What to Watch on Wednesday: ‘Key and Peele’ while you can

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Key & Peele’s spot-on ‘SportsCenter’ parody imagines what it would be like if we treated teachers like pro athletes.

At least they are in their “Teaching Center” sketch, an almost too-perfect parody of SportsCenter where instead of obsessing over every single detail of the careers of pro athletes, we obsess over a more important profession: Teachers. In the sketch, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele imagine a world in which public school educators are not only extremely well paid but the topic of interest on a “SportsCenter“-like ESPN show called, what else, “TeachingCenter.” On “TeachingCenter,” you’ll meet Ruby Ruhf, who announces via press conference that she’s leaving Ohio to return to New York, having received an offer she “couldn’t refuse”: $80 million over the next six years, along with “an additional $40 million in incentives based on test scores.” There are big-media events like the “teacher draft picks” at Radio City Music Hall, and there’s also a play-by-play analysis of teaching style, examining how these educators successfully increase students’ level of participation (Any “Ghostbusters” fans catch the “Vinz Clortho High” reference in this bit?): There’s even a faux BMW commercial featuring aforementioned teacher Ruby Ruhf (English 11 Honors, AP English Literature) declaring with utmost confidence, “I am the gateway to what is possible.In an interesting story in the Hollywood Reporter last week, Pamela McClintock took a look at the calculations that studios make as they consider whether or not to keep ongoing franchises alive, pegged to the latest installment of the “Terminator” movies. “He’ll be back. I am the path to the future.” It’s best if we enjoy these clips while we can, because Key and Peele recently announced that the current season of their titular Comedy Central series will be their last. Skits tonight include a gospel group who must practice without its coach; a prisoner who tries to trick his guard; and a young man who speaks only in catchphrases.

We might make a movie and then do our own thing for three years and then come back and do another movie.” Season Five — which already finished filming — kicked off July 8 and runs through September. “Key & Peele” was recently nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding variety sketch series and won a 2013 Peabody Award. In September 2014, David Ellison’s Skydance Productions and Paramount boldly dated the next two installments in the rebooted Terminator franchise for 2017 and 2018, even though the first film in the planned trilogy, ‘Terminator: Genisys,’ was 10 months from opening.

Extant (9 p.m., CBS) – Molly learns Ethan is alive and sets out to get him back, while J.D. looks into Julie’s potential involvement in John’s death. Since the series premiered in 2012, its stars have kept busy with guest-starring work in “Parks and Recreation” (Key), “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp” (Peele) and “Fargo” (both).

But now ‘Genisys,’ which cost $155 million to produce and tens of millions more to market, is underperforming at the box office — it had earned only $80.6 million domestically and nearly $200 million overseas as of July 19 — underscoring the tough decisions franchise-mad studios face with what might be called ‘bubble’ movies, decent performers whose returns don’t trigger an automatic sequel but whose backers aren’t quite ready to give up.” Money is one reason to shut a franchise down, or at least put it on hold for a while. The Jim Gaffigan Show (10 p.m., TV Land) – Jim plans a romantic anniversary that includes a Broadway show and a hotel stay, but the night gets interrupted. Unplugged Nation (10 p.m., FYI) – In the premiere of this new series, a couple and their two children check out three off-the-grid properties in Hawaii and choose one to stay in for three days before making an offer. Is the world big enough to accommodate new characters, new settings, and new conflicts? “Mad Max: Fury Road” was a success not just because George Miller’s 1979 concept hasn’t been done to death in the years since, but because Miller himself was willing to be flexible and expansive. “Fury Road” didn’t lose the car chases and desert landscapes that had been a hallmark of the series.

But significant among the movies’ problems was the decision to stick close to some of the same characters and institutions we were familiar with from the original movies. The Force, George Lucas’ mystical creation, is a fine invention, but explaining midi-chlorians took away a fair bit of the awe that surrounded the Jedi. An installment like “The Force Awakens” seems like it’ll be focused on the resurgence of the Jedi, while a spinoff like “Rogue One” will take us further afield, focusing on characters who aren’t either Jedi Knights or linked to them. Marvel is currently attempting the same pivot, introducing a new character in “Ant-Man,” (Paul Rudd) and also using him to build out an existing hero, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), who previously was relegated to sidekick status. Whether Marvel can get audiences invested in new characters and new tones of storytelling, and can do it while releasing two movies a year rather than giving viewers a break in between installments, will be a big test.

Sometimes these kinds of shifts don’t work, of course: the second season of “True Detective” may be telling an entirely different story with entirely different characters, but the magnetism of the first season has reversed polarity. But the show, at least, is serving as a valuable reminder that no matter how much luster a name has acquired, showrunners and directors still have to figure out new and genuinely exciting ways to deliver the goods.

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