Smugly sliding in just before the bell like an even smarmier Zack Morris, here are your incredibly tardy Friday Buzzkills. The worst things come to those who wait.
- Web comedy site Super Deluxe is smart, consistently funny, and a cult hit with a fervent fanbase–naturally, it must be destroyed. Earlier this week, Turner Animation announced it would be laying off the majority of the Super Deluxe staff and folding the site into the increasingly dumb, mostly scattershot, lazily bloated mainstream hit AdultSwim.com in an effort to "consolidate the two brands to create a richer, stronger platform that builds on Adult Swim's number-one position with young adults." Gee Ted, that sounds hilarious! Now the site's original content will be buried where all comedy goes to die: in the elephant's graveyard of Robot Chicken clips. (Still, on the upside, the network has turned loose its favorite son Brad Neely, who landed a TV deal for his two popular series "Baby Cakes" and "Professor Brothers." Here's a preview:)
- Of course we're all well aware that original content is pretty much the lowest form of entertainment: As if you needed further proof, gaze into the swirling abyss that is U.K.-based sales company Velvet Octopus, who are hitting Cannes to drum up investors for its oh-my-God-they're-fucking-serious planned sequel to Donnie Darko. Cleverly titled S. Darko, the film–which already has U.S. distribution locked in; way to keep it in the family, Fox!–will find Daveigh Chase reprising her role as Donnie's younger sister Samantha, and according to the logline (which is apparently all too real and not just pulled from some hack's fan fiction site), "the story picks up seven years after the first film, when little sister Samantha Darko and her best friend Corey are now 18 and on a road trip to Los Angeles when they are plagued by bizarre visions." This cinematic abortion will be performed by director Chris Fisher (of Nightstalker and Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders "fame"), who said in statement, "I am a great admirer of Richard Kelly's film and hope to create a similar world of blurred fantasy and reality"–kind of like the world you're living in now, where the fantasy you have about one decent fucking film being allowed to thrive without being threatened by a hacky sequel is diluted into a nauseating gray blur by the harsh reality of a greedy industry looking to "move units."
- And speaking of sequels that probably should never have passed the "wouldn't it be great if..?" stage: "Sure, battling cyborgs bent on human extinction in a post-apocalyptic war zone is stressful–but do we really need so much swearing?" That's the $382 million question for producers at Halcyon Co., who hope to emulate the numbers of last year's Live Free Or Die Hard by similarly delivering the upcoming Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins with a "kid-friendly" PG-13 rating–a move that will open the doors for "the largest merchandising program to date" for the franchise and finally kill off any diehard fanbase still lingering after the dismal The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Or hey, maybe we're being too hasty: Halcyon co-CEO Victor Kubicek–like all great 21st-century artists, a former broker who finally discovered his true muse and turned writer-producer–says, "The PG-13 has increased in intensity," so the rating shouldn't compromise the film's "gritty vision." Really? Because according to the MPAA, the PG-13 is only granted to movies where "there may be depictions of violence…but not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence." So does that mean the violence is just going to be ridiculously CGI fake? Or will most of the film's battles end with recently enlisted "freedom fighter" Common winning the cyborgs over with a stirring rendition of "Retrospect For Life"?
- It's a sad day when evil killing machines from the future are friendlier to kids than Scientologists, but even cyborgs couldn't be this coldly beholden to their programming: According to its church doctrines, followers of L. Ron Hubbard's totally legitimate and not-at-all-made-up religion are instructed to never breastfeed their moguls-in-the-making, instead nurturing them with a mixture of "barley water, homogenized milk, and honey"–a formula that some former members claim results in "thin and colicky" toddlers whose "baby teeth are destroyed" and who "screamed themselves to death." (Fun Fact: Hubbard claims to have discovered the formula after he somehow magically visited ancient Rome–presumably in between one of his many trips to Heaven!) But not even Scientologists could be so brainwashed as to think that feeding their newborns based on the ravings of a delusional, time-traveling science-fiction author is a good idea, right? Oh, except of course Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, who have thrown the tabloids into a tizzy for refusing to wean their Li'l Chosen One even after her second birthday. Still, even they're not as overdue for a visit from Social Services as former King Of Queens star Leah Remini, who recently went on The Rachael Ray Show and admitted that her three-year-old daughter Sophia is so addicted to "the baba" that Remini "could see her drinking a bottle until she's 16." But wait until you see this clip before passing judgement: Is Sophia just an unusually spoiled brat with a short fuse intensified by being fed like a hummingbird? Or is she just already a level OT-II Scientologist masterfully exerting her theta over the SPs around her?
- Of course, it could be worse: Little Sophia could have gestated in the gray, distended belly of Amy Winehouse, foraging for sustenance among the rivulets of Jack Daniels and snorted Absolut that keep the singer's spindly sea legs afloat. Unfortunately, it's Winehouse's own taste for "the baba" that's also keeping her from recording the next James Bond theme: Producer Mark Ronson has scrapped their planned contribution to the upcoming Quantum Of Solace, saying it would take "some miracle of science" to finish it, considering the singer's consistently ravaged physical state, rampant substance abuse, and tendency to run afoul of the law for silly little things like punching people in the face over who gets to use the pool table. (Seriously, is there some Shirley Jackson-esque, mutual agreement going on where we're just going to let Winehouse be culled to ensure a good harvest or something? This isn't even funny anymore. It's crossing the line from schadenfreude to just sad, and it's making me feel all confused inside.)
- Maybe it's just the patriotism speaking, but as beyond Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls as Winehouse is, she still has a way to go to catch up with homegrown horrorshow Lindsay Lohan, who was dealt a crushing blow this week when she was informed that she's too fucked up to be part of the Manson Family. In an article titled "Lindsay Lohan Now Hollywood Pariah," LA Weekly columnist Nikki Finke reveals that Lohan has been "unattached" from the upcoming feature The Manson Girls–where she was signed up to play a pampered surfer girl who becomes enthralled with the drug-addled, me-first philosophy of Charlie Manson, a role that she was obviously born to play–after producers discovered that not a single name actor or actress in town would agree to work with her. (Perhaps that's why Lohan is milking her last days of stardom for everything she can, such as "borrowing" an $11,000 mink coat from an innocent Columbia co-ed, then returning it "reeking of cigarettes and booze with a slight tear in the lining.") But as Lindsay's limelight-loving lamprey "momager" Dina says, "We're all not perfect, and if you make a mistake, make up for it." And that's precisely the kind of pat, dismissive attitude that earned Dina Lohan her award for Outstanding Mother Of The Year, given to her by (one can only assume) a pack of hilariously ironic performance artists masquerading as Long Island's Mingling Moms.
- For more proof that Lindsay's career is finally in its inevitable tailspin (for serious this time), consider the complete lack of column inches all of her latest fuck-ups have garnered compared to last week's Miley Cyrus' BackGate: Yes, the writing's on the wall for Lindsay and her abbreviated generation of poptards, as the Hollywood Factory keeps right on pressing new, fresh celebrity cubes, molded to pimple-free perfection in its Disney Channel incubator, and Lohan and her ilk already look like mange-ridden pound dogs awaiting the sweet release of the gas chamber next to yipping pups like the Jonas Brothers (ask your younger sister–or creepy middle-aged neighbor), who just signed a deal for a 3-D concert film similar to the Hannah Montana pic that pulled an Iraq-style "brief occupation" on multiplexes earlier this year. Now that the Jonas Brothers are next in line to be talk of the tween town, of course, it can only mean one thing: Annie Leibovitz will soon be hired by Vanity Fair to capture a "simple, tasteful portrait" of their ballsacks.
- Those Jonas Brothers should make the most of their "OMG"-eliciting status while they can, because if the last 50 years of pop culture has proven anything it's that fame is fleeting, especially for Tiger Beat-types: Just ask Scott Baio, whose sad quest to remain in the spotlight has already led him to commission two reality shows revealing him to be a pathetic, misogynistic jackass still trading on his withering celebrity status–but hey, at least he's still on the TV! Now Baio has taken it one step further, producing a Surreal Life-type series that will find him mentoring to eight former '80s and '90s heartthrobs he's gathered under one roof to "examine what life is like after idol-dom and what it will take to get their careers back on track." The show is still casting (keep your phone on, Jonathan Taylor Thomas!), but it's already a given that Baio and his frattish co-producers J.D. Roth (former host of Fun House and many other game shows) and Jason Hervey (The Wonder Years) will be appearing. (Wait—Jason Hervey? We thought you said "heartthrobs"! Even Paul got more action than that guy.)
- Unfortunately, in a business that scoffs at the notion of "aging gracefully," what choice does Baio and his ilk have but to become parodies of themselves in order to squeeze those last sad little drops out of their fame juice box? After all, it's too late to become a legend–for that, they would have had to die eternally young like Heath Ledger, whose accidental overdose earlier this year has (in the grand tradition of James Dean) made him far more valuable than he ever was when he was alive. For example, check out the "droves" of morbid fuckers who stormed toy stores to get their hands on the Ledger-based "Joker" action figures from this summer's The Dark Knight in order to resell them on eBay for a tidy profit–nearly 300% in the case of one enterprising ghoul who packaged the $9.99 doll with its Batman counterpart and scored $55 on the deal. Still, that's nothing compared to Satan's future colostomy bag here, who put his SoHo apartment up for sale with the tagline, "Live on the same street that Heath Ledger used to live on." Classy!
- While no one ever accused Hee Haw of being classy, it nevertheless gave the nation a limitless supply of sly incest jokes, hillbilly hooters, and songs from a sequin-bedazzled Conway Twitty during its darkest hours, and for that it deserves our begrudging respect. Sadly, guitar-slinging goofball Jim Hager–one half of The Hager Twins–collapsed and died at the age of 66 this week, leaving brother Jon with no one to ask what happened when he crossed a sponge with a potato. And speaking of dynamic duos, cartoonist Ted Key–who also died this week at the ripe age of 95–may have been best known in his own generation for creating the comic strip Hazel (later adapted into a successful sitcom with Shirley Booth), but it's his time-traveling, improbable history-explaining characters Sherman and Mr. Peabody that will live on in our hearts. Don't agree? Quiet, you.
Have a super weekend!