Make Canoe my Homepage

In Brie we trust; in life and in new animated Netflix series BoJack Horseman, Alison Brie knows our secrets

- August 22nd, 2014

Diane (left, voiced by Alison Brie) and Bojack (right, voiced by Will Arnett)

Sometimes people just tell you things, no matter how animated you are.

And therein lies the one trait Alison Brie has in common with her character in the new animated series BoJack Horseman, which is available Friday, Aug. 22 on Netflix. Brie’s character Diane Nguyen (above left) is a ghost writer, hired to pen the memoirs of lead character BoJack (above right), voiced by Will Arnett.

“If there’s any resemblance, it’s that there’s something about Diane that even when BoJack is avoiding any writing of the book, she sort of gets BoJack to open up,” Brie said. “And that I can relate to, because people always are telling me their secrets. They confide in me. I seem very trustworthy.”

Brie paused just long enough to make it funny, before adding, “I seem.”

You’ll recognize Brie’s face primarily for her roles as Annie Edison on Community (cast pic below with Brie at far right) and Trudy Campbell on Mad Men. But she has done voice work as well, including the recent Lego Movie, in which she co-starred with Arnett, coincidentally.

BoJack Horseman centres around BoJack, who literally is a horse. The series exists in a universe where animals talk and interact with humans. For example, all the employees at Penguin Publishing are, well, penguins.

Anyway, BoJack was the star of a corny 1990s family sitcom called Horsin’ Around. Presently, trying to plot a comeback, BoJack has been contracted to write his autobiography, but he isn’t exactly a nose-to-the-trough kind of horse. That’s where Diane enters the fray.

“Diane quickly assimilates to that group (which includes BoJack’s roommate Todd Chavez, voiced by Aaron Paul, and his agent Princess Carolyn, voiced by Amy Sedaris),” Brie said. “And because Diane dates Mr. Peanut Butter (a canine rival of  BoJack’s, voiced by Paul F. Tompkins), and Mr. Peanut Butter seems to always make himself a part of BoJack’s life – to BoJack’s chagrin – that makes Diane part of the family as well.”

What I want to know is, what is a serious girl like Diane doing with an upbeat airhead such as Mr. Peanut Butter?

“Well, you know, it is an interesting question,” Brie said. “I have to just assume that Diane wants to take a break from herself. Diane is a very serious person and she has such a dry sense of humour. She always needs to be the smartest person in the room, and I think with Mr. Peanut Butter, that’s very easy.”

Diane may be Brie’s primary character in BoJack Horseman, but if you listen closely, you’ll hear Brie popping up in other places as well.

“Every time I come in there’s a different thing, ‘Oh, yeah, also today, you’re going to be reading cow waitress,’ ” Brie said with a laugh. “That’s one of my favourites, one of my proudest roles.”

Brie said BoJack Horseman came along at the right time, with the upcoming final seven episodes of Mad Men already having been shot, and with Community in between seasons. Community, which has more lives than a cat, recently was picked up for a sixth season by Yahoo! Screen. You know, Community may end up being the longest-running show in TV history before it’s done.

“I would believe it,” Brie said. “Except now it’s on the internet, does that count? I guess it does, since we’re here right now talking about a show on Netflix.

“This did fit in very nicely. And they’ve been wonderful about working around our schedules, which is why we’ve been able to draw such an incredible cast. It’s a smaller time commitment, and it’s a little more flexible.”

Speaking of time flexibility, does Brie think Diane ever is going to get BoJack’s book written? And if so, will Diane get her name on it?

“I doubt it – she’s a ghost writer, after all,” Brie said. “But in any case, I don’t think she wants her name on this book.”

People may confide in Alison Brie, but BoJack Horseman is not a secret she has to keep.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Community-Season-5-FT-779x400

‘Community’ at Comic Con: ‘F— you network television’

- July 24th, 2014

No one thought they were going to be sitting through or reading about this panel just a couple of weeks ago.

One of the most anticipated panels of Comic Con, attendees were howling with excitement when the cast of Community, along with their beloved creator, took the stage to address their upcoming (final?) season.

Addressing the enormous elephant in the room, Harmon stood up, yelling, “Sony and Yahoo are giant corporations. Their tentacles reach — hail Hydra! — into every crevice,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

It was only in May that diehard Community fans were crushed when NBC announced they would be pulling the plug on the series -which ran for five seasons on the network- for good, citing poor ratings as the main reason.

Fans were hopeful Harmon and his team would find a new home, many speculating that Netflix or Hulu would be interested in becoming the new destination for the show, but nothing was certain.

Until just weeks ago when Harmon and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, announced they would be teaming up to carry the show’s sixth (and seriously, final?) season out.

Harmon admitted he had no confidence in the the show being picked up by one outlet or another, and didn’t want to say anything out of respect for fans.

“I didn’t feel that this was possible so I didn’t want them to get optimistic. I knew that honestly, it was corporate politics,” he said.

Luckily for fans, most of the cast didn’t feel the same way. Especially the snarky main Joel McHale.

McHale told the hall they were situated in for the panel he never had any doubt they were going to be returning to screens one way or another.

“Much like a Japanese general in World War II, the only option was victory or suicide. As I’ve said a lot, I love the show,” McHale said.

Like Harmon, McHale admitted they were looking into any avenue to complete the series they had all been working diligently on for the past five years. He even jokingly admitted they were ready to take it off-Broadway for fans to come and see.

“I know most of you watch on tiny little screens and now we’re on one. F— you network television! Unless they want us back,” McHale told a roaring crowd (according to Twitter).

It’s a facet of the show Harmon acknowledged at the beginning of the panel, too. Most of their audience are twentysomething’s who aren’t going to purchase any kind of television set, let alone subscribe to a cable company. Harmon has also argued those that do have television sets, aren’t going to be sitting down in front of them every Thursday night to catch the latest episode.

“It’s season six of Community. You’ll be watching it the way you’ve always watched it — only now it’s legal,” Harmon semi-joked.

It’s a conundrum the industry is facing as a whole, and is without a doubt the reason Community wasn’t more successful ratings wise. As all Greendale students know, it’s fandom is on par with Joss Whedon shows like Buffy and Firefly.

It’s a new era that traditional networks are trying to figure out.

Even stars Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) and Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry) admitted to the crowd they found out the show had been picked up through Twitter, just like the rest of us.

For now, though, Community is back and preparing to shoot their sixth season. Harmon announced fans will be able to watch the new season sometime after Christmas, and assured fans the Community they would be walking into on Yahoo would feel like the Community they’ve known all along on NBC.

Just a bit more uncensored.

Score.

How I met neither? Milioti comically disses co-stars

- July 14th, 2014

Capture a to z

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Cristin Milioti knows what it’s like to be a woman of destiny.

In her new sitcom A-to-Z (coming this fall to NBC and Global), Milioti’s character has been the vague object of infatuation for a character played by Ben Feldman, after he merely caught a glimpse of her. Milioti, of course, had a philosophically similar role when she was brought on late in the series run of How I Met Your Mother to play the iconic “mother” that Josh Radnor’s character was fated to find and marry.

Milioti was asked at the Television Critics Association event if she actually believes in destiny, and that there’s one perfect person out there for all of us.

Before Milioti could answer, her A-to-Z castmate Feldman chimed in, “Is it me or Josh Radnor?”

“That’s what everyone wants to know,” Milioti answered. “Surprise! It’s neither!”

Ouch. Sorry, Ben and Josh.

“(Believing in destiny) depends on which day you get me,” Milioti added. “I would say I believe in destiny 85% of the time. No, 94% of the time. If the right song is playing and the sunlight is good and hits me a certain way, I believe in it.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Maybe Community should have aimed higher, mathematically speaking, says NBC chairman

- July 13th, 2014

Capture comm

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The sitcom Community launched the phrase “six seasons and a movie” as a joke-but-not-a-joke goal, and NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt wonders why they didn’t go bigger.

“That six-season thing was created by them,” Greenblatt said Sunday at the Television Critics Association tour. “I’m surprised they didn’t say ’10 seasons and a movie.’ ”

After five seasons on NBC, Community will in fact get its sixth season, but on the internet streaming service Yahoo! Screen.

“It just didn’t make sense for us (NBC) to have another season at that level of audience,” Greenblatt said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever know how many people watch it on Yahoo! I’m curious to see if they can get a bigger audience than we did.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

 

Seth Meyers not sitting down on standing up; headed to Toronto for JFL42

- July 13th, 2014

Gallery art, Seth Meyers

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – If timing is the most important thing in comedy, it also is the most important thing in writing comedy. Just ask Seth Meyers.

The host of Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC and CTV will be appearing at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Toronto this September. He said he currently is trying to hone his standup act one or two weekends per month, after taking several months off from standup completely when he launched his Late Night show last February.

So how does Meyers find the time to work on his separate standup routine while doing a TV show every night?

“I don’t know,” Meyers said. “So if it seems like I’m doing last year’s act when I’m in Toronto, you’ll know why.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv