloved aunts.
Marking the anniversary, the New York Times has a great feature looking at the experience for actors appearing on the show, which has a unique improvised approach to production.
Chris Williams, who played a womanizing rapper who went by Krazee-Eyez Killa — with a maniacal stare to match — knew two sentences about his character before his audition. He wore a silver dental grill and brown contact lenses, because he thought his blue eyes wouldn’t make him look hard enough.
“I’m from Westchester, I went to Georgetown, so I’m the furthest thing from a gangster rapper,” he said. “But I left my house that day as thugged out as I could be.”
The actor went into the room in character, on a mission to knock David off balance.
“I just started messing with Larry as much as possible,” he recalled. “You can’t be too jokey in the audition; it’s grounded in reality even though it’s absurdity. I went in there and I was like, ‘Yo, Larry, you have two first names, how’d you get that?’ Ridiculous things to keep him off guard.”
When CBS cop dramas return this season they will have a lot more woke themes built into them as part of an effort to address criticism about the depiction of police in television. The company has hired a firm, 21CP, to help address issues within their productions.
What the reformers say they’re trying to prevent is the kind of alleged police brutality that led to the deaths of Floyd and Taylor, as well as everyday interactions characterized by aggression, and systemic ills that lead to the disenfranchisement of people of color. Changing the perceptions of police by overhauling entertainment images, they believe, can help address these issues.
The project in a way flips a long-standing narrative dating back at least to Tipper Gore’s crusade against rap music in the 1990s: Where she focused on how entertainment can lead ordinary citizens to violence, the current effort scrutinizes how portrayals of police can prod law enforcement to bad action.
The big US TV story of the day is that NBC agreed to a Town Hall event with former Home Alone 2: Lost in New York actor Donald Trump scheduled against an already arranged Town Hall event with former Parks & Recreation actor Joe Biden on ABC.
These individual Town Hall events replace what was supposed to be a shared event that was cancelled after Trump got the COVID.
Because of the circumstances leading into this, people are outraged. There are claims people plan to never watch NBC again, they’re cancelling Peacock, and calling for the head of Chuck Todd.
It’s all pretty tense.
A few issues of note:
NBC talent have banded together signing a letter signaling their displeasure at the network. Read: Deadline
NBC News and MSNBC are at loggerheads over this. Read: Politico
NBC and ABC are commanding high ad rates for the events - an average of $198,000 for 30-second commercials. Read: Variety
And then there’s Trump who, at a rally a few hours ago, is trashing NBC and its talent. Essentially this is him trying to set expectations so that he can come out against the event tomorrow saying how it was rigged against him. But it also backs NBC into a corner. They can’t cancel or postpone the event now as it’ll be seen as more ‘fake news’ nonsense.
Lupita Nyong’o has dropped out of Americanah, prompting HBO Max to cancel the series ahead of production. Source: Collider
Alan Jones is suing SBS over a sketch on The Feed that he claims defamed him. I hope he never hears about A Rational Fear. Source: AFR
Aussie network 10 has cancelledDancing with the Starsand Bachelor in Paradise. Source: TV Tonight
Black Monday has been commissioned for a third season. Source: thefutoncritic
The Last OG has been commissioned for a fourths season. Source: thefutoncritic
LA’s FInest has been cancelled after two seasons. Source: Deadline
Uncle Frank is set for release on November 25 on Amazon Prime Video.
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