Monthly Archives: February 2012

Long live, Judge Allred!

OK, so, she’s not really a judge, but, man alive, does that crackpot Gloria Allred knows how to get people’s attention. Most of us know Allred from her long time career as an ambulance-chasing “celebrity lawyer” — she’s the one who takes on all the juicy, high-profile cases now that Johnny Cochran’s dead — but what you might not know is that she also has a totally awesome daytime TV show called We The People With Gloria Allred.

I know what you’re thinking: who needs another lame court room show, right? Well, I thought so too. Actually, I usually loathe court TV shows — have you seen the new The People’s Court? Oy, I wanna punch that show in the face. Not just the judge, the whole show! — but Allred and her savvy producers won this lonely SAHD over on one viewing. And the reason is simple. Unlike so many of the bad court shows on the air today, People focuses on the cases, not the judge. And the result is truly inspired hilarity.

I’m not kidding, man, the cases on this show put the “C” in crazy. And don’t get me started on the litigants. Yikes! I did a little research and it turns out that the litigants are actors reading transcripts from actual cases. A casting call I found for the show made it very clear that they will not, under any circumstances, hire “Union” actors so, not only does that save the producers money, but, it also means that they are using some truly awful actors. So awful, in fact, that I am this close to putting a Season Pass for the show on our Tivo. Yep, it’s that bad/good.

For instance, today’s show featured a taxi driver suing a drunk girl for throwing up in the front seat of his cab and destroying all his electronics. She said he was driving badly and that that is what made her sick, but, you could tell she was a lush (kinda slutty too, sorry, but, she was) and well, I’ll let you guess who ended buying who a new smartphone, XM Radio and GPS system.

And last week there was a birthday party magician suing a mother for making him wait too long in the garage before the party. He was the big birthday surprise for her son and he arrived early for the gig so she stashed him and his props in the sweltering garage for over an hour. So, when the magician finally got around to the pulling-a-rabbit-out-of-his-hat-trick at the party, his rabbit was dead. The mother was counter-suing for emotional distress for all the screaming, traumatized kids at the party, and guess what, dead rabbit aside, she won!

But I think my favorite recent case involved the Silver Lake hipsters (the show is shot here in L.A.) who were suing their hipster cleaning lady for letting their beloved pet pig escape while she was cleaning. The cleaning lady said the pig was desperate for freedom after being forced to live in the city and actually trampled over her as she tried to catch him. Awesome! That one was so good I think I taped it for Mrs. Yeti to watch later. Allred sided with the crazy couple on that case and made the poor vegan cleaning lady pay for the lost pig. Boo!

Anyway, if I haven’t hooked you with these crazy case descriptions yet, then maybe We the People isn’t for you. But, if you like your court room drama on the wacky side, then, check this show out! Oh, and make sure and catch the brief Allred backstory in the opening credits, she makes herself sound like Dolores Huerta or some shit, breaking glass ceilings left and right on her way to the top. Hilarious! Preening self-promotion never sounded so good.

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“Downton Abbey” Paper Dolls

At last, someone has found a way to keep a squirming toddler occupied while Mommy and Daddy watch “their stories” on Sunday nights! That’s right, just in time for the Season Two season finale, some crafty bugger named Kyle Hilton has designed printable “Downton Abbey” paper dolls. Yay!

And not only are they printable, but they are also 100% free! You know, until the PBS pledge drive lawyers get a hold them, then you’ll probably have to donate a hundred bucks or something to get the set. So, if you’re a “Downton Abbey” fan (or a parent trying to keep your chatty kid from ruining the perfectly Edwardian mood every Sunday night!) or both, I suggest you download the whole lot of them by clicking here immediately.

My favorite is the evil-doer twin pack of Thomas and O’Brien (their accessories are hilarious!) but what I’m really hoping they’ll release next is a special Spanish Flu edition where you can swap out Countess Cora and Carson’s pale, bloody-nosed heads with perfectly healthy ones when they recover. Now that, I might actually even pay for!

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A Perfect Day

I know I’m tempting fate by calling anything in my life perfect right now, but, yesterday was my wife’s birthday and, lemme tell ya, it was kinda perfect. Happy, fun, sunny and overflowing with yummy food and birthday cake…seriously, the only thing that would have made the day better was if it had been my birthday instead of hers.

So, thank you, weather, food, traffic and birthday Gods, you guys rocked it. Oh, and Greta was awesome too — even after spending two plus hours appreciating art at the Getty Center! — so, good on you too, cutie. And finally, happy birthday, Sweetie! Any woman that surrenders their free Denny’s Grand Slam to her husband on their birthday is cool with me!

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Valentine’s Day words to live by…

As you can see from the pic below, this was how we rolled this Valentine’s Day. Disney Princess Valentine’s cookies, pizza from Domino’s, and a cheesy romantic comedy, “Friends With Benefits”, rented from the Burbank Public Library for exactly $1.00. Ha! Who needs a fancy, crowded restaurant and over-priced flowers? Not us!

So, the cookies were kinda amazing, the pizza was Domino’s-good, and the movie was surprisingly awesome. That said, there was a point at the 30-minute mark where we considered stopping it in favor of watching that Tivo-ed second hour of Sunday night’s “Downton Abbey”, but, the movie got better and better as it went along, so, we stuck with it.


And I’m glad we did! I mean, yeah, the first half hour kinda sucked, and, overall, the movie wasn’t nearly as good as director Will Gluck’s last outing (the pitch-perfect “Easy A”) but, I gotta say, the supporting cast was hilarious. Nothing against the two leads, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, who were perfect together and had chemistry to burn, but, the supporting players really deepened the proceedings considerably. Seriously, the white-hot trio of past Oscar-nominees, Richard Jenkins, Patricia Clarkson and Woody Harrelson were fantastic. Hell, even Jenna Elfman was good, and I usually loathe her dippy ass. So, kudos to you, Mr. Gluck, for finally getting Jenna Elfman to play a relatable human being. Yay!

Anyway, there were loads of truly hilarious lines in the flick (loads of clunkers too, to be fair) but, our favorite was uttered by Woody Harrelson near the end. Harrelson plays an aging, horndog sports director for GQ magazine, who just happens to be gay. Like, super gay. So, our hero, JT, is at a crisis point — as all good heroes are or should be at the act three break —  and complains about how hard relationships are. Not missing a beat, Harrelson rattles off these choice pearls of wisdom:

“Everybody wants a shortcut in life. My guidebook is very simple, you wanna lose weight? Stop eating, fatty! You wanna make money? Work your ass off, lazy! You wanna be happy? Find someone you like and never let them go…”

Beautiful, huh? Like the rest of the movie, it starts off kinda crass and jaded and has a nice sweet finish. Not sappy, ruin-the-movie sweet, but, real, genuine, catch-you-off-guard sweetness. And hey, isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about?

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Happy 200th birthday, Mr. Dickens!

I know it was like, two days ago now, but, it’s never too late to celebrate the birth of one of my favorite writers of all time. So, happy belated 200th birthday to Charles Dickens.

I haven’t read nearly as much of his work as I should, but, I will say that Dickens is second only to John Steinbeck in the way he has influenced my writing. Wait…on second thought, John Irving had a pretty big impact on my writing style as well, but, he’s kind of a modern-day Dickens in my book, so, I don’t always count him. Sorry, dude.

Anyway, aside from the many vivid, iconic characters Dickens created over the years, what I love most about his work is that he knew how to milk a story for drama. And like many writers of popular fiction (and some of my favorite fellow screenwriters) Dickens’ work was chided by critics for not being substantial or meaningful, as if writing a really great page turner was some kind of crime. But, lemme tell ya, the complexity and beauty of his strongest stories is truly something to behold.

You can’t just casually flip through Dickens, man, you have to pay attention. To everything! Hell, that’s half the fun of it. The strange names, the larger-than-life characters, the diversions that seem pointless at the time but pay off, sometimes hundreds of pages later in genuinely shocking ways — pay careful attention to that swarthy convict on page seven, dear reader, because he just might turn out to be your secret benefactor on page three-hundred-something! — I mean, love him or hate him, you gotta give Dickens credit for being a master of structure. My head spins just thinking about him outlining something like BLEAK HOUSE…yikes!

And best of all, Dickens didn’t just dazzle us with cool plot twists for the fun or it. No way! These twists and turns of fate had meaning and impact and made us root for his characters even more. I think that’s what makes so many of his books so damn cinematic. There is so much description and beauty and humor and pain and pathos on every page that they literally read like movies.

Oy, I could go on about Charles Dickens for days, but, seeing as I have a toddler to feed and, you know, pay attention to and stuff, so, I’ll stop here. Happy birthday, Mr. Dickens! Ooo, and thanks to Google for the awesome Dickens Google Doodle on Tuesday. So cool!!

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I ♥ Drew Barrymore

I don’t care what people say about her acting choices (most people consider her a lightweight romantic comedy star at best) the movies she produces and/or directs (her shockingly underrated “Whip It” is one of my favorite recent movies…Ellen Page rocks, yo!) or her crazy-ass personal life, but I love the hell out of Drew Barrymore.

I don’t need to date or screw her or anything, I just wanna be friends with her. Just to, you know, exist in her flowery orbit for a day or so. Anderson Cooper said she smells good too, which, I’m sure she does. I’m picturing kind of a farmer’s market/fresh-cut flowers scent or something kinda fruity, like fresh berries or something. Mmm…I love berries too. I wanna eat blueberries with Drew Barrymore and discuss the dizzily-eclectic “Whip It” soundtrack: “How did you score a Radiohead song?!” I’d ask between bites of berry goodness. Because she’s Drew, that’s how.

Watching her do press this week for her new movie “Big Miracle” (I think I’ve Tivo-ed just about every talk show appearance she’s done!) has only solidified my deep and abiding love for all things Drew. I’m not wild about that new hairdo she’s rocking, but her whale movie looks rad, and her “engagement glow” has only intensified my crush on her. Ack, cute overload!

Anyway, I gotta go write her name all over my school folders in giant bubble letters and shit now, so, see ya around!

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Barbie Scenario Building 101

Aha! After years of searching, I think I found my life’s true calling today, and it’s not writing or even parenting, but, rather a strange combination of the two. For lack of a better word, I call it Barbie Scenario Building, and this is how it works. I play one round of very descriptive, narrative-heavy Barbies with Greta — every story has a villain, a nice arc for the male and female leads, and several colorful co-stars to keep things light and fun — and then I’m out. And if I did my work well and gave her a great story to play off of, she’ll start from the beginning and play it all over again by herself so I can, you know, do the dishes and go to the bathroom and stuff.

When it works, it’s awesome. She’s happy, I’m happy, the Barbies are happy. But, when my scenario building fails (hey, they can’t all be winners) well, then you actually have to sit down and play Barbies for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally down with playing Barbies with Greta — in fact, if I could get paid for doing that all day, well, hell, we might just be able to buy that new Paul Frank Barbie bedroom set we’ve had our eyes on — but, sometimes, even Daddy needs a break.

So, that’s where Barbie Scenario Building comes in handy. Think up some cool, exciting situations, lay out a compelling, funny narrative and you’re good to go. Oh, I should add here that Greta already cooks up some rocking Barbie scenarios on her own. I’m not kidding, her imagination knows no bounds. Everything is always extremely descriptive and she’s already a pro at making up different voices too! Her Ken is hilarious, and her Robot Ken (a new addition to our troupe) is even better!

But when she’s tired, or sad, or simply finds that her Barbie play needs a little injection of juicy, high-octane, Hollywood drama, well, let’s just say she knows who to come to…


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