A while back my friend Claire Zulkey sent me an email alerting me to the existence of something so horrifying and unfathomable I don't want to believe it's true: plans to make a sequel to Garfield: The Movie. Now I have rather prickly, specific tastes in comedy so it's not all that unusual for me to sit through an entire comedy without chortling, guffawing or whooping it up even a single time. But the press screening of "Garfield: The Movie" marked one of the only times in recent memory that I sat through a packed press screening of a comedy and nobody in the entire room laughed even once. If you listened closely you could actually hear crickets chirping and tumbleweeds a tumbling in the distance, no small feat for a room in a tall, tall building in Downtown Chicago. Now, granted, I'm sure they figured they'd already saved the computer program used to create the mangy, horrific looking CGI Garfield (come back Jar Jar Binks. All is forgiven) but the existence of this sequel still bewilders me. I just hope that Bill Murray is richly compensated and that he doesn't have to do any second takes. Even if he blows a line or mumbles or starts cursing uncontrollably I just hope he glares malevolently as he tells the sound engineer "Hey, it's good enough for Goddamn "Garfield The Movie 2". I was similarly horrified to learn of the existence of a sequel to "Cheaper By The Dozen". Honestly, was "Cheaper By The Dozen even that popular? When will studios learn that people won't go see sequels to movies everybody saw and nobody liked? Alternately, which forthcoming sequels fill you with the most dread? The upside however to making a sequel to a terrible film is that you have nowhere to go but up and I am not too proud to say I acually found "Tomb Raider 2: The Tomb Raidening" and "XXX2: Jesus Christ, We Don't Even Have Vin Diesel This Time Why Are We Still Bothering?" superior to their originals. They totally rose to the level of mediocrity. Getting back to Bill Murray I think one of my favorite television moments of the past few years was when David Letterman announced that he was a father. I think Bill Murray was his guest on the show that night. I'm not one for sentiment but there was something profoundly touching about watching such an icon of hip, aloof, post-modern smart-assery be so openly, jubilantly emotional on television, in part because people (and by people I mean myself) tend to form a really strong emotional bond with late-night talkshow hosts, in part because they spend so much time with them. It's about as intimate a relationship a person can form with a televisual image and I would imagine that people who watch "Oprah" religiously every day feel the same, voyeuristic, one-way bond with her that I do with Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Jon Stewart, my nightly late-night companions. Speaking of which, I'm sure this has been blogged about to death elsewhere in the blogosphere but I was profoundly impressed by Steve Carell's interview on "The Daily Show". It was his first visit to the show as a guest and rather than downplay or ignore the awkwardness of the moment the show played it up beautifully, beginning the segment with what felt like a good minute and a half of awkward silence before Stewart meekly, jokingly asked Carell if he had a report or something. It's fitting that Carell's the star of the American "Office" since the segment was a gorgeously executed bit of my favorite kind of comedy, the comedy of excruciating awkwardness, of deathly pauses and communication breakdowns. Eventually the interview became more conventional and towards the end Carell earnestly attributed his success to the Daily Show, a moment I found touching in much the same way I found the Letterman-father thing touching. There's something strangely poignant about ironic smartasses succumbing to genuine emotion, which I think is part of the reason I love Bill Murray's late period dramatic work so much. There's just something cool and humanizing about watching impeccably crafted ironic facades crumbling, something uniquely satisfying in witnessing the squirmy heart lurking underneath even the most sneering, glib exterior.

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