Con Man Season 2: Episodes 3 Through 6 – Thath Thowbizth (Review)

Ep 5 Alan and Nolan 1

After season one of Con Man poked fun at the whole fan convention experience, as seen through the eyes of Wray Nerely, season two continues to look at the funny side of working in showbiz. It also takes a slightly different direction than indicated by the season one finale. It appears that the path to a Spectrum film is not quite as cut and dried as Jack thought.

The first two episodes included some moments from season one favorites, Dale, the “female” stuntman and Faith, the delicious, and funny, right-hand woman to Jack Moore. Both characters are gone all too soon but Bobbie is back, to stay it seems, and she has gone from Comic Con agent to agent…agent.

Jack has been offered the role of Doctor Cop Lawyer and he turns it down. Meanwhile Wray does  a commercial, being shot by Diego (who will be shooting the pilot for Doctor Cop Lawyer.). Wray does all his own stunts despite the stuntman offering to do them.

The two talk about the deal in her “spa” (“Hot grease!”) while she massages a customer and makes her plea to become Wray’s full-time representative.

Bobbie has the script and she pushes for Wray to read for the part of “gimpy sidekick” Dr. Richard Trimmings, aka Dr. Dick Trimmings.  (Get it?) The character has a squinty eye, a lisp, and a limp. Wray wants to go for the lead, Dr. Blade Slater.

Bobbie tells Wray that he cannot go for Slater as she submitted herself for the “20 something” dancer role; Blade’s lover. Jack pushes for Wray to do the commercial for Diego, while he orchestrates the Spectrum Movie.

Jack’s personal assistant, Faith, breaks up with both men through a letter. “Blah, blah, blah, self destructive, blah, blah, blah, sexual inconsistency…” Although, it turns out that the letter was not a “Dear Wray” break up note until Nerely insults Faith when she walks in.

Dale exits after “discarding” his broken arm and cast.

Wray learns that Bobbie did not get the part of the 20 something former dancer and that Diego does not want him for the lead role.  After being told by Bobbie to read for the gimpy sidekick, Wray complains to the health food bartender (Van Diem) who drowns him out with the blender.

Ep 6 Alan
Alan Tudyk as Wray Nerely at the audition.

Wray goes to his buddy’s mo-cap lesson. Jerry Lansing offers the class as an alternative to Andy Serkis’ course on doing apes. (“Get out of here you damn dirty ape!”) Lansing takes Wray through the paces of his upcoming audition and how to capture the character of Dick Trimmings.

After the mo-cap training session, Wray goes to the audition. Two Aussie actors let Wray go next and the casting director reveals that Diego is not even at the audition. He is, according to Cindy, watching via the smartphone in her left breast pocket.

The audition takes place in front of three assistants and a trio of children who are in charge of social media. Diego watches while he eats lunch. During the audition, no one looks at Wray except for Sarah, the gum-chomping girl who reads the huge Blade Slater part. Nerely has two lines.

After the audition, Wray becomes agitated by Sarah’s over-enthusiastic chewing and flips out. Enraged, he calls out the entire room, including the absent Diego. (“It’s anaphylactic shock!”) The director asks Wray to audition for another part.

Nerely then reads for the lead. Amid spontaneous applause, Wray leaves the audition and he meets Jerry Lansing all hunched over, limping and lisping, as he comes in to read for Dick Trimmings.

These four episodes were excruciatingly funny. From the breakup with Faith to the mo-cap class with Nolan North, each sequence had plenty of laugh out loud moments. There are also plenty of bits that hit a nerve of truth.

Anyone one who has auditioned for a role will recognise the scenario that Wray faces in his Doctor Cop Lawyer reading.  The sly dig at Australian actors apparently inundating the business was also funny.

Episode five was mainly a lot of sight gags combined with the brilliant delivery of Nolan North as he “teaches” his students to be a variety of animals (No apes!) and aspects of weather.

Dushku and Hathaway killed it in episode six. Huertas is proving that he has comedy chops for days as Diego. (On a sidenote: Nolan North proves once again that apart from being the master of videogame voice acting, he is one of the funniest comic actors in the business.)

There are some brilliant gags in this season. Jack Moore tearfully brushing his toupee, and that huge bald-dome, Bobbie and the whole health food bit, the audition piece, and Lansing turning up “in-character” as Dr. Dick Trimmings. (“Sorry! It’s such a great part!”)

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Eliza Dushku as Cindy

Season two of Con Man is just as irreverent as season one. There are a number of well-loved performers (from the Whedon-verse) who drop by for cameos and the comedy ranges from slapstick to farce.

This time Con Man is airing via Comic Con HQ, versus Vimeo. Head on over now and catch the fun.

Cast:

Fresh Off the Boat: No Thanks-giving – Jessica vs Eddie (Review)

 HUDSON YANG, CONSTANCE WU

Fresh Off the Boat sees Jessica go ff the idea of celebrating Thanksgiving. Right after her announcement that they would open Cattleman’s Ranch on Thanksgiving, Eddie decides there is nothing to be gained from working hard in the eighth grade.

He refuses to do his family tree homework. This decision leads to Principal Hunter delivering Eddie to his parents front door. The eldest Huang child tells his Louis and Jessica that middle school accomplishes nothing and does not count towards college.

The principal agrees but asks the Huang’s to sort Eddie out.

Meanwhile the plans are made to serve Thanksgiving Day dinner at the restaurant. Jessica and Louis set out what will happen on the day and the two engage in a winking fest. Each wink has an underlying meaning.

Grandma Huang is excited to see the parade on the bar’s TV and Eddie loses his bed. Jessica has taken it to prove a point. Eddie, however, is not going to give in.

At one point Jessica tells her oldest that Evan and Emery might inherit Cattleman’s Ranch and the two boys begin planning for their future in earnest.  Evan reveals that he does not realize the difference between a cow and a bull. Emery explains is and Evan is not impressed.

“You’re a cow!”

Nancy and Mitch start sucking up to the new “owners” and Eddie asks Honey and Marvin to explain how useless the eighth grade really is. Jessica refuses to budge.

Later, during the fresh turkey raffle, Eddie falls asleep and does not hear Jessica call the winning number. (She fixed the raffle.) They end up giving the turkey to another customer who is shocked to find that her prize is alive.

Jessica has one last talk with Eddie and she convinces him that she is “crazy.” He gets his bed back and actually does the family tree homework assignment. Instead of tracing his family, he uses the tree to map out the rap hierarchy.

LUCILLE SOONG

This episode of Fresh Off the Boat was equally divided between the Huang couple and the kids. Although Grandma Huang does get some brilliant moments. Her nut throwing at the Cattleman’s Ranch TV screen, and the reaction of the guy next to her,  was priceless.

 

“No Thanks-giving” also shows just how business minded Jessica is.  Louis may own and run the restaurant but Jessica could run circles around him in terms of management. Although her scruples are a little close to the bone and her people skills could use a little work.

Season three of Fresh Off the Boat is maintaining its high level of comedy. All of the Huang “kids” have chemistry that  cannot be beaten and Lucille Soong is the hidden gem in this ensemble piece. Check out that expression on her character’s face when throwing those nuts.

Once again, Constance Wu was the “most valuable player” (MVP) with Soong coming a close second.  Louis and Jessica’s wink “thing” was one of the funniest things in the season so far. (But not funnier than Wu’s “Louis” in a previous episode.

By the end of the episode the Huang’s have taken their Simpsons position on the sofa and are watching Eddie’s in-depth family tree of all the “relevant” rappers.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays on ABC. Tune in and let the comedy wash over you.

Cast:

Scream Queens: Chanel Pour Homme-icide – Accents (Review)

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Scream Queens this week managed to be the funniest episode as well as the most nonsensical. “Chanel Pour Homme-icide” changes the formula a bit. Instead of the most recently cured patient being offed by the Green Meanie, it is two of the new Chanel’s.

Of course the killer did go after Chanel #5 and Denise Hemphill in the Halloween episode. Chamberlin Jackson was attacked but Zayday was bypassed completely.

In this episode Nurse Hoffel has taken over as the new Chanel Oberlin, she calls the two Chanel’s “idiot b*tches,” and we learn that she is addicted to Pethidine and she knows all about Dean Munsch’s  cannibal induced disease. 

Denise Hemphill is not dead, although initially Munsch wants to throw her in the swamp. (Which, incidentally, would have been brilliant for last season since Hemphill was uber annoying. This season? Not so much.) Since the FBI agent cannot be resuscitated the Dean puts her in a cryogenic chamber.

The disease of the week in this episode was Madonna Accent Syndrome, aka Foreign Accent Syndrome. (This syndrome, or illness, really exists by the way so kudos to the writers for this one…) A patient changes her accent every single time she speaks (Not a really symptom…) after a head injury.

Perhaps the funniest bit of the entire two seasons of Scream Queens has the staff suddenly suffering from the same symptoms as  Hotchkiss.  Dr. Holt, Dr. Cascade and Chanel #3 all start changing their accents each time they speak.  All of them are classic “Hollywood” versions of foreign accents.

John Stamos’ character gets the line of the episode with his complaint:

“Damn it. My accent keeps changing. Now I sound like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins.”

ZayDay recruits Chanel #5 to help track down the “baby in the belly,” #5 is annoyed that three new Chanel’s have been taken on board. She is especially upset that one of the newbies is a male.

Hester is also recruited. She gets the second funniest line of the episode as well:

“I’m a psychopath, a sociopath and I’m also allergic to gluten.”

After visiting the woman whose husband was dumped in the swamp, ZayDay believes that Chamberlin is the “baby in the belly.”

Ms. Hotchkiss is cured and the staff have settled into a faux British accent, and they decide to call Madonna.  Mensch fires Hoffel who blackmails her way into staying at the hospital.

Amazingly, Hotchkiss is not murdered.

The Chanel’s throw a party and set up Chanel #8 to be killed by the Green Meanie. Twink, aka Chanel #9 messes up their plan by stepping in to get the gift meant for #8.

#8 comes up to tell the Chanel’s that #9 wanted the present so she came back to the party.  They find #9 on a morgue drawer and he has been gutted. As most of the Chanel’s scream, Hester smiles.

Dean Munsch tells off the three original Chanel’s for not telling her about their plan.  Chanel #3 manages to work the word “onerous” into the conversation. Munsch  brings in three more Chanel’s into the hospital.

She also says that she will find Hester.  The first new Chanel dies, the one with six fingers on one hand. The Green Meanie chops off the extra digit and when the new Chanel thanks the killer, she is then stabbed to death.

Dr. Cascade is the “baby in the belly.”  And, he has lost his English upper-crust accent.

This last reveal could  mean that Cascade is the Green Meanie, but considering the size of the killer he probably is a red herring. If we go by size alone, the killer looks more like Nurse Hoffel.

She is quite tall, especially in heels and she is a full figured woman as well. Chamberlin is also big enough to be the Green Meanie but he was attacked as well. (Although looking at last season, there could well be two Green Meanies…)

This episode of Scream Queens was definitely worth a giggle or two. Although it does fall back on the season one formula, i.e. we are at a loss here, so let’s have a party.  It works, as it allows one new Chanel to be skewered.

It does appear that someone on the hospital’s staff called Madonna as both Chanel #3 and Dr. Cascade have lost their accents.

Scream Queens airs Tuesdays on FOX.

CAST:

Guest starring Mary Birdsong as Penelope Hotchkiss, Trilby Glover as Jane, Moira O’Neill as Chanel #9, Pablo Castelblanco as Tristan, aka Twink.

Falling Water: Ambergris – The Boy (Review)

 Falling Water - Season 1

It now seems that the common denominator in all the dreams is the boy. Falling Water “Ambergris” reveals just why Bill is fascinated by dreams and sharing them. We also learn that Isla, who seems to like smoking crack cocaine, can read minds.

As the episode progresses, Burton, who is apparently not getting much sleep, learns that the land deal is actually worthless. He realizes that the mineral rights offer is a front for Tess’ boy. He also finds out that Isla can see Olivia, aka the woman in red.

Taka meets with Bowen and  Sabine asks him if he is willing to continue their arrangement.  He is also told that Kumiko, his mother, is lost in her own dreamworld.

Tess enters into Bill’s dream (“one time.”) and they  run into the faceless men.  She runs off and Bill goes back into the building to confront the creatures.

Bowen meets with Charlotte and agrees to let her see the boy. In this sequence he is much younger, but clearly, this is the same youngster; Tess’ son.

Out of the three protagonists, Tess and Burton are both suffering from their dreams. Taka is seemingly unaffected by his interaction with the dream world.  Tess tells Bill that she feels tired and out of sorts.  Burton does not admit it but he is suffering similar symptoms.

(Although his state of distress does not affect his ability to exercise.)

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Tess

Bill tells Tess about his twin sister slipping into his dreams when he was a boy. She also learns that Bill’s sister died when she was 16. Burton quits the company he is working for and Isla comes to visit him.

Olivia, it seems, is being held prisoner and in Burton’s dreams she demands that he rescues her. By the end of the episode she is revealed to be on a filthy floor, tied up and and motionless.

The dreams of  each person in this trio continue to merge with reality. Burton, however, seems to have more blending than the other two. His life appears to be one long interwoven dream.  Isla, at one point, tells Burton that this all a test to see how powerful his dreams are.

They are, she tells him, very powerful.

Andy’s body is found in the dumpster. Taka is called in  for his “international” connections. Andy was from Iceland and he was supposed to be in prison for murder.

Taka meets with Bill to ask about the dead man. As he is leaving, Taka sees Tess. They both recognize each other as they  have been sharing dreams.

Apart from Tess’ son appearing in all of their dreams there appears to be another constant, a teddy bear, wearing a red sweater, is another item that shows up in all their dreams. Those green sneakers also appear to be making appearances in each ones dreams.

In the dream that Tess shares with Bill, they are initially on a school bus. Bill tells her that he has to sit with his sister.  The back of a girl’s head can be seen a few rows forward in the bus. Bill tries repeatedly to sit with her but cannot.

They leave the bus and enter a house where a piece of art by Taka’s mother; Kumiko, sits in the middle of a small room. This artwork also appears to the others. Taka sees it, as part of a book asking about ’80’s artists who have disappeared.

It is Burton who has the weirdest experiences this week. Although he did have some odd dream sequences in the previous episode, this week his dreams were so well merged that everything the head of security  did seemed like a dream.

When Burton takes Isla to get her fix, she vanishes out of the backseat of the car they are in. Before she does, however, she notices Olivia and says that the dream woman is beautiful. Burton gets out of the car to talk to her and Isla is gone.

Later she turns up in Burton’s apartment.

Investigating Andy’s death, Taka goes to the airport lost and found section  and looks in the dead man’s suitcase. Inside the small bag are hundreds, if not thousands, of those blue handbills. Each one has a picture of Tess’ boy and the words “His name is…”

Falling Water continues to feel like  a murky version of either Inception or Dreamscape. In the meeting between Burton and H. Robert Arnot, the latter talks of influencing someone’s dreams.

Each episode of this quirky series needs to be watched a number of times to catch all the nuances and messages on offer. It is, despite being quite addictive, hard to follow at times.

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Taka.

It is interesting to note that of all the dreamers, it is the tough nut; Burton, who is suffering the most. Taka is too focused on searching for clues to be too affected.

There are so many questions that need answers. Who is studying Burton’s dreams and why?  Why is Tess’ son’s age different to different people? And finally, what is Kumiko’s connection to all this?

Falling Water airs Thursdays on USA. Check this one out if weird and quirky is your cup of tea.

Cast:

Designated Survivor: The Interrogation – Bad Timing (Review)

 KIEFER SUTHERLAND

Perhaps it is the timing of real world events that makes this episode of Designated Survivor so unpalatable. “The Interrogation” follows a triple plot line. A planeload of Syrian refugees are trapped on the Florida tarmac after the governor of that state refuses to let them disembark. A terrorist is questioned about the bombing that put Kirkman in the hot seat and the new president is put on the spot by all the state governors.

It has already been pointed out by at least one critic that Kirkman’s being an “independent” reeks of Hollywood machinations. The show, after an interesting open, seems to be floundering a bit.

Kirkman is having a crisis of faith while dealing with two governors who want him to justify why he should be president. Would this really happen? The answer is, it might but not as cleanly orchestrated as it occurs in this episode.

Designated Survivor may be dealing with an extreme situation but in the real world, the country is reeling from an election that could well be as traumatic as this series premise means to be.

So perhaps state governor’s would question the designated survivor’s legitimacy and right to hold the office of president. In reality the person given that position is usually in the political doghouse, so to speak, someone who is on the way out, for whatever reason.

But if this years election has taught us anything it is that politics is a madhouse. This country’s new president elect is a reality TV star no more qualified to run the country than I am.

The United States government, before this election spent eight years in a stalemate because one party could not and would not cooperate with a black democratic president.  How on earth could they manage to see eye to eye long enough to deal with a president foisted  upon them by means of a huge tragedy.

Designated Survivor started out with an interesting premise. Kiefer Sutherland is spot on as President Kirkman, a man outside the circle of trust when the president and his cabinet were blown to bits by terrorists.

However, when watching this latest episode of the series it was more interesting to spot who the new cast members were. Melanie Scrofano from Wynonna Earp appeared in The Interrogation as member of the press, which was a pleasant surprise but not really what the episode was all about.

It may well be down to the sour taste of the election in the real world that made this series suddenly seem less entertaining.  This could just be a case of really bad timing but the plot line of immigration, in the show, mirrors a stance taken by the new president elect.

Trying to watch a show about politics and an American president that no one voted seemed… Off somehow. As nice as it is to see Kiefer Sutherland as an “everyman” sort of president, reminiscent of  a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington type,  the state of the US after the real world elections makes the show almost unbearable to watch.

Sutherland does very well in a show full of familiar faces like Maggie Q Natascha McElhone and Kal Penn but ultimately “The Interrogation” felt flat. Perhaps the episode or even the series should have been given a rest, a short hiatus, while the country calmed down after the recent election results. 

Nothing against the series or the splendid actors in it, but with things as they are right now in American politics, Designated Survivor may not last an entire season.

The series airs Wednesdays on ABC.