Smart Pick of the Day: Ellen DeGeneres and Kristen Wiig Singing “Let It Go”

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE COMEDY EVENT OF THE DECADE:

As we all know, women are funnier than men. And these two made the list a year ago (in fact, that needs a part 2 doesn’t it?) because they are both geniuses. Seeing them be effortlessly funny together almost made my brain explode. They can do no wrong.

I don’t know what’s going on, but there is an influx of eerily Jack-specific culture coming in at the moment. Things are really lookin good for people with my particular taste in music, comedy, movies – did I mention seeing Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy meant I can officially die happy?

What’s next, amiright? Next you’re going to tell me, I don’t know, like, Elisabeth Moss is coming to Broadway.

….

WHAT??

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Smart Reads: Jack Smart Edition

As you may have noticed, JackSmartReview updates have been few and far between and laaaame. But fear not, readers! My life has been very happily taken over by a full-time job at Backstage, which I highly recommend frequenting even if you’re not a struggling actor type. Here are some highlights from the last month, and if you’re not hearing from this blog as frequently, dear readers, just head over to Backstage.com. There’s something there for all both of you (thanks for reading, Mom and Dad!).

The Simpsons

Did you know I am an expert on famous actors who have guest starred on ‘The Simpsons’?? I am now!

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Smart Mad Men Recap: S7E6, “The Strategy”

SPOILER ALERT: “You can’t tell people what they want. It has to be what you want.”

Mad Men

The closing scene from this week’s episode of Not The Sopranos

If you’re someone who has never seen an episode of Mad Men (ya poor soul) and wanted to watch just one to see what it’s all about, “The Strategy” might be it. In many ways it seemed to revisit well-trodden ground – Women struggling for respect in the workplace! The dissolution of the American family! – but the penultimate installment in this penultimate set of episodes offers some of the most wonderfully layered writing in the show’s history, as well as the slightest suggestion of evolution. That is, if the central question of Mad Men is “Can people change?”, it’s now maybe potentially conceivably sort of perchance kinda possible that the answer could be… yes.

Because although Peggy being coerced into not delivering her own Burger Chef pitch is another exhausting example of the glass ceiling, this time Don decidedly isn’t standing in her way. Continue reading

Smart Mad Men Recap: S7E5, “The Runaways”

SPOILER ALERT: A teeny bit of blood goes a long way on Mad Men.

AMC's Mad Men

“A belated Valentine’s Day present! xoxo” – Ginsberg

Everything you need to know about this episode of Mad Men can be summed up by the look on Don Draper’s face as his wife leans in to kiss another woman. Or maybe it’s the look on Jim Cutler’s face when Don marches into a meeting with Commander Cigarettes he wasn’t supposed to know about. Or poor Peggy, reacting with horror and revulsion to what is surely this show’s most disturbing twist. It’s the same face I wore for the majority of “The Runaways,” a face perhaps best described as:

The fuck??

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Smart Mad Men Recap: S7E3, “Field Trip” & S7E4, “The Monolith”

SPOILER ALERT: It’s getting real on Mad Men. And like Don getting his shit together, recaps are better late than never.

Mad Men

“OMG Don you look so great, how was your vacay??” said no one at this meeting

“I wish it was yesterday.” Tell me about it, Bobby Draper. Welcome to the real world.

So much happened in the third episode of Mad Men’s final season, turns out I needed a whole week to process it. (For this week’s episode, click on!) Between the almost certain demise of Don’s marriage to his reentry into the agency – to say nothing of Betty drinking fresh milk from a pail! – this installment could have easily passed as a season finale knockout. With only four episodes to go in the (half-)season, it’s hard not to wonder if each will include quite as much defecation hitting the fan.

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Smart Reads: Butts, Bonnets, and BRING ME MY DRAGONS

Butts

  • Butts. Is there anything sillier or more uncomfortable to talk about than butts? New York Magazine’s Maureen O’Connor musters up a helluva lot of courage and curiosity to explore an aspect of modern sexuality that may be approaching, if not mainstream acceptance, than at least a more relaxed attitude among vocal heterosexuals. Her writing is frank and personal and utterly shocking in every way. If, like me, you’re embarrassed about such topics, reading this will be a fantastically visceral experience. I blushed, I squirmed, I absolutely howled with laughter. It’s such an awkward subject, even linking to it makes me fidgety. (Mom? Gramma? Click at your own risk.)
  • Speaking of howling with laughter, Mike Berlin’s recent Standing Ovation column in Backstage is a stop-whatever-you’re-doing must-read. His description of Naomi Watts’ performance in I Heart Huckabees is so good, it’s like watching the movie in literary form. Continue reading

Smart Mad Men Recap: S3E2, “A Day’s Work”

SPOILER ALERT: It’s Valentine’s Day on Mad Men.

Mad Men

Don (Jon Hamm) and Sally (Kiernan Shipka) discover their french fries are cold. So are their feelings.

“Just tell the truth,” Sally tells Don. And then, miraculously, he does.

A lot can happen in a day’s work, and a lot does in “A Day’s Work,” the second installment of the penultimate season of Mad Men. (I’m calling bullshit on AMC’s seven-episodes-this-year, seven-episodes-next-year crap. It’s seasons 7 and 8, smartass.) The show’s writing is in top form, and seems poised to show off each cast member’s unique talents. This week we were served high-stakes office politics, petty office politics, and a whole lot of kickass character development in one of Mad Men’s most fascinating and crucial relationships.

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