Friday Five

Thanksgiving with Friends

The Thanksgiving episode is a rite of passage for any American sitcom. New Girl – which we here at CulturePoppe just j’adore more and more – hit gold with their first Hanksgiving Dudesgiving Thanksgiving episode (“It’s like a Prince video!”) this week, and the annals of TV history are littered with other fine examples. But no sitcom did Thanksgiving better than Friends. For each one of the landmark show’s 10 seasons, Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey never failed to deliver a laugh-filled Gobble Day. Some of the show’s finest, funniest and most memorable happenings occurred on Thanksgiving – including that “One with All the Thanksgivings.” But for me, the very best, the funniest Thanksgiving episode – and one of the best episodes of the show period – was season 6’s “The One Where Ross Got High.”

One of the marks of any great sitcom is the ability of the writers to craft stories that allow each cast member to shine – and to have a cast that can rise to the occasion. Friends was firing on both cylinders with this classic involving the Gellars finding out about Chandler and Monica, Joey and Ross trying to speed up Thanksgiving to teach the “hot dancer girls about the new world,” Phoebe’s obsession with legendary oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and Rachel’s feeble attempts at baking Thanksgiving dessert. And it all came to a breathtakingly funny climax, which you can see in this clip. I mean, who doesn’t need a little Friends in their life this week?
Take Care, Drake

I really dig Drake. His proper album debut Thank Me Later was a collection of atmospheric and brooding rap tailor-made for cold, rainy days and warm, breezy nights. He’s continued in much the same vein – albeit improved even – with Take Care. Yes, he probably spends a bit too much time navel-gazing over how “tough” it is to be a star, but he also tackles heartache and pain in a way that few other hip-hop artists do. The washes of synthesizers, bleak airy space and sparse production combine with his ever-improving flow to create a pleasantly languid mood that’s periodically interspersed with more ambitious tracks like “Lord Knows,” backed by a gospel choir no less. The title track – a tender ode to love, featuring Rihanna – is a standout.

We All Need Community

I have been an evangelist for Community since season 1. It boasts one of the most talented comedic casts working today – every single player (except for Ken Jeong’s tired caricature of a character) is a comedy MVP – and it’s the most forward thinking and consistently brilliant sitcom on television right now. The ragtag group of Greendale college students – led by that guy up there – consistently bring the smart and smart aleck funny week after week. In fact, the show has really been on a roll this season – constantly topping itself. Yet NBC – in another move of infinite non-wisdom – has pulled it from the schedule for mid-season. It’s not canceled – yet – but when a show is pulled like that, it’s not a good sign. It’s time to rally behind this gem and show NBC what a grave mistake they are making. The fact that a brilliant show like this is on the bubble, while the universally and justifiably maligned Whitney sits pretty is beyond acceptable. It’s time to #SaveCommunity. #sixseasonsandamovie.

http://www.nbc.com/community/

Muppetmania

The Muppets are back! And I couldn’t be a happier camper. After a couple of misfires – I’m looking at you, Muppets in Space – Kermit, Miss Piggy and the whole gang are back to claim our hearts and funny bones again, thanks to the dedication and fandom of Jason Segel.  The Muppets opens November 23, and you can believe that I will be there front and center. Here’s hoping a new generation falls in love with this crazy group as much as mine did. My favorite Muppet endeavor, you ask? The Muppets Take Manhattan. No question.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
This mesmerizing 2005 novel from Jonathan Safran Foer is about a boy on a quest through New York City to find the lock that matches a key left in his father’s closet after his father dies in one of the Twin Towers on 9/11. It’s about much more, too – including a love story that will rip your heart in two. It’s a heartbreaking but uplifting story told with boundless creativity and it will move you. The film adaptation, directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) and starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, hits theaters at Christmas. Check out the trailer here.
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2 thoughts on “Friday Five

  1. I see Community going the way of Arrested Development, becoming much more popular with reruns on Netflix before being brought back again because nobody else “got it” before. I agree, the characters and the writing is fantastic. Such a shame more people don’t watch.

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving Marathon round-up « culturepoppe

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