<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - TV, movies, music and celebrity news]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/entertainment/entertainment-news http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:17:45 -0700 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:17:45 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Whoopi Goldberg Pens Column for the Cannabist]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:10:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP223328357635.jpg

Whoopi Goldberg loves her vape pen and wants everyone to know it.

A new column by "The View" co-host debuted Thursday on the Cannabist, the Denver Post's cannabis-focused news website covering legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado.

"My vape pen and I maintain a mostly private relationship. Sure, I’ll sometimes show my pen to a friend or share her with a close confidant," Goldberg, 58, writes in her premiere column. "But mostly it’s just she and I working through my pain. And her ability to help me live comfortably with glaucoma makes her one of the more important figures in my day to day."

Goldberg’s debut column focuses on using marijuana to find relief from glaucoma-induced headaches that she says "come on like freight trains."

"What kind of kush is in my vape pen at the moment?" she continues. "The indica-dominant Platinum OG, of course."

"The high is different, too. It feels like a gentle, warm breeze at the beach. It’s like someone undoing a vice grip, very slowly. It’s not overpowering — and I’m certainly not looking for that high high. I’m looking for relief."

Goldberg will write a column about every two months, Post owner Digital First Media announced in a press release. The idea for the article was developed after Ricardo Baca, Editor of the Cannabist, appeared on "The View." 

Baca says he and Goldberg "instantly connected" when he appeared on the daytime chat fest. "Whoopi's column provides a direct and personal perspective on marijuana use in this modern era," Baca said. "We're grateful that she is willing to add her voice to this conversation." 

Photo Credit: Carlo Allegri/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Star Spotting at the Tribeca Film Festival ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 06:11:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tribeca-film-485175965.jpg Indie and Hollywood celebrities alike are congregating in New York to attend the Tribeca Film Festival. See photos from the star-studded film premieres.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for the 2014 Tribec]]>
<![CDATA[Salsa Singer Cheo Feliciano Killed in Crash]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:22:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP070907056835.jpg

Puerto Rican salsa and bolero singer Cheo Feliciano died in a car crash early Thursday morning, Telemundo Puerto Rico has confirmed. He was 78.

Jose Luis Feliciano Vega, better known as Cheo Feliciano,  was killed just after 4 a.m. when the Jaguar he was driving hit an electrical post in the Cupey area of San Juan, according to Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia.

Feliciano, the sole passenger in the vehicle, died on impact following the 4:13 a.m. crash on a road near the Universidad Metropolitana. A police inspector told the newspaper he was not wearing a seat belt. He is survived by his wife, Puerto Rican dancer Coco Prieto Leon Feliciano, and four sons.

Feliciano, one of the most recognized musicians of his genre, was credited as influencing other salsa stars, including Ruben Blades and Gilberto Santarosa. He produced a list of hits that includes "One in a Million," ''My Promise," and "I Learned with You," according to The Associated Press.

The musician, who was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, started his career as a percussionist in New York before joining the Joe Cuba Sextet as a singer. He recorded 17 albums with the band performing with top Latin artists of the era, before joining Fania Records' All-Stars ensemble and starting a successful solo career, according to a biography on Billboard.com.  He was honored with the Latin Grammy Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He was a vocal participant in anti-drug campaigns following his own battle with addiction, El Nueva Dia reported.

Feliciano had been diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer last year, but continued to make public appearances. According to El Nueva Dia, he was supposed to fly to Acapulco for a show with other salsa singers later this week.

<![CDATA[Season Finale a "Community" Service]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:09:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NUP_159232_0330.JPG

At the start of the most recent episode of "Community," all seems strangely quiet and happy for once at the crisis-ridden, surreal bin for the dysfunctional that is Greendale Community College. This freaks out Abed, the pop culture savant who serves as the show's meta narrator, like a twisted TV version of the Stage Manager from "Our Town."

"There's always a story!" Abed cries as he falls to his knees in the school's oddly quiet hallway, the past site of a massive blanket fort, paintball wars and a zombie attack. "Everything is a story!"

For Abed, his very being is predicated on frequent misadventures he can process in TV or movie terms. For fans of "Community," Abed's existential crisis marks a sign that we could be nearing the end of the story.

"Community" caps its fifth season on NBC Thursday as the characters wage a fight to save Greendale – and, perhaps, the show. It's a familiar position for a program a devoted, but modest fan base tunes into knowing every season finale could be the series finale.

"Community" debuted in 2009 with a mission to turn – or bounce, as in the episode featuring a hidden trampoline with a Prozac-like effect – TV storytelling upside down, constantly buffeting sitcom conventions.

The show survived lackluster ratings, cast departures (Chevy Chase and Donald Glover) and hiatuses to close in on the creative team's goal of "six seasons and a movie" – a message seen on a white board during the Season 4 finale.

The current season has proved even more self-referential, beginning with a debut episode called, “Repilot,” a nod to the characters’ post-graduation return to Greendale to rescue the school. It also might have been a nod to “Community” creator Dan Harmon’s return, after being ousted for a season, to save the show following an unfairly maligned fourth season.

Season 5 has yielded some vintage bizarrely entertaining episodes, including an epic Dungeons & Dragons game that revived the program's recurring theme of fathers clashing with sons. Harmon showed up in a recent installment animated in the style of the old “G.I. Joe” cartoon, featuring Abed as a character called “Fourth Wall.”

There’s nothing subtle about the name – or the plot that takes us to what could be the series’ final episode Thursday. Greendale, finally in good shape, gets taken over by the Subway sandwich chain, and is rechristened “Subway University” – offering product placement (and a cameo by Subway pitchman Jared Fogle) while mocking product placement.

Even worse, it looks like Greendale/Subway might be sold to developers. But there’s hope: Dean Pelton found a treasure map behind a portrait in his office that could save the day.

So Abed has a new story to dive into – but it might be his last. As we await what could be the final timeline for “Community,” check out a preview below:

Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Justin Lubin/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Schumer's "Foodroom" Parodies "Newsroom"]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:38:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/inside+amy+schumer+the+foodroom.jpg

Fans of Aaron Sorkin's rapid-fire dialogue, self-reverential monologues and broadly drawn female protagonists will get every quip, demand, aside and traveling camera shot in comedian Amy Schumer's "Newsroom" parody clip, "The Foodroom."

The skit debuted Tuesday night on Comedy Central's "Inside Amy Schumer" and features all the hallmarks of a Sorkin show ("The West Wing," "Sport's Night," "The Newsroom") and even one alum: actor Josh Charles ("The Good Wife") starred as Dan Rydell in "Sports Night."

In “The Foodroom,” Charles plays J.J. MacAhoy, manager of a fast food establishment called McDalmond’s and Schumer plays his assistant/former lover. For the uninitiated, in "The Newsroom" Jeff Daniels plays cable news anchor Will McAvoy and Emily Mortimer plays his show producer who also happens to be an ex-girlfriend.

Like its inspiration, "The Foodroom" features walk and talks (from the back office to the front counter via the kitchen), lengthy speeches (at MacDalmond's it concerns fries vs. apple slices) and giving the people what you think they need, not necessarily what they want.

"No, today, I'm gonna give you 3,800 calories of the greatest Goddamn country in the world," Charles as MacAhoy tells a drive-thru customer whose order he disagrees with. Cue reverential nodding from Schumer.

Schumer, whose show is now in its second season on Comedy Central, regularly confronts gender politics in her sketches and "The Foodroom" doesn't disappoint. When quizzed about her return to the United States following a stint as a Sbarro employee in Tel Aviv, Schumer's character explains her reason thusly: "Then one day I'm stuffing couscous into a calzone and I realized, a woman’s life is worth nothing unless she’s making a great man greater."

Schumer rose to fame when she placed fourth on the fifth season of NBC's "Last Comic Standing" ahead of earning second place on Comedy Central's "Reality Bites Back." Before launching her own Comedy Central series in 2013, Schumer could be seen in a recurring role on the Adult Swim series "Delocated."

No word yet on whether Schumer's "Foodroom" parody has Sorkin smiling or smarting.

Watch the full clip of "The Foodroom" above.

Photo Credit: Comedy Central]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Royal Vacation]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:37:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/royal-family-vacation-credit-AP.jpg Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed home a baby boy on July 22. Click through for photos of the young family on their three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["The Voice" Gets Its Top 12 Contestants]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:20:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NUP_163514_1611.jpg

"The Voice" has gotten its top 12 contestants who will do vocal battle in the live rounds, as Usher wrapped up the playoffs Tuesday when he picked his soulful finals-bound team of three: Bria Kelly, T.J. Wilkins and Josh Kaufman.

Their success came at the expense of metalhead-turned-bluesman Stevie Jo and jazz-inflected pop singer Melissa Jimenez, who were eliminated from the team Tuesday.

T.J. earned his slot on the leaner, meaner Team Usher with his take on Chaka Khan and Rufus' "Tell Me Something Good," while Bria secured hers with a cover of the Rolling Stones' shambling, country-tinged ballad "Wild Horses" that showed, perhaps for the first time, a more vulnerable, nuanced side.

Josh, though, who as a recent Team Adam steal was perhaps the least secure on Team Usher, was the night's biggest hit. He dispelled his coach's concerns in rehearsals about the tall task he'd taken on with singing Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain" with a desperate-sounding, gospel-infused rendition that showed the ordinarily low-key soul singer's range.

The selection of those three singers to represent Team Usher heading into the live rounds on "The Voice" capped a tough few nights of playoffs.

On Monday night, Adam Levine and Shakira had had to make their own grueling decisions on whom to send on to the live rounds. For Adam, that meant sticking with Delvin Choice, Christina Grimmie and Kat Perkins. For Shakira, that meant Tess Boyer, Kristen Merlen and Dani Moz.

Last week, Blake Shelton whittled down his own team, and unsurprisingly, he left it heavy on the country. Joining veteran powerhouse Sisaundra Lewis are throwback country belter Audra McLaughlin and honkytonk-ready Texan 17-year-old Jake Worthington.

"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c.

Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC]]>
<![CDATA["Magic Mike" Sequel Gets Release Date ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:11:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP110913187487.jpg

Channing Tatum will be gyrating back onto the big screen next year, adding a few more fireworks to Fourth of July celebrations.

Warner Bros. announced Tuesday that the yet-to-be-titled follow up to “Magic Mike” will hit theaters July 3, 2015. Some websites are reporting that the film will be named "Magic Mike XXL," but that title has not been confirmed.

The original film starred Tatum as the titular male stripper and was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Also starring Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn and Matt Bomer, the movie was a sleeper hit of 2012, eventually grossing more than $167 million at the box office worldwide.

So popular was the film, it even spawned a Broadway musical version.

In February, Tatum tweeted a picture of himself with the accompanying caption saying that he had begun the early stages of writing the sequel.

But "Mike 2" will have to work for its audience tips when it bows. The sequel faces stiff box office competition from the next "Terminator" installment which explodes into in theaters on July 1, 2015.

Tatum will next be seen onscreen in another sequel: "22 Jump Street," the follow-up to 2012's "21 Jump Street" which was a movie reboot of the hit television series that originally aired in the late 1980s.


Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dina Lohan Pleads Guilty to DWI, Avoids Jail]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:46:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dina+lohan+court.jpg

Dina Lohan pleaded guilty in Long Island court Tuesday to aggravated driving while intoxicated and speeding in connection with a 2013 traffic stop in exchange for no jail time.

The mother of the oft-troubled actress will lose her license for a year and, after that, her car will be outfitted with an ignition interlock so she can't drive it if she's had alcohol.

As part of the plea deal, she was also ordered to pay $2,600 in fines, complete 100 hours of community service and attend a drunk driving program.

Lohan was arrested in Sept. 2013 on the Northern State Parkway with a blood alcohol level of .20, more than twice the legal limit.


Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Stars at Coachella: Katy Perry, Paris Hilton & More]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:51:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/coachella-katy-perry-credit-Frazer-Harrison.jpg Music fans weren't the only ones in attendance over the weekend at Coachella -- big-name celebrities joined in the action too.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Coachella]]>
<![CDATA["The Voice": Adam, Shakira Pick Finals-Bound Teams]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:09:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NUP_163515_1953.jpg

Monday night was the chance for Adam Levine and Shakira to watch their teams of five sing for the right to remain on teams of three -- and to make the grueling decision on whom to send on to the live rounds. For Adam, that meant sticking with Delvin Choice, Christina Grimmie and Kat Perkins. For Shakira, that meant Tess Boyer, Kristen Merlen and Dani Moz.

That meant that Deja Hall and Patrick Thomson were departing Team Shakira, while Jake Barker and Morgan Wallen were leaving Team Adam.

It was Shakira's task to pick her finals-bound team first, and it was her resident country singer Kristen's task to prove that she belonged on it first. The confident bleached-blonde belter knocked the Carrie Underwood hit "Two Black Cadillacs" out of the park, to the delight of all the coaches -- most of all her own, who stood up grinning to applaud before she'd finished. Blake -- unnerved by the presence of so strong a country competitor -- declared her performance "as flawless as a live performance can be, by anybody," while Usher declared her "one of the strongest voices in the entire competition."

Tess Boyer earned her spot on the leaner Team Shakira with her soaring take on Christina Perri's "Human," which she began with moody, low-register murmurs before she growled her way to the crescendo. The undeniably strong performance had the coaches quibbling over their apparent error in letting Tess -- who had been dropped by Team Usher only to be stolen by and then dropped from Team Blake -- slip away. Adam, the only coach who hadn't worked with her, called Tess' one of the season's best performances. "Forget about it, I'll see you at the end of the show," he said.

Finally Dani secured her spot on the all-women Team Shakira with a stripped-down, piano-heavy take on the Lady Gaga hit "Edge of Glory." Dani delivered a plaintive, drama-filled take on the familiar song that sounded more like a Kurt Weill number than a dancefloor anthem -- though her over-the-top dramatic flourishes sometimes struck a sour note, after Shakira's advice that she let her guard down a bit. Usher said the performance brought him "close to tears," while Shakira admitted, "I never thought that this Gaga song was this emotional."

But while those three were heading on to the finals, two other members of Team Shakira -- Deja and Patrick -- were heading home. The coaches gave young Deja credit for tackling Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield" with a newfound confidence, though, and Usher told Patrick that his version of Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble" had finally given him a sense of what the gravelly-voiced singer was about. But it wasn't enough to redeem either.

Team Adam was heading to the chopping block next, and powerful soul singer Delvin was the first to survive it. The former Starbucks barista (and season five reject) was tackling Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," and despite the choice of an overexposed song (rule of thumb: Does YouTube video exist of the president singing it?), he imbued it with his signature rich tone and impressive vocal runs on the "Voice" stage. "There's nothing he can't do with his voice," Usher remarked, while even his own coach Adam termed his talent and growth "terrifying."

Kat Perkins, the team's resident rocker, survived it next, thanks to her reliably powerhouse take on Journey's "Open Arms," which was so strong it precluded much in the way of helpful commentary from the coaches. Usher proclaimed it "flawless" and stopped there, while Shakira praised how "emotional" and "committed" it was.

But pint-size Adam protegee Christina Grimmie, she of the pre-"Voice" YouTube fame, earned their coach's pick for the best performance of the night with her full-steam delivery of Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up." It earned her plaudits ranging from "the best singer on your team, right there" (courtesy of Blake) to "like baby Celine Dion or something" (courtesy of Usher, who must not listen to much Celine Dion to make that comparison). Christina's voice was huge, her performance committed and her energy electric.

Those three Team Adam members' successes came at the expense, though, of Jake, whose flourish-laden take on his own coach's song (Maroon 5's "She Will Be Loved") didn't quite live up, and of Morgan, whose solid if low-key rendition of Florida Georgia Line's "Stay" led Usher to kick himself for not having tasked Morgan (once his own team member) with country earlier in the competition. 

Usher will get his chance to pare down his team Tuesday as playoffs continue on "The Voice."

"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c.

Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Coachella 2014: Day 3]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:57:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/170*120/Coachella+2014+Day+3+Nighttime+%2875%29.jpg Coachella's first weekend ended on a high note, as big name acts and guest performers packed the festival. ]]> <![CDATA[Coachella 2014: Day 2]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:50:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/484509043%281%29.jpg Day 2 of Coachella picked up right where the first day left off -- and featured a few megastar guest performers - including Beyonce - for good measure.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Coachella]]>
<![CDATA[Coachella 2014: Day 1]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:53:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/Coachella+2014+Friday+April+11+Crowd+Photos+%2825%29.jpg Take a journey through the people, art and performances from Day 1 of the 2014 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Warning: adult images).]]> <![CDATA[Seth Rogen Mocks James Franco on "SNL"]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 11:23:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen+shot+2014-04-13+at+9.21.23+AM.jpg

Actor and comedian Seth Rogen took to the stage as host of "Saturday Night Live" for the third time and insisted he doesn't need famous friends to help him with the gig.

Rogen, 31, kicked off the monologue saying, he couldn't remember the first time he hosted the show at the age of 23 because he was too excited. He said this time he decided to write about his experience.

"Monday. 5 p.m. Meeting with all the writers," Rogen read from his journal. "So many new people. This is great. Just got pitched about 50 ideas about weed."

Rogen, who has played stoners in a number of movies, most famously in 2008's "Pineapple Express," and even received High Times' Stoner of the Year award in 2007 continued: "4:19 a.m. Drawing a blank. Can't think of any ideas. This is hard. Smell something funky coming from one of the writer's offices," he said in a joke about 4:20, observed by marijuana smokers as a time to toke.

"4:21 a.m. Suddenly I have so many ideas. I don't remember writing any of this stuff. Looks like I wrote the word pizza 400 times."

After rehearsals on Wednesday, Rogen said he didn't feel like he did a good job so he decided to prank his friend James Franco to make himself feel better.

"I posed as a girl on Instagram," he said, referencing recent controversy surrounding Franco, who admitted to flirting with a 17-year-old girl on Instagram and via text messages.

"Told him I was way young. He seemed unfazed. I have a date to meet him at the Ace Hotel," Rogen said.

Franco, who also made a cameo in a later skit as a monster-turned-human, appeared in the monologue and complimented Rogen on his prank. He said he had been waiting at the Ace Hotel for days. 

Franco wasn't the only star to pop up in the monologue. Actress Zooey Deschanel and country musician Taylor Swift also made brief cameos.

Drugs came up again in Rogen's first skit, where he played a D.A.R.E. officer named Kellogg assigned to speak to a class about substance abuse in a new installment of the reoccurring Shallon (Nasim Pedrad) sketch.

Shallon misinterpreted Kellogg's advice to avoid drugs after he said that getting high will make her feel like she does after getting an "A" on a spelling test.

"I finished my timetables, I get to unwind with a half-hour of TV and a little bit of crack," said Shallon, much to Kellogg's chagrin.

Rogen appeared in another pot-themed sketch with a stoner (Kyle Mooney) called a "Very Smoky 420." The stoner started off the sketch with a background of the 420 (April 20) day that celebrates marijuana. He then sang along to "munchie melodies."

The stoner's dealer Scott Maher (Rogen) eventually showed up.

"So tell me, what kind of greenie, beanie, meanie, jimmie nuggies'a rollie jays do you got, dude," asked the stoner.

"Look dude, here's what I got. I got weed, weed, more weed, and guess what, more weed. You want any of that," asked Maher.

The stoner continued to speak mumbo jumbo much to the confusion of Maher, who's surprised when the stoner says he doesn't smoke marijuana. The two ended the sketch with a singalong of, "Bing Bong Rollie Jays, Take Me to Your Dealer."

The "Weekend Update" poked fun at AMC's "Mad Men," outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

But the focus was on David Ortiz, who was criticized last week after he took a selfie with President Obama during a Red Sox visit to the White House. It turned out Ortiz is Samsung's "MLB social media insider" and that the selfie was an endorsement stunt to promote the company—a fact unbeknown to the White House.

Colin Jost interviewed Ortiz (Kenan Thompson), who often answered in incoherent Spanglish and confused "Sam's son" for "Samsung." When Jost asked Ortiz if he intentionally took the photo with the president for Samsung, Ortiz said he didn't know there was anything wrong with it.

"It's a problem? I don't know. I talked to Sam's son. I talked to Sam. They tell me it's no problem," Ortiz said.

Ortiz then began to digress, showing concern about the size of the Samsung Galaxy.

"Is that a television or a phone? Samsung Galaxy. If it can't fit into my pants, that's a problem," he said.

He went on to say that Samsung gave him 100,000 chickens to endorse the company. He also said he does endorsements for antidepressants and told Jost his slogan.

"Do you suffer from depression. Don't," he said.

"What's that an ad for," asked Jost.

"Not to be sad. Why you be sad? Don't," replied Ortiz.

Ortiz said he'd send Obama a bunch of Dominican food to make up for offending him with the Samsung selfie.

Al Sharpton (Kenan Thompson), whose role as a confidential informant for the FBI during the 1980s resurfaced last week, was "Undercover Sharpton" in a blaxploitation-esque skit. After getting a wired briefcase from two FBI agents, Sharpton approached two mob men (Seth Rogen and Bobby Moynihan) in a restaurant.

"Is there any room on this here table for my abnormally heavy briefcase," asked Sharpton before sitting down with the men, who are looking to sell him cocaine.

After Sharpton began to ask the men overtly suspicious questions like if they have any identifiable tattoos, they demanded to know if he's wearing a wire.

"Ok, now I'm wondering if I'm finished with my chores there, Mr. Briefcase," said Sharpton anxiously into his bag, seconds before the FBI rushed in to arrest the men. They then informed Sharpton that he took the wrong briefcase and that the one he is holding is filled with caramel corn and demo tapes, alluding to his time in the music industry.

The musical guest Ed Sheeran performed "Don't" and "Sing."

SNL will return on May 3 with host Andrew Garfield and musical guest Coldplay.

Photo Credit: SNL]]>
<![CDATA[Final Season Teases Both Sides of "Mad Men"]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 09:25:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ff178663-a8a8-298b-fbcd-867d4aa84525_Mad+Men_Stairs_Jon_Jessica_Elisabeth_January_Kiernan_Christina_1153_1182_V1.jpg

Don Draper, in the stunning last scene of the Season 6 finale of "Mad Men," takes his three kids to a crumbling Victorian home in Pennsylvania, barely recognizable from flashbacks as the brothel that was his childhood home. "This," he says, "is where I grew up."

He exchanges glances with his troubled teenage daughter Sally, perhaps more shocked by her father's honesty than by his revelation as Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides, Now" fills the silence.

Don's disclosure and the song, all about the push-and-pull realities of growing up and grappling with the kind of happy illusions ("ice cream castles in the air") he peddled as an ad man, not only proved a haunting ending to the season. The sequence also set the stage for the AMC drama's bisected final season, which arrives Sunday with the promise of finally bringing Don Draper's two lives together.

It's impossible to know, of course, exactly how "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner will end his 1960s-spanning story of a man on a collision course with himself. But it’s always been headed toward Don confronting his dual life: as Dick Whitman, the poor orphaned farm boy son of a prostitute who died in childbirth, and as Don Draper, the hard-living, lady-killer advertising genius for whom touting material comforts offers a fantasy of the happy home life he craved as a boy.

While layers of his life have peeled away over the first six seasons, confronting the truth isn’t about saving Don/Dick’s soul anymore, as much as saving his own children.

Many viewers and critics, for good reason, have seen the story of “Mad Men” as a dual tale of Don and his protégé, Peggy Olson, another master of reinvention who harbors a secret of her own. But we’ve also seen Don’s personality rub off, to different extents on Joan Holloway, the ad firm office manager turned partner, ambitious junior partner Pete Campbell and the mysterious accounts executive Bob Benson, whose full story has yet to be told.

Still, there are indications suggesting the show ultimately will end as the story of Don and Sally, who has good reason to be disillusioned by her dad. She caught him in an inmate moment with a female neighbor last season. When an older African-American woman broke into her father’s apartment, Sally didn’t know whether to believe the burglar’s story that she raised her father. That led Sally to later deliver to her father perhaps the defining line of the series, or at least last season: “I don’t know anything about you.”

With the show presumably moving into 1969, the year of Woodstock, we can expect more father-daughter clashes. Don, now in his early 40s, seems increasingly out of step with the times. But Don’s search for his identity is very much a 1960s journey, even if he favors gray flannel suits over tie-dye.

In his own way, he’s turning on (even if the hard-drinking Don leaves the acid trips to Roger Sterling). He’s tuning in (finally dealing with his past). And he’s dropping out (getting ousted from his firm after an ad pitch for Hershey in which he went from celebrating the chocolate bar as “the childhood symbol of love” to sharing boyhood memories of a prostitute who used to reward him with a Hershey bar for rifling through her johns’ pockets).

Much gets read into the pre-season ads for a show that’s ostensibly about the advertising business. Last season’s primary print campaign – an illustration of two Dons going in opposite directions with police and a cab nearby – suggested escape. This year’s promo photos also focus on transportation, with some of the characters in an airport and others on a plane.

With the final season split into two seven-episode installments set for his year and next, “Mad Men” is far from over. But there’s no escaping that the trip is coming to an end, with the people in Don’s life perhaps taking off in different directions as he gets ready, as Joni Mitchell wrote, to look at life from both sides, now.  

As we await the first half of Season 7, check out a preview below:


Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC]]>
<![CDATA[Jimmy Fallon's Thank You Notes]]> Sat, 12 Apr 2014 17:28:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Fallon_Sat.png Jimmy Fallon writes thank you letters to LBJ, the Easter bunny, Passover seder plates, the band Kiss and others.]]>