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Writers’ Room

How TV’s Best Shows Get Written

The writers of ‘Scandal’ almost did what!? ‘Community’ star Jim Rash takes us inside ‘The Writers’ Room,’ a behind-the-scenes look at how TV’s best shows are created.

You couldn’t write a bit that good.

Just hours after the up-to-there slit on her red-carpet gown made “Angelina Jolie’s leg” an Internet meme at the 2012 Oscars, Jim Rash (along with co-writers Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon) win Best Adapted Screenplay for their work on The Descendants, rush to the stage to accept their trophies, and Rash juts out his hip and sticks out his leg, the perfect mimic of Jolie and the perfect Oscar moment.


Jim Rash from the film "The Way Way Back" poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Fender Music Lodge, on Tuesday Jan. 22, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Victoria Will/AP)

Open-Mic Night

Beck’s Musical Time Machine

Perhaps we’ve been undervaluing the very thing that made Beck such an exciting artist in the first place: his genre-defying sense of absurd, spontaneous fun.

“These lights and this stage are giving me flashbacks to open-mic nights in, like, 1988. Just so you know what’s going on up here.”


Kevin Winter/Getty

Once upon a time—in, like, 1988—Beck Hansen actually played open-mic nights. Tiny stages. Sweaty spotlights. Intimate rooms.


How Hollywood Pirates Anime

Transcendence’s tale about cybernetic potentiality is ingenious, but it was also done 16 years ago. Hollywood has been borrowing liberally from Japan’s anime and manga past.

If you thought Spirited Away was as psychedelic and mentally stimulating as Japanese animation gets you’ve been missing something Hollywood has known for ages. Or so the plots of blockbuster sci-fi would seem to suggest: in the recently Christopher Nolan-ized genre there’s more Japanese influences than just the new Godzilla movie.


The Daily Beast

Especially in Transcendence, co-produced by Nolan, which continues the grand theme of suspiciously familiar plots. The story of a man who, in death, is granted immortality and omnipotence through technology, is the sort of thing Japanese anime and manga has done ad nauseam. Hell, even Digimon’s third season explored the dark reality of human computer programs finding sentience in the virtual world. But it’s not just Nolan who has been inspired by Japan’s animated pantheon.


Best ‘Scandal’ Episode Yet

The ‘Scandal’ finale was a non-stop onslaught of twists and turns and utter insanity. It was also the show's most exciting, craziest episode to date. [WARNING: SPOILERS]

“My mother blew up the church that almost cost you the presidency.”


Ron Tom/ABC

Guys, this show. This exhausting, out-of-its-mind, gloriously brave show, which dares to serve up lines like that with a straight face, like it’s not off its damn rocker. Lines that should cause us to do a spit-take they are so blessedly insane, but instead actually almost move us to tears. It takes nerve to put dialogue like that on air, or plots like the ones that assaulted us all during Scandal's season three finale Thursday night—an episode featuring a bombing, two murders, dozens of betrayals, and enough sordid family drama to make the Lannisters over in Westeros whisper to each other, “Those guys have issues…”


The World’s Master Art Forger

The Tribeca Film Fest flick ‘Art and Craft’ paints a crazy picture of a man obsessed with re-creating and donating famous works—and fooling many in the process.

As a self-proclaimed “philanthropist,” Father Arthur Scott has donated hundreds of notable artworks to museums all across the country. Institutions like the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Art have accepted works by Paul Signac, Alfred Jacob Miller and Louis Valtat. Or have they?

Art and Craft

Sam Cullman/Oscilloscope Laboratories

Each museum registrar heard the same story: Father Arthur Scott’s mother has recently passed away and while his sister—still in Paris—settles the estate, he is there to facilitate her wish to bequest the institution with a piece from her collection.


Rape Allegation Rocks Hollywood

The man claiming to have been sexually abused by 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer reveals a shocking catalog of alleged abuse that has ‘destroyed’ his life.

Michael Egan III, the 31-year-old man accusing X-Men director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing him as a teenager, says he considered committing suicide as he struggled to come to terms with what he alleges happened to him.



In an exclusive interview, Egan told The Daily Beast: “I didn’t know who to talk to, or how to deal with the demons eating away at me. Suicide absolutely went through my mind. I had a horrible time with drinking. If it hadn’t been for the support of my mother and family, I don’t know what I would have done.”

Sort of The End

‘Community’ Stares into the Abyss

When it seems like it’s the end for a show, there's a lot of crap that gets flung at the screen. ‘Community,’ forever stuck in television limbo, knows that.

There’s a moment in Community’s season finale when Jeff (Joel McHale) tries to convince his study group friends that everything is over and it’s time to move on. He says that he and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) are getting married.


Justin Lubin/NBC

“What does this look like?!” says Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), who, along with Annie (Alison Brie), is flabbergasted. “An hour-long episode of The Office?! There’s pick axing and electric zapping!”


Casting Couch Horror Stories


Happy 40th, Victoria Beckham!

Watch This!

Viral Vid: Russian Winnie-the-Pooh

A.A. Milne must be rolling in his grave.

What happens when the Soviet Union appropriates one of the most beloved characters in children's literature? You get a dark brown, raccoon-like, bizarro "Vinni-Pukh" whose voice resembles that of a grouchy old witch.

The Hard Truth

That's Mr. Dickhead to You

The founder of Iceland's Phallological Museum, famous for his quest to add a human penis to the collection, feels deceived by the documentary 'The Final Member.'

If you ask Icelander Sigurður “Siggi” Hjartarson, the founder of the world’s only phallological—yes, penis—museum, why he’s spent 40-plus years collecting almost 300 different animal phalluses and “penile parts,” his answer is simple: “Well, somebody had to do this.”


Sigurdur Hjartarson, owner and founder of the Icelandic Phallological Museum, poses next to a stuffed elephant penis at the museum in Husavik May 8, 2008. (Bob Strong/Reuters)

He’s not sure why anyone would be weirded out by what he calls the “new science” of phallology. His museum has specimens from the tiny (a hamster, at two millimeters in length) and the large (17 whale penises and counting, one measuring nearly six feet); the ordinary (as ordinary as polar bears and gorillas, anyway) and the mythical (Icelandic elf, troll, and merman phalluses are on display). He has lampshades made from bull scrotums and silver penis sculptures of the Iceland men’s handball team. He even has wooden, penis-shaped phones, mini-bars, and cutlery sets that he carved himself.


Chris Nolan’s Secret Weapon

A local news cameraman turned Oscar-winning cinematographer, Wally Pfister has been Christopher Nolan’s go-to director of photography. It's time for his $100 million directorial debut.

Wally Pfister is nervous—and with good reason.


JOHNNY DEPP as Will Caster in sci-fi thriller "Trancendence." (Peter Mountain/Alcon Entertainment)

In a few hours, Pfister, 52, will slip into his best suit and head from his house in the Hollywood Hills to Westwood’s Regency Village Theater for the red-carpet premiere of his new movie, Transcendence.

Long Program

Ms. Kwan Hits the Campaign Trail

Once tasked with nailing triple Lutzes and Salchows, Michelle Kwan may soon be Rhode Island's first lady. The story behind her political rise (and that infamous Prius).

“Kwan for President,” reads the button, its size extra large and its design dull, with a white background and black type letters that seem to leap off the shirt of Dell Pellegrini. She glances down at the button when I mention it.


“Oh, this is from 2005,” says Dell, a self-described Michelle Kwan “uber-fan” who lives in Yonkers. “Some fans had them printed for nationals.”


Scandal's Baddest B*tch

Somewhere along the way, once-hateful first lady Mellie Grant became the most complex, most fun character on 'Scandal.' Breakout star Bellamy Young tells us how she did it.

As anyone who has watched just five minutes of the crazy-popular ABC drama Scandal can tell you, the series is brimming with whiplash story developments and surprising moments that shake loyal fans to their core. Even knowing that, though, it’s unlikely that Scandal viewers were prepared for this season’s most shocking twist of all: that they were going to fall in love with Mellie.


Richard Cartwright/ABC

Every Scandal fan has their own moment when they stopped loving to hate first lady Mellie Grant—who would result if Lady Macbeth hailed from Stepford and drank cocktails with Martha from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf —and started to simply love her.

Earlier this week, the grande dame of TV interviews reduced the ‘Happy’ singer to tears on her program. He was far from the first.

She’s gone and done it again.


via YouTube

On the Sunday, April 13 episode of Oprah Prime, everyone’s favorite celebrity interviewer, Oprah Winfrey, sat down with singer/producer Pharrell Williams to discuss the success of his Oscar-nominated global smash, “Happy,” as well as his rise to music superstardom.

Why the GOP Is Angry About Colbert

When Stephen Colbert was announced as David Letterman's successor, Rush Limbaugh and company both criticized and politicized the move. Keli Goff discusses whether they're actually mad.

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