Christopher Abbott Is Breaking Up With ‘Girls’

Welp, so much for that Marnie and Charlie reconciliation we saw in the season two finale: Christopher Abbott has abruptly left Girls. The actor was apparently at odds with creator and star Lena Dunham. “He didn’t like the direction things are going in, which seems a bit odd since the show put him on the map,” a source told Page Six. (Abbott’s publicist confirmed his departure with the tabloid.) Perhaps Abbott found his character’s actions and storyline to be as ridiculous as I did! Of course, Abbott had a pretty good role in an episode of Enlightened (RIP!) this year, as well as a role in the star-making Martha Marcy May Marlene (which didn’t hurt the careers of Elizabeth Olsen and Simon Killer‘s Brady Corbet), so I think Abbott will do just fine without Girls.

[via Page Six]

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

It’s My Fault ‘Enlightened’ Got Canceled

We’ve all heard the terrible news, I believe. HBO has pulled the plug on the whip-smart and arrestingly offbeat existential sitcom Enlightened after just eighteen episodes. And I just want to publicly say: my bad, y’all.

Sorry, everyone who started watching this great show early on and tried to convince me to give it a shot. I’m halfway through season one now, but I know that’s too little, too late. What’s more, I’m watching on HBO GO, which means I didn’t even register as a viewer. Shit! This is totally my fault.

Sorry, people who created, wrote and starred in this: I was afraid to try something different because it was advertised with Laura Dern’s crying face, which made really uncomfortable somehow. I’d blame David Lynch, but in fact this probably says something about how men don’t want to deal with emotion. What a callow fool I’ve been.

Can you ever forgive me, intelligent TV fans of the world? I honestly didn’t think this would happen purely out of my negligence. I feel so rotten about it. If only there were another half-hour HBO series that tackled the bracing realities of 21st-century identity, femininity and society. Oh well. 

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Watch the First Trailers for HBO’s ‘Veep’ & Christopher Guest’s New Series ‘Family Tree’

With Girls and Enlightened all wrapped up for the season, you may find yourself wondering just what to do come 10pm on Sunday nights. But not to fret, there’s plenty more television from that HBO spring from whence they came. First up, the Season 2 trailer for the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-led political comedy Veep has been unveiled and it looks to serve up even more of the particular brand of hilarious and biting Armando Iannucci laughs we love so much. This time around Kevin Dunn and Isaiah Whitlock Jr. have joined the state of affairs, as well as Thick of It Star Chris Addison (if only we could get some Peter Capaldi love now that The Hour will not be gracing our televisions again).

That one premieres April 14th but there’s also the new series Family Tree from Christopher Guest, the man behind Best In Show, Waiting for Guffman, etc. featuring his troupe of hilarious cohorts. With Fred Willard, Michael McKean, Ed Begeley Jr., and now Chris O’Dowd in the lead, the show will follow a man who "inherits a mysterious box that belonged to his great aunt, and decides to learn more about his roots." Vague, yes, but I am more than willing to give anything Guest a hell of a shot. This one, however, doesn’t have a set air date yet but surely that will come soon.

Check out the trailers below.



Are You Watching ‘Enlightened’? Because You Should Be

Look, I know it’s bad form to compare two shows centered around female characters, but with every think-piece about how Girls is great or terrible or middling or tolerable, there’s one less think-piece about how Enlightened is excellent. I’m not saying that the two should be compared—although Laura Dern herself makes a great point when she said that the behavior on Girls is fun and relatable whereas the same scenarios on Enlightened cause one to say, "She’s so sad and scary and tragic. I hope I’m nothing like her" (which itself is enough for a very long essay). What I am saying, however, is that if you’re already watching Girls, take the time to sit put for the following half-hour and watch Enlightened. It is glorious. And if you don’t believe me, here are three smart women who you can trust who feel the same way.

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

What Wasn’t on TV Last Night

It’s been a strange few Sunday evenings for me these past weeks, because everyone else is watching appointment weekend-wind-down television and livetweeting and generally spasming about it? But I never got hooked on Downton Abbey, Enlightened, or Girls. I did, however, just justify the use of a hashtag for each of those shows. (See how that works? God, this is almost too easy.)

Maybe it’s because, like Mad Men and some other stuff that’s gone off the rails or never really found them, these programs ask viewers to argue their meaning, intent and philosophy, whereas I prefer my TV to transmit either lowbrow animated comedy or edge-of-your-seat suspenseful potboilers. If either one turns out to be academically engaging, great! But I’m sure as hell not going to turn on something that promises to “really make you think.” Ingmar Bergman excluded, I guess.

So what was going on while the rest of you loaded up on stuff to .gif and deconstruct and Tumblr about this week? Well for one thing it was suddenly very cold and windy, and there was no reason to go outside. Plus most people still had to work today, so no one was up to meet anywhere. Really, it was a good night to stay inside with spiked hot cider and your pets and be passively entertained. Oh shit, that reminds me: I forgot to watch Bob’s Burgers.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Maggie Smith Doesn’t Watch ‘Downton Abbey’

In an upcoming interview with 60 Minutes, Dame Maggie Smith, badass septuagenarian, admits that she doesn’t watch Downton Abbey. Ha, you fools! Maggie comes over to my apartment every Sunday night for the Girls / Englightened block on HBO. She would not shut up about this week’s episode of the former, and how she just couldn’t believe that someone who looked like Patrick Wilson would have sex with someone who looked like Lena Dunham. I kept trying to explain to Maggie why that kind of thinking is pretty offensive, but she fell asleep in her chair so I just let it go. Anyway, take a look at my BFF Maggie Smith being a lovable old British coot.

[via EW]

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Lena Dunham’s Boyfriend’s Band Lends Song to ‘Girls’ Soundtrack

Girls comes back on Sunday. Are you excited for three more months of arguing about Lena Dunham? I’ll be too busy getting pissed that no one is talking about Enlightened. (Alas, that’s how it works today: shows about forty-something women and their problems are sadly eclipsed by shows about twenty-something women and their problems.) Just in time for the big premiere this weekend, the show’s first season’s soundtrack hit stores and the internet this week, featuring the likes of Robyn, Sleigh Bells, and Fleet Foxes, because of Brooklyn. Also on the roster, of course, is fun., the band with the oddly stylized name that also happens to feature Lena Dunham’s boyfriend.

The song, which was supposed to be included on the band’s first album, Some Nights, was scrapped because it included an uncleared sample. According to Rolling Stone, front man Nate Ruess rewrote the song and the band rerecorded it for the soundtrack:

I ended up rewriting the chorus and actually like it better than the sample now! We recorded most of this in Italy on a day off from tour and I just remember us eating an Italian feast at the studio and barely being able to communicate with the engineers, which was kind of cool because it eliminated all small talk and put the focus into the song.

It was nice of Dunham to call in a favor from fun., and I’m not suggesting it was solely because she’s dating guitarist Jack Antonoff. But, you know, it’s probably because she’s dating that dude. Let’s somehow add this to the list of her massive offenses against all of us. How dare she!

Take a listen to the track below:

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter

Mike White Talks ‘Enlightened’ & His Hotel Fetish

Television hasn’t been kind to Mike White. His first writing and producing gig, on the seminal teen saga Dawson’s Creek, wasn’t exactly what he “wanted to be doing.” His next show, NBC’s critically-acclaimed Freaks and Geeks, was unceremoniously canceled. Even his stint as a reality TV star on the 14th season of The Amazing Race had him sleeping on train station floors next to his 71-year-old father, Mel, before getting eliminated early in the competition. But with his newest project, Enlightened, luck finally seems to be on his side.

“The more HBO sees it, the easier it is for them to get behind it,” he says of the series, which was delayed when the 41-year-old writer, producer, actor, and director repacked his knapsack for The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business. “When we turned in the pilot, HBO was like, ‘We love it! It’s beautiful! It’s artistic! But it’s not very funny, is it?’”

Enlightened, which White writes and directs, follows Laura Dern’s Amy, a beauty executive who, in the aftermath of a very public nervous breakdown, goes to rehab and tries to piece together the shards of her broken life. As one might expect from White, the writer of deliciously twisted films like Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl, Amy’s every attempt at reconciliation is thwarted. “She reminds me of my friends who’ve gone to AA, and have since seen the light,” he says. “It’s like, Well, you still owe me money, and you crashed my car. Let’s hold off on the advice for another day or two.” Laughing, he adds, “Laura isn’t Amy, exactly, but she does share her indefatigable optimism. The sad-sack part of her character is me. A theme throughout my work deals with people trying to find meaning in their humdrum lives.”

An aversion to routine partly explains White’s decision to compete on The Amazing Race, as well as his hotel obsession. “When I was growing up, my mom would always say, ‘I just want to live in a hotel!’ I guess I got my hotel fetish from her. I was in Barcelona recently—I’d been spending some time in Spain, where my mom happened to visit me while I was deathly ill, so we just camped out at the Hotel Arts. For four days we literally didn’t leave the room, and I’ve never seen her happier,” says White, who’s been a vegan for the past six years. “One of my favorite places in London is the Charlotte Street Hotel . They have great vegan menu options, which is a unique thing—especially in Europe. It’s easy to find in Third World countries, but places like Spain have pigs hanging in the bars for atmosphere. They even put bacon on their salads.”