TIME Televison

The 9 Rules of Every Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner Cartoon

Now you know why every episode seemed the same

The Looney Tunes universe had boundaries as severe as an Acme anvil to the head.

A list of rules for the creators of the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons has been circulating online and the instructions explain why every episode was almost exactly the same.

Rules for the show include a restriction on dialogue (save for “Beep-beep!”), setting (“All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters — the Southwest American desert”) and outcomes (“The coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures”). There’s even an instruction on who the real enemy of Wile E. is: “gravity.”

The list comes from the autobiography of former Looney Tunes animation director Chuck Jones, Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist (1999). Director Amos Posner posted the list to Twitter on Mar. 4, saying, “Still obsessed with Chuck Jones’ coyote/roadrunner rules. Awesome to so clearly, concisely define your characters.”

TIME Televison

Watch Kelly Ripa Describe How She Freaked Out Madonna at an Oscars Party

Madge wasn't happy after Kelly smelled her

Television host and Madonna super fan Kelly Ripa appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night and revealed how she once creeped out her idol.

Ripa said that she’d been invited to an Oscars party hosted by Madonna a few years ago and, upon meeting the legendary singer, hugged her and smelled her. According to Ripa, Madonna was not impressed with the “weirdo” behavior.

Despite the frosty reaction, Ripa still seems to think fondly of the encounter. Beaming, she excitedly told Kimmel, “She smells like gardenias!”

TIME celebrities

Bill Cosby ‘Applauds’ Eddie Murphy For Not Playing Him on SNL Sketch

Actor accused of sexual assault "very appreciative" of Murphy's alleged refusal

Bill Cosby has publicly thanked Eddie Murphy for declining to play the comedian — who has been accused of sexual assault by more than 20 women — in Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special this weekend.

Cosby’s spokesperson said he was “very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions,” NBC reports.

Norm Macdonald tweeted that he had asked Murphy to play Cosby during a Celebrity Jeopardy sketch, but said Murphy refused:

Kenan Thompson played Cosby instead.

Read next: 5 Essential Moments from SNL‘s 40th Anniversary Special

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Televison

Watch Conan O’Brien and Anna Kendrick Imagine Life as a Musical

The star of Into The Woods and Pitch Perfect gave the late-night host a taste of what the singing life is all about

If you’ve noticed that actor Anna Kendrick has been doing a lot of singing lately, you’re not alone. Conan O’Brien asked the Into The Woods star about her multiple musical roles when she appeared on his late show Wednesday night.

Kendrick, who has a number of past and forthcoming film roles involving musical numbers, told the comedian she’s a big fan of singing. “I love it so much,” she said. “[It] is near and dear to my heart.”

In fact, the 29-year-old actor is so keen on singing that when O’Brien asked her how she’d feel about living life as a musical, she readily joined him in song.

TIME Televison

Jon Stewart Confirms NBC Wanted Him for Meet the Press

Host Jon Stewart at "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" covers the Midterm elections with "Democalypse 2014: South By South Mess" on Oct. 28, 2014 in Austin, Texas.
Rick Kern—Getty Images Host Jon Stewart at "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" covers the Midterm elections with "Democalypse 2014: South By South Mess" on Oct. 28, 2014 in Austin, Texas.

"I'm sure part of them was thinking, 'Why don't we just make it a variety show?'"

Could Jon Stewart do news without comedy? Reports surfaced earlier this month that NBC had approached Jon Stewart about a hosting gig at its Sunday morning political show Meet the Press following David Gregory’s exit. The comedian confirmed to Rolling Stone on Thursday that those reports were indeed true. But he didn’t take the offer all that seriously.

“My guess is they were casting as wide and as weird a net as they could,” he says. “I’m sure part of them was thinking, ‘Why don’t we just make it a variety show?'”

But Stewart wasn’t interested in the gig. “I felt like that was one of those situations where someone says, ‘We really like what you do. Why don’t you come over here and do something different, maybe something you don’t do as well, for us?'” the Daily Show host said. “I can understand notionally where it comes from. News and entertainment have melded in a way. But they would be overcompensating on the entertainment side. That’s certainly not an outlandish decision, although I don’t necessarily think that’s the best direction for it.”

Good thing too—what would Daily Show and Colbert Report fans do if both Stewart and Stephen Colbert had left Comedy Central?

[Rolling Stone]

TIME Televison

The Leftovers Spins the Wheel of Fortune

Paul Schiraldi/HBO

A confounding but compelling episode feels like an "Are you in or out?" moment for the show. I'm in.

“Two Boats and a Helicopter” is the episode of The Leftovers that convinced me I was sticking with the show for the season.

This is not the same as saying that I left it convinced that The Leftovers is a great show, or that it will become one. It’s still tremendously confusing. It’s mysterious, and not necessarily to a purpose–we’ll have to see. And this episode was structurally very different from the first two, suggesting that The Leftovers is still figuring out what it’s going to be. What it’s going to be may, I realize, turn out to be a fancy pile of nothing.

But this tense, wrenching episode felt like an “Are you in or out?” juncture for The Leftovers, and I’m in. In part, it was a function of story; in radically shifting its approach and concentrating on one character, Christopher Eccleston’s Rev. Matt Jamison, the show had a drive that felt missing from the beautiful but diffuse first two episodes. The mood and sense of aching were still there, and how, but “Two Boats” also gave us one character with a specific problem, and even in a show like this, that makes a difference.

I know we’re all tired of the Lost comparisons at this point, but I can’t help it with “Two Boats,” which echoed the structure of producer Damon Lindelof’s earlier series–specifically Lost‘s flashbacks, with their reversals, cruel dramatic ironies, and hints of larger forces at work. It’s also remarkably directed for tension–see, for instance, the final roulette spin in the casino, where we hear the ball land but don’t see it, instead seeing Matt’s face tense up, then finally break into the release of a smile. But The Leftovers is distinctively its own thing: its characters are torn not between faith and science but between purpose and despair.

Rev. Matt is a man of God who has suffered loss almost Biblically: he was spared death as a child, we learn, only to lose his parents in a fire, to all-but-lose his wife (Janel Moloney) to a car accident caused by the Departure, and to lose most of his flock to the aftermath of Oct. 14 and its crisis of belief. Eccleston’s stressed-out performance here is commanding top to bottom. Every blow in Matt’s life has hammered a spring within him tighter; if you put a mood ring on him, it would probably explode.

The way Matt has reacted is not exactly likeable; his campaign to prove that bad people were among the departed may be his idea of defending his religion (this wasn’t the Rapture, so God’s plan continues unchanged), but it’s also pretty spiteful and face-punchable. But at least he hasn’t given up, and a lovely little sequence in mid-episode shows all the little things that not giving up means: changing light bulbs and hymnal numbers alone, sweeping, scrubbing rugs. It’s a complicated thing he’s doing, both self-interested and genuinely–if misguidedly–idealistic. It’s hard to tell where his work to keep God’s place in people’s hearts ends and his struggle to maintain his own place in the community begins.

“Two Boats” is an episode full of what seem to be signs and portents–the red lights, the pigeons–but unlike in a Lost flashback, it doesn’t necessary to some larger grand design. Like Hurley, Rev. Matt wins big and loses disastrously, but it’s not clear there is really any mystic power like The Numbers at work here. Instead, his story may simply be like the Departure itself–a dramatic, inexplicable stroke, but a random one with no discernable purpose. On the one hand, there has been an amazing, superhuman event; on the other hand, there is no particular sign that it happened because of anything we recognize as God. This may simply be life: unimaginably wonderful things happen, and unimaginably terrible things happen, and the only patterns to be found in it are the ones we impose on them after the fact. If Twin Peaks told us that the owls are not what they seem, this episode suggests that maybe a pigeon is just a pigeon.

There’s a lot to think about here, but what puzzles me most about “Two Boats and a Helicopter” is what’s meant by the title. It’s taken from an old story about a man who’s stranded by a flood and refuses help, from one vehicle after another, saying that he instead will wait for God to provide–until he drowns. When he gets to Heaven, God tells the man that He did provide–He sent two boats and a helicopter, didn’t He?

So what were the two boats and a helicopter here? Matt, after all, does not spend the episode placidly waiting around for divine intervention–no one, by boat or helicopter, offers to save his church, so he desperately tries to do it himself, and nearly does. How does the parable apply, then? Maybe–and maybe I’m being morbid here–losing the church was itself the two-boats-and-a-helicopter. Maybe the universe is offering Matt an out: a chance to let go his crusade, get his life together and care for his wife, pocket his winnings and let the Guilty Remnant take the punches.

Maybe, but–call it foolishness or heroism, vanity or selflessness–he’d rather do anything than let go of his one way of making meaning from what’s happened. The Leftovers has shown us several ways people deal with a world-changing event: violence, hedonism, insanity. Matt’s way is to accept his losing cause and stick with it, no matter what color the wheel lands on. “I had to try,” as he tells the young man who came to church for a baptism but admits that he won’t be coming back. “If I don’t, who will?”

TIME Televison

CBS Has Passed On How I Met Your Dad

Producers are starting to look at other networks after CBS turned down the How I Met Your Mother spinoff project

CBS has turned down the spinoff project How I Met Your Dad, and the show is reportedly starting to look around for other networks.

Early reports indicated that the show would be a shoo-in at CBS, which aired the nine seasons of the original comedy How I Met Your Mother. But after seeing the pilot from Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Emily Spivey, the network decided to pass, E! News reports.

CBS’ Nina Tassler said “there were elements of the pilot that didn’t work out,” but the higher-ups at the network “love this show and we love these producers.”

Citing anonymous sources, E! News reported that the 20th Century Fox, the producer of How I Met Your Dad, has already had preliminary discussions about moving the show elsewhere.

[E! News]

MORE: TIME’s Favorite Terms Invented by ‘How I Met Your Mother’

TIME Televison

RECAP: Mad Men Watch: “Field Trip”

Jim Cutler, Joan Harris, and Bert Cooper at a meeting.
Michael Yarish—AMC Jim Cutler, Joan Harris, and Bert Cooper at a meeting.

The third episode of the season finds Betty making her return to the series and Don making a not-so-triumphant return to the offices of SC&P

On Sunday’s episode of Mad Men, the Don Draper Redemption Train continued to chug along with just a few bumps — but first, let’s deal with the return of everyone’s favorite love-to-hate-her ex-wife, Betty Francis.

Last season, Betty’s story arc was something of a nothing-burger as she experienced a crisis of confidence: she gained weight, she lost weight, she dyed her hair brown, then she dyed it back, and so on. Nothing particularly exciting happened until she and Don had a throwback-Thursday conjugal rendezvous while visiting Bobby at summer camp, so this week, it was promising to see Betty volunteer to chaperone a school field trip — she’s a much more interesting character when she gets out of the house. Betty may say she’s happy being old-fashioned, raising kids and supporting Henry Francis’ political career, but watching pal Francine tell Betty all about the challenging boredom of staying at home reminds viewers of what they’ve known all along about Betty: Ms. Feminine Mystique is suffering from a case of the problem that has no name.

Maybe she’s just practicing what she preaches to Francine when she decides to spend more time with Bobby, but Betty does seem to be actively interested in trying to get to know him in this episode. (The way he ecstatically tells his teacher, “We were having a conversation!” suggests he notices, too.) Betty accompanies him on a school trip to a local farm, she listens to him talk about monsters on the bus, she volunteers to be the first to drink fresh cow’s milk in the barn — because she’s not like a regular mom, she’s a cool mom! But when Bobby accidentally trades his mom’s sandwich for some candy, suddenly the perfect day of mother-son bonding is ruined. Betty has probably thrown bigger fits about stupider things before, but this time, a bummed-out Bobby leads her to ask husband Henry Francis, “Why don’t they love me?”

Mad Men must be getting serious about her evolution as a character, as fans have had six seasons’ worth of answers to that question. Betty just isn’t a natural parent. She doesn’t understand that kids will be kids and make dumb mistakes sometimes, and when they do, she’s too personally offended to accept their remorse. Plus, she has a history of seeking attention from children to supplement whatever attention she’s not getting elsewhere in her life — remember her bizarre friendship with Glen Bishop? Betty is the frostiest ice queen January Jones has ever played — and that’s saying something for an actress who starred as X-Men’s Emma Frost, a villain who could literally turn herself into a diamond and become impervious to freezing temperatures. Maybe Betty is just doomed to be unhappy in the Weinerverse (that certainly seems to be the case for Peggy these days). Or maybe, like her ex-husband, she’s wondering why the people around her aren’t suddenly throwing themselves at her feet after she shows the first sign of effort.

Which brings us to Don. After Megan’s agent gives him a heads-up that his wife is coming unhinged as her acting career fails to take off, he flies out to California to keep her from unraveling — only that’s exactly what happens to their marriage. His inspirational pep talk about overcoming Hollywood rejection immediately raises some red flags, so Megan bites: Why is he here, where is he spending his time and whom is he screwing? Clearly, Don wasn’t just feeling guilty when he told his airplane acquaintance in the season premiere that Megan knew more than enough about his misbehavior — she’s been onto him for some time, even if, for the sake of their bicoastal marriage, she’s also doing her best to keep up appearances. (Which makes her “Did you get fired?” joke to Don after his surprise visit all the richer — some of the best exchanges on Mad Men this season have involved two characters who know each others’ secrets but delicately dance around them.)

The new and improved Don Draper opens up to Megan, spilling the details of his administrative leave and admitting he was too ashamed to tell her the truth. The confession doesn’t go as well as he expected, though — Don may have turned over a new leaf, but in Sunday’s episode, he mistakes honesty for automatically being a good person when, in fact, he’s selfish. He expects Megan to be impressed by his revelations, but he looks stunned when Megan suggests they separate; he believes fixing their marriage means getting his old job back, not moving out to California to support her; he declares he’s been on his best behavior, as if staying faithful and sober-ish was going above and beyond the call of marital duty. Don hardly seems tempted by the couple of blondes he could have easily bedded in this episode, but it’s obvious he’s more concerned with Megan’s opinion of him than Megan’s actual well-being.

Their phone conversation later in the episode recalls something Peggy told Ted last season after he decided to move to California following a change of heart about their romantic future: “Aren’t you lucky to have decisions.” Progress, schmogress — Don is still the center of his own universe, and everyone else is just a satellite that revolves around him. As the episode suggests, Don won’t truly get his act together unless he figures that out.

If his rough patch with Megan wasn’t a wake-up call in that regard, Don’s awkward return to SC&P certainly was. Marital drama motivates Don to take a lunch meeting, and when an offer comes down the pipeline, he confronts Roger, who invites him back to work — but neglects to tell everyone else at the agency. For the second episode in a row, the hard-working people of SC&P are caught off guard when another member of the Draper family shows up without warning. This time, instead of Sally discovering that her father no longer works there, Don realizes that everyone has moved on without him — even before Peggy gets a chance to bitterly rub that in. New faces have taken his old office; secretaries that once waited on his beck and call now have their own offices. As Joan so eloquently puts it in a partners’ meeting, “How does he fit into everything now? This is working. We’re still mopping up the damage he’s done.”

The partners are faced with some choices: Do they keep wasting money paying Don’s salary while he’s on leave, or do they take a financial hit and buy him out? Do they risk aiding their competition by firing him, voiding the non-compete clause of his contract, or do they keep a creative genius on the sidelines? Do they save his dignity over their own? Mad Men would have taken an interesting turn if the partners decided the answer to that last question was “no” — a true test of Don’s recovery would be whether he could handle whatever rejection detonates inside him — but what ends up happening works, too. Don gets to make his not-so-triumphant return to SC&P, but with a few conditions: He can’t drink, he can’t be around clients unsupervised, and he has to get approval from either Lou or the partners on just about everything.

This deal should change things dramatically. Instead of swooping into save Peggy from Lou’s slacker leadership with some dramatic Draper comeback coupe, Don may now have to work alongside her to earn back a smidgeon of his former glory — if he even gets that much. And for the first time in a long, long time, the man who used to be the boss now must answer to one.

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