Make Canoe my Homepage

Jayma Mays understands parental discretion is advised when watching The Millers

- October 17th, 2014

Nelson Franklin, Lulu Wilson, Sean Hayes, Margo Martindale, Will Arnett, Beau Bridges, Jayma Mays and J

According to recent studies, more than half the adult population in North America is dealing with, or supporting, or in some way taking care of aging parents.

Maybe you’re just worrying about your parents as they get older and a bit goofier, which can be a burden on its own.

I would wager this is one of the reasons The Millers connects with TV audiences.

“Yes, well, my parents started going goofy at a very young age, so I was ahead of the curve on that, I have a really kooky mother,” said Jayma Mays, who plays Debbie on The Millers (pictured above on the far right of the couch, and below).

“I didn’t know there were that many people dealing with aging parents, it seems incredibly high. But on the flip side, with the economy, a lot of (adult) kids are having to live with their parents, too. So these multi-generational homes are becoming more common, I think.”

The multi-generational homes on The Millers are in flux as season two begins, Monday, Oct. 20 on CBS and then Thursday, Oct. 23 on CTV.

Will Arnett stars as Nathan, and Mays plays Nathan’s sister Debbie. Season one saw Nathan and Debbie’s parents – Carol, played by Margo Martindale, and Tom, played by Beau Bridges – split up, with mom moving in with the recently divorced Nathan and dad moving in with Debbie and her husband Adam, played by Nelson Franklin.

“In season two, mom decides to move out, so that’s a big plot change for us,” said Mays, who also is well-known to TV audiences for her roles on Glee and Heroes. “Mom is exploring her independence and freedom. And also, Sean Hayes has joined our cast as her new kind of best friend, and also Nathan’s nemesis. Sean has a two-parter there.

“For Debbie, what they’re doing this season that I love so much, they’re exploring the relationship between Debbie and Adam a little bit more. That’s great, because they’re kind of a buddy-buddy misfit couple. We’re learning more about him, like he was raised in a commune, there’s a whole episode about that.

“Despite being the weirdest ones on the show, Debbie and Adam have the most functional relationship. We’re the only ones still married, so we must be doing something right. We’re two weirdos who found each other.”

Now there’s something fit for a romantic-movie poster: Two weirdos who found each other.

“You can quote me on that,” Mays said with a laugh.

Coincidentally, some critical evaluations of The Millers have accused the characters of being too nasty. Sure, they can be nasty, in a comic sense. But given the wide scope of what’s on TV these days, I find it hard to accept that The Millers is the poster child for nastiness, if you know what I mean.

“Like, what are people comparing it to, exactly?” Mays agreed. “That does surprise me. But maybe it’s because, I like to describe the characters on our show as saying things to each other that you might think but might not actually say out loud. That’s why it’s funny, because you’re thinking it anyway.

“Personally I feel our show has a lot of heart. It reminds me of some of the sitcoms I grew up watching and loved, in that the family ultimately loves each other. And when you think about it, we actually put each other first in everything. That often is the message at the end of almost every episode.

“So maybe the people who are saying we’re nasty are only watching the middle bits and not watching the end?”

Fortunately for Jayma Mays and her cast-mates, the end is nowhere near for The Millers. Allow it to age gracefully, like fine wine and goofy parents.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv
Jayma Mays as Debbie

 

Rick Mercer Report hits 200

- October 13th, 2014

Rick Mercer and Jann Arden in Edmonton

Rick Mercer Report has reached 200 episodes? Mercer never will stop ranting now.

The 200th episode of Mercer’s signature series airs Tuesday, Oct. 14 on CBC.  To mark the occasion, Mercer and Jann Arden go on a date in Edmonton, where they play some paintball and Mercer becomes Arden’s tour manager for a concert.

Mercer also spends some time in New Brunswick and tries his hand – rather than losing a hand, hopefully – at chainsaw carving.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Rogers’ FX Canada and FXX now available on Bell; gamesmanship caves to power of NHL hockey

- October 10th, 2014

 

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Roger that – or make it, “Rogers that.” The Bell finally tolls for hockey.

What does this mean? Welcome to Bell TV distribution outlets, FX Canada and FXX.

FX Canada and FXX now are available on Bell, as of Friday, Oct. 10. Not coincidentally, FX Canada has its first NHL hockey game of the new season on Saturday, Oct, 11 (Alex Ovechkin, pictured above, and the Washington Capitals at the Boston Bruins).

FX Canada and FXX are owned by Rogers. But up until Friday, Bell had resisted striking a deal to carry FX Canada and FXX. Rogers had been wanting to get its channels wider distribution for years (FX Canada launched in 2011, FXX in 2014).

So what changed? Well, late in 2013 it was announced that Rogers had purchased NHL rights for $5.2 billion over 12 years. The first season with Rogers in charge began on Wednesday.

So suddenly on Friday, Bell miraculously came around. If you call a Bell provider now, they happily will tell you that FX Canada and FXX are available through Bell.

Turns out even Bell couldn’t play hardball with pucks.

And just as significant for all those Bell customers who aren’t necessarily hockey fans, they now finally can have access to exclusive FX Canada and FXX programming, such as the always delightfully creepy American Horror Story, which began its new season on Wednesday as well (full title American Horror Story: Freak Show; Evan Peters pictured below). And FX Canada just came off a record-setting season for the channel with the shot-in-Toronto vampire series from Guillermo Del Toro, The Strain.

So as of now, FX Canada is available in 5 million homes, with FXX in 1.5 million homes.

Game on for Rogers, or gamesmanship over for Bell, depending upon your point of view.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Evan Peters as Jimmy Darling

Jane d’oh! Virginity vagaries abound in Gina Rodriguez’s new series Jane the Virgin

- October 10th, 2014

Gina Rodriguez as Jane, two

People keep dropping to their knees in front of Gina Rodriguez.

Okay, technically they’re dropping to their knees in front of Rodriguez’s lead character in Jane the Virgin, which debuts Monday, Oct. 13 on CW. But the reasons for sore knees are very different from case to case.

First, we have the more traditional situation, with Rodriguez’s Jane Villanueva getting proposed to by her loving boyfriend of two years.

But what Jane says at that moment to her patient suitor Michael (Brett Dier) certainly ruins the mood: “I’m pregnant.”

Just one problem. Jane, as the title of the series suggests, is a virgin.

Flash back to when Jane is at the hospital after having had a supposedly out-of-nowhere fainting spell. A doctor tells her she’s pregnant. Jane and her mother Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) both break out in howls of laughter. Impossible.

Another test is done, yet again confirming the pregnancy. This time Jane’s mother drops to her knees, screaming, “IMMACULATA! IMMACUALTA!”

Of course, there is an explanation for all this. Jane is, in fact, a virgin. As a young girl, her grandmother told her that her virginity was the most precious thing in the world, and Jane has tried to live a straight-arrow life and do everything the right way.

But it seems a mix-up at a medical clinic has led to a case of, well, accidental insemination. And that’s the point where Jane’s life unexpectedly and undeservedly turns into a telenovela.

“I never watched telenovelas growing up, I watched Growing Pains and Family Matters,” said Rodriguez, who is from Chicago and has been identified by many as a potential breakout star. “I was like, ‘Cosby Show? What are you doing, Rudy, why?’ So this is a new world to me.”

The tone of Jane the Virgin, which loosely is based on a Venezuelan telenovela, is kind of Desperate Housewives meets Ugly Betty. What I mean by that is, it’s largely a comedy while at the same time dealing with some pretty weighty issues.

Speaking of Desperate Housewives, that show was created by Marc Cherry, who later went on to create Devious Maids. Rodriguez was offered a role in Devious Maids, but she turned it down, largely because she didn’t want her first major primetime role to be as a young woman of Latino descent working as a maid.

“I wouldn’t say that I chose (Jane the Virgin) over Devious Maids,” Rodriguez corrected. “When I was presented with Devious Maids after I did a film at Sundance and I had an ABC holding deal, I found it limiting that this was the one that was available to me.

“I found it limiting for the stories that Latinos have. I feel like there’s a perception that people have about Latinos in America specifically – from somebody growing up in Chicago, English being my first language, Spanish being my second – that we are perceived a very certain way.

“Being a maid is fantastic, I have many family members who have fed their families doing that job. But there are other stories that need to be told. The media is a venue and an avenue to educate and teach our next generation. And sadly right now, the perception they have of Latinos in America are very specific to maid, landscape, pregnant teen. Mind you, I am playing pregnant … not a teen, but … ”

Everyone laughed, including Rodriguez. But the wider point she was making was understood.

“I wasn’t going to let my introduction to the world be one of a story that I think has been told many times,” she said. “So Jane, I waited for her patiently.”

Jane has been waiting, too. But something jumped the queue. It’s enough to bring you to your knees.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Watch: Epic overbid on ‘The Price Is Right’

- October 8th, 2014

No, this isn’t the most expensive hammock in the history of The Price Is Right, it’s just some contestant gifting us with one of the most epic overbids of all time.

hammock650

Really, Corey Simms? $7,000?!

On a hammock?

Were there thousands of dollars sewn into the fabric?

We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and blame it on nerves, but this one is going to be hard to live down.

FYI: The actual retail price was $880.