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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024
The Eagle

Take 5: Rest in peace to a comedy legend, welcome back to TV’s best

Rest in peace, Harold Ramis.
Some creative people deserve touching, poetic tributes. Others just need people to be reminded of the depth and breadth of their work. Harold Ramis falls into the later camp. Take a look at this list of movies he wrote within a 10-year period: “Animal House,” “Meatballs,” “Caddyshack,” “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters,” “Back to School.” And later? “Analyze This,” “Groundhog Day.” And don’t forget that he also directed “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Analyze That” and four much-loved episodes of “The Office.” And he starred in some of his movies (“Groundhog Day,” “Ghostbusters”) as well as others (“High Fidelity,” “Knocked Up”). That resume speaks for itself.

Ramis influenced a generation of American comedy talent and created some of the most beloved movies of the last 50 years. For that, we’re eternally grateful. Rest in peace.

From the department of weird/awesome casting…
Adam Driver, ever-so-creepy as Adam on Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” is reportedly set to play the villain in the much-anticipated seventh installment in the “Star Wars” series. Though the movie is set to start shooting this summer, Driver is the first name who has come close to being officially attached as a star. Though some sniffed at the prospect of an idiosyncratic actor like Driver at the center of this massive franchise, his presence in recent movies with directors like Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”) and Noah Baumbach (“Frances Ha”) speaks for itself.

Meanwhile, Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele of “Key & Peele” will have a four-episode arc as a pair of FBI agents on the upcoming FX series “Fargo,” based on the Coen Brothers’ cinematic classic. In a delightful continuation of the duo’s penchant for wacky monikers, Key and Peele will play FBI agents Webb Pepper and Billy Budge. Here’s hoping the casting gods will continue to surprise with out-of-left-field choices like these three.

The Oscar telecast takes shape.
Hollywood’s Super Bowl is set to go down March 2, and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have remained steadfastly tight-lipped about plans for the production. The show’s theme will be “a tribute to heroes,” both super and not. Idina Menzel, Pharrell, Karen O and U2 will all perform their nominated Original Songs, boosting the spectacle value. P!nk will perform in an unspecified capacity, and Bette Midler will make her Oscar singing debut.

Two of TV’s best are back.
The Olympics are over, and scripted television has returned with a vengeance. “Parks and Recreation,” “Community,” “Scandal” and “Parenthood” are among the shows that gained attention after coming back from hiatus. But the week also brought several noteworthy season premieres. FX’s “The Americans” has ascended from “good show worth watching” to “one of the best on TV” in the eyes of many critics. In its second season, Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings will struggle once again to balance home life with the seedy world of spying for the Russians. Meanwhile, NBC’s massively spooky “Hannibal” is back for an unlikely but welcome second round of terrifying, gorgeous, profoundly affecting episodes. With even more great TV premiering in the next few months, viewers will be struggling more mightily than ever to catch up.

Lorne Michaels: the busiest man alive.
As the executive producer of “Saturday Night Live” since it began nearly 40 years ago, Lorne Michaels is used to compartmentalizing and strategizing his schedule. But he probably hasn’t faced a challenge in quite some time like the one he faced this week. First, he’s the executive producer of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” which spent the week transitioning from its heavily scrutinized first week to its far more crucial week-to-week routine. He’s also in charge of “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” which launched this week to measured acclaim and solid ratings. Finally, at his main gig, he had to revive the “SNL” mojo after an Olympics-mandated month off the air. The results of his labor will on display March 1 when Jim Parsons hosts, Beck performs and Colin Jost takes his seat the Weekend Update desk.

 Hosts Sara Winick and Sydney Hsu introduce themselves and talk about their favorite TV shows. This episode includes fun facts, recommendations and personal connections. 

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