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The Rundown: There Sure Is A Lot Of Slurping On ‘The White Lotus’

The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.

ITEM NUMBER ONE – I don’t know if I like this

My position on watching television with the captions turned on is as follows: I love it. I don’t know what I did before I started. It’s great. It’s especially useful for this job I have, sure, between making funny screencaps for posts like this and not missing potentially important lines of dialogue that could get me yelled at by very passionate fans when I’m discussing or recapping a show. I’ve written about all of this before and I stand by all or most of it. Try using them if you haven’t. Maybe not for a fast comedy where the captions might pop up early and step on a joke, but for almost any other show. I think you’ll like it. Most of the time.

This brings me to the current season of The White Lotus, a show I enjoy quite a bit and have been writing about a lot. Jennifer Coolidge and Aubrey Plaza are so good in this in completely opposite ways and all I want in the world is for their two characters — or just, like, them — to have brunch together. That’s something I would enjoy. What I’m enjoying less… the slurping.


I don’t remember at what point in the show I noticed how often the captions use “slurps” or “slurping” when a character sips a drink, but it’s all I can see now. It happens so much. I suppose that can be expected in a show set at a luxury hotel where everyone is drinking wine and umbrella drinks on vacation, but… guys. There is honestly so much slurping. Too much, I think. Here’s another one.


And here’s one from a wine tasting. It’s actually Aubrey Plaza’s character doing the slurping, even though she’s offscreen…


… which is notable because it’s not her only slurp so far this season. She also slurped some coffee at a breakfast where she was being fake cheery to annoy her husband.


Here’s Jennifer Coolidge slurping champagne at the opera.


And here’s Theo James, in character as a weasely investment bro, slurping an iced cocktail while lamenting that his wife is exploiting his crippling FOMO.


It’s… it’s really just a lot of slurping. And this isn’t even all of them, probably. These are just the ones I started yoinking in the last few episodes after I really started noticing it. I bet there are at least a half dozen more. I bet there will be at least three or four in the last couple episodes of this season, which could be a problem because I need to watch them and stay locked in — see above, regarding getting yelled at by super fans for missing things — and I’ll be over here watching every wine glass and coffee cup to see if it gets lifted up to someone’s lips to be slurped. And now you will, too! I’ve made my problem yours! Joke’s on you, sucker!

It gets even better/worse, too. Once I noticed the slurping, I also noticed the descriptions when a character eats. The good news here is that they mix these up a little. We’ve had both munching…


… and chomping…


… which I appreciate if only for the variety. But now I need to know what other descriptions they might break out. Noshing? Nibbling? Scarfing? It’s somehow the polar opposite of the repeated slurping but also the exact same problem. Yes, it’s a real problem. For me. And again, for you now, too. You’re quite welcome.

The takeaways here are as follows:

  • I am normal/fine
  • At some point, I need to find some of the people who do these captions and ask them questions about their job until they call the police on me

So that’s what I’ve been up to this week.

ITEM NUMBER TWO – Cocaine Bear!

This is the trailer for Cocaine Bear, the movie about a bear that eats a bunch of cocaine. I love it very much. I’ve loved it for a while now, actually. I wrote it all back in March of last year when it was first announced. This kind of thing will happen when someone makes a movie called Cocaine Bear. It’s kind of like when Kelsey Grammer starred in a movie called Money Plane. He even said the phrase “Money Plane” in the movie Money Plane. I really appreciated that. I hope the cocaine bear in Cocaine Bear looks right into the camera and says “I am the Cocaine Bear.” Maybe with a British accent. Let Liam Gallagher voice the Cocaine Bear. This is a good idea.

Anyway, once again, here is the official synopsis of Cocaine Bear:

Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild dark comedy finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists, and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500- pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood.

And here are three other things I need to point out:

— This really is based on a true story, kind of, which I mention every time I bring up Cocaine Bear, in part because it’s incredible to me and in part because the sane true story was used as inspiration for the Drew Thompson plot on Justified, which was a good show we should all probably rewatch at some point in the near-ish future

— The cast of Cocaine Bear (the movie about the bear that eats cocaine) is freaking incredible. Look at this collection of hitters:

Cocaine Bear stars Keri Russell (The Americans), O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), Christian Convery-Jennings (Sweet Tooth), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (BlacKkKlansman), Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones), Hannah Hoekstra (2019’s Charlie’s Angels) and Aaron Holliday (Sharp Objects), with Emmy winner Margo Martindale (The Americans) and Emmy winner Ray Liotta (The Many Saints of Newark).

It’s one of Ray Liotta’s last credited roles. That’s wild. And yes, now I am thinking about the Goodfellas scene where he’s driving around high on cocaine with helicopters in the sky around him, but with a bear in the passenger seat next to him, because this movie is a gift in many ways.

— If the guy at the very beginning of the trailer looks familiar, there’s a good reason for that. It’s Scott Seiss. This guy.

We are all going to see Cocaine Bear. In the theater. We’ll do a matinee and then hit Chili’s after. Margs for the table.

ITEM NUMBER THREE – This is a good idea!

Speaking of trailers for things that are Right Up Brian’s Alley, here’s the first look at season two of Baking It. The first season featured Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg as hosts of a cooking competition judged by grandmothers, which is so good on paper that I’m kind of angry no one thought of it until recently. The bad news is that Andy had to exit the show due to various other commitments. The good news is that he’s been replaced by Amt Poehler. Which is… better. No disrespect to Andy Samberg. Popstar and Hot Rod are legendary. But… yeah. This is better. Look at the description.

Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler invite a new batch of home baker teams to a second season of their award-winning musical baking competition show. With bigger and batter challenges judged by a panel of grandmothers, one baking team will rise to the occasion and win some serious dough.

Amy Poehler is the best. She has been for a long time. Parks and Recreation, yes, obviously, but beyond that. She has this thing where she gets a little mischievous twinkle in her eye sometimes that kind of scans as either “I’m up to something fun” or “I’m thinking of something much funnier that I can’t say on television.” These are, to put a fine point on it all, my people. Pairing her with Maya Rudolph for a cooking show judged by grandmas is exactly the kind of thing we should be doing with 700 streaming services. I’m happy.

Good for them.

Good for me, mostly.

But good for them.


There’s a big new thing about James Cameron over at The Hollywood Reporter, with all sorts of stuff about Avatar and his thoughts about Avatar and what it’s like working with him on Avatar and all of it. You can read it if you want. It’s all very James Cameron straight through, for better and worse. But that’s not the point. I’m going to tell you the point.

The point is this paragraph, which has been living in my brain ever since I read it and will probably stay there for a little while longer, if I know me and my brain like I think I do.

Cameron is shuttling between the mixing theaters where the crew is tweaking the sound on the last four of 15 reels — Avatar: The Way of Water will run just over three hours — and a dark nearby visual effects office that he ducks into to oversee the last 60 or so of the movie’s jaw-dropping 3,350 visual effects shots. At 68, the director looks pretty much like he did on the first Avatar movie. He’s still lean, still wears a motocross jersey and jeans on set, and still focuses so intently on whatever he’s doing at the moment that his crew plays an “awoogah” sound effect of a submarine-style diving klaxon on speakers to get his attention. “I don’t even respond unless they do the ‘awoogah,’” he says.

Three notes here. Maybe four. Let’s see how things shake out.

  • I kind of like that his crew feels comfortable busting his chops a little, to the degree that they blast cartoon-y sound effects at him to get his attention rather than creeping up to him nervously and gently clearing their throats and whispering “Excuse me… Mr. Cameron… sir” like he’s a temperamental monarch who might have them beheaded for looking him in the eye
  • “I don’t even respond unless they do the ‘awoogah’” is an objectively funny sentence to read and say, both because “awoogah” is a funny word and because I don’t think I’ve ever seen those words all together in that order before today
  • There should be more awoogahs in all of our lives, just generally, maybe not in the mornings but once we’re all awake

In conclusion, awoogah.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Wile E. Coyote is the funniest character in the history of television

This tweet popped up in my timeline a few times this week. Stuff like this is why I’m still on that hellscape of a website. Mute enough words and phrases and dipshits provocateurs and you can make a nice little sandbox to play in. One where, sometimes, you get a nice little bit of classic animated comedy to watch and chuckle at 6-8 times in a row while you’re supposed to be getting ready to go out to dinner. I am blessed to have people in my life who understand that I am sometimes going to be late to an engagement because of Looney Tunes.

The main thing I need you all to take away from this is that there’s like a hundred hours of Looney Tunes sitting there on HBO Max just waiting for you, including dozens of Road Runner shorts. I genuinely do not think there has been a more perfect delivery system for comedy before or since. They’re all just perfect, dancing back and forth across the line between brilliant and stupid with a little smirk on their face. I could watch hours of them in a row. Every day. I might do it right now.

While I’m doing that, please take a second and enjoy Chuck Jones’ rules for these cartoons.

Again, it’s a reminder that a lot of work by a lot of smart people goes into making something this delightfully stupid. Go watch a bunch of these this weekend. I assure you that it will be the best use of an hour you can muster. Hopefully, your friends are as understanding as mine when you’re late to whatever else you had planned. If not, find new friends. This is important.


If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.

From Rich:

I was going to send you the Colin Farrell Muppet tweet, but then I realized I only saw it because you were the one who tweeted it into my timeline. I can’t stop thinking about it. He would be so good with them. I can see him saying “Hello, darling” to Miss Piggy with his Irish accent and turning her into a puddle on the floor. I’m actually a little annoyed it hasn’t happened yet.

I don’t have a question. I just wanted to talk about Colin Farrell in a Muppet movie.

Hmm. Yes, this is a good email. Here’s the tweet Rich was referencing, if you haven’t seen it.

It’s so staggeringly correct and true that it almost startled me when I saw it in the waiting room of a doctor’s office this week. I might have gasped a little. The gold standard of Muppet acting is either Michael Caine or Charles Grodin, both of whom treated them like real/normal beings in the way you need to do it to make any of this work, but Colin Farrell would be so good, too. Let him swear a little while we’re at it. Let Colin Farrell drop a few charming f-bombs while talking to… let’s say Gonzo. I would enjoy that.

Hollywood, if you are reading this, please hurry. I went and got myself all excited about a movie that doesn’t exist. Again. Help me out here.


To Nebraska!

The renegade goat of west Lincoln was elusive.

The city’s Animal Control officers started getting calls about it — brown-and-white, maybe a dwarf, maybe not — Nov. 8.

Well, guess what: I love the renegade goat.

The goat is up in the girders beneath the Southwest 40th Street bridge, spanning the tracks along West O Street. The goat is in a field near the county jail. The goat is moving east into the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railyards.
The goat would not go easy.

Two things are important to note here:

  • This is not the only goat they’ve been dealing with this year, as the same local officials just spent three months tracking a white goat that was on the loose, too
  • I would, no joke, watch a Parks & Rec-style comedy about animal control experts trying to track down loose goats across the Midwest

Especially when you consider this part…

“Animal Control has not had anybody call and say, ‘I’m missing a goat,’” he said. “So we don’t know where either of these came from.”
And it’s also unclear what happened to the white goat; the last report came Nov. 4.

These aren’t just renegade goats.

These are mystery renegade goats.


This is the only thing I care about now. I might move to Nebraska and start investigating this myself. I’ll need a quirky and/or wisecracking sidekick. Or I can be the sidekick. I can be flexible here. We can talk about it on the drive out there.

Anyway, I am pleased and/or regret to inform you all that the second of the renegade goats was tracked down and corralled near the railroad recently.

This time, four Animal Control officers — Rachael Middleton, Bryce Gruhn, Faith Steen and Finelli — responded, arranging their cruisers in a semicircle, then collapsing the perimeter to corner the animal.




“He looked pretty good. He looked healthy. So he was doing something right out there.”

New plan: instead of investigating this, we are springing this guy from lockup. Goat jailbreak! We’ll be heroes. We can enlist that other goat they never found. Scrap that other idea for the show about tracking down renegade goats. This is the show. Humans and a wily goat freeing another goat from animal control. Goats dancing through lasers. Like this…

… but it’s a goat.

It could work.