Chekhov's Gunman


For Its 100th Episode, COMMUNITY Attempts the Impossible: Status Quo – Season 6 Episode 3 “Basic Crisis Room Decorum” Review

Community Season 6 Episode 3 Britta fantasy

Softcore spoilers to come.

I am equally torn between three ways to start this review, so I am going to make a proper go at all three. Read more…

COMMUNITY’s Return Basks in the Sweet, the Virtual, and the Near-Impossible — Season 6 Episode 1, “Ladders”/Episode 2, “Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care” Review

Community Dean Virtual Reality Jeff

There are as many spoilers here as there Frisbees on Greendale’s roof.

And we’re back! Despite the will of NBC, the American public, and perhaps God himself, Community has returned for the sixth season Abed prophesied with his cape many parodies ago. Its continued existence flies in the face of the laws of television established long ago by Beaver Cleaver, the Nightly News, and Camel Cigarettes. Its insistence on being very good is downright television sacrilege. Read more…

Talking Back to the Movies: Mel Brooks

young frankenstein

Talking Back to the Movies is roaring right along with a series on the films of comedy icon Mel Brooks. What started out as a planned run-through of the entire series was cut short after Young Frankenstein, when my podcast partner Gabe Levy and myself mutually decided that the prospect of watching anything Mel Brooks after 1974 just sounded like torture we simply didn’t want to subject ourselves to. But we did four solid episodes about Brooks’ first four theatrical efforts that I’ll embed for you wonderful readers. Read more…

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT is Classic Tina Fey, Classicker Ellie Kemper

kimmy schmidt 1

Ordinarily, I am not much of a binge watcher. I like to take shows on an episode by episode basis, as they were intended to be taken. A story always means more if you spread it out over time. You’ll never care as much about a character you’ve known for two hours as you do about one that you’ve known for three years. The Harry Potter books will still be effective to those who choose to read them now, but it will never be as emotional a journey to those of us who sat with the characters for ten years before getting to know who they hard poorly-named kids with. I believe that television succeeds because of its long form storytelling capabilities that are unmatched by any other medium.

I watched all of Kimmy Schmidt in a day and a half. Read more…

On Being Jewish, Mel Brooks, and The Producers


A great piece by my friend (and podcast partner) Gabe Levy. He’s a real mensch.

Originally posted on The Chutzpah Kid:

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Let me preface this by saying that I am not a profoundly religious man. Like so many others of my generation, I have some gripes with organized religion as a whole. I detest fundamentalism, both here in the US and abroad, and I think that Judaism is no exception.

Despite this, I identify as a Jew. A proud Jew. A Jew who may not go to temple, wear a yarmulke, or keep Kosher, but loves the sense of cultural brotherhood achieved by his heritage. We call ourselves Members of the Tribe for a reason. Picking and guessing which celebrities and pop culture figures are my brethren is something that has transcended a hobby and become almost… a compulsion for me.

Mel Brooks is a man who nearly negates all of that guessing. Just looking at him, his mannerisms, and his life’s work tells you that he embodies the spirit of…

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Talking Back to the Movies: The Brothers McDonagh

In Bruges Colin Farrell Ray

Recently I started a podcast called Talking Back to the Movies. Every few weeks, my friend and fellow filmmaker Gabe Levy and myself pick a filmmaker and go through their works film by film, discussing each one both in terms of itself and in the context of the director as a whole.

We boys recently wrapped up their first series, covering the works of the Brothers McDonagh (that’s Martin and John Michael). Here, for your listening pleasure, are all of the episodes in that series. Read more…

Parks and Recreation is Over; Coincidentally, Joy is Also Over

Parks and Recreation Cast

There are lots of posters on the walls of my dorm room. There’s a beautiful Gone with the Wind poster; a couple of Firefly mock-ups; a poster for a short film that I directed that was designed by a good friend; one called E-Cow-Nomics that explains economic models using cows. But there are two that I get compliments on more than any others.

The first is called the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Two crudely photoshopped images of Ron Swanson’s head border a pyramid filled with the secrets to true greatness, everything from Friends (“One to three is sufficient”) to Deer Protein to Old Wooden Sailing Ships.

The second is Leslie Knope, the proclaimed Pawnee goddess, adorned on all sides by her own special words of wisdom. She is framed from behind with light. She is an idol. She is a beacon of hope. She is big enough to admit she is often inspired by herself. She is the protagonist of Parks and Recreation, a very special television program that meant a lot of things to a lot of people. Read more…

How Telltale’s Games of Thrones is Changing the Way We Look at Choice in Video Games

Telltale Game of Thrones

Telltale’s Game of Thrones is playing me against myself.

I do not mean this in the traditional way Telltale tears me apart, which is to force me to make a choice between hurting someone I love or hurting someone else I love as an onscreen timer quickly counts down, threatening to drive me into insanity. No, Telltale Games is using Game of Thrones to teach me new and interesting ways to writhe in pain in front of my computer screen. Just a few weeks after debuting Tales from the Borderlands, which starred two protagonists, one a corporate drone, the other with a vagina (?!?!), Telltale shot out the first episode of Game of Thrones, a series with five player-controlled protagonists with a myriad of genitals, habitats, and levels of political power. Read more…

My Personal Story of Depression

I’ve seen a few of these posts recently, and in hopes that I might be able to help others, I’m going to draft up one of my own.

The first time I can remember contemplating suicide was in the Fourth Grade. I was nine or ten, but as I have never really been an avid journaler the details of it get a little sketchy. Just something about standing on top of some playground equipment at my elementary school and wondering what would happen if I threw myself off. I didn’t, and went back to playing tag or Star Wars or some game that required my fellow nine-year-olds and myself to hurl ourselves down the slide with a reckless abandon really frowned upon by our (justified in hindsight) buzzkilling teachers. Read more…

Short Film Spotlight: IT DIDN’T TAKE, Forest J. Wharton & Kevin Lanigan

Film Loop

I’m back! After a long hiatus (largely related to the making of this short film), Chekhov’s Gunman is back, hopefully with some much-needed energy and a lot more regularity. Please enjoy this short film—recently accepted into its first film festival!

 Here’s a feature I do occasionally here at Chekhov’s Gunman (when I remember), and I figured the release of my first short film was as good of an occasion to revive it as any.

 It Didn’t Take is a comedy short film about three members of a cult called The Sunshine Togetherhood who do that most cultish of things and “take the Kool-Aid.” But the next morning, they awake to find that they’re still alive, even though everyone else around them is dead. It’s a mission to unravel the mystery of their existence, while at the same time trying to clean up all of these dead bodies before Mom gets home with the groceries! Read more…

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