THIS IS US SHINES — NBC’s This Is Us delivered a plethora of reveals last night, amping up the action in the last several minutes like never before. Several pundits have thrown daggers at this show of late, but they proved last night they have the mettle.
Not only were we at last given the identity of the mystery ‘her,’ but we also got a huge plot twist for the Pearson family: Nicky (Jack’s mysterious brother) is not actually dead. And maybe Randall and Beth end up divorced in the future. Also, Kate and Toby are having a baby boy (and Kate’s going back to school).
The episode kicked off back in Vietnam — a locale that bookended tonight’s action. First, we see Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) fretting over his brother Nicky’s (Michael Angarano) mental health. Then, at episode’s end, there’s Jack again, this time running towards the sound of an explosion, while searching for an ominously missing Nicky. But in a one-two punch, we’re also in modern-day Vietnam with Kevin (Justin Hartley), learning there’s no official record of Nicky’s death. And then! The biggest, unexpected plot twist of the season: we see a shambling, older Nicky (played by Griffin Dunne), living in a trailer, picking up his mail, which is clearly marked with a modern barcode. He’s alive and well in the present day.
I have to also commend the scenes in Vietnam, where both Jack and Kevin, walking the same path, turned at one point and seemingly looked at each other’s characters. Just stellar directing and editing. I almost thought for a moment, the two characters might meet. Hey, it could happen as it happened earlier this season with the three versions of the Kate character.
The episode, directed by Ken Olin (thirtysomething), was perhaps the show’s best since their season finale last year, where they again teased their audience with several reveals.
I do get why people have grown somewhat frustrated with this show, but the acting (especially Milo Ventimiglia) who is in the show more now than ever before … and, his character died last season!
Chris Sullivan as Toby and Justin Hartley as Kevin are also both a constant delight with constant humor that gives the whole show a tender feel.
Griffin Dunne is a huge favorite of ours and a most welcomed addition.
Just great work.
CHENBOT RETURNS — CBS has confirmed what had been speculated. Julie Chen Moonves will be back as host of Big Brother: Celebrity Edition when it returns for a second season on January 21. As Deadline previously reported, sources close to Chen Moonves had said she planned to continue hosting Big Brother and its Celebrity counterpart for years to come, but questions obviously arose when her husband Leslie Moonves was ousted as CBS CEO amid allegations of sexual misconduct, followed by her exit as host of CBS’ The Talk.
While Big Brother hasn’t been renewed officially for a 21st season by CBS, Chen Moonves’ contract runs for the upcoming edition of the Celebrity mid season spinoff and one more season of the mothership show.
Big Brother: Celebrity Edition features a group of celebrities living together in the Big Brother house outfitted with 94 HD cameras and 113 microphones, recording their every move 24 hours a day. Following its Season 2 January 21 (8 PM) premiere, Big Brother: Celebrity Edition will air on multiple nights each week for three weeks, with the two-hour finale on Wednesday, February 13.
Speaking of CBS, insiders have complained that the investigation into Charlie Rose, has gone on far too long. Interesting piece on Rose’, life now, and it is from April, but interesting nonetheless. Check it out: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/what-happened-charlie-rose-we-asked-his-friends-associates-1101333
SHORT TAKES — Turns out here was a review of Supreme-Mary Wilson, during her 4-day stand at NYC’s Carlyle Hotel last week. Village Voice-legend Michael Musto, writing for Logo – here it is: http://www.newnownext.com/green-book-film-mary-wilson-the-supremes/11/2018/ …Photographer Jeff Smith was at the Patty Smyth/Taylor Dane show last week at the St.George Theatre in Staten Island and took this photo of the “Tell It To My Hear” singer. Hard to believe that record was first a success in 1987. Here’s the original video with Ms. Dayne aka Leslie Wunderman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud6sU3AclT4 … Seeing the great Jeff Daniels Sunday in To Kill A Mockingbird. We loved him in Netflix’s Godless and HBO’s The Newsroom. Just a superlative actor. Details Monday … Continental, the East Village dive bar known for its shots specials, announced it would be closing over a year ago, with owner Trigger Smith noting the closure would happen in August 2018. But after hanging on for dear life, it now has a new final closing date. On December 15, the bar will close up shop after one final night of excessive drinking hosted by rocker Jesse Malin. The bar, which offers five shots of anything for $12, has been in the neighborhood for 27 years. It’s being replaced by a boutique office building … The Donna Summer Show was featured prominently on the Thanksgiving Day Parade, but I still don’t get having three Donna Summers. They all sounded great, but nothing like her. I have friends who’ve seen the show and adored it. Maybe I’ll have to go … Have you seen the video for The Monkees’ “Unwrap You at Christmas?” Here it is at Rolling Stone with a great piece by Andy Greene: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/watch-the-monkees-new-cartoon-video-unwrap-you-at-christmas-760679/ … and, whatever happened to Charlie Walk?
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jeff Smith; Jane Blunkell; David Spero; Vito Bruno; Glenn Friscia; Duane Betts; Larson Sutton; Matt Diamond; Doug Morris; Tony King; Barry Z; Robert Miller; Peter Abraham; Steve Walter; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; CFS; and, CHIP.