October 27, 2009

TV Star Spotlight: Jim Rash

Our favorite new show of the season is a sitcom called Community. It airs at 8:00, the perfect start to the best 2 hours television (8-10 on Thursdays on NBC). While the show boasts a great ensemble cast of actors (including Joel McHale from The Soup, comedy legend Chevy Chase, and recent break-out star Ken Jeong [the naked Asian guy who jumped out of the car in The Hangover]) there's another actor who I didn't really know on the show, but looked very familiar. His name is Jim Rash, and on Community he plays the hilarious Dean Pelton, who is always trying to gain publicity for the school. Here's a clip of him from the most recent episode of Community (You can stop watching after the first minute and 15 seconds if you want, it's a really long clip. Or if you're enjoying it, keep watching!):

That guy looked very familiar to me, but I didn't know where I had seen him before. So naturally, I turned to the greatest website on the Internet (except for this one of course), www.imdb.com! I looked him up, and he has appeared in two of our favorite shows: Friends and Will & Grace! Even more interesting, in both shows, he appeared as a guy on a plane! In Friends, he was in the series finale as the guy who afraid of the plane's lack of "phalange" and in Will & Grace he played a steward who wouldn't let Grace into first class (until Will flirted with him). Don't believe me? See for yourself!

October 24, 2009

Monty Python: In Search of the Flying Circus

It all started last Saturday night when we were watching a DVRed episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon featuring 4 of the original cast members of the classic British comedy group Monty Python. (You can see some of their silliness here):

While we're fairly familiar with Monty Python (we've seen Holy Grail and Meaning of Life and we loved their Broadway musical Spamalot) we've never really seen the TV show where Monty Python first started, Monty Python's Flying Circus. But after watching the silly antics of these (now older) men on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, we decided that we had to go out and buy the complete series of Flying Circus on DVD. When we finished watching Monty Python on Late Night, it was already 10 pm, and most stores were closed, with the exception of Barnes & Noble, which closes at 11:00.

We went online to see the availability of the set, and we were faced with a dilemma. There are two different complete series sets of Monty Python's Flying Circus! The first one is called "The 16 Ton Megaset", which features all 45 episodes of the series, as well as 2 bonus disks of "Monty Python Live" which features some live shows that Monty Python did.

The other set was called the "Deluxe Mega Set", and in addition to all 45 episodes and the Monty Python Live disks, it also had all of the "Personal Best" DVDs (kind of like the SNL Best of DVDs, it has the best of each cast member's sketches) and also 2 new documentaries. The Deluxe Mega Set is obviously newer and better, but it is also of course much more expensive. On Amazon, the 16 Ton Set sold for $56.99 and the Deluxe Mega Set sold for $84.99. I always do like to get the best set available, but was it worth an extra $20 for the Personal Best DVDs (which is just a compilation of sketches on the other disks) and some documentaries?

After much deliberation, we decided that no, it was not worth it. We just wanted to see the show. We didn’t really need the documentaries (I later found out that the documentaries are available separately). So, we were set, we were going to get the 16 Ton Mega Set! Furthermore, at Barnes & Noble, it was on sale for 50% off! Of course Barnes & Noble is always more expensive then Amazon, but since it was 50% off, instead of it selling for $100, it was no on sale for $50! Plus, I could use my Barnes & Noble membership discount to get 10% off, so now it was only $45! Over $10 cheaper than Amazon (how rare!), and we could watch it TONIGHT! We were very excited, but after checking the "Pick it up now" feature on Barnes & Noble's website, we realized that it wasn't available at the B&N near us, but it was available at the one about 20 minutes away. Unfortunately, it wasn’t there, and it only appeared to be in stock because the website takes a while to update. They did, however, have the Deluxe Megaset, available for $130. We declined this overpriced offer, and went home, defeated.

We checked online again to see where the 50% off Megaset was available, and we saw that it was for sale 30 minutes away at a mall in New York, so we reserved the copy online. We went to Barnes & Noble, and there it was, behind the counter, waiting for us to take it home (this is a great feature!). By the way, for readers who are thinking of expanding their DVD collections, the Barnes & Noble sale is still going on, and as of right now, the Monty Python Megaset is the #1 bestselling DVD! If it’s not available near you, and you aren’t incredibly impatient like us, you can order it.

After going the wrong way on the highway and driving through the Bronx to get to J’s house, we watched the first 3 episodes that night. The show is very unique. It's a sketch comedy show, but unlike SNL, the sketches in each episode usually have recurring themes or references. At the same time, each sketch is completely random and unexpected. They also have these very creative and often hilarious animated segments which act as transitions from one random sketch to the next. Some sketches were funnier than others, but here's a few of my favorites. What do you think?