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 – Like this, not like that
Celebrity endorsements are tricky business. There’s a fine line one has to tippy-toe across. When done right, when the combination of celebrity and product and delivery works, it can be a hoot. Everyone’s having fun and also helping the economy. Good. Great, even. Danny DeVito seems like he’s having a blast telling everyone about Jersey Mike’s subs. But when it doesn’t click… yeesh. It feels a little sad and sometimes gross and most of the time it’s just a bummer. For everyone, too. The viewer, the celebrity, and the people trying to sell a product. No thank you.
We saw both ends of that spectrum on display this week. The good was, well, really good, and if you haven’t seen Samuel L. Jackson trading on years of playing movie badasses to sell bread for a British bakery then, buddy, please click play on this sucker and treat yourself. The next paragraph can wait. Watch it again even if you saw it earlier in the week. Just promise to scroll all the way to the bottom of this column when you’re done so I can tell you about the bears that hijacked a Krispy Kreme truck. That’s the deal.
See? Delightful. Wonderful, even. And then if you, like me, started Googling when you finished it, you discovered that the company behind it all, Warburton’s, has a history of doing it. They kind of love it. The CEO gets it. Look at this guy talk about Samuel L. Jackson.
‘Not many people can be that commanding and so charming at the same time, and I love his hilarious take on why our Toastie loaf is the real deal.’
He wasn’t done, either.
He continued: ‘Inviting the big-screen hero of Samuel L. Jackson into the business was a uniquely memorable experience, and we hope to bring some light-hearted humour to viewers at home – while reminding the nation that our Toastie truly offers our customers the best of the best.’
Nailed it, straight through. I kind of want to try this stuff now even though I live a whole ocean away and baked goods are not famous for their extended shelf life. Which, I suppose, is the whole point. Mission accomplished.
Which brings us to… well, this.
Robert De Niro will reportedly reprise his iconic “Taxi Driver” role as Travis Bickle in an upcoming Uber ad campaign.
I do not love this. Especially when you get to this part of the article.
The Oscar-winner has recently taken on several other ad campaigns — a possible consequence of the star’s costly divorces and separations from the mothers of his seven children.
“A lot of people feel like some of these classic films are his best work, and signing up to commercials is selling out a bit, but obviously he’s had a very expensive personal life,” the source said.
This is what I mean about it all being tricky. Both guys are using an image created by their acting career to sell a product. Both guys are, one assumes, getting a decent paycheck to do it. Maybe the biggest thing is the product, actually. It’s easy to root for a British company that makes silly ads about bread. It’s less easy to root for a huge Silicon Valley unicorn (who many believe to be shady at best and evil at worst) convincing an aging actor to reprise an iconic role from like 40-50 years ago. I promise I thought that before I saw this quote from Samuel L. Jackson about the bread commercial.
About working on his latest ad, the Hollywood legend said: ‘It was a pleasure to meet the man at the helm of Britain’s biggest family bakery. And what an honour to follow in the footsteps of ‘Bolton alumni’, George Clooney and Robert DeNiro.
Yup, Robert De Niro did an ad from that bakery, too. And yup, it’s lovely, too. Look.
Hmm. I guess it’s all actually not that tricky. Maybe you just need to do commercials for charming bread companies for it all to work. I’m glad we figured this out.
ITEM NUMBER TWO – HAMM
Okay, here’s what happened. Earlier this week, I wrote a thing about how cool it is that Jon Hamm has used the juice he squeezed out of his iconic work as Don Draper on Mad Men to run around doing whatever fun and silly project his heart desired. I pegged it to his appearance in The Morning Show as a goofball techbro and his upcoming role in season five of Fargo, just because that’s what was on my mind at the time. This is how the sausage gets made around here.
But then a cool thing happened. People read the article and started reaching out to tell me their own favorite Hamm appearances. I got tweets reminding me that he voiced a talking toaster on Bob’s Burgers at the height of his Mad Men fame. I had about a dozen people tell me to watch him in Good Omens, where he plays a version of the archangel Gabriel who gets amnesia and starts bumbling around Earth, which is a very Jon Hamm thing. I even got an email from someone who has known him personally for a decade that confirmed he’s just an extremely good dude, which was nice, especially since, as you may know, people on the internet love to tell you when you’re wrong.
My favorite ones, though, were about goofy little commercials he’s been doing in Canada, in part because I was already planning on writing about celebrity endorsements this week and in part because… well.
Hamm did do a series of ads for a Canadian food delivery app called SkipTheDishes where he played a man pretending to be Canadian. “That’s kind of taken off and become its own thing,” Hamm said. “I get recognized in Canada as an honorary Canadian.”
LOOK AT HAMM.
Just a really great experience all around. For me, I mean. Because nobody yelled at me. And everyone said I was right. And I got to watch a lot of fun clips of Jon Hamm. That’s what’s important here.
ITEM NUMBER THREE – Let Vanna host the damn show
Good news and bad news.
GOOD: Vanna White is returning to Wheel of Fortune even with Pat Sajak stepping down.
In June, White also closed a new deal to return as host of ABC’s Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, which, as Deadline reported at the time, involves a significant salary increase. Her contract extension for the flagship syndicated show is believed to involve a pay raise, too. A fan favorite, White has been revealing letters at Wheel’s signature puzzleboard since 1982. Amid uncertainty over her future beyond Season 41, she enjoyed a wave of support during her contract negotiations, which likely helped seal the deal for her to stay on.
BAD: They still hired Ryan Seacrest to replace Sajak instead of giving the job to Vanna. Or me. Or Joe Pera, And he’s saying stuff like this, which is mostly harmless but still annoying.
He also admitted that one of the game show’s most foundational elements is surprisingly something of an Achilles heel for him.
“Actually, I’m a terrible speller,” he admitted (on the other hand, his mother “thinks she’s a great speller,” he quips).
Seacrest qualifies, “But, on the show I’m better than on my cell phone when I type or text.”
Which I would have more to say about if reading his name didn’t immediately remind me of the time in 2010 when Sylvester Stallone spent a whole week tweeting about how he thought Seacrest could beat up Jet Li.
Why would I put JCVD , and I do like him, in EXPENDABLES when I know SEACREST could destroy the one time great . ASK STEVE AUSTIN, he knows.
— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) September 17, 2010
Which… well I guess that’s good news, too. This brings our final score on this section to:
GOOD NEWS — 2
BAD NEWS — 1
A squeaker but still a win.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR – I love this man very much and need weekly updates on his well-being
Witness to the F-35 crash, Randolph White, imitates what he heard when it went down (WBTW) pic.twitter.com/1I0hdRhKiU
— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) September 20, 2023
Okay, three things:
- I love the man in this clip and need you to watch it and show everyone you know
- It made me very happy to see a silly local news clip make the rounds on the internet again
- I don’t actually have a third thing, I just felt like a third bullet point looked better
ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Octopus back
There was a big thing a little while ago about whether Amber Heard’s role in the upcoming Aquaman sequel was cut or trimmed down due to all the weird press that flooded out during her legal fiasco with Johnny Depp, and you are very welcome to look it all up and develop your own opinions about it and shout them at people (not me, please) on your website of choice (not this one, please), but I want to talk about the octopus that played the drums in the first one.
Specifically, I want to talk about this, from another interview with director James Wan.
The teaser also featured the sight of Aquaman and an octopus shooting out of the water atop a giant sea horse. Wan confirms that Arthur’s steed is Storm, who first appeared in the Aquaman comic back in the mid-’60s, while his eight-legged friend is Topo, the same octopus that was briefly seen playing the drums back in the first film. The director explains that Topo will have “a stronger presence in this film. He’s an actual character in this one.”
Okay, three things again:
- I love this
- I have never seen Aquaman but I have seen this short clip of the drumming octopus maybe 5000 times
- More — perhaps all? — movies should feature a drumming octopus
I hope he ends up with an entire spinoff a few years down the line. Jon Hamm will probably be involved somehow. Maybe as the bass player in the band. As himself. In a scuba suit. Uncredited. Don’t think for one second that this isn’t a possibility.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at email@example.com (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.
Dude, I just wanted to say thank you for being you. Everyone else was out there writing angry articles about defending Martin Short’s legacy and whatnot and you’re publishing extended excuses to post pictures of Henry Winkler holding fish he caught. Please do not change.
I am posting this email for two reasons, neither of which have to do with the compliment Paul gave me, which was very nice. Reason one: A probably not surprising number of emails I get open with the word “dude,” which I really appreciate and feel good about, zero sarcasm. Reason two: The combination of “Martin Short” and “fun pictures I like” as subjects in this email gives me an excuse to show this to you guys.
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) September 13, 2023
Thank you to Paul and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for making this all possible.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) September 13, 2023
Singing and dancing animatronic bears are a common sight at the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World, but a bear that was spotted there on Monday was real and most likely looking for food, prompting officials to close some rides and attractions.
How did the bear get in, you ask?
HE PAID FOR A TICKET LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.
Ms. Thompson said in an email that a black bear had been spotted in a tree at Magic Kingdom, a theme park whose world-famous attractions include Cinderella’s castle and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
Okay, I’ll admit I read this too fast and either my hurry or sick brain or both read that to mean the bear was spotted at the castle and on the ride. Which, like, good for him. Have a day, buddy. Some people never get to go to Disney, you know?
Bears are more active in the fall because they are looking for food so they can pack on fat before winter, Ms. Thompson said. “This particular bear was likely moving through the area searching for food,” she said.
Well, okay. That makes sense. But at least this was the only time it happened this week. It’s not like there’s an epidemic brewing or anythi-…
Two bears on an Alaska military base raided a Krispy Kreme doughnut van that was stopped outside a convenience store during its delivery route.
BEAR DONUT RAID
The driver usually left his doors open when he stopped at the store but this time a sow and one of her cubs that loitered nearby sauntered inside, where they stayed for probably 20 minutes on Tuesday morning, said Shelly Deano, the store manager for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson JMM Express. The bears chomped on doughnut holes and other pastries, ignoring the banging on the side of the van that was intended to shoo them away, Deano said.
Is it weird that I read this and immediately started wondering how many Krispy Kremes a bear could eat in one sitting? And that I’ve been thinking about it ever since I read it? And that I’ll still be thinking about it this weekend?
“I was beating on the van and they’re not moving. I could hear them breaking open the packages and everything,” she said. “I was like, ‘They don’t even care.’”
Two notes in closing:
- This lady is so much braver than I am because if I saw bears housing donuts in a truck I would extremely not start banging on the walls of that truck
- So far, my best guess is that a bear could eat 200 Krispy Kremes in one sitting
I might go higher. We’ll see how it all shakes out.